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Applejack: This is your sister Applejack, remember? The loyalest of friends and most dependable of ponies?
Written by Amy Keating Rogers
It's harvest time (the titular "Applebuck Season") at Sweet Apple Acres. Unfortunately, Big Macintosh has injured his back, leaving Applejack as the only pony available to bring in the harvest. But when Mac suggests that the job might be more than she can handle, she takes it as a challenge and vows to finish the job by herself... right after she saves the town of Ponyville from a stampede of panicked cattle.
The citizens of Ponyville organize a little celebration in honor of Applejack's heroism, and all the help she's given her friends and neighbors. After a week of apple-bucking all by her lonesome, however, the guest of honor ends up running a little late, and is clearly out of it by the time she does get there. A concerned Twilight Sparkle offers to help, but Applejack is determined not to break her word and stubbornly refuses the suggestion that she can't do the job on her own.
Unfortunately, Twilight is right to be worried. As her friend struggles to keep her commitments and bring in the apple harvest, things quickly get out of hand. It starts with Applejack helping Rainbow Dash with her new stunt-flying routine by operating a catapult. After a number of false starts, she literally launches Rainbow Dash across town.
Later, Applejack tries to help Pinkie Pie make some muffins over at Sugar Cube Corner, the bakery where Pinkie works. At that point Applejack is half-deaf from kicking trees, seeing double and slowly going insane from sleep deprivation. As a result, she fouls up the recipe so badly that the baked goods turn out to be "baked bads", giving a fair number of townsfolk food poisoning...with the exception of Spike, who finds them delicious.
Finally, Applejack tries to help Fluttershy round up the newborn rabbits for the annual bunny census. Applejack's lack of sleep leaves her short-tempered and irritable, however, and she scares them off in a fit of pique, leaving Ponyville overrun by panicking rabbits. Through all this, an increasingly frustrated Twilight tries to convince Applejack that she needs help:
Twilight: Your applebucking hasn't just caused you problems. It's over-propelled a pegasus, practically poisoned plenty of ponies, and terrorized bushels of brand-new bouncing baby bunnies.
Applejack remains stubborn as ever...up until she thinks she's finished, only for Big Macintosh to show up and point out that she's barely harvested half the trees on the farm. At this point, her body has taken all the abuse it can and she collapses. On regaining consciousness, Applejack has finally learned her lesson about not being afraid to ask for help. She hardly needs any convincing to literally beg for her friends' assistance, and the apples all get harvested on time with their help.
Tropes (YMMV items can be found here).
- Added Alliterative Appeal: See Twilight's quote above, but only made so much more the better by Tara Strong's rapid-fire delivery of that line.
- Artistic License: The laws of conservation of mass and momentum are Played for Laughs in Applejack's final attempt to launch Rainbow Dash: at best, Dash would have been sent up roughly the same height as Applejack launched herself from, accounting for mass differences. This, of course, assumes that Applejack isn't made of dark matter.
- Aside Glance: Twilight and Pinkie stare in the direction of the camera in bafflement after Applejack falls asleep on her hooves.
- Break the Motivational Speaker: Twilight gets increasingly frustrated when her speech at Applejack's award ceremony keeps getting interrupted.
- Buffy-Speak: Applejack's propensity for this only gets worse when she's short on sleep.
Applejack: Miss Mayor, thank you kindly for this here...award thingy.
- Continuity Nod: Twilight suggests asking the rest of the Apple clan (last seen in "Mare in the Moon") for help, only for Applejack to explain they were just in town for a family reunion, and are busy working their own farms.
- In the previous episode, Applejack mentioned Big Macintosh wearing Granny Smith's girdle around town if she and Twilight harvested the apples in time. It's as good an explanation as any for where Big Mac's injuries came from.
- Creator Cameo: Episode director James Wootton cameos as Applejack's mule.
- A Day in the Limelight: So far this is the only episode focused entirely on Applejack (in "Look Before You Sleep" and "Fall Weather Friends" the spotlight is shared with Rarity and Rainbow Dash respectively).
- Extreme Omnivore: Spike finds the "baked bads" perfectly edible. He even retrieves them from the trash.
