Zestanor

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  1. The elephant in the room I guess is are Scootaloo's aunts gay lovers. They're as gay as everyone else in the show that isn't explicitly straight. It is a show about friendship. To reduce friendship between two persons of the same sex to one of erotic love is naive. They could be sisters; they could just be good friends. Two friends living together isn't monopolized by people in romantic relationships. Two spinsters living together was (and still is) a very common living arrangement in the past. I'll get flack for it, but one of the reasons I still keep up with the show is that most forms of contemporary entertainment that I might find enjoyable are constantly injected with a steady stream of things that are challenges against my religion. I know that the writers and showrunners, and most of the VAs are squarely of a progressive bent, and I'm sure they have their own theories about who are in gay relationships. But from my religious/philosohical background, there is nothing in the episode to suggest that they are romantic lovers (eros) rather than exemplars of true, self-giving friendship (agape). The object of agape is inherently superior to that of eros, according to Aristotle, to leave aside the discussion of the boundaries within which eros is licit. For this reason, I oppose any who think that it is certain that in universe they are homosexual. And, according to Aristotle, and taken up by the patristics and classic and medieval western philosophy, a man and a woman who marry are incapable of sharing a bond of agape that is not somewhat or largely flavored by eros as well. Eros being a means to an end (classically, the growth of the fatherland, and in Christendom, the the growth of the Church and Heaven), rather than agape, which is an end in itself; "friendship is magic." Thus, same sex friendships, assuming there is no erotic attraction, can reach the greatest kind of perfection that is naturally possible, leaving those which have admixture of eros in the dust. Thus it is most beneficent to ascribe agape rather than eros to her aunts, and this is what I will do. Also I thought Scootaloo should have gone with her parents. Excluding abusive circumstances, kids should live with their parents, period. Good episode still, and a good tying up of the CMC arc.
  2. Inspired by the recent episode Going to Seed, I’ve summarized a history of the Ponyville branch of the Apple family. I know that the writers did not have this planned out before it happened. But the way I’ve put it all together, it actually plays out like the life of a real person and family, precisely because of how messy it is. Several of the characters have a lot of dirt on them, which is unnoticed unless you collect all of the information we know about the characters, and then make connections. I’ve refrained from pointing out where this is conjecture, as opposed to details mentioned in the show, in order to increase its readability. Obviously, I’ve made several things up where there are holes. If you bother to read the whole thing, tell me what you think! As narrated by Granny Smith at the end of the episode Family Appreciation Day, the Smiths were travelling seed sales ponies. Mr. and Mrs. Smith had three children. The first two were stallions, and the third was Granny Smith. The Smiths went to market in Canterlot, and a chance meeting with the Princess gained them the plot of land that would become Sweet Apples Acres. Celestia was impressed by something in them. Perhaps she was looking far ahead into the future, and preparing for the return of her sister, and this is why she gave them the land on the edge of the Everfree Forest. In this recounting of their origins, Granny portrays herself as older than she really was at the time. A photograph shown in Apple Family Reunion depicts her as a younger filly. Granny Smith was not her given name, since the Smiths had no relation to the Apples. The dual grandmother-apple pun in the name Granny Smith only came after she became a grandmother. The Smiths planted fruit trees, with the eventual hope of selling them for profit. On the side they planted crops for sustenance. But being alone in the wilderness, a bad year would force them to leave or starve. On one such occasion, Granny Smith entered the Everfree Forest in search of food and discovered the zap apples. She and her father planted the seeds of these fruits, which inexplicably grew into full size trees immediately. Zap apple product was a hit, and gained some notoriety for the Smith family farm. For the first few years, there was no town of Ponyville, and the Smiths sold zap apple products to Canterlot ponies who would buy them, including Stinkin Rich, while waiting for their natural fruit trees to grow. The Smiths had planted a variety of crops: Apple trees, Pear trees, even carrots. But their specialty was in sales, not keeping orchards. Field hands were hired to apply their expertise and cultivate the fruits. These were none other than the Apple and Pear families. Among the Pear family who moved to the farm was Grand Pear, and among the Apples was Granny Smith’s future husband. The land had been granted to the Smiths alone by Celestia, but the Apples and the Pears