Lady and Knight: Princess Cadance and Shining Armor are literally a bright lady and white knight.
Large and in Charge: For no obvious reason, everyone who's claimed to be an absolute ruler has towered over their subjects. Princess Celestia and Luna are closer in size to horses, Discord is tall enough to look Celestia in the eye, and Queen Chrysalis is about as tall as Celestia, despite the changelings being the same size as the little ponies.
Celestia offers one to her younger sister, the defeated Nightmare Moon reverted to Princess Luna by the Elements of Harmony. For once, Luna accepts and repents for what she's done. Unsurprising considering the theme of the show and that Word of God has confirmed Princess Luna didn't turn into Nightmare Moon completely of her own accord in the first place.
Late in season 3, Celestia does this once again to Discord, enlisting Fluttershy to reform him. Surprisingly, it (mostly) works.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 1, according to Tirek's back story, his brother Scorpan tried this after having a Heel-Face Turn, trying to convince him to abandon their plans. Tirek wouldn't listen, so Scorpan had no choice but to arrange for him to be imprisoned in Tartarus.
Fluttershy's is a slow, instrumental version of the main theme.
Pinkie has a cute, bubbly, ditzy one you can hear when she's skipping up to Rainbow Dash in "Griffon the Brush-Off", shortly before Gilda shows up for the first time.
Photo Finish has one.
Rainbow Dash has a little tone with a bass line.
Opalescence has a short but very distinct harpsichord leitmotif.
Applejack has a banjo play for her in "Sisterhooves Social" when she gives Rarity sisterhood advice, and in "The Last Roundup" when speaking to the citizens of Ponyville about the rodeo.
A cheery motif is often played when the Elements of Harmony are referenced, or the Mane 6 are working together as a team. The most cinematic version plays over the Award Ceremony at the conclusion of "The Return of Harmony Part 2."
Discord and Nightmare Moon/Princess Luna have their own themes as well. Discord's theme overlaps and meshes well with the similar "chaos/disharmony" theme.
Twilight Sparkle is pretty frequently the butt of jokes and the entire plot of the show so far has been her learning social skills. Just don't threaten her, her friends, or her town, lest she remind you that she is the magical prodigy student of a solar god-empress.
Doubly so Fluttershy — usually timid as anything, and unable to stand up for herself, but threatening others can make her angry enough to forget herself and suddenly have enough attitude for a grade-A Bad Ass, as well as a Death Glare powerful enough to cow fully-grown dragons and win staring contests with cockatrices.
Pinkie Pie provides a more mundane example. When she realizes she hasn't been particularly responsible caring for the twins she's babysitting, she becomes far more serious and strict. It lasts about as long as it takes the pegasus foal to realize he can fly and the unicorn foal to start using her magic.
Pinkie Pie's "Pinkie Sense" is mostly used on the show to predict falling objects for slapstick purposes. Then she uses it to save the lives of at least four ponies in a horrific construction site accident.
In an earlier episode, "Griffon The Brush Off," Pinkie doesn't take Gilda seriously no matter how much she tries to tell her to "buzz off," only telling herself that she's jealous of her (despite the latter in fact being a Bitch InGriffon'sClothing) and that Gilda just needs to improve her attitude. But when she sees Gilda blowing a gasket at Fluttershy...
When he sees his beloved Rarity being kidnapped by the Diamond Dogs, "Little Spiky Wikey" just outright starts beating them up. He loses, sadly, but puts up a good fight. Not to be outdone, Rarity manages to inconvenience the Diamond Dogs with wit and whining.
In the season 2 finale, the entire team successfully fights off dozens of monsters. Dozens. Pinkie Pie weaponizesher Party Cannon, and Rarity slaps some into submission with a grin on her face. Even Fluttershy manages to trick a few. Problem is, the Big Bad has thousands of mooks to spare. It is still the second legitimate action sequence on the show, and demonstrates that the team is quite capable even without the Elements of Harmony.
Good old Applejack, an earth pony who mainly serves as the Team Mom, often gets overlooked despite being strong enough to knock every single apple from a tree simply by kicking it. Then Season 3 comes around and she takes out a trio of timber wolves with nothing but rocks and her own cunning.
Seriously, don't screw with the Cutie Mark Crusaders. When they've finally been pushed too far by Babs Seed the A-Team music plays, they build an entire motorized parade float in less than a night, fit it with a booby-trap (made from an egg timer) that will send it careening off a cliff at precisely the right time, and lure Babs into stealing it with a Batman Gambit. They even plant a mattress to land on when she shoves them out of the way, and the only reason it fails is because they have a sudden attack of conscience and save her (The plan itself works beautifully). Seriously, how do these kids not have their cutie marks yet?
The episode "Maud Pie" introduces Pinkie's sister, Maud. Even after prolonged contact, she is quite clearly an Emotionless Girl who is only interested in rocks. But when Pinkie gets caught in an avalanche, Maud reacts while everypony else is still gaping, covers several hundred yards in seconds, then pounds a house-sized boulder into gravel with a pair of jackhammer hooves.Jaw Drops all around.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, once Tirek destroys the library, all bets are off and Twilight goes full throttle on him with her power.
Lethal Chef: Applejack, who is otherwise one of the best cooks in town, becomes one in "Applebuck Season" when under the effects of overworking and (heavily implied) sleep deprivation.
It's entirely possible that Pinkie Pie is one, what with Mr. and Mrs. Cake being uncertain about leaving the shop in her hooves without an experienced baker to help her. The fact that she's a poor judge of taste (she has no problem eating cupcakes that are badly burnt or covered in hot sauce), and the wrapped candies and bestickèd lollipops she tosses into Apple Bloom's cupcakes reinforce their suspicions.
She seems to have gotten a lot better by the end of the season, though she still does some questionable things (like letting Gummy swim in the punch bowl).
Speaking of which, there's also Apple Bloom's short-lived attempt at baking from "Call of the Cutie".
Sweetie Belle is currently the reigning champion—she somehow is able to burn juice and makes toast that has to be served in a bowl. It looks like burnt pudding.
Spike in "Spike at Your Service", when he tries to help Applejack and Granny Smith bake pies. He winds up burning it to charcoal, and Rarity was unfortunately made to eat some.
Lethally Stupid: Lightning Dust. Full stop. Although she does show lack of concern for the safety of others with her reckless flying, her goal is to be #1, not to intentionally cause harm to others.
In "Call of the Cutie", when Apple Bloom is upset, Rainbow Dash sees her and comments that she has a dark cloud hanging over her head. Fortunately, Rainbow Dash is a weatherpony, and can move the actual dark cloud elsewhere.
Rarity, the resident beauty queen, has her poor little sister drag her luggage to the campsite in an oversized cart in "Sleepless in Ponyville". Her necessities include an entire inflatable house, completely furnished with a queen sized bed and a matching vase.
Though her "poor little sister" proved to be just as much of a heavy packer in "Sisterhooves Social", bringing two mountains of luggage to live with Rarity for just a week. In her fully furnished house.
Pinkie Pie plays with this trope by using Hammer Spaceextensively, leaving people wondering where she keeps all that stuff.
Big McIntosh's insistence on overburdening the Apple family jalopy ends up causing most of the problems in "Pinkie Apple Pie".
Love at First Sight: Spike falls in love with Rarity the moment he sees her. However his crush seems to be only shown occasionally, probably due to the preference of certain writers. For example, in "Ticket Master", he doesn't seem to feel anything for her at all and doesn't react when Rarity talks about her love-destiny "Him." In "Boast Busters", he wants to impress her with a mustache (and beard, for some reason), in "A Dog and Pony Show", he fantasizes about rescuing her from the Diamond Dogs, he's practically all over her in "Green Isn't Your Color", but is ready to leave her behind in favor of his draconic destiny in "Dragon Quest".
Lull Destruction: In the Italian dub at least. The characters are a bit more "vocal" than in English: Lyra Heartstrings shouts out "Ciao!...oh?" in the first episode and other characters seem to growl where there were just silent glares before. Oddly, the dragon in "Dragonshy" has the original "dog whimper" and an Italian "dubbed whimper" at the same time when it was being scolded by Fluttershy.
In the Italian dub of A Canterlot Wedding, the Changelings make grunts the whole time.
The Japanese dub also has characters make grunts where they were originally silent. One particularly noticeable instance is when Featherweight is heard making a couple of grunts in the Japanese version of "Ponyville Confidential", while he didn't even have a voice actor in the original.
When Trixie flees the town when she's discovered to be a fraud, in the original, she said nothing, but in the Japanese version, she shouts "I'll remember this!" as she runs away.
When Spike opens the door in "Feeling Pinkie Keen", a sound effect plays of a truck backing up as he backs out of the door. The Japanese dub, however, adds a bit of Cultural Translation by having Spike say the voice clip that plays when trucks back up in Japan: "Bakkushimasu, gochuui kudasai (Backing up, please be careful)."
Made of Good: The Elements of Harmony are made of positive qualities of friends, while the Fire of Friendship is made of friendship.
Male Gaze / Female Gaze: A lot of the times, the ponies are turned away from the camera, with their butts (known as "plots") clearly visible.
Magic A Is Magic A: Magic can mostly do whatever suits the plot. However, Twilight Sparkle, an ardent student of the subject, insists that real magic has some rules. These are left vague, but she speaks of how it comes from within, and also how it is done consciously and studied. The closest thing to rules that appear in practice relates to there being different types of magic, which could be called Magic A, B, C, and a bunch of other letters.
Magic A is the obvious magic, unicorn magic. Every unicorn has some limited telekinesis for lifting small objects, plus a suite of spells related to their main talent; ergo, a unicorn whose cutie mark signified a particular skill for baking would have spells for getting dough to rise, batter to come together, what have you. Rarity has magic consistent with these rules, her powers are limited to telekinesis and the added ability to detect buried gemstones. Twilight Sparkle is unique in that her talent is the use and understanding of magic itself, so she can potentially learn any spell.
Unicorn magic is intimately tied to spells. Spells are something that can be read and learnt from books. It's not so clear what those books actually say, since the casting of a spell always involves nothing but mental effort and the unicorn's horn glowing. They are not external incantations; in the episode "Bridle Gossip", Twilight insist that there is no such thing as curses because curses are "artificial" and produced by external acts. However, the one spell we're given any detail about, Star Swirl the Bearded's unfinished masterpiece in "Magical Mystery Cure", is given as a rhyme (that doesn't rhyme), and the scene looks as if merely reading it out loud causes an effect, although the narration conflicts this somewhat. Go figure.
It's suggested (in "Magic Duel") that some specific effects are very difficult or impossible to achieve with (unicorn) magic, such as changing a pony's age or sex. It's also shown that an Amplifier Artifact can enable these up to a point.
There are also a few things that unicorn magic is specifically stated to not be able to accomplish. Specifically, creating cutie marks. To demonstrate, Twilight creates several for Apple Bloom, which quickly fade away.
Twilight's ability to magically teleport herself and others seems to be limited to line-of-sight destinations. When trapped in a cave in one episode, she only teleports herself out when she finds a portion of the cavern ceiling that's partially collapsed. It's not stated if this is a specific rule of her magic, or her playing it safe and not risking teleporting to someplace she can't see and ending up ''inside'' an object she didn't know was there.
Magic B is pegasus magic, mainly cloudwalking and weather control, plus some tactile telekinesis for towing things while in flight. Ducks also seem to be able to walk on clouds, so, you know, (shrug).
