Recap: MLP: Friendship Is Magic S1 E8 "Look Before You Sleep"

Are we having fun yet?
Rarity: You know, there's messy, and then there's just plain rude!
Applejack: You know, there's "fussy", and there's just plain "Gettin' on my nerves"!

Written by Charlotte Fullerton

Thanks to a weather scheduling mix-up, there's a big thunderstorm coming to Ponyville, but Applejack and Rarity are distracted from their work preparing by arguing over whether to secure loose branches to the trees or just pull them down. They try to head home and cool their heels after the argument escalates, but the storm hits suddenly, forcing them to take shelter with Twilight Sparkle in Ponyville's library. Since Spike is out of town on "official business", Twilight decides to turn the event into a slumber party, despite Applejack and Rarity's reluctance to spend any more time with each other.

First up on the agenda (according to Twilight's book on slumber parties) is make-overs. Applejack is baffled as to why Rarity is reluctant to get her hooves dirty, but is willing to mess around with mud-masks, and thinks the "cucumbers over the eyes" thing is a waste of perfectly good food. Still, she goes along with it in order to make Twilight happy, despite rising tension with Rarity.

Rarity: Fortunately, I can get along with anypony, no matter how rude she may be.
Applejack: Oh yeah? Well, I'm the get-alongingest pony you're ever gonna meet!
Rarity: That's not even a word.

Next up is ghost stories, and when Applejack and Rarity use it as an excuse to snipe at one another (with Applejack's "terrifying tale of the prissy ghost" and Rarity's "horrifying story of the messy, inconsiderate ghost"), Twilight decides to show them how it's done by regaling them with "The Legend of the Headless Horse".

S'mores are up next, but Rarity's perfectionism once again clashes with the more laid-back Applejack. The two take the next event, "truth or dare", as an excuse to dare each other to do things they hate, with Rarity being dared to stand in the rain and let her mane get all wet, and Applejack being dared to put on a frilly party dress. After Twilight is literally caught in the crossfire of a nasty pillow fight, she gives up and convinces the two to call it a night.

Unfortunately, Applejack and Rarity are forced to share a bed, and are so tense they even have to fight over the blanket and whether or not one should make the bed before sleeping in it. Twilight finally decides she's had enough, especially when the two argue over who's been trying harder to get along.

Twilight: I hope you're happy, both of you! You've ruined my very first slumber party! The makeover, the s'mores, truth or dare, the pillow fight... I mean, is there anything else that could possibly go wrong?!

Turns out there is, as lightning strikes the top of a nearby tree, threatening to bring it down on a neighboring house. Applejack is quick to try and pull it away, but her reckless roping brings it crashing through the window of Twilight's tree house instead! With the storm outside worsening and a neurotic (and likely concussed) Twilight freaking out over whether or not a tree coming through the window fits into the slumber party itinerary, Applejack and Rarity are forced to set aside their differences in order to shift the fallen tree. Once the crisis is averted, Twilight is pleased to see her friends getting along again, and the three get down to genuinely enjoying the night together.

