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File:Ponyville confidential grab 5624.png


 Rarity: Everypony, please! She's just a harmless schoolpony engaged in a little idle gossip. You're really making too big a deal out of this.

Twilight Sparkle: But it's all lies! Gabby Gums prints what she wants! She doesn't care whose reputation she destroys!

  Written by M.A. Larson

Another school day ends, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders are disappointed that their classmate Featherweight got his cutie mark before them. Apple Bloom's got an idea, though: they can use the school newspaper, the Foal Free Press, to get their cutie marks! Not through arts and crafts, despite Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo's first impressions, but by writing for the newspaper.

The next day after school, the would-be Cutie Mark Crusader Journalists and the other hopefuls for the school newspaper meet their new editor-in-chief: Diamond Tiara. She's set to make a few changes, starting by shifting the focus towards "juicy" stories and away from the "namby-pamby" stories the paper has been running in the past. The Crusaders run themselves ragged trying to get stories, but Diamond Tiara isn't impressed by articles about baby birds, Rarity's new hat, or the history of Ponyville... she said she wanted something juicy, and she orders the Crusaders to go find such a story.

As luck would have it, the Crusaders and Featherweight (who's serving as the newspaper's photographer) manage to catch Snips and Snails trying (and failing) to unstick themselves from some bubble gum, and the article (written under the pen-name "Gabby Gums") catches the attention of the amused readers. Diamond Tiara demands more stories from Gabby Gums about the secret lives of ponies... but the Crusaders are hard-pressed to come up with anything besides Snips and Snails getting stuck to gum again.

Inspiration strikes when Rarity finds Sweetie Belle's copy of the newspaper, and gushes about how much her friends would love Gabby Gums' articles. Sweetie Belle convinces her fellow Crusaders to broaden the paper's coverage and start investigating the Ponyville locals for more gossip. The Foal Free Press quickly becomes a hit around Ponyville, even getting sold at the local news stand.

At the Spa, the Mane Six discuss the latest Gabby Gums column. Despite Twilight's worry that some of Gabby Gums' articles are a little too mean-spirited and invasive, the others brush off her concerns... and then Featherweight sneaks in and catches a photo of Rainbow Dash contemplating a hooficure. Sure enough, after Diamond Tiara dismisses their "tell-all" interview with Spike, the Cutie Mark Crusaders start coming up with even nastier articles about the locals of Ponyville in a desperate attempt to get their journalism cutie marks. When they target the Mane Six ("Applejack Asleep on the Job", "Twilight Sparkle: I Was a Canterlot Snob", "Rainbow Dash: Speed Demon or Super Softie?"), the gang decides they need to get to the bottom of Gabby Gums and put a stop to their harmful rumor-mongering. Rarity still thinks they're blowing things out of proportion... until she reads an article containing excerpts from her diary. Twilight innocently asks if Sweetie Belle would know who Gabby Gums is, since they both work on the school paper - which is all it takes for Rarity to put two and two together. Keeping her suspicions to herself, Rarity loudly insists to her friends that her dear little sister would never associate herself with somepony like Gabby Gums.

Soon after, Rarity finds her diary in Sweete Bell's saddlebag, confirming her suspicions. She proceeds to call her little sister out on the carpet for hurting everypony's feelings.

  Rarity: Et tu, Gabby Gums?

The Crusaders are ready to call it quits as gossip columnists, but Diamond Tiara refuses to let Gabby Gums end... even if it means resorting to blackmailing the Crusaders into digging up more dirt! Desperate to avoid having their own embarrassing candid photos (courtesy of Featherweight) published, the Cutie Mark Crusaders try to find anyone they can interview for the paper. Literally everyone in Ponyville has heard about their secret identity, however, and they all refuse to speak to the Crusaders.

Just as Diamond Tiara is about to follow through with her threat the following morning, the Crusaders burst in with a new story. Diamond Tiara quickly has the staff print it up... too hastily, as it's not a gossip column but "An Open Letter to Ponyville". In it, the Crusaders officially reveal their identity as Gabby Gums, apologize for spreading ugly rumors, and resign from the gossip business.

Once Cheerilee gets the whole story, she strips Diamond Tiara of her position as editor-in-chief in favor of Featherweight. But there's still room at the newspaper for Diamond Tiara... right next to the messy printing press, that is.


Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes found here.):

  • Absentee Actor: While certainly not a main character, Silver Spoon only appears briefly during the opening and doesn't speak, making this notably the first time Diamond Tiara is the sole antagonist in a CMC episode.
  • Accidentally Accurate: The Gabby Gums article about Princess Celestia stuffing herself with cake under the headline " Celestia just like us?" - just the image she wants to project because ponies are always too formal around her.
  • Alliterative Name: Gabby Gums.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Some viewers may be surprised to learn that tail extensions for horses are a very real thing.
  • Art Evolution: Of the positive type. Just like Lesson Zero and Putting Your Hoof Down, this episode pushes the boundaries in animation of the series to a new level, with more expressive faces, more dynamic animation and incredible background sounds.
  • Bad Boss: Diamond Tiara harshly criticizes the CMC's original stories for not being "juicy" enough, does not even consider the feelings of Ponyvillians, and even blackmails the CMC to keep them from quitting their job.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Rainbow Dash actually wanted to have Gabby Gums write about her. She wasn't happy with the result.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Big Macintosh, usually a stallion of few words, goes into a furious rant when he's mad at the CMC for printing mean things about him and Applejack in the Gabby Gums column.
  • Bishonen: Though Featherweight doesn't speak, his unusual character design makes him look very similar to that of a filly's.
  • Blackmail: Diamond Tiara uses embarrassing photos of the CMC to keep them from quitting their jobs as Gabby Gums.
  • Blush Sticker: All three Crusaders get them, one after another, when they end up in embarrassing situations after their failed attempts at finding stories. And again when Diamond Tiara reveals that she has photos of the incidents.
  • Brick Joke: Diamond Tiara kicking the wall to lower her poster at the beginning and Cheerilee doing it at the end to raise it again.
    • Of course Scootaloo knew where to find the baby birds, she helped to build that nest in the first place!
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Applejack steals Big Macintosh's "eeyup's" and "nope's" when she was angry at the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
  • Bubble Pipe: Spike has one in the CMC photo of him.
  • Call Back:
  • Camera Fiend: Featherweight takes pictures of everypony. Including Princess Celestia.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the beginning, the CMC get caught in embarrassing situations. Featherweight secretly took pictures of them and they wound up being used as blackmail by Diamond Tiara.
  • Collective Identity: Gabby Gums.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo use the newspaper for numerous crafts, like packaging and paper boats, when Apple Bloom meant that they should write for the school newspaper.
    • Their later hype over stories might have been fueled by their first victims (Snips and Snails) being dumb (or good-natured) enough to take pride in their humiliating stunt being the headline story.
  • Covered In Ink: Whoever works the printing press will end up this way, including Diamond Tiara within seconds of getting the job.
  • Da Editor: Diamond Tiara is the school newspaper editor, complete with a big chair, big desk, gold nameplate, and desk slam. She chews out the CMC for giving her boring stories and demands "something juicy" instead.
  • Dawson Casting: The person voicing the blue colt printing the newspaper sounds way too old to be a kid.
  • Death Glare: Cheerilee gives Diamond Tiara one once she finds out what she's been up to.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Fluttershy's "tail extension" and her embarrassment is like being accused of breast augmentation.
    • An editor who finds that the gossip column is more popular than the news, and who forces the reporters to stoop to underhanded methods to get the scoop? Calls to mind just about every newspaper scandal ever.
    • Pinkie Pie's reaction to Gabby Gums saying she's obsessed with parties is a lot like someone being forced to confront their alcoholism.
  • Dye Hard: In-Universe, the scoop on the Mayor reveals that, in a reversal of how people usually do it, she dyes her pink mane grey.
  • Easily Forgiven: Reconstructed. While the Cute Mark Crusaders find themselves almost instantly back in Ponyville's goodwill, it takes a lot of soul-searching and a heartfelt public apology (plus the loss of their column and the risk of personal humiliation) to do it.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Granny Smith has a library's worth of them and is happy to show them to Apple Bloom.
  • Et Tu, Sweetie Belle: Rarity to Sweetie Belle after finding out that she stole and published her diary.
  • Everypony Laughs Ending: Well, everypony but Diamond Tiara.
  • Foreshadowing: Camera Fiend Featherweight can be seen right before Rainbow Dash agrees to get a pedicure. Guess who ends up in the gossip column the next day?
    • Subverted later, when he's seen as Diamond Tiara threatens to blackmail the Crusaders, yet doesn't snap a single photo. Then Double Subverted when it was his eyewitness account that brought Diamond Tiara's Bad Boss status to Cheerilee's attention.
  • Gilligan Cut: The CMC hoofbump, ready to start gathering news. Cut to them bored out of their minds trying to come up with something to write on.
  • Hates Being Touched: Rainbow Dash really seems to have a problem with having others touch her hooves. She either really hates the girly hooficure, is phobic about being touched there, or is simply extremely ticklish.
  • Hitler Cam: Likely a Shout-Out to Citizen Kane.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Only Twilight was against Gabby Gums spreading lies about other ponies until it happened to those other ponies.
      • Though this is only briefly spotlighted with Rarity. The rest are just out-and-out hypocrites.
    • Rarity scolds Sweetie Belle for snooping in other people's lives, when she snooped in Sweetie Belle's stuff twice before. Though she does acknowledge that when scolding Sweetie Belle.

