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Synopsis:

To try and help other new up-and-coming designers get exposure, Rarity is holding a special fashion show in Ponyville for new talent of which the winner gets to feature their line at Carousel Boutique. While she’s gotten Hoity Toity and Photo Finish, two notable ponies in the world of fashion, to act as judges, she surprises Applejack by asking her to be the third judge as she wants her to add a touch of practicality to fashion and to utilize her honesty. Applejack is standoffish at first, but on thinking about how she knows about making clothes practical she agrees. Unfortunately, things go sour when Applejack is shown the work of the three contestants (Lily Lace, Starstreak, and Inky Rose) as she finds all of their designs and ideas silly, impractical, or ugly, and freely and loudly voices her opinion about them. She eventually gets so worked up that she declares the whole idea of being into fashion ridiculous, causing the judges and contestants to storm off angrily and ruin the show. Applejack defends her actions, saying she was simply giving her honest opinion. In response, Rarity introduces Applejack to Strawberry Sunrise–a pony who hates apples and isn’t afraid to share her opinion. On seeing herself get enraged at how casually Strawberry dismisses the hard work and effort she puts into making good apples simply because she doesn’t like them as much as other ponies, Applejack realizes the mistake she made. As a result, she (literally) ropes in the judges and contestants and brings them back, apologizing for her earlier comments and saying she can appreciate all the hard work they put into fashion. As a result, they decide to go forward with the contest, this time with Applejack quietly helping the designers finish their work for the show. At the actual fashion show, the designers end up in a three-way tie and look to Applejack for the deciding vote. She ends up choosing all of them, as she felt they all put in a deserving amount of effort to make their designs perfect. The episode ends with Rarity and Applejack mutually deciding that one of Rarity’s failed designs was horrible.

Review:

Another solid episode. Was it “good”? It definitely wasn’t bad, that’s for sure. And it was definitely better than the first Applejack/Rarity episode, which was Season One’s “Look Before You Sleep”, and, in my opinion, also better than “Simple Ways” and “Maid in Manehattan”. That’s not saying too much, however. I love Rarity, but she and Applejack are pretty much the most “straight mares” out of the Mane Six, and Applejack episodes are, as a general rule that I have declared many a time, bland. Still, I think this might be the best Applejack/Rarity episode of the entire series, and cameos by Pinkie Pie and Photo Finish help liven things up quite a bit.

Fluttershy gets the most hell for having a hard time growing past her character flaws, but in truth Applejack is probably just as bad an offender. As Pinkie Pie pointed out back in “Hearthbreakers”, she’s pushy, aggressive, and mean. And while Fluttershy actively tries to improve her own character traits, Applejack is so stubborn and traditional that she ends up not only clinging to them but often doubling-down.

As a result, one thing I liked about this episode was how Rarity dealt with it. She didn’t bother getting into an arguing match with Applejack once she realized she had entrenched herself and was ready to be stubborn. Instead, she wisely put the shoe on the other foot and let Applejack condemn herself with her own reactions. And, of course, I also loved the now meme-worthy Rarity shredding on guitar.

Nevertheless, the rest of this episode doesn’t hit as hard as one might think, and that’s even with Pinkie Pie and Photo Finish along for the ride. It’s not that it doesn’t try. Lily Lace’s way of talking and Inky Rose being a pony ripped right out of Hot Topic definitely do their best. It’s just…not quite as effective as one might think. It ends up being a good episode, but probably not one that will rank as a must-see on anyone’s list.

Fun Facts:

Applejack says that her closet is nothing but twenty versions of her same hat. This was shown on screen in “Somepony to Watch Over Me”. ๐Ÿ˜›

I just want to say I like how the animation flows together for when Rarity picks up the rest of the fliers en masse with her horn.

At one point, Applejack indicates to Apple Bloom that she’s the one member of the family into fashion. This actually makes sense. It’s a callback all the way back to Season One’s “The Show Stoppers” when Apple Bloom showed off she was the best at making costumes out of the CMCs.

One of the nice details in this episode is how Photo Finish is even more “Photo Finish-y” than usual, such as calling out all of her actions. I especially like one part where everyone is gasping and she simply yells: “Gasp!”

We finally get a look at Photo Finish’s eyes for the first time, when she removes her sunglasses after Applejack says: “These are clothes?”

By far, the most amusing, and infamous, part of this episode is when Rarity shreds a killer guitar solo on an acoustic, two-stringed guitar. Pinkie’s frizz has been freaked. ๐Ÿ™‚

The bit with Hoity Toity and Photo Finish arguing over which belt to use that Applejack finds funny is similar to a scene in “The Devil Wears Prada”.

While all of the contestants have their quirks, I think Andrea Libman had the most fun voicing Lily Lace, with her constant stream of Valley Girl euphemisms. Among them is how she keeps overusing the word “literally”. It eventually gets to the point where Applejack says the word doesn’t mean what she thinks it means. A similar joke with Vizzini and the word “inconceivable” occurs in the movie “The Princess Bride”.

Strawberry Sunrise is voiced by Maggie Blue O’Hara, a veteran voice actor who mostly does anime dubs; the most notable of which was one of the voices of Bulma in “Dragonball Z”. However, she was the voice of Sweetheart as one of the main characters of the short-lived “My Little Pony Tales” series, where she co-stared with Kelly Sheridan (the voice of Starlight Glimmer).

Rating:

3 Stars out of 5