%% SEEN IT BEFORE?: If it happens in different episodes to the same character, you could put the trope in that character's description on the Characters page.
[[caption-width-right:350:Everypony gets dressed up for the season finale.]]
->'''Twilight Sparkle:''' ...''No!''...\\
'''Rarity:''' ...I've waited all my life...\\
'''Fluttershy:'''...for this moment...\\
'''Pinkie Pie:'''...and I'm not going to...\\
'''Applejack:'''...let it slip by!...\\
'''Rainbow Dash:'''...If it's the last thing I do...\\
'''Twilight Sparkle:''' ...I'm gonna make this...\\
'''All:'''...''[[TitleDrop the best night ever!]]''

-> Written by Amy Keating Rogers

The night of the Grand Galloping Gala has finally arrived! Everyone's excited about it being "the best night ever", and hopes for each of their dreams to come true. To recap: Fluttershy wants to befriend the creatures in the gardens surrounding the palaces, Applejack wants to sell apple-based treats to raise money for the family farm, Rarity wants to meet her Prince Charming, Rainbow Dash wants to meet (and hopefully join) the Wonderbolts, and Pinkie Pie wants to live it up at the biggest party in Equestria. Also, we find out that Twilight Sparkle wants to simply chat with Princess Celestia, while Spike hopes to hang out with his friends and show them around Canterlot. As soon as the group arrives at the palace, though, all except Spike run off to set their plans into motion, leaving him all alone...

At first, things seem to be going all right, and at least somewhat according to what the girls envisioned. However, things quickly go wrong. The party-goers don't appreciate Pinkie's enthusiastic nature; Twilight can't get a chance to really have a conversation with the Princess as the two of them have to greet every single guest; Rarity's object of affection, Prince Blueblood, acts like a complete {{Jerkass}} towards her; all the animals in the garden run away from Fluttershy, who grows more and more impatient as they do so; Rainbow Dash gets to hang out with the VIP crowd thanks to the Wonderbolts recognizing her, but can't get a moment to talk to them and Applejack ends up making only two sales after about an hour at the Gala - one of which was to Rarity. Determined, however, the ponies pledge to make it the "best night ever".

Things quickly get out of hoof, though. When the party goers reject Pinkie's peppy singing and dancing because it isn't "''that'' kind of party", she assumes that they want her to get even ''more'' aggressive and rowdy. Applejack realizes that no one's been buying her wares because fancier ''hors d'oeuvres'' are available, so she whips up something more sophisticated. Fluttershy, meanwhile, is physically chasing all the animals around the castle grounds, growing [[LoveHungry steadily more unhinged as she does so]]. The whole disaster reaches its boiling point when Applejack [[CarryingACake carts a huge cake into the ballroom]] just as Pinkie does a stage dive into the crowd. Pinkie lands onto the cart, knocking the cake into the air. Prince Blueblood uses Rarity as a shield against the cake, whereupon she thoroughly chews him out for his horrible behavior all night. Cornered, the Prince knocks over a statue, which Rainbow Dash quickly catches, only to knock down several columns in the process[[note]]Alas, despite her efforts, the statue also breaks into several pieces[[/note]]. As the dust settles, Princess Celestia and Twilight arrive on the scene, and just when Twilight thinks it can't get any worse, [[FromBadToWorse a stampede of wild animals being pursued by a furiously insane(!) Fluttershy rushes in]], causing everyone to panic. The Princess tells Twilight to run, and she does so, her friends following behind. On the way down the stairs, Rarity drops one of her glass slippers. After Pinkie tells her that her prince would surely use it to find her, the horrified Rarity backtracks and '''smashes''' the slipper to pieces before fleeing in terror.

The girls meet up with Spike, [[DrunkOnMilk who's been drowning his sorrows in fried pastry and sprinkles at a local doughnut shop]]. They all relate what went wrong with their night over a plate of doughnuts, and agree that it was the worst night ever. Just then, Celestia arrives in the shop, thanking the ponies for making it the best Gala ever. Turns out the Gala's always a boring, horrible event, and Celestia invited the six in hopes that they would liven things up a bit, although the chaos that followed wasn't exactly what she had in mind. The episode ends with Twilight realizing that friends can make even the worst situations seem that much better.


