Everypony living at Sweet Apple Acres wears exactly one accessory each: Applejack's cowboy hat, Big McIntosh's yoke, Apple Bloom's hair bow, and Granny Smith's bandanna.
All ponies occasionally wear some accessories. Most notably, there's the mane six's dresses for the Grand Galloping Gala. Other accessories are mostly used for visual gags and tend to be gone in the next scene.
Meanwhile, the ponies in Canterlot are shown wearing a lot of different outfits and accessories, possibly related to the difference in wealth between Ponyville and Canterlot.
In one episode where Twilight sees her own future self, she was wearing a bandana, an eye-patch and a worn-out skintight suit. Tara Strong voice-acted as Elisa and Ursula from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Paz from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Both of those games' main protagonists were Naked Snake (Aka Big Boss) who also has a bandana and an eye-patch.
In the episode "Simple Ways" Rarity has a crush on Trenderhoof and tries to change herself to impress him. In The LittlestPetShop episode "Sweet Pepper" Pepper has a crush on a Polecat and tries to change herself, both are voiced by Tabitha St. Germain and both aired the exact same week.
The episode list for Season 1 alone gives us "The Mare in the Moon", "Boast Busters", "Call of the Cutie", "Fall Weather Friends", "Suited for Success", "The Show-Stoppers", "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", and arguably "Owl's Well that Ends Well". And now Season 2 has "Sisterhooves Social", "Hearts and Hooves Day", "The Mysterious Mare-do-well", and most notably "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy Six-Thousand".
Adoring the Pests: In "Swarm Of The Century," Fluttershy finds a cute Parasprite, feeds it, and brings it home. On the way, it multiplies. The Parasprites keep multiplying until they eat most of Ponyville (the buildings, not the residents!).
An episode where Rarity has to spend a week with her much younger sister Sweetie Belle, with her essentially taking a parent role for in every scene they have together. They get on each other's nerves until they declare that they don't want to be sisters anymore, and Sweetie Belle runs away. Rarity soon has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and heads out to find her, and while the next scene has her doing just that, the fact that her epiphany happened in the daytime and the next scene is at night indicates that she's spent quite a long time desperately searching everywhere in town, worried about what might have happened to her baby sister.
Then there's season one episode "The Stare Master". The Cutie Mark Crusaders venture into the Everfree Forest, in the middle of the night, to find a missing chicken. Fluttershy, who was entrusted with their care, goes after them and bumps into a petrified Twilight Sparkle; she then realizes that a Cockatrice, a very dangerous chicken-shaped monster, is near...
The "Baby Cakes" episode featured a scene that's every parent's and babysitter's nightmare. Pinkie turns her back on the babies she's taking care of, and when she checks on them again, the babies have disappeared. To emphasize the Adult Fear, the following tense minutes where she's looking for them are even shot like something straight out of a horror movie.
"Dragon Quest" has Spike falling in with the wrong crowd. There's also a recurring theme of an adopted child rejecting his foster parents as not his "real" family.
Spike's not the only one to get a dose of this trope in the episode. He finally realizes that his fellow adolescent dragons are "the wrong crowd" when he finds out that they make a regular activity out of stealing phoenix eggs from their parents' nests and smashing them, purely because they find it fun. If that revelation doesn't push them over the Moral Event Horizon, their willingness to take the newborn babies after they hatch definitely does.
"The Cutie Pox" has Apple Bloom contracting a life-threatening illness with no known cure. Also, in the Cold Open, a throwaway Shout-Out to The Big Lebowski has Fridge Horror to the effect that polerasts (the equine equivalent of pederasts) are canon.
Adults Are Useless: Episodes featuring the Cutie Mark Crusaders tend to use this trope. For instance, the adult ponies rarely do anything about Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon's bullying, even when it happens right in front of them.
Aesop Amnesia: A bit of a Running Gag with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who ignore any moral about not trying to force their cutie marks to appear.
Gilda, of course, of whom Faust's comment was originally directed at. Also, Trixie.
Babs Seed, where the entire episode is based on why bullies are bullies, which is because often times bullies don't want to be bullied as well, so they bully others to fit in with the other bullies, like how Babs is mean to the CMC to avoid Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon's teasing.
Alternate Continuity: At least four of them, as the Novelizations (including the storybooks and the magazine stories) and the Canadian live show adapt some of the same episodes.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: Daring Do's nemesis, Ahuizotl, is actually not something made up for the show - Ahuizotl is actually the name of an Aztec creature. On top of that, it's actually a fairly accurate portrayal in terms of appearance.
Amazing Technicolor Population: While real horses and ponies come in a variety of colors, the ponies of Equestria seems to come in color combinations ranging from believable to flat-out garish (like Merry May, a Pegasus with a lime coat and a magenta mane).
While griffons don't exist in the real world, one would assume they would have colorations similar to real-world lions and eagles. And yet we have these◊.
Ambidextrous Sprite: Since ponies are made of Flash objects, they—or parts of them—often appear mirrored. It's more complicated than a simple flip, though. The ponies seem to have a "good side" that, in nearly every shot, starts out facing the camera. When a pony turns around while visible in a shot, all of her features remain left-right consistent, and the other side shows—unless they turn around very quickly, in which case the Flash object gets flipped, and the "good side" stays to the fore.
