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Shout Out: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

For shout outs from the IDW comics books, please see the comic book series shoutout page.

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    Mythology Gags 
  • Nightmare Moon is trying to bring about The Night That Never Ends, just like Tirek. However, while Tirek only seemed to be doing it For the Evulz, Nightmare Moon's backstory establishes her as The Resenter.
  • The Elements of Harmony combine to summon the Rainbow of Light. There's even more of a shout out when they're used to beat Discord. Complete with similar music and a World-Healing Wave.
  • In the Pilot, the ponies have to cross a raging river and a rickety bridge to get to a castle, just like in Rescue from Midnight Castle.
  • Rarity's butterfly wings in "Sonic Rainboom" and the Glimmer Wings toy ponies are a nod to G1 and G3 winged ponies, the Flutterpony toy line (right down to how they're notorious for having delicate, breakable wings) and the Breezies in particular.
  • In "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", the younger Fluttershy's thinner body and legs is also reminiscent of the Flutter Ponies. All she's missing are the delicate butterfly wings... which, of course, can be found on her cutie mark instead.
    • Fluttershy has a yellow coat and pink mane and tail, like Rosedust, Queen of the Flutter Ponies - and her original inspiration Posey (who was an earth pony, but otherwise was nigh-identical in appearance, especially in Lauren Faust's early sketches).
  • In "Over a Barrel" Spike plays a piano for a show like G1 Spike does in the 1986 My Little Pony Movie.
  • Discord's mind rape of the mane cast making them lose their color and become jerks is reminiscent of the Smooze from the Original MLP movie, where touching it made a pony act like a jerk and "lose their twinkle".
  • The design of the Fire Ruby in "Secret Of My Excess" looks exactly like the Heart Stone from the original series episode "Crunch the Rockdog".
  • Twilight's Twinkling Balloon is actually a shout out to the balloon in MLP G3/G3.5.
    • Spike sending a photo of the ponies to Princess Celestia at the end of the opening is a reference to the ponies taking a group picture at the end of the G3 and G3.5 openings.
  • Heck, the opening starts with a shout out to every MLP commercial and theme song ever made.
  • Almost all of the main cast are amalgamations of G1 ponies from years 2 or 3 and based on the personalities that Lauren Faust had given her ponies as a child. Someone put together an influence list referencing both the G1 and G3 ponies that these were based on.
    • Applejack is just a redesigned version of the original. She and Spike are the only trademarks that the creators were interested in using that Hasbro retained from the 80s.
      • Applejack's brother Big McIntosh resembles the G3 version of Applejack in color and a cutie mark consisting of just one big apple (as opposed to every other version of Applejack having several smaller apples).
      • AJ's sister Apple Bloom has a personality inspired by G1 Ember, the colors of G3 Candy Apple, and the art and design talents of G3 Toola-Roola.
    • Twilight Sparkle is a fairly direct cross of Powder, Twilight Twinkle and Twilight.
      • Her mother Twilight Velvet, seen in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" and "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2" as well as in the Wave 4 Blind Bags, is very clearly based on the G1 Twilight, who was intended to be the original main character of Friendship is Magic
      • However, T.V.'s Special Edition Blind Bag figure has a color scheme and cutie mark more similar to G1 Glory than G1 Twilight.
      • Her father resembles Nachtlicht, a German-only Pony from G1, a bit too much for comfort. It could be a genderswap Mythology Gag, similar to how Big Mac resembles G3 Applejack. Or just the fact that the name and color scheme fit well into the family theme. The Gameloft game confirms this as Twilight's parents live in "Nightlight Boookbinding"
      • In the first episode Twilight Sparkle gets invited to Moondancer's get-together. This is both a nod to the G1 pony Moondancer and a Development Gag on the fact that Twilight was going to have a variation of Moondancer's cutie marknote 
      • Twilight Sparkle can teleport. In G1, Unicorns can teleport (they call it "winking in" and "winking out"). The first Unicorn seen to teleport is G1 Twilight, in the opening theme of "Rescue from Midnight Castle".
