A slightly subtler Take-that in the same episode could be the personalities of the Pinkie clones in general. All of them have had virtually all personality traits stripped away, leaving the most obvious one (Pinkie's desire for fun) which is exaggerated and inflated to the point where it becomes obnoxious and annoying. Sounds like the classic symptoms of Flanderisation.
As noted on the recap page, "Suited for Success" is a theoretical 'Take That' to Hasbro when they interfere with the creative process of the writing and animation teams.
Subverted when Rainbow Dash lets her reputation as a hero go to her head. She insists on making grandiose speeches before she actually does anything to save ponies in danger, until they ask her to just save them already. Ironically, the request to stop screwing around took far longer than the remainder of her catchphrase.
In Twilights Kingdom Part 2, after Twilight surrenders her alicorn magic to Tirek, Tirek immediately grows to monstrous proportions and should be able to easily squash the heroes...yet Discord has plenty of time to explain his sincerity in giving the medallion to Twilight as a sign of their friendship.
The Heroine: Twilight Sparkle or whomever is playing the main role at the moment.
The Lancer: Each of the cast have their own corresponding opposites within the group and this role will switch depending on which character/s being focused on at the time.
The Smart Mare: Twilight Sparkle usually fills this role due to her nerdiness, organizational skill, and the fact the she lives in a library - thus, she's the mare to go to if one of the cast wishes to inquire about something - but the rest of the cast sometimes fills this role when it come to their own personal expertise, such as Rarity's knowledge of fashion.
Team Mom/Cool Big Sis: Applejack fills this role most of the time (usually in the Team Mom category). Some of the cast becomes this when interacting with younger characters. Each of them are cool in their own way so any of them could fill the Cool Big Sis role.
Fluttershy has also been a team mom. Prior to her "Friending" Discord, the mere mention of her name can cause her to overtake Rainbow Dash (granted, Dash was being weighed down at the time, but still no less impressive-considering that while Rainbow Dash was anchored by Rarity and Pinkie, Fluttershy was towing Twilight, Applejack, and the entire Twinkling Balloon!). Plus, you may have huge teeth and sharp scales and snore smoke and breathe fire, but you. Do. NOT. Hurt Fluttershy's friends.
Sixth Ranger: Twilight Sparkle could fill this role as she is the last pony of the mane cast to move to Ponyville. If the others have been friends with each other before her arrival, then that would make her the sixth member of their group.
Twilight does it again throughout 'Lesson Zero'. Note that in both that episode and 'Applebuck Season', she's using it to actually spam. Well, talk a lot, anyway. (She also uses a tactical version in 'Luna Eclipsed' to block a panicking Pinkie.)
In Secret of My Excess she uses it externally on a fleeing Spike, repeatedly teleporting him to her as he tries to run; it ends when Pinkie Pie is teleported unexpectedly.
Seems to have all but perfected the technique by The Crystal Empire. Winking several times in and out in sequence to a musical number while striking different poses. Would she ever actually need to fight somepony directly . . .
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Twilight makes good use of this during her fight with Tirek. Every time he manages to pin her down, she just teleports out.
A more threatening temporary villainy occurs during Secret Of My Excess, when his greedy dragon nature gets out of control. When Rarity, not knowing he is the same Spike, talks about how generous Spike was, he feels ashamed of what he has become and immediately reverts back to his old self.
Spike again becomes a kind of villain in "Just For Sidekicks", as he abuses his position as pet minder (even tormenting Angel, and not loosening his tail, which would be hurting him), all due to the fact that he wants to get more gems for a cake he was making because he ate the first batch himself (and then promptly does the same thing with the new batch - which could be viewed as karma).
In the very first episode, Twilight Sparkle brushes off Princess Celestia's advice to make some friends, saying "The fate of all Equestria doesn't depend on me making friends". By the next episode, it's clear that actually, it does.
Probably the best, and most lasting, example, also from the pilot: "All the ponies in this town are crazy!" Over the course of the season, all the members of the Mane Six have at least one Freak Out.
In "Look Before You Sleep," Twilight ends up lecturing Applejack and Rarity after their bickering spoils Twilight's first slumber party, and ends her rant with "Is there anything else that could possibly go wrong?!" The thunderstorm outside swiftly worsens, and a lightning bolt strikes a nearby tree and threatens to send it crashing into Twilight's house.
The Japanese dub has a line that's an even bigger example, as Twilight snaps "If you two are going to fight, I'd rather be struck by lightning!"
In "Owl's Well that Ends Well," Spike causes trouble because of his jealousy over Owlowiscious the owl, and ends up running away from home after getting a lecture from Twilight. As he trudges, alone and feeling unloved, through the Everfree Forest, he asks himself "Can it get any worse?" It almost immediately starts raining.
"The Best Night Ever" pretty much starts with this, with the Mane Six indulging in a Crowd Song about how all their hopes and dreams for the Grand Galloping Gala are about to come true. Naturally, they don't. Then near the end of the episode, Celestia and Twilight Sparkle step into the main hall and find that the others have laid waste to the entire party. Thinking she's been utterly humiliated in front of her mentor, Twilight remarks "At least things can't get any worse..." A moment later, a horde of wild animals stampedes into the room with an insanely frustrated Fluttershy on their heels.
Happens when the mayor gives a speech about Applejack, calling her "a pony of the utmost trustworthiness, reliability, and integrity. Ponyville's most capable and dependable friend: Applejack!" But then... she doesn't show up on time.
In "A Canterlot Wedding", the song "BBBFF" contains the line "Never had a single fight." I'm going to give you one guess as to what happened by the end of the episode.
"Magical Mystery Cure" begins with Twilight singing "Can things ever go wrong? I don't think that they will." She doesn't even get to finish the song before disaster strikes.
In "Filli Vanilli," Rarity says, "It is wonderful when a plan comes together without any sort of drama, isn't it?" Cut to the next scene, in which the plan unravels and much drama ensues.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Tirek cites the medallion as useless since it reminds him of Scorpan and his siding with the ponies. Take a wild guess what ends up being the final key to unlock the box and seal his defeat.
Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The male ponies' manes are less inclined to be particularly frilly or oddly-colored, but that probably has to do with personal grooming.
As far as secondary characteristics go, males have shorter eyelashes and more angular muzzles and narrower ears than females. Some are taller and stockier, but not all; for example, the exposed muzzle is the only way to determine Wonderbolt (and Shadowbolt) genders. That's about it, unless the animators really want you to be sure.
In "MMMystery on the Friendship Express", it is revealed that Rarity, at least, wears false eyelashes. Not that you would ever mistake her for male. Also, she's been seen applying mascara to Fluttershy.
There are also several prominent cases of false TSCs.
Lots of casual observers think Rainbow Dash is The One Guy because it's exactly the sort of art style where a blue character would generally be Color-Coded for Your Convenience. Additionally, her mane (though still long) is a lot closer cropped than the rest of the Mane Six, her voice is about the same timbre as Spike (who is a boy), and she is tomboyish in behavior.
Zecora has the more angular muzzle of male ponies. Casual viewers may mistake her for a male until she speaks.
One notable exception to the rule is a young pony who has the muzzle of a colt and the long eyelashes of a filly in "The Cutie Pox". He can be seen in the episode's Cold Opening as the bowler with the bowling cutie mark.
Pinkie Pie: When I was a little filly and the sun was going do-o-o-own...
Twilight Sparkle: Tell me she's not...
Pinkie Pie: The darkness and the shadows, they would always make me fro-o-o-own...
Rarity: She is.
Later, in "Dragonshy," Twilight asks the others to help Fluttershy across a crevasse, leading to Pinkie instantly bursting into a (very silly) song about jumping across crevasses. This only serves to shorten Twilight's rapidly fraying temper.
Pinkie Pie: And that wicked Enchantress, Zecora, lives there doing her evil... stuff! She's so evil, I even wrote a song about her...
Rainbow Dash: Here we go...
Later in the episode, when Pinkie Pie has lost her ability to speak due to a curse, she asks Fluttershy, who has been cursed to have a comically deep voice, to sing it for her.
It's something of a running gag that although sometimes other ponies will join in on the rare occasions that someone other than Pinkie Pie starts a song — to the point of an outright Crowd Song in "The Best Night Ever" — no-one will ever join in on Pinkie Pie's songs, and the usual result is the other ponies watching in something between fear and bewilderment.
Another lampshading in ''A Friend In Deed''. Part of Pinkie's "checklist" to making a new friend is "sing random song out of nowhere".
And the trope's played with in her initial song in that episode, which manages to draw in half of Ponyville (averting the usual course of things) and would perfectly offset the plot if there were any plot yet. As all we see before the song turns out to be a warm up to the song, the sheer magnitude of the performance comes entirely out of nowhere.
''Over A Barrel'' manages to deconstruct this, when Pinkie's performance makes the situation worse. Twice. The first, the buffalo chief and the sheriff say that that was the worst performance they have ever seen, and the chief decides the next day they will stampede. When they do, the chief has second thoughts, and looks like he's not going to go through with it, until Pinkie starts singing again, which causes him to go through with it.
The Four Loves: The need of Phileos love is a main theme of this series.
Theme Tune Cameo: Spike and Fluttershy have both hummed or sung the theme song, as has Fluttershy's hummingbird friend Hummingway. The bat from "May the Best Pet Win!" uses sound waves to play the theme tune on wine glasses... and then uses its sonar to shatter them.
They've Come So Far Song: The season 3 finale gives us "Celestia's Ballad," where Celestia sings about how Twilight has come such a long way in the context of telling her it's time to fulfill her destiny.
Thick-Line Animation: Though unlike the recent glut of cartoons that use this style, this show has a unique way of going about it, using colored outlines instead of plain black.
Discord is absolutely stunned when he realizes (far too late) that not only have the Mane Cast broken free of his Mind Rape, but rekindled their friendship to the point they can activate the Elements Of Harmony again...which are presently aimed at his face.
A Running Gag in the episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" involves Rainbow Dash not being able to get a cup of the Apple family's homemade apple cider because they always run out by the time she reaches the booth, or in one instance because she spilled the cup (leading her to shove the dirt it was spilled on into her mouth). She finally gets a mug at the very end of the episode.
And she gets the mug from none other than Pinkie Pie, who up until that point, had been hoarding mugs of cider and unintentionally rubbing it in Rainbow Dash's face about how good the cider tasted.
In Equestria Games, Spike, a character who's often the butt of many jokes, is celebrated as a hero by the denizens of the Crystal Empire, and gets to save the day there a second time after going through two humiliating experiences.
Tie-In Novel: Several storybooks (many of them packed with toys) and magazine stories (not all of which are in English). Only around half of the magazine stories are Novelizations.
A Comic Book of Eldritch Lore in the Season 4 episode Power Ponies, which transported the Mane 6 and Spike to Maretropolis and turned them into costumed superheroes until defeating The Maniac
In Inspiration Manifestation, the book that Spike finds with the spell to help Rarity is hidden in the old Everfree Castle, hidden by a secret wall, behind a locked gate, and on a rock stairway that immediately crumbles when the book is removed from the pedestal. It's made of stone and even has spikes sticking out of the cover. Spike seems to think it's safe.
Tongue on the Flagpole: In "Hearth's Warming Eve", Scootaloo and some other poor anonymous filly get their tongues stuck to a huge (Christmas-tree-sized) candy-cane prop
Took a Level in Badass: Rainbow Dash was altered from earth pony in the previous toy line to Pegasus for this series, and revels in every second of it.
Fluttershy got one in Season 2. So far, she was able to resist the embodiment of chaos attempting to corrupt her until he resorted to brute force, and seemingly wrestled a bear (turned out to be a massage, but that still took some strength). Note that she was already a Badass Pacifist capable of giving angry/disappointed lectures to shame the monster of the week into submission, in combination with her infamous Stare; this wass merely expanding her repertoire.
It looked at first as though the future-Twilight of "It's About Time" had gotten one (due to her spiky mane, eye patch, scar, ripped black bodysuit, etc.) but the differences in her appearance were just coincidental results of her trying frantically to evade the "disaster" that she assumed had caused her future self to look like that.
