My Little Pony Episode Teaches Kids To Appreciate The Long Wait For A New iPhone

Kids television shows often reflect back aspects of our culture in subversive or coded ways that may not be fully appreciated until or unless one is an adult. The cartoons of my childhood are notorious for this — Animaniacs, Freakazoid, The Real Ghostbusters, Mister T — and it’s not surprising that when people around my age start to create and write for cartoons this sensibility comes out.

Thus, I was only a little surprised when watching a recent episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to discover that it is an extended metaphor for the struggle between Apple and the company’s competitors in mobile technology.

Ever since the show’s debut it’s been clear that the people behind the scenes are geeky Gen Xers and enjoying the freedom to fill a show aimed at the kids of Gen Xers with our cultural references. I shouldn’t find It odd that some pro-Apple propaganda slipped in there as well, especially since the show is all digital animation, but the whole thing was so blatant.. and warmed my nerdy little heart.

My Little Pony revolves around 6 pony friends who all live in a small town called Ponyville. One of the main characters, Apple Jack, helps to run the family’s apple farm with brother Big Macintosh, sister Apple Bloom, and matriarch Granny Smith. In episode 15 it’s the beginning of apple cider season and AJ’s friend Rainbow Dash is determined to get to the cider line before dawn since in previous years other ponies ahead of her drank it all before she could have a drop. But lo, when she arrives there’s already a huge line of tents filled with ponies who camped out overnight in anticipation of the once-a-year cider.

The cider again runs out before Dash can get a cup. So she and the other cider-less ponies begin to complain that this happens every year and why can’t the Apple family make more cider faster? AJ says that their cider is made with care and love and can’t be rushed.

My Little Pony - The Apple Episode

But then two unicorns named Flim and Flam roll into town with a giant machine that can make cider automatically and much faster than the Apple family. Even though Granny Smith admits that the cider is tasty, she still claims that nothing good can come from such careless mass manufacturing.

Yeah, Samsung.

The whole thing comes down to a contest between Flim and Flam’s machine and the Apple family. Whoever can produce more (not better, but more) cider wins the exclusive rights to sell cider in Ponyville.

The machine is initially ahead until AJ’s five friends (including Rainbow Dash) begin to assist. In order to stay ahead, the brothers turn their machine up to 11, which causes it to start ripping trees out of the ground instead of just plucking apples. The machine is supposed to automatically reject bad apples, but they turn that off so cider production will go on unabated. Dash encourages AJ to do the same, but the Apple family won’t compromise the quality and integrity of their cider for anything.

In the end Flim and Flam win by making more barrels, but the people of Ponyville reject them because their cider is nasty and filled with twigs and rocks.

At the end of each episode of MLP a moral is given. This is children’s television after all. Usually it’s one of the ponies explaining the lesson they’ve learned that day. This episode breaks that mold.

“Dear Princess Celestia, I wanted to share my thoughts with you,” Apple Jack voiceovers. “I didn’t learn anything! Ha! I was right all along. If you take time to do things the right way, your work will speak for itself.”

Yeah Android.

I am left wondering if this episode is a metaphor for why Apple should continue their lawsuits against Samsung, or an explanation of why people will (and should) camp out and stand in long lines for the iPhone or iPad, or a condemnation of people who complained that the iPhone 4S was so late in coming last year. Perhaps it is all these things.

It’s also clearly a shake of the finger at manufacturers who pump out phone after phone in quick succession, don’t support said phones properly, and respond to issues with their phones by making a new version slightly better (which has its own problems). We’ve complained about this before.

All of these are excellent lessons, but I do worry that the show is sending kids the wrong message about camping out overnight in line. No one should be in a line for hours and hours just to get a new piece of tech. There are few things in the world worth hours of line standing. Apple cider The iPhone is not one of those things.

Lest you doubt my interpretation of this episode, check out how The Hub is advertising My Little Pony. “There’s A Pony For That”? Come on.

40 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    02/07/2012 at 7:50 am

    Wow.  I can see how most people would miss finding this in a children’s animated show.  i couldn’t sit through more than a couple of minutes.  Somehow, you managed…LOL.

    Reply

  2. chalupatime

    02/07/2012 at 11:51 am

    I jokingly made a similar comment about the similarities after it aired.

