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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E17 "Made in Manehattan"

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Applejack: I'm suggestin' we stop worryin' about what we can't do, and start doing what we can! I think I've got a plan. It won't be anythin' big or fancy, but it'll be somethin'. And somethin's gotta be better than nothin', right?

Written by Noelle Benvenuti
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The Friendship Map summons Rarity and Applejack to Manehattan. Rarity is overjoyed to be going back to the big city again, but Applejack is mystified and a little unhappy to be dragged out of her element. When they arrive, Applejack has difficulty adjusting to the rude and hurried behavior of the Manehattan ponies, and while Rarity makes herself at home buying random ponies hats and helping them with fashion, she has no idea what friendship problem the two of them must solve.

As they cast about for ponies with friendship issues, Rarity finds a flyer advertising the Midsummer Theater Revival, headed by none other than Coco Pommel. Rarity and Applejack meet with Coco, who tells the two of them that the program was formerly headed by a generous pony named Charity Kindheart, who used to organize a yearly event with plays, refreshments, and a sense of friendship to unite the community. But that all ended when Charity moved away, and while Coco wants to step into Charity's horseshoes, there's far too much work for her to do it alone. Rarity and Applejack eagerly volunteer to help Coco, but they can't seem to find anypony else willing to assist. Rarity works on costumes while Applejack tries to clean up a local park, a job that proves far too big for her to handle alone.

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Coco laments her failure, while Rarity and Applejack openly wonder why the map didn't simply call Twilight to Manehattan with them, since her magic could have fixed everything with ease. Applejack consoles Coco with advice: do what you can and don't worry about the rest. Using costumes designed by Rarity and Coco and a simple set and stage built by Applejack, the actors Coco has invited put on a play for anyone who happens to be passing by. More ponies stop to watch as the show goes on, eventually gathering a large crowd and accomplishing the Midsummer Theater Revival's main goal — bringing the community together and engendering a spirit of friendship.

After the play is over, two ponies confide in Rarity and Applejack that they now understand how much difference even a little effort can make. Rarity comes to realize that Twilight was not summoned precisely because her magic would simply zap the problem away, which would mean the Manehattan ponies would never have seen the value of small efforts. The moment of insight causes Rarity and Applejack's cutie marks to glow, meaning they've solved their friendship problem. Applejack is eager to head home, but Rarity can't resist stopping one more "crime against fashion" on their way back.

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*Cue-- steampunk-y banjo music*


Tropes:

