|“||We could form our own secret society.||„|
|~ Sweetie Bloom forming the Cutie Mark Crusaders along with Apple Bloom and Scootaloo|
The Cutie Mark Crusaders (or CMC for short) is a club consisting of Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle formed in Call of the Cutie, with Babs Seed, Gabby, and Lilymoon joining throughout the following seasons, and Imp joining in the IDW comics' My Little Pony Micro-Series Issue #7.
Their unity is based on mostly being "blank flanks", ponies who have not yet gotten their cutie marks; Imp, rather than being a blank flank pony, is a Mimicker who has not yet settled on one form. Each of the founding three fillies represents a different race, with Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle being an earth pony, a Pegasus, and a unicorn respectively. Starting at the end of One Bad Apple, Babs Seed, Apple Bloom's cousin from Manehattan, joins them and says she will start a Manehattan branch of the CMC. In Micro-Series Issue #7, a Greater Equestrian Mimicker (Globulus Improbulus) to whom Scootaloo gives the name "Imp" joins them but is later taken back home. The exploits of the Cutie Mark Crusaders are featured in several episodes in the series.
In Crusaders of the Lost Mark, the Crusaders assist Pipsqueak when he runs for class president against Diamond Tiara. After Diamond Tiara loses the election, they learn that she acts the way she does because of the high standards imposed by her mother Spoiled Rich. The Crusaders reach out to Diamond Tiara in friendship, and it is through their help that Diamond Tiara finally stands up to her overbearing mother. The Crusaders come to realize that helping others discover their true talents is more important than realizing their own. With this revelation, the three finally gain their cutie marks. While they all have shields, they also have different symbols. Gabby the griffon and Lilymoon also become part of the CMC.
The three fillies meet at Diamond Tiara's cute-ceañera and form a bond, as all three don't have their cutie marks yet. Sweetie Belle suggests they found a "secret society". They each propose a name for it and Apple Bloom's suggestion–Cutie Mark Crusaders–is approved by everyone.
The society is not kept a secret, as the Crusaders later come to sing about it at a talent contest and often shout out the name of their group. The club's purpose is to "work together to find out who we are, and what we're supposed to be", and the Crusaders are very often, if not always, seen engaging in activities in pursuit of their cutie marks. In The Show Stoppers, Applejack passed on her old clubhouse for the Crusaders to use. Initially the clubhouse is dilapidated, but Apple Bloom fully repairs it and the clubhouse becomes their headquarters.
The initiation speech, written by Scootaloo and read out in One Bad Apple by Sweetie Belle, is long and repetitive to the point where Scootaloo herself interrupts it and makes a note to revise it.
- Sweetie Belle: [reading] We, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, elect Babs Seed to join us as a sister, friend, [pronouncing wrong] confidante, ally, bossom buddy, gal pal, compadre, chum of chums...
- Scootaloo: [clears throat]
- Sweetie Belle: Well you wrote this.
- Scootaloo: Oh, uh, yeah...
- Sweetie Belle: [reading] Homegirl... Amiga... blah blah blah blah blah. Oh, yes, here. ...and fellow Cutie Mark Crusader! You are solemnly sworn in, here this day, in witness of your fellow sisters, friends, confidantes... bossom buddies... compadres...
- Scootaloo: Congratulations! [quickly, under her breath] Gotta remember to revise that.
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders are the second group of main characters in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, after the Mane Six. They are also the second protagonists to have a radical change of image (in their case, getting their cutie marks in Crusaders of the Lost Mark), after Twilight Sparkle who became an alicorn in the Season 3 finale Magical Mystery Cure.
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders have appeared in the following episodes without any of the Mane Six: On Your Marks, Hard to Say Anything, Marks and Recreation, and The Break Up Break Down.