Too Long; Didn't Dub: Most dubs leave character names (even where this contradicts earlier translations of previous MLP series, e.g. Pinkie Pie remaining Pinkie Pie in the French dub instead of becoming "Rosarot"), Cutie Mark, and My Little Pony in English. Possibly the most extreme example comes from the Turkish dub, which leaves the entirety of Pinkie's Cupcakes song entirely untranslated.
Then there's the Chinese dub... None of the songs, including the opening, are dubbed. Nearly all of the names are changed in this case though.
The Japanese dub does translate most of the songs - but leaves the songs Winter Wrap-Up, Art of The Dress, Becoming Popular, the Heart Carol, and Love is in Bloom in English with Japanese subtitles.
Toon Physics: Mostly with Pinkie Pie, who has no problem popping out of places she shouldn't be able to (including inside a mirror), although some of the other ponies have their moments as well.
Pegasi can hover in the air as long as their wings are flapping, and any cart they are harnessed to will also hover or follow the pony without any drag, inertia, or gravity effects. The wheels can even turn despite not being in contact with any surface.
Commonly held Fanon says that these abilities are part of inherent pegasus magic.
Celestia, the (very) few times she's gotten angry. It's...surprisingly unsettling, particularly when she reprimanded Twilight in "Lesson Zero".
Less surprising when you notice the common thread. Steal her cake, she smiles. Steal her pet phoenix, she smiles (and asks the guards to search). But you threaten her little ponies... well, the words "duck and cover" come to mind.
Princess Celestia. She so often sets up the episode's whole source of conflict, runs away when anything dangerous happens, or chooses not to be a Deus ex Machina even when she could easily solve everything on her own that fans have dubbed her "Princess Trollestia".
In the series premiere, she knows full well about the prophecy predicting that her sister whom she imprisoned is about to escape and wreak havoc. Rather than explain things, or even do anything herself, she just tells the protagonist to "stop reading those dusty old books" and make friends, and is absent for the rest of the episode. Incidentally this is exactly what needs to be done, and as she notes later, she never explicitly said that the prophecies were wrong.
She knows that Twilight has six friends, but gives her only two tickets to the Gala, forcing her to agonize over who to give the extra ticket to. Though there is some controversy over whether she might have honestly expected Twilight to just go with Spike. In the end Twilight returns the tickets saying she can't go if she can't bring all her friends. Celestia replies, "Why didn't you say so in the first place?" and gives her more tickets. Apparently the lesson was: You never had to choose.
She sits back and watches as Rarity plummets to her doom, letting Rainbow Dash have a Big Damn Heroes moment. The fact that Rarity was put in this situation due to the heat of the sun, and the fact that Celestia controls the sun, leads some to suspect that she caused the whole incident to begin with.
She invites the main characters to a snooty, boring, rich-people party and hopes that they'll cause a disaster and liven up the event. She outright admits as much after said scheme goes precisely as she planned.
She intentionally tricks overzealous waiters into filling her teacup so that it overflows. This is an undeniably harmless joke, though, and seems to have been made as an attempt to break the tension her presence caused her overly nervous subjects. Though she still clearly enjoys it.
She takes her old, dying pet bird to a party, then runs away and leaves it there with Fluttershy, resident animal lover, failing to tell her the bird is actually a phoenix whose time for rebirth has nearly come. Again, the debate as to whether this was purposefully done or simply a case of absentmindedness continues. Although, Fluttershy did kind of steal the bird on her own instead of just asking the Princess what was wrong with it, and it did seem like Celestia genuinely didn't know where Philomena had gotten to.
She seems remarkably nonchalant when she discovers that Twilight has traveled all the way to Canterlot and broken into the Canterlot Library of Magic's Star Swirl the Bearded Wing at the crack of dawn - all while sporting a torn jumpsuit, a wildly unkempt mane, a scar on her cheek, and an eyepatch. Almost as if she suspected what was going on but didn't want to interfere with Twilight learning a valuable lesson... Of course, Twilight being Twilight, Celestia may have assumed she was simply doing extra studying...in the capital city several miles away, in what is probably the largest and oldest library in Equestria. Twilight isn't just an A+ student, she's the neurotic A+++++++ student.
She sends Twilight a valuable uncompleted spell from one of the mages of all time, in hope that Twilight could fix it, suggesting that she knew very well what was wrong with it...and doesn't bother giving her a heads-up that it completely changes the destiny and lives of all her friends. Her justification was that by saving her friends and completing the spell, she was ascend to become an alicorn princess, too.
Discord in Season 4's "Princess Twilight Sparkle" 2-parter. He knew all along what was causing the Everfree Forest to run wild, but kept silent because he didn't want to "rob Twilight of an important lesson about being a princess." He is also the one who suggests they speak to Zecora for guidance, and convinces Twilight to return to her friends, albeit by insinuating her new title has gone to her head.
Unlike Princess Celestia, though, Discord's method of "teaching" seems to be more just messing with Twilight and then teaching a lesson about friendship as a justification/excuse to do so. In hisother Season 4 episode "Three's A Crowd", the friendship lesson Twilight learned was completely unintended on his part, because he faked being sick in order for Twilight to prove she's friends with him by looking for a cure, and was disappointed when he didn't completely wreck Twilight's day with Cadence.
Discord seems up to this again in Twilights Kingdom Part 1, manipulating Twilight towards trying to open the chest from the Tree of Harmony.
Cupcakes, seems to have been written solely for shock value and lulz. Surprisingly, it's an aversion! The author, Sergeant Sprinkles, later stated that he wrote it on a whim just to see who would read it, and was surprised by how infamous it was (he admits that it's terrible, so the Troll Fic part may have been played straight after all; it's hardto tell). He has written several other decent, non-horrific stories. (None of which will ever be as successful as Cupcakes, of course.)
Prince Martin Willis is another trollfic (hopefully) that has gained some traction within the Brony community for its extremely coarse subject manner and practically illegible format. Dramatic readings can be found on Youtube.
Cheerilee's Garden, a gory Dark Fic that makes Cupcakes look tame, has some of its horror defused by the opening author's note, which declares that it was written just for the hell of it and shouldn't be taken seriously.
Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure is clearly a parody of bad fanfics: Most of the cast are either flanderized or wildly out of character, the plot has more holes than a wheel of swiss cheese, and an original character who just happens to share the author's name winds up stealing the limelight and becoming the Nominal Hero. Of course, it hangs so many lampshades on its shortcomings that the joke is obvious.
Averted with My Little Unicorn many bronies think it is this. It isn't. Dakari-King Mykan's been writing stuff like this since 2006, and he apparently sets a word quota for himself (every story MUST be equivalent to the average 30-minute episode, no exceptions). Then again, he might just be a ridiculously persistent troll...
Dakari-King Mykan briefly attempted to release non-Starfleet MLP fanfics that were likely intended to troll fans of the show by ending after the first chapter with no intention to continue. It didn't work.
In "Suited for Success", Rarity earns one of these when she learns the famous fashion designer Hoity Toity is going to be attending her fashion show, and seeing the (tacky and overdone) dresses she made for her friends. She does it again at the end, when Hoity Toity agrees to sell her fashions at his shop, and proceeds to place a big order.
Twilight briefly does this while worrying about whether Princess Celestia will approve of her friends in "A Bird In The Hoof".
Derpy Hooves appearing as Rainbow Dash's replacement in the episode "Rainbow Falls". One of her previous appearances had sparked off a massive controversy and Internet Backdraft that resulted in the character being absent from season three and all the released episodes of season four up to that point, leaving most of the fanbase to assume that she had been removed from the show completely. Compounding the surprise is the fact that aside from one or two extremely vague hints from the staff, none of the show's promotional materials so much as hinted that the character would be returning.
Tirek (or at least a character heavily based off him) returning in Twilight's Kingdom. For reference not only was it believed Hasbro had lost the rights to a lot of their old properties, Tirek hasn't been seen in the franchise for thirty years since the original G1 pilot.
Scorpan, here reimagined as Tirek's brother, also counts, due to having less a role in the original story than Tirek, but here being the one responsible for his original defeat.
Unicorn: One of the three main pony types. Two of the mane six are unicorns.
The Ursa Major's pelt is an Unmoving Star Field. While Princess Celestia's mane also flows, the colors on her mane don't flow the same way. And on one occasion, the colours on Rainbow Dash's tail continue to curve smoothly even where the end of the tail is ruffled into a zigzag.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, when Tirek drains Discord's magic, the bolt has this appearance. Of course, since it is pure chaos, it does fit thematically.
In Suited for Success, Rarity's attempts to design new dresses for her friends turns them all into Unsatisfiable Customers with vague, tacky, or impractical suggestions which nearly drive her to distraction. After seeing the reception their own designs get, they gratefully accept her original offerings, while for her part Rarity learns that she can't please everypony.
Push Fluttershy too far, and you will get the tongue-lashing of a lifetime.
Unusual Euphemism: Being a kid's show, the characters have unique phrases they say in place of swearing.
Rainbow Dash: [realizing she's at the rear of the pack after tricking Applejack in "Fall Weather Friends"] Oh horse apples!
Fluttershy: (concluding an angry rant to Pinkie Pie and Rarity) ...when they are throwing their own lives away on pointless pursuits that nopony else gives a flying feather about!
Up, Up and Away!: Many pegasus ponies (usually Rainbow Dash) often do this when flying fast.
Upper-Class Twit: A rather large number of the wealthy of Equestria come off as this. Of course, we don't actually hear what any given high-society pony does besides... be part of high-society, so it's unknown how many of them truly fit this trope, and how many are actually useful to pony society.
Prince Blueblood, however, is undeniably a twit. He has absolutely no manners or redeeming features and his high class living is all but guaranteed to be simply as a result of his royalty.
Averted with Fancypants, who is a rather nice chap that goes on to reassure Rarity in her fashion abilities.
Utility Magic: Rarity's magic is mostly useful for things like sewing, and Twilight Sparkle, although she can do more impressive magic, mostly uses hers for things like turning pages and writing. In fact, it's implied that most unicorn magic only works for things like this. Their magic is usually related to whatever their special ability happens to be, but in Twilight Sparkle's case, her special ability is magic, so she can do more.
Later episodes make it unclear whether other unicorns are only able to perform magic in line with their talents, or if a unicorn is theoretically capable of any magic, but that most unicorns only know magic that is related to their talents and interests. In the second case, Rarity (or any unicorn) could learn much of the magic Twilight knows, but are simply not dedicated enough to the study of magic itself.
Vanilla Edition: The two pre-Shout! Factory DVD volumes. Neither of them include closed captions, and besides their menu music (a fully instrumental version of most of the theme song), they only contain the following:
Dragons in the series are, by nature, very territorial gem hoarders whose entire lifestyles revolve around greed; the more they hoard, the larger they become (and in a very short period of time to boot), which will become troublesome to any non-dragons in the vicinity. They are also intelligent, and while some can be negotiated with (such as in "Dragonshy"), others won't hesitate to burn intruders to a crisp (like in "Owl's Well That Ends Well"). The adolescent ones seen in "Dragon Quest" are evenworse.
QueenChrysalis in "A Canterlot Wedding", whose modus operandi is to replace and impersonate individuals, draining their loved ones to increase her own power and put them under Mind Control, before leading her minions in a full scale invasion so they can feed as well and drain everyone. It's implied that Equestria isn't the first land she's done this too, and she's even worse in the IDW comics.
In "Magic Duel", theGreatandPowerfulTrixie takes a dive into fascism and petty (but still oppressive) evil while under the influence of the Alicorn Amulet. It's not her natural state, but there's still the fact that eldritch artifacts that corrupt ponies in such ways exist at all in such a saccharine franchise..
Rainbow Dash's rival in "Wonderbolt Academy", Lightning Dust, is a subtle example. She's probably the closest the show will come to portraying full-blown sociopathy, with her superficial charm (she gets along with Rainbow early on), callous disregard of others' safety (plowing past her teammates and dismissing their plight as them "needing the practice"), astonishing selfishness (getting impatient despite one of the challenges not being a race and only caring about the twister when it costs her the leadership rights despite the twister's going out of control almost killing four innocent bystanders), and smug lack of empathy for Rainbow's understandable anger after the twister incident.