    • Rainbow Dash is a perfect mix of Sunlight, Firefly and her Generation 3/3.5 incarnation.
    • Fluttershy was originally just SUPPOSED to be Posey but Hasbro had lost the trademark on that name.
      • Her cutie mark however is a shout-out to the G2 Pony Sky Skimmer and her name is based on her Generation 3 incarnation.
    • Spike being in love with Rarity may be a shout out to G1's Majesty, with whom the original Spike came and Rarity somewhat resembles (although really she's more of an amalgamation of Sparkler and Glory from the G1 line).
      • Background pony Amethyst Star is also similar to Sparkler and her appearance in the Blind Bags uses Rarity's model. Her Wave 9 blind bag figure, which uses Twilight's model, looks even more like G1 Twilight than Twilight Velvet.
      • Twilight's relationship with Spike mirrors Spike's with Majesty back in G1, especially in the British comics.
      • Funny enough, Rarity's mannerisms bear resemblance to those of G3 Rainbow Dash, especially her tendency to call everyone "darling".
    • Twilight herself mirrors Majesty in the British comics. Other unicorns could only really do one type of magic, like Fizzy being good at blowing bubbles out her horn, but Majesty had no such restrictions.
      • It's easiest to see Twilight Sparkle's origin in the UK comic's Twilight, not the cartoon version: Comic Twilight is very reclusive, only seen at night and hiding in a magical mist when she must travel by day. And she, too, had an incredible range of spells unrestricted by the one-per-special-talent rule and the usual level of power seen with other unicorns. She was highly trusted by Majesty (and good luck finding the mysterious mare in the magical mist you're anyone else!) and sometimes the only one who could handle something that would be a threat to anyone (or everyone!) else. Can you think of a Twilight who highly trusted by the godlike leader, has magic far above and beyond what other unicorns do, and (until recently in terms of her life) doesn't socialize?
      • There's also the other Twilight in G1, a pegasus from "Flight to Cloud Castle." She is purple like Twilight Sparkle, and her cutie mark is a candle; an identical one is found on Twilight Sparkle's door! Especially now that she's an alicorn, she seems a fusion of the three Twilights: the magic and relationship with the ruler of comic Unicorn Twilight, the body color and wings of Pegasus Twilight, and a cutie mark and hair colors based on the G3 Earth Pony Twilight Twinkle. The three Twilights of the three races, all in one!
    • Early concept sketches of Pinkie Pie were just straight up Surprise. Her wings were passed on to Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie was given a swapped version of her G3 color scheme.note 
      • Both Surprise in her original concept and G3 Pinkie Pie have similar cutie marks with 3 balloons. G4 Pinkie Pie's cutie mark is a combination, using the balloon colors (blue and yellow) from G3 Pinkie Pie and the placement of the concept.
      • The first word out of Pinkie Pie's mouth in the G4 cartoon is "Surprise".
      • It's worth noting that the original Surprise had somewhat greenish blonde hair in the cartoon and Pinkie's mother is white with green hair, though she's not a pegasus.
      • In the show, one of the unnamed Wonderbolts(whose toy is simply called "Wonderbolts Pony") is colored similar to Surprise and G3 Breezie.
    • Every time Pinkie Pie plans a party or does a balloon gag she's giving a shout out to the G3 theme song.
      Let's plan a party with Pinkie Pie
      Then watch her balloons lift her up to the sky!
      My Little Pony G3 theme song
      • That part of the theme song is actually a reference to A Charming Birthday in which she is lifted into the air by her balloon charm bracelet.
  • The 3rd tier characters Snips and Snails (himself a shout out to the G1 pony Squirmy), make up 2/3rds of the ingredients of little boys, the exact opposite of the Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice that created the Powerpuff Girls.
  • The twin ponies working at the spa are directly based on the twins of the G1 Surprise Twins Pony and/or on the G2 twins Rose and Lily. Both sets were only available in Europe, and Lotus Blossom (the one with the blue coat and pink mane) even has an accent to match!
