Applejack: I could always help out.
Apple Bloom: Me too!
Big Macintosh: Eeyup.
The upcoming Apple Family Reunion is nigh, and it seems to be the biggest one yet: everypony in the Apple family, from Braeburn in Appleloosa to Babs Seed in Manehattan, will be showing up at Sweet Apple Acres! Normally Granny Smith is in charge of the reunion festivities, but Applejack offers to host it this time around so her granny can get a chance to enjoy herself. In fact, odds are not everyone will make it to the next reunion, so she swears to make this one the most memorable reunion yet.
With a little help from her friends and family, Applejack gets the entire reunion set up just as Apples from all over Equestria begin coming over. Everypony starts catching up with each other, but Applejack is eager for the ponies to enjoy all the exciting activities in store for them—too eager. Applejack's gotten carried away by turning a simple seven-legged race into a full-fledged obstacle course, replacing the granny ponies' rocking chairs with noisy sewing machines so they can finally finish the never-ending quilt, and running the apple fritter-making like an assembly line.
Applejack finally calls a break so she can take pictures for the family album, but everypony's too worn out from her activities for her to capture any noteworthy memories. Applejack arranges a family hayride to boost morale, but decides to try something "a wee bit more exciting" than the relaxing one they usually have. Things seem to get better when their bumpy ride takes them to see a colorful colony of (literal) fruit bats...until the bats spot an apple on Aunt Applesauce's hat and swoop down on the ponies. The wagon swerves and comes to a literal crashing halt back at the barn, knocking it down.
With her plans wrecked along with the barn, Applejack tearfully thinks she's hosted the worst reunion ever, but as Granny Smith points out, everypony's still here and there's still time to make great memories. Inspired, Applejack announces one last activity for everypony: raising the barn together so they can take the traditional family photo in front of it. Everypony has a blast, and they all head back home at the end of the day with a family reunion to remember—for all the right reasons. As she and her family fondly look over their new photos for their album, Applejack writes out her letter to Princess Celestia:
Note: This is the ninth episode of the third season, but was the eighth released and aired.
- Adorkable: Granny Smith when she was young; her failure to sew and her harmless country swear are huggable.
- American Gothic Couple: The Apple family still has the ponified version of this painting from "The Cutie Pox".
- An Aesop: It's not about the activities you do, it's about the people you do them with.
- This is also notably the second (and last) episode of the season where someone actually mailed the aesop to Celestia (on-screen, anyway). The last one was "Too Many Pinkie Pies"..
- Aside Glance:
- Applejack does one when Granny Smith explains Applesauce's Embarrassing Nickname.
- Granny Smith winks at the audience after Applejack admits she caused "a few hiccups" in their reunion.
- Baby Talk: Baby Applejack, in a flashback, tended to slur her r's and to pronounce "el" and "er" sounds as "uh" noises.Baby Applejack: I'm Appuhjack! Mowe appuh fwittuh?
- Barn Raising: The Apple clan works together on raising the Sweet Apple Acres barn after Applejack inadvertently collapses it. It does wonders for family morale.
- Berserk Button: Never call Granny Smith old and never roll your eyes at Applesauce.
- Big Eater: According to Granny Smith, Applejack had the appetite of a full-grown stallion when she was still in diapers.
- Bits of Me Keep Passing Out: Part of the obstacle course requires participants to endlessly recite tongue twisters, until finally...Babs Seed: I canh feel mah thung.
Apple Bloom: Me neithuh.
- Blown Across the Room: Happens to Granny Smith when she sneezes. Luckily, all she suffers is a messed-up mane.
- Carnivore Confusion: Granny Smith's exclamation of "Stick an apple in my mouth and roast my rump!" suggests familiarity with eating roast pork.
- Characterization Marches On: Remember when Granny Smith didn't speak in coherent sentences and could hardly move? Here she's sharp as a knife mentally and does a lot of physical labor without any visible complications. Maybe she finally got that hip replaced.
- Cool Airship: Three of the Apples arrive in one.
- Cool Old Lady: Granny Smith, as usual, and now her cousin Apple Rose as well!
- Comically Missing the Point: Apple Bloom's pleased as punch that every RSVP came back to affirm they will be there. AJ and Granny are more than a bit worried.
- Continuity Cavalcade: Nearly single Apple family member we've been introduced to thus far in the series appears, from Apple Fritter to Braeburn to Uncle Strudel to Babs Seed, and more. As a bonus, we're introduced to even more Apples!
- Continuity Nod:
- Turns out there really is a pony named Applesauce.
- Applejack doesn't hesitate to ask her friends for help with a gigantic undertaking.
- A pony is once again covered in the same glitter Rarity uses on her emergency edible boots.
- Rainbow Dash once again bounces on a cloud to make it rain and drenches the pony beneath it (in this case Applejack). Said pony is also charred by lightning.
- Apple Bloom has the same reaction to Applejack's obstacle course as she does Pinkie Pie's veggie puns.
- Apple Bloom has to balance plates on her head again.
