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Oliver


Let R = { x | x ∉ x }, then R ∈ R ⟺ R ∉ R... or is it?

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May
4th
2019

Points of Canon: S9x06 - Common Ground · 6:32pm May 4th, 2019

Not a HiE episode. Such a name wasted.

  • Chronology markers: Twilight, Spike with his wings or lack thereof, or our usual landmarks never make an appearance. The episode is set in Appleloosa, and no references are made to the School of Friendship, or teaching in it. The Student Six do not appear. As a result it only has some very deep lower bounds:

    It would be reasonable to expect a substantial time to elapse from Buckball Season – like a year or more – but since that episode’s position is so undefined that it could fall through all the way to Year 1 if desired, it’s not much of a constraint. It would certainly make somewhat more sense if this entire story happened before the Mane Six started teaching – and it would also explain why buckball became part of school curriculum.

    The lines inside the episode seem to imply that the Ponyville team and the Appleloosa team haven’t played a match since Buckball Season, and the newsreel mentions “the game’s recent nature,” which would permit this to happen very soon.

  • Throughout the episode, multiple very blatant instances of tailikinesis, maneipulation and individually prehensile feathers can be observed, both by earth ponies and pegasi, so I won’t dwell on them. Suffice it is to say that while their methods of handling objects are different from that of unicorns, they certainly appear at least as capable.
  • “Highlights in the world of sports! Buckball fever has swept Equestria!”

    • Movie theaters in Equestria show newsreels before the movie, a-la ours in the 50s and earlier. And these are in color.
    • This is the first entirely diegetic appearance of a movie theater on screen in primary canon. We previously saw one in One Bad Apple, and the educational movie in Hurricane Fluttershy shown in the Golden Oak Library, but this one is as explicit as it gets.
    • The Appleloosa stadium appears to contain between 2000 and 3000 spectators, based on overhead shots.
    • It also has a rather obvious public address system, which is used several times throughout the episode.
    • One of the ponies is using a very obvious hand sign with “#1” on it. Which is odd, because so few species in Equestria have hands in the first place, but we have seen this sign first in Sonic Rainboom, so this is a problem that was with us for a long time. But did you notice that every Equestrian species to have hands of any kind has four fingers? With the exception of Storm King and his troopers, who have three, and whose Equestrian origin is in doubt.

      Well, this sign sports five.

    • I don’t think we have previously observed cap-mounted drinks with straws, but here they are in abundance.
    • Coupled with mugs with handles sufficiently large to stick the entire hoof through, and bearing color prints. While in our world, more and more of these are made digitally, this is possible through a purely photographic process, so no major surprises there.
    • “And the ponies of Appleloosa answered the call, delivering a state-of-the-art locale where fans Equestria over can celebrate their passion: the Buckball Hall of Fame. Though given the game’s recent nature, the only inductees so far will be the members of the current championship team from Ponyville.”

      • I.e. this episode wants to be set as recently after Buckball Season as possible.
      • Ponyville team is the current champion, unless I’m mis-parsing that line.
  • “Yeah, especially after their team lost to us. They must really love buckball.” More indication that this episode wants to be set as recently after Buckball Season as possible: This line effectively implies that the Ponyville team and the Appleloosa team did not play a game after that, doesn’t it?
  • “How much for an autograph?” Selling autographs is normal. Not a given. Notice, though, that all the sums offered are coins in bags.
  • “What is the sound of one hoof clapping?” This joke is weightier than it sounds, if only because it references a famous koan. Unfortunately Snips does not understand the reference, which leaves us unsure whether Snails actually invoked a philosophical/belief system that he earnestly practices – there is lots of room to believe that – or simply babbled incoherently.
  • “Wow! That’s a lot of writing.”