entered into tenancy with the Smiths upon moving to Ponyville in order to participate in the fruit business. This arrangement persisted for some time, and in the meanwhile, the town of Ponyville was founded as the Smiths’ success grew on the market. Granny Smith loved one of the workers from the Apple family. The wedding followed soon after. Present from out of town at the first Apple Family Reunion were Apple Strudel, Auntie Applesauce, and Apple Rose. In fact, the “first Apple Family Reunion” was no such thing at all. The first reunion was, more properly, the occasion of the “union” of the Apples and Smiths: the wedding of Granny Smith and her husband. Applesauce was his aunt, a young sister of one of his parents, and Apple Rose and Apple Strudel were his cousins, the children of one of his parents’ siblings. (There are other Apples that are more distantly related; it was a large family). He and his immediate family are not pictured in the Barn photo, but that photograph does not picture everyone who was present, such as Granny’s brothers. In the subsequent generation, the Apple Family Reunion was held regularly “every 100 moons,” a length of time that seems to be variable. Ponies of the Pear, Apple, and Smith family at times left the farm to settle in the town. Granny Smith became a champion high diver in her spare time. Once Granny married into the Apple family, some lines were blurred, and the Pear family resented the kinship of their Apple colleagues and the landlord. At first, the rivalry remained healthy. After several years, Grand Pear had his daughter, Pear Butter, and Granny Smith had Bright Macintosh, her only child. The father of Granny died shortly after his first grandson was born. The Smith property and the apple orchards were given to Granny and her husband. But the pear orchards were donated to the Pear family, in return for their years of service. Still, the Pears were irritated about the privileges and prestige the Apples insisted on in the town. The mayorship was previously held by Mr. Smith while he lived. But after his death, and until the election of the New Young Mayor Mare, the mayorship succession was closely controlled by the Apple family. Further, the Apple family assumed the social influence in the town that Mr. Smith had by right of being the founder. The Pears resented the transfer of power from the Smith patriarch to the Apple family. Grand Pear pointed out that Granny’s marriage was the only reason the Apples were favored over the Pears, and so after the death of Mr. Smith, the figurehead of Ponyville, the business rivalry between farms escalated into a feud. The Pears contested the privileges that the Apples claimed for themselves as Smith kin. Grand Pear made public and slanderous comments about Granny Smith’s marriage being a conspiracy in order for the Apples to expand. Through the marriage, the Apples were taking advantage of the prestige of the Smith name in the long-term, and Granny was taking advantage of the Apple success in the short-term, to maintain matriarchy as long as she lived. Of course, the Apples defended the integrity of Granny’s marriage while Granny defended them as well, and the feud began. But Bright Mac and Pear Butter were fond of each other from a young age, even as the feud of their parents was an obstacle. In the episode The Perfect Pear, a stallion that has similar hair to Bright Mac and a mare that has similar hair to Pear Butter are shown growling at one another from either side of a fence. Assuming these are the spouses of Granny Smith and Grand Pear, they died early, because they are never present again, and their children never make reference to their absence. With the death of her husband, and with no remaining Smiths working on the farm besides herself, Granny integrated herself fully into Apple family tradition. This solidified the link between the Smith prestige and the Apples, to the extent that the two families are considered one and the same, and the Apples are often given credit for founding Ponyville. Mayor Mare, who was a contemporary of Bright Mac and Pear Butter, was elected by popular vote after a particularly bad Apple-backed candidate was forced out of office. Since Ms. Mare was a friend, the Apples approved of her, and she had competence to boot. Eventually Grand Pear did what he believed was the right choice to end the feud: concede, and move away. The clandestine wedding of Bright and Butter was crashed by Granny and Grand Pear. Granny welcomed Pear Butter “Buttercup” into the family, but Grand Pear disowned them, and left with the remaining Pears for Vanhoover. The Apples chopped some of the pear orchards down for lumber, and abandoned others. Granny greatly loved Buttercup. Granny’s marriage had also been the source of tension, and short, and since she had only been able to have one child, she looked forward to being able to help raise her grandchildren. In short, the reckless and ill-advised marriage of her son was the best thing that could have happened for her. She also “won” the feud this way. With Mayor Mare, leadership and sensible policies, rather than family machinations, ushered the town into a new era. There was discussion about whether to hire Canterlot unicorn sorcerers to accomplish Winter Wrap Up