 Rarity: "Gossip can be a very hurtful thing, it is an invasion of privacy. Just like when I snooped through your saddle bag. You didn't like that much, did you?"

  • Ironic Echo: The CMC give each other an eager hoof bump on starting out their work as Gabby Gums. By the time they start regretting telling hurtful stories about other ponies but decide to continue, they give another, but less confident, hoof bump.
  • Intrepid Reporters: The CMC become this and start investigating everyone's personal lives.
  • Karma Houdini: Featherweight doesn't get any flak for the embarrassing photos he took of others. In fact, he gets promoted in the end. Granted, he was probably just doing his job with no mean intent, considering he has a boss like Diamond Tiara.
  • Kick the Dog: If Diamond Tiara telling the CMC that she doesn't care about other ponies feelings didn't tick anyone off, her blackmailing CMC and then confessing that she would continue the column one way or another should.
  • Lampshade-Wearing: In the "Pinkie Pie Is An Out-of-Control Party Animal" article. And oddly the only time we've seen Pinkie do that.
  • Meaningful Name: Featherweight probably had to be light as a feather to sneak around getting those pictures.
  • My God What Have We Done?: The Cutie Mark Crusaders start having this feeling as early as their first round of stories, but ignore it. It isn't until they've basically enraged the entire town that it sinks in just how much they've hurt everypony.
  • Never Say "Die": "I'll destroy her!!" Considering Rarity, she probably thought "destroy" sounded more dramatic.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Each of the Crusaders sport a gray flannel fedora.
    • Also, Rarity's "Hot New Hat".
    • Truffle Shuffle is seen wearing a fez as part of a sight gag. Spike is also wearing a fez in the photo for the article that Gabby Gums created and was rejected by Diamond Tiara.
  • Non Standard Character Design: Featherweight the photographer pegasus colt, who has gangly legs, big ears and prominent front teeth.
  • Noodle Incident: Trixie's secret is not revealed to the audience.
  • Ocular Gushers:
    • Fluttershy, after Gabby Gums wrote a particularly mean article about her.
    • Pinkie Pie too when Gabby Gums writes about her being an out of control party animal. She begins wailing that she does have a problem.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Applejack and Big MacIntosh are so upset with the girls that it's Big Mac who delivers a What the Hell, Hero? lecture, and Applejack who limits her responses to "Eeyup" and "Nope". It's the first time he's ever raised his voice to another pony, and boy does it have an effect.
  • Pen Name: Gabby Gums.
  • Personal Raincloud: Rainbow Dash's revenge on Gabby Gums is to let loose a torrential downpour on them.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Where all the other ponies either shunned the Cutie Mark Crusaders or were so angry they sent the fillies away rather than say something they would regret, Rarity's response (despite her own fury) is to scold Sweetie Belle, use her own actions to make a point about privacy, and make Sweetie Belle question if what she was doing was truly worth her Cutie Mark. This prompted the CMC to stop being Gabby Gums and eventually write their apology letter.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The CMC get one from Big Mac, of all ponies.
  • School Newspaper Newshound: The Cutie Mark Crusaders.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: It's not a coincidence that Pinkie Pie is never heard from again after the Sugar Cube Corner scene. [1]
    • Maybe she decided to go to rehab?
  • Shout-Out:
    • Gabby Gums has the same initials as another famous blind-item-publishing gossip-monger.
      • They even use the same "XOXO" when signing off in their final letter.
    • Diamond Tiara's management style seems to be straight out of the J. Jonah Jameson school of editorialism.
    • Diamond Tiara has a poster of herself that's put to use in a way that anyone who saw Citizen Kane would recognize.
    • One baby photo of Apple Bloom shows her with a puppy Winona pulling her diaper down, referencing a famous Coppertone ad.
  • Skewed Priorities: While nothing new for the Crusaders, this episode takes it to another extreme. So what if others get hurt, did we get our cutie marks yet?
  • Slasher Smile: Diamond Tiara dons an expression pretty close to one when telling the Cutie Mark Crusaders that their next story better be juicy. It doesn't help that she's right up in Apple Bloom's and our faces.
  • Smash Cut:

 Rarity: How could you say such a thing, Twilight?! [Sweetie Belle] is the most innocent, most lovely- *cut to Rarity finding her diary in Sweetie Belle's saddlebag* MOST EVIL PONY IN EQUESTRIA!

  • Some Kind of Force Field: Twilight sets one up to keep the CMC from entering her library after she finds out they are Gabby Gums.
  • Spinning Paper
  • Suddenly Voiced: Truffle Shuffle, the light blue colt, and Ruby Pinch finally get voices.
  • Stealth Pun: Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle experience a definite "sinking feeling" when their newspaper boating doesn't earn them their Cutie Marks.
  • Sticky Situation: As stated by Sweetie Belle: "Snips and Snails and bubble-gum fail."
  • Sweet Tooth: The article on Celestia shows her stuffing her face with cake.
  • The Teacher Who Didn't Do Anything: Most school paper advisers do have final say of what gets printed to avoid lowbrow humor, cruel jokes, and possible libel. Cheerilee hands the reins over to Diamond Tiara and then disappears until the very end of the episode, well after Diamond Tiara's editing demands have gone too far.
    • Lampshaded: Cheerilee admits, at the end, that she let Diamond Tiara have too much authority.
  • Tempting Fate: Rainbow Dash stating that she'd love it if Gabby Gums did a story about her.
  • Unfortunate Names: The former editor-in-chief was named Namby-Pamby? Poor kid.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Rarity, after reading a nasty article by "Gabby."

  "I'LL DESTROY HER!"

  • The Voiceless: Featherweight
    • For some reason, Fluttershy appears in several scenes as more or less a main character, but never says a word. The only vocalization she makes is sobbing when the Cutie Mark Crusaders confront her in her house, and even then her voice sounds... off. (Even more bizarrely, Andrea Libman's other character Pinkie Pie does appear with a speaking role, albeit a small one. Andrea must've been busy.) This is not the only time this has happened.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Big Macintosh, despite arguably showing the most vigorous resentment to the Cutie Marks' actions, is not shown reconciling with them in the end (though it is likely still implied). Neither does Pinkie Pie.
  • What Could Have Been: In an earlier draft of the story Featherweight was originally named Milquetoast. With a name like that its understandable why the CMCs would be surprised that he would get his cutie mark before any of them. Also he was supposed to be Namby-Pamby's little brother, hence there would be a greater sense of resolution when he does become Editor-In-Chief at the end.
  • What the Hay, Heroes?: The CMC get a few once their identities are revealed, but special mention goes to Big Macintosh; if the pony of the fewest words actually gets mad enough to articulately chew you out, without pausing for breath, you know you've screwed up royally.
    • Alternatively, if the normally very gregarious Applejack refuses to say more than two words to you, that's also a bad sign.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: Diamond Tiara wants to avoid "namby-pamby" stories, despite other foals viewing Namby-Pamby as a good editor-in-chief.
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: Heard in this clip. Seriously, do not mess with Big Mac.

 Big Macintosh: We don't want to talk to any of y'all right now, so take your little gossip column and your embarassin' photographs and just go away!


cont. page 6

Notes

  1. Insert Cupcakes joke here and move on.
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