  • Most of the large stallions have unshorn fetlocks like the G1 Big Brother Ponies. Two of these large stallions are in fact big brothers, Big McIntosh to Applejack & Apple Bloom and Shining Armor to Twilight Sparkle.
  • Celestia resembles the G2 Pony design, with a bit of the G1 Beauty Dream Pony thrown in.
  • Cheerilee being a teacher is similar to her original unicorn version role in one of the G3 specials, notably Crystal Princess: The Runaway Rainbow. Later stories have her mysteriously not a unicorn anymore, but she is the older sister to Scootaloo and knows a great deal of lore and history. So naturally, she is a teacher in FIM, with Scootaloo as one of her students (as well as Scoots' partner in crime Sweetie Belle.)
    • Cheerilee had a toy called "Go To School With Cheerilee" which had her as a student in school. Come a few years later and she's a teacher.
    • Cheerilee was notably requested by Hasbro to appear in the show due to her popularity from G3.
  • The plot of "The Ticket Master" is near identical to a My Little Pony Tales episode ("And the Winner is..") where one of the ponies wins a pair of tickets to a concert and has to choose which friend to take.
  • "Dragonshy" is about the ponies climbing a mountain to deal with a dragon in a cave, which also happened in the G3.5 special Twinkle Wish Adventure.
    • In G3, Spike wakes up from a thousand year nap. In G4, dragons are mentioned to nap for very long, possibly a hundred years or even more.
  • "Winter Wrap Up" brings to mind the the opening theme to the the 1986 My Little Pony movie:
    My Little Pony, My Little Pony
    All in a twinkling spring is here.
    My Little Pony, My Little Pony
    When did all the leaves and grass appear?
    Where there were snowdrifts, now there are no drifts,
    Nor is the sky overcast.
    My Little Pony, My Little Pony
    Winter is over at last!
  • In one episode of G1, Wind Whistler had her wings tied during a race, like Rainbow Dash in "Fall Weather Friends".
  • Toy line exclusive pony Sweetie Swirl, a Palette Swap of Rarity, is colored similarly to Rarity's G3 incarnation, and her cutie mark is similar to G1 and G3 Cotton Candy.
  • Aura, the filly that Rainbow Dash rescues from the well in "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" has the same body color (and a near-identical voice) as Lickety Split, who had a musical number involving someone else trapped in a well in the original movie.
  • "Secret of My Excess" features a pony named Lickety Split and a mare named Junebug.
  • In "Hearth's Warming Eve" when Rarity (as Princess Platinum) claims Equestria as her own she christens it Unicornia. Unicornia is the name of the unicorns' kingdom from G3 whose princess is named Rarity.
    • Fluttershy's character in the play is named "Pansy", which almost sounds like "Posey", the G1 pony Fluttershy was based on.
  • The euphemisms and pony-versions of words characters use come from G1, mainly from European canon. Terms like "Pony feathers!" are the most obvious. Applejack in particular liked to use that term in the British comics, and her G4 Expy often uses it too.
  • "The Last Roundup" includes a pony named Cherry Jubilee. There was a G1 pony named Cherries Jubilee.
  • Party Of One's plot is unusually similar to a comic in the British G1 comics called "A Surprise For Surprise''. In the comic, everypony is ignoring Surprise and telling her to leave them alone. Surprise believes they all hate her and runs off, but it turns out they were throwing a party for Surprise. All the ponies the Mane Cast are based off appear in the strip too.
  • Flower Wishes, Daisy's name from the toy line, was also the name of a G3 pony.
  • The stunt that causes Rainbow Dash to crash in "Read It And Weep" is, going by the motions of the onlookers' heads as they follow it, Firefly's trademark double inside-out loop.
  • Bizarrely, "A Friend in Deed" gives Daisy Jo, the name of a G3/G3.5 pony, to one of the cows from "Applebuck Season".
  • "Dragon Quest" has quite a bit in common with the My Little Pony And Friends episode "Spike's Search": They both involve a little purple dragon named Spike leaving behind his pony friends to look for his draconic roots, only to fall in with a crowd of trouble-making dragons, which leads him to decide he's more at home with the ponies.