Season 4's two part finale does something nobody expected and brings in a G4 revamp of Tirek, the very first of these to appear in My Little Pony! He escaped from Tartarus, the In-Universe Hell-equivalent and prison for Equestria's absolute worst monsters — to put things in perspective, Discord was merely petrified and kept in Celestia's garden. He has powerful fire magic and he is capable of leeching the magic out of ponies, which includes erasing their cutie mark. He's so terrible that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna feel the only hope they have of bringing him in and re-imprisoning him is to send Discord to capture him.
How terrifying and vile is he, exactly? Remember Discord, that Mad God with limitless power, that Manipulative Bastard who was once considered the Satanic Archetype of this show? Tirek turns him into his puppet, and then tosses him aside and leaves him powerless once he outlives his usefulness. Without a doubt, Tirek is the most powerful, monstrous, terrifying villain this show has ever seen.
Villain-Beating Artifact: The Elements of Harmony, which were needed to defeat Discord and Nightmare Moon in the past, and are needed to do so in the present.
Discord snaps when Fluttershy doesn't play along with his twisted mind games. He drops the Faux Affably Evil act and just brainwashes her with a huffy "Arrevederci!"
He actually gets terrified when he realizes he's about to be hit with the Elements Of Harmony. His Faux Affably Evil act dissolves into fear as there's nothing he can do as the attack strikes him. Considering everything he'd done over the past two episodes has just effectively imploded right in front of him, this makes perfect sense.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Tirek is shocked that Twilight and her friends have magic again and finds himself completely overpowered by them.
A central theme of the show seems to be a simple model of virtue ethics, where six different elements constitute the whole of Harmony, and one of the core narrative functions of each main character is to exemplify one of these ideals. Being social virtues, many of these are often de-emphasized or completely overlooked in other contexts, due to the traditional tendency of virtue ethics to place the emphasis on individual excellence of character.
Generosity, in other contexts often referred to as charity or self-sacrifice. Personified by Rarity, who only tends to display her sincere affinity for it when the need is most dire. The similarity between her name and "charity" seems likely to be intentional.
Honesty, another classic virtue. Can be interpreted in truthfulness in word, but also as integrity of character, and fidelity and reliability in deed. Personified by Applejack.
Kindness is a classic virtue, often referred to in other contexts as compassion, and closely related to forgiveness and understanding. Personified by Fluttershy.
Laughter. A highly unorthodox virtue. Hardly found in any other context in quite the same form, it nevertheless shares several traits with hope and mirth, both of which appear in some virtue-ethical models; and in one episode, optimism is explicitly linked to it. Personified by Pinkie Pie.
Loyalty. A classic social virtue. In some ways related to the traditional value of honor, it can be interpreted both as devotion to one's country and to one's friends. Personified by Rainbow Dash.
Magic/Friendship. The central theme of the show. This virtue can be regarded as a mixture of all of the others, as well as a constituent in and of itself of the whole of Harmony. It is the strength of unity that arises from harmonious, joyful relationships with others. A similar notion, albeit with less emphasis on the emotional dimension, in different contexts is that of solidarity. Personified by Twilight Sparkle.
Many of the apple trees at Sweet Apple Acres have apple-shaped crowns.
"Call of the Cutie" has a scene with a close-up of Apple Bloom, who is feeling depressed, when Rainbow Dash sticks her head into the audience's view:
Rainbow Dash: Whoa. Looks like somepony's got a dark cloud hanging over her head! Let me do something about that... [The camera pulls back, revealing the dark cloud that was hovering just a couple feet above Apple Bloom]
The kitchen sink makes a return appearance amongst Spike's pile of ill-gotten gains in "Secret of my Excess". And among the stuff Sweetie Belle uses to bar Cheerilee from leaving the dressing room in "Hearts and Hooves Day".
In "Feeling Pinkie Keen", Twilight stops to give a speech about the difference between magic and the Pinkie Sense — after literally stepping up onto a soapbox that happens to be nearby.
During Braeburn's tour of Appleloosa in "Over a Barrel", he points out the horse-drawn carriages, then immediately mentions "horse-drawn horse-drawn carriages" as the camera cuts to several artists sketching out the horse-drawn carriages.
Princess Luna is capable of shifting to or from her Nightmare Moon form at will. She also turns into a thorn and several ponies at once (the Shadowbolts) as Nightmare Moon.
The Changelings are a race that are capable of taking the shape of any pony.
In "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies", Twilight Sparkle demonstrates a new spell she found in the Castle of the Two Sisters that lets her transform herself and her friends into Breezies in order to help Seabreeze and his friends get home.
In Twilights Kingdom Part 1, Discord once again demonstrates this power, both for the sake of puns, and to lure Tirek into a trap by turning into a unicorn stallion.
Vomit Discretion Shot: "Applebuck Season" features a scene with a bunch of ponies who got sick from some poorly prepared baked goods. Pinkie Pie has just enough time to declare them "baked bads" before she begins throwing up. The camera cuts away just before it happens.
Genius Bonus: When Philomena is restored at the end of the episode, her beak has a wicked, sharp hook to it—a predator's beak. Of course she would puke up the birdseed, her digestive tract is meant for meat, not plant matter.
Spike receives mail by gagging, then burping out a flame (in a barfing manner) that forms the message.
Walking Disaster Area: If her one prolonged appearance is to be believed, Derpy Hooves is one of these. She manages to completely tear apart town hall merely through clumsiness, not looking where she's going, and just sitting down.
It turns out that Spike is terrible at pretty much everything that doesn't involve books, and he spends most of an episode making Applejack's life difficult.
Wardrobe Wound: In the episode A Bird In the Hoof, Rarity becomes a nervous wreck at Princess Celestia's luncheon, afraid of anything getting spilled on her pretty party dress.
Twilight's first volley against Tirek is a massive energy beam which completely envelops him, then explodes in the background into a giant mushroom cloud.