- Facehoof: Twilight does one as Applejack struggles offscreen to tip herself and her cart back over.
- Faux Horrific: The Ponyvillers are just as freaked out by stampeding rabbits as they are by stampeding cattle, even though the worst the rabbits do is mess up everyone's flower gardens.
- Green Around the Gills: All the ponies that are sickened by Applejack's "baked bads".
- Hammerspace: Applejack's lasso appears out of nowhere between shots during the stampede.
- Heroic RROD: The episode was Applejack bringing one on herself.
- Heroic Vow: Applejack's self-imposed pledge to bring in the harvest without help.
- How Do You Like Them Apples?: This line is delivered by and to Appplejack, near episodes end.
Applejack: There. Harvested the whole bumper crop myself. How do you like them apples?
- I Can't Hear You: Applejack's ears are left ringing after she hits her head on a low-hanging branch, with unfortunate-yet-hilarious results:
Twilight: Applejack, can we talk?
- As her sleep deprivation continues, she starts to mishear everything, leading to the muffin poisoning incident.
- I Gave My Word: The main conflict of the episode arises from Applejack's determination to keep all her promises, including bringing in the whole harvest, even if it's too much for her.
- Impairment Shot: Applejack's vision becomes blurry, and she has the eye-shaped blinky shot from her sleep deprivation.
- She also sees three Twilights.
- The Insomniac: Applejack turns into a Goofy Insomniac from overwork.
- Lethal Chef: That's what happens when you try to make muffins using potato chips, soda pop, lemon juice, and earthworms.
- Literal Junk Food: At the end of the episode, Spike retrieves some of the "baked bads" from the garbage and offers to share them with the girls.
- Mind Screw: What exactly is in a zoo in Equestria? A lot of fans suggest humans, with varying degrees of seriousness.
- Mythology Gag: Applejack's G1 namesake was kind of a klutz (the whole "Who's a Silly Pony?" thing comes from a song on a read-along My Little Pony audiobook released in the UK)
- Pass the Popcorn: Pinkie Pie puts away plenty of popcorn pieces (post-Ponyville's proliferation of panic) during her pal's prompt preservation of the place. (She digs into a bag of popcorn facefirst as she watches Applejack herd the stampeding cattle away from Ponyville.)
- Pun-Based Title: "Bucking" is a kicking action that horses use to throw would-be predators (and unwanted riders) off their backs, while "buck season" is the hunting season for male deer.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Almost all of Applejack's injuries and discomforts are played for laughs.
- Squashed Flat: Happens to Applejack while trying to land on the other end of Rainbow Dash's catapult.
- Squick: In-Universe, all the ponies have this reaction to the fact Spike fished the "baked bads" out of the trash and is eating them.
- Stealth Pun:
Applejack: "I completely understand. Just next time, try and steer clear of Ponyville."
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Judging by their mutual reaction to their distorted reflections in the trophy, a sleep-deprived Applejack is about on par with a normal Pinkie Pie.
- Stubborn Mule: Twilight calls Applejack this...and then tells an actual mule no offense was meant.
- Teleport Spam: Twilight teleports to keep up with Applejack during their discussion. And she does this to keep talking to her about the same subject, which AJ doesn't want to talk about. Spamming her with advice, if you will ...
- What Could Have Been: Word of God is that the original idea for "applebucking" was to involve Applejack headbutting the trees to knock the apples down. This meant the goofiness in this episode would have resulted from her becoming more and more concussed instead of sleep-deprived. However, Hasbro execs were concerned about kids trying to imitate Applejack's behavior, so it became kicking the trees instead.
- Won't Take Yes for An Answer
Twilight Sparkle: Now Applejack; I completely respect the Apple family ways. You're always there to help any pony in need. So maybe you can put a little of your stubborn pride aside and allow your friends to help you.
- Worldwide Punomenon: Pinkie Pie after Applejack messes up her muffins:
Nurse: It was a mishap with some of the baked goods.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Pinkie Pie puking into a bucket in the infirmary.
- You Are Not Alone: The aesop of the episode.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: When Applejack thinks she's finally finished the harvest, Big Mac points out the apple trees in the other half of the orchard, which still need harvesting. Applejack reacts about how you'd expect.