* ActuallyPrettyFunny: After commiserating with Spike over doughnuts and hot chocolate, the Mane Six are able to laugh about what happened.
* AmbiguousSituation:
** Prince Blueblood's use of "one" when he expects Rarity to put her cloak over a puddle:
-->'''Prince Blueblood:''' Miss Rarity! Stop!\\
'''Rarity:''' Oh. Prince Blueblood! How chivalrous.\\
'''Prince Blueblood:''' One would hate to slip.\\
'''Rarity:''' Yes. "One" certainly would.\\
'''Prince Blueblood:''' One's cloak should take care of the problem.
** And again when he expects ''her'' to get the door for ''him''.
** [[RuleOfThree And yet again]] when ''he'' expects ''her'' to pay for the food.
* BadBadActing: When Fluttershy sets her first trap.
-->'''Fluttershy:''' I'm ''sooo'' sorry to have ''scared'' you, my friends, but I'm ''leaving'' now, so you can all ''come out''! ''[disappears behind a bush]''
* BallroomBlitz: Call it what you will, but the Gala is clearly a royal ball of some sort and one of the fanciest events in Canterlot... then it all slowly starts to go to hell.
* BarefootCartoonAnimal: Done oddly in that several of the Mane 6 are shown at various times as wearing shoes on their front hooves, but not on their back hooves.
* BatmanGambit: Princess Celestia admits that she never cared for the Grand Galloping Gala and reveals that she invited the Mane Six ''because'' she expected them to liven things up. They never intended to ruin the party, making Celestia's gamble pay off.
* BerserkButton: For Rarity, getting her nice clothes dirty. Prince Blueblood using her as a shield from Applejack's cake is TheLastStraw.
* BewareTheQuietOnes: Fluttershy, naturally. She's setting traps, indulging in the evil laugh, and unleashing her unforgettable line, "You're going to LOVE ME!". Overlaps with BewareTheNiceOnes.
* BishieSparkle: Prince Blueblood has this in Rarity's daydream.
* BittersweetEnding: ''Everyone's'' perceptions about what the Gala would cause for them went ''horribly'' wrong. But Celestia seemed to enjoy it and notes that it will be the most memorable one for her, plus give the Mane 6 plenty of stories to tell back home, and the Mane 6 plus Spike and Celestia end up hanging out at Donut Joe's and have a really good time.
* BookshelfDominoes: With Columns, leading to the climax.
* BoxAndStickTrap: Fluttershy tried to catch a rabbit this way, using ([[StockAnimalDiet what else?]]) a carrot as bait. She ended up catching the groundskeeper instead.
* BreatherEpisode:
** In the grand scope of the series, this lighter episode about the gala is right after the MoodWhiplash of "Owl's Well That Ends Well" and the BlackComedy "Party of One", and right before Discord and "Lesson Zero".
** Compared to most season finales, this is a relatively tame one; it's not a two-parter, and the fate of Equestria isn't at stake.
* CallBack:
** The Wonderbolts recognize Rainbow Dash from the events of [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E16SonicRainboom "Sonic Rainboom"]].
** The Mane Six all wear the dresses [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E14SuitedForSuccess Rarity designed for them]].
** The ponies finally get to enact their plans from [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E3TheTicketMaster the third episode]].
* CarryingACake: Twice.
** Soarin' carrying the apple pie; it's saved by Rainbow Dash.
** Applejack bringing a big cake; the tray is kicked by Pinkie Pie, and the cake ends in Rarity's face.
* CaughtInASnare: Fluttershy, self-inflicted.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: When Pinkie Pie is informed that this is not that kind of party, she takes it in the wrong direction.
-->'''Pinkie:''' Oh! These ponies don't want a party... they want a PAR-''TAY''!
* ContinuityNod:
** Pinkie's [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E25PartyOfOne straight hair makes an appearance]], [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E23TheCutieMarkChronicles but poofs up again because she's happy]].
