Analyzing “Call of the Cutie”

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My OC was designed by MizuTakishima:

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I love Applebloom! When I first watched MLP, Applebloom was one of my favorite characters, and the one that I related to most. The core (lolpun) of Applebloom’s character is that she hasn’t figured out what she wants to do in life yet, which was how I felt about a year and a half ago. I kept throwing myself at a bunch of different activities, trying to find the one that suited me best, before realizing that my one obvious skill which I’d been performing the entire time was the one I should try and make a career out of. This isn’t the most important way in which I relate to Applebloom, which I’ll get into when I talk about The Show Stoppers, but it definitely helps me to appreciate her conflict.

That said, Applebloom’s conflict preeetty much defines her character. Yeah, you could say something about her relationship with Applejack and her friends and blah blah, but seriously, she ain’t the most deep or complex character on the show. And that’s fine! It just means that there’s not much to say about her that isn’t completely obvious. As a result, this video is going to deal less with analyzing Applebloom’s character or the storyline of the episode, and more to do with looking at a bunch of random things that I noticed while watching.

First of all, I know this scene is just meant to be a convenient way to set up the plot, but man, the Equestrian school system must suck all kinds of balls if these ponies are getting a lesson about Cutie Marks at this age. Not only do all of them know this stuff already, but most of the class already has their marks. The sad thing is that, having been taught the history of American settlement at least four times between elementary and middle school, I can’t even say this is hard to believe.

This scene also gives us 80s Cheerilee, which a lot of people have pointed out as a way of debunking my theory about the mane six’s ages, though I’m not sure why. The idea is that, Cheerilee was in Rarity’s class in elementary school, so they must be about the same age. Hoewever, Cheerilee’s picture shows her appearing to be a teenager, and because of the 80s iconography, it suggests that this picture was taken a long time ago.

It’s perfectly possible, though, that this picture was taken, say, four years ago, when Cheerilee was twelve, and the style was just going out of fashion. The kids would still be too young to really remember it, and Cheerilee would still look a bit younger than she does now. Yeah, it seems like a stretch in the context of the scene, but in the context of the greater canon, I’m willing to accept it, because I still am very attached to the theory that the mane six are all in their mid-teens.

Keeping on the subject of Cheerilee, the story of her cutie mark is actually a pretty great insight into the nature of cutie mark designs, and just how unclear their meanings can be. Cheerilee’s, for instance, is a group of smiling flowers, which could just have easily suggested that she was some kind of florist. Instead, the flowers represent the smiles of her students. The case has been made again and again by analysts that cutie marks don’t directly represent a pony’s talent, but are metaphorical, and Cheerilee spells this out in her dialog.

Fun fact about Cheerilee’s mark, by the way. In Japan, the word Hanamaru, which literally translates to flower-circle, is used to describe these little flowers with smiley faces that teachers award students with in kindergarten. If you’ve ever played Yoshi’s Island, or watched the anime series Hanamaru Kindergarten, then you may be familiar with this concept. I’m very interested in seeing how Cheerilee’s dialog will be translated when this episode airs in Japan.

One last thing worth noting about this scene, which you’ve probably noticed yourself at some point, is that of the nine ponies in Ms. Cheerilee’s class, none of them are Scootaloo or Sweetie Belle. By the time The Show Stoppers rolls around, they appear to be classmates, and are shown to have replaced former classmates in the season two episodes.

If this was just an inconsistency, it would be a particularly weird one, because it’s not like they were trying to retcon Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle into having been classmates with Applebloom from the beginning. She actually meets the duo at the end of this episode, so it stands to reason that they were supposed to go to another school. So… what gives? My best guess is that the two of them actually transferred into Applebloom’s class after becoming friends with her. Given the way young ponies have a tendency to move to entirely new places during adolescence, I imagine that the transfer process in Equestrian schools is fairly easy.

Moving along now, here’s something I’d really like to see some headcanons about (and yes, I realize I’ve just damned myself to watching at least five to ten more inevitable headcanon videos)—why do the members of the apple family get their cutie marks late? Applejack remarks that herself, Granny Smith, and Big Macintosh were all the last in their classes to get their mark, and that it might run in the family. I’ve actually got a theory about this which I’ll share in a future video, but until then, I’d like to hear what you think.