After being empowered with the Rainbow Power, the Mane Six fire one of these at Tirek, returning him to his weak and frail state and blasting him back to Tartarus forever.
Weirder Than Usual: In "Feeling Pinkie Keen", when Spike notices Pinkie Pie acting strangely, Twilight gives the standard response of "She's just being Pinkie Pie". Spike watches her for a moment and notes that she's being "Super-extra Pinkie Pie today."
Weird Moon: The Sun and the Moon can not be up at the same time (see phases part of the article). The moon also functioned as a can for Nightmare Moon. When Nightmare Moon escaped, the Mare in the Moon disappeared off the face of the moon.
Celestia welcomes back her little sister Luna after she's defeated as Nightmare Moon after Luna sincerely apologizes. Justified as Luna wasn't entirely well in her head when she tried to overthrow her sister, having become a Mad Goddess until the Elements restored her. And even then, while Celestia forgave her, it takes time for their subjects to do so.
Rainbow Dash and Gilda in "Griffon the Brush Off". They used to be childhood friends, but their friendship is broken off after Dash finds out that the latter has been bullying her other friends behind her back.
Rarity and Sweetie Belle in "Sisterhooves Social", thanks to the latter's poorly-executed attempts to help out with Rarity's house chores. This results in Rarity becoming more and more frustrated with her younger sister, and eventually an argument breaks out where Sweetie Belle calls her big sister out for being ungrateful. The fight ends with the two deciding that neither of them wants the other as a sister anymore.
Twilight Sparkle: I was just trying to- Shining Armor: She's been completely stressed out because it's really important to her that her big day be perfect! Something that obviously wasn't important to you. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and comfort my bride. Oh, and you can forget about being my best mare. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn't show up to the wedding at all. Applejack: C'mon, y'all. Let's go check on the princess. (Everypony coldly walks past Twilight. Celestia is the last to leave.) Princess Celestia:You have a lot to think about!
Later a subversion. When Twilight is proven to be right all along, Applejack apologizes for ditching Twilight on everyone's behalf. Twilight holds no grudge.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, seeing the ponies (especially Fluttershy) absolutely broken by Discord's betrayal really punches him in the gut... but he's sided with Tirek, so there's no turning back now... or so it seems.
The Season 2 premiere revealed Equestria's horrible past, broke Celestia's pedestal of perfection, brought a hyper-competent villain who curbstomped the mane six without breaking a sweat, and closed the deal with a lot of Nightmare Fuel. And the next episode takes this From Bad to Worse.
Lesson Zero shook up the status quo by allowing the other main characters to write friendship letters to Princess Celestia and thereby shifted the show's overall focus slightly away from Twilight.
"Secret of My Excess" also surprised everyone by making Spike confess his crush to Rarity... and Rarity not only already knew, but she also took Spike's confession with a smile and teary eyes.
"A Canterlot Wedding", otherwise known as the Season Two Finale, gave us Queen Chrysalis and the changelings. Not only did it add more to the world of Equestria and give us an impressive villain, it surprised EVERYPONY, seemingly coming out of left-field. Especially notable, considering the advertisement for it.
The Magical Mystery Cure in which Twilight rewrites an ancient spell, thereby becoming an alicorn & a princess. Sweet Celestia, where do we go from here?
Princess Twilight Sparkle - Part 2 manages to top the above by having the Mane Six relinquish the Elements of Harmony to keep the Tree of Harmony from dying. Nothing Is the Same Anymore, indeed.
Flight to the Finish takes a usually feel good Cutie Mark Crusaders style episode and turns it on its head when we learn that Scootaloo's wings are impaired and she might never actually be able to fly. This is all the more heartbreaking when you consider that Rainbow Dash is her hero for being the best flier in Equestria. Also, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon become nigh irredeemable when you realise they're basically picking on a disabled kid.
Twilight's Kingdom Part 2: Let us count the ways: Twilight's library is destroyed; she faces the Big Bad in a battle of Dragon Ball Z proportions; Discord's Heel-Face Turn is nearly complete; the Mane Six are bestowed with new Elements of Harmony in the form of Rainbow Power; Twilight is dubbed Princess of Friendship; and Twilight is given a brand new castle of her very own, with thrones for herself and all her friends (including Spike).
Throughout "Lesson Zero," Twilight is terrified that Princess Celestia will punish her should she fail to complete a friendship report by the end of the day. Those familiar with the characters know full well that Twilight is highly prone to overreaction, particularly when it comes to both academics and the princess - who is nothing if not kind, understanding, and fun-loving. Thus, most people watching will expect Celestia not to care about the tardy homework assignment. This turns out to be correct, but Celestia isfuriouswhen she sees the mayhem that Twilight's reckless actions have wreaked upon the town, and the timing of her appearance comes as a huge surprise.
In Inspiration Manifestation, exactly what did happen to the evil spell after it was driven out of Rarity, since the Tome of Eldritch Lore was (presumably) destroyed? Assuming that breaking the spell didn't destroy it entirely, of course.
Tirek's brother is mentioned a number of times, and depictions of him are shown in a storybook, but never makes an actual appearance. Unless Tartarus gives Tirek enhanced longevity, his brother should still be around. Though considering he went back to wherever he came from and there is no easy means of long-distance communication except between Spike and Celestia, they might just not have been able to find him.
Where did Owlowicious go after he flew away before Twilight started fighting Tirek? Did he go back to live in Twilight's castle or did he just fly away?
The Cutie Mark Crusaders get a few from "Ponyville Confidential", but special mention goes to Big Macintosh, who was actually mad enough to chew them out for humiliating him and Applejack.
In "Putting Your Hoof Down," after seeing Fluttershy violently deal with a random tourist pony Rarity and Pinkie Pie call her out on her behavior. Considering her new personality though, it doesn't end well for them.
