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.
And you may have huge teeth and sharp scales and snore smoke and breathe fire, but you. Do. NOT. Hurt Fluttershy's friends.
Prior to her "Friending" Discord, the mere mention of the latter's name can cause Fluttershy 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!).
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.
Then in "Look Before You Sleep", as she finally loses her patience with Applejack and Rarity's constant bickering at her slumber party, she shouts something along the lines of, "Can this night get any worse?" Cue lightning striking a nearby tree, endangering Twilight and her home.
Twilight Sparkle: Sorry I asked.
After Spike runs away from home in "Owl's Well That Ends Well", he trudges through the Everfree Forest and asks himself "Can it get any worse?" It promptly starts raining.
Spike: I guess that's a yes.
Twilight does this in "The Best Night Ever", too. When she sees the chaos caused by Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Rarity, she says "Well, it can't get any worse..." Then, a horde of animals bursts in, pursued by a VERY pissed off Fluttershy.
Twilight adamantly states in the first episode that the fate of Equestria does not rest on her making friends. IT DOES.
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 the first scene of "Magical Mystery Cure," Twilight sings "Can things ever go wrong? I don't think that they will!" She doesn't even get to finish the song before disaster strikes.
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.
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.
After being reformed by Fluttershy, Discord actually says "Friendship is Magic" when prompted by Fluttershy.
Title Theme Tune: My Little Pony, anyway. The theme begins with the traditional "My Little Pony" theme and transitions into a zippier, fast-paced theme.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Several pairs in the Mane Six alone: Applejack (Tomboy) and Rarity (Girly), Rainbow Dash (Tomboy) and Fluttershy (Girly) especially.
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 - which makes its decision to leave Winter Wrap-Up and Art of The Dress in English with Japanese subtitles just baffling.
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.
invoked Both Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash consider Fluttershy to be too sensitive to be subjected to their pranking antics.
The show implies (and Word of God reportedly confirmed) that Scootaloo is supposed to be disabled; namely, her wings are stunted and she is unable to do much more than hover for a second or two. Yet despite being a prime target of Diamond Tiara's bullying, Diamond never uses Scootaloo's disability as ammonote Note that while Lauren Faust expressed the intention that Scootaloo be unable to ever fly, whether the idea is actually used in the series remains to be seen.
Actually, as revealed by a preview of Season 4 clips at Comic Con, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon do go there.
Unicorn: One of the three main pony types. Two of the mane six are unicorns.
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:
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. 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.
"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.
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.
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.
Rainbow Dash and Gilda in "Griffon the Brush Off". They used to be childhood friends but their friendship had been broken off after Dash finds out that the latter had been bullying her other friends behind her back.
In the two-parter episode, "The Return Of Harmony", Discord breaks apart the friendship between the mane six. He starts out by showing Applejack a vision of her and her friends agreeing never to speak to each other again. This results in her being convinced that lying is better.
In "A Canterlot Wedding Part 1", this trope is taken to the extreme between Twilight and her brother Shining Armor, and later on, the other mane six and Princess Celestia, right after she straight out accuses Princess Cadance of being evil. This results in her brother telling her not to come to her wedding, her friends being alienated from her, and her mentor disappointed with what her student had said and leaves her alone to contemplate her actions. Unfortunately, Twilight turned out to be right, and by part 2, it's even lampshaded how their abandonment of her allowed Queen Chrysalis' plans to go along smoothly.
Wham Episode: 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.
"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 season 3 finale in which Twilight rewrites an ancient spell, thereby becoming an alicorn & a princess. Sweet Celestia, where do we go from here?
The season 4 premiere where The Elements of harmony are returned to the tree of harmony, not to mention all the fully animated history we saw.
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.
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.
Also a minority fan theory about cutie marks. Common fanon holds that a pony's cutie mark is what they're good at, full stop, and everything else is mediocre at best. The alternative theory is that each mark has a key talent, plus a whole host of Required Secondary Powers which have applications far outside the specific domain of the mark-represented talent.
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.
The Worf Effect: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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".
You Mean Xmas: The show has featured multiple holidays celebrated in Equestria which seem to correspond roughly to Earth holidays:
Hearts and Hooves Day: Valentines Day.
The Summer Sun Festival: Summer Solstice
Nightmare Night: Halloween
Hearth's Warming Eve: While the actual day is more of a cross between Thanksgiving and a Founder's Day, it's trappings are definitely meant to invoke Christmas.
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.