    • Notice that Snails definitely does no writing afterwards: It’s all hoof stamps.
    • Notice also that the ponies willing to purchase his autograph aren’t just wearing the “Ponyville colors” – what a strange color combination. I think all of them are known Ponyvillains.
  • “Me, neither! Unless you count a Royal Order of Party Planners Memorial Library, which I don’t, because every party planner gets one of those eventually.” Unfortunately, it’s the notoriously unreliable Pinkie that’s saying this, so we can’t be sure that the “Royal Order of Party Planners” is a real thing. That said, it could well be, and might explain some things – party planners certainly behave like they’re a well established social institution, and that applies to both Pinkie and Cheese Sandwich.
  • “And if we lose or forfeit one game, we’ll be out of the tournament.” I.e. there’s a single elimination tournament going on now. Such a tournament requires N-1

    matches, where N is the number of participating teams. We don’t know how long a buckball match is supposed to take, but considering that it is, apparently, supposed to fit within one day, we should assume there’s about ten teams participating, and probably fewer, like 8.

  • “Applejack was too busy to come, so she made me promise to go to all the museum exhibits and tell her about them.”

    • Rainbow pulls a leaflet out of her ass and subsequently returns it there. Unless pegasi are universally granted hammerspace now, this implies a bag hidden by cartoon resolution.
    • Bit of a strange request from Applejack if you ask me.
  • “What kind of sports fan camps out for a museum?”

    • Notice that the tent is an official Daring Do branded tent: It has her compass rose cutie mark on it.
    • It doesn’t look like Clear Sky and Wind Sprint shared this tent with him, by the way. I.e. he’s holding their place in a non-existent line. Clear Sky later confirms this explicitly.
  • “This is my daughter Wind Sprint.” This is a first in many ways for primary canon.

    • Quibble Pants and Clear Sky are a very rare steady cross-tribe couple acknowledged as such by primary canon.
    • Numerous remarks throughout the episode clearly indicate that Wind Sprint’s father was a pegasus (“Whoa, my dad was a great flyer, too.”) thus making Clear Sky’s prior relationship also a cross-tribe one, and making Wind Sprint the only definitely known child of a cross-tribe relationship.
    • It’s not entirely clear whether Wind Sprint’s father is deceased or just separated, because some lines seem to point in one direction while others point the other way, but on the sum total, I would say it seems more likely that Clear Sky’s a widow, too, rather than divorced.

    Much of this is important due to observations that while ponies primarily work and spend their time with their own tribe, and all known sets of parents observed so far are mono-tribal, the couples observed during Hearts and Hooves day celebrations split very nearly 50/50 between cross-tribal and mono-tribal. Yes, I’ve been counting.

  • The museum contains:

    • No end of framed pictures, banners and apparent merch.
    • Actual implements of buckball – i.e. balls and baskets, plus the implements those are supposed to have evolved from – namely, apples and smaller woven baskets. According to Rainbow’s “Trust me, the game’s a lot harder to play with apples,” at some point, buckball was played this way.
    • Several different colors of buckball uniforms.
    • A bunch of fedora hats. Huh?
    • A rather extensive amount of books.
    • Far more trophies than you would expect given the sport being recent – I count at least two.

    It’s almost like buckball was in fact a thing in Appleloosa for a substantial time before the Ponyville team turned up, only, Appleloosa had been founded in Year -1 at the earliest, as per Over a Barrel

    That said, considering that I believe that Appleloosa was founded by reenactors of much earlier settler traditions, this might be an entirely deliberate fabrication start to finish.