    I honestly don’t think the metaphor was intentional, but it’s still fun to make the connection. 

    Reply

  3. Gutentaug

    02/07/2012 at 1:53 pm

    Wow. Ponies are everywhere. Notabadthing.

    Reply

  4. NATOstrike

    02/07/2012 at 6:11 pm

    I can’t help but think you’re over-analyzing this. 

    Reply

    • Guest

      02/19/2012 at 11:40 am

      Yeah, the episode was obviously about the craft brewing industry, not the mobile phone industry ;)

      Reply

  5. Cinnamon Twirl

    02/08/2012 at 5:56 am

    Personally I think this is a number 23 situation. Also, what most people fail to realize about the moral was it wasn’t presented the normal way. The moral was ” If you take time to do things the right way, your work will speak for itself.”

    The only difference is the way it was presented.

    The episode covers honesty, reliance in your friends and family and the importance of hard work.

    Reply

  6. David Larsen

    02/08/2012 at 8:28 am

    You can make pretty much ANY connection, and it can be a metaphor for everything. It’s designed to be universal like that.
    The moral is that if you take time to do things the right way, your work will speak for itself. Whether that be iPhones, homework, game design, carpentry, drilling for oil.
    That it’s Apple cider could be a metaphor for crushing Apple. I mean, really, you can make it mean what you want, that’s what’s beautiful about morals.

    And to be honest, I don’t think it really fits on iPhones anyway without streching it a bit. 

    Reply

  7. Robert Jordan

    02/08/2012 at 2:42 pm

    Please don’t be serious please please please

    Reply

  8. Mitchell Thompson

    02/08/2012 at 2:55 pm

    “AJ says that their cider is made with care and love and can’t be rushed.”
    Your metaphor was broken before you started writing this – let me introduce you to some workers at Foxconn and we can talk about products made with love.

    “she still claims that nothing good can come from such careless mass manufacturing.
    Yeah, Samsung.”
    Implying that Apple is anything but exactly that. I also can’t remember the last time a single Android phone came out that failed to make calls if you held it like a phone.
    Maybe Apple would come out with more than one phone every two years if they ever upgraded anything  (or at least they could continue to re-release the same one on a shorter timescale).

    The episode’s not a metaphor for anything to do with Apple, and stop trying to ruin my ponies.

    Reply

    • K. T. Bradford

      02/08/2012 at 7:00 pm

       thing is, Apple Jack can claim the cider is made with love and care all she wants, but maybe it’s secretly made by a poor enslaved group of foxes that live in the woods. The public face Apple presents doesn’t always match up with reality, after all.

      Also,  the ponies were already ruined when poor Zecora showed up, not to mention the appearance of the Buffalo. And Derpy.

      Reply

      • Scion

        02/09/2012 at 12:40 pm

        Please stop, please! This is not helping you.

        Maybe Celestia has a secret fetish for torturing her family, who knows: she did banished sister to the moon for a thousand years, it’s very possible she cut off her nephew’s wings… speculation is for fanon, not canon.

        Before you start hating on Samsung, who provides Apple with the majority of the components for their devices (and most importantly the screen)? Oh that’s right SAMSUNG!

        Please learn to be a better journalist: a little research and unbiased writing will make you look far more professional.

        And lastly, what has Derpy got to do with anything? Didn’t you see how everyone reacted the last time someone tried to target her? I recommend that you choose you next words very carefully…

        Reply

        • K. T. Bradford

          02/09/2012 at 1:21 pm

          Who in the world says I’m hating on Samsung? I am well aware that Samsung provides Apple with parts, you’re the one who made an assumption that I didn’t. Also an assumption that I hate Samsung. My gear bag says different…

          I feel confident that my journalistic integrity is intact on this one.

          Also, I mentioned Derpy because you spoke of “ruining your ponies” but there’s plenty to ruin MLP beyond a possible pro-Apple bias amongst the creative team, and Derpy is amongst them.

          Also, I just realized that you’re a brony. This explains much.

          Reply

      • richard ziegler

        02/10/2012 at 12:51 am

        DRESS.MOV

        Reply

  9. Awfhds

    02/08/2012 at 3:18 pm

    OR maybe it’s just a general lesson of “good things come to those who wait” and not specifically referring to smartphones.

