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Oliver


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

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Sep
29th
2019

Points of Canon: S9x22 - Growing Up is Hard to Do · 7:38pm Sep 29th, 2019

Ok, moving on…

  • Chronology markers: Surprisingly few and weird. School of Friendship turns up in the background, requiring School Daze. Redundantly, we see Rainbow Dash in uniform, requiring Newbie Dash to have happened, and Star Swirl is referred to as currently active, requiring Shadow Play to have happened. The buckball stadium from Common Ground appears, but this episode could conceivably predate the tournament depicted therein. This could fall through beyond the Spike Wings boundary, seeing as how Spike never appears. Unfortunately, this can’t fall through far enough to make sense.
  • “I can’t believe we’re goin’ to the Appleloosa County Fair!”

    • Me neither. Notice the crow’s nest style room above the CMC treehouse. This feature first appears in Family Appreciation Day, and from there on, keeps popping up and vanishing rather randomly. If we took it as a chronology marker, we would have an dependency conflict.
    • The words “county fair” only make sense if a “county” is a territorial subdivision of Equestria. Notice that this does not require the existence of actual counts, same as the modern US county.
  • “Speaking of food, did you pack snacks for the train?” Snacks – that is, potato chips, if we trust the label – being referred to have the sort of packaging which is only practical on a production line and with the use of thermoplastics. The other snack they packed is fresh carrots.
  • “And our train tickets are all set.” The series fluctuates between purchasing tickets in advance and, well, not. Notice, however, that this time, they hand the tickets off to the conductor, but never mention or present the return tickets.
  • “And I’ve got our whole itinerary planned!” Why would it involve this kind of graph and not, say, a Gantt chart, I’ll never know.
  • “All we have to do now is wait for our chaperone to get here.” Which they didn’t require as far back as For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils and nobody had a problem with it. What changed, exactly? Seeing as how consistently everyone who rejects them insists that they do need a chaperone, and how the episode is entirely about hammering this point in, something had to have changed. I blame the Pillars, myself. They’re out there, corrupting youth and making the parents paranoid. To be more serious, the CMC haven’t been quite this immature for a long time…
  • “We really did think of everything except finding somepony to take us, and the fair is only today!” The phrase only makes sense if getting to Appleloosa takes less than a couple of hours, which in Over a Barrel it definitely did not. Truly, space itself is leaking out of Equestria through a plot hole. The ultimate end of Equestria will be by leaking too much space out of the universe and getting mushed together in one big cuddly pony pile, for all eternity.
  • “I promised to deliver a new design to Fancy Pants for his Monocle and Top Hat Appreciation Society soiree.” Fancy Pants is involved with a Monocle and Top Hat Appreciation Society, though in which particular capacity, we don’t know.
  • “Sorry, but I just heard from Spitfire that a whole bunch of storm clouds got loose from the cloud factory, and she needs every Wonderbolt to help bust ’em.” Wonderbolts can get called upon to clean up industrial spills. Good to know.
  • “I wish I could, sugarcube. But Big Mac’s not feelin’ well today.” Funny that Apple Bloom didn’t know that already, necessitating this entire conversation.
  • “Star Swirl sent me this enchanted flower, and it isn’t doing well. If I figure out its magical properties, maybe we can save it.” No explanation whatsoever is given regarding why did Star Swirl think saving this flower was a good idea. As we see subsequently, it probably wasn’t.
  • “None of the birds or insects I’ve talked to have heard of it either.” Fluttershy explicitly can talk to insects. Notice that this does not include parasprites…
  • “I wonder if there’s anything in Shadetail Evergreen’s ‘Tome of Flora and Fauna?’” Shadetail Evergreen is a previously unknown noteworthy naturalist. Seeing as how the tome is expected to be filed under “Discontinued But Still Potentially Useful Ancient Texts,” probably not a contemporary.
  • “Do you know what this means?”

