Pinkie Pie:What just happened? Meet somepony new- check. Introduce myself- check. Sing random songout of nowhere- check. Become instant best friends... uncheck!
Written by Amy Keating Rogers
It's the start of a typical day for Pinkie Pie: make the Cake twins laugh, say hi to everyone she knows (which is just about every pony, cow, and even donkey in Ponyville), and burst into an incredibly catchy musical number about how she loves to make her friends smile. But what's this? There's a new face in Ponyville, and it's not smiling!That face belongs to an old donkey hauling a cartload of junk through the center of town. Pinkie Pie tries to introduce herself, but all she learns is that the donkey is named Cranky Doodle Donkey, he's very sensitive about his middle name, and he's not interested in being Pinkie Pie's friend. Confused, she goes over her thought process and wonders what would possess anyone to not be friends with her. She quickly becomes determined to win Cranky over.Pinkie starts following Cranky through town, offering to show him around, asking about the stuff in his cart (of which he's very protective), and even rolling out an actual welcome wagon: the whole song and dance (literally, in the case of the welcome wagon). Unfortunately, this just annoys Cranky even more, especially when she messes up his toupee in the process and causes him quite a bit of embarrassment while trying to find a new one. After a trip to the spa and the gift of a replacement toupee, Cranky reluctantly thanks Pinkie Pie, but still refuses to crack a smile.Pinkie ends up following Cranky to his house and offering to help unpack, where Cranky mentions that he's been looking for a "special friend". While unpacking, Pinkie finds an old scrapbook with one page in particular that intrigues her... unfortunately, Pinkie accidentally sets fire to the scrapbook, and makes an even bigger mess of it trying to put out the fire. Furious, Cranky throws her out of the house and vows that he will never be her friend.
Pinkie Pie: Never, or never ever? Cranky Doodle Donkey:Never ever ever ever ever![slams door] Pinkie Pie: That's four "ever"s. That's, like... [tears up] forever...
At the library, Pinkie Pie seeks sympathy from Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash, who tell her that she should just let things go and give Cranky some space. Pinkie agrees that she should leave Cranky alone... once she gets him to accept her apology, that is. She proceeds to hound the old jack-ass across Ponyville and its outskirts, begging forgiveness, but he ends up barricading himself in his house and stubbornly refusing, protesting that Pinkie ruined the only thing he had to remember "her" by. Pinkie is suddenly struck by inspiration, and finally leaves, only to return with someone special in tow: Matilda the donkey, who had a scrapbook to match Cranky's, with matching contents... including a ticket stub and a menu from the Grand Galloping Gala!Cranky and Matilda met at the Gala years ago, but after Matilda left the next morning, Cranky missed the note she'd left him and spent his whole life trying to find her. Finally reunited with his long-lost love just when he was about to give up, Cranky manages a smile, and accepts both Pinkie Pie's apology and her friendship. Pinkie is ecstatic that she finally made Cranky happy... but quickly realizes that he'd be even happier if she gave him and Matilda some time alone.The episode ends with Pinkie mentally preparing a letter to Princess Celestia, courtesy of voice over. In it she mentions that while some folks are as social and outgoing as her, others prefer to have some space to themselves now and then. Either way, she can be friends and make them smile.*Cue... a piano rendition of Yankee Doodle?*
Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes can be found here):
Almost Kiss: A kiss between the donkeys is interrupted when Pinkie bursts into song right outside their house and getting in the way of their private time.
Anti-Hero: Pinkie's behavior, while well-meaning and with no harmful intentions whatsoever, involved her stalking, harassing, and publicly humiliating Cranky Doodle, as well as invading his privacy, breaking into his home, and accidentally vandalizing his most important personal effects. She gets better and rightfully redeems herself by the end of the episode, but if Cranky called the Ponyville constabulary (if one existed) to haul Pinkie away on criminal charges before she could properly make up, he'd have been well within his rights, too.
Art Shift: Cranky Doodle's flashback is done in the style of a silent film, ignoring the voiceover, of course.
The Cat Came Back: Pinkie pursues Cranky Doodle everywhere, just so she can apologize.
Character Development: Pinkie matures a little at the end by understanding that friendship works in many ways than just the kind she's familiar with, and that understanding and respecting others' privacy is a helpful way of being a friend to that type of person.
Chekhov's Gunman: Matilda, the donkey that appears in the beginning, turns out to be Cranky Doodle's lost love.
Chekhov's Skill: Pinkie's photographic memory of everypony she meets. She not only knew that it was Cheerilee's birthday and the day following Zecora's, but that Matilda's birthday was in 132 days. Near the end of the episode, Pinkie uses her photographic memory to make the connection between Cranky's album she had accidentally destroyed after seeing ONCE and an identical page that Matilda had in an album of her own.
Clueless Mystery: Pinkie's deduction at the end hinges on several clues we were never privy to.
Crowd Song: The "Smile Song" has the entirety of Ponyville's populace singing along by its conclusion. This is a Throw the Dog a Bone for Pinkie Pie — normally, Pinkie Pie's songs inspire confusion and vague horror in other ponies, and the closest she's come to this is having back-up dancers for a song she specifically set up as a stage production.
Comedic Sociopathy: When Pinkie starts going through Cranky's stuff despite Cranky pleading with her to stop.
Comically Missing the Point: Pinkie throughout the episode, most notably when Twilight tries to explain why Cranky might want some space.
