Granny Smith: Ready fer what?
Apple Bloom: For makin' Zap Apple jam!
Granny Smith: Darn tootin'! It's time for some good old-fashioned Zap Apple jammin'!
Apple Bloom: Yes ma'am; I can't wait, ma'am!
Granny Smith: (beat) Wait fer what?
Late one night, the Apple family are awakened by Granny Smith banging pots outside, alerting them to the howling of the Timber Wolves. As it turns out, the wolves' howling is a signal of the upcoming Zap Apple Harvest and excitement quickly builds amongst the family in anticipation of the Zap Apple Jam the fruits produce.
As Applejack and Big Macintosh work the fields amid the lightning storm that heralds the growth of the Zap Apple Trees' leaves, Granny Smith and Apple Bloom begin the work of making the jam. As they hop amongst water cans in bunny suits while singing the Alphabet Song, Diamond Tiara and her father Filthy Rich arrive. As Rich and Granny strike a deal, Diamond Tiara mocks Apple Bloom for her grandmother's embarrassing behaviour, remarking that "at least nopony else is around to see" her. She then assures Apple Bloom that her secret is safe.
Granny Smith and Apple Bloom have to go to town for supplies where they receive mocking laughter from Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon... not to mention strange looks from the townponies. Things only get worse when the next day at school, Filthy Rich finishes his presentation for the weekly Family Appreciation Day and Apple Bloom is next in line to have a family member speak to the class... the same Monday that Applejack and Big Macintosh are to harvest the Zap Apples, leaving only Granny Smith to appear. Diamond Tiara revels in Apple Bloom's horror and Apple Bloom rushes home to the farm. Applejack confirms neither she nor Big Mac can appear as the Zap Apples disappear after five days. Apple Bloom decides she has to prevent Granny Smith from coming to class to avoid everlasting embarrassment.
Turning to her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders, Apple Bloom tries to figure out how to avoid the inevitable. They attempt to fake her being sick which fails when Granny's wise eye effortlessly sees through her facade. Failing that, the trio try to harvest the Zap Apples early to free up Applejack's schedule but when Sweetie Belle tries to buck the unripe trees, she ends up shocked and the apples refuse to budge from the branches. They try to pick the apples early but the trees just bend and catapult the trio over the orchard and into the pigsty.
On the day before the presentation, Cheerilee arrives to talk to Granny (who is actually still asleep). The Crusaders fake Granny's refusal to appear only for her to wake up and confirm her arrival. In a last-ditch effort, Scootaloo gives Granny Smith a faked letter from Uncle Apple Strudel wishing for her to visit, a day's train ride away. When class comes into session however, Granny Smith appears, accompanied by Uncle Apple Strudel himself who had come to visit instead. Realizing her failure in preventing Granny's speech, Apple Bloom steels herself for embarrassment as Granny Smith begins her story...
Long ago before Ponyville existed, Granny Smith was a young filly in a traveling pilgrim caravan. The group would search for seeds from new plants, growing the new and selling the old. One day they came upon Canterlot and met none other than Princess Celestia. The Princess took in an interest the group's seeds and upon learning of the caravan's troubles, pointed them to a fertile area to build their homes on the edge of the Everfree Forest.
Food ran short and the young Smith entered the Everfree Forest in search of food. She discovered the Zap Apple Trees but was then attacked by the Timber Wolves, snarling beasts formed of twisted bark and branches. Fleeing back home, she banged a pot to scare them off. The Smith family planted the magical Zap Apple tree seeds which grew quickly and provided the settlers with food. As the years passed, she learned the signs of the coming Zap Apple harvest and the rituals the apples preferred to get the most out of the harvest. The booming sales of the jam drew ponies from across Equestria including Diamond Tiara's great-grandfather who began his family's booming business and with Granny Smith, founded the town that became Ponyville.
In awe of Granny's story, Silver Spoon begins applauding. It spreads to the entire class except Diamond Tiara who insists Granny is "just a kooky old lady!" Apple Bloom defends her however, pointing out that Diamond Tiara's family wouldn't have their fortune without Granny and the Zap Apples.
Back at the farm, everypony is enjoying the Zap Apple jam and other produce. Applejack asks how Family Appreciation Day went. Apple Bloom announces she knows how special Granny is and frowns, admitting she forgot it. Granny accepts this as an apology. Applejack asks who wants to help Granny sing to the watering cans. The rest of Apple Bloom's class enthusiastically agrees. Diamond Tiara is unwilling and must be forced into it by her father who is obviously angry she insulted his top produce supplier.
Although there was no letter to Celestia to illustrate this lesson, the lesson is summed up in Apple Bloom's admission she forgot how special her Granny is, and how important your elders are in general.