- Two of the train- and stagecoach-pulling ponies from "Over a Barrel" and "The Last Roundup" are pulling the hayride wagon (although they don't seem to have learned their lesson about what happens when one has dealings with Applejack).
- Once again, Applejack is a silly pony.
- Cuteness Overload: Baby Applejack, whom the fans took instantly to heart.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Applejack fails to grasp that the reunion is more about spending quality time with family instead of stupendous activities. For example, she takes Granny Smith's quip on never finishing the family quilt too literally by getting a bunch of sewing machines to speed up the quilting process. The point of the quilt is that it's never supposed to be finished; it's meant to keep growing as family members add to it over the years.
- Easily Forgiven: Nopony's mad at Applejack for driving them to exhaustion, all but ruining the reunion, and then putting them to work fixing her mistake. She meant well and the Apples love barn-raising, so it all works out.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Applejack and Apple Bloom's Great-Great-Auntie Applesauce got her name after losing her dentures in a pot of apple jam.
- Embarrassing Old Photo: Granny Smith isn't fond of the photo taken during her first failed attempt at adding a patch to the Apple family quilt.Granny Smith: Well, nopony told me you actually had to knot the end of the thread!
- Equippable Ally: While setting up for the reunion, Applejack lights the woodfires beneath a row of cooking pots by grabbing Spike and flicking his mouth open and closed like a Zippo lighter, complete with sparks, making him shoot out a gout of flame and lighting the fires all at once.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Great Auntie Applesauce used to go by another name before she acquired her Embarrassing Nickname.
- False Teeth Tomfoolery: Constantly done by Aunt Applesauce, who lost her original pair long ago and is having trouble with the new set too. (Applejack's shenanigans don't help.)
- Foreshadowing: "Feathers on a goat!" "Gathering goat-feathers" is a term coined by Ellis Parker Butler for activities that distract someone from their own work or the bigger picture. In this case, Applejack's attempts to make the reunion as exciting as possible distract her and everypony else from the family bonding that's supposed to take place at reunions.
- From Bad to Worse: Applejack's activities go from exhausting to dangerous when the colony of fruit bats cause the hayride wagon to veer off course and crash into the barn. The sad thing is, Applejack doesn't notice anything's wrong until it reaches this point.
- Funny Background Event: When Applejack visits the relatives making fritters, one unnamed Apple can be seen eating an uncooked fritter in the background.
- Furry Reminder: The 7-legged race is the equivalent of a human 3-legged one.
- Gonna Need More X: When Granny Smith realizes how many Apples are coming to the reunion:Granny Smith: I think we're gonna need a bigger cider trough.
- I Was Just Joking: During the hayride:Granny Smith: Where in the world does that girl have us headin'? The west orchard?
Big Macintosh: (looking in the distance) Eeyup.
Granny Smith: What?! I was jokin'!
- I Can't Hear You: The granny ponies have trouble making out what each other is saying over their noisy new sewing machines.Granny Smith: Good gracious!
Apple Rose: "Golden Delicious"? I think he's racin' with his cousin!
- I Was Quite a Looker: Granny Smith takes quite a bit of pride in her brighter and smoother appearance back in her time, and even stretches her face back to recapture some of that youth for a few seconds. Alas, gravity...
- Irony: All the fun and games Applejack has planned become hard work for everyone, while an event which is work (raising a barn) brings the Apple family together and is fun.
- It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: What Applejack plans for the Apple Family Reunion to be. It goes downhill before Applejack turns things around and makes good on her plans.
- Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Heartbreakingly uttered by Applejack before she turns things around.
- Last Chorus Slow-Down: "Raise This Barn".
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: This episode spoils the fact that "One Bad Apple" ends with Apple Bloom and Babs Seed on good terms, and that Babs is now a Cutie Mark Crusader.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Inevitable for a show about an Apple family reunion. On the other hoof, for a show supposedly about Applejack, there are a lot of ponies who aren't Applejack, and we spend a lot of the episode with them.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: The fruit bats are part-fruit, part-bat.
- Mundane Utility: Applejack works Spike's head like a lighter.
- Musical Chores: The "Raise This Barn" song, which Applejack sings as she and her family rebuild the barn at Sweet Apple Acres.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Applejack when she accidentally causes the hayride wagon to crash into and destroy the barn.
- New Neighbours as the Plot Demands:
- Hayseed Turnip Truck is a member of the Apple Family, and with the most un-Apple-sounding name. (Granted, Aunt and Uncle Orange are also present, so having an apple-based name/cutie mark/talent is likely not a fixed trait).
- Similarly, Cherry Berry, Cloudchaser, Dizzy Twister, Flounder, Golden Harvest/Carrot Top, Green Gem, Mr. Greenhooves, Helia, Lucky Clover, Meadow Song, Shoeshine, and Sweetie Drops/Bon Bon can be seen in one or two frames. That said, they could be easily be family friends, in-laws, or even just wanting to know what's going on with the music, and unlike Hayseed Turnip Truck, none of them are included in the family photo.
- Negative Continuity: The flashbacks to Granny Smith's story in "Family Appreciation Day" show she is a full-grown mare when she and her family first settled onto the land that would become Ponyville, yet she appears as a filly in a family photo showing the framework for the barn at Sweet Apple Acres. A possible explanation is animation error.