As morning comes, Twilight prepares to report to Celestia that she's learned how two ponies who seem to have nothing in common can still be good friends... then tries to convince her friends to try another slumber party sometime.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Notably, over half the mane cast is missing: Spike is away in Canterlot on royal duty, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash are presumably working on the rainstorm, and Pinkie Pie doesn't appear at all. This makes it the first episode where members of the main cast are completely absent.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    Applejack: They accidentally skipped a scheduled sprinkle last week and need a doozy of a downpour to make up for it.
  • Adorkable: The already-awkward Twilight takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Agree to Disagree: At first, Rarity wisely suggests to do just this before somepony says something she'd regret. Of course, things won't go that way.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Twilight uses this to scare Rarity and Applejack while telling her Ghost Story.
  • Bottle Episode: This episode may have been intended to conserve the budget, since it has only three speaking parts and is set mostly inside Twilight's treehouse.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Rarity's topiary spell comes in handy.
  • Childish Pillow Fight: An epic one, due to Applejack and Rarity getting a little too competitive about it.
  • Cucumber Facial: Rarity put a mud mask and pair of cucumber slides on a bemused Applejack, but AJ prefers eating the cucumber. Subverted as a Brick Joke near the end.
  • Description Porn / Food Porn: All 10 seconds of Rarity making s'mores may come off as this, with just a dash of sexy voice for good measure.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Applejack was originally Vitriolic Best Buds with Rarity, a role she would later share with Rainbow Dash starting with "Fall Weather Friends"
  • Feud Episode
  • Final Girl: Twilight's ghost story subverts this, as the Headless Horse gets the last pony at the end.
  • Flat Joy: Rarity and Applejack express this when Twilight announces their slumber party.
  • Friendless Background: Twilight's glee at her "very first slumber party" reminds the viewer that this was her background.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Twilight's slumber party guide: "Slumber 101: All You've Ever Wanted to Know About Slumber Parties (But Were Afraid to Ask)".
  • Ghost Story: One of the items on Twilight's list of slumber party activities. Hers is a real one that manages to scare the other two, while Applejack and Rarity just use it as an excuse to take verbal shots at each other.
  • Headless Horseman: Twilight's horror story of the Headless Horse parodies this.
  • Here We Go Again: At the near end of the episode, it almost looks like it would result in this, but it's subverted.
  • Idiot Ball: Twilight. She turns to her book to try to figure out if having giant tree branches in the bedroom is a standard slumber party activity.
  • I Have to Iron My Dog: Applejack initially tries to get out of the slumber party by saying "I'm powerful late for... somethin'."
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: From Twilight: "This is gonna be the bestest slumber party ever, yeah!" Of course you know where that leads...
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: "...just like this one. And three ponies were having a slumber party. Just. Like. This one." (Beginning of Twilight's ghost story.)
  • I Warned You: Applejack told Rarity the branches needed to be cut down. Rarity sees why during the storm.
  • Literal-Minded: During a game of "20 Questions", Rarity asks if they're getting warmer with their guesses.
    Twilight: Why, is it too cold in here for you? I could turn up the heat.
  • Magical Underpinnings of Reality: The cold open is the first time in the series where we see that pegasus ponies are responsible for all weather in Equestria. The rainstorm is to make up for missing a "scheduled sprinkle" the previous week.
  • Minimalist Cast: Apart from just a few background ponies at the beginning, Twilight, Applejack and Rarity are the only characters to appear in this episode.
  • Mundane Ghost Story: Applejack's and Rarity's.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The pillow fight.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: After chewing out Rarity for leaving a giant branch loose (now dangling over a house) Applejack attempts to pull it away, ignoring Rarity's warnings about doing so. Surprisingly enough, when it smashes through Twilight's window, both Applejack and Rarity blame each other for this.
  • Off Model: Rarity has a pink magic aura during the pillow fight scene.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Rarity's Tidewater accent disappears momentarily during her feud with Applejack in the rainstorm.
    • Also Applejack sounds like Rainbow Dash at some point.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Twilight's Bedsheet Ghost disguise only covers her face and upper torso but it still manages to startle Rarity and Applejack.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Applejack puts one on during "truth or dare".
  • The Pollyanna: Twilight tries so very hard to stay upbeat and cheerful about her first slumber party, despite the constant sniping between Applejack and Rarity.
  • Rain, Rain, Go Away: The reason Applejack and Rarity are stuck together at Twilight's.
  • Security Cling: Rarity and Applejack find themselves in each others' arms — er, forelegs — twice, following lightning strikes. The second time, they realize what they're doing and withdraw in a manner reminiscent of Instant Seiza.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Applejack was forced to do this during "truth or dare".
  • Skewed Priorities: Rarity's obsession with detail ends up doing this when the tree falls into the library. While Applejack is trying to get the really big problem (the giant tree in the room) out of the way, Rarity is reorganizing a shelf.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: The main source of conflict between Applejack and Rarity.
  • Slumber Party: The focus of the episode. Many of the party games (Truth or Dare, 20 Questions) are literally by the book.
  • Subject 101: Twilight's guidebook.
  • Super OCD: Twilight is obsessed with conducting her slumber party by the book, to the point where she frantically searches to see where "giant tree branch in the bedroom" fits into the agenda, and is upset that she won't get to check off "Have Fun" on the list... because no-one is having any. (We later find out it can be much worse).
  • Tempting Fate:
    • After calling out Rarity and AJ for ruining her evening with their fighting.
      Twilight: Is there there anything else that can possibly go wrong?
      (lightning strikes the tree next to the room)
      Twilight: [tiny voice] Sorry I asked.
    • The Japanese dub features an even bigger example, with Twilight exclaiming "If you two are going to fight, I'd rather be struck by lightning!"
  • There Is Only One Bed: Applejack and Rarity are forced to share Twilight's spare bed. The usual hilarity of this trope ensues.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Applejack and Rarity, who in this case are at each other's throats due to their personality differences.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Applejack calls attention to the fact that taking shelter from a thunderstorm in a giant tree is not the best idea. Twilight, however, has a magical lightning rod to deal with the problem.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The episode's climax starts off AJ and Rarity's relationship as such throughout the show. It is spotlighted again in a few later episodes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After an entire evening of Applejack and Rarity constantly sniping at each other, Twilight finally calls them out for ruining the entire slumber party.
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: Twilight is concerned about a giant tree branch in her house because it isn't in the slumber party book.
  • Written-In Absence: Spike is "away in Canterlot on royal business" for this episode, probably because the typical all-girl slumber party wouldn't have worked with him around.