more efficiently. The consensus, pressed by the Apples and the mayor, was to continue using the manual labor. The mayor questioned the financial benefit of hiring skilled unicorns, and the Apples appealed to tradition. Big Macintosh was born to his parents Buttercup and Bright Mac, much to the delight of Granny Smith. At this time, she cleverly took on the name Granny Smith, integrating herself further in the Apple lore, while retaining her Smith heritage. Relatively soon, Applejack was born. The Apple Family Reunion had been held semi-consistently for the past two generations at Sweet Apple Acres. Family life at the farm was idyllic, and then Apple Bloom was born. Applejack’s imagination of her “Apple Chord” alter ego begins here. She learned how to play a guitar as a young filly, and the arc of the character’s rise and is a reflection of Applejack’s desire to escape during her late childhood, and her rebelliousness in adolescence, while the arc of Apple Chord’s fall and retirement is a reflection of Applejack’s settling down into the honest family pony that she is now. The mythos is entirely a creation of Applejack’s imagination, but through various trials in her life she added to or altered the story of her alter ego. The story does closely incorporate the themes of Applejack’s early adolescence, but there is not a one to one correlation between Apple Chord’s life and Applejack’s. It should also be mentioned that musical talent runs in the family; Big Mac is a skilled bass, and even Apple Bloom has shown the ability to carry a tune. Some ten years after Applejack’s birth, Apple Bloom was born. Meanwhile, Filthy Rich proposed to Spoiled Milk. An event occurred at the farm that the Apples call the Confluence, during which all of the fields give a high yield of apples. Applejack set traps for a mythical creature, but fell into her own trap and was unable to help harvest apples. This event became traumatic in hindsight for Applejack, because its memory is associated with subsequent tragedy. Shortly after the Confluence, on the occasion of Apple Bloom’s birth, the couple made plans to visit the Pears in Vanhoover, and then return to Ponyville with Grand Pear as their guest. Grand Pear consented because he was ready to put the feud aside for his daughter and grandchildren. Only Granny Smith knew the true purpose of this trip; Big Mac and Applejack never knew that their mother was from a feuding family, or that their grandfather still lived. The plan was to reconcile, and then explain everything in time. However, disaster struck, and the two died on the journey. Apple Bloom survived unharmed, and was returned to the Apples with the news. Grand Pear was devastated as well. He partly blamed himself for moving away. The whole town paid their respects and offered their continued support for the founding family of Ponyville, but Grand Pear did not attend the funeral in person. He would later deeply regret this. He kept tabs on Ponyville through old friends and connections, and he recognized that this would have been the best time to put the feud aside and reconcile with his Apple kin. He sent his regards, but out of shame he did not come to Ponyville for the funeral. In memory of his father, Big Macintosh took to wearing the yoke he had used with him during the harvest. Big Mac experienced a growth spurt. He began expressing his opinions loudly to cope with his loss. But Applejack was affected the most. She decided to run away from the farm entirely, against the will of her grandmother and brother. Granny gave her a photograph of some relatives but didn’t expect her to make it all the way to the Manehattan. When Applejack tells this story today, she doesn’t mention its connection to her parents’ death out of shame. Applejack stayed briefly with the Orange family, but found herself homesick for Apple family cooking. Admitting her selfish mistake when seeing a rainbow in the sky pointing home, she returned home to her family on the farm and received her cutie mark. This could have been the end of the Apple family in Ponyville, if Applejack had not returned. She spent a few days at a summer camp and met Coloratura, ‘Ra-Ra.’ Then she returned to work on the farm, and regained her reputation for hard work. This is all within weeks of the birth of Apple Bloom. Applejack experienced a growth spurt like her brother, and with it came vainglory. With her father deceased, she assumed that she deserved to take up his mantle and take over the farm. Without the permission of her grandmother, she made a deal with Filthy Rich. Mr. Rich was a good pony, and he was willing to give her a good deal, especially in light of the recent events. But when Applejack tried to renege, his generosity and patience was tested. Ultimately Applejack concocted the lie that Granny Smith was ill and in the hospital. Rich dismissed his anger at Applejack’s failing to honor their agreement, and visited the hospital immediately, but Applejack admitted that it all was a lie. Filthy Rich and Spoiled Milk got married and became pregnant with Diamond Tiara, who would be born a year after Apple Bloom. The town was willing to forgive Applejack, because of the recentness of the death of her parents. From that point on, she gained her reputation for being