This is especially prominent in the case of Fluttershy and Rarity, whose manes can obscure their faces. They always begin every shot with their bangs out of their faces, whether facing right or left, except when the shot calls for Fluttershy to look extra shy or Rarity to look worried or depressed. The highlights in Twilight's hair also change sides depending on which direction she's facing, with the pink highlight closest to the camera. On head-on shots, the pink highlight seems to default to being on Twilight's left (the viewers' right) side of her hair.
Another fairly obvious one is Zecora, as she has her gold ringlets on the left side of her forelegs. However, whenever her flash object is flipped, the gold ringlets flip with her, putting the ringlets on the other side. This is also apparent in short gags such as the telescope in "Griffon The Brush Off", as the smudge on Dash's eye is first on her left eye, then on her right when she looks in the pond.
A mild case occurs with Spike, who is usually shown writing letters with his right hand. On occasion, he's shown writing letters with his left hand, and in "Dragonshy" is shown alternating hands while writing the friendship report.
Subverted with Discord, whose concept art by Lauren Faust indicate he was supposed to have limbs that change position; to further support his role as the spirit of chaos and confusion. Averted as the artists did not follow this concept, presumably because it would be too difficult to animate and still look good.
One building in Ponyville (presumably a joke shop) has a sign shaped like a pony's head, wearing a fake arrow. The arrow always points away from the camera.
Ambiguously Gay: The sea serpent. The meme where it implies Rarity kills him is even called "Rarity Kills A Gay Dragon"
Ambition Is Evil: Notably, admirably, and satisfyingly subverted or averted at almost every opportunity. Rarity in particular has not received karmic punishment for daring to want to succeed, except when such desire cuts ahead of her friends.
Anachronic Order: A consequence of the episodic nature of the series. Word of Godsays that "The show is made up of both 'adventure' and 'slice of life' episodes. There is a loose time line for the show, but many of the episodes (especially the 'slice of life ones') are written in such a way that they can fit almost anywhere in said time line." The show also seems to have some Comic Book Time going on, and there is more than a little bit of Negative Continuity going on.
"Fall Weather Friends", which takes place at the beginning of fall, aired after "Winter Wrap Up", which takes place at the end of winter. Word of God says their main priority was to make sure young viewers understood how the world works with the ponies being in charge of changing the seasons, and that little—if any—effort went into ensuring a coherent timeline.
The Sparkle WorldstoryThe Magic of Friendship implies that "Sonic Rainboom" takes place when Twilight and Spike were still new to Ponyville. The story states that Twilight and Spike hadn't lived in Ponyville very long and refers to the rest of the mane six as their new friends, yet later in the story Rainbow Dash performs a Sonic Rainboom for what would have to be at least the third time, placing "Sonic Rainboom" early in the series' chronology.
None of the seasonal episodes could have happened in the order that they were made or aired. Every annual event also seems to be the first since Twilight moved to Ponyville, meaning that seasonal episodes from the second and third television season should have happened concurrently with events from the first.
The fourth season premier seems to commemorate the one year mark of the series, and is the first time that an annual event recurs, making it the first event that can't be put into a single year. Whether the writers will pay more attention to a timeline in the future is unknown, but unlikely.
Anachronism Stew: The Ponyville Schoolhouse toy has a picture that shows present-day fillies Sweetie Belle and Sunny Daze alongside the filly versions of Pinkie Pie, Cheerilee, and the pony who was dressed as a flower for the play in Rarity's flashback during "The Cutie Mark Chronicles". Not necessarily an error, since the picture isn't stated to be a real photo.
Consider the fact that Equestria possesses technology from several different centuries. The houses of Ponyville are straw-thatched cottages lit primarily by candlelight; the kingdom of Canterlot has architecture based in Medieval Stasis while advancing in all other aspects; and Cloudsdale appears to be the most technologically advanced, having the abilities to control weather and develop a modern military, despite having architectural motifs from ancient Greece. The creatures range from a Cerberus and phoenix, associated with ancient myth, to farm animals and domesticated pets. Characters might use a wooden cart, a chariot, a feather and quill, or non-electrical farm equipment in daily life; others might use a jackhammer, a record turntable, an anemometer, or even a laboratory meant to monitor vital signs and natural phenomena.
Nightmare Moon was banished into the moon by her older sister for one thousand years before being able to escape. She's at least aware of how long she's been gone.
Even worse? In the fan-made/non-canon Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney crossover, the punishment for murder in Equestria is banishment to the Sun.
Discord was imprisoned in stone by Luna and Princess Celestia, and outright states that it's quite lonely being encased in stone, implying he was entirely aware of his time in there (which was upwards of a thousand years). He gets put back in short order.
This is mentioned again in "Keep Calm and Flutter On". Discord tells us that even while stone he can hear everything Celestia says. So he's definitely conscious and aware. Though it didn't seem to bother him that much as when he turned back (Both times) he treated it as an minor inconvenience/annoyance rather than torturous suffering
Averted with King Sombra who, assuming his mortality, was kept in a state of unaware suspended animation in the glaciers north of Equestria after Celestia and Luna deposed him.
Also pops up in the cartoon proper a few times. In "Winter Wrap Up", Twilight is rewarded with a special team vest for her efforts (she was left out of the initial planning because she's new in town, so she didn't have a team vest).
An Aesop: The show has one of these about friendship at the end of each episode, usually given in the form of a letter from Twilight Sparkle to Princess Celestia.
Averted in episodes 1 and 2 (since they're two-parters).