Note: This is the eleventh episode of the second season, but was the twelfth aired.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Part of Granny's silly rituals includes getting honey. As she does, she addresses each bee by name. Every one begins with a B.
- A few of Granny Smith's lines also include this such as "perfect as a pickadilly pear."
- An Aesop: Should be worth mentioning that this is the first episode other than the two season premieres and the Christmas episode to not say what was this week's Aesop or have a letter to Celestia. Justified in the lack of letters, as Apple Bloom was never tasked with writing reports; that duty officially falls to the Mane Six.
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Uncle Apple Strudel gives Apple Bloom one at Family Appreciation Day and Granny gives Apple Bloom one after she admits she forgot that Granny is super-special.
- Alpha Bitch: Diamond Tiara is up to her typical nastiness. Apple Bloom wasn't embarrassed of Granny Smith until Tiara brought it up and made it worse.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: While it is usually a carnival sideshow stunt and involves a queen bee in a box under the chin, bee bearding is actually done in real life and is generally safe for the bearder.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Apple Bloom didn't think so until Diamond Tiara implied she should. Fortunately Granny Smith has one heck of a great story to tell.
- It would have been a lot less embarassing if someone had bothered to tell Apple Bloom that there were good reasons for acting so strangely.
- Anachronism Stew:
- Granny Smith wears a Drill Sergeant Nasty helmet while being... well... Drill Sergeant Nasty to the jam jars. That's all well and good for modern times but she wears the same kind of helmet in her flashback back when Equestria seemed to be at the 1800s.
- The early 19th century-style settlers that Granny Smith traveled with in her youth travel to Canterlot, which in those days looked like a medieval castle village, as opposed to the modern-style city it is in present-day episodes.
- Asleep in Class: Half the class is passed out during Filthy Rich's presentation (including Silver Spoon of all ponies). Only Diamond Tiara (his daughter) is interested. Apple Bloom and Twist are barely hanging on and an unnamed colt is paying more attention to his cookie.
- Ass Kicks You: Done by Scootaloo to get Applebloom away from the telescope.
- Assurance Backfire: When Apple Bloom is worried about feeling embarrassed when her grandmother shows up at school.Applejack: I'm sorry Apple Bloom, but don't you fret. Granny Smith's got no shortage of entertaining stories to tell.
Apple Bloom: I know. That's what I'm worried about.
- Backstory: Granny Smith tells hers in this episode. Points of interest include the founding of Sweet Apple Acres and Ponyville.
- Braids of Action: Granny Smith had these when she was just a wee little filly exploring the Everfree Forest by herself.
- Break the Haughty: Diamond Tiara gets it again; first she's mortified to learn her family owes all its riches to the Apple family and then her father forces her to join in with hopping over watering cans, wearing bunny ears and singing the alphabet.
- Bunnies for Cuteness: Aside from Granny Smith in a purple bunny suit, we also have Apple Bloom in one and then Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and Diamond Tiara have bunny ears as they join in "singing to the water".
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": The timber wolves are wolves that are made of timber.
- Call-Back: "Winter Wrap Up" established that Ponyville was founded by Earth Ponies.
- Continuity Nod:
- Contrived Coincidence: It just so happens that the relative (Apple Strudel) that Apple Bloom picked to send Granny Smith off to is on the train that day just so Granny can make it to the class for her presentation.
- Cool Old Lady: Granny Smith's impressive life story and accomplishments get her near-universal respect and acclaim from Apple Bloom's classmates.
- The Cuckoo Lander Was Right: Granny Smith's erratic behavior during the episode? She was only following a long and convoluted set of rituals needed to get the best results from a Zap Apple harvest and after her explanation, everything makes perfect sense. She admits that what she did was very stupid-looking but that's how these finicky Zap Apples work.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Pathetic Fallacy that occurs when the Zap Apples are developing involves dark storm clouds, Creepy Crows and dead trees. Even the apples are grey at first but none of it is dangerous.
- A Day in the Limelight: Granny Smith plays a big role in this episode; half of it is her presentation.
- Death Glare: Granny Smith's mother glared at her husband after he kissed Celestia's hoof right in front of her.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Granny Smith is one to jam jars. Justified in The Reveal; apparently it's needed to make the Zap Apple Jam.
- Embarrassing First Name: Diamond Tiara's father, Filthy Rich. Her great grandfather, Stinkin' Rich, had it even worse.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Granny calls Apple Bloom a host of embarrassing pet names including "pipsqueak", "half-pint" and "flibbertigibbet."