  • “It’s a buckball almanac. This thing has every buckball fact and statistic ever recorded!” That’s a lot of statistics for a recent game. Notably, as Quibble indicates much later, it has detailed statistics on the play style of the Ponyville team, which requires them to have played against teams other than Appleloosa to make sense at all.
  • “I-I mean, this game’s got more numbers than Ogres & Oubliettes.” Quibble plays O&O. Not surprising at all.
  • “Uh, I have a 17 charisma, right, don’t you think I tried?” O&O includes a stat for charisma.
  • “To figure out what your sporty side is, we just need to see what your skills are.” Notice that this is the same field the Ponyville team trained at during Buckball Season, and Rainbow has her pea whistle again.
  • “And these souvenirs are not going to sell themselves!” Notice that for mugs with prints on them, Snips chose to use wooden mugs with apparent paper glued on.
  • “Rainbow Dash told us all about how you two spent a whole Daring Do convention geeking out together about books!” Really, that’s what Rainbow told them? Probably, Pinkie got the true story and is lying.
  • “What’s it like playing in front of all those fans?” Good question, to which I don’t have a good answer for: This is one of the few public activities Fluttershy doesn’t shy away from at all.
  • “For the tournament halftime show, you and Quibble are gonna play a game of buckball against Team Ponyville!” I wonder whose tail did Rainbow have to step on to make that happen: If there was supposed to be a tournament halftime show, someone was supposed to be performing in it, right?
  • “It says very clearly on page 647 of the expanded buckball tournament rules that ‘a goal is scored when an earth pony sends the ball into a basket’, but it doesn’t say which basket!”

    • The book Quibble opens is still the same almanac, so I hope what he actually means is “in” the expanded buckball tournament rules, not “of.”
    • That’s a rather huge loophole! Which nevertheless goes completely ignored as Quibble’s logic is not accepted.
    • Notice that a pegasus can’t score a goal if that wording is correct.
  • “That goal is ours, it’s only two to one, and we can keep playing.” I.e. the match is supposed to last until one of the sides scores thrice.
  • “Because he’s kind, and smart, and his friends certainly seem to care about him, which is always a good sign.” Not a phrase you expect someone to say if they’ve been in a relationship for a long time.
  • “Pinkie flips and triple bounce bucks over 83 per cent of her shots from the north west section of the field when the wind is blowing from the east.” I tried to come up with a guess on how many matches would the Ponyville team have to play for this kind of statistic to exist, but all I’m getting is “at least a hundred,” which implies someone’s been meticulously recording every practice match that wasn’t played in private.

Rainbow got an idiot buckball this time, but despite that, the episode did not suck, and didn’t even wreck any canon much.

And as far as I can tell, this is an episode written specifically for Patton Oswalt and his family – which implies he had an opportunity to ensure it makes sense, continuing the trend from Twilight’s Seven. Could we have an entire season done the way the voice actors want?

Oh wait, too late for that.

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Comments ( 29 )

Quite a cute episode. I loved the old-timey tone of the movie theater newsreel.

The lines inside the episode seem to imply that the Ponyville team and the Appleloosa team haven’t played a match since Buckball Season, and the newsreel mentions “the game’s recent nature,” which would permit this to happen very soon.

Very soon being a few years I suppose, enough for demand to drive them to build a new stadium, and an entire museum to be created with all those exhibits, plus enough games that Buckball Sabremetrics fills up a giant book.
I could wager the Ponyville team has been competing periodically for about 3 or 4 years now, since Season 6.

  • “Yeah, especially after their team lost to us. They must really love buckball.” More indication that this episode wants to be set as recently after Buckball Season as possible: This line effectively implies that the Ponyville team and the Appleloosa team did not play a game after that, doesn’t it?

I really don't think so. With all the statistical facts about Pinkie and Fluttershy, it sounds like the Ponyville team has played dozens of scores of games. They may even have beaten the Appleloosa team a bunch of times.

We don’t know how long a buckball match is supposed to take, but considering that it is, apparently, supposed to fit within one day, we should assume there’s about ten teams participating, and probably fewer, like 8.

How do we know the tournament is supposed to fit within one day?

It’s almost like buckball was in fact a thing in Appleloosa for a substantial time before the Ponyville team turned up

To be fair, given the proficiency ponies appear to have for cranking out merchandise, if there are a dozen or so teams out there, I could see them creating enough swag to fill this place in only a few years.

  • “And these souvenirs are not going to sell themselves!” Notice that for mugs with prints on them, Snips chose to use wooden mugs with apparent paper glued on.

Looks like Snips has learned a lot from Trixie!

If there was supposed to be a tournament halftime show, someone was supposed to be performing in it, right?