    • One of the dragons, Garble, has the same color scheme as Fiery from G1.
  • In "Hurricane Fluttershy", during the big tornado scene one can see a male pegasus with the color scheme of Firefly, the G1 pegasus who inspired Rainbow Dash.
  • A pony in "Putting Your Hoof" down - dubbed "Surf" by fans - has a blue mane, pink fur, lightning bolt earrings, and looks like she came right out of The Eighties. She seems to be a Shout-Out to Firefly.
  • When Fluttershy is cleaning during "The Ticket Master", she hums the G1 theme song. It's easy to mistake it for the Friendship is Magic theme tune, since they start the same way, but after the "My Little Pony My Little Pony" part, it clearly follows the melody and beat of the next line of the G1 theme tune ("What will today's adventure be?") rather than the rising "Ah" that follows it in Friendship is Magic, though said beat would eventually find its way into the extended version of the Friendship is Magic theme ("What is friendship all about?")
  • In "Applebuck Season", sleep deprivation turns Applejack into a silly pony. Her G1 incarnation was an earth pony forerunner of Derpy (but with apples instead of muffins). A tie-in record was made during G1's run in the UK, one of the songs being the now-memetic "Who's A Silly Pony".
  • King Sombra is turned to crystal and shattered by the Crystal Heart. G1 villain Lavan was killed when a crystal called the Heart of Ponyland provided the power needed to shatter him (after he'd already turned to crystal).
    • He also shares more than a passing resemblance to the original Tirek who was also killed by exploding.
  • In "Too Many Pinkie Pies", one of the duplicate Pinkies rearranges her face to look like her G3 counterpart. She's promptly blasted into oblivion
    "Bet you can't make a face crazier than this!"
  • The advert transition screen from "The Crystal Empire - Part 2" is a large bunch of balloons, which bears a resemblance to the Children's Video Library logo; which is basically the very first thing you see if you play an original VHS copy of Escape from Midnight Castle.
  • The Crystal Ponies themselves, in their crystal forms, resemble a G1 line with the same appearance called the Sparkle Ponies.
    • Speaking of Sparkle Ponies, Applejack resembles one when she was covered in glitter in "Apple Family Reunion".
  • Babs Seed blows her hair out of her eyes like G3's Toola-Roola (incidentally one of only two of G3's Core 7 to not appear in G4 at all; Starsong is the other).
  • In Sleepless in Ponyville, Rainbow Dash saves Scootaloo from death by waterfall, like in The Runaway Rainbow.
  • In "Family Appreciation Day", a rainbow resembling the one from the franchise's original logo appears above the apple tree. Also, a rainbow flies around the apples, like the Rainbow of Light.
  • In issue 9 of the IDW comics, a flyer from Canterlot High clearly states "Bring submissions to Megan, Danny, or Molly". It's referring to the human characters in My Little Pony And Friends. The same flyer has the name "Sundance" on it, a G1 pony who Megan was released with several times in the toy line.
    • In the same issue a unicorn who has a strong resemblance to Moondancer from G1 pops up. It's also a kick back to episode 1 of the series, where Moondancer is mentioned.
    • In the same issue, there's also several background instances of members of the Mane 6 telling other ponies about an off-screen adventure that apparently was very similar to "The End of Flutter Valley" from the original series (it involved a Sun Stone and giant bees).
  • In Winter Wrap-Up, Derpy goes north to find the southern birds—just like Megan and the ponies in Baby, It's Cold Outside.
  • One issue of the IDW comics clearly shows Glory, Surprise, and Firefly.
  • As of Season 4 Episode 16, we have Friendship Is Magic's answer to Breezies, which were originally G3-specific.
  • The goat head of the Chimera that attacks Applebloom in "Somepony to Watch Over Me" is vaguely similar to Grogar's head.
  • "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3" documents the creation of the Wonderbolts, lead by "General Firefly". This is, per Amy Keating Rogers, a nod to Lauren Faust's online screenname "fyre-flye", which itself was selected by Faust in relation to the G1 Firefly, who inspired the current generation Rainbow Dash.
