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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E11 "Applejack’s 'Day' Off"

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"I guess it's possible to get stuck in a routine where you're doin' all this extra stuff and not realize it, but I can't for the life of me think of how!... Why are y'all staring at me like that?"
Applejack

Story by Neal Dusedau, Michael P. Fox, & Wil Fox
Written by Michael P. Fox & Wil Fox
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Rarity is looking forward to spending a day with Applejack at the Ponyville Spa, but Applejack's chores prevent her from arriving until just before the spa closes for the day. Frustrated, Rarity confides in Twilight that Applejack's chores are preventing them from spending any time together for their weekly spa treatments. Twilight, Rarity and Spike head to Sweet Apple Acres, where Applejack is baking pies among her usual chores. She wants to go to the spa with Rarity, but says that her chores come first, and she has so many of them to do. Twilight and Spike offer to take over Applejack's chore of feeding the farm's pigs to free up an hour of time for Applejack and Rarity to enjoy a steam bath at the spa. Applejack agrees, with her and Rarity heading off to the spa.

At the spa, Applejack and Rarity want to head into the steam room, but are confronted by a very long line of ponies in front of them, waiting to use it. While waiting, several of the spa guests use hot towels to keep warm instead, running the spa's washers and dryers on full blast around the clock. Rarity offers to do something else at the spa, but Applejack is insistent on getting into the steam room before anything else. Applejack discovers that one of the valves has sprung a small leak, leading to slower steam buildup, which in turn results in more hot towels being used by the customers. Despite Rarity's pleas for time, Applejack fixes the leaking steam valve herself. Applejack says that the spa was creating its own problem, since the employees had gotten so used to their workaround solution that they never bothered to fix the original leak. While this solves the long wait time for the steam room, it uses up the remainder of the hour that she and Rarity had for it, forcing them to go back to Sweet Apple Acres.

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At the farm, Twilight and Spike haven't even properly gotten started feeding the pigs, thanks to following Applejack's list to the letter. When Applejack returns, she starts a bizarre set of activities to feed the pigs, most of which are ultimately unnecessary since they were intended to get around problems that have long since been solved. Rarity says that Applejack herself is guilty of the problem she noted at the spa: developing routines to compensate for problems instead of solving them. Rarity and Twilight help streamline Applejack's chores by going over them with her, and figuring out ways to get more of them done faster and more efficiently. With all of the time remaining after the chores are done, Applejack and Rarity head back to the spa to finally relax.


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Tropes:

  • An Aesop:
    • Sometimes you should break routine and think outside the box. You'll be surprised with how different the results can be.
    • Sometimes, an outside perspective can help you find an issue you're overlooking.
  • Ascended Extra: Aloe, the pink mare of the "Spa Pony" duo who rarely get any screentime outside a single scene, and even rarer with speaking roles, plays a major supporting role during the second act.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: Applejack's methods for chores. Yes, they look interesting, but they're extremely time-consuming and she's never bothered to change them even after fixing the problems she conceived them to circumvent in the first place.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Ponyville spa has many many more rooms, hallways, and even a basement than the outside structure would imply.
  • Bothering by the Book: An unintentional and self-inflicted example, but Twilight and Spike trying to follow Applejack's pig-feeding list exactly ends up with the pigs still unfed when the two spa-goers return, and Twilight almost smashing into the ground.
  • Busman's Holiday:
    • Applejack's day at the spa is derailed by her troubleshooting and fixing the steam system.
    • Applejack's fixation on having a steam counts too, since she had just been sweating over a hot stove baking pies.
  • The Cameo:
    • Spoiled Rich shows up as one of the customers on line for the steam room, bragging about her giant mansion.
    • Bulk Biceps is hard at work as a masseur again.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Cake are getting massages at the spa.
    • Royal Pin is seen with his signature extra-sharp horn for the first time since it debuted in "Call of the Cutie".
  • Cassandra Truth: As Rarity waits for Applejack in the steam room during the opening, a spa pony comes in and warns her not to stay too long as she tends to get "pruny". Applejack finally arrives near closing time and Rarity's entire head and horn are extremely wrinkled and saggy.
  • Character Development: Rainbow Dash has gotten over her aversion of ponies touching her hooves to where she visits the spa regularly for a hooficure and a gentle massage.
  • Complexity Addiction: Applejack's gotten to be this way with some of her chores, reflexively doing things to circumvent problems she fixed a while ago. Twilight and Spike haven't even managed to finish feeding the pigs by the time she and Rarity get back from their hour at the spa.
  • Continuity Nod: Rainbow Dash is seen wearing turtle-head slippers in her scenes in the spa. She also claims to be against getting pampered at the spa like in "Ponyville Confidential", saying she's only there to ease up after her Wonderbolt practice, but it turns out that her opinion has changed quite a lot since that episode.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The rest of the Apple family's Written-In Absence helps justify Twilight and Spike offering to cover for Applejack.
  • Cutting the Knot: With some help from the others, Applejack manages to streamline her chore list.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In-universe example. Applejack's gotten so used to her routine despite having fixed most of the problems around the pig pen that she started feeding them like that out of habit.
  • Disaster Dominoes: A long-term example. The long wait time for the steam room was caused by a slight leak reducing the steam pressure, making the room take longer to heat up. That lowered the amount of hot water, and while the chilly ponies waited, the hot towels they got to warm them up needed to be changed. All the old towels constantly being washed reduced the hot water even more, and so on.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Considering Rarijack is one of the most popular ships for either of the two in the fandom, it may not be coincidence that their interactions in this episode can be seen as someone upset at their significant other being a workaholic too busy to spend time with them.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Unable to fix a leaky steam pipe by simply tightening the bolts on a coupling, Applejack finishes her repair by wrapping it with tape.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Applejack, Rarity and Rainbow Dash laugh over Dash's embarrassment about her girly streak.
  • Exact Words: Twilight tries to feed the pigs by hanging from a rope, as detailed in Applejack's list. When Spike points out that she could accomplish this by simply flying, Twilight replies that she's following Applejack's instructions "to the letter," and since there's no mention of flying on the list, she doesn't do it herself.
  • Eye Recall: Downplayed when Applejack has her epiphany around the steam problem. Downplayed in that A) It only shows certain objects/characters instead of a whole scene and B) The dark tunnel is shown, but part of her face is still visible.
  • Funny Background Event: When Applejack follows the towel spa worker into and out of the laundry room, Mr. and Mrs. Cake are seen getting massages. Unfortunately for Mr. Cake, his masseur is Bulk Biceps.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Giving Twilight a point-by-point checklist for every action necessary to feed the pigs would make sure it would be done exactly as Applejack would do it... but this leads to Twilight dangling from a rope, despite the fact that she can fly, because Applejack can't fly. The fact that the list is much more complicated than it needs to be and doesn't make sense to anyone besides Applejack makes the problem worse.
  • Guilty Pleasure: Rainbow Dash sees her spa treatments as this, being highly embarrassed at Applejack and Rarity seeing her there, and desperately trying to bluff her way out of it.
  • Hammerspace: Applejack apparently pulls her tools and toolbelt from here, since she doesn't leave the spa to get them. Rarity also keeps her pocket watch here.
  • Hard-Work Montage: Two of them, the first one done with Applejack working on the steam pipe while Rarity makes use of the spa trip as she does. And another where Twilight, Spike and Rarity help Applejack find less complicated ways to do her chores.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Applejack goes on about how the spa ponies got stuck in a routine and didn't even realize they had a problem... while doing her own complex ritual to feed the pigs.
    • Twilight balks at the sheer length of Applejack's list, even though she herself has made lists just as long (or longer) in her time.
