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.
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.
Rarity: What is that smell? Diamond Dog: Smell? Rarity: Ah. Mystery solved. It's your breath.
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 hands(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.
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.
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. Also, 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.
Made of Good: The Elements of Harmony are made of positive qualities of friends, while the Fire of Friendship is made of friendship.
Magic A Is Magic A: Curses or hexes "artificially" conjured by potions and incantations don't work and aren't real magic, at least according to someone who should know. Real magic is inborn, as in the case of unicorn magic, and by extrapolation perhaps other things such as the pegasus ability to walk on clouds, the process that creates Cutie Marks, the ability of certain plants to cause bizarre and rather extreme physical effects and of others to cure them, and/or Pinkie Sense. Still, magic is studied, and unicorns at least sometimes need spells, which can be read from a book, implying they involve some kind of procedure to be performed, which would have to be mental since they indeed involve no external incantations or acts.
Pinkie Sense is supposed to be an aversion, and Twilight Sparkle insists it doesn't make sense (partly because it doesn't work like unicorn magic at all), but it's got its own simple logic: Pinkie Pie gets bodily reaction A, predicting an event of type X will happen soon. And as stated above, it would fit with the "inborn powers" rule.
Magic Is Mental: Advanced Unicorn magic requires complete concentration. It's shown that stray thoughts can even cause magic 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 Word of God, all the technology seen in the series was charmed by the unicorn who made it. Two better examples was the propellor used by Tank, which had an aura on it that looked just like one of a Unicorn, and Flim and Flam powered their cider machine with their magic directly.
and for being... well... shy. She was also once saved by a swarm of butterflies.
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.
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.
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 Emergency 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 and Nightmare Moon don'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, despite being over a thousand years old. And Twilight making new magic was stated by Celestia as one of the reasons she deserves to be a princess.
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.)
The fandom strongly suspects that Cadance and Twilight became alicorns solely because of Hasbro's desire to sell more alicorn princess toys. (Lauren Faust has said that the script she approved called for Cadance to be an ordinary unicorn, and she was made into an alicorn without her knowledge.)
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) and air force (Wonderbolts), though they're not really elaborated on very much.
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 left 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.
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 the stalks. Then we have Discord turning all the mane cast members 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.
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.
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 and 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 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 Cadence 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.
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.
Mundane Utility: The unicorns use their magic horns for picking up books, straightening papers, and eating sandwiches. Basically, unicorn magic counts as having an extra pair of "hands", which is particularly useful when you don't have hands in the first place.
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 car 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.
Partially 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.
Negative Continuity: Not much, but Ponyville has been completely rebuilt from a smoking ruin between episodes several times. Perhaps they just have good insurance?
Note to self: Don't put money into Canterlot Re.
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".
And nobody forget Applejack's stetson.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Twilight Sparkle uses her magic to stop the Parasprites from eating all the food in Ponyville. It works, except that the spell makes the Parasprites ignore the food and start eating the TOWN instead.
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 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.
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.
No OSHA Compliance: Cloudsdale no having any railings seems reasonable, considering only pegausi 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.
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.
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.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: 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.
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...
Oh My Celestia!: Has happened several times, in such forms as "Thank Celestia", "In the name of Celestia", and "With Celestia as 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 main 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 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 main 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.
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.
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.
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 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 pallet 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.
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".
Paper-Thin Disguise: 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 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.
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.
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 confirms the Mane 6 as 25-26 by showing Applejack as a baby 300 months ago). 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.
Partially 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.
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.
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 from 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... Fluttershy:Huffy the Magic Dragon! (Everypony laughs)
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.
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 main 6 are pegasi.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Crystal Empire doesn't act like an empire at all. It has it's own alicorn princess to rule over it and is treated as important, but it appears to be limited to a single city and is treated as if it's a part of Equestria. It acts more like a city-state that is affiliated with Equestria...which would make Equestria the empire, if anything.
Plot Hole: You can find quite a lot of inconsistencies if you nitpick.
Why did the Elements of Harmony first banish Luna but then turn her back to normal, and why did they turn Discord to stone instead of banishing him or turning him good?
Luna was imprisoned by negative qualities, wasn't actually her, plus Celestia knew she wanted to banish Luna when she used the elements, and Discord is pure chaos, nothing can turn him harmonious except Fluttershy.
Why did Twilight never mention her brother to anyone until the wedding?
Where exactly did alicorns come from?
Where are Celstia's and Luna's parents, or do they even have parents?
Why did Twilight forget Celestia and Luna were sisters in, "Friendship is magic part 2," when she read the book that clearly stated that they were sisters?
If Rarity is the Element of Generosity, then why is she so selfish?
She would willingly give it all up for her friends, or famous ponies, not strangers.
Why is Fluttershy the Element of Kindness when she is so shy and antisocial? Shouldn't that go to Pinkie Pie since she's friends with everyone in town?
