Rarity: No, really! It's so nice of you! Princess Celestia: It's nothing, really. Rarity:[while kissing Celestia's hooves] Oh, but it isn't nothing, it's everything! I, I just don't know what to say but thank you, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Princess Celestia: You are very we— Rarity: Thank you!
Written by Meghan McCarthy
Rarity is in Canterlot for a few days to buy some new fabrics for her store, staying at a suite in the royal castle thanks to a few favors invoked by Twilight Sparkle. To thank Twilight, Rarity plans to make a new dress for her and present it at her birthday party that weekend.While she's stopped at a cafe with her pet cat Opal, two ponies named Jet Set and Upper Crust start asking her about her hat when a country-bumpkin window-wiper recognizes Rarity, loudly revealing her commoner roots. After the two sophisticates dismiss Rarity for being "country," she vows to show a creation worthy of Canterlot and quickly designs an elegant dress for Twilight that matches the styles of the Canterlot elite.Out for more material, Rarity's vision is blocked by her bags, causing her to bump into Fancypants, the pony on top of the Canterlot social hierarchy. As Rarity apologizes for the accident, Fancypants recognizes her as a special pony (thanks to her stay at the castle) and invites her to his private box at the Wonderbolts Derby later that day. Although it'll give her less time to work on Twilight's dress, Rarity accepts. After she correctly predicts the derby winner and name-drops Rainbow Dash as the Wonderbolts' trainer, Fancypants declares her his "new favorite party guest". Rarity is quickly flooded with more invitations from the Canterlot upper crust, which takes up all her time and leaves her too tired to do anything more than to construct the basic dress form for Twilight.On the day before Twilight's party, Rarity is packed up and ready to head home when she gets an invitation to the Canterlot Garden Party, the second-most important event in all of Equestria. Despite her guilt, she accepts the invitation, then sends a letter to Twilight claiming that she'll miss the birthday party because Opal has fallen ill and can't make the trip home.The next day, Rarity prepares to head out for the Garden Party, only to be surprised by Twilight and all their friends! Apparently, Twilight was upset that Rarity couldn't attend her birthday party, so she asked Pinkie Pie to move it in Canterlot instead. While Rarity starts to panic, Twilight spots the uncompleted dress, then profusely thanks Rarity and compliments her for capturing her own plain and practical nature.The Mane Six proceed to the royal castle, as Princess Celestia has graciously loaned the main ballroom for Twilight's party. Fortunately for Rarity, the Garden Party is just outside, so she starts rapidly switching between the two events. After Rarity accidentally brings in a croquet mallet from outside, Twilight discovers that she's been sneaking out, then compliments Rarity for using the opportunity to sell her designs to the Canterlot elite. Not only do Rarity's friends let her go to the Garden Party……but they invite themselves to come along.
Rainbow Dash: C'mon, you guys! Let's show them how to party, Ponyville-style!
Hilarity Ensues as the plain ponies of Ponyville and the Canterlot crème de la crème mix in a most inharmonious manner, with the latter appalled at the former. Twilight's dress catches Fancypants' eye, and he politely asks her for the designer. When Twilight reveals that Rarity made it for her, Upper Crust and Jet Set begin smirking and laughing, only to be set silent when Rarity gathers her courage and stands up for her friends as the most important ponies she knows. To her surprise, Fancypants throws his support behind her, complimenting the other ponies as "charmingly rustic". The various Yes-Ponies quickly change their view of Rarity again, rapidly throwing her compliments and orders for gowns.Back in her suite, Rarity prepares a letter for Princess Celestia, only to deliver it verbally when Celestia herself stops by:
No matter where you go in life, you should never forget that you are the product of your home and friends. And that is something we should always be proud of, no matter what!
Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes can be found here):
Absentee Actor: Spike is the only main character to not appear. This is lampshaded in "Dragon Quest", where we see a photograph taken, presumably, at the birthday party Twilight threw in this episode - a cut-out of Spike is taped into an empty space.
Ad Break Double Take: Spoofed by Pinkie Pie. The rest of the Mane Six surprise Rarity and she faints, then commercials, then Rarity wakes up and Pinkie says "Hi again!"
Derpy's appearance can also be found in this mosaic.
Bon-Bon and Carrot Top attend Fancypants' party in fashionable dresses. When did they become Canterlot socialites?
Cats Hate Water: Opal isn't too happy about receiving an unexpected shower.
Celebrity Lie: A variant: Rarity claims Rainbow Dash is the Wonderbolts' trainer. Why she doesn't use her friends' actual accomplishments is a mystery.
Color Coded Magic: Consistent throughout, further extending the change in Season 2; each of the various unicorns has a unique magical aura color when he or she is using telekinesis for items, and the aura switches color when one unicorn "hands" an item over to another.
