#17 The Last Round-up
Writer: Amy Keating Rogers
Storyboard: Sabrina Alberghetti and Nicole Wang
Season/Episode: 2, 14
Overall Episode: 40
Summary: When the Town Hall is destroyed during repairs, Applejack vows to use the money she plans to win in a rodeo to repair it. However, she wins second place and does not get enough money and does not tell her friends because she is embarrassed. They become worried and track her down at Cherry Junction, where they learn she is working off the remaining money she needs.
Review: This is the most needlessly controversial episode of the series. It all stems from the teaser. In that scene, Rainbow Dash and Derpy (now called Muffin) are repairing the town hall, but Derpy’s clumsiness causes the town hall to collapse. Some parents (a very small number, I might add) complained that they thought Derpy was an ableist character, and Hasbro pressured the animators into changing the scene. Derpy’s voice was altered, and Rainbow Dash’s voice was made uncharacteristically calmer.
I suppose I should explain who Derpy is. Derpy originally appeared as an animation error in the very first episode of Friendship Is Magic. For the rest of the first and second season, until this episode, Derpy would appear in the background at least once. This was the first of many times the animators acknowledged the internet fandom, which has always been the most vocal portion of the Brony fandom. Derpy became an instantly popular character, especially since she wasn’t even a major character. As a thank you to the fans, the scene was animated and Derpy received her first speaking role. She was voiced by Tabitha St. Germaine, who also voices Rarity and Princess Luna. Tabitha had chosen the voice because she thought the character was supposed to be male, but that wasn’t the issue. A small group of parents thought her clumsy antics were meant to ridicule the disabled and less intelligent. It wasn’t, at all. Clumsy characters have been part of comedy from its earliest days. Personally, I find the fact that the scene had to be altered even more offensive, especially since Rainbow Dash’s voice had to be altered so that her tone wasn’t as condescending. That really isn’t in character for her. It’s one of her flaws that she doesn’t take the feelings of others into account. If we can’t have Derpy, than what about other clumsy characters. I guess Disney better get rid of Goofy, and he’s been doing the klutzy character routine for an even longer time than Derpy has! For the rest of the season and most of the third, Derpy was no longer scene. She made her triumphant return in “Rainbow Falls”, and has returned to her background cameos ever since, just with less frequency. She even got her own episode as one of the many subplots in the 100th episode, “Slice of Life”.
As for the story itself, I really enjoyed this one. Applejack’s biggest flaw is her stubborn pride, and it’s on full display here. This was the first episode where she truly learned something (as opposed to her previous episode “Super Speedy Cider 6000”, where she proudly proclaimed “I didn’t learn nothin’!”) Applejack is my #2 favorite pony (Twilight is #1, because I relate to her the most), and I always like it when she actually gets an episode to herself. Of all the main characters, the writers have claimed she is the hardest to write because she doesn’t have a lot to her. And I love the “I Love Lucy” shoutout.
Oh and here’s a fun fact. The scene where Pinkie Pie and Rarity are on a railcar and Pinkie mentions a “cherrychanga” has inspired the fandom. The gag goes on a bit long, and they’ve actually tried to figure out how to make a cherry-filled chimichanga. Well, someone has made a recipe. So Doctor Who has fish fingers and custard, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has cherrychangas. Here’s the recipe.