That is a really good question, and since entertainment seems the number one industry of this town, I feel like someone is really annoyed with being upstaged. My guess is Trouble Shoes and his fellow rodeo clowns.

  • The book Quibble opens is still the same almanac, so I hope what he actually means is “in” the expanded buckball tournament rules, not “of.”

"There's nothing in the rules that says a Diamond Dog can't play buckball!"

Not a phrase you expect someone to say if they’ve been in a relationship for a long time.

I could see that being an Equestrian thing though. "Friends think highly of him" as an incredibly important quality in judging a mate.

I tried to come up with a guess on how many matches would the Ponyville team have to play for this kind of statistic to exist, but all I’m getting is “at least a hundred,” which implies someone’s been meticulously recording every practice match that wasn’t played in private.

And a fair amount of actual games, since there's enough of a difference between practice and real games that statisticians usually only use the latter for data. (At least for Saber Metrics).

And as far as I can tell, this is an episode written specifically for Patton Oswalt and his family

Yup. This article talks about how in real life the roles were reversed, and Patton remarried after his wife died, and his daughter had to learn to get along with her new step-mom.

Overall a pretty solid episode.

5053475

How do we know the tournament is supposed to fit within one day?

Nobody seems to seek or have accommodations – except Quibble’s tent.

My guess is Trouble Shoes and his fellow rodeo clowns.

A possibility.

  • It’s not entirely clear whether Wind Sprint’s father is deceased or just separated, because some lines seem to point in one direction while others point the other way, but on the sum total, I would say it seems more likely that Clear Sky’s a widow, too, rather than divorced.

Overall I agree with the judgment that Clear Sky is a widow rather than a divorcee. On the other hand, isn't it fun to imagine her divorcing Wind Rider after the events of Rarity Investigates?

5053488
10/10 for meme production speed.
4/10 for meme production value.
14/20 overall. A "C." You still pass, fandom.

Odd detail...
In the opening shot after the credit sequence, there's a gigantic dog. Even with the pony next to it rearing up to put her hooves on a railing, it's still taller than she is. Given the size ratio of Winnona (evidently a border collie) to AJ, this thing would have to be even larger than an Irish wolfhound.

Staff self-insert with pet is my guess.

It seems odd that one of the competing teams has no problem performing in the half-time break - a break that's presumably there so that the teams can rest, prepare and strategise. The only way I can see that working is if they were only competing in the first half, with a different pair of teams playing in the second half.

“What is the sound of one hoof clapping?” This joke is weightier than it sounds, if only because it references a famous koan. Unfortunately Snips does not understand the reference, which leaves us unsure whether Snails actually invoked a philosophical/belief system that he earnestly practices

A carry over from the first Buckball episode probably where Snips showed that he can perform with a clear mind

Me, neither! Unless you count a Royal Order of Party Planners Memorial Library, which I don’t, because every party planner gets one of those eventually.” Unfortunately, it’s the notoriously unreliable Pinkie that’s saying this, so we can’t be sure that the “Royal Order of Party Planners” is a real thing. That said, it could well be, and might explain some things – party planners certainly behave like they’re a well established social institution,

That’s fanfiction bait right there. A maybe they even have clown colleges!

Wind Sprint the only definitely known child of a cross-tribe relationship

Is she, Oliver? Is she really?

That said, considering that I believe that Appleloosa was founded by reenactors of much earlier settler traditions, this might be an entirely deliberate fabrication start to finish.

Merchandising! It's where the real bits are made.

“Rainbow Dash told us all about how you two spent a whole Daring Do convention geeking out together about books!” Really, that’s what Rainbow told them? Probably, Pinkie got the true story and is lying.

Now now, Oliver. Pinkie didn’t lie. They did spend the convention geeking out about books. They just also happened to get kidnapped at the end of it.

5053486
You know, given it's been a few years since Rarity Investigates and this episode (even if the exact number is up for debate), it occurs to me that we don't actually know that Wind Rider is still alive...