  • In Inspiration Manifestation, once again, we see Rainbow Dash dressed in style.
  • The Big Bad of the season 4 finale, "Twilight's Kingdom", is Lord Tirek, who is named for (and resembles) the villain of the original My Little Pony TV Special "Rescue from Midnight Castle". Scorpan is mentioned in Lord Tirek's backstory, and both have designs very reminiscent of their original forms. In a larger sense, this two-parter is a celebration of the 30th anniversary (late by one month) of My Little Pony as a cartoon franchise. The Rainbow Power used to defeat G4 Tirek is a callback to the Rainbow of Light used against his G1 counterpart.
  • The mane colors on Sweetie Drops' Cutie Mark Magic brushable toy more resemble G1 Bon Bon than her show and blind bag counterparts.

Other Outside References

    Season 1 
  • Twilight's last name was changed from "Twinkle" to "Sparkle". When Lauren Faust was asked if the name was an intentional joke, her response was "It passed legal."
  • The Cutie Mark Crusaders are suspiciously similar to the "Pre-Teen Sensations" from Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret., even to the point that they are waiting for a physical transformation and are trying all kinds of irrational stuff to make it happen. The entire scene where they are deciding on a name is almost exactly how it happens in the book.
  • The first outfit seen in the Costume Test Montage in episode 1 is very clearly the pony version of the Statue of Liberty. In a later episode, we see the statue proper in Manehattan.
  • Twilight calls a lovestruck Spike "Casanova", a reference to the Real Life person.
  • Pinkie Pie tries to guess who Nightmare Moon is. Her first guess is "Hokey Smokes". (She also guesses "Black Snooty".)
    • Nightmare Moon's exit from her first appearance in the second episode is a shout out to Maleficent's exit in Sleeping Beauty.
    • Even Applejack holding back Rainbow Dash from charging Nightmare Moon, even though it suits the two of them so well it hasn't been the only time, has a clear parallel in the same scene, with Flora (red fairy) holding back Merryweather (blue).
    • Nightmare Moon's boasting to Twilight after shattering the elements mirrors a line by Maleficent almost exactly.
    • Heck, in the beginning of the second episode, they literally take two lines from Sleeping Beauty almost word-for-word.
  • Twilight Sparkle emits the "transporter energize" sound effect from Star Trek, at about 18:23 of Episode 2. (For those who don't want to wait for a video that's at least that long to load, and then watch all the way to that point, it's when she opens her eyes and they glow.)
  • The manticore has a thorn in its paw. The manticore is part lion. Definitely a shout-out to the fable of Androcles and the Lion.
    • The part of the manticore scene where Rainbow Dash attempts to create a vortex around the beast is very similar to a battle in BIONICLE where Lewa Nuva attempted the same move against the Rahi Nui (Which is more or less a biomechanical manticore). In both stories, the creature sticks a limb into its enemy's path and sends them sprawling.
  • The General premise and execution of the climax in the pilot seems very much like BIONICLE. Six heroes discovering their elements after being tested? Check. Master of Shadows? You bet! A Kirk Summation delivered to the villain with the friends arriving in the nick of time? Yes! The whole scene will remind many of Legends of Metru Nui.
  • Luna is given a wreath of red and white roses, referring to the Tudor crest used to symbolize peace after the War of the Roses.
  • "Ticket Master" includes a Benny Hill-style chase scene, right down to a Suspiciously Similar version of "Yakkity Sax" playing in the background. Like the original, this BGM has been reused for every wacky chase scene throughout the show, twice so far (although the second one is slightly different and actually even closer to the original).
  • The bunny stampede from "Applebuck Season" is a shout out to Night of the Lepus, a 1970's horror movie.
  • In "Griffon the Brush Off", when Pinkie Pie wants to hang out with Rainbow Dash, their chase scene mirrors Pepe LePew shorts in most respects, even down to Rainbow Dash's expressions.
  • In "Boast Busters", Trixie refers to herself as The Great and Powerful, but is revealed to be a fraud, much like Oz, The Great and Terrible.