While most shows would treat these as throwaway morals, these actually are a plot point in "The Return of Harmony, Part 2": Celestia sends all of them back to Twilight to remind her why she should be fighting for her friends, instead of giving up, packing her bags and leaving Ponyville and Equestria to Discord's mercy. Also, the Aesop of the episode ends up being used in Twilight's Shut Up, Hannibal! speech.
The Aesop becomes a MacGuffin in "Lesson Zero", where Twlight panics because she doesn't have an Aesop of the Week to report to the Princess.
Subverted in The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000. The usual "letter to the princess" Aesop-delivery is set up... and then Applejack points out that she knew the aesop already, and didn't need to learn a thing.
Applejack: Dear Princess Celestia, I wanted to share my thoughts with you. [Clears Throat] I didn't learn anythin'! Ha! I was right all along!
Animals Lack Attributes: It's a family show, so the ponies' genitalia are never visible even when logic dictates they should be.
During longer musical numbers (especially in Season 2), the animation has a notable improvement. For example, you can see the pony's hair flowing and bouncing better, instead of a single object being stretched and moved around.
Season 3 seems to have improved on the animation even more, if "The Crystal Empire - Part 1" is any indication. The way Twilight's mane and tail flow in the wind during "The Failure Song" is something that was rarely seen even during Season 2.
Certain scenes in Season 3 also feature non-mirrored sprites.
Season 4 develops things even more. Even from the just the first few episodes, different types of shading get used more often, and the animators really seem to be going for broke in designing new expressions for the cast.
Animesque: Friendship Is Magic continues this precedent set by the G3.5 cartoons, with even bigger eyes and smaller snouts (but less humanlike qualities for the ponies, see below). It's particularly noticeable with the Magical Girl theme of the second episode, the use of Quivering Eyes and Speed Stripes, and the "n_n" expression the characters often get when they smile.
The Japanese version takes it to the next level by giving it an Anime Theme Song that has little to do with the show(though the second one says "Friendship is Magic"), and adding Boss Subtitles to character introductions.
The Italian version also gave it an Anime Theme Song, but it is actually directly about the show. This theme song can even be found on youtube with a watermark that says "anime fun".
Anthropomorphic Shift: Inverted. In predecessor incarnations, ponies were gradually becoming less horse-like and more human-like; walking on their hind legs, using their front legs as hands, wearing human clothes, etc. In this series, they are much closer to original form; using mouths to manipulate objects, hauling carriages, eating hay and sugarcubes, and halters and saddles are fashion items.
However, there are still instances where they take on human poses when it's awkward otherwise or if it's part of a gag (hoof gestures, sitting upright on benches, etc.).
And then of course there's Lyra Heartstrings. To explain, fans latched onto Lyra sitting upright like a human in one scene as meaning that she is obsessed with all things human, including that she wants hands and to walk upright.
Played straight on Season 2. That season had seen more human like behavior and poses and less pony like behavior and poses compared to Season 1. Former show runner Lauren Faust has shown a couple of responses regarding to this change like her reaction to the Bridlemaids billboard ad and the "put up your dukes" scene in the episode Dragon Quest.
Though, the G4 ponies' faces are the most human-like of all the generations, most female and younger ponies even having noticeably smaller noses.
Lampshaded when the Ponies are getting gussied up for the Gala and Rarity doesn't let Spike in because "They aren't dressed" in which Applejack points out that being ponies they don't normally wear clothes.
Anti-Sneeze Finger: The episode "Owl's Well That Ends Well," Spike does this to himself when the dust from the library book Twilight sent him to get starts bothering him. It doesn't work, and his fiery sneeze destroys the book.
Anti-Villain: A number of antagonists on this show are portrayed sympathetically on some level or another.
Even the "good" guys are occasionally driven to being villains in a sense; "Owl's Well That Ends Well" involves Spike fearing that the owl will take away the admiration Spike's become so accustomed to, and eventually resorting to trying to make it look like the owl dismembered and ate a mouse on the library floor. He's caught in the act, leading Twilight to give Spike a "The Reason You Suck" Speech so harsh that Spike ends up thinking she doesn't love him anymore. He runs away, ending up near a hostile dragon, only to be saved by Twilight Sparkle and the owl.
In "Lesson Zero" Twilight Sparkle becomes so fixated on solving a problem in Ponyville in time for a weekly message routine for Celestia she reverts to creating one by trying cause a rift between the Cutie Mark Crusaders. The fact her neuroses had broken her into out and out raving insanity didn't help one bit. In a reversal of the previous example, Spike has to bring her out of it.
A common sub-variety of these cases would be "creature who seems vicious but is just angry".
The Ursa Minor from "Boast Busters" causes a lot of damage to Ponyville, but is only angry because Snips and Snails woke him up and Trixie's efforts to stop him only made him madder.
Episode 2 has a thrashing sea serpent who's just upset about his mustache being cut in half, and a manticore who's just in pain from a thorn in his paw. The former calms down after Rarity cuts off half of her tail to replace the severed part of his mustache, the latter after being comforted by Fluttershy, and they each show signs of thankfulness for this.
From 2012, WeLoveFine's hoof-hands. Trying to add them to your cart rewarded you with a 15% off code that lasted until Monday April 2nd 11:59pm.
New episodes of Season 1 normally aired every Friday. April 1st, 2011 fell on a Friday, but that day a rerun of "The Ticket Master" aired. "A Bird in the Hoof", which cemented Celestia's reputation as "Trollestia" to the fans, aired the following week, on April 8th. Draw your own conclusions.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Keep Calm and Flutter On", Discord's listed offenses are turning Ponyville into "the chaos capital of the world", turning the protagonists into their polar opposites, and making it rain chocolate milk without whipped cream.