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Diamond Tiara is completely attentive to her father's business lecture after it's put the rest of the class to sleep. This is the first occurance on the show where she's seen with a happy smile with no cruelty attached to it.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: At Diamond Tiara's expense when she's forced into joining the ridiculous harvest activities.
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: Literally for when the Zap Apples ripen and thus are at their best, they go from grey to... well... guess. Even further, products made from Zap Apples retain the rainbow pattern even when rendered into a liquid and spread on toast.
- Expressive Ears: Even the ears on the bunny suit Apple Bloom is wearing emote. They droop when Diamond Tiara says "Oh you poor thing." They perk right back up as Apple Bloom describes how she has looked forward to making Zap Apple jam.
- False Teeth Tomfoolery: Granny Smith does a Tasty Gold sort of test on cooking pot, and then walking away, displeased with what she finds. Her teeth are left on the edge of the pot, and Apple Bloom has to retrieve them for her.
- Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: The Zap Apples themselves: Most of the year, the trees themselves look dead and barren. Given the right conditions and time of year, they burst to life and produce rainbow-colored apples but they zap away into nothingness if they're not picked before the one day they're rainbow-colored is up.
- Flashback Effects: Monochrome Past at first with muted colors as the story progresses.
- Applejack assures Apple Bloom that "Granny Smith's got no shortage of entertaining stories to tell."
- Also, her line concerning the tea in Canterlot.
- Likewise Filthy Rich's deal for the first 100 jars.
- Friend to Bugs: Granny Smith is extra friendly to the bees, as shown in the page image; she calls them by name, gives them flowers, and allows them to land on her. It's revealed that doing so makes their honey sweet when mixed with the Zap Apples, but the "extra" implies that she is nice to them anyways.
- GASP: The class' reaction to Diamond Tiara's final, futile attempt to have Granny Smith dismissed as a "kooky old lady" even after Granny's story.
- Girlish Pigtails: Granny as a filly had them and a cute little bonnet.
- Harmless Electrocution: Sweetie Belle gets shocked when she tries to buck a Zap Apple tree.
- Head Desk: Apple Bloom does this when told she has to bring in Granny Smith to talk.
- Hidden Depths:
- Silver Spoon is the first to applaud Granny Smith's story.
- Granny Smith. Up until this episode her character was limited to tiny appearances that played up her age and kookiness for laughs. Who knew she played such an integral role in the founding of Ponyville and the acclaimed master cultivator of the most spectacular breed of apples ever?
- Hoist by Her Own Petard: Diamond Tiara making sure Granny Smith was the Apple Family member to speak in class backfires big time on her in the end.
- Humiliation Conga: What Diamond Tiara gets when her father finds out she insulted Granny Smith, the one responsible for the family fortune.
- Idea Bulb: Justified. When Scootaloo gets an idea, she leaps up and bumps her head against a lamp, causing it to turn on.
- I Kiss Your Hand: Granny Smith's father kisses Celestia's hoof in gratitude, much to the chagrin of his wife.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: While posing as Granny Smith, Apple Bloom claims she won't be able to come to Family Appreciation Day because she needs to "shear the flowers and water the sheep". She corrects herself.
- Irony: Boy howdy does Diamond Tiara get a heap of this when she learns why and how she's rich and who was responsible for it.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Granny Smith hasn't aged well. Of course it was more than a century ago...
- Lightning Can Do Anything: The Zap Apple trees go through immediate growth spurts thanks to lightning. When planted, lightning bursts from underground and fully grown trees stand where the lightning flashed. It's as if the lightning turns into wood.
- Lower-Deck Episode: All the Cutie Mark Crusaders show up as well as the Apple Family and Cheerilee and the students (and Celestia in a flashback). The only mane cast member present is Applejack.
- Made of Iron: Until the Zap Apples are ripe, no force on Equestria can get them off the trees.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Granny Smith's explanation of why all the confusing and honestly embarrassing steps are needed; unlike other apples, the zap apples are magic and so they have rules that must be followed for the best results.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Most of the Zap Apple jam protocol but particularly Sergeant Granny going down the line of her canning jars and summarily dismissing ("COURT-MARTIALED!") the one that "cracks under the pressure."
- Nice Hat: Granny Smith has an awesome purple hat that she wears to the market.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Diamond Tiara's father, Filthy Rich, bears an awfully strong resemblance to Gregory Peck.
- Of Corpse He's Alive: The Crusaders puppeteer a napping Granny Smith in order to convince Cheerilee that Granny can't make it to Family Appreciation Day.
- Palette Swap: The grey colt in the back of the classroom looks awfully similar to Snips.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Scootaloo dresses as an old-fashioned telegram delivery pony.
