Recap: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S1 E6: "Boast Busters"
"Behold the Great and Powerful Oz... er... Trixie!"
Rarity: Just because one has the ability to perform lots of magic does not make one better than the rest of us. Rainbow Dash: Especially when you got me around being better than the rest of us!
Written by Chris Savino
After a bout of magic practice, Twilight is busy modestly shrugging off praise from Spike, who is impressed by the variety of magical spells she can accomplish. Suddenly, they learn from two excitable unicorn colts, Snips and Snails, that "The Great and Powerful" Trixie is in Ponyville to perform her magic show. Twilight and her friends go see the show, but some of the others quickly grow tired of Trixie's boasting that she's the greatest magician in all Equestria and her tall tales about her defeat of a bear-like monster called the Ursa Major, and Rainbow Dash starts heckling her.
Trixie: Well, well, well, it seems we have some neeeigh-sayers in the audience!
Trixie retaliates by challenging Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity to test her claim that "anything you can do, I can do better!", then proceeds to turn their challenges against them and humiliate them one by one. Despite urging from Spike, Twilight Sparkle refuses to do anything because she's afraid of being mistaken for a show-off herself.Snips and Snails are impressed by the act, but Spike tries to convince them not to take Trixie's stories at face value:
The two unicorn lads sneak into the Everfree Forest with the intent of luring an Ursa Major to Ponyville so they can watch Trixie take one on. This proves to be a bad idea: the giant bear monster goes on a rampage, Trixie nearly panics at the sight of the beast, and when she does try to defeat it, she barely annoys it. With Ponyville at risk, Twilight finally decides to make with the magic and... lulls the Ursa to sleep by rocking it and feeding it with an improvised bottle of milk, made by telekinetically ripping open a water tower, milking a barnful of cattle, and affixing a makeshift nipple to the end. After returning the Ursa from whence it came, her friends ask how she was able to defeat a creature considered to be invincible, where Twilight reveals the titanic Ursa "Major" was only a baby Ursa Minor.Trixie runs off while Twilight and company deliver the Aesop: taking pride in your abilities and using them when they're needed isn't showing off. Twilight also tasks Snips and Snails with helping out the town, but is generous enough to give them (and Spike) fashionable mustaches as well.
Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes can be found here):
Animalistic Abomination: Used as a punchline. Keep in mind that the following conversation concerns a creature so powerful, it nearly destroyed Ponyville because it was in a bad mood. Might Equestria be a more terrifying world than meets the eye?
Twilight Sparkle: That wasn't an Ursa Major. That was a baby, an Ursa Minor. Trixie: THAT was just a BABY!? Twilight Sparkle: And it wasn't rampaging. It was just cranky because someone [gives a look at Snips and Snails] woke it up. Spike: Well, if that was an Ursa Minor, then what's an Ursa Major like? [cut to a monster large enough to cradle the Ursa Minor in its arms and rock it back and forth] Twilight Sparkle:You don't want to know.
Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better: Trixie claims to be able to do this, but she just interfered with Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Rarity's tricks to humiliate them. Oddly, it's only in the latter two cases that the tricks could be taken as being impressive, given that every unicorn we've seen using magic has telekinesis.
Constellations: The episode involved a giant bear made of stars incorrectly called an Ursa Major (it's actually an Ursa Minor as Twilight Sparkle pointed out in the end). There is an actual Ursa Major though, but it is a little more monstrous than its Ursa Minor cub.
Disproportionate Retribution: The episode itself towards Trixie. She hypes up her show by bragging, is shamed for it, then has her home destroyed and her reputation(vital for her line of work) destroyed.
Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The Japanese dub accidentally has Snips outright state in front of Spike that he plans to bring an Ursa Major to Ponyville, but he doesn't do anything to try and talk them out of it, which is probably what he would have done if he heard it in the original version.
Early-Bird Cameo: Cheerilee appears for the first time as a background pony in this episode, though she wouldn't actually play a role in the show until six episodes later.
The Exit Is That Way: Slamming the door just created in the middle of the room isn't an effective way to make an exit.
Fake Ultimate Heroine: Trixie presents herself as a powerful unicorn who saved another city from an Ursa Major and has the personality to go with it. The first thing she does when a real Ursa shows up is to scream and run away, then when she tries to stop it, all she does is annoy it more, causing her to reveal her story was a lie to make her look tougher than she really was.
Humble Pie: What Trixie doles out to those who challenge her claims, by taking whatever task they challenged her with and twisting it to her own ends. And at the end of the episode, she stoutly refuses to accept the slice that's served up to her, running away instead.
Hypocrisy Nod: Rainbow Dash, being as much of a braggart as Trixie, isn't in much of a position to lecture her, though even she knows that.
Rainbow Dash: There's no need to go showing off like that. That's my job.
Karma Houdini: Snips and Snails are actually rewarded with mustaches for bringing an Ursa Minor to Ponyville that nearly destroys the town. Granted, Twilight was able to prevent this, and she does make them clean up the town, but the fact that they're rewarded for doing something so incredibly reckless, their punishment doesn't seem very proportionate.
Let's See You Do Better: Trixie issues this after being heckled by the other ponies. Granted she doesn't quite play fair.
Miles Gloriosus: Played with. Trixie claimed to be powerful enough as to defeat a powerful monster called an Ursa Major, and when Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Rarity challenged her to a skills duel, she defeated them by interfering with their own tricks rather than by displaying superior skill. May come with a side of Small Name, Big Ego, since when Snips and Snails lead an Ursa into Ponyville, Trixie attempts to fight it; only after failing does she admit that all of her amazing tales were just lies to make her look more important.
Monster Is a Mommy: The Ursa Minor is gigantic and took Twilight at her strongest to placate, much less "defeat". It's about the same size as the dragons usually depicted as the most dangerous creatures in the series. The Ursa Major is pretty much a MLPKaiju. Given how protective mother bears are of their young, Ponyville is seriously lucky Twilight avoided a Grendelsituation.
No Sell: The entire Trixie vs. Ursa Minor "bout", if it can even be called that.
Trixie: When Trixie is through, the only thing they'll call you [Rainbow Dash] is "loser".
Protagonist-Centered Morality: While Trixie's behavior was excessive, much of the conflict in the episode between Trixie and the Mane Cast could have been avoided if the Mane Cast decided it was just a stupid show and walked away, instead of creating a scene and calling attention to themselves.
Snips: The Great and Powerful Trixie vanquished an Ursa Major. Can your Twilight claim that? Spike: Oh, really? Were you guys actually there? Snips: Well, uh... no, but— Spike: But nothing! The proof is in the pudding! Snails: Huh huh huh huh huh... I like pudding!
Smoke Out: Though it doesn't last long enough to completely cover Trixie's exit.
The So-Called Coward: Though no one directly accuses Twilight of being a coward when she refuses to rise up to Trixie's challenge, her development in this episode otherwise fits this trope.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Rarity is horrified that her mane (normally purple) has been turned green. But of course there is already one pony in the audience who has green hair and is offended by this. Ironically, the otherwise identical character (named Carrot Top) usually has orange hair and only ever appears with a green mane in this scene. Even in this episode, the orange-maned version is seen later. (Maybe she dyed it after the comment earlier?)