Artistic License - Biology: The most obvious example of this on the show is seeing the ponies in poses that would be physically impossible for actual horses, such as standing upright and crossing their legs. Less obviously, horses cannot belch, but that didn't stop Apple Bloom from doing so adorably.
The ponies are sometimes seen feeding ferrets with vegetables and nuts, even though ferrets are entirely carnivorous. One episode has averted this when Fluttershy is shown feeding them fish.
Contrary to "Winter Wrap-Up", mice, rabbits, porcupines, and tree squirrels do not hibernate.
The bald eagle in "May the Best Pet Win!" screams like a red-tailed hawk.
Beavers are drawn with white incisors. Real beavers have orange incisors.
The seal in "May the Best Pet Win!" is more evidently a sea lion, with ear flaps and more upright posture.
While may play this trope straight to egregious levels for the sake of the plot and settings, it's also obvious that the animators and writers have seriously done their homework on the subject. Everything from the way the ponies walk to little things most people would never notice are actually done by horses in real life.
On the same subject, in "Sonic Rainboom", Rainbow Dash did supersonic speed dashing, including a tight turn at that high speed, and everypony involved survived with all of their internal organs intact.
She was going Mach 10. Logically Rainbow Dash shouldn't have survived even hitting that speed.
There's a video making the rounds on Know Your Meme with a physics student doing a presentation on the show, specifically about three physical impossibilities he noted. The Sonic Rainboom was one — only on the basis of the Mach Cone that was shown — but the rest involved gravity physics. He noted that Applejack could not have catapulted Rainbow Dash any higher than the point she jumped off of (unless she happened to be made of dark matter), and that small cloud of butterflies could not possibly save Fluttershy from falling to her death (unless the butterflies were also made of dark matter).
Dash's wings were spread during the moment of catapultation, most likely adding more lift than just the catapult alone... which was exactly Dash's plan in the first place, making this situation internally-justified.
By realistic standards, pegasus ponies would have to weigh almost nothing to walk on clouds. This one is at least handwaved as an ability they possess which other ponies do not, which means it's probably magic. This may also justify Fluttershy's ability to survive a fatal fall by landing on butterflies.
One could also argue that due to their ability to fly, pegasi must have extremely hollow bones, like those of a bird. Rainbow Dash would be extremely light, making it possible for Applejack to catapult her the way she did.
It has been shown on several occasions that Rainbow Dash is very durable and resistant to pain. While hollow bones would explain Applejack being able to toss her in the air on the seesaw, they would likely shatter when she hits something full speed, which happens every other episode.
Art Evolution: Generally, the animators seem to really have hit their stride in Season 2.
With the animating work more or less finished for regular-bodied ponies, the team appears to be putting in an effort to introduce new body types.
Character animation is now more fluid and the backgrounds much more detailed.
The animating quirk of Applejack losing her freckles when running has been corrected as of Season 2.
Unfortunately, it still seems they forget to keep her hat on every now and again.
It's a rather subtle difference, but Celestia does not have a magical levitation aura over the letter she receives in the first season's opening. In the second season's opening however, she is clearly levitating the letter with her yellow magical aura.
The letter also has a glossy sheen added in Season 2.
Spike's proportions have shifted slightly to make him less chubby-looking, and as of Season 2 his coloring is a bit richer, with darker purple and brighter green.
The Artifact: Early episodes almost always ended with Twilight (and later her friends) writing their lesson to Princess Celestia. However, later episodes rarely feature letters at all, to the point that it's almost forgotten.
The letters were officially discontinued, with the replacement being a diary that allows others to write their lessons. The final episode to feature a letter to Celestia was "Apple Family Reunion"
Also, the episode "A Friend in Deed" has a felt animated sequence, crossing over into the main animation due to Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie.
"MMMystery on the Friendship Express" does this when Pinkie Pie is giving her theories about who took a bite out of MMMM. The first shift is to an old silent picture, the second is noticeably brighter and paler and is a parody of James Bond movies, and the third becomes slightly darker than usual to reflect that of a "Ninja movie."
In "Pinkie Pride" during the big contest, they show clips of Cheese Sandwich's rubber chicken as a real puppet, and Gummy shown as a realistic lizard on a log.
The Enterplay trading card set makes many fanon ideas official, including Octavia and her friendship/rivalry with DJ Pon-3 (see Ascended Meme below), the name of Mayor Mare, and Time Turner being in charge of "all things timey-wimey."
So does the official box set with Thunderlane, Rainbowfied Fluttershy and (picture of muffin) on Amazon here. Amazon refers to her as Derpy, but the box itself just shows a muffin.
In a larger sense, the entire Friendship is Magic series is an ascension of the fanon Lauren Faust created for her My Little Pony toys when she played with them as a child.
Due to YouTube's subtitle "Blind Idiot" Translation errors, the Sea Serpent in Friendship Is Magic Part 2 was christened Steven Magnet by the fans. Two years later, Hasbro releases toys of the sea serpent and the manticore from the same episode, naming them officially. The manticore was named Manny Roar, and guess what the sea serpent was named.
A number of fanon names for background characters have ascended thanks to the Enterplay trading cards, Gameloft video game, and toys. Notably, DJ Pon-3, Octavia, Lyra, Lotus Blossom, and Nurse Redheart have all appeared in toy form under their fanon names.
