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Synopsis:

The Apple Family gets a letter from their relatives, the “West Coast” Oranges, suggesting selling their apples alongside their own produce, and Applejack decides to go on a business trip to their home in Applewood to talk about selling them. On going to Rarity to get a spare bag for apple samples, the unicorn immediately insists on coming along to see Applewood as well. As the trip goes on, however, Rarity insists on stopping at all the attractions and detours, and as a result of her attempts first to make the trip more fun and later to get Applejack back on course, the two constantly get diverted, rerouted, and on the wrong route, driving Applejack progressively more enraged as she refuses to enjoy herself and focuses on making her “sales plan”. Eventually things come to a head when Applejack blows up at Rarity while Rarity blows up at Applejack for her sales plan (which is literally nothing more than “Sell apples”). Yet in spite of getting into a fight, Rarity still insists on helping Applejack with her sales at the end. Appreciative that she was still willing to help even after she blew up at her, Applejack ends up taking Rarity to see “Whinnyland” as a side trip when they finally arrive at Applewood. Their friendship strengthened, the two finally make it to the Oranges…only to find out that Granny Smith read the letter wrong and meant to send them to the East Coast Oranges.

Review:

This arc…well…it’s odd. But mostly in a good way, so it’s not too bad.

As indicated by the cover art and the content, this whole story is a tribute to old road comedies, in particular “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” with some nods to “National Lampoon’s Vacation”. And for the most part, it works well. These particular writers like throwing in tons of allusions and meta-humor, making this the most humorous arc out of the set so far. Very colorful, lots of nice art and lots of dialog to make the story seem far more fleshed out, and it’s entertaining. To top it all off, in spite of being one of the wackiest stories so far, it has a nice little note at the end of it in the spirit of the series: Applejack and Rarity show their friendship for each other.

To be honest, that’s probably the nicest part. The fact is Applejack and Rarity have had two episodes focused on their relationship so far in the actual series: “Look Before You Sleep” and “Simple Ways”. Neither was terribly remarkable or entertaining. This one definitely had a lot more fun and interest to it.

But that brings me to the bad part of this series…Applejack and Rarity are, honestly, very OOC. If they had flipped the positions of the two it would have been more believable, but suddenly Applejack is uptight and business-minded while Rarity is laid back and almost optimistically energetic. It seems almost as if their personalities were changed simply to fit in with the knockoff of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”. Now, granted, the authors do at least try to compensate for it by calling attention to the elephant in the room, but overall it just doesn’t really “mesh” with me.

Is it a good arc, though? Is it entertaining? Does it have a bit of heart at the end? Yes, yes, and yes. And that’s the really funny part. Does this mean in order to get a genuinely enjoyable episode featuring Applejack, let alone Applejack and Rarity, that they actually have to change their characters to be more animated and argumentative? Possibly. I can’t overlook the character changes, but all-in-all, a very nice little story and the highlight so far of “Friends Forever”.

Fun Facts:

This is another comic that gets a title: “Reins, Trains, and Carts with Wheels”. Both this as well as the cover art is a clear tipoff that this entire story is a knockoff of “Plains, Trains, and Automobiles”. More on that in the review. It should also be noted that several of the frames are an allusion to “Thelma & Louise”, especially the photographs.

Derpy is delivering the mail again. 😛

Big Macintosh is reading a book on how to throw your voice.

Applejack mentions that the barn needs to be rebuilt “again”, alluding to the numerous times the barn on Sweet Apple Acres has been destroyed over the years.

The theme park “Whinny World”‘s placement indicates it’s similar to Disneyworld, but based on how it’s spoken of and the name, it’s likely that it’s a parody of “Wally World” from “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, which in turn was a parody of Disneyworld. What seems to confirm the writers had “Vacation” on the brain is a later billboard that reads “Griswold’s World of Matching Shoes and Belts”, as the main character of the Vacation franchise is Clark Griswold, and an additional billboard later reading: “Big Jim Says – Take a ride on the West Coast Kick – Holiday Road” (knocking off of the song from the first movie).

In the pen with the cashmere goats, the goat is eating a stack of paper marked “Season Five Script”…a meta-humor joke about how Season Five was delayed by six months.

Equestria apparently has its own take on Mt. Rushmore, Mount Monument, only displaying the four Princesses of Equestria, complete with a sign explaining that they’re busy adding Twilight’s head to it. A petition has been added to add Queen Chrysalis’ head to the monument. Only Chrysalis has signed so far. 😀

As a meta humor joke, after beating up the Cattle Rustler Gang, they vow to get revenge in a later issue. 🙂

In Applewood, the pony-fied Marx Brothers walk by in one panel.

Wilhelm Wombat is a takeoff of Mickey Mouse, while Elmer Eagle is a takeoff of Donald Duck. Unlike the “Whinny World” joke earlier, “Whinnyland” is clearly a Disneyland knockoff.

On the last page, as a final nod to 80s comedies, it shows “how they ended up” for all the characters in the arc. The funniest one is the Stranger (the pony who pulled the stagecoach), who’s story is the same as Conan the Barbarian’s.

Another page of art for this story is a knockoff of the Odd Couple. The odd thing is that while this arc clearly knocks off of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” with Rarity as John Candy’s character and Applejack as Steve Martin’s character, this one is more “appropriate”…with Rarity as the neat freak and Applejack as the slob.

Rating:

3.5 Stars out of 5

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