In "A Canterlot Wedding," Twilight Sparkle is suspicious of impostor Princess Cadance's behavior, and after apparentlymisinterpreting one of her actions, Twilight bursts into the wedding rehearsal and accuses the princess of being outright evil. Her friends all leave without even speaking to her, and even Princess Celestia herself makes it clear she's disappointed. Then it turns out Twilight was right, that Cadance was evil...but she wasn't even the real Cadance. During the Near Villain Victory, the impostor, Changeling Queen Chrysalis, gives a variation to the rest of the Mane Cast, basically stating that it was their fault for not listening to Twilight at all about her behavior. Applejack was very remorseful about this and apologized to Twilight on everypony's behalf, but she brushed it off, stating that it wasn't their fault seeing as Chrysalis fooled everypony.
Fluttershy gives an epic one to her friends in the episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On", after they try to pull such a moment on her, believing that she was ignorant of the actions of Discord, whom Fluttershy had been charged with reforming.
Rainbow Dash: You see Discord's behind all this, right? Fluttershy: Oh, of course I do! Do you all think I'm a silly, gullible fool? (cue the rest of them looking very sheepish and muttering.)
In Inspiration Manifestation, Owlowiscious toward Spike as Rarity begins running amok with the spell, and his insistence that everything's going fine.
Twilight also berates Spike at the end of the episode for taking the spellbook from the castle without asking permission.
Wheel o' Feet: Granny Smith, Photo Finish's helpers, and a few background ponies do this now and then.
Hilariously played with in Granny's case: She does it after been tricked into thinking she saw a snake... and then proceeds to walk away very slowly.
The "Great and Powerful" Trixie does this when she sees the Ursa Minor come into town.
Where The Hell Is Springfield?: Characters in the show can speak French, and Fluttershy has mentioned ‘French couture’. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?...
I think so, Brain, and there's surely enough bears and beavers about, but Sugarcube Corner doesn't sell croissants OR poutine!
Witch Species: The unicorns are basically this with regards to other ponies. Only they are able to consciously perform magic and all of them are born with this ability; although many unicorns pursue non-magical careers, seemingly only able to perform basic telekinesis and magic related to their special talent. More advanced magic requires extensive studies.
In "Magic Duel", Trixie's sanity deteriorates while under the influence of the Alicorn Amulet, the first thing she does after banishing Twilight being to turn Ponyville into a micronation with her as its Caligula, then it comes to a head when she has Snips and Sails drag her chariot across the ground, as she is now so paranoid that she can't trust wheels.
With Great Power Comes Great Perks: As shown on the trope page's image. Admittedly, it must be hard to sew when you don't have hands. Actually overlaps almost entirely with Mundane Utility as ponies with cutie marks fully utilize their special talents or powers in their everyday tasks.
Wizarding School: "Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns," which Twilight enrolled in. She also once mentions that there's a magic kindergarten, but given her mental state at the time, it is unclear if it is real.
Rainbow Dash appears to be the lovechild of Scrappy Doo (though, and this is important, she is not The Scrappy) and Commander Worf; never tiring of recklessly charging straight at big scary monsters and getting swatted out of the sky. Applejack and Rarity often find themselves on the wrong end of this too; all three were soundly thrashed by the Manticore and Trixie in just the first few episodes.
"Over a Barrel" had a hilariously straight playing of this, when new character Little Strongheart shows up. How is she introduced? By instantly running rings around Rainbow Dash and tricking her into plowing into a railway sign. The poor girl can't get a break.
Twilight Sparkle gets a lot of this, too, in order to prevent her immense magical power from being story breaking. Her powers will function correctly when and only when they are needed in the plot. Otherwise, her spell will end up being useless or make things even worse.
Celestia, despite (or perhaps, per this trope) being THE most powerful major characters in the series who is treated as a deity (whether she likes it or not), receives this treatment multiple times:
The entire series kicks off when Nightmare Moon kidnaps/incarceratesnote there is no word on what exactly she did, but so far it is best to assume that she took her out somehow. her, leading the Mane Six sets out to find the Elements of Harmony.
In the backstory, Celestia has been worfed at least once before that, possibly twice. When Discord is released from his prison, Celestia admits there is not a thing she can do against him, and he completely outmatches her, even stealing the Elements of Harmony from a secure cell right under her nose only she can supposedly access.
In the season 2 finale, she gets defeated by Queen Crystalis fueled by Shining's Armor's love, making it a double Worf Effect, since it was used to show how strong SA's magical power and love were as well.
At the start of Season 4, both she and Luna are easily taken out by... vines? Justified, because those vines are the creation of the aforementioned Discord. Worse, in the season 4 ending, Celestia, Luna, and Cadence, are easily sent to Tartarus by the villain, but only because they had given their magic to Twilight for safekeeping, leaving them powerless and Cutie Mark-less.
Discord gets this in season three. Despite Celestia saying in the second season that Discord is more than a match for her, she can somehow cast a spell on the Elements of Harmony to protect them from him despite the fact that he's supposed to be more powerful than she is. Made even more egregious when we see the season 4 opener, where Discord is seen as able to physically alter her body (specifically he's seen to remove her tail without even touching her) with her being helpless to do anything about it.
Shining Armor himself gets one in the Crystal Empire storyline when King Sombra disabled his horn with a black magic.
The Wonderbolts swoop in to save the day both in "Sonic Rainboom" and in "Secret of My Excess". So far their "achievement" amounts to cutting a couple of Spike's spikes from the latter.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, just to demonstrate how absurdly strong he has become, Tirek drains Discord's chaos magic once he no longer requires his help.
During the 2012 New York Comic Con MLPFIM Writer's Panel (just before Season 3 aired), the writers discussed wanting to put more of this into the show. Season 3 opens with yet another villain from a millenia ago that enslaved an empire of ponies before being banished by Celestia and Luna.
In "The Return of Harmony Part 1", Twilight Sparkle tries to cancel out the bizzare weather caused by Discord... it fails... miserably. In part 2, when the Elements of Harmony are unleashed on Discord, it not only turns him to stone but lets loose a World Healing Wave that restores Equestria to how it was before Discord appeared.
Also happens in "The Crystal Empire" when Sombra is defeated.
In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, after Tirek's defeat, the Mane Six release a rainbow wave which restores the magic of all the drained ponies, including restoring the Princesses' magic and releasing them from Tartarus.