Magic C is the least obvious, earth pony magic. Earth ponies, according to Word of God, have more strength and stamina than unicorns or pegasi of similar physique, and have an innate connection with the earth; so, for example, a farm run by earth ponies would outproduce a farm run by unicorns if all else were equal, simply by virtue of being tended by earth ponies. This also applies to magical crops, such as the Zap Apple.
She also has "Pinkie Sense", an ability to foretell upcoming events by various twitches and feelings in her body. It is precise and consistent enough for the residents of Ponyville to record and use them. It also only works for things in the near future, and has no consistency with any known form of magic at all, much to Twilight's frustration.
There's also her ability, or not, of Breaking the Fourth Wall. The fandom has taken this quite far, but Word of God denies her having such abilities. What can mostly be observed in the series is a propensity to use the Aside Glance more often than other characters, and talking through the Iris Out at the end of an episode a few times. Word of God claims the former was just animation errors, and the latter might just be too silly to count as having actually happened in-universe. Anyways, the fans certainly like to take it further.
And then there's Magic D wielded by the Reality WarperMad GodEmbodiment of Disharmony Discord. Discord himself doesn't follow any rules, but other magic users have managed to counter his spells, if not his raw power, so his magic seems to follow rules that others understand.
As of Season 3, there is also Magic E, which was initially unnamed, but causes a non-standard purple horn aura and green eyes. It was initially used by King Sombra and Princess Celestia, and Twilight was able to copy it from Princess Celestia. The three of them used it to control the crystals of the Crystal Empire, and it seemed to run off of negative emotions, although it didn't seem to be inherently evil or even dangerous by itself. The magic was dubbed dark magic by the fans, but the show itself only uses that as a generic term for magic used for evil purposes, and Twilight was referring to a trap that Sombra had made when she said that. The actual name of Sombra's magic seems to be alicorn magic.
In a show with a name like this, one must not forget Magic F: the magic of friendship. It's not just figurative; in fact, it's about the most powerful kind of magic. In general, emotions can be used to power magic — not always in a positive sense.
The Elements of Harmony are "the most powerful magic known to ponydom", an Ancient Artifact set consisting of the elements of Honesty, Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Loyalty, and Magic (ie. Friendship, because, after all, see show title), and powered by those things in the hearts of the ones wielding them. They unleash a Care Bear Stare that can defeat just about any evil.
The ponies themselves apparently have an inbuilt power to unleash a "Fire of Friendship" that keeps them warm and burns evil creatures, powered by love and friendship and channeled through a unicorn pony. This plays a part in the story of the founding of their country Equestria, as seen in "Hearth's Warming Eve".
It's also possible for an evil Emotion Eater to do the converse and feed on emotions, as with the Windigos feeding off on hate and the Changelings gaining power by draining a being's love for another.
The Crystal Empire — or rather, its citizens — can radiate emotions all over Equestria. They have a special Crystal Heart for focusing positive emotions in ways such as warding off evil.
This is featured heavily in the refrain of "You'll Play Your Part" in Twilight's Kingdom Part 1. As Princesses of the Day and Night, Celestia and Luna's magics are tied to their roles in raising and lowering the sun and moon, respectively, and Cadance's love magic is what helps her protect the Crystal Empire; the clear implication is that Twilight's role as Princess will be tied to her Element of Magic in the Elements of Harmony.
Certain plants, especially those inside the Everfree Forest, seem to have an odd kind of miscellaneous magic.
The zebra Zecora seems to have no innate magic herself, but she can brew potions that can do just about anything. One important ingredient we've seen her use is the Heart's Desire flower, which has magical powers even without mixing it into a potion. On a related note, Zecora is able to teach Twilight Sparkle about magic, which also implies that she either uses or has studied some of the same principles as unicorns.
Poison Joke is a plant that can cause humorous curses on anyone treading in it. Except, you know, they're not curses because there's no such thing, but apart from that.
Zap Apples are rectangular rainbow apples that grow on trees that become instantly fully-grown when their seeds are planted in the ground. The Zap Apples themselves appear instantly after a few signs and ripen quickly over the course of a week, then disappear in a flash after a certain amount of time. Making good Zap Apple jam requires following a set of bizarre rituals worked out by trial and error that work for no apparent reason other than, "Magic is just funny that way."
Dragons have their own weird rules that aren't exactly normal physiology. For example, greed can make one grow. As in, from 2 feet to 100 feet in five minutes. Spike himself can use his fire to teleport messages to and from Princess Celestia, an ability so far unique to the two of them.
Magical Underpinnings of Reality: Almost all the natural aspects of the MLP world, or at least of Equestria, seem to be managed by ponies. Changing the seasons, taking care of animals, moving clouds to make it rain, bringing the water up from lakes to make clouds themselves, to even moving the sun and moon through the sky to make day and night. The Everfree Forest is regarded as scary and abnormal precisely because nature takes care of itself.
Magic Is Mental: Advanced Unicorn magic requires complete concentration. Any sort of distraction, from a stray thought to being smacked on the horn, can cause a spell to fail.
Magical Zebra: Zecora. Somewhat averted in the episode when Ponyville was invaded by parasprites, when Twilight Sparkle asked Zecora how to deal with them, and she ended up being no help whatsoever.
Lauren Faust has revealed that in the show's initial planning stages, when there were going to be more adventure-oriented stories, Zecora was actually designed to be an alternate mentor to Twilight.
Magitech: According to Wordof God, all the technology seen in the series was charmed by the unicorn who made it. Two better examples were the rotor used by Tank's flying apparatus (which noticeably has no anti-torque tail rotor, so magic must account for this as well), which had an aura on it that looked just like one of a Unicorn; and Flim and Flam powering their cider machine directly with their magic.
Man Child: The main characters are all responsible young adults (with the possible exception of Pinkie Pie). Their behavior, on the other hand, often ranges from emotionally immature (generally, to set up a lesson in friendship) to downright childlike. For example, take the following bon mot from cosmopolitan fashion designer and social climber Rarity, upon hearing that a game of Pin the Tail on the Pony is starting: "Oh, my favorite game! Can I go first? Can I have the purple tail?"
Mayfly-December Friendship: While it's only fanon that Princess Celestia is immortal, she has been alive for thousands of years without any sign of wear. Given the word from the creators that "Twilight will not outlive her friends", this means that Celestia will outlive her faithful student.
Mayfly-December Romance: Spike's crush on Rarity. He's a baby dragon and she's a unicorn. In short, she'll be dead of old age before he finishes puberty. We think. There's not too much known about how dragons age naturally, though we do know that they will age quickly if they begin hoarding.
Meaningful Name: Many of the characters are named after their talents and behaviors.
This new Rainbow Dash, who has rainbow hair but can also fly really fast.
Applejack and family, all named after apple-related stuff. Plus, she gathers apples and makes apple "accessories."
Pinkie Pie, who is pink and has an affinity for sweets and desserts.
Rarity has an affinity for precious gems and jewelry.
Twilight Sparkle solved the conflict between the Sun/Day and Moon/Night deities. And her Cutie mark is magic sparkles. One big sparkle surrounded by five smaller ones, just to drive the point home further. Bonus points for her more powerful magic causing sparks to fly from her horn, and her own Element of Magic "ignited by the spark that resides in the heart of us all."
Applejack's sophisticated, city-dwelling aunt and uncle, seen in "Cutie Mark Chronicles", are named "Orange," as in the phrase "apples and oranges" (which is used to explain how completely different two given things are).
Silver Spoon is a Rich Bitch who doesn't appear to be much good for anything.
Filthy Rich, a wealthy businesspony who is the father of Diamond Tiara.
Scootaloo, who is a demon on her scooter.
Princess Celestia, who controls the sun, and her sister Luna, who oversees the moon.
Spitfire and Soarin', two members of stunt-flying team the Wonderbolts.
Snips and Snails, two immature young colts who are named after the "what are little boys made of?" rhyme.
Cheerilee even lampshades this when explaining to her students how she got her cutie mark, by explaining that she aims to bring cheer and smiles to the little fillies and colts in her care.
This trope was lampshaded again (brilliantly) in "Ponyville Confidential", when Diamond Tiara, having been appointed head of the school newspaper, declares, "I want hard-hitting news and interesting thinkpieces. No more Namby-Pamby stories like last year's editor.", to which Berry Pinch replies, "But Namby-Pamby was a great editor!"
Ditzy Doo's name comes from a known piloting maneuver called the dipsy-doodle (bear in mind she can fly) and also comes from her ditzy nature (she went north to get birds that had migrated south, after going west the year before).
The use of heraldic creatures such as dragons and griffons, and monsters drawn from Classical Mythology like minotaurs and Cerberus. This largely stems from Lauren Faust having been a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia at the same time that she played with My Little Pony G1 toys as a child.
Medieval Stasis: Averted, apparently. Maybe it's due to changes in production staff or increased budget, but Ponyville and Equestria seem to be advancing technologically:
Train travel was rare in Season 1, and the trains were pulled by ponies. By Season 2, trains are self-powered and ubiquitous.
In Season 1, the only medical facility seen was "Ponyville Urgent Care", which seemed to be just a big tent. In Season 2, Ponyville had a two-story hospital.
Although this appears to apply mainly to technology, given that the architecture of the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters isn't that different from modern buildings, Luna/Nightmare Moon doesn't speak that differently from ponies even after being imprisoned for a millennium, and quite a few of Star Swirl's spells still aren't understood or improved upon. Twilight making new magic was stated by Celestia as one of the reasons she deserves to become a princess.
All throughout season 4, the Mane 6 each receive an item from someone they teach their respective elements to. The items are given as thanks, but at the season finale, the items turn out to be keys for the magic box that sprouted from the tree of harmony, which allows them to use rainbow power.
Merchandise-Driven: Naturally, but this show deserves special mention for showing how this can have an upside (assuming tons of merchandise for fans to buy doesn't already count as one): The Hub has been really lax about keeping episodes off YouTube and public download sites, since the show itself isn't where the real money is anyway. The full episodes are also posted to their own site six days after airing, though they don't stay up very long.
The first basic Rainbow Dash toy is accompanied by a squirrel. In the episode, a (flying) squirrel gets several seconds of screen time as Fluttershy shows it off to her...and Rainbow isn't interested.
The Riding Along with Rainbow Dash toy is accompanied by a turtle. The episode has a Running Gag in which a tortoise is misidentified as a turtle. Said tortoise eventually becomes Rainbow Dash's pet, Tank. (Word of Godsays that the episode was conceived and written almost a year before it aired, and the toy was first revealed at around the same time, so there may or may not be a connection here.)
The trope is also somewhat inverted; the show's older fanbase has often wished for more show-accurate and age-appropriate merchandise for them, instead of the toy line's intended audience. Hot Topic and several online sites have granted this wish with brony T-shirts and posters which can be seen at cons everywhere during the show's run!
A toy set scheduled for release in August 2012 features Shining Armor and Princess Cadance of "A Canterlot Wedding".
Much of the merchandise available in stores and online features characters either never seen on the TV program or mentioned in passing at most, such as Honeybuzz. Merchandise for the program often fetches a heavy premium online, since specific characters and sets can sometimes be hard to find at stores (which isn't surprising when you consider that you've got two fanbases snapping up merch - the children the show is targeted at and the adult/brony base.)
Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Not literal worlds, but you'd be amazed how much wide-scale damage the heroes and their neighbors have done. Fluttershy and Twilight caused the town to be eaten by parasprites, Snips and Snails brought in a giant star bear that could have wrecked the town with ease, Twilight mind controlled a sizable portion of the town into fighting over her doll, the CMC practically Mind Raped Big McIntosh and Cherilee, they pissed off the entire town by exposing/slandering the entire populace, and released the spirit of chaos.