After popping up in a live-stream and fighting the Wonderbolts in a video from one of the show's animators, Magneto (or Magneighto, at least) eventually got some official recognition on a licensed shirt & hoodie, though these eventually stopped being available.
ThisHub promo name-checks "DJ Pon-3". One of the apps is called Derp-Zam (a riff on the Shazam app), most likely after fan-named character Derpy Hooves, and there's a Shout-Out to fan blog Equestria Daily.
Several ponies who appeared early but went unnamed have been officially dubbed with their fan names, to the point of changing the names after announcements. These include "Dr Whooves", who was initially dubbed Time Turner, and Derpy Whooves, who was initially named Ditsy Doo.
Derpy's love of muffins was made canon as an ending credits gag of the Equestria Girls movie.
In "Pinkie Apple Pie", when Applebloom picks up the map she starts dancing around and singing something that sounds like her own version of Twilightlicous.
So as to who they're performing for, it's not us, it's not 6-year-old kids, it's themselves. They're just doing what they think makes the show as great as they can, to entertain each other as best they know how. In other words, the creative team on this show really is just having that much fun making it. Best thing I could ever have heard.
Badass Mustache: One of Twilight Sparkle's spells is to make these grow on people. It doesn't help Spike woo Rarity, but he assumes that if he had a beard, too...
This comes back in the episode "Magic Duel", but the target is Trixie.
There are plenty of them in Apple-loosa as well, especially Sheriff Silverstar.
Steven Magnet prides himself on his mustache. Could be an inversion of Badass Mustache, because it just makes him even sissier and only Rarity appreciates it, or it could be in-universe Values Dissonance if he's a Chinese river dragon, in which case, the mustache does effectively represent this.
Leaves form the effect on Applejack in "Secret of My Excess" when she stoically asks Twilight to get her rope to go after Spike.
Happens one last time to Applejack in "Spike At Your Service", where Spike literally inflates her like a balloon.
Batman Gambit: Princess Celestia's response to Twilight Sparkle's first letter sets one up.
Later, Celestia's inviting Twilight's friends to the Grand Galloping Gala so they can mess it up.
"The Return of Harmony": After Discord has stolen the Elements of Harmony, he tells the ponies to meet him in the labyrinth. As it turns out, the Elements aren't even in the labyrinth, and Discord wanted the ponies in the labyrinth only so he could separate them from each other and corrupt them. He doesn't even mention the labyrinth. Twlight assumes that's the answer to the riddle. It's not. That part was useless. He hid them back where Twlight began: The book on the elements from the first episode
"Keep Calm and Flutter On": Discord falls prey to a gambit himself. Fluttershy wanted Discord to believe he was using her to break up the Elements, when in reality she was slowly wedging her way into his heart; as a result, when she takes her friendship away from him, he realizes how much he wanted and appreciated said friendship… and he promptly sets everything back to normal to appease her.
Bears Are Bad News: Ursa Minors/Majors are large bear-like creatures with starry pelts. By "large" we mean building-size - and that's the baby Ursa Minor. The Ursa Major makes it look like a bear cub by comparison.
The first two episodes of the first season seem to have a hint of this, with Twilight Sparkle at first not wanting to make new friends, only to find out later that "just when I learn how wonderful it is to have friends, I have to leave them." That is a milder case, though, as it turns out Celestia lets Twilight stay in Ponyville with her new friends anyway.
Princess Luna is this, too; she wished to exceed her sister, to be appreciated like her, and then she became Nightmare Moon as a consequence.
In "Green Isn't Your Color" the theme has been doubled! Rarity getting what she thought she wanted earlier on left her making the same mistake in the opposite direction later on.
Earlier, Rarity insists that she wants Fluttershy to become a model. As a result, Fluttershy becomes so famous that Rarity gets very jealous.
Rarity: I'M the one who should be mobbed by strangers wherever I go!
Later, Rarity explains this was her reason for standing up for Fluttershy; in her jealousy, she thought she wanted something embarrassing to happen to Fluttershy on-stage, but she felt extremely guilty when it actually did.
"Sisterhooves Social" has Rarity wanting to get away from Sweetie Belle earlier on but missing her later on.
In "The Cutie Pox", Apple Bloom uses a magical flower called "Heart's Desire" to finally get her Cutie Mark. Unfortunately, over the course of the day she gets several more cutie marks, each of which brings both a new talent and a compulsion to practice that talent endlessly, whether it's window-washing, tap-dancing, speaking French, or lion-taming.
A hint of this also shows up in "May The Best Pet Win", with Rainbow Dash insisting earlier on that she wanted a fast, agile, flying animal for a pet... and after putting the animals through competitions testing these (among other) traits she found out that the falcon met her standards the most... but by the time she found this out, she had evidently changed her mind about what she wanted in a pet after all, as she clearly wasn't happy about being told that the falcon won. Of course, she found out a loophole in her rules that allowed her to adopt a tortoise instead, in a clear contrast to what she at first wanted.
Pinkie Pie runs into this trope head-on in "Baby Cakes". She begs the Cakes for a chance to babysit their newborn twins, but ends up running herself ragged after they let her do it.
Pinkie Pie wishes in "Too Many Pinkie Pies" to have a clone to be able to have fun in two places, but then she makes more clones to have more fun, and then the clones clone themselves further, which ultimately obscures who the real Pinkie Pie is. Now the real Pinkie can't have any fun at all.
