Pinkie Pie is hanging out with Twilight in the town square when she sees Rarity in a new outfit she's designed. Disappointed that she missed out on seeing the garment come together, Pinkie has the unsettling realization that she just doesn't have enough time to hang out with all her best friends, and will have to miss out on fun with them. She nevertheless tries to both hang out with Rainbow Dash at the swimming hole and help Applejack put up a new barn at Sweet Apple Acres, until Twilight comments:
Thus Pinkie remembers the legendary Mirror Pond (also called the Mirror Pool), which is said to create a magical clone of anyone who recites a magic rhyme and gazes into its depths. She stumbles upon the pond in an underground cavern deep in the Everfree Forest, and soon finds herself face-to-face with an exact duplicate of herself who's ready and eager to have fun—perhaps a little too eager. As she heads off to play with Rainbow Dash, Pinkie instructs her clone to go to Sweet Apple Acres so the clone can tell her all about Applejack's day.At the swimming hole, Pinkie finds that Rainbow Dash is tuckered out from a long morning of cloud-wrangling and would rather relax on the shore, so she swims quietly so as to not disturb her friend. The clone, meanwhile, is sidetracked on her way to Applejack's when Fluttershy invites her to a tea party with her woodland friends. Now the clone becomes torn between which friend to spend time with, and rushes back to Pinkie for advice. The solution seems simple enough: make more clones so they can have more fun! Unfortunately, the clones get too carried away and keep copying themselves until there are dozens of Pinkie Pies running around Ponyville.It dawns on Pinkie that her clones don't share her consideration for her friends, and she watches in horror as they disrupt Rainbow Dash's rest and knock down Applejack's unfinished barn in their attempts to have "fun". Soon a mob of angry ponies swamp Twilight's library to demand a solution to this infestation of Pinkie Pies. Twilight and Spike find a book hidden away in the library containing a spell that will send the clones back into the Mirror Pond. Of course, there's a catch: the spell doesn't just work on clones so if she's not careful, Twilight could banish the real Pinkie into the pond by mistake. With all these Pinkies running around acting weird, not even the original Pinkie is sure who the real one is anymore.Fortunately, inspiration strikes when Pinkie suggests that Twilight give an unfun test to root out the clones; after all, only the real Pinkie would be willing to do the most boring task if it means staying with her friends. Taking this to heart, Twilight and co. herd the many, many Pinkie Pies to town hall for the test: watching paint dry! Sure enough, the Pinkie clones get distracted one by one and are zapped back into the Mirror Pond until only one remains: the original Pinkie Pie, who has definitely learned her lesson; don't try too hard to be there for all her friends and true friends will be willing to accept she can't be everywhere at once. After a long day of excitement—and blocking up the entrance to the Mirror Pond—the only thing Pinkie wants to do now is take a nap.
Accidental Misnaming: Pinkie clones had hard time remembering Applejack and Fluttershy's names. The real Pinkie had to quiz them.
Art Shift: As explained below, for a split second Pinkie is drawn like a G3 pony.
Baleful Polymorph: Twilight accidentally transforms a bird and frog into half-orange creatures as a result of Pinkie messing up her aim while practicing the apple to orange spell.
Barn Raising: One of the many things that was ruined by the Pinkie clones in this episode.
Batman Gambit: Pinkie and Twilight reason the clones care too much about fun to do boring things even if it means being banished forever while the real Pinkie wouldn't stoop to such lows, so they arrange a paint-watching test that pushes them to the limits only the genuine article can muster.
Rainbow Dash doesn't believe Pinkie when told outright that she created a clone of herself.
Averted later on when Pinkie realizes her friends won't believe her if she says she's the real one, so she doesn't bother. At the same time, Twilight brushes off Spike's questioning if the depressed Pinkie surrounded by her energetic clones is in fact the original, claiming that she wouldn't sit still for that long.
More like Conservation of Detail. The duplicates actually acted as rationally as Pinkie ever does until the original told them to have fun. Later, when rounded up, they were obedient and rational. As the intermediate part of the story was about them causing trouble, scenes of them being reasonable simply weren't worth showing.
