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episode review "Honest Apple" Review

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Dark Qiviut

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I only watched this episode after Canada released it, and I haven't budged. This episode is an effin' mess.

The characterization is really poor, starting with Rarity:

  1. Rarity is a strong and intelligent businesswoman. Remember, she runs and owns three fashion boutiques: Canterlot, Manehattan, and Ponyville. An in-character Rarity would not only understand what she's doing, but also preplan everything before setting it forward. So, why would Rarity plan the fashion show before all three judges signed on to this contest? This type of act comes across as someone who doesn't know what she'd doing?

    Speaking of not know what she's doing, it's still contrived to choose Applejack out of thin air. She claims it's because she understands practicality/functionality better than the others. But Applejack doesn't have any fashion sense; her only vision of fashion is if it's good enough to wear. Kinda ironic considering Faust's original pony design of her had her wear plenty of clothes. (Speaking of which, Apple Bloom's tied-down hat is so stupid. Given her history of watching Applejack buck those apples, she oughta know that it wouldn't work. Wait, if that didn't happen, the plot would probably fall apart, and DHX would have to come up with a cleverer way to approach it.)

    On top of that, she didn't give AJ any chance to study practicality or warn her to study the clothing's quality. She agreed to take part, and the contest begins the next day. This lack of advanced planning and studying makes Rarity look really incompetent. As if she has no idea what she's doing. That's not her.

    Also, it makes no sense for Rarity to understand how crucial functionality works. (She wouldn't be okay with the disco ball dress; the costume looks really uncomfortable to wear and walk in.) Yes, fashion is treated more as an ancillary possession rather than a mandate, but functionality. Episodes like Suited for Success, ACW, Suite & Elite, Boutique, and Rarity Investigates! show how much she gets it. For her to not comprehend it degrades her character.
  2. Two of the three fashion designers sound like complete caricatures. Inky Rose was fine. Starstreak is over the top with his obsession with futuristic trends.

    But Lily Lace… *plugs my ears* Stereotypes are a complete bane in this show; Lily Lace is the valley girl stereotype. Her literally obnoxious drawl and voice don't work as a joke, because her valley girl accent IS the joke. You need some context behind it. If not, your joke is shallow and, thus, becomes cringeworthy. Her voice is faker than Shadow the Hedgehog.
  3. Even though Coco Pommel wasn't seen in the episode, she, too, is out of character. That disco ball costume makes no sense in any way, including practicality/functionality. Rarity put her in charge of the Manehattan boutique because of her strong creativity and fashion sense. The disco ball doesn't feel like work she'd do with a straight muzzle.
  4. Applejack…what the hell happened to her?!

    Despite Rarity not providing much sense with Applejack being a judge, one thing she understands about her friend is how she can be honest while simultaneously caring about other pony's work and feelings. Her initial comment sharply criticizing Coco Pommel's disco ball dress makes sense, because it's absolutely absurd.

    Afterwards, her characterization goes completely down the toilet.
    1. She bashed Inky Rose's dress for being too black, because it's completely depressing. If she criticized her choice of color because the pony within it would get really sweaty, then it'd make sense.

      Then he bashes Inky Rose's dress because she intentionally put holes in her fabric as she's making them. Lots of clothing intentionally has holes. Her manufacturer wouldn't be able to make her favorite cowcolt hat without one.
    2. Then she bashed Lily Lace's original draft of her dress because it could get dirty.

      As for her worst moment, where she destroys Lace's feather stitching on her hat, let me initial comments describe it:
      On 5/14/2017 at 9:27 PM, Dark Qiviut said:
      Quote

      Lily: I attached each feather individually. Ha! It took me literally forever. *puts hat on mannequin*

      Hoity: Ohhhh, you used hoof-crossed, double-over stitches! *chuckle* They're perfect.

      AJ: Who cares if it's stitched perfectly! You don't need feathers on your head! *grabs it and shakes it off to everyone's horror, revealing the bland hat*

      WHAT THE FUCK?!!!!!!

      Lily worked OVERNIGHT to stylize that damn hat from a bland, white piece of fabric to an interesting, complex piece of design. And in a few seconds, all that hard work gone! That's not being Honestyjack anymore. That's being an asshole! Applejack may not have the best manners or most polite language, but why the hell would she want to DESTROY someone's hard work?! I don't care what reason she has. This isn't Applejack. It's a complete bastardization of her!

      Excuse me while I go get Advil…

      Quote

      AJ: NO! There is no choice! *slams hoof down* They're the exact same belt! This is so silly! Fashion. Is. Ridiculous!

      On second thought, give me some fried Applejack to go on a bagel.

