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:
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.