Conspicuous CG: When Rarity imagines herself sitting in the VIP box with Fancy Pants.
The Grand Galloping Gala is mentioned twice. If you look closely at the pillars in the ballroom, you'll notice they're cracked, implying a repair from when Rainbow Dash accidentally broke them at the Gala.
The previous episode had Pinkie mention that the only thing that should be rubbed in anypony's face is chocolate cake. Guess what happens this episode?
When Fluttershy summons a large number of birds at the garden party, several of them make a nest in her hair. This isn't the first time Fluttershy enjoyed having a nest on her head. Plus, it seems she's now figured out how to get them to befriend her. Be (like) a tree!
Fainting: Rarity gets to do a classical faint when her friends surprisingly show up in Canterlot.
Favouritism Flip Flop: The great majority of the Canterlot elite acts like this when Fancypants says he loves Twilight's simple dress.
Friend or Idol Decision: Rarity has to decide whether to spend time with the upper-class ponies in Canterlot or make a dress for and attend Twilight's birthday party back home. She ends up choosing her friends, but things work out for her in both ways, keeping her connections in Canterlot thanks to Fancypants.
Although she doesn't outright state it, Rainbow Dash immediately picks up on Rarity's two-timing, confronting her about her fancy attire and having the most blatant "oh really?" expressions when she behaves strangely.
Rainbow probably suspected her from the moment the letter arrived about Opal.
Go Look at the Distraction: Used almost word for word by Rarity when she tries to prevent Fancypants from being told by Twilight that she made Twilight's dress.
Good Ol' Boy: Hayseed is a positive version of this, greeting Rarity in an excited if clumsy manner and complimenting her hat in front of Jet Set and Upper Crust.
Hilarity Ensues: When the Mane Six move their party to the Garden party outside, with the Canterlot elites.
Hoist by Their Own Petard: By asserting that they wouldn't be caught dead wearing Ponyville fashion, Jet Set and Upper Crust start a chain of events that ultimately forces them to want Ponyville fashion for themselves to save face.
Horrible Judge of Character: After Jet Set and Uppercrust insult Rarity's fashion and walk off with their noses in the air, Hayseed waves good bye to them, saying to Rarity, "Well, they seemed real nice!"
Horse Racing: Well, actually, it's Pegasus racing, but you get the idea.
Humble Pie: Jet Set and Uppercrust get this thanks to Fancypants on two occasions. First by him taking Rarity into his reserved balcony seat at the races, right in front of them, and second, when he endorses Rarity and her friends, who'd they'd just spoke down to, forcing them to suck it up and praise her.
I Kiss Your Hoof: Rarity is very grateful over Princess Celestia having a suite to spare. Not only does Celestia show a bit annoyance with Rarity practically insisting on it, when Rarity is at it, we see Celestia roll her eyes just hoping that SOMETHING will divert her attention.
Impairment Shot: The eye-shaped one as Rarity wakes from the faint she fell into upon discovering her friends have surprised her by showing up unexpectedly in Canterlot.
Implausible Deniability: When Rainbow Dash asks about the croquet mallet in Rarity's mouth, Rarity feigns ignorance about said croquet mallet, despite it being clearly visible.
Applejack: How come y'all aren't doin' any gardening? This is a garden party, isn't it?
Lots of Luggage: How Rarity packs for her few days in Canterlot, much to the detriment of the poor busboy.
The Mare Wearing the Princessly Mask: During the teaser, Princess Celestia clearly thinks that letting Rarity stay in the castle is no big deal, and looks severely uncomfortable when Rarity starts kissing her hooves. The two share an embarrassed smile at the end of the episode when the porter collapses under the weight of Rarity's luggage.
Meaningful Name: Hayseed Turniptruck is a stereotypical country bumpkin (a "hayseed") who seems rather slow and oblivious (as if he "just fell off the turnip truck").
Similarly, Fancypants, Jet Set, and Upper Crust are quite appropriate names for members of an upper class.
Milholland Relationship Moment: Rarity expects Twilight to be upset that the dress she made for her is so simple, but Twilight thinks it's perfect for a practical pony like her. Then Rarity thinks Twilight will mind the fact that she's missing part of Twilight's birthday party to visit the garden party, but Twilight thinks it sounds like a great idea to drum up her dress business and to go to both…in fact, why don't they all go?
Canterlot society seems to require these, at least some of the time. Particularly noticeable during the horse racing event, where there is exactly one pony (out of dozens) that isn't wearing a hat. It could be an Affectionate Parody of Triple Crown horse racing events, where ridiculously fancy Nice Hats are a staple. Which adds to the Visual Pun of Fancypants's cutie mark being three crowns. The scene also works as a shout out to the Ascot Opening Day scene in My Fair Lady
Upper Crust compliments Rarity on her hat... only to change her opinion when Rarity turns out to be from Ponyville and made it herself.
