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Apple Bloom: Ready, Granny!
Granny Smith: Ready fer what?
Apple Bloom: For makin' Zap Apple jam!
Granny Smith: Darn tootin'! It's time for some good old-fashioned Zap Apple jammin'!
Apple Bloom: Yes ma'am; I can't wait, ma'am!
Granny Smith: ( Beat ) Wait fer what?
Written by Cindy Morrow
Late one night, the Apple family are awakened by Granny Smith banging pots outside, alerting them to the howling of the Timber Wolves. As it turns out, the wolves' howling is a signal of the upcoming Zap Apple Harvest and excitement quickly builds amongst the family in anticipation of the Zap Apple Jam the fruits produce.
As Applejack and Big Macintosh work the fields amid the lightning storm that heralds the growth of the Zap Apple Trees' leaves, Granny Smith and Apple Bloom begin the work of making the jam. As they hop amongst water cans in bunny suits, Diamond Tiara and her father Filthy Rich arrive. As Rich and Granny strike a deal, Diamond Tiara mocks Apple Bloom for her grandmother's embarrassing behaviour, remarking that "at least nopony else is around to see" her. She then assures Apple Bloom that her secret is safe.
Granny Smith and Apple Bloom have to go to town for supplies where they receive mocking laughter from Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon...not to mention strange looks from the townponies. Things only get worse when the next day at school, Filthy Rich finishes his presentation for the weekly Family Appreciation Day and Apple Bloom is next in line to have a family member speak to the class...the same Monday that Applejack and Big Macintosh are to harvest the Zap Apples, leaving only Granny Smith to appear. Diamond Tiara revels in Apple Bloom's horror and Apple Bloom rushes home to the farm. Applejack confirms neither she nor Big Mac can appear as the Zap Apples disappear after five days. Apple Bloom decides she has to prevent Granny Smith from coming to class to avoid everlasting embarrassment.
Turning to her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders, Apple Bloom tries to figure out how to avoid the inevitable. They attempt to fake her being sick which fails when Granny's wise eye effortlessly sees through her facade. Failing that, the trio try to harvest the Zap Apples early to free up Applejack's schedule but when Sweetie Belle tries to buck the unripe trees, she ends up shocked and the apples refuse to budge from the branches. They try to pick the apples early but the trees just bend and catapult the trio over the orchard and into the pigsty.
On the day before the presentation, Cheerilee arrives to talk to Granny (who is actually still asleep). The Crusaders fake Granny's refusal to appear only for her to wake up and confirm her arrival. In a last-ditch effort, Scootaloo gives Granny Smith a faked letter from Uncle Apple Strudel wishing for her to visit, a day's train ride away. When class comes into session however, Granny Smith appears, accompanied by Uncle Apple Strudel himself who had come to visit instead. Realizing her failure in preventing Granny's speech, Apple Bloom steels herself for embarrassment as Granny Smith begins her story...
Long ago before Ponyville existed, Granny Smith was a young filly in a traveling pilgrim caravan. The group would search for seeds from new plants, growing the new and selling the old. One day they came upon Canterlot and met none other than Princess Celestia. The Princess took an interest the group's seeds and upon learning of the caravan's troubles, pointed them to a fertile area to build their homes on the edge of the Everfree Forest.
Food ran short however and the young Smith entered the Everfree Forest in search of food. She discovered the Zap Apple Trees but was then attacked by the Timber Wolves, snarling beasts formed of twisted bark and branches. Fleeing back home, she banged a pot to scare them off. The Smith family planted the magical Zap Apple tree seeds, providing the settlers with food. As the years passed, she learned the signs of the coming Zap Apple harvest and the rituals the apples preferred to get the most out of the harvest. The booming sales of the jam drew ponies from across Equestria including Diamond Tiara's great-grandfather who began his family's booming business and with Granny Smith, founded the town that became Ponyville.
In awe of Granny's story, Silver Spoon begins applauding. It spreads to the entire class except Diamond Tiara who insists Granny is "just a kooky old lady!" Apple Bloom defends her however, pointing out that Diamond Tiara's family wouldn't have their fortune without Granny and the Zap Apples.