Mildly Military: Equestria is shown to have armed forces in the form of an army (royal guards), though they're not really elaborated on very much.
Granted nobody expected them to stand up against Nightmare Moon, but even with warning of a potential attack and being fully mobilized and ready, they were subdued by Queen Chrysalis' changeling army in about ten minutes. On the other hoof, the six main characters, without weapons or The Elements of Harmony or any kind of formal training, took down about a hundred of these guys practically effortlessly before finally being grossly outnumbered and surrendering.
Their leader Shining Armor has a story-breaking defensive ability that can hold off entire armies (with a Power of Love boost, he took out the entire Changeling force with one shot), but as a consequence is taken out of action immediately by every villain he faces.
Pegasi seem to have some kind of "tactile telekinesis", because the vehicles they pull behind them hover instead of dangling straight down from the harness. The wheels even rotate without being in contact with any solid surface.
Mix-and-Match Critter: Discord. He has a horse's head, mismatched horns of a deer and a goat, pupils of different sizes, a birdlike left wing, a draconic right wing, the hands of an eagle and lion, the feet of an ox and an alligator, and a serpent tail with a white tuft at the end. It's like a zoo exploded in here.
Every time there's a two-part story, the first part ends in a dark cliffhanger... followed by the happier ending tune. It's almost a Running Gag, though there's no evidence it's deliberate.
The series premiere ends with a cliffhanger as the Big Bad brings about eternal night, then suddenly the happy ending tune kicks in.
The Season 2 premiere takes it Up to Eleven and beyond in both directions. Start with an argument between the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Move on to cotton-candy clouds raining chocolate milk and corn popping off its stalks. Then we have Discord turning all the mane cast (except Twilight) into their polar opposites and tricking them into losing his challenge to find the Elements of Harmony. Just as he gets ready to unleash total chaos on Equestria, cue the happy ending tune.
The Season 2 finale — is there an Up To Thirteen? Because it gives us Twilight Sparkle, emotionally crushed, allows her a split-second Hope Spot — and then, to all appearances, 'banished to the Underworld in a circle of green hellfire'. Cue "Doot doo doo doot doo, Myyyy Little Pony". If they hadn't shown the two parts back to back, the bronies would have rioted.
The first part of the season four two-parter finale ends with Twilight learning that Discord has joined forces with Tirek, and all of the princesses need to get rid their magic, otherwise he'll steal it and rule everything. Cue the upbeat credit music!
Done in-story when Twilight Sparkle realizes her "friends" aren't interested in helping her stop the Big Bad.
Twilight:(dejected) I never thought it would happen. My friends... (pause) Twilight:(angry) ...have turned into COMPLETE JERKS!
This becomes more And-I-Must-Scream-worthy when taken into consideration that petrified characters are still cognizant of their surroundings.
In "Owl's Well That Ends Well", the transition from Twilight gently praising Spike as he sleeps to angrily confronting him about her burnt astronomy book is very sudden and shocking.
The song "Becoming Popular (The Pony Everypony Should Know)" from the episode Sweet and Elite is a very upbeat tune about Rarity's happiness at being accepted into high society...until the last bit, when it suddenly turns very somber and somewhat saddening as she realises she is just too exhausted to complete her friend's birthday dress in time.
Something similar happens in "Pinkie Pride". Cheese Sandwich's "I Am" Song, which is every bit as silly and upbeat as you'd expect a character voiced by Weird Al Yankovic to sing, ends on an incredibly solemn note as the viewpoint shifts to Pinkie Pie feeling depressed and unwanted. A bit later, she sings a sad song which shifts to happy at the end. And the Goof-off is quite funny, until Pinkie realizes she's not making Rainbow Dash happy. That's three Mood Whiplashes in three different songs in one and the same episode.
The episode "Baby Cakes". One somewhat short scene in the second half of it could be considered a shout out to horror movies in general, what with creepy children laughter and SOMETHING CRAWLING ON THE CEILING! Oh, did I mention the plot is Pinkie Pie babysitting children?
A Mood Rollercoaster in Twilight's Kingdom Part 2— between scenes of Tirek conquering Canterlot, then heading to Ponyville to drain Twilight's friends of their magic and invoking You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on Discord, we're treated to mostly comical scenes of Twilight trying to get her new powers under control and botching her spells.
Morality Kitchen Sink: The show features characters from all over the moral spectrum, where the absolute majority fall within the grey middle-zone. In the case of the heroes or "good guys" in general, this is usually facilitated by Mr. Vice Guy, and most of the villains are Not Evil, Just Misunderstood. Princess Celestia and King Sombra are two notable exceptions, from different ends of the moral scales.
Discord is a Reality Warper who turns Equestria into a World Gone Mad, brutally breaks and brainwashes the main characters, drives everyone insane, and generally does whatever he wants to For the Evulz with no remorse or sense of morality...and yet prior to leading the main cast in a trap via a maze, he calls Princess Celestia out for turning himto stone for doing the previously mentioned things.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Tirek still shows signs of being bitter with his brother for betraying him, despite the fact Scorpan had already tried reasoning with Tirek to stop him, but has zero problem stabbing Discord in the back for his own selfish hunger for power.
Motor Mouth: Pinkie Pie, full stop. She even needs to stop for air before continuing with her verbal tsunami.
Apple Bloom as well, during "Call of the Cutie". She inhaled before releasing her own verbal tsunamis, though.
Fluttershy can turn into one of these under the right circumstances (such as when first meeting Spike and when critiquing her first gala dress).
Mr. Vice Guy: This trope applies to each one of the mane six to varying degrees, as well as to almost all other primarily "good" characters:
Rainbow Dash is brash, insensitive, prideful, and suffers from a fairly severe case of I Just Want to Be Badass. However, she is an extremely loyal friend and a rather good jester.
Rarity is vain, superficial, and likes attention far too much. She suffers from I Just Want to Be Beautiful, but in spite of this is actually very considerate and generous (sometimes to the point of self-sacrifice), therefore managing to lampshade that True Beauty Is on the Inside.
Twilight Sparkle has No Social Skills, is extremely logical, and has an obsession with control; so much so that any chaotic situation is almost guaranteed to give her a Heroic BSOD. But even so, she is a fun-loving, easygoing character that is always willing to lend a hoof.
Fluttershy is extremely shy and even cowardly by default. The exception to this is when she is faced with fearsome creatures, to whom she almost invariably relates to with compassion instead of fear. When she tries to be assertive, she sometimes loses control of her normally suppressed agression, turning her into an outright jerk.
Lastly Applejack, who is an honest, hardworking pony who everybody knows they can count on... and she can be excessively stubborn to ask for help, and too prideful to admit to her own shortcomings.
A recurring theme in the show is the way the different "elements of harmony" virtues of the ponies in the mane six counteract a respective vice of another pony in the group. A common pattern for several episodes goes roughly like this:
Pony A's vice X causes pony A and/or others to get into a heap of trouble.
Pony B, whose element of harmony Y is pretty much the exact opposite of pony A's vice X helps pony A understand the error of her ways.
Pony A and B, sometimes aided by the rest of the mane six or all of Ponyville or Equestria work together to set things right again.
Princess Celestia and to a lesser degree Cadance go against this trend by consistently coming across as Purity Personified, but they are just about the only exceptions.
Muggles: Earth ponies; they neither have the magical ability of unicorns, nor the flying ability of pegasi. They are said to be stronger and tougher than other ponies, though, and Word of God says they have a "special connection" to the land in the form of botanical magic and charisma towards animals.
Confirmed in "Hearth's Warming Eve"; they are the best farmers, although the other two races are completely willing to try to live without them, and plants can still grow without earth pony aid.
"Twilight's Kingdom Part 1" confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Earth ponies are naturally stronger due to their inherent magic, and can tend the land so well because of it.
Three endings to "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" were described on The Hub's website—the page has since been taken down, but the endings have been archived here (among other places). Additionally, a commercial for the event partially shows a fourth ending in all three endings' places. The earlier episodes "Call of the Cutie" and "Sonic Rainboom" had already implied that the canon ending was Sonic Rainbow, which was revealed to be true when the episode aired.
All unicorns can use their magic for simple telekinesis, which effectively gives them an extra pair of hands. This is especially useful since ponies don't have hands. This makes tasks like turning pages, writing letters, and eating sandwiches much easier for them than they are for other ponies. Twilight Sparkle in particular can learn any magical spell, and of course, being the universe this is, a lot of what she has learned is mundane utility spells. That doesn't stop her from being a one-pony magical arsenal of destruction as well, though.
Pegasi can also use their wings to hold light things underarm. Rainbow Dash once held a ball with her wing this way, and in "Putting Your Hoof Down," Fluttershy even demonstrated feather-based dexterity comparable to that of human fingers (justified a few episodes earlier, where an X-ray shows that pegasi have small bones in the largest of their feathers).
Scootaloo, a pegasus too young to fly properly, uses her wings to give herself extra speed when on her scooter, rather like a propeller. She also uses this to get some sweet air to pull off tricks.
Not to mention that as of "Lesson Zero," Rainbow Dash has apparently managed to master the Sonic Rainboom to the point of using it in demolition.
Spike's magic fire breath essentially makes him a living fax machine. Oh, and he can bake cupcakes too.
Fluttershy's Stare, which seems to break the will of any creature on the receiving end of it - up to and including full-grown dragons - has been used to round up disobedient chickens and get her pet bunny, Angel, to eat his vegetables.
Muscles Are Meaningless: All the ponies seem to possess strength far beyond their size and figure, from earth ponies pulling a five-compartment train at full speed, to pegasi floating a moving van full of anvils, carts, and pianos.
In "A Dog and Pony Show", Rarity (one of the relatively weak unicorns) could pull a cart full of diamonds with ease while three Diamond Dogs could barely move it.
In "Dragonshy", a montage of the ponies getting ready to confront a dragon features Applejack's much larger brother Big McIntosh lifting a heavy set of saddle-bags onto her back with great effort. She sags under the sudden weight, but easily straightens up and leaps into the air. This may be meant to imply she's stronger than he is ("strong" is certainly a description associated with her) — but not necessarily, since he does have to lift it with his neck muscles rather than whole body.
In "Hearts and Hooves Day", Big McIntosh is shown to be strong enough to tow an entire building, presumably having shorn it clear off its foundation. Likewise, in "Lesson Zero", he was shown to be strong enough to toss an entire mob of ponies—most of the town, in fact—off of him with just a shake of his frame. It's clear that, strong as Applejack is, her brother is stronger still.
On the other hoof, Big McIntosh had really big trouble carrying a... cake. And it wasn't only about balance - he was sweating heavily as if it was an enormous effort.
This may be a case of Fridge Brilliance considering that the plow was designed for use by earth ponies who are physically stronger and the rock was designed by Discord to be exactly heavy enough to slow Rarity to a crawl without completely incapacitating her. Since Rarity and Twilight are both unicorn ponies, it can be assumed that they are of comparable strength.
Partly Truth in Television. Ponies are known for possessing the ability to carry quite heavy loads, even those that match their body weight.
Averted at the same time. Big McIntosh is actually extremely strong, as shown in Lesson Zero when he launches pretty much everypony in Ponyville off of himself to get at the Smarty Pants doll.
Musical Episode: The season 3 finale manages to cram seven songs into 22 minutes.
Mustache Vandalism: In "One Bad Apple," Babs Seed does this to the Cutie Mark Crusaders during the musical portion of the episode.
Also, in "A Bird In The Hoof". Philomena sneaks around drawing mustaches on a Wanted Poster poster the Celestia's guards put up.