** In her ImagineSpot during her part of "At The Gala", there's a whole line of ([[PaletteSwap palette-swapped]]) ponies wearing Pinkie's dress from [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E21OverABarrel "Over a Barrel"]].
** Spike wears the tux he's seen wearing in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E15FeelingPinkieKeen "Feeling Pinkie Keen"]], but without the top hat because in that episode Twilight failed to produce one with her magic.
* CoolCrown:
** Rarity's ensemble for the Gala includes a rather regal-looking tiara.
** Rainbow Dash's ensemble includes a gold laurel wreath.
* CringeComedy: The climax of the episode when the Mane Six all reach the height of their SanitySlippage. Even [[BigGood Princess Celestia]] [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness lets her composure slip]], and on some level the scene [[PlayedForLaughs is still funny]].
* CrowdSong: The ponies' arrival at the Gala is marked by one of these, which doubles as a MassiveMultiplayerEnsembleNumber.
* DefiedTrope:
-->'''Pinkie Pie:''' OOOH! Rarity, [[TheGirlWhoFitsThisSlipper your glass slipper!]] Now your prince is ''sure'' to find you! \\
'''Rarity:''' [[PrinceCharmless AAAAHHH!]] NO! ''[stomps it]''
* DidntThinkThisThrough: Applejack's whole plan for the Gala is to try and raise money for Sweet Apple Acres by selling her home cooking at the Gala. Never stopping to consider that such fancy parties usually include ''free hors d'oeuvres'' laid on for the benefit of the attendees in the first place, or that "hoity-toity types" like the nobility aren't likely to buy such food anyway. She herself realises this when she figures out why her efforts are failing.
* DisasterDominoes: How the mane cast ends up destroying the Gala.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Prince Blueblood dropping an ear and suggestively raising an eyebrow with his [[HotWind mane tousled by a breeze]], followed by Rarity saying "[he's] even ''better'' than I imagined."
* TheDogBitesBack: When Blueblood tops off his unchivalrous behaviour by using Rarity as a shield against the mass of cake, Rarity goes in a furious tirade at the terrified prince. Subverted since it turns out he's only creeped out by her getting cake on him, but Rarity just goes with that and shakes the whole thing off on him to his horror.
* DontAskJustRun: When the most powerful alicorn in the land must give this advice to the most powerful unicorn in the land...
* DoomedNewClothes: Downplayed since the Mane Six had worn their dresses before for Rarity's fashion show and Rarity wore hers for a Celestia visit, but all their clothes get damaged in the ensuing chaos.
* DramaticDeadpan: Celestia quietly telling Twilight "[[DontAskJustRun Run.]]"
* DramaticThunder: Fluttershy doing her EvilLaugh.
* DrowningMySorrows / DrunkOnMilk: Spike does this with doughnuts. It even comes complete with an IllTellYouWhenIveHadEnough exchange.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** This was the only season finale to not close the episode out with a big musical number (until seasons 6 and 7), instead just featuring the girls telling each other about their respective mishaps for the night.
** This episode is the first and only season finale to not be a two-parter (aside from "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E13MagicalMysteryCure Magical Mystery Cure]]"), and is also not based in adventure, nor is a BigBad present.
* EnemyToAllLivingThings: This episode inverts Fluttershy's FriendToAllLivingThings status, because the animals ''run away'' from her when she tries to befriend them at the Gala.
* EpicFail: The gala is a disaster because it was ''[[InvokedTrope engineered to be so]]'' by Celestia.
* EverybodyLaughsEnding: At the doughnut shop because they're finally having fun.
* EvilLaugh: Fluttershy. No, really. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9FPBXryI-Q Really.]] It's loud. It even gets DramaticThunder and a proper RearingHorse pose... which [[HoistByHerOwnPetard she has trouble landing]].
* FacePalm: When Twilight worries about losing the mice-turned-horses for the carriage, [[DeadpanSnarker Rarity does everything but point out the obvious]].
* FacePlant: Fluttershy plows face-first into a bush when trying in vain to catch the critters in the garden during Pinkie's song.
