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.
Celestia, Luna, and Cadence all just wear crowns, necklaces, and shoes.
In the episode "Baby Cakes", Pinkie Pie becomes the victim of a running gag. The only way the foals she's baby sitting will quiet down is if flour gets dumped on her (in one case while she was soaking wet). At the episode's end, the foals do the flour gag to themselves to cheer up Pinkie. She admits they were right, that is funny.
In an earlier episode, "Griffon the Brush Off", Pinkie applies this to her love of pranks by pranking ponies in such a way that it evokes this reaction. She won't pull a prank on someone who's sensitive enough to take even a harmless prank seriously, which is why she aborts a prank when Fluttershy winds up the one it would have hit.
Applejack and Rainbow Dash are near-unrecognizable compared to G1 Applejack and G3 Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash goes from basically having FIM Rarity's exact personality, dahling, to being much more athletic and competitive, and does things like demolishing an old barn by flying into it at Super Speed causing a rainbow-colored mushroom cloud. Applejack is also pretty much The Big Guy of the series, being a tomboyish cowgirl. Sweet Apple Acres' apple harvesting method is basically "Applejack kicks the tree so hard that all the apples fall at once while everyone else runs around with buckets."
The original Tirek was no pushover by a long shot, in the original Vile Villain, Saccharine Show, but his main threat was being the wielder of the Rainbow of Darkness and having an army whom he mutated with it at his command. LordTirek? He has no army and is still such a massive threat that sending Discord after him is considered the best means of defeating him. Somewhat played with, though — he starts out far weaker than G1 Tirek due to his imprisonment, and Discord was sent out because his abilities let him sense Tirek's magic and track him down effortlessly. It's only after he drains enough ponies that he becomes a real threat.
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.
The Care Bear Stare-esque attack at the end the two-part pilot is a partial example; the multi-colored gems associated with the Elements of Harmony (red, orange, pink, purple, magenta, and blue) don't comprise all the colors of the rainbow, but they form a traditional six-colored rainbow when their powers combine.note Interestingly, this seems to be part of FiM's tremendous aversion to green. Try it! Count the ponies who are honestly, properly green. Not light minty greenish teal (I'm looking at you, Lyra), not a slightly lime yellow, actual green.
When the Mane Six unlock the mysterious chest at the Tree of Harmony and gain access to the Rainbow Power form of the Elements of Harmony. The traditional six colors of the rainbow are replaced with the colors of the mares' fur.
When post-empowerment Twilight fires magical blasts at Tirek, the blast is purple (The color of Twilight's magic), but also streaked with white, blue and pink, the colors of the magic of Celestia, Luna, and Cadance respectively.
Lauren Faust once stated that Princess Celestia (and thus presumably any Winged Unicornnote either called a Pegasus unicorn or an alicorn in the show's universe) embodies the traits of Earth ponies (strength), Pegasi (wings), and unicorns (magic). The first series of trading cardslisted Princess Celestia as well as her sister Princess Luna/Nightmare Moon and niece Princess Cadance as being Pegasi and unicorns but not Earth ponies; the second series corrected◊ that.
When Twilight Sparkle becomes an alicorn, Celestia tells her:
Since you've come to Ponyville, you've displayed the charity, compassion, devotion, integrity, optimism, and of course, the leadership of a true princess.
[As she is talking, the camera moves to show Twilight's friends: Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, then back to Twilight Sparkle - i.e. the elements of generosity, kindness, loyalty, honesty, laughter, and magic.]
Twilight's Kingdom Part 2: Celestia, Luna, and Cadance transfer their magic energy into Twilight for safekeeping. This gives Twilight the power to control the sun and the moon, though not with the same level of skill.
Tirek provides a villainous example. His goal is to absorb all the magic in Equestria, including unicorns, pegasi, Earth ponies, and alicorns. He would supposedly gain the ability to control the environment as ponies do, but he's never seen using it except to enhance his own powers.
Alpha Bitch: One of the most important lessons Lauren Faust seems to want to teach girls is how to deal with bitches without becoming one yourself. Examples include:
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, the two fillies who bully Apple Bloom at school.
The Discord-corrupted Rarity and Fluttershy act like this in the two first episodes of the second season.
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.
A few people unfamiliar with the concept of a greenroof (or Sod Roof) thought Fluttershy's house was impossible - actually, Nordic people have done this for centuries.