In "Sisterhooves Social", Rarity totally loses it with her sister after an entire day of getting on one another's nerves (including when Sweetie Belle makes a picture out of the rare gems Rarity had been saving for a dress for an important client), resulting in a huge argument which makes both swear that they wished they were only children and storming off. Later on she's tidying up and looks at the picture again, shown for the first time to be a picture of the two nuzzling inside a shining blue heart. Rarity’s reaction is almost word for word.
She sings "what have I done" in "Rarity Takes Manehattan," when her friends don't show up for her fashion show and she thinks she has alienated them. They actually just overslept because they were exhausted from helping her sew new dresses the night before.
"Secret of My Excess": Spike doesn't come right out and say it, but the emotion is conveyed by his reaction to seeing Ponyville devastated, and his own giant footprints.
Happens in "Hearth's Warming Eve" when Clover the Clever (Twilight), Smart Cookie (Applejack), and Private Pansy (Fluttershy) discover that the blizzard that destroyed their homeland and is now threatening Equestria is caused by Windigos, winter spirits that have been feeding off ofthe hatred between the three tribes of ponies, meaning their pointless hatred for one another was the cause of everything that has happened.
In "Baby Cakes", despite being only a month old, the Cake Twins are smart enough to realize they've gone too far when they see Pinkie bawling.
The entire town of Ponyville gets one in "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", when their support of the Flim Flam brothers almost causes the Apple family to lose their entire livelihood.
Fluttershy gets one in "Putting Your Hoof Down" after being a huge bitch to Pinkie Pie and Rarity, due to taking her assertiveness lessons from Iron Will.
Twilight has one in "A Canterlot Wedding" when everyone calls her out on calling Cadance evil. The twist is that it wasn't really Cadance at all, but an imposter posing as her.
Thus, when she reveals that the first Cadance she met is an impostor by helping the real Cadance escape, everyone else has this when they realize she was right. The impostor, the changeling queen Chrysalis, rubs into their faces that if they had just listened to Twilight, she could have been stopped. Applejack goes to apologize to Twilight during the Near Villain Victory, but the latter brushes it off and doesn't hold against them, stating that Chrysalis had fooled everypony and that it wasn't their fault.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders, fed up with Babs Seed bullying them to impress resident bitches Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, set her up for a humiliating fall. Then they learn from Applejack that she's being bullied herself back in Manehattan.
All three: WHAT'VE WE DONE!?
Discord of all people has one of these moments in his returning episode when he realizes that Fluttershy, the only pony to have shown faith and trust in his rehabilitation, takes his jokes and her patience too far when he floods Apple Acres.
Twilight says "What have I done?" in "Magical Mystery Cure" after discovering that her careless use of magic has ruined her friends' lives and made all of Ponyville miserable, and she doesn't know how to undo it..
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Discord is obviously having second thoughts during his team up with Tirek. But this trope doesn't hit him completely until Tirek, unsurprisingly, betrays him and takes his power, just like he did to Fluttershy.
In Feeling Pinkie Keen, Pinkie Pie is shown to have nervous twitches just before something significant (and often damaging) is about to happen. She refers to this as her Pinkie Sense. It has subsequently appeared in The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well, It's About Time, and Princess Twilight Sparkle, part 1.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 1, Discord is tasked with tracking down Tirek because he has the ability to sense the magical disruptions that come with Tirek draining a pony.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Discord visibly wobbles when he senses the imbalance caused by Cadance, Luna, and Celestia transferring their powers to Twilight, but tells no one.
Discord: That can't be right. Tirek: What can't be right? Discord: Nothing. Carry on!
Myth Arc: In Season 1, it was to prepare for the Grand Galloping Gala. And in Season 4, the box sprouted by the Tree of Harmony.
It happened in the very first episode of the very first season. Nightmare Moon popped up, carried out her plan, removed her sister, set her traps, destroyed the Elements of Harmony...except that last step turned out to have failed.
Happens again in the Season 2 finale. The Changeling Queen has destroyed the barrier protecting Canterlot, unleashed her hordes upon the city to feed off the love of all the ponies, and has even defeated Celestia in a straight-up fight by tapping into Shining Armor's love for Cadence. Even worse, the Mane 6 fail to reach the Elements of Harmony in time, and are captured by the thousands of changelings that now storm the city. Unfortunately for the queen, she forgot that Cadence and Shining Armor are still in the room, and that Cadence's magic is the ability to make ponies love each other. The result is Shining Armor getting a massive injection of the Power of Love, which gives him enough power to reset the barrier and blast all of the changelings out of Canterlot once and for all.
The Season 3 two parter also has this happen, with a twist. King Sombra's near victory is the result of his actions taken before the story even starts. Cadence's magic gives out, causing the barrier keeping Sombra locked out to fail and Sombra himself to enter the Crystal Empire. Twilight ends up trapped by a crystal barrier, which also begins to corrupt the Empire from the inside and prevents her from getting the Crystal Heart where it needs to be defeat Sombra. Spike manages to get the Crystal Heart and try to get it to where it can defeat Sombra, but Sombra attacks, coming within a few inches of capturing or possibly killing him before Shining Armor throws Cadence like a javelin to catch Spike and the Heart, allowing them to power it up and kill King Sombra.
Twilight’s Kingdom Part 2, Tirek claiming Discord's magic all the magic Twilight had been carrying with her means he had technically won. There wasn't a creature alive in Equestria with enough magic to constrain him at that point. So the team has to tap into an Eleventh Hour Superpower to break through.
Negative Continuity: Not much, but Ponyville has been completely rebuilt from a smoking ruin between episodes several times. Perhaps they just have good insurance? Seasons also tend to change depending on the story; the worst instance of this is the Season 1 episode "Winter Wrap-Up" where the ponies clean up winter to prepare for the coming spring. A mere two episodes later in "Fall Weather Friends", it's autumn and they're helping the leaves fall from the trees. A lesser example occurs between Equestria Girls and Season 4; the film is holding the Fall Formal while Season 4 opens with the Summer Sun Celebration, implying a year has passed between the two. However, given the "Reflections" arc in the comic takes place during the same timeframe, this may actually be the case.
Never Forgotten Skill: Throughout the show, they have stated that Cutie Marks represent a pony's special talent and destiny, implying that a pony could never forget the skills associated to that talent. "Magical Mystery Cure" confirms this. First, by showing that when five ponies get their Cutie Marks switch, they try to do what the Cutie Mark represents, but they fail miserable. Finally, by showing that when Twilight gets them to remember what they are good at, they get their Cutie Marks back where they should be, and that their skills remain the same regardless of what Cutie Mark they have.
Never Say "Die": Pinkie Pie's swear from "Green Isn't Your Color" starts with "Cross my heart and hope to fly..." It's worth noting, though, that death isn't a completely taboo subject for the show - in another episode, Twilight vows to find a way to help with the Winter Wrap-Up "even if it kills me."
After losing her last feather, Philomena gasps, collapses limply, gasps once more, drops for seven seconds off a tall statue, spontaneously combusts and ends up as a heap of dust in Fluttershy's hooves. Twilight's summary? "There's been a terrible accident." Philomena's a Phoenix, of course, so she's fine in the end, but even Princess Celestia avoids mentioning the classic death-and-rebirth thing. Apparently a Pony phoenix renews itself by "shedding all of its feathers and bursting into flame." Which is totally not dying.
Princess Celestia even calls it "playing a trick," implying the bird is doing it on her own free will.
Averted in, of all things, Rarity's dressmaking song from "Suited For Success": "Hook and eye, couldn't you just simply die?"
Also averted in Return of Harmony Part 2: After Twilight and co. fail using the Elements of Harmony for the first time, Discord says that "harmony in Equestria is officially dead."
In "The Cutie Pox", when a large group of ponies are running in fear from the Cutie Pox-afflicted Apple Bloom, it sounds like somepony says "She's going to kill me!"
What happens to the three Windigoes when they get consumed by the flame and are never seen again in "Hearth's Warming Eve"? Sure, we hear one at the end of the episode, but it could just be another of their species.
In "Hearts and Hooves Day" the Cutie Mark Crusaders have a song sequence in which they criticize various stallions on why they can't be paired with Cheerilee. The point out an elderly pony (Mr. Waddle) as being too old. What was this old pony doing? He's a pastor giving the eulogy at a funeral. There's a closed casket clearly next to him.
And there's the fate of King Sombra...
It was confirmed in a twitter post that while they could never get away with saying it in this show, Applejack's parents have indeed passed away, and the pair of shooting stars at the end of Apple Family Reunion were meant to represent them.
Oddly inverted in the Japanese dub of the pilot - while originally Applejack promises that Twilight will "be safe" if she lets go of her hoof and takes a seemingly fatal plunge, here she says that Twilight "won't die".
Never Trust a Trailer: A commercial for Season 3 showed Pinkie Pie making a face similar to a G3 My Little Pony to Fluttershy and Rarity, and the two react in disgust. In the actual episode, it was a clone of Pinkie making the face to another clone of Pinkie.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: By and large averted; recurring characters' abilities remain fairly consistent (though a measure of Strong as They Need to Be applies) and the occasional appearance of new ones is generally justified. For example, Twilight Sparkle as the most obvious suspect isn't just a magical prodigy, she's also a studious bookworm who keeps practicing new tricks in her free time; even so she has clear power limits, has yet to demonstrate any ability to invent entirely new spells from scratch herself, and sometimes the ones she has and thinks of using end up just plain not quite working as intended anyway. Rainbow Dash is likewise an athlete spending at least part of her time coming up with new stunts to her repertoire. And Trixie's massive power boost between the two episodes in which she's appeared so far is due to the Alicorn Amulet; without it, she's back to her old self. (Pinkie Pie, of course, keeps running on the Rule of Funny, which is a form of consistency in its own right.)
In "Dragonshy", Rarity prepares by putting on a military helmet, sees herself in a mirror, goes "eww", and switches to a fancy hat with a similar camo pattern instead. Like many of the other "preparations" the characters make in this scene, this is later absent.
Rarity is all about nice hats. She wears a particularly fancy one to the observation trench in "Dragon Quest" and dons a variety of them in "Sweet and Elite".
In the episode "Swarm of the Century", Twilight Sparkle uses her magic powers to stop a swarm of locust-like Parasprites from eating all the food in town. It works; the Parasprites stop eating food and go after everything else.
In "Over a Barrel", Pinkie Pie tries to settle a territory dispute between settlers and the native buffalo herd by singing about sharing. The sheriff and the buffalo chief finally come to an agreement...that it was the worst performance they'd ever seen. When the buffalo are on the verge of backing down from their threat of a stampede, Pinkie Pie's ill-timed reprisal of the song triggers the chief's Berserk Button.
Rainbow Dash's advice to Apple Bloom to try as many different things as rapidly as possible in order to find her Cutie Mark got carried over to the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Perhaps if they weren't constantly changing plans they might succeed.
In the second part of the two-parter episode, Twilight's guess that Discord's riddle meant the Elements Of Harmony were in the maze was wrong and because of her not thinking the riddle out more carefully, her friends were broken and Mind Raped by Discord for nothing. What's worse, Discord takes great pleasure in rubbing it in her face.
Twilight breaks herself in "It's About Time". A battered and broken Twilight from the future appears briefly in the library and tries (unsuccessfully) to warn her past self about some oncoming disaster to take place between now and next Tuesday morning. Present Twilight misses the important part of the message and immediately freaks out, spending all of her time trying to deduce what's about to happen and, if at all possible, prevent it... but nothing really bad actually happens. Twilight finds a spell to go back in time, and tries to warn her past self not to panic — but in failing to deliver the message, CAUSES her past self to panic.