both hard working, and honest. The town of Ponyville could look back and recognize that the Apple family nearly fell apart several times within a few short months. The deaths, and then Applejack running away, and lastly, the trend toward delinquency of Applejack and Big Macintosh. Big Mac afterward resolved to speak less, and listen more. Following this, something resembling a normal family life continued until the arrival of Twilight Sparkle. The Apples continued to host reunions at the farm. They did not talk about their parents. Apple Bloom grew up taking her parents’ perishing as a normal thing. When Twilight Sparkle arrived, some of Applejack’s family traveled to the farm to witness the Rising of the Sun and help set up. Applejack later described this as a family reunion, but the occasion was not the regular reunion, but the Summer Sun Celebration. When Applejack later reminisces on the most recent reunion, she is not taking about this event. Significant for the Apple family after this was Applejack’s becoming the Element of Honesty, the near loss of the farm to Flim and Flam, Apple Bloom creating the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and Big Mac’s relationship with Sugar Belle. The Flim Flam brothers are Apples of some kind, but they have no connections with the Ponyville branch. Any cousins of the Apple siblings are second cousins at the closest. During the third year after the return of Princess Luna, Grand Pear came back to Ponyville. He was moved when he saw Apple Bloom, making sure she remembered his name, and he gave her a sample of his product for free, so that she would set in motion their reconciliation. Grand Pear did not have the courage to approach the Apples himself. As he expected, his arrival and identity became known to the Apple siblings. Grand Pear deescalated the feud with a simple apology, and he now lives in the town.
  3. The stream was choppy so I missed the beginning and some of the end, but anything with Trixie and Starlight is an instant classic for me. Using Silverstream is also a recipe for success. In terms of chronology, we can now confirm that the winter Holiday Special comes after some of season 9, but before this, since "spring break" is coming. Isn't there another long special episode about spring break? The Rainbow thing?
  4. I can recognize flaws in the world of the show and its presentation but I don't know how you would fix them. More planning would help, and fewer settings.
  5. The flashback in this episode is presented as a memory, so there is some room to accuse Applejack and Granny Smith of having poor memories. Seeing the original “home life” of the Apple family, with the parents still there, makes the rest of the siblings lives tragic. Originally, Applejack was my favorite character, and though I dropped that at some point, now I think I’ve returned to my original opinion. The death of her parents is more adversity than any other of the Mane 6 went through, and it helps explain her idiosyncrasies.
  6. I rather like the rapid series of near catastrophic events in the Apple family that Diamond's legitimacy forces. The intention of the writers of Apple Lies was to portray an early moment in the relationship of the Riches, since Spoiled is new to the Apple family. I don't think we can give much credence to an "illegitimate" Diamond, especially given the standing of their family. Edits: Also in the Chronicles flashback, which happens between the two you pictured, Granny is portrayed in her regular old model. Ignore aging, and things work out okay.
  7. I think you're right, but there are a few continuity glitches that the flashbacks cause. In this episode's flashback, Applejack has no cutie mark. The Season 1 episode The Cutie Mark Chronicles says Applejack is about Apple Bloom's then current age ("even littler than y'all" actually) when she got hers. The events of Where the Apple Lies follows Applejack getting her cutie mark. Say Apple Bloom is 7 (=x) during season 1. So, Applejack was (roughly) 7 (y) when she got her cutie mark. If Apple Bloom is 1 (=z) during this new episode's flashback, that only allows six (=x-z) years to pass between it and the series premiere. With these numbers, Applejack is roughly 13 (=x-z + y) years old, which is absurd. But maybe some of the assumed numbers are no good. To increase this number, we could decrease Apple Bloom's age (z) in the flashback to 0, and increase the age that Applejack got her cutie mark to 10 (=y), making AB about 10 (=x) at the start of the series. This makes Applejack 20 (=x+y) at the start of the series, which is more likely than 13. This also causes Applejack to be 10 (=x-z) years older than AB. This seemed fine to me, until I remembered that Filthy Rich is not yet married in Where the Apple Lies. And assuming Diamond Tiara is the same age as Apple Bloom, this presents a problem, since she's a few years old by this point. That Diamond Tiara was born out of wedlock seems against the intentions of the writers of WTAL. Basically, all of the flashback episodes need to happen in rapid succession for Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara to be of comparable ages. Applejack grew, apparently, rapidly in less than a year, with her parents dying and her getting her