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 more technologically advanced, having the abilities to control weather and develop a modern military, despite having architectural motifs from ancient Greece. Appleloosa is a Wild West town, while Manehattan is a modern metropolis. 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
King Sombra was kept in a state of suspended animation in the glaciers north of Equestria after Celestia and Luna deposed him.
In "Twilight's Kingdom", we have Tirek, who joins the ever-growing ranks of villains imprisoned for a thousand years by Celestia. This time, he was locked away in Tartarus (Basically the Greek version of hell). As most saw coming, he goes back there at the end of the episode
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).
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. Then Double Subverted, as she proceeds to explain what it was she was right about all along.
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!
The show took a bump in quality towards the end of the first series as Top Draw Animation took over from in house, but it wasn't too noticeable at first. "Lesson Zero" really showed what they could do, with crisper colors, complex fluid animation throughout and refinement and outright changes to character models.
A very notable instance goes to this shot from "Putting Your Hoof Down", where the camera does a beautifully animated 3D pan while Rarity tells Fluttershy that she can utilize her assertiveness without being a Jerkass about it.
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.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, when Tirek screams "Where is your magic?!?", immediately cut to Twilight blowing the door off her library, blowing a crater in the town square, and blowing past Rainbow Dash with a sonic boom.
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-Climax: The Equestria games are built up for two seasons, with several episodes focused on preparation and training for it. And in the end...it's a background event in a Spike focused episode.
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.
In 2014, the Hub Network posted two parody trailers for upcoming shows. My Biggest Pony featured a giant Sweetie Drops rampaging around Ponyville, and Dragonfire featuring a human Spike set in a Space Opera.
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.
Rarity does this to her sister Sweetie Belle in "Ponyville Confidential" upon discovering that, in their pursuit of their talent and destiny declaring Cutie Marks, Sweetie Belle and her friends have been writing a slanderous gossip column.
Rarity: Do you really think that writing nasty things and making everypony feel horrible is your destiny?
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Discord notably pauses and looks uncertain after Shining Armor is drained and asks him "How could you do this?"
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.
Inspiration Manifestation: Robins make their nests out in the open and not in hollowed out trees and therefore don't use birdhouses. Robins also do not eat birdseed so would have no interest in the rather copious amount of it Fluttershy provides.
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"
The Inspiration Manifestation spell was inscribed on a stone tablet-like book covered in spikes and kept in a dark cave and guarded with a barred and locked gate. The spell itself also slowly corrupts the user.
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.
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.
From the Season 4 premiere, the "Twilicane" or "Twilight Scepter" went memetic for its goofy grin. It got its own card in the tie-in Trading Card Game as "The Twilicane".
Fans have long been making jokes about how Rainbow Dash compares to the G3 pony of the same name. A 2014 marathon of the show on The Hub had bumpers featuring the G4 cast reacting to G3 footage; Rainbow Dash is embarrassed by how her counterpart acts.
The episode "Secret Of My Excess" applies ascended fridge horror to the implications of a dragon living in a pony community, even though most other episodes before it stepped around it. Later, though the issue isn't explicitly dwelt on for very long, "Dragon Quest" addresses the fact that Spike is an orphaned child and neither he nor Twilight knows where his egg came from or who/where his real parents even are. Ouch.
It's been suggested by some that Fluttershy's Shrinking Violet characteristics are at least partially the result of childhood trauma. "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" establishes that she was bullied, but Rainbow Dash seemed to get it about as badly as her (at the hooves of the same bullies, no less), and look how she turned out. But then "Hurricane Fluttershy" shows us just how pervasive the problem really was, and how it affected her to the point that its resurgence is enough to provoke graphic, demonic hallucinations well into her adulthood.
"Princess Twilight Sparkle" revolves around how Discord, a massively vindictiveReality WarpingManipulative Bastard, left a few nasty surprises around for his captors even after he was defeated the first time, an idea that fanfiction writers used constantly ever since his debut.
Despite the show itself glossing over it, fans quite reasonably speculated that Celestia being forced to banish her sister to the moon for a thousand years, to save Equestria from Nightmare Moon, would have been devastating to her. Cue Twilight's vision of the past in "Princess Twilight Sparkle", which shows Celestia desperately pleading with Luna to stop, tried to stop her by herself, only using the Elements of Harmony when it was clear Nightmare Moon was too powerful, and when she makes that decision she starts crying, literally the only time in the series she does so.