      An in-character and likeable Applejack would understand how important their hard work is and respond accordingly. She understands tact. She's NOT abusive! Her decision to destroy Lily's hat and be proud of it is by far her worst moment of the entire series.

      And on top of that, she stereotypes the art of fashion as pointless and useless. HELLOOOOOO!!! Applejack understands how important fashion is to Rarity, Coco, and many others. Even though she can't critically study fashion and color theory to save her life, she knows others can and listens to them. If she truly respected Rarity (on top of that damn hat), she'd give fashion a long, critical introspective why it's so important to Rarity, Coco, and many others. Look at episodes prior, and look at how much the Mane Eight (then Mane Six) grew. Both AJ and Rarity understand each other and respect each other.

      Quote

      Rarity: But you said "fashion is ridiculous"!

      AJ: But it's my opinion, and I'm not gonna lie!

      AJ, fuck your opinion!

Remember what I wrote about Sunrise's argument with AJ?

On 5/15/2017 at 1:17 AM, Dark Qiviut said:

Well, finished watching the Argument Off the Internet between AJ and Sunrise.

AJ's characterization's still trash. She wouldn't thrash someone over different tastes. If she would, then why would she be friends with Rarity in the first place? We're not in fanon territory here. She'd be fine with folks not liking apples.

Simultaneously, Sunrise's mocking of AJ worked as a joke. Why? Because AJ got what was coming to her! After the way she treated everyone else, she deserved a verbal plot-kicking.

I still stand by that. Applejackass needed to be shown and told directly to her face that she was being abusive, because she was too stupid to figure out the lesson ahead of time.

On the other hand, is the way it's handled really necessary, particularly for a show that's supposed to teach valuable lessons (of friendship) to impressionable kids? Absolutely not.

  1. When Friendship Is Magic gets really good, it creates a welcoming, uplifting atmosphere. Each of the Mane Eight are welcoming characters who are supposed to be role models to children. Episodes like Lost Mark are really, really amazing, because they shoot up. The audience is treated as intelligent beings. They could've done a "Turnabout Is Fair Play" scenario, but they don't. The Cutie Mark Crusaders care about Diamond Tiara's well being and want to help her. Their actions mark a complete sense of maturity beyond nearly everyone's years. Their ability to be selfless and care about their nemesis, especially when she's at her lowest point, is crucial for this show.
  2. The way this scene is completely written shows Rarity at her worst. Rather than show her how her words affected her and tell her through her pain how hurtful AJ's words are, she thought it was a good idea to play "eye for an eye," as if she wanted to get back at her. FIM is well above teaching lessons through pure spite. When they try this shit, the episode's quality hurts.

    It also really hurts when Strawberry Sunrise is an unlikeable bitch herself. @Ganondox pinpointed the problem — Sunrise accused apple farmers like Applejack of selling apples to either intentionally poison her or rip her off. That's really cruel, and by how coolly Rarity reacts to the argument and Sunrise's vile stereotypes of apples, she knows this. That puts Rarity as part of the problem, even though the episode completely portrays her here (and the rest of the episode) as completely in the right. Rather than playing their best off each other, Rarity and AJ act like they can't stand each other. Their terrible approach to friendship here further accredits Rarity's and AJ's backstabbing each other in PPOV.

The only way for this plot to work is by disregarding blatant continuity. This episode as presented only works if you disregard episodes such as Suited for Success, ACW, and their sense of maturity leading up to this point. Season seven is not the time for Applejackass to finally learn a lesson about tact. If she didn't know at the time, then why the hell did she become the Bearer of Honesty in the first place? It wouldn't have chosen her if she wasn't a good pony.

There were some good moments here. Rarity randomly jamming to the guitar (and Pinkie's hair straightening in response) is randomness done correctly. Pinkie Pie is completely in character and likeable here. When AJ learns her lesson, she's contrite and works to make things right. Unfortunately, those things can't save Honest Apple from being a terrible episode.

Now, is it worse than Hard to Say Anything? Very hard to tell. Originally, I said Honest Apple's worse, but Hard to Say Anything is pure trash all the way to the end. Right now, it's a coin toss.

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I'm going to have to go with HtSA in terms of which one is worse. However, it is not an easy choice. AJ was pretty terrible during act 2, but when she started shaking the feathers off that hat, she looked even worse than she did in PPOV!

 

This was a great (and satisfying) review, but there is one question I have. Why did Inky Rose get off the hook for your second negative? Isn't she kind of a stereotype too?

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6 minutes ago, King Clark said:

This was a great (and satisfying) review, but there is one question I have. Why did Inky Rose get off the hook for your second negative? Isn't she kind of a stereotype too?