* FinishDialogueInUnison: See the page quote.
* {{Foil}}:
** Prince Blueblood is prissy and regal like Rarity, and demonstrates what a jerk she ''isn't''. Where Rarity is generous to a fault despite how she appears, Prince Blueblood is a complete {{Jerkass}} who [[ItsAllAboutMe cares only about himself]].
** Fluttershy encounters animals that are shyer than her, Pinkie's troubles come from ponies that must party the ''right'' way, the guests are too proud to eat AJ's food, Rainbow loses the Wonderbolts to people louder and more attention-seeking, and the schedule works against Twilight.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Twilight's attempt to recreate the fairy tale enchanted-carriage-and-horses archetype is a mild foreshadowing of the gala itself -- everything starts off as expected, but falls apart soon afterward...
* FurryConfusion: Twilight's plan to magically create horses to pull everypony's carriage... and Rarity's alternate solution when it goes wrong. Even Spike gets in on the fun when he attempts to direct the carriage.
* TheGirlWhoFitsThisSlipper: {{Defied|Trope}} when Rarity smashes her dropped slipper rather than deal with the prince again.
* GoneHorriblyRight: Princess Celestia invited the Mane cast in hopes that they'd liven up the Gala, or at least hoped that they would do so after she knew they were all coming. (The events of "The Ticket Master" make it look less than entirely planned.) They prove so lively that the Gala is destroyed by their antics. However, Celestia ''still'' considers this an improvement over how the Gala would have gone without them, so it's a Downplayed version of the trope.
* GroinAttack: [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Part of Pinkie Pie's "Pony Pokey" performance. Pity the poor piano-playing pony.]] Even better, his piano playing jumps up a few octaves when he gets hit.
* HalfDressedCartoonAnimal: {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d.
-->'''Spike:''' (''knocking'') Aw, c'mon, you guys! Let me in!\\
'''Rainbow Dash:''' Sure thing, Spike!\\
'''Rarity:''' Heavens, no! We're getting dressed!\\
'''Applejack:''' Dressed? Er... beg pardon, Rarity, but... uh... ''we don't normally wear clothes''.
* HeroismAddict: Rainbow Dash flirts with this towards the end of the episode. To be precise, she wants the Wonderbolts' attention and so bucks Caesar into the air and catches him on her back (in a very suggestive -- for ponies -- position). Nopony notices, and she flings him aside in frustration.
* HeroicVow: The ponies each resolve to make the evening [[TitleDrop the best night ever.]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Fluttershy falls for her own net trap.
* HumanShield: Prince Blueblood makes Rarity into one when a flying cake comes their way. She is definitely not amused.
* HypeBacklash: The mane cast's failed expectations are an InUniverse example of this.
* ICantLookGesture: One of the guests covers her eyes with her hooves when Rarity gets hit with the giant cake.
* IWantSong: A variation with "At the Gala". The Mane Six state what they wish to happen at the gala.
* IllTellYouWhenIveHadEnough: Spike and doughnuts.
* ItsTheBestWhateverEver: The title, and a recurring motif throughout the episode. Even said by Celestia herself at the end.
-->'''Celestia:''' That was the ''best'' Grand Galloping Gala ever!
* LosingAShoeInTheStruggle: By night's end, every one of the Mane Cast except for Pinkie Pie is missing at least one of their shoes.
* LoveHungry: Fluttershy when the animals reject her repeated attempts to get close. She gets ''scary'' when they ignore her.
* LyricalDissonance: Pinkie's "Pony Pokey" song is happy and upbeat until you realize the lyrics are about things going FromBadToWorse for the Mane Six.
* MoodWhiplash: The Mane Six start going through this during the "Pony Pokey" song. It gets the most evident when Fluttershy screams "COME OUT!" during her segment.
* MusicalPastiche: "At The Gala" is based on "Ever After" from ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods''.