Back at the farm, everypony is enjoying the Zap Apple jam and other produce. Applejack asks how Family Appreciation Day went. Apple Bloom announces she knows how special Granny is and frowns, admitting she forgot it. Granny accepts this as an apology. Applejack asks who wants to help Granny sing to the watering cans. The rest of Apple Bloom's class enthusiastically agrees. Diamond Tiara however is unwilling and must be literally shoved into it by her father who is obviously angry she insulted his top produce supplier.
Although there was no letter to Celestia to illustrate this lesson, the lesson is summed up in Apple Bloom's admission she forgot how special her Granny is, and how important your elders are in general.
Note: This is the eleventh episode of the second season, but was the twelfth aired and is listed as Season 2 Episode 12 by iTunes. As such, Recap/My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic S 2 E 12 Family Appreciation Day also links here.
Tropes (YMMV tropes can be found here)
- Absentee Actor: Applejack is the only main character who appears although Rarity's voice actor has a big role voicing Granny Smith.
- A Day in the Limelight: Granny Smith plays a big role in this episode.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Part of Granny's silly rituals includes getting honey. As she does, she addresses each bee by name. Every one begins with a B.
- That is actually Fridge Brilliance to some extent. It used to be tradition that beekeepers would speak to their bees and share news of family events with them. If you didn't, they'd swarm and leave.
- A few of Granny Smith's lines also include this such as "perfect as a pickadilly pear."
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Uncle Apple Strudel gives Apple Bloom one at Family Appreciation Day and Granny gives Apple Bloom one after she admits she forgot how super-special Granny was.
- Alpha Bitch: Diamond Tiara is up to her typical nastiness. Apple Bloom wasn't embarrassed of Granny Smith until Tiara started it and then made it worse.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Grandparents: Apple Bloom didn't think so until Diamond Tiara implied she should. Fortunately Granny Smith has one heck of a great story to tell.
- Anachronism Stew: Granny Smith wears a Drill Sergeant Nasty helmet while being...well...Drill Sergeant Nasty to the jam jars. That's all well and good for modern times but she wears the same kind of helmet in her flashback back when Equestria seemed to be at an 1800s tech level.
- The early 19th century-style settlers that Granny Smith traveled with in her youth travel to Canterlot, which in those days looked like a medieval castle village.
- An Aesop: Should be worth mentioning that this is the first episode other than the two season premieres and the Christmas episode to not say what was this week's Aesop or have a letter to Celestia.
- Justified in the lack of letters, as Apple Bloom was never tasked with writing reports.
- Apple Bloom wrote a letter to Celestia in the Cutie Pox episode.
- Justified in the lack of letters, as Apple Bloom was never tasked with writing reports.
- Asleep in Class: Half the class is passed out during Filthy Rich's presentation (including Silver Spoon of all ponies). Only Diamond Tiara (his daughter) is actually interested. Apple Bloom and Twist are barely hanging on and an unnamed colt is paying more attention to his cookie.
- Backstory: Granny Smith tells hers in this episode. Points of interest include the founding of Sweet Apple Acres and Ponyville.
- Braids of Action: Granny Smith had these when she was just a wee little filly.
- Break the Haughty: Diamond Tiara gets it again; first she's mortified to learn her family owes all its riches to the Apple family and then her father forces her to join in with hopping over watering cans, wearing bunny ears and singing the alphabet.
- Call a Smeerp a Rabbit: The timber wolves.
- Call Back: "What are you; a dictionary?"
- That really should be "thesaurus", since Apple Bloom is speaking in synonyms.
- The whole business with the Zap Apples puts that ol' prank Pinkie and Rainbow Dash played back when they painted Applejack's crop with rainbow stripes in a whole new perspective, doesn't it?
- "Winter Wrap Up" established that Ponyville was founded by Earth Ponies.
- Early in the episode, Granny Smith says "Pony feathers!", the same phrase a miniaturized Applejack used when Apple Bloom stranded her in a tree in Bridle Gossip.
- Contrived Coincidence: It just so happens that the relative (Apple Strudel) that Apple Bloom picked to send Granny Smith off to is on the train that day just so Granny can make it to the class for her presentation.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Granny Smith's erratic and ridiculous behavior during the episode? She was only following a long and convoluted set of rituals needed to get the best results from a Zap Apple harvest and after her explanation, everything makes perfect sense. She even admits that what she did was very stupid-looking but that's how these finicky Zap Apples work.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Pathetic Fallacy that occurs when the Zap Apples are developing involves dark storm clouds, Ravens and Crows and dead trees. Even the apples are grey at first. But none of it is dangerous.