When It's About Time introduced the realm of Tartarus, where various monsters and villains were sealed away, many people feared that someone may have been able to escape it while Cerberus was away from his post in that episode. In season 4's finale, it turned out Tirek HAD.
The same episode also addresses the fan-theory that Discord may not have been sincere in his Heel-Face Turn.
In Equestria Games, Twilight mentions how Spike helped save the Crystal Empire, something he should be fully aware of for obvious reasons. Probably justified because Spike isn't used to being treated like a national hero (he's usually a No Respect Guy), and Twilight and Cadance had to explain to him how much the Crystal Ponies adore him.
He's also turned giant in the Sparkle World magazine story The Hero of Ponyville!, in this case due to having brushed against a magic plant. As a giant baby dragon, he retains his usual appearance (read: the illustrations use resized stock art of regular Spike).
Rainbow Dash can slip into becoming a real attention horse at times, up to the point that in the episode "The Mysterious Mare Do Well", she puts people in danger by insisting on shouting her new catchphrase instead of saving them from accidents.
Although normally a Genki Girl, Pinkie Pie will slip into this if anyone dares to ignore her or reject her friendship. There are two episodes dedicated to this, where Pinkie uses copious amounts of Cartoon Physics and borderline reality warping to mercilessly chase them all over Ponyville.
Played with in Equestria Games; Ms. Harshwhinny assumes Spike is one for wanting to do "something really worthy of the Crystal Empire's admiration," when he's just attempting to make up for what he sees as a failure in the torch lighting ceremony.
Ms. Harshwhinny: Next thing you know you'll be asking to put on a rock concert! Ugh, celebrities.
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.
In Equestria Games, the pegasi from the stands who rushed in to help avert catastrophe via giant spiked ice-cloud, at least from the perspective of the ponies sitting next to them, unable to do anything. Imagine you're at a sporting event and something horrible happens on the field/track and the guy next to you immediately runs down to help while you feel comparatively useless, then multiply that feeling by the Olympics.
In Twilights Kingdom Part 1, during the montage of Tirek and Discord steamrolling over Equestria, quite a few background ponies are shown bravely trying to fight back. Noteworthy is the first to fire off a magical blast at them, while a mob of pegasi (including the Wonderbolts and Derpy) try to swarm them.
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.
A few times in the show. In a flashback, Twilight's Power Incontinence turns her parents into potted plants. In "Too Many Pinkie Pies", people keep interrupting her as she's practicing her Apples to Oranges spell, resulting in unfortunate orange/animal hybrids of a bird and a frog when her aim is thrown off.
In the pilot episode, Twilight Sparkle is overseeing preparations for the annual Summer Sun Celebration. One of the tasks on her checklists involves visiting the owners of Sweet Apple Acres, who are in charge of the food. Applejack (and her enormous family) invite her to brunch. Gilligan Cut to her walking with a bulging belly, groaning, "Ugh...I ate too much pie..."
His sister Twilight Sparkle can create Anti-Magic barriers and shield her library to keep undesirables out, but they are much smaller than her brother's.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Twilight uses magic barriers to absorb some otherwise devastating hits from Tirek, including being thrown into and tackled through a mountain. Tirek, likewise, uses a magical barrier to defend himself against Twilight's massive beam attack.
Bathos: The writers have often stated that they can count on Pinkie Pie to lighten the mood if a scene gets too serious, beginning with her response to Nightmare Moon's introduction in the series premiere.
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.
In the final episode of season two, Princess Celestia tries to defeat Queen Chrysalis of the Changelings by shooting out an arcing beam of magic from her horn. She tries to counter with one of her own and, to even her own surprise, is able to push back and stun Celestia, due to the strength of the love she has been feeding on.
The climax of Twilight and Tirek's battle in Twilight's Kingdom Part 2. This results in a stalemate that forces Tirek to try a different tactic, since brute force isn't getting the job done.
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.
Rarity cuts off her own tail at one point, reassuring the others that it will grow back. It gets restored by the end of that episode via a different Hand Wave, when Rarity gains the reawakened Element of Harmony, Generosity.
In Inspiration Manifestation, Rarity looks very good for someone who's spent the day crying and devouring ice cream, and only very slightly below her usual standards. Of course, this being Rarity, she immediately fixes her mane to its usual pristine state when she perks up.
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.
