Okay... Are we all ready for one hell of a headache? Do we have our pencils, papers, graph paper and what not? Good, because the FlimFlam Brothers are here with...
The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000
It's night at Fluttershy's cottage. Suddenly, Dash bursts through the window! She pulls away Fluttershy's blankets and Flutters covers herself up. I laugh every time at that one. :D Turns out Cider Season is about to start! And cue the 'Dash is a lush' jokes. :p Dash grouses about previous seasons and Pinkie 'the asshole' Pie getting ahead and them running out. But Dash goes into asshole mode with her 'buy some for later and drink it in front of her, drop by drop' thing. They arrive and the line stretches out past the frame. Turns out Pinkie had the idea to camp out, then told others about it. "Hope they don't run out before you get any." First mention of 'innocently insensitive' and/or 'it's just Pinkie Pie' and I will fucking NUKE you.
After the commercials, Applejack opens cider season. Pinkie buys almost a dozen or so mugs and my urge to kill is redlining already. We see the operation. Granny runs the till. Applebloom pours the cider. Big Mac gets barrels when the others are empty. Fluttershy gets one, and just as Dash gets up there... it runs out. Yeah, not really 'funny' to me. Fluttershy offers Dash hers, but Dash is pissed and wants to know why there isn't enough cider for all, and the crowd gets ugly. Applejack says they took measures to increase production, but it's made with 'love and integrity'. It takes time. We'll get back to this, but for the record, I'm not buying it too much.
We get a scene of Pinkie rubbing the cider into Dash's face, and I honestly wish I could punch her. Or even better, if Dash could punch her. Suddenly, a steampunkish contraption of a carriage pulls up! It also knocks into the Apple family's fence. Foreshadowing? Foreshadowing. And Flim and Flam hop off. Are they gonna sell a monorail? Oceanfront property in Mongolia? The Brooklyn Bridge? Tell the evils of pool halls? Well, with an incredibly catchy number, they sell their machine, the titular Super Speedy Cider Sqwueezy 6000, which from now on I'll refer to as the machine. And they got the crowd eating out of the pad of their hooves. They fire up the machine, and Rarity faints for... effect.
By the way, if this stuff isn't RL_style alcoholic, it sure as hell affects the Equestrian ponies that way.
The thing sucks up apples, and there's a window to the interior. Granny interrupts in song, reminding them of quality. She also sips some, and you can tell by her expression it's good stuff. Turns out, the machine has quality control, some damned advanced QC too. It's obvious the machine works and works well. Applebloom says they've got a deal! But Granny's not buying it, despite her expression during the musical number. They huddle, decide on 42 long and to heave it deep into the end zone. Applejack's unsure, then the Brothers break into the huddle and say they'll supply the machine if they supply the apples and split it 75/25, with 75% of the profits... going to the FlimFlam brothers. And I call bullshit on that!
Applejack does, too. She also notes cider sales keep Sweet Apple Acres afloat during the winter. And I had to correct 'afloat' twice, there. *Headdesk* "No deal," Big Mac says. So they'll compete. With what, though? They have no apples to compete with. Next morning, another line. And last cup, and the line is pissed. The FlimFlam Brothers pull up, denting the fence again. and they somehow got cider. Dash is about to take a drink when Applejack lassos a barrel away and Dash's mug gets knocked away and spills into the ground. It's... not funny for me. She is CHEWING THE DIRT! Oh, and the cider was made from Apple family apples. So here's the challenge.
The machine can make enough cider to satisfy the whole town. Applebloom says they can do it in forty-five minutes! One of the brothers-I can never remember how to tell them apart-calls her chicken and she goes Marty McFly on them. She says they can use the south field. It'll be worth it, apparently. And we have a bet, from the episode itself...
"Whoever produces the most barrels in one hour wins the exclusive right to sell cider in Ponyville." Applejack is about to stroke out, for the record. According to her, if they lose, they lose the farm.
The next morning, the Apple family is getting ready, with Big Mac sporting some awesome goggles, Granny with some cool glasses and Applejack kicking a punching bag, with Applebloom hanging on for ballast. Mayor Mare announces the stakes and the crowd... wasn't aware of it? There's some grumbling and audible, "Oh, really?" there. And it's Doctor Whooves at the hourglass, like days of our lives.
The Brothers power up their machine and they lounge back. Meanwhile, Applejack kicks down apples, Applebloom collects them, Granny critiques them and Big Mac runs on a treadmill, powering their cider press. As the barrel fills he caps it, kicks it away and gets another. And in the time it takes them to get one barrel filled... they have six filled. Rarity says they make one barrel to the twins' three, though, but visually it was six. I am going with six to one since Rarity might not have counted properly. And the pile's growing. Twilight asks if honorary members can help, and the Brothers, in their idiocy, declare all of Canterlot can help! applejack, in a legit sign of character development, accepts. It's heartwarming.
Twilight has Fluttershy help with the trees, Pinkie help with apple-catching, Rarity help with QC and Dash on the apple press. And... it really, really works. I do love the little look Big Mac and Dash exchange. :p Twilight supervises and switches out full barrles for empty ones, and it's five to three in the Apple family's favor! The Brothers double the power, then shut off their own QC. Morons. Dash says they should shut off their own QC, but both Applejack and Granny say no. Because they know what they're doing. There's a hard-work montage, but at the end... Flim and Flam win. And the townsfolk are unsure, too.
The Brothers gloat, because... it's now FlimFlam Fields? No, it's not. they got rights to cider-selling, not the farm itself. The townsfolk realize what assholes the Brothers are while Applejack and Pinkie cry. Fortunately, it turns out turning off the QC was a really stupid idea. They don't have cider. They have apple-flavored gunk. The townsfolk turn on them. Bonbon's has rocks in it! They get the hell outta Dodge, and outta Ponyville, too. "Next town?"
Due to the competition, they made enough for the whole town! Applejack writes a letter to celestia, saying she didn't learn anything... then recaps she knew stuff already. And Dash finally get a mug of cider to feed her addiction.
It's... oh, god. I just realized this is one of the biggest flame war episodes of them all. For those of you on my fimfic blog, I post this to a thread on RPG.net. it's a nice place, good people there. :) And to those on RPG.net, I post this to my fimfic blog. So...
I like the episode, overall. There's no real 'anti-technology' message. The machine works, wonderfully actually. It's not the machine, it's the Brothers. They're con artists, folks. Applejack was right to reject their offer. I could go into some huge thing I am incredibly not-qualified to go into, so instead...
Although... I'm not entirely sure the Apple family can't get some help. I'm pretty cure they could definitely increase prices, then use the money to hire more help. Or pay Dash in cider itself. :p That way they can keep their customer base happier, at least.
EDIT: and as MrBirthday pointed out here, set limits on how much someone can buy!
The FlimFlam Brothers are... they're fun, albeit slimy. :D I like the machine, too.
No review tomorrow, sorry. I wanna get some writing done.
Okay, technically only one of these guys is 'Swindle'. the G1 repaint is Rollbar from the old 2001 Robots in Disguise/Car Robots show, and the other guy is 'Munitioner' from the third-party company Fansproject, as part of an update to the old Bruticus Maximus combiner from Energon. Also, the FlimFlam Brother minifigures are very hard to stand up and keep standing up. I have to use a bazooka from my Ace McShane action figure to keep them steady, for Primus' sake.
And to try and quell debates...
Caption contest! The prize is... laughs!