The Bechdel Test: Passes easily, since nearly everyone is female. In fact, you can barely find two males having a conversation, with only two episodes (Over a Barrel and Ponyville Confidential) passing the inverse Bechdel Test.
The Best Night Ever also features a brief exchange between two males (Spike and Pony Joe), though it's short enough to be debatable whether it counts as a conversation.
Between My Legs: A rather strange example of this trope. In the episode Bridle Gossip, after Pinkie Pie sings her Evil Enchantress song, there are two shots framed by her legs showing Twilight, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy's (somewhat confused) expressions.
There's her disregard of the fourth wall. Outside of a one-off gag or two, Spike is the only other character to engage in this, and does so far less overtly or consistently.
In the episode "A Friend In Deed," Pinkie Pie has Fantasy Sequence done in felt as she runs through her checklist of friend-making activities. After coming out of the spot, she resolves to complete her list, and punctuates it by holding up a green felt checkmark from her Fantasy Sequence.
In the same episode, she also sprouts an extra pair of limbs, which disappear just as suddenly. ...Yeah.
In "Too Many Pinkie Pies," Rainbow Dash is trying to nap by the lakeside. Pinkie, who still wants to jump and splash around, compromises by doing a huge cannon-ball - only to slow herself down just as she reaches the water, and gently float the rest of the way down. Rainbow stares and asks "How did you do that?" Though it gained less attention, she did the same thing while bouncing on a trampoline at the beginning of "The Best Night Ever."
"Too Many Pinkie Pies" also has her (or rather, her clones) perform feats like inflating her hoof so that working fingers pop out, or making a "crazy face" by morphing her face to resemble that of a G3 pony.
Everypony thought that the Sonic Rainboom was impossible until Rainbow Dash performed it.
Big Bad: The show doesn't have one overall or any lasting ones, since it operates on a Monster of the Week basis. Even the serious villains (Nightmare Moon, Discord, Queen Chrysalis and King Sombra) each only get to be Big Bad for one two-episode story. This actually means that the biggest Big Bad so far is... the Grand Galloping Gala, the big party the ponies are looking forward to, which causes trouble in a whole three episodes ("The Ticket Master", "Suited for Success" and "The Best Night Ever").
Big Eater: Spike, Pinkie Pie, and Snails are no slouches in this department, but the Parasprites, swarming insects not unlike locusts, beat them all by a landslide.
Applejack fits this one to a lesser extent. She can stuff an entire apple in her mouth, chew it up (core and all), and swallow it in one bite. During "Look Before You Sleep", she does the same with one of Rarity's s'mores and demonstrates lousy table manners by burping afterward. In "Apple Family Reunion", baby Applejack reveals she has the appetite of a full grown stallion, eating all the apple fritters on one platter.
Rarity's and Sweetie Belle's performance in the pie-eating leg of the Sisterhooves Social might qualify them for this when they are properly motivated.
As of "Twilight Time," turns out Twilight is this too.
Bigger on the Inside: In general, the exterior shapes don't match the interiors of the houses and buildings shown in the cartoon. With very few exceptions, one could fit the exterior of a building inside one of the inner rooms and have room to spare.
To name two examples: during the pilot, Pinkie Pie stuffed almost the entire population of Ponyville into a single room of Twilight's library, and the size of Sugarcube Corner doesn't match the inside (Pinkie Pie's room being the biggest offender).
Big Good: Princess Celestia is ruler over the whole setting, Twilight's mentor, the one who more often than not tells the mane six they need to save Equestria and easily the most intelligent character on the show - and armed with the massive power that comes with being a Physical Goddess, to boot. The major villains see her as their chief opponent, and she's always the one to send out the heroes against them. Her less-often-seen younger sister, Luna, is technically equal in rank and power potential but has learned frompersonal experience to defer to her older sibling's superior wisdom.
Big "NO!": Spike does this twice in "A Dog and Pony Show" — once just after Rarity is kidnapped and again after he and the other ponies fall into the lair of the Diamond Dogs and realize they have no idea which way to go. Both of them were right before the commercial breaks, too. Maybe he just doesn't like commercials.
After putting up with lots of "cute" things and conversations, Scootaloo does one at the end of "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" when her crusader friends give her a group hug and Fluttershy announces she's going to sing another "cute" song.
Every major villain (except King Sombra) has given one of these shortly before their defeats.
Black Magic: Can be used by unicorns, and manifests with their horns (and eyes) glowing black and green, instead of their usual aura color. Known users are King Sombra, Celestia and Twilight.
Blanket Tug O War: Applejack and Rarity have one of these in "Look Before You Sleep", when they are forced to share the same bed at a sleepover at Twilight's house.
Blessed with Suck: Representing the Element of Honesty means that Applejack can't lie to save her life. However, she knows other methods of not telling the truth.
To an extent for Twilight Sparkle - her high education is considered something of a second ability, however her intricacies also lead her to be Super OCD and neurotic to extremes on occasion, not to mention her diligence to education kept her isolated and socially inept for most of her early life.
This trope was played quite literally on Rarity in "Bridle Gossip".
Blue Boy Pink Girl: Played straight and inverted with Shining Armor and Princess Cadance. His color scheme is a regal white and blue hair, while Cadance is thoroughly pink with tricolor hair. At the same time, His unicorn magic is bright mauve-pink and his bride's is pale blue.
In another episode of My Little Pony, Spike insists on being Applejack's helper to repay her back for saving his life, but he's so terribly bad at everything she asks him to do that she is immediately forced to figure out how to let him go.