World of Pun: The show loves puns, especially horse-related ones, both noticeable and stealthy. This especially shows up in the place names and some of the character names, such as Trixie and Granny Smith. Do you also think it went unnoticed that one of the Apple family is named McIntosh?
Worthless Yellow Rocks: Gems and jewels can come across as this, but that is because one of the mane characters has the power to find them and another major character eats them. For ponies that aren't friends with Rarity and Spike, gemstones have high financial value.
Writers Cannot Do Math: The show has given a few time measurements in moons in the third season. When converted to months and years, they tend to produce rather odd results. The usage of moon instead of month (which the series has used previously) would indicate that they aren't supposed to be the same thing, but that just raised more questions, most importantly, how long a moon is supposed to be when the lunar cycle is manually controlled.
Writing Around Trademarks: The inverse of this — Hasbro's desire to give characters names that can be trademarked — is the reason for Adaptation Name Changes, especially in the toyline. Examples include Twist-a-loo, Manny Roar (for the previously unnamed manticore), Diamond Dazzle Tiara, Mrs. Dazzle Cup, Daring Do Dazzle... I'm starting to see a pattern here.
It's surprising that the name "Big McIntosh" was able to pass legal, but Lauren Faust's original idea for his name, "Big Apple", didn't. The production team has to be careful with how his name is written: he's referred to as "Big Mac" in dialogue for the show, but never in merchandise because it's trademarked by McDonalds, and the spelling "Macintosh" is never used because it's trademarked by Apple.
Xanatos Gambit: This is how Rainbow Dash was corrupted. Discord set her loyalty to her hometown against her loyalty to her friends. Morton's Fork at its finest: she's gored either way.
And he did pick the one of the four least likely to stop to understand the choice or its possible consequences. It's possible she never thought beyond "I like flying and want my wings back" to "flying right now means deciding for all of us that we're through looking for the Elements and Discord can do what he wants to us - and me".
Done twice in a row in one conversation in "The Ticket Master":
Applejack: I've got apple pie, apple fritters, apple tarts, apple dumplings, apple crisps, apple crumblers, and apple brown betty... uh, the dessert, not my auntie. What do you say there, best friend? Twilight Sparkle: [stomach rumble] Applejack: Is that a "yes"? Twilight: No. No! I don't know who I'm giving the ticket to. And all these favors aren't making it any easier to decide. In fact, I'm less certain now than I was this morning! Aargh! (runs off) Applejack: So... that's a "maybe"?
"Dragonshy", between one of the ponies and her non-talking rabbit Angel (note that the trope doesn't appear until the last lines):
Angel: [coughs] Fluttershy: Oh, goodness! Are you okay? Angel: [coughs] Fluttershy: Are you coughing because there's a carrot stuck in your throat? Angel: [coughs] Fluttershy: Because you need some water? (Angel looks exasperated, coughs enormously and lifts Fluttershy's chin to make her look up) Fluttershy: [gasp] Because of that giant cloud of scary black smoke? (Angel throws a carrot at her head, looking annoyed) Fluttershy: I'll take that as a "yes".
In "Green Isn't Your Color":
Twilight: It's the perfect plan! You can't tell anyone about it. Promise me you won't tell anyone? (Pinkie Pie makes a long series of gestures that seem to be miming various actions, including digging at the ground) Twilight: So... you do promise, or you don't? Pinkie Pie: Uhh, yes! Obviously, that's why I (repeats the gestures) zipped my mouth closed, then locked it with a key, then dug a hole, then buried the key, then built a house on top of the hole where I buried the key, then moved into the house on top of the hole. (grin) Twilight: Obviously...
In "Owl's Well That Ends Well", Spike sarcastically interprets a Rock Bottom + Tempting Fate situation by this model. "Could it get any worse?" (Cue the Rain.) "I guess that's a 'yes'."
The episode "Flight to The Finish", has Scootaloo, a young pegasus who can't fly (a situation that, in fanon, is considered equivalent to a kid being handicapped), getting mocked and bullied for this, and ends locking herself in her room, extremely depressed. Her surrogate Cool Big Sister, Rainbow Dash, gives her a speech after she loses all faith in herself, getting her out of her Heroic BSOD.
Rainbow Dash: Listen, Scootaloo. Maybe you'll fly someday, or maybe you won't. You're all kinds of awesome anyway. Who's the toughest little pony in town?
Equestria Games's aesop, and Spike's character arc for the episode, revolve around him learning this.
Twilight Sparkle says this after Spike asks what an Ursa Major is like after an Ursa Minor rampages through Ponyville. The audience, however, knows that the Ursa Minor was towering over every building in Ponyville — and the Ursa Major is several times bigger.
In both "Dragonshy" and "May The Best Pet Win" characters refer to landslides as avalanches. An avalanche is specifically a drastic flow of snow down a slope while a landslide is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
Fans, the show as of recently, and the Expanded Universe use "Alicorn" to refer to the Winged Unicorns, when historically, an "Alicorn" is actually a unicorn's horn or the substance that it's made out of. To their credit, this misconception predates the franchise.
Despite what most fans seem to believe, "flank" is not a synonym for "buttocks" or "behind". Even a brief look at a horse anatomy chart will clarify that it's an area on the side of the horse (where the rib cage ends and the hind legs begin.) Which should be obvious when you consider that "flank" means, y'know, "something that is to the side". The correct term for a pony's behind is the "rump".
Particularly unfortunate when the show itself uses the term correctly, both in the chant from Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon ("... sugar lump rump") and when Shining Armor tells Twilight that her saving his rump like this is "... starting to get embarrassing".
You Mean Xmas: The show has featured multiple holidays celebrated in Equestria which seem to correspond roughly to Earth holidays:
Hearts and Hooves Day: Valentine's Day.
The Summer Sun Festival: Summer Solstice.
Nightmare Night: Halloween.
Hearth's Warming Eve: While the actual celebration is more of a cross between Thanksgiving and a Founder's Day, its trappings are definitely meant to invoke Christmas.
Winter Wrap-Up: The Vernal Equinox, when Winter ends and spring begins.
Zany Cartoon: Normally it's fairly down to earth, but the show has a tendency to leap headlong into this territory whenever Pinkie Pie is involved.