Off Model: There is a 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' moment where the earth pony Rarity is talking to suddenly gains a horn for the sake of a gag. It's during 'Becoming Popular' and Rarity is choosing the desserts.
Offscreen Teleportation: Fleur dis Lee seems to be a master of this. During her thirty seconds onscreen she rapidly moves about in relation to Fancypants. Nuzzling him on one side, for example, then lounging on his back from the other when the camera has been off them for maybe a second.
Opinion Flipflop: Jet Set and Upper Crust go from mocking Twilight's new dress to praising it the moment Fancy Pants complements it.
Pretty in Mink: One of the Canterlot ponies has a fur hat and fur-trimmed coat.
Puppy-Dog Eyes: Downplayed version used by three of the elite when pleading with Rarity to attend their events.
Rich Bitch/Upper-Class Twit: The Canterlot elite, especially Jet Set and Upper Crust, generally look down on Ponyville as backwards and unsophisticated. Not the case with Fancypants, who finds the rest of the Mane Cast "charmingly rustic" and is very kind towards them and Rarity.
Rule of Funny: While the Party Cannon has a visible fuse, Pinkie Pie presses it like a button to fire it.
Rarity's behavior at the Wonderbolts Derby is similar (though not as extreme) as Audrey Hepburn's character in My Fair Lady.
The comically abused bellhop is very reminiscent of Jerry Lewis' equally comically abused bellhop in the movie "The Bell Boy".
One of the shopping bags in Rarity's luggage pile has a logo of a double-crossed pair of horseshoes, similar to the double-crossed C's of the Chanel logo. The laurel wreath is the logo of the Fred Perry brand.
Twilight's dancing style (and the people's reaction to it) is very reminiscent of "The Elaine"
"Becoming Popular" is similar in style to Madonna's early-mid 80's songs.
Simple Yet Awesome: Twilight likes Rarity's unfinished dress because it is plain and practical.
Snap Back: The Canterlot elite don't recognize Rarity and her friends, who have saved Equestria from eternal reigns of evil twice, among various other accomplishments. They also regard Ponyville as a backwater, even though it's the home of the national heroes, the site of last year's Summer Sun Celebration, and the site of Luna's public debut. And despite being fashionable, they don't recognize Rarity as a designer of dresses recently sold at an upscale boutique in Canterlot, or recognize Fluttershy from her brief but successful modeling career. Fortunately, that's not all they seem to have forgotten.
Spit Take: Rarity does this when Twilight is about to reveal who made her dress to Fancypants.
Squee: Similar to "Green Isn't Your Color", Rarity seems very calm about meeting with Fancypants, then she squees and giggles like a fangirl. (Which she probably was, already.)
Sure, Let's Go with That: When Rarity sees an out and accepts Twilight's plausible-yet-wrong explanation for her switching between the two parties.
That Poor Cat: Opal lets out a tortured off-screen yowl at least twice.
Throw the Dog a Bone: This episode sees three Mane Characters get at least some portion of what they wanted out of last year's Gala. Rarity is accepted into the Canterlot elite, Fluttershy gets to play with the animals in the palace garden, and Pinkie Pie attends (indeed, hosts) a party, Pinkie-Pie-style, in the palace ballroom, and gets to crash the garden party. The Canterlot ponies are unimpressed, but Pinkie actually seems to enjoy herself this time (probably because her best friends were there). Rarity also meets a high society pony who actually behaves like a proper gentleman towards her as well, what she expected from Prince Blueblood but never got. Twilight actually gets to have a fun birthday party despite being neglected by Rarity.
Two-Timer Date: Rarity has to switch between going to Twilight's birthday and attending the Canterlot Garden Party.
Uncle Pennybags: It turns out that Fancypants is open-minded and not quite as snooty as other Canterlot ponies, and he would love Rarity to make more dresses for them, despite her coming from Ponyville.
What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of the episode, Fancypants asks Rarity to introduce her friends to him. It then cuts to Rarity presenting the Friendship Report, never showing if anything came of her lie about Rainbow Dash being the Wonderbolts' trainer.
In Canterlot, the higher up you are, the more you have. This saves Rarity's reputation in the end; while everypony initially laughs at her, Fancypants approves of it all, saying he finds her friends "charmingly rustic". Within seconds, everypony there is swamping Rarity with orders.
Rarity invokes this trope in her song.
See how they hang on every word that I speak My approving glance is what they all seek.
She also uses her Yes-Mares to emphasize her element of Generosity: She accepts everything the snooty ponies don't like, and makes the snooty ones accept it because she does.