- Development Gag: Young Granny Smith's design is quite similar to an alternate version of Applejack Lauren Faust drew for the show's pitch-bible.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Granny Smith is one to jam jars. Becomes Justified in The Reveal; apparently it's needed to make the Zap Apple Jam.
- Embarrassing First Name: Diamond Tiara's father, Filthy Rich.
- Her great grandfather, Stinkin' Rich, arguably had it even worse.
- Even Bad Fillies Love Their Daddies: Diamond Tiara is completely attentive to her father's business lecture after it's put the rest of the class to sleep. It's the only time to date that she's seen with a happy smile with no cruelty attached to it.
- Everypony Laughs Ending: At Diamond Tiara's expense when she's forced into joining the ridiculous harvest activities.
- Everythings Better With Bunnies: Dear Celestia. Aside from Granny Smith in a purple bunny suit, we also have Apple Bloom in one and then Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and Diamond Tiara have bunny ears as they jump over watering cans.
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: Pretty literally for when the Zap Apples ripen and thus are at their best, they go from grey to...well...guess.
- Even further, products made from Zap Apples retain the rainbow pattern even when rendered into a liquid and spread on toast.
- Everything's Worse with Wolves: Timber wolves, made of actual timber.
- Expressive Ears: Even the ears on the bunny suit Apple Bloom is wearing emote. They droop when Diamond Tiara says "Oh you poor thing." And they perk right back up as Apple Bloom describes how she has looked forward to making Zap Apple jam.
- Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: The Zap Apples themselves: Most of the year, the trees themselves look dead and barren. However given the right conditions and time of year, they burst to life and eventually produce rainbow-colored apples. But they zap away into nothingness if they're not picked before the one day they're rainbow-colored is up.
- Flashback Effects: Deliberately Monochrome at first with muted colors as the story progresses.
- Foreshadowing: Applejack assures Apple Bloom that "Granny Smith's got no shortage of entertaining stories to tell."
- Also, her line concerning the tea in Canterlot.
- Generation Xerox: Looking at the line of ponies in Granny Smith's flashback and then at the line nearer the end of the episode reveals that quite a few of Ponyville's inhabitants look like their grandparents.
- Girlish Pigtails: Granny as a filly had them and a cute little bonnet.
- Harmless Electrocution: Sweetie Belle gets shocked when she tries to buck a Zap Apple tree.
- Head Desk: Apple Bloom does this when told she has to bring in Granny Smith to talk.
- Hidden Depths: Silver Spoon is the first to applaud Granny Smith's story.
- Out of all the class, the only one who is listening to Filthy Rich's business lecture (other than his daughter) is Twist. She seems extremely attentive and interested.
- Not to mention Granny Smith. Up until this episode her character was limited to tiny appearances that played up her age and kookiness for laughs. Who knew she played such an integral role in the founding of Ponyville and the acclaimed master cultivator of the most spectacular breed of apples ever?
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: Diamond Tiara making sure Granny Smith was the Apple Family member to speak in class backfires big time on her in the end.
- Humiliation Conga: What Diamond Tiara gets when her father finds out she insulted Granny Smith, the one responsible for the family fortune.
- Idea Bulb: Played with. When Scootaloo gets an idea, she leaps up and bumps her head against a lamp, causing it to turn on.
- I Kiss Your Hoof: Granny Smith's father kisses Celestia's hoof in gratitude, much to the chagrin of his wife.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: While posing as Granny Smith, Apple Bloom claims she won't be able to come to Family Appreciation Day because she needs to "shear the flowers and water the sheep". She corrects herself, though.
- Irony: Boy howdy does Diamond Tiara get a heap of this when she learns why and how she's rich and who was responsible for it.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Granny Smith REALLY hasn't aged well. Of course it was more than a century ago...
- Lightning Can Do Anything: The Zap Apple trees go through immediate growth spurts thanks to lightning.
- Heck; when planted, lightning bursts from underground and fully grown trees stand where the lightning flashed. Almost as if the lightning turns into wood.