Fluttershy is kind to everyone too, and Pinkie is too random and pranky to be kindness.
What really was the point of Celestia only sending two tickets at the beginning if she was just gonna send extra tickets in the end of "Ticket Master"?
Successfully pulling off what Twilight tried to do in "Lesson Zero"
The first invitation with its two tickets was the generic formal type; Celestia likely didn't even write it herself, she has ponies for that. She really only realized there was a problem at all when Twilight wrote back.
If Twilight has the ability to stop Rainbow Dash, then why didn't she use it in "Return of Harmony part 2"?
Because Pinkie Pie is friends with every pony in town, and Fluttershy has few.
In "Putting your Hoof Down", when Fluttershy asked two garbage carrier ponies to move out of the way, but why didn't she just fly over them?
She isn't very good at flying, and when she does fly, it's for her friends or animals.
In "A Canterlot Wedding part 1" Twilight completely forgets the lesson she learned in "Lesson Zero" which was not freak out over small things, and flips out when Candence acts rude to everyone and accuses her of being evil though technically Twilight was right, but still she forgot a lesson.
Her friends and even Celestia herself forget the second lesson which is don't dismiss a problem no matter how small.
Two words: "Time passing by" and "wedding made right". Between Lesson Zero and this episode, 23 passed between them (aka. an undefined period of time), so they would've need a very good memory to remember that, especially since (as Queen Chrysalis points out in part 2) they were more preoccupied about doing the wedding right (plus Twilight already showed exaggerated preoccupation to his brother at the beginning of part 1, no wonder her friends shrugged of later preoccupations as Twilight exaggerating things).
In the beginning of "The Crystal Empire, Part 1" she still hasn't recalled that lesson.
Also not recognizing the ladybug chant, which was a prominent memory for both Twilight and Real!Cadance.
Why didn't they just blast King Sombra with the Elements of Harmony (which possess the power to defeat the far stronger Discord in one shot) and call it a day? Along with sufficient preparation time, the heroines even had easy access to them for once.
While told about King Sombra, they didn't think that he was an active threat once more.
Plot-Induced Stupidity: Every main character holds the Idiot Ball at some point no exceptions, even ones that would formally know better get turns to be a silly pony (usually in their own limelight episodes due to spotlighting the character's personality flaws).
Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Luna to Nightmare Moon, and possibly implied with her sister Celestia as they share similar powers and origins.
Luna again in Season 2. Apparently, it took some time for her to recover after being cured by the Elements of Harmony, and now looks much older than before.
Police Are Useless: Justified in Season 1's opening two-parter where Nightmare Moon blasts three Royal Pegasus Guards with lightning.
A Canterlot Wedding: Canterlot is protected by a magic shield and a small army of Royal Guards who, despite being on high alert, are overrun by Changelings as soon as the shield collapses.
Pinkie Pie, slamming franticaly on the outhouse door while doing a Potty Dance.
Poor Communication Kills: Pinkie Pie knows the Parasprites are going to cause trouble from the very beginning, but doesn't even try to warn anyone. She just says "Now I need to find a trombone!" and runs off. Works both ways, as her friends just dismissed her behavior as ordinary Pinkie craziness.
Let's not forget however, that's still Pinkie Pie we're talking about: her social skills aren't the best in the world, as shown in other episodes, like "Party Of One". As for the others, they were already frustrated by the situation, and since they knew Pinkie Pie weirdness… well, you can do math.
Averted in "Green Isn't Your Color", since the plot is driven by deliberate secret-keeping rather than a character's inability to articulate.
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.
She probably just hadn't the right time for it, since she was called back for royal duties right after Philomena's presentation.
In "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1", Twilight suspects something is not right about Cadance. How does she voice her concerns? By bursting into her wedding rehearsal, screaming that she's "EVIL!!!", and being as hysterical as possible. It goes about as well as you might expect.
Though at least she did point out the most important aspect (Cadance brainwashing Shining Armor), and everypony, Celestia included, founded it quite strange. Too bad that right after that, Shining gave a plausible explanation for it.
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), DashiePie (RD and Pinkie), 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".
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 as they can physically manipulate clouds as if they were 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.
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 open 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 don't have any pride at all.... until The Best Night Ever, where the animals trying to avoid her touched her credibility as animal lover/taker. The result? LOVEME!!
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).
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 jerks (or even worse) as the antagonists. This is especially prevalent whenever we have snooty, upper-cruft ponies, 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, including 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 imagine it to be. In "Sweet and Elite", however.... they were actually quite jerky to ruin like that the Garden Party. Thankfully, the episode did imply that what they did wasn't quite right.
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, Cadence, 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 Mc Intosh are a type of Apple
Fashion photographer Photo Finish (named after a term used in horse racing)