    • It means you don’t look anywhere as good grown-up as your sisters.
    • Grown-up Scootaloo’s wings are still just as stunted, further confirming that she actually is handicapped.
  • Song montage! Notable details:

    • An orbital shot of the Pony Earth.
    • A film-based movie camera. Eyeballing, I would expect the film to be a 16mm or thereabout, but cartoon resolution is not sufficiently informative to say.
    • The interior of a train engine, showing off a rather normal looking steam boiler using solid fuel, presumably coal.
  • “I thought trains just took you where you wanted to go.” Oh, so space isn’t the only thing that is leaking out of Equestria, it’s also Scootaloo’s brains.
  • “This is Hayseed Junction.”

    • A previously unseen, unmapped location, which at least can be placed somewhere in the Hayseed Swamp.
    • Do they have a population of these guys?…
  • “Or you could set off on hoof.” See above regarding space: The only way setting out on hoof would be a consideration at all is when it is possible for them to arrive earlier than the train that departs from Hayseed Junction in a few hours. Appleloosa is nowhere near Hayseed anything, however.
  • “Besides, I’ve been through a swamp as a young pony.” Which is a rare upper bound on Somepony To Watch Over Me, which is one of the widely floating episodes.
  • “Wild swamp ponies!” The presence of actual indigenous ponies in addition to these two kids indicates that nonetheless, the region is fairly populated, seeing as how the random meeting of three independent groups can happen. But I wonder, where are those two guys actually from, if they’re afraid of the swamp dwellers?… Are they, perchance, domesticated swamp ponies, themselves?
  • Notable background elements at the fair:

    • A small Ferris wheel. With Lyra and Bon-Bon engaging in hanky something on it.
    • Parasprite plushies. I hope, for their sake, these are ironic.
    • Ursa Major plushies. Same.
    • A stallion with a portable stereo audio player (boombox) for his cutie mark. The exact technology used remains unclear – if it is magnetic tape, the shape of cassettes is nothing like ours. It could also be a radio receiver, but no other signs of broadcast radio have ever been seen, and there’s no antenna. In any case, this would mean that audio recording technology other than the much more common gramophone has been available for at least a decade, which is hardly surprising.
    • Trouble Shoes, doing clown-like activities without clown makeup.
    • “You must be at least as tall as” ride limiting signs, the use of which implies that ponies have a stable vertical growth rate, i.e. don’t grow lengthwise, for example.
  • “What happened to being able to ask your advice?!” What exactly makes Spur think she is entitled to further advice, though?
  • “I think we’re the grown ponies that need to be helping today!” Sweetie Belle pays for the lollipop that Scootaloo appropriated with a coin she produces out of seemingly nowhere, but which presumably would come from a baggie we do not actually see. See cartoon resolution.
  • Sweetie Belle can teleport as a grown-up.

    • Which implies she knows how already, even if she might not be capable of teleporting currently. Consider that Trixie had the opposite problem – she had the energy capacity but not the requisite knowledge.
    • Notably, upon teleporting, Sweetie Belle ends up within a hay bale with no body horror effects, but also, without making the bale explode.
  • “A Whirling Mungtooth!” Good to know.
  • “When they’re young, a Mungtooth forms a tight bond with its caretaker.” What happens when they’re not in captivity, though?…
  • “There’s only one petal left. But I think the three of you know what to wish for.” I wonder what would Twilight do if there were no petals left.

Continuing the trend of episodes which wouldn’t be bad if the rest of the series didn’t exist, Season 9 delivers just as expected. Notice how, despite directly referencing the events and locations from prior episodes, the characterization is off anyway.

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Comments ( 13 )

Undome Tinwe pointed out in the discord server's spoilers channel that this was written by the writer credited with The Fault in Our Cutie Marks. Do we need to start worrying about cognitive issues among FiM writers? There's failure to jibe with continuity for *other* writers' stories, but your own?

"To be more serious, the CMC haven’t been quite this immature for a long time…"
Aye, I think this plot would have made a lot more sense around Season 2 or the like.

No explanation whatsoever is given regarding why did Star Swirl think saving this flower was a good idea.