* NiceHat:
** Applejack's ensemble includes a hat similar to her usual Stetson, but with some apple-themed details under the brim.
** Pinkie Pie's ensemble includes a cute little little pillbox hat.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero:
** The Mane Cast's forays into Trying Too Hard to make the night the Best Night Ever universally just make the night worse for them and those around them. Rainbow Dash in particular literally breaks a lot of stuff when trying to save a falling statue.
** Also, Opal scaring away the mice turned horse at the beginning.
* NightmareFace: Fluttershy pulls off a pretty frightening one at the height of her sanity slippage.
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness:
** Given that Fluttershy is ordinarily one of the sweetest characters on the show... if not ''the'' sweetest... it's quite surprising when she goes crazy.
** When Rarity ''destroys part of her gala getup'' on being told her prince was sure to find her...
** After the Gala has been trashed and it goes FromBadToWorse when the garden animals start to run amok, Celestia's response is to lean down to Twilight and whisper "Run!"
* OhCrap: The DisasterDominoes elicit this reaction from everypony (except maybe Celestia). Also, the squirrel Flutterrage catches.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping:
** It seems that Ashleigh Ball has some trouble singing in Applejack's voice, instead she uses her own singing voice and puts a slight accent on the lyrics that are more spoken than sung.
** Rainbow Dash isn't immune to this either as her voice loses some of its usual rasp although it's barely noticeable.
* PickyEater: Prince Blueblood and many other stuck-up ponies.
-->'''Prince Blueblood:''' [[FelonyMisdemeanor My royal lips have touched common carnival fare!]]
* PieInTheFace: Rarity gets a whole cake in the face thanks to Prince Blueblood.
* PreviouslyOn: "At the Gala" is a stealth version of this, since it reminds the audience of all the characters' expectations about the Gala that had been established in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E3TheTicketMaster "The Ticket Master"]] (though Twilight's isn't introduced until now). They come with brief imagine shots, updated to feature each pony in her gala dress.
* PrinceCharmless: Blueblood. Rarity actually describes him in nearly those words.
* PuddleCoveringChivalry: When Rarity and Blueblood come upon a puddle, she thinks he will do this for her. Instead, he takes her coat so that he can walk across on it.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: When [[FanNickname Psychoshy]] shows up.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Rarity finally giving Prince Blueblood what for.
-->'''Rarity:''' You, sir, are the most ''un''charming prince I have ''ever'' met! In fact, the only thing royal about you is that you are a royal ''pain!''
* {{Retcon}}: Rainbow now just wants to hang out with the Wonderbolts rather than upstaging them.
* RockBottom: Twilight: "Well, it can't get any worse." Cue the rumbling of a stampede.
* RuleOfGlamorous: The only reason anypony would wear hoofwear that could be destroyed by stepping too hard.
* SanitySlippage: Fluttershy. Who'd have guessed?
-->'''Fluttershy:''' You're... going... to '''''LOVE ME!!!!!'''''
* SapientSteed: It turns out that ponies don't appreciate the coach driver (an overenthusiastic Spike) snapping their reins. Which leads to...
* SeriousBusiness: [[FurryConfusion The stallions used to pull the Mane 6's carriage really don't appreciate having their reins snapped.]]
--> "If you weren't friends with our neighbor Rarity..."
** Celestia tells Twilight "Run." Twilight gathers up all her friends and ''runs''... including Fluttershy in the midst of her rage, who drops the rage entirely upon hearing Twilight and runs.
* ScreenShake: The RockBottom cue.
* SheCleansUpNicely: Spike is amazed by how the girls look in their outfits.
* ShoutOut:
** "At the Gala" has quite a few similarities to "Ever After" from ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods''. "Into the Gala to meet, to sell, to find, to prove, to whoop, to talk...."
** The song between Fluttershy and the meadowlark is straight-up the same melody as [[Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs Snow White's]] during her "I'm Wishing" song. And then when she finds the gardener pony, he explains that he enjoys whistling while he works.
** When Rainbow Dash saves Soarin's pie from falling, the background sound is the famous "bionic sound" used in ''Series/TheSixMillionDollarMan'' during similar BulletTime[=/=]OverCrank heroic moments.
** Fluttershy's attempt to trap a critter and its resulting backfire would land her among the ranks of [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Elmer Fudd and Wile E. Coyote]].