Blunt Yes: When discussing the apple orchard harvest in Season 1 Episode 4.
Applejack: I'll take a bite out of this job by day's end!
Big McIntosh: Biting off more than you can chew is just what I'm afraid of.
Applejack: Are you saying my mouth is making promises my legs can't keep?
The first three seasons both begin and end in Canterlot.
The episode "Sisterhooves Social" opens and closes with shots of the same two birds in a tree outside Carousel Boutique.
Season 1 starts with Twilight Sparkle in charge of overseeing the rest of the Mane Six prepare for a celebration, and Season 2 ends the same way.
Season 3 begins with "The CrystalEmpire", where Princess Cadance ascends to her role as the Crystal Princess. Season 3 ends with "Magical Mystery Cure", where Twilight Sparkle ascends to her role as princess. We don't know what her duties as princess entails yet, though.
The first and last songs of Season 3 (I Wasn't Prepared for This and Life in Equestria) end with a long zoom-out from Twilight standing on the parapet of Canterlot Castle.
Boring, but Practical: Speaking on a general level, unicorns can do magic, pegasi can fly and build cities from clouds, earth ponies... can grow food.
Boss Subtitles: In the Japanese version, whenever a major character makes their first big appearance, their name pops up underneath them, much like in Japanese anime.
In Taiwan, some of scenes were cut. Like in "Party Of One", they cut the scenes where Rainbow Dash knocked down Rocky and in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", they cut the scenes where Rarity scolds a rock. They also cut a few scenes in "Fall Weather Friends" for no reason at all.
"Elements of Harmony" closes off with a scenery shot of Ponyville, at which point Pinkie Pie pops up and repeats her "Are you excited?" rant to the camera as the Iris Out begins. When she gasps, the Iris actually widens again.
In "Bridle Gossip", Twilight and her friends are suffering the nasty aftereffects of a "curse". Immediately, Spike makes silly nicknames for them, but when it's Twilight's turn, he gets stumped, claiming "I got nothing". Then he turns his eye against the fourth wall and says "'Twilight Sparkle?' I mean, seriously. I can't even work with that".
At the end of "Bridle Gossip", when the ponies are enjoying the bath and laughing as the screen zooms out to the credits, Pinkie Pie stares at the viewer with a curious expression on her face.
ThisSpin-Off Babies toy commercial opens with baby Pinkie Pie asking the viewers if they'll help her walk.
This toy commercial opens with Pinkie Pie inviting the viewers to hop in her RC Car if they want to come with her to Ponyville.
This toy commercial opens with Rarity inviting the viewers to come ride round and round on her Carousel Boutique with her, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie.
Spike repeatedly interacts with Twilight's imagine spots during "Lesson Zero": he pops one with a claw, rolls another up like a blind, and wheels a starburst background out of frame.
Towards the end of "Putting Your Hoof Down", Iron Will gives a clear thumbs-up and wink to the audience — actually momentarily confusing both Rarity and Pinkie Pie in the foreground.
This toy commercial opens with Pinkie Pie introducing herself to the viewers and inviting them to hop on her Friendship Express Train.
Rainbow Dash talks directly to the viewers in this commercial for a marathon leading up to the premiere of "Hearts and Hooves Day".
At the end of "Magic Duel", the camera iris closes, but forced open by a still mouth-less Pinkie Pie. Then TWILIGHT opens up another iris to get to her and restore her mouth.
During "Magical Mystery Cure," our favorite wall-eyed background pony made an appearance at Twilight's coronation several times. Once, she was even winking at the camera.
Also during "Magical Mystery Cure" when Twilight ascends to the astral plane Celestia demonstrates that she has been keeping track of Twilight's progress...by displaying a grid of clips from the show. This implies Celestia is watching the show (or perhaps even producing it).
Less POV-oriented, Princess Luna. She had all of two lines in the entirety of Season 1 (sans her lines as Nightmare Moon), and yet the fandom positively screamed for her to start showing up in Season 2. She got an entire episode, and then a coupleof appearances in the season finale. She also appeared in bothparts of the start of season 3, as well as playing a major role in another episode and appearing yet again in the season finale.
Break the Cutie: When Fluttershy decided to get assertiveness lessons from Iron Will and started becoming a Jerkass. After she realized that she had become a monster, she boarded up her cottage and had Angel tie her up.
Brick Joke: During "Call of the Cutie", Apple Bloom tries her hoof at baking cupcakes, but all she gets are some horribly burnt failures that are quickly swept under the rug. Later, during a party, a poor background pony is seen nibbling on some nicely decorated cupcakes, only to make an unpleasant discovery. At the very end of the episode, Scootaloo tries to eat one of the cupcakes, but Apple Bloom warns her off it ("Not the cupcakes! Trust me".).
Another example appears in "Swarm of the Century". The first instrument Pinkie Pie tries to find, a trombone, doesn't even become a part of the one-pony-band ensemble she uses to drive the swarm away. At the very end, after a shot of the aftermath of the infestation, she pops up in front of the screen with her trombone to deliver the classic "Wah-wah-wah-WAAAAAAH".
"The Ticket Master" opens with Applejack telling Twilight about a bet she made, saying that if she won, Big McIntosh would have to walk down Stirrup Street in one of Granny Smith's girdles. This seems like a simple, throwaway joke, until "Applebuck Season", where Big McIntosh is unable to harvest apples because of a mysterious, unexplained injury to his midsection.