- Parental Obliviousness: Granny doesn't twig to the fact that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are not Apple Bloom's friends.
- Pet the Dog: Silver Spoon admitting that Granny Smith is awesome and clapping along with everypony else makes her seem a lot nicer than Diamond Tiara, doesn't it?
- Planimal: The Timber Wolves are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, wolves made from living wood.
- Playing Sick: The CMC's first attempt at keeping Apple Bloom from having to be humiliated on Family Appreciation day involves heating up a thermometer in a teapot and painting Apple Bloom's face green. Granny Smith doesn't buy it.
- Production Throwback: The "timberwolves" pun was previously used in Rob Renzetti's My Life as a Teenage Robot, in the episode "Armagedroid".
- The Quiet One: Big Macintosh has more lines than his characteristic "eeyup" and "nope" in this episode but not many. On top of that, his only new lines are spoken in unison with Applejack and Apple Bloom.
- Reality Ensues: A mild case, but as Granny Smith points out in her story, crops don't grow overnight, no matter how talented a farmer you are. As a result, she and her family started to run out of food shortly after they set up their farm, and had she not gone into the Everfree Forest and found the Zap apples, chances are they all would've starved.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: It was already established that Apple Bloom's one of the cuter characters of the series but it's taken to a whole new level here when you see her in a sleeping cap, a bonnet and a bunny costume (all of which are baby blue).
- Ritual Magic: The whole process of making Zap Apple jam. All those silly and ridiculous things done are part of the ritual to ensure best yield.
- Rule of Symbolism: The flight pattern of the crows forms the shape of an apple.
- Savage Wolves: "Timberwolves" made of real timber attack Granny Smith.
- Senior Sleep Cycle: Granny's naps are ultra-predictable — until the CMC need her to remain asleep. They accidentally bash her head against the ceiling but Apple Bloom's complaints that Granny never misses her naps implies that even this doesn't work the other times.
- Series Continuity Error: Granny Smith mentions in the flashback that her family was starving, but the next shot shows their house surrounded by grass, which is what real horses eat. It could be construed as Artistic License Biology, except that these ponies are said to eat hay, which is mostly just dried grass.
- In the flashback the Mare in the Moon is not visible, despite Luna still being imprisoned there.
- Serious Business: Granny Smith has this gem in the episode's beginning: "There's a whooole mess of steps in this process and you gots to get each one of 'em right... *dramatic zoom/head turn* OR NO ZAP APPLE JAM!" It's eventually revealed that Zap Apples played a direct role in the founding of Ponyville; also, considering that Granny Smith was the one who discovered them in the first place, it makes sense that she'd treat it with such seriousness. Doesn't make it any less funny though.
- Apple Bloom wears a bonnet similar to Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie and gets called by her nickname "Half Pint".
- Big Macintosh's name may not have been an obvious reference but now with him harvesting rainbow-colored apples... (Granted, they don't have any bites in them.)
- The design of the Timberwolves may have been inspired by the Timbermares from Magic: The Gathering.
- Slow Clap: Even Silver Spoon is impressed by Granny's story.
- Smug Snake: Diamond Tiara to Apple Bloom. Later, Apple Bloom reverses the roles.Apple Bloom: If it weren't for my Granny Smith, your Daddy wouldn't have Barnyard Bargains!
- The Snack Is More Interesting: Background colt Truffle Shuffle chows down on a cookie during Filthy Rich's presentation.
- Stealth Pun:
- The Timber Wolves (their bark is worse than their bite, eh?).
- Uncle Strudel is wearing lederhosen. Both Strudel and lederhosen are German words.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Looking at the line of ponies in Granny Smith's flashback and then at the line nearer the end of the episode reveals that quite a few of Ponyville's inhabitants look like their grandparents.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Filthy Rich understandably would prefer not to be called "Filthy".
- Title Drop: Done by Granny Smith, twice.
- Tongue Trauma: Apple Bloom burns her tongue on a hot thermometer.
- Tree Buchet: The Cutie Mark Crusaders accidentally do it to themselves when attempting to pick the Zap Apples early.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: None of the Apple Family bat an eye at anything that Granny Smith does. Even Apple Bloom doesn't find anything out of the ordinary about it 'til Diamond Tiara points it out. Justified in that they live with her and probably go through this every year. That and Applejack and Big Macintosh know that what she's doing is needed for the Zap Apple Jam.
- Visual Pun: Timber Wolves who are literally wooden.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The mystical and terrifying Timber Wolves fear loud noises like a lot of ordinary wild animals with sensitive hearing.
- Wolves Always Howl at the Moon: Seemingly scary but then it turns out to be the first sign of Zap Apple harvest time.