Why wouldn't he? He found a rare magical thing which seemed to be dying and decided he'd rather it not die. It's not that different from how real-life conservationism works.

As we see subsequently, it probably wasn’t.

Wasn't it? Just because a powerful thing can be misused doesn't mean you have to destroy it or allow it to be destroyed. It just means you need to keep a closer eye on it.

"When they’re young, a Mungtooth forms a tight bond with its caretaker." What happens when they’re not in captivity, though?...

If I had to guess, I would assume it forms that bond with its parent.

Overall thoughts: This was a fun episode overall! My primary complaint is that, like the RD / Rarity episode last season, this feels like something that works better BEFORE we've seen these characters grow and develop. The CMC feel a little more mature than this. Also, with students making train trips all over Equestria in a day regularly it doesn't seem like foals could mess it up.

I'm not going to complain about not finding more clever use of a wishgranting artifact because this is a kid's show.

Sweetie Belle performed a mid-range teleport with a passenger, but this seemed to have some adverse effect on her horn. I wonder if she can do this normally now, or if being an adult gave her a better magic reserve or something?

The song was REALLY CATCHY. I also like the double meaning of the refrain: "Bein' big isn't just a size!" The CMC mean it in the sense that being treated like adults also comes with increased freedom, but it could also be interpreted to mean that being treated as adults also means being expected to behave with wisdom and responsibility.


...but never mention or present the return tickets.

Given the other screwups, maybe they forgot.

“And I’ve got our whole itinerary planned!” Why would it involve this kind of graph and not, say, a Gantt chart, I’ll never know.

Blackboard/Whiteboard writing and charts in this world usually aren't created by using them to actually plan out something -- they just spontaneously appear on boards near people who are smart or engaged in planning or working something out.

“I wish I could, sugarcube. But Big Mac’s not feelin’ well today.” Funny that Apple Bloom didn’t know that already, necessitating this entire conversation.

Could've been really sudden-onset, after AB left for the clubhouse.

“Star Swirl sent me this enchanted flower, and it isn’t doing well. If I figure out its magical properties, maybe we can save it.” No explanation whatsoever is given regarding why did Star Swirl think saving this flower was a good idea. As we see subsequently, it probably wasn’t.

When you detect magic and roll like 30 to identify and the GM tells you you STILL fail, and you're the kind of person who regularly rolls 30 on Arcana checks, you darn well hold onto this thing for later investigation.

Do they have a population of these guys?…

They're like the Nurses Joy and Officers Jenny.

But I wonder, where are those two guys actually from, if they’re afraid of the swamp dwellers?… Are they, perchance, domesticated swamp ponies, themselves?

Probably pretty local, and their parents made up stories to keep them out of the swamp. Or just one of those rumors kids make up.

Trouble Shoes, doing clown-like activities without clown makeup.

Are dunk tanks really a clown activity?

I wonder what would Twilight do if there were no petals left.

Someone will write this sad fanfic.

“There’s only one petal left. But I think the three of you know what to wish for.” I wonder what would Twilight do if there were no petals left.

Further, I wonder at her sanity in asking three fillies who have demonstrated questionable logic at every turn for an entire day to know what to wish for


"We sure do, Twilight," Apple Bloom said and pressed her hoof to the glass. "I wish we'd been smart enough to get off at the right stop!"

Time loop created!

5130139

Do we need to start worrying about cognitive issues among FiM writers? There’s failure to jibe with continuity for other writers’ stories, but your own?

Remember the Larson interview after Fame and Misfortune? It could easily have been orders. Which would put the blame on this solely onto the shoulders of whoever’s giving them, and explain the general problem with the smallest number of idiots.

5130145

Aye, I think this plot would have made a lot more sense around Season 2 or the like.

Amen. I have the feeling that whoever’s giving the abovementioned orders saw the first two seasons and decided they now know enough about the show’s tone they have to maintain.

5130158

It just means you need to keep a closer eye on it.

Which, mind you, neither Star Swirl nor Twilight did.

5130359

I’m not going to complain about not finding more clever use of a wishgranting artifact because this is a kid’s show.