Cloning Blues: Inverted; the copies of Pinkie are busy having fun while the original Pinkie suffers an existential crisis.
The book on the Mirror Pool found in the secret compartment found behind a stack of books by Spike was awfully convenient given the timing. It also leads one to wonder how it was never noticed before considering how many times that library must have undergone cleaning and re-shelving by its resident.
Also, given that only a few pages about the book may be about the pool, one wonders what other "secrets" are contained within, who wrote it, and why it was hidden like that.
Expendable Clone: Twilight is alarmingly cavalier about banishing the Pinkie Pie clones and it made worse with the effects of the spell. Justified, when you think of Pinkie's clones more as magical manifestations than real living ponies; Word of Godstates this was their intention, that the clones were converted back into energy when zapped, and that they were honestly surprised that fans were looking any further into it.
Face Plant: Happens to Pinkie when she falls down the tunnel to the Mirror Pond.
Fantastic Aesop: Remember: pleasing all your friends can be hard, but don't clone yourself so you can spend time with all of them at once. That's gonna cause problems.
Flanderization: Deconstructed; Pinkie's mass-produced clones exaggerate the "FUN!" aspect of the original, which irritates the real Pinkie's friends to no end. There are more facets to her personality than 'FUN!' because she is the real deal, and this ensures that her friends aren't irritated by her personally. Until this episode, the real Pinkie was being Flanderized into an Innocently Insensitive party pony, though not nearly to the extent of her clones by comparison. This, as a result, becomes a good wake-up call for the real Pinkie about taking her idea of fun too far.
Fourth Wall Observer: When exiting the underground lake for the first time, the first Pinkie Pie clone stares directly into the camera, albeit from a distance.
Gasp: The Pinkies' reaction to learning that their test is watching paint dry.
Genre Blind: Spike is the only one to realize that the Pinkie Pie who is stressed out, depressed, and filled with self-doubt is the real one. Justified, as Twilight and the others are afraid to banish the real Pinkie by mistake, and can't afford to jump to conclusions because one Pinkie acts differently from the others.
Lack of Empathy: This is what makes Pinkie's clones different from the original...sort of; they have the capacity for empathy, but without Pinkie's memories they don't have anyone to be empathetic towards.
Lampshade Hanging: Rainbow Dash wonders how Pinkie is able to slow down her dive so she splashes quietly.
Magic Mirror: A pond that serves as one is Pinkie's method of choice for self-cloning.
Me's a Crowd: Pinkie creates clones of herself so they can tell her about the fun she's mising.
Mind Screw: When Pinkie enters the mirror pool, she becomes the first clone. The real Pinkie was somehow standing on the bank all along, as if the pool were a gateway to a mirror world. The second cloning (going from two Pinkies to four) is similarly mind-bending to watch, due to the ambiguous camera angle.note It seems like we're watching their reflections, but then they approach the surface of the water and emerge on the other side of the pool.
Mirror Routine: One of the Pinkie clones imitates Twilight's motions as she speaks to the real Pinkie.
Mundane Made Awesome: Inverted with paint watching; the point is to force the pinkies so do something mind rendingly boring to weed out the real one. Spike does a Pass the Popcorn bit, but eats it all before anything exciting happens.
Never Say "Die": Twilight's spell is specifically stated to send Pinkie Pie's clones "back where they came from", and describes the possibility of using this on the real Pinkie as "sending her back", and Pinkie says "goes back into the pond". However, since the clones never existed inside the pond before Pinkie created them Twilight is basically killing them by sending them back to nonexistence. Also Pinkie Pie doesn't elaborate when she says
Pinkie Pie: What if I don't pass? What if I'm not the real Pinkie Pie?
Fluttershy: Goodness. Was it something I said? (beat) Clone!Pinkie: *zips back* YES! *zips away*
Rule of Fun: The idea of somepony having fun without her is what drives Pinkie Pie to find the Mirror Pond and make copies of herself. Even if she couldn't be there when her friends were having fun, at least somePinkie could.
Pinkie Pie: Betcha can't make a face crazier than THIS!!! [Pinkie Pie makes a G3 pony face before getting blasted by Twilight]
Send in the Clones: Pinkie wanted one of herself for each friend so she didn't miss anything.
