It’s “Applebucking Season” at Sweet Apple Acres, which is essentially apple harvest time. Big Macintosh is injured (for an undisclosed reason), leaving Applejack to harvest a bumper crop all by herself. In spite of working herself to exhaustion and heavy sleep deprivation, Applejack insists on not only harvesting all the apples herself but to live up to her reputation of Ponyville’s “most capable and dependable friend” by assisting her friends with their own activities. However, her tiredness soon results in disaster with each activity. In spite of Twilight Sparkle’s repeated urgings to get help with the harvest, Applejack remains stubborn until her mistakes and mishaps begin to wreck havoc on the town as well as herself. When near the point of collapse Applejack sees she’s only half done with the harvest, she finally breaks down and accepts Twilight’s offer for help, and the rest of the Mane Six assist with the remaining crop. Twilight writes to Princess Celestia that being a good friend not only involves being there for your friends, but also putting aside your pride and allowing them to help you as well.
There are a number of episodes in the series which are effectively “Seinfeld” episodes…in other words, “episodes about nothing” or “one gag”. Most of them are misses…I think this one is a hit. Maybe not “out of the park”, but still good. To be honest, I don’t laugh much, but the first time I ever laughed out loud watching the show was during Applejack’s sleep-deprived misinterpretations of Pinkie Pie’s baking directions. And that’s all this episode is, for the most part…one gag after another about Applejack being too tired to do something simple and ending up wrecking havoc. It works for this one, though, mostly in the silliness of what happens. The ponies act like it’s the apocalypse after the bunny stampede, and Fluttershy is nearly hyperventillating when the bunnies are rather calmly eating things.
Plotwise, this episode is pretty low. It’s definitely not too terribly “earth-shaking” or “poignant”…Twilight just keeps offering help to Applejack and, once 20 minutes of show has elapsed, Applejack says yes. A lot of it is just a stall and a stretch until that point. And since so much of it is just farce, it’s rather simplistic. Still, this was the funniest the show had been so far, and it introduced a number of firsts regarding Applejack’s family and life in Ponyville, which after being pretty much just “background color” for the first three episodes was now starting to develop into a true setting. While maybe not the best in the series or even Season One, it was a step in the “right direction”.
This is the first episode in which Big Macintosh has any lines. Normally, his schtick is that he only ever says one word answers: “Eeyup.” and, more rarely, “Nope.” This was used as a gag in other episodes as something that’s normally “default”, so much so that it was supposed to be a joke in an episode in Season Two when he started talking more and Applejack only said: “Eeyup” and “Nope”. However, in this first episode, he’s as vocal as any other character, explaining the situation to Applejack in the intro as well as (somewhat humorously) pointing out how far Applejack has to go at the end.
This is the first episode to not feature Twilight Sparkle as the main focus, instead focusing on Applejack. It also introduced the “flip side” of her honest character…that she’s also chronically stubborn with an inferiority complex.
This episode introduced Applejack’s dog, Wynona. Unlike the other pets on the show, who have some degree of sentience, she seems to be “just a dog”.
This episode also was the first to introduce non-pony species dwelling in Equestria as being sentient: cows and mules. There would be many more as the series went on.
Although the first episode featured Applejack knocking apples out of a tree by kicking it with her hind legs, this episode established that “applebucking” is the main way apples are harvested by fingerless ponies.
This was the first episode to feature Mr. and Mrs. Cake as well as their locale, Sugarcube Corner, where Pinkie Pie works and is one of the most frequently-used settings on the show.
This is one of the only episodes which indicates Applejack is a better baker than Pinkie Pie…under normal conditions.
Derpy appears in this episode along with the other background ponies but, again, is not cross-eyed.
Rating: 3 Stars out of 5