This happens again in the season two finale "A Canterlot Wedding". Seeing the very questionable actions of Princess Cadance leads Twilight to believe that she has somehow become evil and tries to warn everypony about what she's learn. This makes her come off as rather crazy and her friends end up shunning her, including Celestia. Surprise! Cadance IS evil, but it's actually the Changeling Queen impersonating her, using her love for Twilight's brother, Shining Armor, to fuel her power. By the time Twilight and the real Princess Cadance arrive to stop her, the Queen already became too strong for even Celestia to handle. She even points out that they could have stopped her sooner if they all had listened to Twilight in the first place, although as Twilight herself points out a moment later, her disguise would have fooled everypony anyway. It was only because the real Cadance was Twilight's fillyhood friend that she grew suspicious of Chrysalis!Cadance to begin with, and even then she only realized the truth after the real Cadance informed her that the latter was a fake.
Twilight Sparkle pulls practically the exact same blunder she did with the Parasprites again in Bats! She tries a spell that will change the vampire fruit bat's tastes so they don't like apples and it works... with the side-effect of transforming Fluttershy into a vampire fruit pony with an even bigger appetite than all the bats combined.
In Equestria Games the Power Nullifier to prevent cheating from the unicorns prevents them from doing anything to stop the giant ice cloud as it plummets toward the stadium.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Celestia's tradition of showing off the heroes of Equestria (notably, Princess Twilight's ascension) in the stained glass windows of the royal halls comes back to ruin her plan to keep knowledge of Twilight secret from Tirek. He probably would have found out anyway, but still...
Discord puts his own spin on the most of the windows in the palace, but forgets to do that specific one, or at least hadn't gotten to it by the time Tirek noticed.
In the Season 2 finale, Twilight Sparkle calls out Princess Cadance and calls her evil, which nets her a royal "The Reason You Suck" Speech from her brother, all her friends turn on her, and even Princess Celestia is disappointed in her. Twilight herself is ashamed of her behavior and apologizes. Of course, had "Cadance" who is really QueenChrysalis in disguise just left it at that she would have won. Unfortunately that just wasn't evil enough: instead she banishes Twilight to the caves below Canterlot where she meets the real Cadance, rescues her, and brings her topside to thwart the entire masquerade.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, if Tirek had stuck to his word to Discord, he wouldn't have given the Mane 6 the final key needed to beat him. Of course Tirek had no way of knowing it'd backfire at the time.
Non-Standard Character Design: Some ponies in the show have distinct character designs such as Princesses Celestia and Luna, Mr. and Mrs. Cake, and Snips & Snails. Extras with unique designs have also appeared such as the bartender from "Over A Barrel". Then there's the ones that subvert the show's own styling, like the infamous ripped pegasus in "Hurricane Fluttershy".
The mane six, if you compare them with the numerous background ponies; the only element they copy from the mane six's designs would have to be Rainbow Dash's hairstyle on the Derpy/Raindrops design, and even that isn't exactly the same as Rainbow Dash. Not to mention that three of the mane six have multicolored hair, very rarely seen on background figures.
In "Secret of My Excess", Spike's greed causes him to grow into a larger dragon progressively over the course of the episode, until by the end he is a rampaging dragon the size of a small mountain. When he realizes that he was wrong to be so greedy, Spike immediately, and magically, poofs back to his original size.
Subverted twice in Inspiration Manifestation; Spike tries to invoke this by eating the spellbook. This accomplishes nothing, as Rarity retains her powers and corrupted behavior. It takes a Curse Escape Clause to set Rarity right again.
Even after the book is destroyed and the spell breaks, the changes to Ponyville still remain. It takes three princesses all day to reverse everything.
No OSHA Compliance: Cloudsdale not having any railings seems reasonable, considering only pegasi live there. However, if Scootaloo and Fluttershy are any indication, flying is something that is not learned until significantly later than they learn how to walk, making Cloudsdale a deathtrap for young pegasi.
Twilight Sparkle's bedroom is a second-story loft with no railing around it.
Fluttershy in "Stare Master". She is being turned to stone by a cockatrice and one might expect her to have some clever solution to the situation, as is typical with such stories. Instead she just ignores it and stares the creature down and lectures it until it's intimidated into stopping and breaking the enchantment on her.
In a similar vein, "Return of Harmony" shows that Fluttershy is the only one of the mane six who's immune to Discord's verbal manipulation. Granted, he finally just gives up and uses straight up mind control instead.
"Keep Calm and Flutter On" reverses it. Fluttershy uses The Stare on Discord (the same one she used to cow a dragon into submission); Discord pretends to be scared, then laughs at Fluttershy for thinking her Stare could affect him. By the end of the episode both being immune to overt manipulation by the other forms the basis of a lasting friendship and his redemption.
As the superhero Saddle Rager in "Power Ponies", her super-powered mode gets a full blast of the Mane-iac's doomsday weapon, and the beam bounces off harmlessly.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, until she voluntarily surrenders it, Tirek is unable to drain Twilight of the combined power of the Princesses' alicorn magic. Though likewise Tirek shrugs off everything Twilight throw at him.
Tirek's magic does absolutely nothing to the rainbow-powered Mane Six.
No Song for the Wicked: Despite songs happening rather often (and not just from Pinkie Pie, though she sings the most), none of the antagonists had a Villain Song until midway through the second season. This is especially strange given that Evil Is Hammy is in full effect for most of them.
This was finally subverted in season 2, when the Flim-Flam Brothers get one.
Also in the Season 2 Finale, with Queen Chrysalis's half of, and, later, reprise of "This Day Aria".
Not So Different: Sweetie Belle and Rarity, despite their differences, have shown to be similar on some levels. "Sisterhooves Social" proves that Sweetie can be extremely clean like her sister. Also, Sweetie has said, "That's not even a word" to her friend Apple Bloom, which is similar to what Rarity said to Applejack.
Ignored in "Applebuck Season", when a falling Applejack repeatedly fails to hit the other end of Rainbow Dash's seesaw with no lasting injuries. This is despite even landing throat-first on the fourth attempt.
In "Sonic Rainboom" Rarity falls for 50 seconds, which in Earth's gravity and air resistance would be at least a mile. Rainbow Dash accelerates to Mach 1, straight down, before catching her and making an instant 90-degree turn.
That math is only accounting for the speed of sound. Some other pony did the math. She wasn't going at the speed of sound. She hit Mach 4.7 and was going 11Gs before the turn.
Both were right, she was pulling 11G's during the burst of speed as she created the Rainboom, then 1670G's during the turn just before they all hit the ground.
In "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", after falling from a cloud high in the sky, a young Fluttershy is saved by a swarm of butterflies, just a couple feet above the ground.
Considering the other attributes applied to pegasi (walking on clouds, ability to create and change weather, pulling carts and such, etc.) it's possible that they project magic into things that they touch, allowing them to save falling ponies or land on clouds (or clouds of butterflies) without harm.
And now it happens yet again in "Secret of My Excess", with Dash and Fluttershy rescuing a falling Rarity and Spike with a torn part of a dress.
"Wonderbolts Academy" sees Rainbow Dash's friends fall quite a distance onto a quickly improvised and apparently extra-dense cloud, bounce right back up, and be caught by assorted pegasi physically no worse for the wear.
By the end of the third season, Rainbow Dash makes some real progress in her dream of joining the Wonderbolts, Trixie and Discord are fixed, and more importantly, Twilight Sparkle has been coronated a princess and made an alicorn to match that status.
Also extends into the season 4 premiere and the following episode: The Mane 6 sacrifice the Elements of Harmony to revive the Tree of Harmony and save Equesitra. Also they begin writing in a group Diary kept by Twilight instead of sending letters.
The Mane Six gain Rainbow Power, and with it, new powers to explore. The library is destroyed, but in its place is a new castle effectively making Ponyville into a kingdom and Twilight is dubbed "Princess of Friendship".
Discord's character also crossed whatever the polar opposite of the Moral Event Horizon is. He fully accepts the Mane Six are now his friends and can be truly considered reformed now.
Rainbow Dash zig zags between this and a Deadpan Snarker depending on the mood.
Twilight Sparkle is usually strictly the latter, but when riled up enough she can take things to a whole new level.
Twilight: Now tell me; what exactly have you actually seenZecora do? Rainbow Dash: Well... once a month she comes into Ponyville. Twilight:Ooh. Rarity: Then, she lurks by the stores. Twilight:Oh my. Fluttershy: And then... she digs at the ground... Twilight:Goodgracious!
Off Model: The show has plenty of animation errors, in fact it has been catalogued in this over hour-long video. A common mistake is the many times Applejack is missing her freckles, especially when running. Since it's made in Flash, layering errors are also very common. Cutie Marks appearing on the inside thigh and bits of the background visible through the characters' mouths are two of the more obvious.
Derpy Hooves started out as this. She accidentally ended up cross-eyed in one scene of the first episode, which wasn't caught until after the episode aired. Fans quickly latched on to her and she is now more or less the mascot of the brony community. The creators, delighted with this response, now draw her cross-eyed intentionally and even script her appearances.
In "The Best Night Ever", during the Cold Open Rarity asks two colts to pull a carriage. During this scene if you pay close attention to a blue colt to the right of the other two, you can see him become a Cyclops for half a second.
During the Raise This Barn song sequence in "Apple Family Reunion", Babs Seed goes off-model for a whole scene where she and Apple Bloom are shaving wood, where her usual bright green eyes are instead the same orange colour as Apple Bloom's. Given how noticeable her eyes usually are, it's extremely glaring.
In Equestria Games, Twilight's wings use the standard pegasus flapping sprites, instead of the shrunken Cadance's wings sprites she's supposed to have.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, when the Mane Six spread their World-Healing Wave over Equestria, the Crystal Empire doesn't appear on the map as it did in "Pinkie Pride". Come to think of it, we don't see Tirek draining any crystal ponies, so the question of whether crystal ponies are a subset of earth ponies or a different race is still ambiguous.
During her cupcakes song, Pinkie even popped into the foreground while she was still in the background two times.
Derpy Hooves goes from bobbin' for apples to appearing in the tub in "Luna Eclipsed".
In Lesson Zero, when Pinkie's rolling with laughter at Twilight's Super OCD, she's outside the quilt and in front of Twi. When Twilight turns around to talk to Applejack, Pinkie has somehow moved behind AJ and the rest of the Mane Cast, near the opposite edge of the quilt. Not that this is in any way unusual for her...
Ominous Pipe Organ: The Castle of the Two Sisters' Organ to the Outside, which, in addition to providing scary music, controls various trapdoors around the castle. Once the musician is revealed to be Pinkie Pie, its sound changes to be much less ominous.
Oh My Gods!: Has happened several times, in such forms as "Thank Celestia", "In the name of Celestia", and "As Celestia is my witness".
As of Season Two it looks like The One Guy might become a rotating position with Spike and Big McIntosh currently trading on and off.
Once per Episode: The episodes (particularly in the first season) usually end with a pony writing a letter to Celestia about the moral of that particular episode. This was usually done by Twilight in the first season, then expanded to the rest of the Mane Six in the second season. The third season seems to be moving away from this routine however, as only a couple of episodes have involved somepony writing Celestia a letter.
One-Hour Work Week: Sometimes. How time-consuming the ponies' respective day jobs are portrayed seems to vary per episode. Most often played straight with Pinkie Pie, who's rarely ever seen working at Sugercube Corner (though throwing parties is practically her second job). Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash are rarely seen "on the clock", but the unusual natures of their jobs (micromanaging the local fauna and weather, respectively) let Fluttershy set her own hours and let Rainbow do her job in "ten seconds flat." Averted with Twilight Sparkle (Celestia's student, seen studying more often than not. Has also been shown to work as a caretaker and librarian of the library she lives in), Applejack (apple farmer), and Rarity (fashion designer), who are often shown working; in fact, entire episodes have revolved around the latter two's lines of work and one of Applejack's major character flaws is workaholism.