  • Idiot Ball: Applejack. One presumes that an expert farmer like her, as well as being a personality that obviously prefers simplicity over complexity, should know already how to optimize the work. On the other hand, this is a pony whose grandmother sings to water cans while wearing a bunny suit in order to make zap apple jam.
  • Implausible Deniability: When Rarity and Applejack find Dash at the spa wearing a pink coat and turtle slippers, she claims she's just there for a quick sport massage... and continues trying to convince them of this after a spa pony reveals she's there for the pampered treatment.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: While Rainbow Dash is protesting that she's just there for a "deep tissue sports massage", one of the spa ponies comes up and apologizes for the wait on her "pampered muzzle massage and indulgent hooficure".
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Applejack's list for feeding the pigs includes a series of bizarre and seemingly pointless actions which waste most of the time Twilight and Spike were given to do the chore. When Applejack comes back, she finishes up and explains why she does them.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Applejack hangs a lot of them explaining why she couldn't relax at the spa until she'd fixed the problem with the steam room while going through an elaborate routine to feed the pigs.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Segues directly into the first Hard-Work Montage.
    Applejack: I'm gonna need my tools.
  • Married to the Job: Applejack is too busy with her farm chores to spend time at the spa with Rarity.
  • Mythology Gag: Once again, Applejack is a silly pony.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • Taken out of context, the preview clip of Applejack making funny noises and acting like a chicken makes it look like Applejack has cracked under the pressure of running the farm.
    • The early synopsis isn't wrong about Twilight and Spike finding Applejack's chores "a more difficult job than they thought", but with no reference to Applejack's Complexity Addiction (which becomes immediately apparent when Twilight attempts to follow a list to feed the pigs), it simply makes it sound like AJ's workload is that much bigger than everypony realizes.
  • Nightmare Face: Rarity removes the towel off her head in the opening, revealing that her entire head and even her horn have become "pruny" after being in the steam room too long.
  • "Not Important to This Episode" Camp: The rest of the Apple family are said by Applejack to be out selling their harvest, meaning Twilight's suggestion of having one of them cover Applejack's chores for a while while she joins Rarity at the spa can't be followed.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: Applejack starts going on about the spa ponies and how they were blind to their problem while doing her own overly complex pig-feeding process.
  • Parental Bonus: All the plot points concerning Applejack's chore routines and solving them with an outside perspective will most certainly resonate with the working class.
  • Plot Parallel: Applejack comments on the spa just getting used to things other than trying to find and fix the problem. When they return to the farm and Twilight, Rarity and Spike see how Applejack does her chores, it turns she had just gotten used to doing things like that even though the problems were long since fixed.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Deconstructed with Rainbow Dash, who insists she's at the spa for a sports massage rather than the "pampered muzzle" treatment. Rarity and Applejack eventually convince her to join them in some pampering.
  • Running Gag: The male spa pony constantly getting used towels thrown in his face.
  • Scare Quotes: The quotes around "Day" in the episode title refer to Rarity and Applejack's "spa day", which is only an hour's break from one chore... and Applejack ends up spending that hour fixing a leaky pipe.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Spoiled Rich proclaims that "without steam, a steam room's just a room."
  • Shout-Out: As Twilight and Spike feed the pigs while having her hang from a rope, she nearly falls until she is just inches from landing in and spreads her front legs out just like Ethan Hunt. The first musical notes of the series' theme are even heard.
  • The Simple Life Is Simple: Invoked by Applejack, who is certain that an alicorn princess who isn't a farmer can't figure out how to do a few simple farm chores without instruction. She's right, but only because Twilight insists on following Applejack's list for the chore to the letter, and the list itself is a product of Complexity Addiction.
  • Stating the Simple Solution:
    • When lowering her on a rope to follow Applejack's list, Spike points out that flying would be easier, though Twilight rejects that for favor of following the list.
    • Later, Spike, Rarity, and Twilight tell/show Applejack ways to streamline her other chores too.
  • Tempting Fate: Frequently.
    • Twilight and Spike tell Rarity and AJ that they've got the pig-feeding covered. When the two come back, they aren't fed yet.
    • By the same token, Rarity assures AJ that Twilight can surely handle such a simple task just before they head back. Cut to said unhandled task.
    • Rarity tells Applejack that the long line probably isn't just for the steam room, only for a pony in line to tell her that no, it is.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • When Spike slips while carrying cumbersome stacks of pies, Twilight catches him and the pies in midair with her magic just in time.
    • The male spa worker, who suffers from patrons tossing dirty laundry on his head all day, is downright elated when Applejack's plumbing fix ensures he only has to wash one load of towels a day from now on.
  • Vocal Evolution: Aloe now has a vague Eastern-European accent to match Lotus Blossom's, unlike her last speaking appearance.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: The spa ponies' accent sounds vaguely Eastern European, yet doesn't really match up with any particular country or region.
  • Workaholic: As always a noticeable character flaw for Applejack, who wastes the entire hour she and Rarity have at the spa fixing broken plumbing because she's simply unable not to try and fix problems she sees.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: Applejack goes through a lot of routine in her chores due to being used to working like that. Twilight, Rarity and Spike, however, show her how to do things in a less complicated manner.

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