    • The same episode includes Snips and Snails making a Pinky and the Brain reference, and when Rarity demands for a mirror to see the mess Trixie made to her mane, she is mimicking The Joker's mirror scene from Tim Burton's first Batman movie.
    • The shout out to Batman is even more powerful when you realize Rarity is wearing a purple dress, her face is white and her hair is, well, green.
    • Twilight calls Spike "Romeo" early in the episode.
  • In "Dragonshy", the music that plays during the preparation montage – as well as the montage itself – is a combination of references to The A-Team and Charlie's Angels. Additionally, the music that plays during the girls' journey up the mountain is a variation on the theme for The Lord of the Rings.
  • The "Welcome Princess Celest" banner in "Swarm of the Century" is a reference to The Commitments.
    • During Twilight's Sanity Slippage moment, she suggests building a replica of Ponyville in less than a minute in order to keep Princess Celestia from seeing the Parasprite carnage. (Word of God confirms the reference.)
    • Pinkie Pie, after she saves the day and hears about another parasprite infestation: "Well, have tuba - will travel."
    • Also, Parasprites are just flying versions of Tribbles.
    • Finally, Pinkie's solution for getting rid of parasprites is just a more insane version of the classic folk tale "The Pied Piper".
      • It's also another version of how SpongeBob got rid of the wild jellyfish in his house in the episode "Jellyfish Jam."
    • There is also a Gremlins reference: After Twilight and Spike wake up to find the parasprites in big numbers, Spike mentions having fed the original creature during the night.
  • "Winter Wrap Up" has an ice skating scene similar to the one in Bambi, with Spike taking the place of Thumper and Twilight being Bambi.
  • "Call of the Cutie":
    • There's a sequence at the end with Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo sitting around a table, with the camera mimicking the round-table shots that That '70s Show is known for.
  • Twilight's racing number for the Running of the Leaves in "Fall Weather Friends" is 42.
  • In "Suited for Success", Rarity's musical number, "Art of the Dress", is directly based on "Putting It Together" from Stephen Sondheim's Sunday In The Park With George.
    • Rarity seals herself in her bedroom, shouting "I vant to be alone!" She does it again in "Green Isn't Your Color".
    • During the second fashion show, the background music features multiple shout-outs. In the beginning and end, the music takes cues from "Also Sprach Zarathustra". Pinkie Pie's segment takes cues from both I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow and the Cartoon Cartoon music from Cartoon Network. Fluttershy's segment is based off of Claude Debussy's L'après-midi d'un faune
    • The opening shot of Rarity's house sure looks a lot like another show the creator worked on.
  • The entire sequence where Twilight was stalking Pinkie in "Feeling Pinkie Keen" took multiple aspects from Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote, including gag scientific names, as well as Anvil On Head and Piano Drop.
    • Early on, Twilight asks Pinkie Pie "What in the wide wide world of Equestria are you up to?", another reference to Blazing Saddles (the original line in the film was "What in the wide wide world of sports...", a reference to the popular ABC television show of the same name).
    • When Twilight flips out, her fur turns white and her mane turns into a roaring fire.
  • The "Pinkie Sense" itself is a nod to Spiderman's Spidey Sense.
  • The swirling blue "whirlpool" accompanying Rarity's transformation in "Sonic Rainboom" is a reference to The Swan Princess.
    • What happens to Rarity's wings at the end of the episode is a direct reference to the Greek myth of Icarus.
  • In "Stare Master", Sweetie Belle makes the comment "who wants a hammer on their flank anyway". As a matter of fact, the Wreckers, the Autobot subgroup from Hasbro's other major property Transformers, have a hammer over their usual Autobot symbols.
    • On top of that, in "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", there's a background pony with a hammer and a lightning bolt on her flank, who has been given the Fan Nickname Mjolna, after Thor's hammer Mjolnir.
  • In "The Show Stoppers", Scootaloo's failure to find a decent rhyme, frustrated "NEVER, NEVER!", and piano head-desking are lifted straight from Don Music in Sesame Street.note 
    • The outfits worn by the Cutie Mark Crusaders for the talent show make them look like the Misfits from Jem (another famous girls' cartoon from The Eighties).