Averted with Princess Celestia too, as most of the time when she appears, she's either working, giving out work, off to attend some sort of work-related activity, or generally being diplomatic and working to keep Equestria safe and peaceful.
One of the Kids: The mane characters are mature enough to live independently and have jobs, but frequently act as though they were in their mid to late teens. It's interesting though that their "mature" traits mainly concern social relations, while their "childishness" is more present in their immediate behavior. It sort of fits with the life-cycle of actual horses: a foal can walk within minutes of birth, unlike a baby human. Word of God has it that the ponies are at the physical maturity for ponies equivalent to human teenagers, but mentally more advanced than that period, but of course superseded when appropriate.
"Apple": Apple Family members Apple Bloom, Apple Brioche, Apple Brown Betty, Apple Bumpkin/Apple Dazzle, Apple Cinnamon Crisp, Apple Dumpling, Apple Fritter, Applejack (Apple Jack), Apple Leaves, Apple Strudel, Apple Tart, Caramel Apple (Caramel Apples), and Half Baked Apple vs. Apple Sprout vs. Apple Stars
Only Sane Pony: This is how Twilight Sparkle feels when she first comes to Ponyville. It doesn't help that the first pony she meets there is Pinkie Pie. More generally, Twilight often (but not always) plays this role in other episodes.
Averted for Twilight with "Look Before You Sleep". She goes a bit obsessive to check the list to the point where she has to actually check whether a big tree crashing in her home is part of a sleepover. She also completely loses it when the Parasprites begin to eat the town in "Swarm of the Century"
Apple Bloom also qualifies as this in "Bridle Gossip", as she was the only one who didn't jump to conclusions about Zecora after the "curses" occurred.
One of the great things about the show is that the characters are multifaceted enough that many of them can take up the Only Sane Mare role depending on the situation. Even Pinkie flirts with this role in "Griffon the Brush Off".
Spike is usually one of the sanest characters, it becomes especially noticeable once Twilight starts acting screwy. Even he has heavily flawed moments and has to be kept in check however (Only Sane Men don't usually have Dastardly Whiplash alter egos).
Applejack also plays the more rational character in many episodes, though like Spike and Twilight, still has defining flaws and a good few episodes devoted to her playing up.
Only One Name: Played with. Many ponies only have one name — Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack, Scootaloo, etc. However, it's never made fully clear if family names are common in Equestria. Sometimes characters with two-part names, like Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, or Pinkie Pie, treat the second part as if it were a family name, and the first part is often used alone when speaking to them. However, this is inconsistent, with sibling pairs like Sweetie Belle and Rarity, or Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor. In short, if Equestria uses family names, it's hard to say how, so this trope may or may not be out of place.
As of Season 4, only three examples of what appear to be actual family names have appeared in the show; the Cakes, with Carrot Cake, Cup Cake, Pound Cake, and Pumpkin Cake; the Apple family, with every member having some sort of apple-based name; and the Pie family: Pinkie Pie, full name Pinkamena Diane Pie, her sister Maud Pie, and a reference by Pinkie to a "Granny" Pie. However, this is broken in Pinkie's chapter book, which refers to her father as Igneous Rock, and her mother as Cloudy Quartz; though it does refer to two other sisters, Limestone Pie and Marble Pie.
Only Six Faces: Most of the ponies look like any other pony of their sex, race and age group.note which makes sense if you think about it since real ponies, or most other animals for that matter, look a lot like their kin. You can usually tell them apart from each other by looking at their hair style and color scheme.
Lauren Faust has said that she wanted to include a wider variety of body types, even among the mane cast, but decided against it because most of the animators were working overtime as it was, and she didn't want to add to that unnecessarily.
Season 2 introduced a bunch of new pony designs into the series, which had led to the bizarre effect of the primary cast of ponies all having identical bodies while the secondary ponies having more varied designs though the use of the older body types are still prevalent within the show.
Cutie Mark Failure Insanity Syndrome shows up for each character in the mane cast, with that character's personality changing dramatically in response to outside stress, especially stress related to that character's talent. Seeing the showoff Rainbow Dash suffering from stage fright in "Sonic Rainboom" or the usually steadfast and honest Applejack lying to her friends in "The Last Roundup" is mindboggling. The issue goes to outright terrifying with Pinkie Pie's lapse into depression in "Party of One", Fluttershy's lapse into Yandere at the climax of "The Best Night Ever", and Twilight Sparkle's complete psychotic break in "Lesson Zero".
In "Lesson Zero", Princess Celestia flies over to Ponyville right after she fulfills her sun-related duties, fixes Twilight's mess, and sternly reprimands her. This is the first time in the series that Princess Celestia has shown any disappointment in Twilight, let alone the outright anger she expresses upon first realizing what has happened.
Fluttershy does this all the time. She is normally extremely fearful, but when her friends are in trouble, she'll stand up to a manticore, a cockatrice, or a giant firebreathing dragon. And if there isn't a threat around, it means trouble for her friends (see "Putting Your Hoof Down" for an example).
Big Macintosh, who is normally calm, collected, and quiet, chewed out the Cutie Mark Crusaders for printing embarrassing details about him and Applejack in "Ponyville Confidential". You know you really screwed up when you got him mad enough to say more than a few words.
Even more, when Big Mac is talking, Applejack, who was just as mad, became The Quiet One, resorting to the same "eyup"s and "nope"s Big Mac was famous for.
In "Keep Calm and Flutter On" when Celestia brings Discord to Ponyville in an attempt to reform him, the mane six are furious that she would bring the worst villain they've ever faced anywhere near them, even Twilight - who is usually intensely reverent of Celestia and terrified of disappointing her - outright yelling at her.
Out-of-Character Moment: Each of the Mane Six have experienced this at least once. Was forced in "Return of Harmony" when Discord corrupted all six.
Big McIntosh. His usual vocabulary is just "Eeyup" and "Nope", but in "Ponyville Confidential", he started saying actual full sentences when scolding the Cutie Mark Crusaders and in "Hearts and Hooves Day" when under the influence of their love poison.
Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: In "Party of One", Pinkie Pie overhears everypony else in the Mane Six talking about how they don't want her around. She assumes that they don't want her as a friend anymore, but they're really just throwing her a surprise party.
The second season's eleventh through thirteenth episodes. "Hearth's Warming Eve", #13, was broadcast 11th so that it would air in time for Christmas (due to its similar theming). As a result, "Family Appreciation Day" and "Baby Cakes" were each bumped one slot later, #11 and #12 being broadcast 12th and 13th, respectively. Hasbro's website and My Little PonyYouTube channel, The Hub and its website, the iTunes Store, Google Play, and Netflix have all stuck with the production order's numbering, though the iTunes Store temporarily went with the broadcast order's numbering.
Pinkie Pie: Are you excited? Because I'm excited! I've never been so excited! Well, except for the time I saw you walking into town, and I went gasp!, but I mean really, who could top that?
In "Over a Barrel", we have Chief Thunderhooves' rant about his tribe's sacred stampeding trail: "My father stampeded upon these grounds. And his father before him...and his father before him...and his father before him...and his father before him..." Meanwhile, the other tribe members are shown trying to stay awake, and Little Strong Heart eventually has to shut the chief up.
Near the end of "A Friend in Deed", Pinkie tries to chase Cranky Doodle Donkey down and tell him that she's "really really really really really really really really [etc.]" sorry for ruining his scrapbook.
Pac Man Fever: Still Schizo Tech, but the only video games thave have appeared so far are a stand-up arcade machine (in "Hearts and Hooves Day") and a retraux 8-bit platformer (in the "Adventure Ponies" promo). The latter case is likely intended as a nostalgic throw-back for the Periphery Demographic, though.
Painting the Medium: Not really in the show itself, but in the line of trading cards, Discord's card has its text printed upside-down.
Painting the Frost on Windows: In Equestria, ponies are responsible for the rising of the sun and moon, the weather, the changing of the seasons and the survival of animals.
This has evidently been going on for so long that the reason the Ponies are so freaked out by Everfree Forest is because nature is getting on along fine by itself there.
Only secondary to that are all of the bogs, cliffs, hungry multi-headed monsters, etc. They aren't even mentioned until the group is already inside.
In "Sonic Rainboom", it's shown that clouds, snow and rainbows (which are liquid, non-toxic but very spicy) are all made in a factory.
The band that performed on stage in the episode "Luna Eclipsed" are actually palette swaps of the band who played on "The Best Night Ever" but are wearing scarecrow costumes.
The multicolored parasprite swarm all share the same character design.
The various versions of Applejack and Rarity that Twilight makes during the titular "Magic Duel" look like pallete swaps of fillies and various other members of the apple family. This is because they really are pallete swaps, as Twilight is not strong enough to actually cast those spells, so the Apple Family and Sweetie Belle disguised themselves with paint and hair dyes instead.
Pals with Jesus: Twilight Sparkle is the personal student of Princess Celestia and is one of the few ponies who can call herself a friend of Princess Luna, both of whom are Physical Goddesses.
Better, she used to have Princess Cadance, who is basically the demigoddess of love, as a personal babysitter— er, "foalsitter".
Fluttershy was able to avoid all her fans in "Green Isn't Your Color" just by hiding her face behind glasses and a fancy hat…and still revealing her cutie mark. Of course, once Twilight accidentally knocked the disguise away, everypony instantly recognized Fluttershy.
This actually ends up being Truth in Television, as Hulk Hogan claims in his first autobiography that he actually did this in real life on a challenge from a reporter back when he was in his first run with the WWF (now WWE) as World Champion. He was challenged to prove that people would instantly recognize him on sight after telling said reporter how often he got mobbed by fans. Hogan ended up wearing a coat, hat, and glasses into a crowded street and nobody seemed to notice who he really was. The moment he took them off, however, people flocked to him within moments. While it's doubtful anyone on the show staff read Hogan's autobiography, the scariest thing about it is that if Hogan's telling the truth, this can happen in real life with actual celebrities, and obviously has, so the writers on this show may have been unintentionally lampshading this. There are more examples. Marilyn Monroe went completely unrecognized in the street at the height of her fame by not wearing make-up and adopting a less sexy walk.
In "A Bird in the Hoof", Philomena avoids Twilight and Fluttershy by wearing an obviously fake mustache. Keep in mind that Philomena looks like a plucked chicken in a town populated entirely by ponies.
It had to work. The whole bit was a Shout-Out to Benny Hill chase scenes.
Subverted in "Party Of One". Pinkie Pie compounds disguises to include Groucho glasses, a square hay bale, and a coat and hat. While this is not a strict paper thin disguise as you can not see any of Pinkie Pie, it is obviously her to the audience as she would be the only character to wear stuff like that. The disguise seems to work initially when Fluttershy sees her and runs away scared, but the trope becomes subverted when Rainbow Dash doesn't notice the disguise (or recognizing it immediately as something only Pinkie would use) as she says "Hi, Pinkie Pie" in passing.
In "Dragon Quest", Rarity disguises herself, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Sparkle in a silly-looking dragon costume. This manages to fool the dragons, largely because there's an actual dragon among their number that is nearly identical to the costume.
In Equestria Games, Spike dons one when Twilight coaxes him to come back to the stadium, apparently forgetting he's the only bipedal creature there. A small one at that.