    Reply

  10. Max Amos

    02/09/2012 at 1:16 am

    I’m pretty sure you’re over-analyzing this.  

    Reply

  11. Anonymous

    02/09/2012 at 2:12 am

    I think the best case for this being a little bit far out there is that every software company will claim to be the good guys. I could just as easily claim that it was about Blizzard entertainment or Google or whatever and be about as justified. The idea that waiting is worth it for something good is such a ubiquitous message that it is no surprise that you can link it to, in this case, Apple.

    What I do find funny, of course, is that this article was made at all. Good show, and brony on

    Reply

    • K. T. Bradford

      02/09/2012 at 5:46 am

       How many pieces of software do people pitch tents and camp out for overnight or over several days?

      Reply

      • Scion

        02/09/2012 at 12:49 pm

        Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim (I went to an overnight party at a local gaming store, which turned into a huge queue)
        WoW: Cataclysm (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11929110)
        Starcraft 2 (In Korea without a doubt)

        Again, a little research can really help your arguments!
        I bought a tent in preparation towards the queue for Diablo 3…

        Reply

        • K. T. Bradford

          02/09/2012 at 1:17 pm

          An overnight party at a store isn’t quite the same as pitching a tent and waiting for days. I know all about game releases and that people can get excited about them, and could even see the episode applying to that, but I’ve not yet seen a game cause people to start lining up days or weeks in advance. Even harry Potter didn’t inspire such, and I went to plenty of midnight release parties.

          Reply

  12. Anonymous

    02/09/2012 at 3:43 am

    LOL. That is defentially not a metaphor they were trying to make. 

    Reply

  13. Poison Glass

    02/09/2012 at 8:15 am

    My family members have iPhones, and they always let me try them. When it came time to get a new phone, I got a Samsung Galaxy Nexus anyway.

    Dude, you’re looking way too hard into this. The moral is that good work takes time, not that iPhones are the pinnacle of cellular phone technology. (After all, this is My Little Pony we’re talking about – they wouldn’t lie so blatantly on TV. )

    Reply

  14. Scion

    02/09/2012 at 9:18 am

    Wow, talk about stretching things here.
    Lol, consistories man! Corporations trying to turn children away from foriene products man by subliminal messaging via a children’s show…

    Seriously now, “The pony for that” is a parody. I could say the exact quality issue about Apple products as well. Need I mention the iPhone 4 reception fail? That was great phone there.
    Apple hasn’t made anything new in a long time, they chug out the same thing with a higher number on the name. Hence why they feel threatened by everyone else…

    Seriously you’re an iWanker that’s looking too hard into things

    Reply

  15. Anon12233344

    02/09/2012 at 9:30 am

    Like Apple’s accidental early release of the upcoming episode…

    Reply

  16. alexreffand

    02/09/2012 at 10:17 am

    I was s excited to hear ponies were invading other media sites!

    …then I find it’s an article written by a foaming-at-the-mouth Apple fanboy.

    Faith in humanity= -12

    Reply

    • K. T. Bradford

      02/09/2012 at 10:26 am

      At the bottom of the article there’s a little bio of the person who wrote the post. (That would be me.) Please let me know what in that bio indicates that I am A) a boy or B) an owner of Apple products.

      Reply

      • red_velvet27

        02/19/2012 at 9:52 am

        Reread your article.  What about that *doesn’t* scream Apple fanboy?  And a “fanboy” can be either gender, dear.

        Reply

  17. Scion

    02/09/2012 at 4:03 pm

    You ” feel confident that [your] journalistic integrity is intact”? and that this ‘article’ isn’t unbiased… please you couldn’t even get a degree in journalism nowadays with this quality of work. That’s probably why you ‘write’ here…

    Let’s start with some basics:
    Research, well you did a good job on that.
    Title, the content (the article) doesn’t mention anything about long waits for iPhone.
    Interpretation, not a real solid connection (If there was an Apple logo in there then sure, but this was too vague).
    Discussion, this is where it all went downhill… you took your vague interpretation and then hammered it, complaining about android and Samsung. A two word paragraph, rich with sarcastic overtones, is not decent journalism or writing. The positioning of your statements clearly implies criticism towards Android and Samsung.
    Conclusion (Which took three paragraphs), you used your vague interpretation and close minded argument and claimed it as justification for court actions (something completely irrelevant to show!). Also you do not bring in additional information in a concluding statement.