** The˙fruit-based carriage and mice turned into horses is reminiscent of ''{{Disney/Cinderella}}''.
** The way Celestia flies between Canterlot's towers, leaving a sparkling arc behind her, is very reminiscent of the intro logo used in Disney movies.
* SlasherSmile: Fluttershy sports one of these before setting her snare.
* SpontaneousChoreography: On part of everyone during "At the Gala".
* {{Squee}}: Quite literally Rainbow Dash's reaction to finally getting to hang out with the Wonderbolts.
* StaggeredZoom: Pinkie does this at the end of her song upon entering the ballroom, when the camera zooms in to the inside of her open mouth this way.
* SuspiciouslyAproposMusic: Pinkie's "Pony Pokey" song is played over scenes of the other ponies trying to have a good time at the Gala, with the lyrics matching up to their situations and actions very well.
* TemptingFate: Twilight and Celestia walk into the grand hall to find it devastated, and with four of the Mane Cast surveying the results of the recent bout of DisasterDominoes. Twilight can't help but utter the classic phrase, [[RockBottom "Well, it can't get any worse!"]] Cue Fluttershy with a horde of frightened animals
* TitleDrop: Several times over the course of the episode.
* ToTheTuneOf:
** Pinkie Pie's "I'm at the Grand Galloping Gala" is to the tune of "Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre" (better known to the American audience as "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow").
** While the best-known version of "The Hokey Pokey" is not in the public domain in America, Pinkie Pie's "Pony Pokey" is based on what Daniel Ingram remembers from roller derby as a kid.
* TruckDriversGearChange: "At the Gala", before and after Twilight's verse, and "Pony Pokey", before each of the second through fifth verses.
* TwitchyEye: Fluttershy when she chases the animals around the castle.
* TwoScenesOneDialogue: Happens to the Mane Six themselves in six scenes with one dialogue.
* UncannyValley: InUniverse. This is everypony's reaction when Twilight transforms Fluttershy's mouse friends into slightly mouse-faced horses to pull their carriage.
* UpperClassTwit: Prince Blueblood has all the smug arrogance combined with the lack of wit and sophistication that the trope requires.
* WaistcoatOfStyle: Pinkie and Rainbow's dresses have these.
* WantingIsBetterThanHaving: The Aesop of the episode is that the Mane Six's dreams of the gala were far superior to the gala itself.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: A quite literal example in that we never find out what happened to the mice/horses that were originally going to pull the carriage after Opal scared them off. Twilight made a passing mention just before Opal's entrance that the spell only lasts until midnight, as appropriate of her genre stealing... so, they most likely returned to Fluttershy's entourage the next morning. Also, Twilight turns four mice into horses, but we only see three run away after Opalescense pounces.
* WhyWeCantHaveNiceThings: In this case, everything about the Grand Galloping Gala. The snobbish ponies don't approve of Applejack's food or Pinkie's approach to partying, and all of the girls' dresses get damaged in the ensuring chaos. A statue gets smashed to bits.
* WorstWhateverEver: The Mane 6's best night ever eventually turns into the ''worst'' night ever, and this is said by Spike when meeting him at the donut shop.
* WrongGenreSavvy: A lot of the cast's problems come from assuming that they're in a FairyTale rather than an Aesop comedy.
* XanatosGambit: Princess Celestia had one going on. Either she got to spend the evening with her star student (making the boring party at least slightly more bearable), the mane cast would make the party more interesting, or (as what happened) the mane cast would make things so "interesting" that the boring party would be ''over'' faster. Let's see... Celestia's party got cut short by a spectacular case of DisasterDominoes courtesy of Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie knocked her guests out of their starched shirt complacency, her PrinceCharmless of a nephew got a well deserved TheReasonYouSuckSpeech and she got to spend some quality time in a relaxed late-night restaurant with the mane cast. Yup, a winner is Celestia.
* {{Yandere}}: Oh, ''Fluttershy.'' This is the source for her infamous meme, "You're going to '''''LOVE ME!'''''"