Pardon My Klingon: Seabreeze rants at the feckless Breezies he has to deal with, a tirade that Fluttershy refuses to translate.
Parental Abandonment: Rampant, although a number of relatives have shown up late in the series without ever being mentioned before. Presumably, some of them exist that we just haven't seen.
In "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", we meet Twilight and Pinkie's respective parents, but only in flashbacks. Twilight's parents show up again at the end of Seasons 2 and 3, and Pinkie's father makes a small cameo in season 3.
Said episode seems to make the point that the mane cast members have parents but are old enough to live on their own ("Apple Family Reunion" implies the Mane 6 as 25-26 by showing Applejack as a baby 300 monthsnote Actually, three sets of one hundred moons, with the length of time meant by a moon unsaid but commonly assumed to be a month ago, thought that contradicts Word of God that the ponies are in their late adolescence/early adulthood). Strangely enough, Applejack has a younger sister but no visible parents, which plays this straight. (Rarity has been confirmed by Word of God to be living on her own, with Sweetie Belle just visiting.)
With Rarity's relative age being confirmed, this confirmation works for all of the mane cast, as they are all pretty much the same age (+ or - 1 year). Apple Bloom was probably intentionally left with Big Mac, AJ, and Granny Smith, maybe because they thought Apple Bloom was much better off in Ponyville, and the three Apples at the farm are enough to take care of her. Lauren Faust has mentioned that in her mind, they are probably dead but couldn't confirm it outright. During "Apple Family Reunion", storyboarder Sibsy Albergetti confirmed their passing with a subtle hint by Stars Are Souls.
Averted in Rarity's case- both of her parents are shown to be alive in "Sisterhooves Social"... before immediately leaving again for a week-long vacation and leaving Rarity babysitting Sweetie Belle.
Likewise, sisters Celestia and Luna; particularly noticeable because Celestia is the ruling monarch of Equestria, but still goes by the title of "Princess". Which, technically speaking, merely means that Equestria is a Principality (a nation ruled by a prince or princess, and also a theocracy if Celestia and Luna really are to be considered deities).
Word of God is that the sisters were supposed to be queens, but Executive Meddling forced them to make them princesses because apparently young girls equate the word queen with being evil.
This gets downright weird when you consider the fact that Celestia has a nephew who is stated by Word of God to be multiple times removed on her mother's side, indicating that Celestia and Luna have parents—but Word of God also states that Celestia does not have parents that outrank her, which (possibly unintentionally) implies that they do exist (or once existed) but aren't in charge any more.
With the reveal in "Magical Mystery Cure" that Alicorns were normal ponies that ascended to "princesshood," its possible that Celestia and Luna's parents were never in charge at all. Then again, Meghan McCarthy's statement that Twilight Sparkle won't outlive her friends suggests that not all Alicorns are on the same level as the immortal Celestia and Luna, still leaving room for unique parents. Of course, with the staff's love of Exact Words, it could just mean that the rest of the Mane Six will get expanded lifespans of their own somehow... an interpretation that the season 4 finale seems to support.
in It Ain't Easy Being Breezies, the roughly Swedish-accented Breezies thank Fluttershy with a flower "to remember them by"; now, all Swedish parliament parties use a more or less stylized flower as their symbol, and this flower◊ is suspiciously similar to the one used by the nationalistic Sverigedemokraterna, "The Sweden Democrats"◊.
More like an Older-Fandom Bonus, a brilliant move given that G1 collectors are now old enough to watch the show with their children. There are dozens upon dozens of references to the G1 cartoon throughout.
Additionally, some fans have already argued that the core cast of Ponies are rough Expys of the core cast from the G1 cartoon. To wit, Twilight Sparkle is like a combination of Magic Star and Paradise; Applejack, herself a G1 pony, is similar to Gusty with Wind Whistler's Team Mom tendencies; Rainbow Dash could be Firefly's daughter; Pinkie Pie reminds us an awful lot of Fizzie and Surprise; Rarity is essentially a toned-down Heart-throb; and Fluttershy is almost sweeter than Sweet Stuff.
Twilight Sparkle's mom looks a lot like G1 Twilight.
Not to mention the return of G1 villain Tirak
In "Bridle Gossip", Spike nicknames a shrunken Applejack "Appletini."
"Sonic Rainboom" references the stereotype of construction workers making catcalls at female passersby when a group of construction worker pegasi gawk at Rarity's temporary gossamer butterfly wings.
"Sonic Rainboom" also features a mach cone forming around Rainbow as she tried to perform the title move. However, the angle was far too steep, matching a speed of Mach 5.4 before the boom, not the heavily implied Mach 1. As the Rainboom doubles her speed, this makes her have a maximum speed of Mach 10.8, 8000 mph, over twice the speed of a Blackbird. The engineers in the fandom went wild over this math.
"Over a Barrel" had a scene where an old, worn out (and blatantly alcoholic) pony is kicked out of Appleloosa's equivalent of a canteen.
"Over a Barrel" also featured one from Fluttershy on the train:
Twilight: [After Spike walks off in a huff] Well that was kinda huffy...
The second episode of Season 2 even ends with a near shot-for-shot resemblance to the ending of the first Star Wars movie. Han Solo is replaced by Applejack, Luke by Twilight Sparkle, R2-D2 by Spike and Princess Leia with...well, you can figure it out.
The whole Daring Do book in "Read It And Weep" is a reference to the Indiana Jones series. Near the end, they even have an overkill death trap of spiked walls closing in, sinking into quicksand, and spiders and snakes entering the room. Of course, Daring finds a way to get out.
In Equestria Games, the gems that the crystal mare feeds Spike from a chalice fill the role of grapes or any other bite-sized treat or candy, but his preference for "the green ones" seems to refer to an urban legend about M&Ms.
Twilight Sparkle can be seen as a mother or sister figure to Spike knowing that she hatched him as part of passing the entrance exam at her school as revealed in "Cutie Mark Chronicles" and also following the events in "Owl's Well That Ends Well". According to Lauren Faust, Spike's original backstory had him raised by Celestia as well since Twilight was a filly herself at the time, but she also said this a storyboard concept and not official at the time.
Mr. and Mrs. Cake serve as this for Pinkie Pie. She lives with them in Sugar Cube Corner and Lauren Faust said they see her as a daughter. Furthering the connection, she is a Cool Big Sis and the go-to foalsitter for their blood children.
Peek-a-Bangs: The bully boys at Cloudsdale to some degree and young Fluttershy to the max. Even grown up Fluttershy still does it from time to time when she is especially shy.
Pegasus: One of the three main pony types. Pegasi control the weather and have the ability to walk on clouds, and two of the mane 6 are pegasi.
Fluttershy is extremely nervous about performing in the Hearth's Warming Eve play in Canterlot. Does not get better when Rarity tells her there might be thousands of ponies watching.
It returns in Hurricane Fluttershy. She's a great flyer when it's an emergency like catching falling birds and friends, but suffers crippling stage fright when it comes to a performance, such as helping to make the tornado.
It happens again in "Filli Vanilli", where Fluttershy is too afraid of performing and as a result hides behind a curtain while another pony lipsynchs to her voice. When she accidentally knocks the curtain down and outs herself as the real singer, she has a nervous breakdown.
Happens with Rainbow Dash in "Sonic Rainboom" after she crashed during every practice session and was being upstaged by Rarity.
Sweetie Belle has an instance of this in "The Show Stoppers." Like Fluttershy, she has a good voice but is shy about singing in front of others, prompting her to do props and costumes for their show instead of singing, which goes to the Hollywood Tone-Deaf Scootaloo.
In Equestria Games, when it's time to light the torch in front of the entire stadium, Spike's unable to trigger his fire breath.
Personality Powers: Pretty much everypony has a special talent signified by their cutie mark, and has a personality to match it.
Pie in the Face: Chief Thunderhooves of the Buffalo herd received one, and it was treated as if he received a gunshot wound. Then he found out it was delicious.
Pinkie works at a local bakery but is only seen baking a handful of times over the course of the series, and more often than not it's for personal reasons rather than business. It might be that she gets all her work done in the fairly early morning, as a bakery well might, before the adventures.
The Crystal Empire doesn't act like an empire at all. It has its own alicorn princess to rule over it and is considered important, but it appears to be limited to a single city and is treated as if it's a city-state that is affiliated with Equestria...which would make Equestria the empire, if anything.
In one episode, it's shown that rainbows are this. Pinkie Pie dips a hoof in the liquid rainbow and it retains seven distinct stripes of color, despite dripping off her hoof. She then licks it...and starts breathing multicolored fire!
Earlier in the season, Rainbow Dash used the pool of it in her own front yard as war paint as part of a Lock and Load Montage; it appeared as red, yellow, and green stripes.
Pinkie Pie, slamming franticaly on the outhouse door while doing a Potty Dance.
Poor Communication Kills: A good portion of the conflicts that happen throughout the series can be attributed to this trope. A few notable examples:
In "Party of One", Pinkie Pie interrogates Spike to find out why the other ponies are avoiding her after-party-party for Gummy. Her aggression freaks him out and he takes her demand ("tell me that my friends are avoiding me because they don't like my parties and THEY DON'T WANT TO BE MY FRIENDS ANYMORE!") literally. She takes it as confirmation of her fears and becomes bitter and miserable. These two are already experts at Comically Missing the Point, so it's not really much of a change from the usual for either of them to act like that.
Similarly, in "Swarm of the Century", Pinkie actually knows exactly how to rid the town of the Parasprites, but utterly fails to explain this to anyone else other than make bizarre-sounding comments that would have made sense in context, causing a whole slew of other problems when the others think she's just being Pinkie Pie and ignore her.
Averted in "Green Isn't Your Color", since the plot is driven by deliberate secret-keeping rather than a character's inability to articulate.
It happens again in "Bridle Gossip", where Zecora attempts to warn the cast that they've wandered into a patch of magical plants. Unfortunately, because she insists on rhyming everything, it ends up sounding like a threat, and when the effects of the plants kick in the cast blames Zecora for cursing them. It doesn't help that that they're already somewhat scared of her. It could, however, be justified on the basis that she was new in Ponyville and was still learning the local language.
The entire plot of "A Bird in the Hoof" could have been avoided entirely if Princess Celestia had simply mentioned that Philomena was a phoenix, though the fair share goes to Fluttershy for not asking.
In "A Canterlot Wedding", Twilight Sparkle notices her brother's bride acting suspiciously in a number of ways, but the most sensitive way she can express this is to burst in on the wedding rehearsal shouting that "SHE'S EVIL!" which only makes everyone turn against her. The lack of messages given to Twilight about the wedding early on due to heightened security, making her find out about the wedding just a day or two away from the actual wedding might have contributed to this.
Especially annoying because the episode immediately prior featured the lesson "Don't jump to conclusions'' and Twilight should have had it fresh in her mind.
In "One Bad Apple", the entire plot of the episode could have been resolved in the first 10 minutes easily if the CMC had just talked to Applejack about it to begin with, which Sweetie Bellerepeatedly tried to get the others to do to start with.
One episode introduces us to the Parasprites: a portmanteau of "sprite" (as in a fairy) and "parasite".
In "The Last Round-Up", Pinkie Pie rambles to Applejack about a food she's invented that's basically a chimichanga made with cherry filling, and debates whether to call it a "chimicherry", a "cherrychanga" or a "chimicherrychanga".
Portmanteau Couple Name: Fans of the show have already started doing this. It bears mentioning that some of the portmanteaus (like "AppleDash") could be legit names of actual characters in this universe.