In Inspiration Manifestation, wishing for a spell that will make one's imagination come to life might cause them to want to inflict it upon the town.
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.
Befriending The Enemy: In Keep Calm and Flutter On, Fluttershy's plan for redeeming Discord amounts to treating him like a friend. It works.
Behind the Black: Excited characters also have the strange ability to stick their heads in from behind the black, often in positions where they would have to be hovering several feet above the ground. Nobody questions this. Pinkie Pie in particular takes this to ridiculous levels. At one point, it's subverted as she promptly falls down.
Originally only Pinkie was able to do this. When other, generic, ponies do it in Winter Wrap Up, Rainbow Dash is definitely surprised by it.
It's also taken to a ridiculous extreme in Call Of The Cutie as an entire party appears out of nowhere while the camera is zoomed in on Apple Bloom's face.
Also done to a rather extreme in "Bridle Gossip" when Twilight and Spike first duck into Sugarcube Corner with Pinkie Pie. Twilight asks why she's sitting alone in the dark, to which Pinkie replies she isn't. At that, the camera zooms out to reveal all the other mane cast are also in hiding.
In "Secret of My Excess" Spike is able to steal everything in Zecora's hut when the camera zooms in on her and Twilight, including a brewing pot in front of them.
And now, in "Baby Cakes", Pinkie Pie is looking at the new twins, and phases under the window. In this case, The other ponies notice it.
In the 20th episode of season 2 "It's About Time" Twilight Sparkle fails to notice the entrance to the Star Swirl the Bearded wing of the Canterlot Library until Pinkie Pie points out that it is right next to them (just behind the viewer's point of view) right next to where they entered. Twilight Lampshades this by wondering how she could have possibly missed that, though to be fair she had been awake for almost 3 days.
In Equestria Games, after melting the giant ice block, Spike pulls an umbrella from just below the bottom of the screen. He opens it to shield himself from the brief downpour, then puts it back where it was, below the bottom of the screen. The camera cuts to a wider shot of Spike in the middle of the field. There's no umbrella, and nothing it could possibly fit behind.
In "The Return of Harmony - Part 2", the idea of Discord emerging triumphant is enough incentive for Fluttershy to stop crying and push herself to her physical limits while the ponies are chasing Rainbow Dash.
Twilight Sparkle: If you can't catch her, Discord wins! Fluttershy: That. Big. Dumb. MEANIE!
Whatever you do, NEVER, EVER break a Pinkie Promise.
Normally, the Cutie Mark Crusaders don’t take kindly to being pushed around, but when their clubhouse was taken, that finally set them off.
Whatever you do, don't ever disrespect Shining Armor’s wife Cadance in front of him. Twilight learned this the hard way when she called out Queen Chrysalis who fooled everyone else with her impersonation of Cadance during the wedding rehearsal.
Never come between Spike and Twilight.
Never disrespect Rarity.
After Rarity states that she's above challenging Trixie:
Trixie: Ooooo; what's the matter? Afraid you'll get a hair out of place in that rat's nest you call a mane? Rarity: Oh, it is ON!
Best not to threaten Spike in her presence either.
Never, ever, threaten Cadance’s husband Shining Armor or anyone else she cares about, or else...
Winning against Discord’s mind games. In which case he will promptly cheat to win.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Twilight tries to avoid Tirek when he first tracks her down... until he blows up the library. After that, she turns all her magic on him.
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.
Fluttershy is the nicest character around — too nice, in fact, timid and prone to let others push her around. She almost never gets angry... and you'll already have guessed this entry is about those times that necessitate the "almost" in that sentence. Hurting or threatening her friends can make her angry enough to forget to be afraid and instead bring out a will strong enough for Staring Down Cthulhu. At least then she's still being good, just extremely stern. But a momentary nervous breakdown she suffers in one episode when her ability to befriend animals inexplicably fails causes her to snap and go berserk hunting the animals. ("You are going to LOVE ME!") And bad assertiveness training in another episode turns her temporarily into a highly effective bully. This is ironic in itself because she could already at best be genuinely assertive enough to make a dragon stop attacking and start crying just by talking to it, and it makes perfect sense when you see it.