    Finally you claim that the Pony For That advert proves everything you mentioned in the article. This is simply wrong. Does this mean that the Equestrian Girls advert is foretelling that Katy Perry will joining the show as a voice actress and singer? I very much doubt it

    Yes I’m a Brony, but tell me what does realization explain? Yes I love and tolerate. But that does not stop me from arguing against things that are clearly wrong. Particularly when it’s in the media…
    So please explain to me (properly this time) how Derpy is a “ruin” to the show, I’m really interested to hear your reasons.

    Reply

    • K. T. Bradford

      02/09/2012 at 7:34 pm

      Your reading comprehension skills need an update. I mentioned the connection between waiting in long lines and the iPhone twice.

      But beyond that, it may help you to go back and read the post with the snark meter turned up to 11. It was meant more as fun than a serious exercise in deep interpretation. But the fact that you’re a brony explains why you might have missed that. In general, you missed many of the cues that would indicate I’m not being super serious here. The biggest one being that it’s an article about ponies on a site that covers mobile technology.

      Pursuant to that, this isn’t the place to have a full-on discussion about Depty. I will simply suggest you Google ableism. I am confident that there are plenty of discussions already going on about that aspect of the show where you can join in.

      Reply

      • S.A.S Falcon

        02/10/2012 at 10:41 pm

        Personally, I think your comprehension skills need an update if you’re going to try and link Derpy to ableism. Like all other oversensitive types out there, all I can see them trying to do is legitimise the phrase ‘derp’ as an attack against anyone mentally disabled.

        Just as a little clarification, the term ‘derp’ to me is a verb saying ‘the act of making a mistake’. Now, I don’t think of Derpy as mentally disabled, far from it. I just think of her as someone who is mistake-prone. I guess I can also relate it back to Derpy’s birth, when the brony community gave life to her through a simple mishap in the animation (or a small derp on the animator’s side).And to answer your assumption, yes I’m a brony and I challenge you to avoid pulling the equivalent statement of ‘you’re a brony, your argument is invalid’.

        Reply

        • K. T. Bradford

          02/11/2012 at 10:42 am

           Note where I said above that this is not the place to discuss Derpy? I meant that. Further comments about her will be moderated. Take your ableism apologist rants elsewhere.

          Reply

        • red_velvet27

          02/19/2012 at 9:56 am

          This.  Bringing the ableism discussion into a little girls show is just entirely over the line.  If you don’t like it, don’t watch it, K.T.!  Nobody’s forcing you!

          Reply

      • Scion

        02/11/2012 at 4:03 am

        Maybe it is your reading comprehension skills that need an update: I was singing the Trololo Song the whole time I typed that. This troll is now well fed ;)

        The irony that you got super serious thinking that I was serious! Trololololol

        It seems the common people still have a condescending view of Bronies… you should feel really proud of your self-appointed feelings of superiority! :D

        Journalism is serious business… since you clearly stated that your article wasn’t serious you are therefore not a journalist.

        Good day

        Reply

        • K. T. Bradford

          02/11/2012 at 10:42 am

          So if you’re a troll I guess I can just delete your posts. Good to know.

          Reply

      • red_velvet27

        02/19/2012 at 9:55 am

        You mentioned where you got the connection twice.  None of your explanations really tell me why *I* should get the connection between cider and Apple products.

        Reply

  18. red_velvet27

    02/19/2012 at 9:17 am

    So much projection going on in this article.

    Reply

  19. Asasa

    02/19/2012 at 9:45 am

    …It’s a cartoon about small horses making cider. I would also find it ironic if there was a pro-apple bias in there, since the show is made in Adobe Flash… something Apple is trying to force out of use. Also Android is great and Apple are just another mega-corporation that rapes families in China.

    Reply

  20. K. Flower

    02/19/2012 at 10:32 am

    The butthurt from the Bronies and Appleboys is epic. Lovely trolling job!

    Reply

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