Here’s one for all you guys that’ve been losing your minds trying to figure out the Equestrian economy. Applebloom tells customers that, “we take cash or credit.” How exactly does credit work in this economy? I’m not gonna think about it too hard because Equestrian economics make my head explode. It’s bad enough Applejack pays BonBon in about two hundred apples just because her little sister’s being a brat. *sigh*


It’s interesting that Rainbow Dash’s strategy for obtaining cutie marks, which is to do a bunch of random shit until a mark appears, is actually what the CMC continue to use as a strategy in all of their adventures. This just goes towards proving my theory that Rainbow Dash is a terrible role model corrupting the children.

The Cutesenara is a pretty interesting concoction. You’ve got Pinkie Pie hosting the party at Sugarcube Corner, which is hardly surprising, and it’s easy to imagine Pinkie doing this for everyone. The weird part is how there’s a bunch of adults at the party who don’t seem to be related to the kids, suggesting that this is a pretty open social gathering. But also, the kids don’t seem to have their parents there. Maybe Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon’s parents were busy, though DT’s dad in Family Appreciation Day doesn’t seem like the type who’d miss his daughter’s big celebration. Which suggests that maybe Cutesenaras aren’t that big a deal? Leave your comments about how I’m reading way too deep into a poorly thought-out scene in a kids show below.

Alright, that covers most of the analysis, so now let’s point out a bunch of random fun stuff!


This symbol in the karate dojo which has Celestia and Luna on it!

Pinbro and Berry Punch, reaffirmed as two of my favorite background ponies!

This scene is incredibly awkward!

Twilight’s “fuck you just say to me, bitch?” face.

This kid who thinks they may have gotten their mark “too soon,” which might suggest something interesting about pony’s relationships with cutie marks, but more likely is just a dumb kid getting hyped on the CMC’s speech.

Also I can’t play it for you, but the music in this scene seriously sounds like 90s gangsta rap.

I’m American.

And, that should about do it. Though I feel like I might have forgotten something… ehh, probably nothing. Now quit with the shakin’, let’s get bakin’!


5 thoughts on “Analyzing “Call of the Cutie”

  1. First impression with the music was more like the hip-hoppy pop music in boy bands or whatever. Not sure.

    Cutie mark stories always have a bit of o rly bullshit to them. It’s very…dunno…“magicky.” It’s like…you know who you are, and everything just aligns. Unless there a cosmic cutie-mark bank or designer. Not worth hurting my brain over.

    I don’t have a headcanon for the Apples: either it’s genetic or sociological. I tend to think it’s because the Apples have to figure out what makes them different from other Apples. It’s harder, I would guess, to do that than it would be to figure out what makes you different from your classmates, who seem more obviously dissimilar. And then the two sides, family and society, have to be reconciled, negotiated. Ties to big families can seem so central and important, and big families can seem deceptively homogeneous.

    ‘Cept for Oranges. Fuck those guys.

    • Perhaps the Apples have a tendency to reject the family tradition?,Maybe they spent so much time and effort trying something completely different that it takes them a lot of time what they truly enjoyed right from the start.

  2. Thanks for putting up your analysis in this form! I’m HH, and YouTube CC is… horribly, hilariously bad. This way I can follow, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who theorizes about ponies. :)

  3. Unfortunately I don’t think there is much I can offer on the Apple Family thing, except maybe they are really just that stubborn *shrug*. But yeah, the nature of cutie marks is rather interesting and on my list of things to analysis myself. The fact they seem more metaphorical than anything else is probably really important to that…and makes some of those “why wasn’t AJ digging when she had Rarity’s cutie mark?” jokes kind of fall flat *shrug*.

    And I too shall avoid trying to think about how the economy of Equestria works. Gems are snack foods for crying out loud! Though I guess if they were really flawed gems they might be cheap enough. Or Spike has been getting cubic zirconium XD.

  4. when you say that you want to forget about boast busters, i was originally ok with it, but analyzing it myself, i am brought to the conclusion that, although she may only know some spells, she has a vary powerful talent which takes much longer to master, and in a magic dual she clearly states that an aging spell is something only the highest unicorns can do, which i would assume tend to be pretty old, if you also take into account twilights’ obsession with studying and perfecting everything, it would make sense that she would practice spells, also at the end of boast busters where she puts the Ursa minor back to bed, she only had at most a day to learn that spell, and with the power that spell required, it should have taken much longer to master.

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