5053587

I'd think that if Wind Sprints' beloved father had been destroyed by Rarity and Rainbow Dash playing detective, she'd hate Rainbow Dash like Inigo Montoya hated the six fingered man.

do you have six primary feathers on your right wing?

5053526

Is she, Oliver? Is she really?

Alicorns are too special, they combine the traits of all three tribes, so every marriage they’re in is cross-tribal and mono-tribal simultaneously. :rainbowwild:

They did spend the convention geeking out about books. They just also happened to get kidnapped at the end of it.

They got kidnapped well before the convention was over though.

5053521 Given that the Ponyville team is like the Yankees and Patriots combined, I bet they volunteered just to give the other team a fighting chance.

5053669 Think how awesome it would be if Wind Sprint didn't realize it was Rainbow Dash who did it until right after the tournament is over.

Wow. I only have a couple of minor quibbles about this episode -- it's possibly the least problematic episode ever!
And it was pretty enjoyable too!

How is the almanac so huge if this sport is new? (Was it even new in Buckball season?) And how do ponies get such specific statistics without video-recording and analyzing every play of the game?

Snails says 'That's a lot of writing' when he sees how many autographs people are paying for, but then the actual autograph process is stamping.

And that's it! Wow.

Not a complaint, but I noticed that when Quibble says the game is 2-1, he actually means 2-1 in his favor. That first goal was scored by him too! He's one point away from a win!


Regarding precise percentages, I could see a form of the usual 'character gives way too many significant figures' thing here. I could believe Pinkie tried that shot under those circumstances 6 times and scored 5 of them, though, or even double those.

"There's nothing in the rules that says a Diamond Dog can't play buckball!"

Someone write this fic.


All in all, this episode was a pleasant surprise! 👍

  • I don’t think we have previously observed cap-mounted drinks with straws, but here they are in abundance.

At the very least, this does seem like a reasonable technology for handless ungulates to make use of.

5053766

How is the almanac so huge if this sport is new? (Was it even new in Buckball season?)

It was certainly described as new, but since Buckball Season has very few hard lower bounds, it could have happened all the way back in Year 1. Quibble’s presence and Rainbow being recognized as a Wonderbolt push the lower bound for Common Ground up, but not anywhere close to post-Movie era: It could have conceivably happened even before The Cutie Re-Mark.

It’s not a problem to fit a year or three between these two episodes, and the sport would still count as “new” from the point of view of a nationally distributed newsreel editor.

And how do ponies get such specific statistics without video-recording and analyzing every play of the game?

Somepony has a cutie mark in statistics?

Movie theaters in Equestria show newsreels before the movie, a-la ours in the 50s and earlier. And these are in color.

Is it though? Were they in there to watch a movie? Given this was at the place the real was talking about,it was full of buckball fans, and the events going on, could have been the newsreal was what everyone was there for as a kind of 'history of the sport/site' reminder thing.

I don’t think we have previously observed cap-mounted drinks with straws, but here they are in abundance.

Can't remember when off the top of my head, but I know we've seen Pinkie with that on before.
Okay, can't find that image, but did find this one
derpicdn.net/img/view/2016/8/6/1218666.png

I.e. this episode wants to be set as recently after Buckball Season as possible.

Well 'recent' is a variable term. For something like a major sport, even a year or two is still young enough for the craze to be 'recent',

This line effectively implies that the Ponyville team and the Appleloosa team did not play a game after that, doesn’t it?

Though that one does parse. Yeah, is a bit vague and confusing about certain details.

“Wow! That’s a lot of writing.”

  • Notice that Snails definitely does no writing afterwards: It’s all hoof stamps.

Maybe that was the compromise to get him to do it?

it’s the notoriously unreliable Pinkie that’s saying this,

Ah Pinkie Pie, the perfect vessel for adding whatever random thing you want into a story,and never have to really worry if it make full sense or not because, it's Pinkie. But yes, this being true would explain soooo much, And let's face it, you can so see Tia instituting a royal order of party planners.