I am. The kids had just how many years to grow up since it started? :raritywink:

The song was REALLY CATCHY.

Strange, I found it mildly irritating.

Could’ve been really sudden-onset, after AB left for the clubhouse.

Seeing as how it appears to have symptoms of an infectious disease, Apple Bloom should be worried about having caught it anyway.

Are dunk tanks really a clown activity?

I wouldn’t know, having never actually seen it done, but well, what else would it be in this context?…

So, why didn't they ask friend-to-all-children-and-loves-anything-remotely-resembling-a-party Pinkie Pie? Or Scootaloo's aunts? Or Rarity's parents? (Are...are they dead?)

5130145
Apparently Jim wanted to do this kind of episode as far back as Season 5, where the CMC were still young enough to require (proper) adult supervision since they'd be 3-4 years younger than they are now

Yet here we are, ~5 years later and they're still young enough to be considered "foals"

5130614
And foals younger than those other still-foals, too.

Kind of meh.

Which they didn’t require as far back as For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils and nobody had a problem with it.

Back in Season 4 ponies on the train may have just assumed the Crusaders were with a chaperone in the bathroom or something, its not like they had to go through a lot of security.

What changed, exactly? Seeing as how consistently everyone who rejects them insists that they do need a chaperone, and how the episode is entirely about hammering this point in, something had to have changed.

I think another difference may be, unlike say a train to/from Canterlot, which is a direct route from Ponyville with no stops, Appleloosa could require switching trains at certain stops. Way back in Season 2 it took an over-night train to reach Appleloosa, and even with the world growing smaller, its probably a lot harder to get there than to get back.

Another factor may be that the chaperone is not so much for the train ride as for the fair itself. I mean, the last time the girls went to an event in Appleloosa, they ran off into the woods and associated with wanted ponies.

The students can ride trains by themselves all over Equestria, but then they are supposedly older than the CMC, and most of them are not highly supervised.

The ultimate end of Equestria will be by leaking too much space out of the universe and getting mushed together in one big cuddly pony pile, for all eternity.

I think I remember a great story that had that ending.

Fancy Pants is involved with a Monocle and Top Hat Appreciation Society, though in which particular capacity, we don’t know.

Presumably in the monocle rather than the top hat portion.

As we see subsequently, it probably wasn’t.

Wait, you're saying that Star Swirl unwisely took a dangerous magic phenomena and dumped it off on someone with little to no warning? Quel Surprise!

Grown-up Scootaloo’s wings are still just as stunted, further confirming that she actually is handicapped.

I was kind of at 100% on that after the Washouts episode, but her adult wing-to-mass ratio is still a lot better than Bulk's.

An orbital shot of the Pony Earth.

If this was 4 years ago I would advocate a frame-by-frame of that planet for the shape of the continents.

Do they have a population of these guys?

It's a bit like gravediggers. The job requirements of extreme isolation on some of the least-used stops attracts only the biggest weirdos, especially amongst ponies.

The only way setting out on hoof would be a consideration at all is when it is possible for them to arrive earlier than the train that departs from Hayseed Junction in a few hours. Appleloosa is nowhere near Hayseed anything, however.

Also supports the idea that the train route requires a whole bunch of transfers.


In particular, why was this shown after the episode with Scootaloo's parents, which was clearly written to be the CMC's big finale?
5130145 I think this would have been decent as a sequel to Appleloosa's Most Wanted in Season 5, before they get their cutie marks. Soon after the CMC get into so much shenanigans in Appleloosa, it would make a lot more sense why the Mane 6 want them not going there without a chaperone.

5130668
Hm, yes, that might have worked too; good point.

5130668

I think this would have been decent as a sequel to Appleloosa's Most Wanted in Season 5, before they get their cutie marks.

Adult ponies lacking cutie marks would be too conspicuous, though. Set it immediately afterwards, though, and it gives some necessary additional commentary on the puberty metaphor (it takes more than being 18 to be taken seriously as an adult).

5131792 That's a good point. A better version of Bloom and Gloom.

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