cutie mark in the span of that time. I suppose this is fine. Allow DT to be slightly younger than AB, by a year (such that these flashbacks happen in the course of 2 or three months!), and this makes DT's cutie mark gloating more sensible. If she's even two years younger than AB, the bullying dynamic is less believable, as well as their taking classes together. Applejack grew rapidly around the time of her parents' deaths and her getting her cutie mark. In like two months. This isn't too far fetched, and it explains Applejack's angsty behavior in both Chronicles and Apple Lies; her parents just died. This also explains where she got the idea of "taking over the farm," since her father just died. The only slightly contradictory thing is the fact that Apple Bloom and her peers have not aged at all in over four years or so, when Applejack and Big Mac aged rapidly in this period. That's not too unbelievable though. Let's say year 0 is the birth of Big Mac. Year 2: AJ born. Year 12: Apple Bloom born. The Confluence. Bright Mac gives Big Mac the yoke. Bright Mac and Pear Butter die. Big Mac wears the yoke habitually. Applejack ditches the farm, leaving Granny and Mac all alone with the infant Apple Bloom. She returns and gets her cutie mark. She (age 10) and her brother (age 12) grow rapidly. "Y'know, I was the last pony in my class to get my cutie mark, and I couldn't be prouder of it. I knew my future was to run Sweet Apple Acres." (Call of the Cutie). AJ conspires to take over the farm and lies a lot. Filthy rich describes AJ and Mac as "the two hardest workin' ponies at Sweet Apple Acres," when at this point, it's just they and Granny. This compliment only makes sense if there was a time in very recent memory when there were more ponies (the parents) working at the farm. Filthy Rich marries. Quite a turbulent year for the Apple family! Year 13: Diamond Tiara born. Year 22: Apple Bloom (age 10) asks Applejack about her Cutie Mark in season 1. Year 27: The Confluence. Edit: Granny says that Applejack in the flashback (no cutie mark) was about the same age as Apple Bloom is now. That can't be, since she got her cutie mark at a younger age than season one Apple Bloom, and several years have elasped since season one. Apple Bloom is a few years older than AJ was in the flashback, but they look the same age, which excuses Granny's comment.
  8. Upon reflection, Twilight has been all over the place. In season 1 she’s more reserved, which made her come off as more mature. Lesson Zero was the beginning of her spaz trait, for sure, but it wasn’t applied consistently until somewhat recently. I chuckle a bit when fans speak of “character arcs.” With most episodes being written by different writers independently, there has been little of that after season 1. It was easy in season 1; “make them less anti-social.” After they accomplished that, the show mostly ditched character development for the main cast. Some side characters, like Trixie, Flim and Flam, Big Mac, have had satisfying arcs. But the Mane 6 just get too much screen time for them to be developed the way a traditional story would. Instead, the characters have developed in unpredictable and probably unplanned ways.
  9. Seasons 2, 3, and 4 were the most active for the fandom. As I’ve said in other places they made a big mistake by switching to a summer broadcast. For kids, and for young adults, summers are less busy than the rest of the year. They are a good time to show reruns. The school year is the better time to air new episodes. If you air during the summer and show reruns during the academic year, people are going to fall off the train during the year because they are busy. This is why I stopped watching at the start of season 5, until a year ago. After nearly a year of no new episodes, with nothing to discuss, I stopped frequenting forums and had school work to do. I really enjoyed the season 5 premiere but I no longer felt compelled to keep watching. In hindsight I really wish I’d kept watching.
  10. Hey, we saw Buttercup and Bright Mac! Looks like a soft retcon of “Where the Apple Lies,” where AJ and Max were much older and Apple Bloom was seemingly not born yet. Apple family history is a mess.
  11. Does Babs’ count as a redemption arc? It all happened within one episode
  12. It has changed a lot. I'm of the opinion that the 90s and early 2000s had some very good music become popular. Since then, I haven't been impressed with the selection of chart topping songs.
  13. From the perspective of the target audience, the show is darn near unobjectionable. But for adults, the internal rules of the universe of the show unraveled fairly early. As they've admitted as thing are winding down, they should have implemented a better vision from the start. Season 1 + Discord (which was originally episodes 27 and 28 of season 1) is a well contained arc. When they realized it was a hit, the season 3 finale introduced a very soft "reboot." But after that, it's clear that nothing its planned out more than a year in advance. They should have had a better plan of attack. Once they recognized the popularity, they should have gone ahead and planned out the most optimistic scenario (which is basically what happened), and then planned out less optimistic situations.