Normally, PrincessCelestia is very calm and collected, and seems to enjoy having a little fun with her subjects now and then. Then we have the first part of "The Return of Harmony", where she smacks the villain with a Shut Up, Hannibal! TWICE, and then tells him point-blank to quit screwing around and answer her questions. He begrudgingly tosses out a riddle and leaves before she can grill him any further. It's one of the few times she's ever been seen not only genuinely angry but faced with someone who outright defies her and seemingly gets away with it.
In the Season 3 opening episode, we see Twilight entering the main room of the Canterlot Castle, only to find a very pissed off Celestia, going as far to practically bring Twilight Sparkle to TEARS!! Granted, it's just Sombra's dark spell creating an illusion, but still... assuming that's how she really sounds when angry, it makes you want to NOT anger the Demigod in the first place!
Princess Celestia: It doesn't matter to me, *face turns to Twilight, angered* you FAILED the test, Twilight!
Flashbacks of Celestia in the Season 4 opener also show a few of the other times in her past where she's had no other option to deal with rampaging magical beings except to (sometimes reluctantly) fight them, a reminder that she's the ruler of Equestria for a darn good reason.
Twilight Sparkle is the poster mare for Adorkable and No Social Skills, whose passion for knowledge is only challenged by her desire to be a good friend. She's also the most powerful unicorn in Equestria with an incredible well of magic at her disposal, and is entirely capable of unleashing the hurt on anypony she desires. "Lesson Zero" even shows that she's just as capable of sowing chaos and disharmony as Discord.
You'd think that the perpetually cheerfulGenki Girl with borderline Reality Warper powers would be an excellent candidate for this trope, but Pinkie Pie repeatedly subverts it. In "Griffon the Brush Off", her reaction to proof that Gilda is a grade-A jerkface is to throw her a party, because she thinks Gilda is just stressed and needs to unwind. In "Party of One", when she thinks her friends have abandoned her she avoids them altogether and throws her own party with various Companion Cubes, in stark contrast to the far more destructive Sanity Slippages of Fluttershy and Twilight. And when Applejack breaks a Pinkie Promise in "The Last Roundup" she breaks out the scary voice, leads a pursuit across the desert, and when she finally catches her she... demands Applejack apologize.
Princess Cadance (the real one) is a kind and sweet Love Goddess and used to work as a babysitter. However, when she is kidnapped and her husband-to-be is about to marry her evil double, she shows nothing but determination, repeatedly defies the changeling queen (even after said queen defeats Princess Celestia), and then helps deliver the Heart Beatdown that blows the changelings across the continent!
Then in the season 3 opener she maintains a field of light and love around the Crystal Empire that manages to keep King Sombra, a unicorn Evil Overlord that took both her aunts to defeat the first time, out for what was likely days. This, combined with his horrific treatment of his subjects, leads to her setting up another love-powered Wave Motion Gun and telling his subjects Do with Him as You Will. The end result is King Sombra being obliterated.
Rarity is Element of Generosity, an empathetic and helpful friend, and The Fashionista (and a Drama Queen and Large Ham besides) with some rather stereotypically girly/princess-y behavior, but she has been seen spin-kicking Applejack, far and away the strongest of the Mane Six, uppercutting Changelings, and bodily threatening adolescent dragons who dare to threaten Spike.
Twilight goes absolutely berserk when Tirek destroys her home, unloading on him with everything she's got.
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").
Lord Tirek in the Season 4 finale, who incidentally is a revamp of the original MLP Big Bad.
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: Though not actually pointed out at any point, plenty of houses in the show are roomier than their petite appearances would suggest◊. 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).
In Twilights Kingdom Part 2, the Round Table-like throne room in Twilight's new crystal tree-castle, and the corridor leading up to it, seem to be much too big to fit into the castle's exterior.
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.
Pinkie Pie does two Big Nos in "Games Ponies Play, but (as part of the joke) they are used incorrectly; with the first, she is just answering a simple question, the second seems to be used correctly, as the ponies have just realized they had made a mistake, but it turns out that Pinkie was agreeing with them, and meant to give a Big "YES!" (of course, knowing her - it could have a Trope Awareness based joke)
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.
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.
The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well is revealed to be an intentionally constructed Break the Haughty scenario: The rest of the group got sick of Rainbow Dash's gloating and created the superhero persona to knock her down a few pegs.
The "Great and Powerful" Trixie, a traveling magician, gets one off-screen. She's introduced in her first episode as the type of over-the-top "I'm the most awesome thing alive" antagonist you might expect to find in a children's cartoon, and after getting shown up by the Mane character, is still going on about how awesome she is as she flees town. It turns out later that the event destroyed her career, to the point where she had work on a rock farm to make ends meet.
