It’s cider season again at Sweet Apple Acres, but on the very first day misfortune strikes when Granny Smith trips over a rake and breaks her hip. Short the family matriarch, the rest of the Apples fear about how they’re going to make it this year until Pinkie Pie pops in practically out of nowhere. As a possible-distantly-related member of the Apple family, she agrees to help out by acting as Granny’s “chauffeur”, namely by driving her around in Apple Bloom’s wagon to carry out the errands she normally has to walk to do. Granny hates the whole arrangement as much as she hates being injured, constantly berating and complaining about everything Pinkie does, to which Pinkie herself just cheerfully agrees. This goes on for weeks, until Applejack notices one day. The next day, Granny is surprised to see that Pinkie Pie is gone, at which Applejack explains since she found fault in everything she did that she thought it was best if she dismiss her. Granny realizes she misses her company, especially as she had been using the opportunity to tell Pinkie Pie (not born a Ponyville native) about the town’s history. When Applejack takes her to visit friends at the retirement village, one of the mares drops a glass. She moves to pick it up for her and gets a tongue lashing in response; making Granny realize she had been taking out her anger on being injured and unable to move freely on a pony just trying to help. Fortunately, Pinkie Pie is also at the retirement village (as she wanted to learn more about Ponyville’s early days), and she uses the opportunity to apologize. Not long after, in spite of getting a clean bill of health, Granny has Pinkie take her out for another ride around town so they can enjoy each other’s company…although she still tells her to take it slow over the bumps.
After getting one of the better “Friends Forever” storylines, now we ended up with one of the worst.
The story in and of itself isn’t that bad. Simple, but not bad. It’s a bit of a knockoff of Pony Tales #1 with Twilight Sparkle: one of the Mane Six finds themselves the caretakers of a grumpy, unhappy older pony and ends up making friends with them. It’s not quite as good as that one as Twilight was able to help Jade Singer write again, whereas in this one the two simply learn a greater appreciation for each other…and, in this case, more of it was on Granny Smith as Pinkie Pie is just her normally happy, bubbly self throughout this story. It’s nothing monumental, but nothing bad either. Unfortunately, that’s about all it is.
Nothing too remarkable happens in this story. It’s definitely more grounded in reality and common, which isn’t that good when the focus is Pinkie Pie. There’s pretty much none of her zaniness or craziness she’s infamous for, just her being normal. The art style also seems a bit more crude and juvenile at times, especially in the panels where the ponies are drawn with dots for eyes. None of that by itself is worth voting anything down for.
But…what really sinks this arc into the mud is Granny Smith.
Here’s a good old fashioned example of Flanderization. In the first season, Granny Smith was kind of a stereotype for the elderly. But in the second season and beyond, she quickly was transformed into a feisty, energetic, and take-charge family matriarch. She had stubbornness, to be sure, but the sort of stubbornness you would expect from someone who did everything by her own elbow grease for her whole life. The type of grit of the older generation that lived through the Great Depression as farmers might have.
In this story, all she is is stubborn and cranky. The story went out of its way to point out that she was unhappy about being rendered an invalid, but I think it went way too far. So much of the story is devoted to her just simply complaining and being stubborn and mean for no reason other than she’s unhappy and wants other ponies to be as unhappy as she is. It started to seem OOC pretty fairly on, especially considering she was taking it out on Pinkie Pie. As Applejack points out in this very story, following “Pinkie Apple Pie”, the Apples considered Pinkie Pie a family member…enough to spend Hearth’s Warming Eve together with her own family. After that, to have Granny Smith suddenly so paranoid that she accuses Pinkie Pie of theft? Especially since, given the basic tone of the comic, it came off as serious rather than as a silly scene? That’s too far.
To be honest, Pinkie Pie doing nothing but simply saying “Yes Granny” for the bulk of the story was equally weak. Not that I wouldn’t expect her to do something like that, especially as persistent as Pinkie can be, but that she didn’t do anything else more silly or extreme for her reactions made it seem almost just a touch out of character for her too.
In the end, it came off that the lesson only worked because one of the characters was forcibly changed to make it work. And that’s a big vote down to me.
This storyline evokes a somewhat similar vibe to “Driving Miss Daisy”.
“Hearthbreakers” had already come out when this issue debuted, long after Pinkie Pie had officially introduced herself to the Apple family and the possibility of being very distant relations was proposed. But it’s interesting that Pinkie Pie alludes to her being able to eat rocks as well, indicating that it’s a Pie family trait.
Ponyville apparently has a retirement village, although it seems more similar to a senior citizens center like my own grandmother used to go to before she passed away. At any rate, it’s shaped like a stable.
1.5 Stars out of 5