Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Trot Topics, *How Canon Is Expanded Universe?: Applejack And The Honest-To-Goodness Switcheroo

As the fifth of the six planned chapter books that each highlight one of the Mane 6, this one is all about everyone's favorite "background pony" of the group, Applejack. Like most Applejack stories, there isn't a deep plot involved, but more of a character analysis and her struggle with being the Element of Honesty.

We start off with a big pie-eating contest at Sweet Apple Acres, which Cranky Doodle Dandy wins. It's unusual to see Cranky taking part in a large social event, but he wins it by being as reserved as he usually seems. In the crowd is Bulk Biceps who here is still called "Snowflake", which means that this story was written before they officially changed his name in Season 4.

Afterwards, Applejack gets a visit by a pony named Blue Ribbon, who says that Sweet Apple Acres is up for winning the award for Best Orchard in Equestria, which will make them the apple suppliers of Canterlot Castle, which is somethingthat Prince Blueblood probably wouldn't care for. He gives her a week to have the farm ready for the official review, so the rest of the Mane 6 volunteer to help AJ throughout the week.

Applejack wants to write something about the whole experience in the journal that she and her friends were sharing throughout Season 4, but Rarity was using it, so Granny gives her an old diary that her mother used to own. This is really significant since its the first time that AJ's parents are ever really mentioned within the context of the given continuity. Still no real backstory on what their names were or what happened to them, but AJ uses it to start writing down some of her thoughts, which probably didn't involve her not learning anything.

Over the next few days, Applejack gets help from one or two of her friends at a time per day, but each one of them seems to disappoint her in one way or another, mostly because she's so particular about how farm labor should be done. We all know AJ can be stubborn, but she really lets this build up over time, and takes all her bottled up "honesty" to save for her personal journal which gets increasingly frustrated in each entry. Applejack forgets how her friends each like to take their own spin on things, and do it in their own signature way, which never seemed to bother her before, but this might be different since to her its messing with her business.

This all comes back to bite her in the flank when Applejack accidently gets her journal switched with the one she's sharing with the others, and the read all the negative criticisms she wrote down in it. After worrying that that they would all be mad with her, she's relieved to discover that they forgive her since she was just being honest and not outright telling off her friends when they were in fact helping her. Sweet Apple Acres officially wins the contest, and they start up business sending apples to Celestia. It's hard to say if this extra source of revenue will ever come up in any future plotlines though.

This was one the milder stories in the chapter book line, with not a lot out of line. It would've taken something a little more out of normal to happen like something threatening Sweet Apple Acres, or Applejack finder her true love, or some other plot device. It makes for a better story that doesn't alter the established timeline in any big way.

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