- Lower Deck Episode: All the Cutie Mark Crusaders show up as well as the Apple Family and Cheerilee and the students (and Celestia in a flashback). But the only mane cast member present is Applejack.
- Made of Iron: Until the Zap Apples are ripe, no force on Equestria can get them off the trees.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Granny Smith's explanation of why all the confusing and honestly embarrassing steps are needed.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Granny calls Apple Bloom by a host of embarrassing pet names including "pipsqueak", "half-pint" and "flibbertigibbet."
- Nice Hat: Granny Smith has an awesome purple hat that she wears to the market.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Diamond Tiara's father, Filthy Rich, bears an awfully strong resemblance to Gregory Peck.
- Of Course She's Awake: The Crusaders puppeteer a napping Granny Smith in order to convince Cheerilee that Granny can't make it to Family Appreciation Day.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Scootaloo dresses as an old-fashioned telegram delivery pony.
- Parental Obliviousness: Granny doesn't twig to the fact that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are not Apple Bloom's friends.
- Palette Swap: The grey colt in the back of the classroom looks awfully similar to Snips.
- Pet the Dog: Silver Spoon admitting that Granny Smith is awesome and clapping along with everypony else really makes her seem a lot nicer than Diamond Tiara, doesn't it?
- Planimal: The Timber Wolves are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, wolves made from living wood.
- Playing Sick: The CMC's first attempt at keeping Apple Bloom from having to be humiliated on Family Appreciation day involves heating up a thermometer in a teapot and painting Apple Bloom's face green. Granny Smith doesn't buy it.
- The Quiet One: Big Macintosh has more lines than his characteristic "eeyup" and "nope" in this episode but not many.
- On top of that, his only new lines are spoken in unison with Applejack and Apple Bloom.
- Ravens and Crows: Those are just one of the signs of Zap Apples.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: It was already established that Apple Bloom's one of the cuter characters of the series (Moe Pony, anyone?) but it's taken to a whole new level here when you see her in a sleeping cap, a bonnet and a bunny costume (all of which are baby blue).
- Rule of Symbolism: The flight pattern of the crows forms the shape of an apple.
- Senior Sleep Cycle: Granny's naps are ultra-predictable—until the CMC need her to remain asleep. They do wind up bashing her head against the ceiling but Apple Bloom's complaints that Granny never misses her naps imply that usually even this might not have woken her.
- Serious Business: Granny Smith has this gem in the episode's beginning: "There's a whooole mess of steps in this process and you gots to get each one of 'em right...*dramatic zoom/head turn* OR NO ZAP APPLE JAM!"
- It's eventually revealed that Zap Apples played a direct role in the founding of Ponyville; also, considering that Granny Smith was the one who actually discovered them in the first place it makes sense that she'd treat it with such seriousness. Doesn't make it any less funny though.
- Slow Clap: Even Silver Spoon is impressed by Granny's story.
- Shout-Out: Apple Bloom wears a bonnet similar to Laura Ingalls from Little House On the Prairie and gets called by her nickname "Half Pint."
- Stealth Pun: The Timber Wolves (their bark is worse than their bite, eh?).
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Filthy Rich understandably would prefer not to be called "Filthy."
- Tree Buchet: The Cutie Mark Crusaders accidentally do it to themselves when attempting to pick the Zap Apples early.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: None of the Apple Family bat an eye at anything that Granny Smith does. Even Apple Bloom doesn't find anything out of the ordinary about it till Diamond Tiara points it out. Justified in that they live with her and probably got through this every year. That and Applejack and Big Macintosh seem to know exactly what she's doing is needed for the Zap Apple Jam.
- Visual Pun: Timber Wolves who are literally wooden.
- Also Uncle Strudel is wearing lederhosen. Both Strudel and lederhosen are German words.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The mystical and terrifying Timber Wolves seem to fear loud noises like a lot of ordinary wild animals with sensitive hearing.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Most of the Zap Apple jam protocol but particularly Sergeant Granny going down the line of her canning jars and summarily dismissing ("COURT-MARTIALED!") the one that "cracks under the pressure."
- A Wizard Did It: Zap Apples are explicitly a magical species.
- Wolves Always Howl At the Moon: Seemingly scary but then it turns out to be the first sign of Zap Apple harvest time.
- ↑ As opposed to the modern-style city it is in present-day episodes