There is also Twixie (Twilight and Trixie), Twiluna (Twilight and Luna), PinkieDash (Pinkie and RD), TwiShy (Twilight/Fluttershy), Rarishy (Rarity/Fluttershy), FlutterDash (Rainbow Dash/Fluttershy), Shinadence (Shining Armor/Cadance), Dislestia (Celestia/Discord), ChrysCord (Chrysalis/Discord), SoarinDash (Soarin'/Rainbow Dash), Sparity (Spike/Rarity), FlutterMac (Fluttershy/Big McIntosh), LyraBon (Lyra Heartstrings/Sweetie Drops -a.k.a. Bon Bon-), and many, many more.
Some are quite punny, like ApplePie and Twinkie.
Discord usually ends up named first. DiscoLight or DiscoPie, anypony?
The semi-popular Spitfire/Rainbow Dash ship has the epic-sounding "Flamebow".
Power Floats: When using the Elements of Harmony, even non-pegasus ponies float.
The show applies this to, well, magic, which arguably qualifies as this trope. In the premieres of both the first and second seasons, for example, Twilight's eyes (and the second time, those of her friends too) glow when she and her friends unleash their Care Bear Stare.
Also happens in her exam flashback in "The Cutiemark Chronicles" when the Sonic Rainboom triggers her innate magic and makes it go out of control. Complete with Power Floats and a few (thankfully temporary) cases of Baleful Polymorph of bystanders.
During Twilight's transformation into an alicorn she gets surrounded by a bright purple light in the shape of her cutie-mark. Earlier in the episode, that very same power glows makes it look as if it burned Twilight into a pile of ash, much to her friends' terror.
Twilight's Kingdom Part 2: Twilight sparks with electricity occasionally as a result of being supercharged by the other Princesses.
When Twilight first receives the combined power, as well as when she tries to lower the moon and raise the sun, her body glows and her hair turns more ethereal, with a glow about her.
The Rainbow Power is very glowy indeed, which wears off once it's done its job.
Princess Luna, when she appears in the second season, has her mane and tail much longer (not to mention flowing and ethereal) than in her de-powered form seen at the end of the pilot episodes. That's nothing to say of Nightmare Moon, whose mane was long enough to form a city-hall-filling funnel cloud made of stars.
And in Twilight's Kingdom, Pure Friendship from the Tree of Harmony is able to defeat Tirek, who at the time possessed the magic of all the ponies of Equestria — including that of the four god-like Alicorn princesses.
Discord is pretty much the antithesis of the Elements Of Harmony, which run on the Power of Friendship. As such, he's able to get stronger from strife and fighting between ponies. The Cutie Mark Crusaders getting into a fight in front of him is what grants him enough strength to break free from his weakening stone prison. Though some have theorized that the Crusaders' fight was not a cause but a consequence of Discord's impending breakout, and that they were in truth his first victims. Whatever the case, Discord thrives off hate magic, using it to undermine The Power of Friendship.
In the episode "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", Twilight Sparkle flashes back to her entrance exam for Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. In the course of taking the test, she taps into her latent magic for the first time and ends up accidentally leaking magic all over the place, turning her parents into potted plants, among other things.
A milder example occurs in "The Ticket Master" when, accosted by a crowd of ponies who want her ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala, Twilight Sparkle unexpectedly teleports herself and Spike away to the library. Twilight is merely surprised, but Spike ends up shocked... rather literally.
As her Sanity Slippage gets worse in "Lesson Zero", she starts to Teleport Spam without even apparently realizing it during the picnic with her friends.
During the events of "The Cutie Pox", Apple Bloom steals some of Zecora's ingredients to brew a potion that could finally grant what she desires the most: a Cutie Mark. The problem is, the potion effect doesn't stop at one and keeps giving her an infinite number of Cutie Marks (every new Cutie Mark gives her a new special ability, to boot) and Apple Bloom neither can turn them off or stop using her new abilities. Eventually, her body ends up acting on its own, without stopping to rest or sleep while Apple Bloom desperately begs it to stop.
The existence of "Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns" and "Magic Kindergarten", which are entirely separate schools for unicorns focused on teaching them to control their powers, imply that power incontinence is a fact of life for all unicorns, at least in early childhood. Confirmed when, after the Cake twins are born, Rarity warns the parents that baby unicorns are prone to strange, unpredictable bursts of magical energy.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Twilight has trouble performing even the most basic magic after the power transfer, blowing up the door to the Golden Oaks Library simply by trying to open it and briefly teleporting to random spots all across Equestria. It isn't until Tirek comes after her that she gets a handle on her power, if only because she's no longer trying to hold it back.
The Power of Love: How Queen Chrysalis become stronger by feeding off Shining Armor's love of Cadance. Then she and her changelings get it by their own version of it.
Power Of The Storm: Pegasi in general have this ability, since they can physically manipulate clouds like solid objects, i.e. they can stand on them, move them around, and make them rain or (in the case of storm clouds) cast lightning by bucking them.
Powerpuff Girl Hooves: Though much of the time we see the pony characters manipulating things with either their teeth, wings, or magic, or pushing or rolling objects with their hooves, there are a heck of a lot of times where their hooves function, for the most part, as hands in holding various objects despite the lack of fingers. Word of God has tried to have such cases avoided, but becomes necessary in cases of non-magical ponies talking and trying to gesture with a prop at the same time. Generally done for Rule of Cool or Rule of Funny. Also, not surprising given Faust's resumé.
Their backsides also seem to follow this: Applejack has been able to balance an entire bushel of apples on her hindquarters without a thought while walking, and many other ponies are seen carrying large items in a same fashion. Also see Prehensile Hair / Prehensile Tail below.
Rainbow Dash, when she's about to start rounding out the parasprites in "Swarm of the Century":
"Time to take out the adorable trash."
"A Dog and Pony Show": When one of the Diamond Dogs tries to put a bridle on Applejack, she quips "If you can take this bull by the horns, you better be ready for a ride!" before starting to buck him off.
"A Dog and Pony Show" also gives us the precursor to a verbal ass-kicking:
In "The Return of Harmony", Twilight Sparkle gives one just before she and the mane cast defeat Discord with the Elements Of Harmony. Probably one of the most Badass ways of invoking The Power of Friendship ever.
In "It's About Time," when Twilight prepares to kick the ass of Cerberus. Yes, thatCerberus. The moment is ruined by Fluttershy, but it's still pretty awesome.
Twilight Sparkle: "Hey, Cerberus! You look like you could use some obedience training. Magic obedience training."
In "Dragon Quest," the gang of adolescent dragons make the mistake of provoking Rarity's Mama Bear tendencies. Ultimately subverted - the ponies end up retreating - but still, wow.
Rarity: Fighting's not really my thing, I'm more into fashion, but I'll rip you to pieces if you touch one scale on his cute little head!"
When PrincessCelestia breaks out one of these in "A Canterlot Wedding," the audience knows she's finally gonna get the chance to stretch her legs. And does she ever. It's quite a shame that it leads to a Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? moment, but it's remarkably telling that even the villain was completely stunned by her own victory.
Celestia: You may have made it impossible for Shining Armor to perform his spell, but now that you have so foolishly revealed your true self - I can protect my subjects... from you!
There are four examples in "The Cutie Pox". First we have Zecora smacking down some plants into a bowl with three whips of her tail. Secondly, we have Apple Bloom with her twirling the "loop-de-hoop" with her tail. Third, Apple Bloom is actually lifting a barbell with her tail. Finally, we have Zecora pulling out the "seeds of truth" from her wares with her tail.
In "May The Best Pet Win!", Applejack is able to throw sticks with hers, and Fluttershy's is strong enough to carry Angel Bunny.
Some of these actions are similar to how a real horse uses it's tail as a flyswatter, just adapted for different things (Fluttershy slapping Twilight, for instance).
Previously On: Every second part of every two-parter opens this way.
Pride: Seems to be a common not-so-Fatal Flaw in Equestria: Twilight Sparkle takes a lot of pride in being Princess Celestia's apprentice, which may factor into her initial "I don't need friends" attitude; Rainbow Dash is a massive braggart; Applejack refuses to accept anyone's offers of help in "Applebuck Season" because she's too stubborn to admit she needs it; and Rarity takes great pride in her sense of fashion, often to the point of self-obsession.
Fluttershy seems to be the only who doesn't have any pride at all.... until The Best Night Ever, where the animals trying to avoid her touched her credibility as animal lover/caretaker. The result? You're going toLOVEME!!
Notably averted for Twilight in "Boast Busters". Twilight Sparkle wants to avoid showing off her powers, since Trixie is doing exactly that and the onlookers are reacting quite negatively to it.
Applejack in "The Last Roundup" episode. Her pride (damaged from not placing first in any of the rodeo challenges) drives her to leave Ponyville to try to find another source of income to replace the prize money contributions she had promised to the Mayor.
Averted in "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000"; when the Apple Family is on the verge of losing to the Flim Flam Brothers' machine, Applejack shows that she has clearly learned her lesson from previous episodes and is not ashamed to ask her friends for help. Granny Smith shows plenty of it when she makes the bet in the first place, though.
Promotion to Opening Titles: The season 2 opening includes the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Big McIntosh, and a lot more background ponies (including Derpy).
Season 4's opening sequence, besides giving Twilight wings, sneaks Discord into Fluttershy's window, adds Mayor Mare, Mr. and Mrs. Cake, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Big Macintosh, Granny Smith, Zecora, and Snips & Snails to the group shot towards the end, has Photo Finish be the photographer, and incorporates Luna into the throne room scene towards the end.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: There are some episodes where we're really meant to side with the mane cast when they're being just as big of a jerk (or even worse) as the antagonists. This is especially prevalent whenever snooty, upper-cruft ponies are compared to our lovable protagonists... who proceed to completely ruin the former's social event because they can't be arsed to learn anything about such events or respecting them enough as to not crash their party.
In "The Best Night Ever" it wasn't about the mane six being jerks to the noble ponies, but more about their efforts to make that night how they imagined it to be. In "Sweet and Elite", however.... they were actually quite jerky to ruin the Garden Party like that. Thankfully, the episode did imply that what they did wasn't quite right.
Psychic Powers: all unicorns have telekinesis, and Twilight Sparkle has some limited telepathic abilities such as altering the minds of Parasprites to not eat food and forcing her good memories onto her friends. She also demonstrated limited pyrokinetic powers on occasion and also has the ability to teleport.
Pinkie Pie, an earth pony, has Pinkie Sense, which is effectively a form of precognition by reading various twitches and aches along her body.
Discussed in Equestria Games; Spike thinks he can set fires with these when the torch is seemingly lit on its own, until Twilight sets him straight.
Psychological Horror: Surprisingly uses this to frightening effect in some episodes, notably "Party of One" and "Lesson Zero".
Public Domain Soundtrack: The music in the show is by-and-large original, but several royalty-free songs are used on occasion: Pinkie's song in "The Best Night Ever" is a rewritten "The Hokey-Pokey", and the race through Ghastly Gorge in "May the Best Pet Win!" is set to "Ride of the Valkyries".
"The Hokey-Pokey" is not royalty-free in the United States (Sony/ATV Music Publishing owns the rights), but "The Pony Pokey" is clearly a parody and thus not an infringement.
Twilight Sparkle isn't the only thing that sparkles in Twilight. Her name is also doubly appropriate - the third Alicorn, Cadance, looked after her as a filly (meaning that she was in charge of Twilight, while the other alicorns were in charge of Day and Night) and now that Twilight is an alicorn herself, she likewise completes the naming cycle.
Most of the Apple family. Granny Smith and McIntosh are a type of Apple
Fashion photographer Photo Finish (named after a term used in horse racing)