Serious Business: Pinkie panics that there is fun being had that she's not able to be a part of.
Ship Tease: Before the mob of Pinkie clones storms through the street between their houses, there's a brief shot of Golden Harvest and Noteworthy looking at each other across the street from their bedroom windows. Golden Harvest waves, and Noteworthy smiles back excitedly.
One of the clone Pinkie Pies in the background at the lake appears to be doing the Gangnam Style dance as her front hooves are overlapped as if they were holding the reins of a horse. Bonus points in that being a pony, she is a horse!
Twilight sends the clones back into the mirror pool by bubblizing them.
The style and sound of the Pinkies shouting "FUN! FUN! FUN!" is extremely similar to the "MINE! MINE! MINE!" shouting of the seagulls of Finding Nemo.
Smoking Horn Blowout: After zapping all but two of the Pinkie Pies, Twilight's horn overheats and emits smoke, which she blows out.
Sorcerer's Apprentice Plot: Pinkie creates one duplicate to help herself and makes two more when one is not enough and then it spins out of control into an unstoppable army of annoying Pinkies that resident wizard Twilight has to fix.
Spot of Tea: Fluttershy has a little picnic with some of the forest critters, inviting Pinkie to it when she runs across her.
Spot the Imposter: As suggested by the real Pinkie Pie, Twilight forces all the Pinkies to watch paint dry, reasoning that the real one would sit through it all for her friends.
Imposter Forgot One Detail: All the clones are exaggerated, fun-loving versions of the real Pinkie Pie and don't have Pinkie's memories (Pinkie has to teach them her friends' names) or the same love she has for her friends.
Stock Footage: Sharp-eyed viewers may notice the Pinkie clones recycling chunks of animation from earlier episodes.
Sudden Anatomy: By blowing into one front hoof, Pinkie Pie (one of them, at least) can sprout fingers from her other front hoof.
Summation Gathering: Twilight tells all the Pinkie Pies in the auditorium of the town hall "I suppose you're all wondering why I've gathered you here today."
Take That: The entire episode is a satire on Flanderization. The clone Pinkies only have one trait, which is played Up to Eleven, and the townsponies are as annoyed by it as the audience would be.
Talking to Themself/Thinking Out Loud: Pinkie playfully chastises herself for it while walking to the Mirror Pool for the first time. Then she wonders if talking to her clone counts as the same.
Tastes Like Diabetes: Deconstructed in-universe. The first Pinkie Pie copy is easily distracted by Fluttershy's critter picnic, which she and the real Pinkie agreed sounded just as much fun as the barn raising at Sweet Apple Acres. Later, the Pinkie copies trashing the picnic is treated as no less serious than their ruining the Apples' barn raising or Rarity's boutique.
Pinkie Pie copy: She offered me something else fun to do: a picnic! With cute little animals! Original Pinkie: Aw, how could you say no to that!! copy: That's what I'm saying! Then I would have missed the super-fun thing with Applesauce! original: Applejack. copy:(wailing) So I didn't do anything fun at all!!
Pinkie and her clones, all over the place. Unusually, somepony notices, when Pinkie pauses in midair and lowers herself gently into a lake from a jump. (notably, this would not be feat at all for almost two thirds of the local population, including the wing-equipped pegasi and the levitation-capable unicorns. Pinkie, however, is of the one pony subset that is NOT supposed to be able to fly.)
Applejack's new barn gets in on the action as well. When the Pinkies swarm the site and makes the Apples release the rope holding the broad side, the other sides fall to the ground, leaving the central crossbeam hanging in the air for a few seconds before it falls too.
Trailers Always Spoil: The G3 pony face joke was inserted by storyboardist Sabrina Alberghetti, something that she stated she had been trying to inject and the episode made for the perfect opportunity. Only for the Hub preview ads for Season 3 to pull that scene out of context.
Two-Timer Date: Trying to avoid this is the reason why all this happens in the first place.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Everypony seems more annoyed or intimidated than shocked by the presence of several dozen Pinkie Pies. The first time Rainbow Dash sees one duplicate, she shrugs it off.