Break Them by Talking: In "The Return of Harmony", the especially vicious Faux Affably Evil villain Discord corrupts each of the main ponies to keep them from using the Elements of Harmony that they represent against him. Ultimately he just brainwashes each of them with magic (aside from Twilight Sparkle), but he also takes the trouble to break each down before that, usually by talking. In Applejack's case, he manipulates her to doubt the value of honesty (her element) by showing her a terrible "truth" that she can't accept, before turning her into a liar. For Pinkie Pie (laughter), he makes her think her friends laugh at her all the time, before turning her unhappy and hostile. Fluttershy (kindness) is the only one on whom his speech doesn't work, because she's too trusting, and accepting of her own flaws... So he just zaps her into being cruel anyway.
Discord: Well, it must be so upsetting to know how weak and helpless they think you are.
Fluttershy: Not at all! I am weak and helpless, and I appreciate their understanding.
In "Putting Your Hoof Down", of all ponies to deliver one, Fluttershy does it to both Pinkie Pie and Rarity, calling their interests frivolous and driving them both to tears. Yikes.
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.
Discord can take away pegasus wings and unicorn horns on a whim, which he demonstrates on the mane cast in the season 2 opener.
In the season four premiere, the Mane Six is forced to give up the Elements of Harmony to stop Everfree Forest from growing out of control. On the plus side, doing so revealed a special chest that may be able to get them back. If they can find six special keys.
Twilight's Kingdom Part 2: Celestia, Luna and Cadance when they transfer all their magic to Twilight, and Discord goes through this when Tirek drains him of his magic. This also happens to Twilight when she surrenders hers and the Princesses' power to Tirek.
Brutal Honesty: This is a common gag on the show. Rainbow Dash is the most frequent offender, but others include Fluttershy (when she's pressured into answering a question she'd rather avoid), Applejack (as an unfortunate consequence of her virtue of honesty, though usually depends on who wrote the episode), Twilight Sparkle (out of sheer awkwardness), and even Spike (as the youngest of the major characters.)
Fluttershy to Rarity in "Suited For Success". After Rarity kindly makes dresses for her friends for the Grand Galloping Gala, the dresses are given less than stellar reviews. So, Rarity decides to make new dresses exactly to their specifications. After being hammered for her honest opinion of the dress, Fluttershy gives Rarity an expertly precise and intricate critique of the technical imperfections of the fabric, sewing, style and the like; displaying what was coined by Applejack as a "freaky knowledge of sewin'."
Fluttershy: Alright, since you really want to know... *big inhale* The armscye's tight, the middy collar doesn't go with the shawl lapel, the hems are clearly machine stitched, the pleats are uneven, the fabric looks like toile, you used a backstitch when it clearly called for a topstitch or maybe a traditional blanket stitch, and the overall design is reminiscent of prêt-à-porter and not true French haute couture.
But, uh... you know... um, whatever you want to do is fine.
Played for Drama in the Season 2 episode, Putting Your Hoof Down, by Fluttershy.
In the "Canterlot Wedding" two-parter, when Twilight, at her big brother's wedding, in front of her mentor and friends and said brother, calls the bride evil. However, because she provided no real evidence to support her assertions and due to her behaving like a Clingy Jealous Girl for almost the entirety of the episode up to this point, everypony else is shown to be remarkably angry at her for this. Twilight turns out to be right about this, and if she held back, no one would have found out until it was too late, although this had more to do with the evil "bride" whisking her away to where the real bride is imprisoned, and thus triggering the events of the second part of the two-parter, rather than anypony actually believing her.
Applejack, being the Element of Honesty, when she bluntly acknowledges how selfishly Rarity acted in "Rarity Takes Manehattan". Lampshaded by Rainbow Dash:
Applejack: Yeah, you were pretty rotten.
Rainbow Dash: Wow, Applejack. I know your thing is honesty, but come on!
What ultimately breaks the Inspiration Manifestation spell over Rarity when Spike finally tells her that her "improvements" aren't making things better for anypony. He also tells Twilight she looks awful at the end after she's spent the entire day cleaning up Rarity's mess.
In Equestria Games, Rainbow Dash encourages the Ponyville teams to win the gold...except for her team, who she admits probably won't do as well.
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.