Apple Bloom is excited that her cousin, Babs Seed, is visiting for a couple weeks. On learning she doesn’t have a Cutie Mark either, she rallies Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo with the intention of making her a new member of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. However, shortly after showing her the float the CMCs plan to have in an annual parade that they offer to let her ride in, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon show up and start bullying the CMCs again…and, to the girls’ surprise, Babs Seed joins in with them and wrecks their float, then threatens them for being “snitches” if they tell Applejack. Over the next couple weeks, Babs runs around with Diamond and Silver and makes the CMCs’ lives a living hell, eventually culminating in stealing their clubhouse as well as Apple Bloom’s bed. Wanting revenge, the girls make a second float better than the second one and sabotage it so that it will go off a cliff into the river during the parade, and goad Babs into stealing it and riding it herself. Shortly after she takes it, Applejack comes by and, misinterpreting the whole thing as an act of good will, reveals that Babs had been a victim of chronic bullying back home for having no Cutie Mark, and had hoped to “get away” from it here. Realizing that Babs was bullying them to avoid being bullied herself, the CMCs knock her out of the float and end up setting off the booby trap themselves, crashing into the mud with the float. While getting cleaned up, everyone confesses everything to everyone, and the CMCs and Babs apologize to one another and agree to “start over”, making Babs a new member of the CMCs. In the end, Babs goes back home as a friend, but not before turning the tables on Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.
Well…it’s here, and there it is.
As I’ve mentioned before, CMC episodes are usually the most realistic of the “after-school specials”, and this one is one of the biggest ones, seeing as it deals with a topic all-too-familiar in real life: bullying. “Cyberbullying”/gossip was already touched on in Season Two, but this one gets more to the heart of “old-fashioned bullying”. I think it works a little better than most CMC episodes as it’s not so “cutie-mark” focused…which is a good move because, at this point, it’s Season Three and the fruitless search for their Cutie Marks is starting to get stale.
A lot of people like this episode. It’s more realistic in a personal way, so that’s good. Babs Seed is a bit of a more dynamic character. She’d even make a second appearance in this same season, which is rare for a “plot device” character. The only other character I know they did that with is Zecora.
Me? Well…it might be a weakness on my part, but I don’t like it.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the stories about how most bullies are “hurting at home” or “covering up something” or “trying to boost their own self esteem”, etc., etc. While I won’t deny that’s probably mostly true…the people who go around saying that, I assume, usually weren’t bullied themselves growing up. I was. And victims of bullies aren’t always so “forgiving”. And I’m far more in favor of putting a stop to bullying than trying to have the victims be more “understanding” of their aggressors. Because in my experience, “talking things out” and “being more understanding” did diddly squat to stop bullying behaviors. Meanwhile, in an age where we’re hearing about kids refusing to go to school, getting plastic surgery at 10 years of age to stop certain physical traits from sticking out, or just plain committing suicide from having a nasty gossip spread online…yeah, I have pretty little sympathy for the actual bullies. And I have little sympathy for Babs.
I suppose it would have been different if she had just popped in there and from the first moment she was trying to defend herself by pushing around the CMCs. But no…the CMCs showed they were just like her. They showed how they “stood together” against their own bullies. They offered her friendship and even went out of their way to be nice to her. And what as her response? To become the thing she hated. Rather than side with those like her, she sided with the very same sort of people who made her own life a living hell.
And no…the sabotaged float wasn’t an “act of bullying”…it was an act of revenge. Was it justified? Well, if you don’t think revenge is ever justified, then no, it wasn’t. But I refuse to see the CMCs as “guilty” as Babs. They did that out of retribution. She, on the other hand, hurt others without cause. Maybe if the CMCs had begun picking on someone smaller and weaker than them to “vent their frustrations”…then I would say they “became bullies themselves”. But they were only trying to “get even” with Babs. So no…the far majority of the need to apologize is on Babs’ head. I think it’s more of a sign of the character of the CMCs that they felt bad and didn’t focus on the fact that Babs would have deserved what she got than an act of sympathy to her. Maybe instead of worrying about teaching victims to be “empathic” toward others…we should worry about teaching the bullies to become “empathic” about their victims.
Aside from that…the episode was “decent”. I suppose it’s better to teach kids to be more sympathetic and understanding to everyone than teaching them to always seek retribution. Because, honestly, trying to get “even” with bullies never worked well for me either. Unfortunately, the only lesson you can teach victims is to “grin and bear it”…because the world is full of bullies both on the playground and in the office and there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about any of them. It’s just a fact of life you have to live with.
Babs Seed is a takeoff of the phrase “bad seed”, which is equivalent to the term “black sheep” or “bad apple”…offspring in a family who is unusually “bad” compared to the others and is frowned upon or shunned by the rest of the family. Being from Manehattan, a takeoff of Manhattan, she has a Brooklyn accent.
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were never “good” characters to begin with, but, in another act of “trying too hard”, I think the writers have progressively made them more repulsive. While I think they “hit bottom” in Season Four when they started making fun of physically handicapped kids, in this episode they’re really “struggling to be terrible”. When they see the float is a giant pumpkin and they call it a “lame-kin”…that’s not even clever. They might as well have said: “More like a…stupid!”
Just how “rushed” was this season? The song “Babs Seed” keeps reusing the same animation. 😛
When building the booby trapped float, the song playing is similar to the theme from “The A-Team”.
Seems kind of funny that Babs just watches them drag that mattress out into place and patiently waits for them to say the thing to set her off, as well as knocks the CMCs onto it. 😛
How sweet. Applejack knows all about the bullies making fun of Babs Seed…and jack sh’t about the bullies making fun of her own sister.
2.5 Stars out of 5