Rainbow pulls a leaflet out of her ass and subsequently returns it there

Ponies having hidden pockets they can only access off screen is hardly new.

and all known sets of parents observed so far are mono-tribal, the couples observed during Hearts and Hooves day celebrations split very nearly 50/50 between cross-tribal and mono-tribal.

This is an interesting thing to look at in Equestria, how few cross-tribe pairings we see when by all accounts, and how little most ponies seem to care about the differences it should be more. One factor I do think contributes to a predominance of mono-tribe couples is demographics. Remember Ponyville was called out back in Flight to the Finish as being rather unique in Equestria for having a more or less equal proportion of all three tribes. Clearly there are going to be very, very few if any non-pegasi in Cloudsdale or other cloud cities (if they exist), and all other towns or cities we've seen do tend to have one tribe or the other be the majority. Be really intriguing to explore these issues and see what causes some of them.

Really, that’s what Rainbow told them? Probably, Pinkie got the true story and is lying.

Not necessarily lying, this is Pinkie, just focusing on the wrong aspect of the story.

Notice that a pegasus can’t score a goal if that wording is correct.

Huh.... good point. Prepare for rule patches!

I.e. the match is supposed to last until one of the sides scores thrice.

Though in Buckball Season, it went to six or seven. Could be a rule change to make games go faster, or a variant rule being used for this match since it was just a bit of fun.

5053587

5053486
In addition to the other response, Wind Rider is way to old for that to fit. He was past retirement age in Rarity Investigates.

5053497
Huh, looking into it, seems it's a reference to a movie called Journey of Natty Gann

5053905

Is it though? Were they in there to watch a movie?

Newsreel-only movie theaters were in fact a thing, but not a dominant form of their distribution.

Ponies having hidden pockets they can only access off screen is hardly new.

But can’t be explained with unicorn magic because it’s Rainbow doing it.

Either everyone gets hammerspace or we just don’t see saddlebags. Since there are incidents of saddlebags appearing and immediately vanishing in the next frame, I prefer saddlebags.

Not necessarily lying, this is Pinkie, just focusing on the wrong aspect of the story.

Why not lying when there’s a very good reason to lie – Daring Do requesting to maintain the illusion that she’s not real?

Could be a rule change to make games go faster, or a variant rule being used for this match since it was just a bit of fun.

In an elimination tournament, you probably want the matches to go faster because you need N-1 matches, and we’ve never seen ponies do anything as complicated as Swiss-system.

5053921

Newsreel-only movie theaters were in fact a thing, but not a dominant form of their distribution.

Yes, but I'm questioning the underlying assumption this was a regular movie theater. Given the location and the events going on, and who all was there. (plus it was rather small) this could have been something specifically set up just to show Buckball related news reals and films during the event, or part of the museum.

5053932

Would be pretty groundbreaking to invent such a form just for this occasion, don’t you think?

5053905
Wow! Good eye, there! Yeah, that pony has a very similar outfit to Natty's. What an obscure reference!

5053937
Actually, this sort of thing is very common at "attractions" in America. Museums, halls of fame, natural wonders... all seem to have their own little movie theater where they show informational/educational films (videos nowadays) about whatever they're based around.

5053937
Oh I am not implying they created the idea of the newsreals/movie theaters just for this. Just that this one specifically was built just for the sake of Buckball related films/news. And not even that it necessarily was, just that it's possible from what we've seen.

It does imply the whole 'newsreels before a movie' thing is likely given it would make sense, but isn't definitive proof in and of itself due to the possible alternate explanation.

5053669 5053718
"Hello. My name is Wind Sprint. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
"Uh, kid? What are you...?"
"HELLO. My name is Wind Sprint. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

5053950
AH! Found the reason, Patton's wife had her first staring role in that movie. Nice little bit for the animators to add.

5054106
That is cool! :pinkiehappy:

5053921

Why not lying when there’s a very good reason to lie – Daring Do requesting to maintain the illusion that she’s not real?

That went out the window with the publishing of the friendship journal, didn't it?

5057860

They forgot all about that journal already. :pinkiesmile:

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