At the beginning of "A Bird in the Hoof", Rainbow Dash spends a few minutes trying to get a reaction out of Celestia's guards. Her efforts are futile, as one might expect. At the end of the episode, once Philomena is reborn as a phoenix, Dash convinces her to tickle the guards' noses. It works, they finally break character. Cue Everypony Laughs Ending.
In "Party Of One", Pinkie says she'll pass out written invitations next time she decides to invite her friends to a party. The next day, after the birthday party for Gummy ends, she appears with a basket of written invitations to Twilight and friends for Gummy's after-birthday party.
A subtle one is done in both parts of the pilot. When initially looking up information on the Elements of Harmony in Canterlot, Twilight finds some info under 'E' in a book. Once Nightmare Moon has been freed, Twilight then races to the Ponyville library to find more info on the Elements but is having trouble. Pinkie Pie finds a reference guide with ease, and when Twilight asks her about it, Pinkie cheerfully responds "It was under 'E'!"
When the mane six are "cursed" in "Bridle Gossip", Spike makes up nicknames for each pony based on her curse, but can't come up with one for Twilight. At the very end of the scene, Spike comes up with Twilight Flopple.
What Discord is eating in the flashback where Celestia and Luna challenge him.
Bridezilla: The entire "It seems like the bride has been replaced by a monster" is subverted and played with when it turns out Princess Cadence actually has been replaced by a monster.
Perhaps not quite a Broken Aesop, the episode "Luna Eclipsed" deserves mention. The episode's aesop states that some people(ponies) have trouble finding friends and you should offer them your friendship even if they seem scary or intimidating. However, Luna was getting the hang of friendship with the help of Twilight Sparkle, but every single time somepony would try to be friends with Luna, Pinkie Pie would come in and ruin everything by shrieking and making everypony freak out due to Luna formerly being Nightmare Moon. She then explicitly stated that she knew all along that Luna was not a threat to her or anyone else's well-being. Even worse, Pinkie Pie was never called out on her behavior. Just when Twilight was about to call Pinkie out, Twilight dropped it all because "Sometimes it's just really fun to be scared", Twilight then just rolled with it. Basically instead of making a lesson about taking a joke too far, the lesson was telling people that they should get over their pain if it's all in the name of innocent fun. While this is applicable in real life, Pinkie Pie was making jokes out of an exceptionally dark time in Luna's past and no one around seemed to comprehend the concept of going too far.
In the generally infamous "The Mysterious Mare Do Well", the moral imparted by the Mane 6 on Rainbow Dash at the end of the episode is that humility and humbleness is necessary in the wake of great success. Not only did the other five ponies brag about their own contributions to Mare-Do-Well's achievements in front of Rainbow Dash, it still took all of them working in a team to just barely outdo her, which is pretty damn impressive.
"A Friend In Deed" aims to teach that you can't force someone to be your friend, and that if someone doesn't want you hanging around them all the time, you should give them their space. The problem is that Pinkie doesn't leave him alone until she figures out what she needs to do to endear herself to him.
That would be true, if that was the moral given in the episode. Pinkie actually says "There are many ways to express friendship; some friends like to run and laugh and play together, but others just like to be left alone, and that's fine, too." Considering the wording, that means the last line is supposed to be read as "but some friends just like to be left alone." She's not saying you can't force someone to be your friend (which you can't but that's not the moral of the episode) nor that you should give people who don't want your company space (which you should but again, not the actual given moral), but that not everyone likes to do stuff with their friends. Which you can argue that Pinkie did learn and display, since Cranky hasn't shown up since the episode and she didn't exactly haul him off to go do things, but followed him. It's a messed-up aesop, but it's not exactly broken, either.
"Magical Mystery Cure" has the Mane 6's cutie marks being switched accidentally, and Twilight spends the rest of the episode undoing it by sending them to help each other rediscover their own destinies for themselves, instead of continuing on blindly with the one they were handed by someone else. Immediately afterward, Princess Celestia unilaterally transforms Twilight into an alicorn and makes her a princess.
All that stuff about teamwork, accepting your friends for who they are, the special bond between friends existing before they've even met, and the importance of honesty fall flat at the end of season three, when we find out that Celestia was having Twilight's friends unwittingly doing her schoolwork for her, and only wanted her to make those friends in the first place so that she would make a suitable princess. Twilight thanks them in her coronation speech, but never tells them how they contributed to her ascension. More directly, in season 4, Twilight uses the Elements of Harmony by herself (albeit to give them up), and Celestia, the closest thing the series has to a Big Good, tells lies of omission all the time.
The season four opening episode has Twilight assuring Applejack that even though she has new responsibilities because of her new role as Princess, they'll always remain friends. It breaks because she spent the entire episode rejecting those new responsibilities in order to be true to her old ones, and was clearly shown to be correct in doing so with the other Mane Six being in the wrong to insist that Twilight uphold her role as a ruler.
Bunnies for Cuteness: Fluttershy, to emphasize her shy cuteness, has a pet rabbit, although he doesn't always act cute and cuddly. She also mentions "cute bunnies" in one of her songs.
Butt Monkey: Really no one is safe from the universe's abuses, and all of the main seven become butt monkey material at some point or another, though Twilight, Spike and Rainbow Dash are the normal targets for suffering. In general, it's a fair bet that if someone starts being overly cute, is afraid, acts like a jerkass, or starts questioning things, something bad will happen to them. It wouldn't be surprising if Unicron simply came along and smashed his big finger on all of Ponyville.