Because she felt more like a legitimate character than the others.

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Where would you put this episode in terms of worst overall for the show? I am assuming that it is at least in the bottom 15 judging by how badly you bashed it.

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@King Clark

Surprisingly, probably somewhere in the lower part of the bottom-20. As bad as this and Hard are, there are others worse.

Edited by Dark Qiviut

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1 hour ago, King Clark said:

Really? Wow! I'd hate to know what your number one worst is.

It's an episode I don't actively hate that much: One Bad Apple. Blame it on how the episode states that to defend against a bully makes you the bully, excuses Babs' physical abuse on the CMCs due to her trauma back home (trauma that's only confined to exposition), and the moral stating that the only way to solve the bullying problem is to tell a grownup (when the problem's factually much more complex than that).

My whole bottom-13 is as follows:

  1. One Bad Apple
  2. Bridle Gossip
  3. Newbie Dash
  4. Dragon Quest
  5. The Crystal Empire
  6. Rainbow Falls
  7. 28 Pranks Later
  8. Princess Spike
  9. PPOV
  10. The Mysterious Mare Do Well
  11. Owl’s Well That Ends Well
  12. The Show Stoppers
  13. Putting Your Hoof Down
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Believe me, I know how bad that episode is XD. Another reason why I found that episode so awful is because Babs is an absolutely terrible character. She has no personality outside of being a one dimensional, smug bully. It makes it real hard to feel bad for a character when they become a bully right away and also show NO REMORSE for their actions (until the very end).

I still think RF is worse tho. I'm just surprised that one is as high as 6.

Edited by King Clark
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1. I complained about something similar in Saddle Row review, and someone else pointed out that Rarity has already had a problem with being less prepared than she ought to be with her job. I found this episode to be one of Rarity's stronger characterizations in the series recently, given she isn't just reduced to her typical federalization which overly-dramatic at best, histrionic at worst. 

2. I found Star Streak to be fine (we didn't really have time to flesh out his character beyond his design approach). Lily Lace was unbearable though, which is a shame because I liked both her design and her designs. That stereotype needs to be buried 6 feet under. 

3. Agreed, but it was such a minor part of the episode I didn't mind much. The point about it somehow being a costume or something also didn't make any sense. 

4. A lot of Applejack's criticism could have been saved with a bit more elaboration on why she found them to be impractical. Actually destroying the hat was going too far, regardless of the reasons. Still, Applejack NEEDED to be tactless for the moral to work, and without the moral there wouldn't even be an episode, so one way or another they needed to force Applejack (or some other pony, Rainbow Dash is more naturally tactless, but Applejack was chosen specifically to drive in the point that it's not merely being honest, and having her be a fashion judge would be even more forced, at least Applejack wears a hat) to be tactless. I think they could have implemented the descent of Applejack to Assholejack better so it's clear as the result of Applejack misunderstanding her role as judge rather than just suddenly losing tact, but I think it works for the most part. (And you can still respect your friends and aid in their work even if you think it's ridiculous, you'd just avoid saying so to their face.) Important thing to remember about people and thus characterization is that people don't learn lessons just once, they slip up from time to time and repetition is key, and that the way people depends as much on the situation as on their personality.  

Thanks for mentioning me, though that's not exactly what I meant. Sunrise might not have been implying Applejack is a malicious farmer, but is still a bad one. Maybe not trying to rip her off so much as lacks the quality control to not sell wormy apples. She's still a bitch though, and that was the whole point. Rarity was showing Applejack what not to do, and I say it's better to have another character who is bitch introduced than Rarity reduced to spite (and Applejack isn't a bitch like Sunrise was, she was just being tactless). You say Rarity was being spiteful, but I don't really see it that way, she was teaching Applejack a lesson, and she was obviously very distraught at the time and reasonably pissed off at Applejack for singlehandedly ruining her contest, I don't think her trying to lecture Applejack on how it made her feel would have really worked (even ignoring the in-universe practicality, it wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining). As for children, they can tell Sunrise is a bitch and not to emulate her, the show has always had jerkass characters. 

 

 

Edited by Ganondox
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I hate having to say it, but I'm afraid Applejack has sadly made history in a bad way as far as her characterization is concerned with the way she was acting in this episode. :(

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On 6/3/2017 at 6:51 PM, Dark Qiviut said:

@King Clark

Surprisingly, probably somewhere in the lower part of the bottom-20. As bad as this and Hard are, there are others worse.

Now DQ, what alternate titles can you come up with for this sorry excuse of an "episode"?

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