Rainbow Dash tries to explain Cranky's resistance to Pinkie's overtures by saying, "He doesn't want to be bothered by your over-the-top, super hyper antics." After all, she'd been in Pinkie's horseshoes not that long ago.
Expressive Ears: The ears in Friendship is Magic have always been somewhat expressive. In the case of Cranky, they're used to illustrate his dismay at missing the girl of his dreams, and becoming increasingly more miserable until Pinkie finding Matilda makes him happy again.
Eye Scream: It doesn't hurt her, but it's pretty nasty to see Pinkie shove her eye through a keyhole.
Cranky makes a snide comment about Pinkie being extra special.
What one can expect the newly-refound couple to be doing with their "privacy" at the end of the episode. In the same vein, what they did during what Cranky calls "the most magical night of [his] life"...
Cranky: *rolls eyes* No, you're 'extra special', kid!
Pinkie Pie: Yes! I'm in!
I Will Find You: Cranky spends most of his life travelling from town to town, searching for the long-lost jenny of his dreams. A somewhat unusual example in that he and Matilda had met a grand total of once beforehand.
A slightly more disturbing example than usual. Pinkie demonstrates a child's understanding of personal property and personal space. It combines with Innocently Insensitive (see below). It can be quite disturbing when you realize that Pinkie's behavior is intrusive and insensitive. She looks through and handles someone's personal property not only without asking permission, but on multiple occasions in direct defiance of pleas to stop. She attempts to force her way into someone's home, again without asking permission and in direct defiance of pleas to stop. All of these serve to demonstrate a disturbing degree of childishness in Pinkie Pie's behavior.
Though played with later on when Cranky's mention of a 'special friend' appears to go straight over Pinkie's head. At the conclusion however she simply laughs and states she wasn’t ‘born yesterday' when Cranky expresses surprise that she worked out he was looking for a romantic partner.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A platonic variant. Pinkie sees that Cranky is very unhappy and she makes it her mission to cheer him up and be his friend.
Decon-Recon Switch: But her efforts to do so only ends up irritating Cranky to the point of shunning her away from him, and her attempts to apologize only make things worse. But by understanding and being considerate of Cranky's feelings and re-uniting him with his long lost special friend, Matilda, she is able to finally make him smile and win his friendship at the end.
Meaningful Name:: Cranky Doodle. Maybe his parents got fed up with his braying and coloring on the walls when he was a foal.
Noodle Incident: As mentioned earlier, it's apparently not the first time Pinkie put cake batter in the cannons and confetti in the oven.
No Sense of Personal Space: Pinkie Pie on multiple occasions with Cranky. Although it's justified in that Pinkie Pie considers him her friend, much to Cranky's dismay.
Overly Long Gag: When Pinkie tries to convince Cranky to accept her apology, she says she's really really really really really really really really (etc.) sorry.
Photographic Memory: Pinkie can remember every detail she's ever seen or heard about her friends, no matter how small or obscure.
Pinkie Acid Sequence: The felt animation, though short, comes out of nowhere (even by Pinkie standards) and is pretty damned surreal (again, even by Pinkie standards).
Public Domain Soundtrack: Both "Yankee Doodle" (ca. 1770), as well as "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1904), by George M. Cohan (died 1942). It's hard to say whether Pinkie is singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" at the end of the episode or a Suspiciously Similar Song of it; since she's setting different lyrics to the same melody, she has the right to do so as parody.
"Cranky Doodle Donkey" for "Yankee Doodle Dandy". In fact, Pinkie sings the tune of "Yankee Doodle" with his name in it. She later sings a song to the tune of the chorus of "The Yankee Doodle Boy". To drive the point home, the normal credits music is replaced with an instrumental version of "Yankee Doodle".
Additionally, William Anderson sneaks in bits of "Yankee Doodle" into the background score in scenes with Cranky.
Puppy-Dog Eyes: Complete with quivering lip and whimpering. Even Cranky can't completely resist it.
Reality Warper/Rule of Funny: Pinkie appears inside a brick wall and from within a gramophone, holds up six hooves at once and literally blasts off like a rocket in happiness. She can make a jump rope work without anyone holding the ends (unicorn magic included). It even continues to do so after she leaves.
Remember the New Guy: We've never been introduced to Matilda Donkey in any of the episodes beforehand, and yet it's been shown that Pinkie Pie knows her pretty well since day one. The same can be said of Pinkie for everyone in town.
Roof Hopping: Pinkie and all her friends love to do it because they do in the song.
Pinkie putting on her exercise clothes is a likely nod to Flashdance.
Cranky is awfully similar to Carl Fredricksen, from the Kitsch Collection to the scrapbook to Cranky's lost love... except that she was still alive, still single - and right under his nose the entire time!
A hyperactive youngster insisting on befriending an elder, grumpy character, and unintentionally causing him several problems, yet in the end the grumpy character gets to actually appreciate the youngster's friendship and good intentions... Dennis The Menace (US) anyone?
That Reminds Me of a Song: Lampshaded. 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.
Visual Pun: During Pinkie's song when she sings "If you are sad or blue." The filly she was saying that to was blue, in both meanings of the word. Then she sings to a blue-tinged copy of herself on the bridge.
When He Smiles This is Pinkie's Pie; to make Crank smile. It, in turns, makes her so happy she blasts off like a rocket.