  • Adorkable: Twilight is bored and keeps expressing it with raspberries and bored sighs.
  • An Aesop: You don't have to make a grand gesture to help your community; if enough people join in it, even a small effort can make a large difference.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The episode starts with Twilight bemoaning her life being slow as of late and being bored until she hears Rarity call for her. Twilight quickly jumps at the chance for some action... until she realizes the map wants Rarity and Applejack for the current problem, to her disappointment. The rest of the episode focuses on the latter two.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Twilight gets no sympathy from Spike.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: Downplayed, but it's hard to argue against the neighborhood's downslide since Charity left.
  • Blush Sticker: AJ and Coco Pommel get these a couple of times in the episode.
  • Boredom Montage: A very brief one courtesy of Twilight (she even made a pyramid out of books.)
  • Brick Joke: Rarity goes off to solve another fashion-related Felony Misdemeanor at the episode's end. She also makes amends to the hat seller by purchasing Applejack a new hat.
  • The Bus Came Back: This episode marks the first return of a character who provided a key to the chest in Season 4 (besides the semi-regular Wonderbolts and Discord). Fittingly, Coco Pommel was the very first to give hers.
  • Butt-Monkey: Applejack goes through a bit of a wringer trying to clean up the park on her own. To add insult to injury, she can barely finish a section of it.
  • Call-Back:
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Country Mouse: AJ is apprehensive about traveling to Manehattan and struggles to cope with the hectic pace and huge crowds once she gets there.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Just like in the previous episode, the usual credits music is replaced by a different composition — in this case, a melody very similar to "Working in the Coal Mine", complete with pickaxe-like clangs.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Once again, The Map leaves Twilight Sparkle out; this time, it's Lampshaded, then Justified once they realize that the ease in which she could have fixed things would prevent them from teaching the Map's intended Aesop.
  • Diving Save: Applejack has to tackle one of the actresses to save her from a collapsing stage.
  • Drama Queen: Rarity's in top form as she falls into Applejack's hooves in frustration.
  • Face Palm: AJ does this when she realizes the trip to Manehattan will cause her and Rarity to miss the Sisterhooves Social.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: AJ gives one of these to Rarity in response to Rarity suggesting that giving that one mare a new hat was what the two had been summoned to Manehattan for.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Rarity is horrified by the hat a Manehattanite mare wanted to buy, and does the same for another fashion emergency at the end.
  • Funny Background Event: After Rarity loses him a sale, the hat salespony can be seen giving her a Death Glare.
  • Furry Reminder: Applejack psyches herself up to cross the street by lowering her head, pawing at the ground, and snorting like she's about to charge.
  • Gilligan Cut: Applejack and Rarity assure Coco that everything about the Midsummer Theatre Revival will be fine. Then it cuts to Applejack and Rarity looking at the dilapidated state of the park.
  • Hand Gagging: AJ does this to Rarity to stop her when she starts getting overly melodramatic about the difficulties in getting the park and the stage ready for the play.
  • Hat Damage: Applejack accidentally runs over her hat with the lawnmower, then has it flattened by a statue. After the play, Rarity throws it in the trash and buys her a new one.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Applejack spends a lot of time in the episode completely confused as to why the map would call her to Manehattan, often stating she has nothing to offer.
  • Hypocritical Humor: One of the ponies Applejack and Rarity ask for help refuses on the grounds that he runs a large import/export business and can't spare the time... before the camera pulls back and reveals he's lounging on an inflatable raft.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipe: Happens several times, first during AJ and Rarity's search for volunteers (newspaper, popcorn bag), then while AJ is trying to clean up the park on her own (lawnmower, paintbrush).
  • Ironic Echo: "You bet your boots. (The first time AJ says it and Coco doesn't understand that she isn't talking about actual boots; the second time Coco herself says it, then winks at Applejack.)
  • It's All About Me: The problem Rarity and AJ are sent to fix is that everyone is so focused on themselves and their own problems that they don't think that they have time to help their community, thinking that they have to make a giant contribution.
  • The Last Straw: Applejack's hat crumples a bench when she sets it down, and the act of a single pony stepping on the dilapidated stage causes the entire thing to collapse.
  • Literal-Minded: Applejack tells Coco that she can "bet her boots" she and Rarity will help. Coco replies she doesn't wear boots as they chafe. She is gently chided by Applejack.
    Applejack: It's just an expression.
    (Coco gives a sheepish smile)
  • Literary Allusion Title: To Maid in Manhattan, a 2002 romantic comedy film starring Jennifer Lopez.
  • Mundane Solution: Discussed. When seeing just how bad the park is, Applejack wonders why the map didn't send Twilight, who could zap the entire park to perfection in two seconds. They ultimately realize that while Twilight could have done this, no-one would have learned anything if she did.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Rarity gives a pony a new hat, but in doing so, draws the pony's attention away from the hat vendor's stand she was browsing through. Naturally the vendor isn't happy about that and chastises Rarity for losing a sale.
    • Rarity and Applejack hope to get other businesses to help with the theater but naturally they refuse because of being too busy, among other reasons.
    • Applejack volunteers to straighten up the park for the program. But even with all her hard work, she can barely clean a section of it, ultimately admitting it's too much for one pony.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Subverted. Twilight wants to be this, since she's already read every book in the castle library and is bored out of her mind waiting for something to happen, but the map calls Rarity and Applejack to Manehattan instead of her, much to her dejection.
  • Running Gag: Just after the scene at the newspaper stand, a newspaper flashes by showing a photo of the huge unicorn who wanted a Princess Dress.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Spike can be seen reading a comic that appears to be the pony version of a Jughead & Archie comic.
    • There are several to Peanuts:
      • Rarity setting up a "Friendship Advice" stand similar to Lucy's Psychiatric Help stand.
      • Rarity saying Charlie Brown's catchphrase ("Good grief").
      • A pony that walks past the stand has a similar zig-zag sweater and single hair curl on its head like Charlie Brown (his cutie mark is even a football, which Lucy tends to pull away from him).
      • The music also shifts briefly to a Vince Guaraldi-inspired ditty when the booth is first revealed.
    • An elderly mare yells "Hey, I'm trottin' here!" at a taxi-cart just like in Midnight Cowboy.
    • In Coco's scrapbook there's pictures of Charity Kindheart working on costumes for The Wizard of Oz. Coco herself is working on costumes for My Fair Filly. Trotter on the Roof is mentioned in the play.
    • The newsstand pony is modeled off of Christian Bale's character Jack Kelly from Newsies.
    • Coco Pommel's neighborhood is home to Manehattan's Haypacking district and fashion district, a reference to the Meatpacking and Garment districts in New York City. The flyer Rarity finds also mentions "Bronclyn", an Equestrian take on Brooklyn.
  • Show Within a Show: The play.
  • Stylistic Suck: The final production of Midsummer Theater Revival. Justified, as In-Universe, Coco Pommel didn't have the time or budget to run the show the way she originally planned.
  • Synchronous Episodes: The episode takes place at the same time as "Brotherhooves Social", which shows what Apple Bloom is up to at the Sisterhooves Social while Applejack is away.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: This is the third of three consecutive Rarity-centric episodes (in broadcast order), although she shares the spotlight with another pony in both the previous episode and this one.
  • Take a Third Option: Since holding the program at the park is out of the question and they can hardly advertise, Rarity, Applejack and Coco decide to just build a stage outside the park and hold the performance there in the hope it'll attract ponies. It works.
  • Theory of Narrative Causality: Repeatedly invoked by Rarity and Applejack as the reason they are the only two summoned to Manehattan by the Cutie Map.
  • There Are No Coincidences: The coincidence of them doing so is lampshaded by Coco after Rarity and Applejack find her flyer. Rarity believes it's fate. Seeing as they were led there by an omniscient magical table, she may be right.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: The hat seller loses a paying customer due to Rarity at the start of the episode. At the end, she buys a replacement hat for Applejack from the same seller.
  • Troubled Production: In-Universe example. Coco Pommel didn't have the time or budget for as big of a play as she imagined. Not helping is that the Midsummer Theater Revival was abandoned for such a long time, that the area was grown over, which no one pony could restore, which was proven when the original stage collapsed, at which point it seemed hopeless to Coco.
  • Unusual Euphemism: AJ when she finally makes it across the street in Manehattan:
    Applejack: Butter mah biscuits!
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: The mare watching the play with her colt. It's vaguely Puerto Rican or Queens, but as Tabitha St. Germain is Canadian, it sounds ridiculously fake.
  • Wingding Eyes: Twilight gets these when thinking about the libraries in Manehattan.
  • Write Who You Know: The play is a dramatization of how Charity Kindheart, the mare who inspired Coco, founded the Theater Revival.
  • You Look Familiar: A couple of the Manehattan ponies are similar to those seen in the show before; the pony running the hat stall looks similar to Claude the puppeteer and the pony running the popcorn stand could easily pass for Babs Seed's mother. (Although considering the setting, maybe she is!)

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