Y’all wouldn’t know “practical” if it came up and bit ya! – Applejack to Rarity
This has always been one of my favorite episodes in Season 1, featuring as it does both Rarity and Applejack (my first and second favorite ponies). It’s one of those slice of life episodes that puts two ponies in a situation and just lets their personalities drive the story forward.
All of Ponyville is tidying up the trees in preparation for a big storm that the pegasus ponies are due to create, to make up for a previously missed rain shower. They’re taking down broken branches so that the storm doesn’t knock them off the trees onto any passersby. Rarity, however, is mending the branches instead, and prettying them up with some topiary. Meanwhile background pony Daisy is lifting branches magically, despite lacking a horn with which to do it.
Rarity’s artwork is not appreciated by the more practically-minded Applejack, who pulls off the branch Rarity was working on, and then remonstrates with her about focusing more on prettifying than completing the task. Their argument escalates until they decide they need to give each other some space before they really say something they’ll regret. However, the storm has other ideas, as a lightning bolt convinces the two they need to stick together and find shelter… and fast.
Luckily, Twilight has noticed them, and calls for them to hurry over to her library, protected as it is by a magical lightning rod. Rarity points out to Applejack that she has mud all over her hooves from hiding under the bench earlier (seen above), and tells her she needs to wash up. Twilight tells Rarity to make herself comfortable for the evening, since Spike is away on Royal Business in Canterlot. Then she excitedly suggests they have a sleep over, since she has never had one before. She even has a book entitled Slumber 101 – “Everything you Wanted to Know about Slumber Parties but were Afraid to Ask”. Rarity is unwilling to be cooped up all night with Applejack, who is having a few troubles of her own as she tries to wash her hooves.
With her hooves sparkling clean at last, AJ is mortified to find Rarity and Twilight with mud on their faces. Rarity explains that this is part of them giving each other makeovers, and Twilight shows AJ the book. AJ is no more willing than Rarity to stay, but another flash of lightning stops her in her tracks. Rarity gives AJ her own mud mask, as well as cucumbers for her eyes. Applejack, having the appetite of a full-grown stallion, eats them instead. Twilight, delighted that she has another victim for her nefarious slumber party plans, is oblivious to the dirty looks her guests are giving each other.
As the evening wears on, the tension between AJ and Rarity gradually builds, with them daring each other to do things they despise, like Rarity letting her mane get drenched, and AJ having to put on a frou-frou glittery lacy outfit. Despite a rather successful (for Twilight) ghost story rendition, the two guests gets more and more annoyed with each other. When a pillow fight becomes more like a pillow war, catching Twilight in the crossfire, she dispiritedly suggests they all go to sleep. Even this is not enough to keep the peace, with the feuding fillies arguing over who gets the blanket.
Twilight finally blows up at them both, and sarcastically asks if anything else can go wrong… it promptly does, with lightning striking a tree outside, threatening to topple the top half onto the neighboring building. Applejack points this out as the reason why they needed to take down the broken branches, even though it’s a million-to-one freak event, and throws a lasso the catch the tree, ignoring Rarity’s exhortations to stop. When AJ pulls, the tree ends up coming in through the window, crashing down into Twilight’s bedroom.
Rarity has her turn to say “I told you so,” and Applejack apologizes to Twilight… who is not at all satisfied. She also seems to have taken a blow to the head, looking through her book for advice about having a tree in one’s bedroom and wondering if this situation qualifies as “camping”.
Unable to fix the mess she helped cause, Applejack tries to convince Rarity to stop reorganizing the books and help her with the tree. Rarity is having none of that, until Applejack apologizes to her as well. Despite an initial reluctance to “get all icky”, Rarity lets go of her obsession with details and decides to help. She uses her magic to turn the tree into a number of art pieces, and the left over trunk is delicately nudged out of the window by Applejack. Rarity is miserable about being icky, damp and covered with mud, but Applejack knows just what to do… she puts cucumber slices on Rarity’s eyes. With the fences mended, the two embrace as Twilight notices the beautiful artworks… which aren’t in the book either.
The last few scenes have Rarity and Applejack finally learning to get along with each other despite their differences. Twilight sends Celestia a letter to that effect, and then asks the newly reconciled friends if they wouldn't like to have another slumber party soon. Her only response is two pillows to the face, and the merry laughter of her friends.
This episode is pure gold for Rarity and Applejack fans. It's really their episode, with Twilight taking a smaller role providing the straight pony to their comedic duo. There really is very little to detract; at most, the idea of characters who are the equivalent of young adults having a slumber party is a little odd, but that can be excused when one remembers that Twilight never had one when she was younger.
Pros: Different pony personalities provide enjoyable interactions.
Cons: It's a slumber party
5 – Celestia Rank: A great episode. It will be re-watched frequently.
4 – Luna Rank: A good episode, but with one or two problems that prevent it from being great.
3 – Spike Rank: An average episode. Positives and negatives are balanced.
2 – Discord Rank: Worth watching once. After that, turn it to stone and put it in the garden.
1 – Nightmare Moon Rank: Send it to the moon!
Stay sunny side up!