- Never Say "Die": Granny wants to make this reunion the best one ever, considering that not everypony may make the next one. This is followed by Applejack looking up at the shooting stars with a thoughtful look on her face. Applejack then quickly averts this by commenting that everypony may be too busy to be able to make the next one.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Applejack's decision to send the hayride through a fruit bat-infested orchard, and intentionally wake up said bats, marks the point where all her plans go downhill.
- Noodle Incident:
- Granny Smith alludes to one, exclaiming as some Apples arrive via blimp that "this is more exciting than when it rained frogs".
- During the granny ponies' conversation:Aunt Applesauce: I imagine you two think I have forgotten what you did to my parasol six reunions ago!
Granny Smith: We were just usin' it to help break open that piñata!
- Not Soinnocent Whistle:
- Big Mac gives one after stealing an apple fritter. Applejack is not fooled.
- Rainbow Dash gives one earlier after 'accidentally' zapping Applejack with a storm cloud.
- N-Word Privileges: Apple Bloom and Babs Seed are comfortable using "blank flank", a derogatory term for a pony without cutie mark, in a conversation with each other, both of them still being blank flanks themselves.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Granny Smith, when she finds out just how much of the family will be coming.
- Twice during the hayride: once by Granny Smith when she finds out they're being taken to see the fruit bats, and again by Applejack when said bats begin attacking the riders.
- Once a Season: Applejack's barn is destroyed.
- Product Placement: A rather clever example; when Applejack gets covered in luster dust, she bears more than a little resemblance to her metallic gold mystery bag figure.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter:
- The fruit bats, like the parasprites before them, are adorable but destructive.
- Baby Applejack.
- Running Gag: Something causes Aunt Applesauce's teeth to fall out.
- Schizo Tech: Applejack somehow got her hooves on gas-powered sewing machines.
- Granny Smith's Unusual Euphemism "feathers on a goat" is a reference to Goat-Feathers by Ellis Parker Butler.
- Applejack proclaims, "Git 'er done!"
- The brief scene where Pinkie drinks honey from a beehive and then spits out a bee when she burps is possibly a Shout-Out to old Winnie the Pooh shorts.
- Applejack demonstrates the "Bobbing for Apples" game by stuffing her mouth full of apples, as in APPLE.MOV.
- It might be a coincidence, but the title is similar to Addams Family Reunion.
- Shown Their Work: As improbable as it seems, according to The Other Wiki horses live on average 25-30 years and begin to breed at the age of four (with a gestation period of a year) so it is entirely plausible that four generations of horses (Auntie Applesauce down to Applejack, Apple Bloom and Big Macintosh) can be alive at the same time.
- Sneeze of Doom: Granny Smith's sneeze is so strong it blows her across the barn.
- Stars Are Souls: Word of Saint Paul says the shooting stars at the end represent Applejack's parents.
- Stealth Pun: At one point during the song sequence, a pig is hamboning.
- Stock Scream: Apple Bloom (oddly enough) utters the Wilhelm Scream when she falls over during the obstacle course.
- Tears of Remorse: Seeing her barn in ruins reduces poor Applejack to tears as she realizes it's all her fault.
- Time Passes Montage: In essence, the group shot photos of all the Apples at the time of each reunion in front of the barn which starts off unfinished.
- Toilet Humor: Pinkie Pie burping up that bee after she drank honey (Which, can't be drank).
- Took a Level in Badass: Granny Smith is much sharper and physically capable than in previous episodes.
- Unusual Euphemism:
Granny Smith: Oh fingle-fangle!
- "Feathers on a goat!"
- Granny Smith lets loose with one when she gets frustrated with the quilt in a flashback:
- Up to Eleven: Deconstructed; Applejack thinks that taking the family reunion activities Up to Eleven will make things more memorable, but all it does is make everypony exhausted and destroy her property.
- Visual Pun: The fruit bats look like actual fruit as well as eating fruit like actual fruit bats.
- Wacky Sound Effect: The sewing machines appear to run on a gasoline engine.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Downplayed; Applejack's obviously no villain, and she clearly wants her family to have fun, but she does go overboard with the activities until the reunion becomes all work and no play. She quickly turns things around when she realizes just how hazardous her activities are.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Granny Smith states that the last Apple family reunion was 100 moons ago. Since the phrase "moon" refers to a complete 28 day lunar cycle that would mean the last reunion was 2800 days (7.66 years) ago. But we saw the Apple family reunion in the pilot episode. So either it's been seven years since Twilight first came to Ponyville or Equestria has a weird lunar cycle or Applejack mixed up the reason why her family was there in the pilot episode as she was overworked when she told Twilight about this and they were there for some other event. If lunar quarters — waxing, full, waning, new — are reckoned as separate "moons", then that would be just over two years, which would make the episode timing spot on. Of course, then the ponies would be calling their weeks "months", since month is a cognate, and this conflicts with temporal terminology used in other episodes.
- You Were Trying Too Hard: Applejack's basic problem over organizing the family reunion.