      • The So Bad, It's Good style of the CMC's Theme Song is also a shout out to the Misfits' musical style, that is off-key screaming metal of the 80s, a la KISS.
    • The way the Cutie Mark Crusaders are lit when their song begins is an obvious shout-out to the music video for Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.
    • The audience's reaction to the performance and its unintentional hilarity is almost directly lifted from The Producers.
  • In "A Dog and Pony Show", the diamond dogs themselves speak in a manner similar to Gollum from The Lord of the Rings films, have a gangly appearance similar to Gollum, and even refer to the gems as "precious".
    • The name "Diamond Dogs" has got to be a shout out to the David Bowie album. The title song from that album contains the line "The diamond dogs are poachers, and they hide behind trees". When we first see the dogs, they are hiding in a tree and planning to steal the gems Rarity and Spike are collecting.
    • In the cold open, the music is reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda games while Rarity places rupee-shaped gems on her latest dress. The blue one even flies up from an open chest, much like those found in the games. In a related shout-out to Zelda, the Diamond Dogs are similar in shape to Moblins.
    • The music that plays when the girls try to get into the rapidly filling holes takes a few cues from the Rite Of Spring.
    • At one point, one of the dogs keeps popping up from different holes while Applejack is trying to catch him, while a soundeffect straight from a Whack-A-Mole machine plays.
    • The leader of the Diamond Dogs wears a red vest just like the Grundle King's from the 1986 movie.
  • In "Over a Barrel", when Spike walks off in a huff because the girls keep interrupting his sleep, Fluttershy calls him "Huffy the Magic Dragon". Made all the more bizarre by the fact that Fluttershy says it as if she's deliberately making the reference, and Twilight seems to get the joke. This is immediately followed by a gag used in The Emperor's New Groove – Rarity getting up angrily and scaring the others with her Cucumber Facial.
    • One of the background ponies is a blue stallion with a pink hat.
    • The climactic slapstick pie fight near the end of the episode is almost certainly a Blazing Saddles reference.
    • This episode makes at least two shout-outs to the classic Bugs Bunny short "Bully for Bugs": both the buffalo from this episode and the bull from the Bugs Bunny cartoon sharpen their horns using a grinding wheel, and the buffalo running into an anvil hidden in a hay bale mirrors the bull running into an anvil hidden behind Bugs' red muleta.
    • The scene where the buffalo line up along the edge of the cliff before charging down towards the town is a reference to a Tex Avery short to boot.
    • There are a couple widescreen closeup shots of the Buffalo chief's eyes that are very Leone-esque.
    • The name of the apple tree Applejack is tending to is named Bloomberg. The mayor of New York City (a.k.a "The Big Apple") at the time of the episode's airing is Michael Bloomberg.
    • At one point before the big battle is about to begin, Rainbow Dash tries to think of something in a manner reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh, tapping her hoof to her head repeating "think" to herself.
  • "A Bird in the Hoof" has Angel running around with a watch, and Fluttershy eventually remarks "I'm late! For a very important date!"
    • It also has another "Yakkety Sax" chase-scene, with a Scooby-Doo door gag and A Hard Day's Night reference thrown in for good measure.
    • The scene where Fluttershy tries to get the bird to take the pill. The tactic of dumping birdseed over it, its manner of eating, and even Fluttershy's smug fourth-wall-breaking look are all reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote's tactics to get the Road Runner.
    • There are a few moments in this episode inspired by Ren and Stimpy, including a single up-close shot of Philomena's face with crusty eyes.
    • The overall plot of the episode is reminiscent of the scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where Dumbledore's pet bird burns to ash in front of Harry, and Harry thinks he's in deep trouble until Dumbledore reveals that his pet is a phoenix. Philomena even looks a fair deal like almost dead Fawkes.
      • Drilled in when Princess Celestia cheerfully states "lovely, isn't she?" and is still quite cheerful when everyone else is horrified, and is clearly enjoying having fun with the other ponies, Dumbledore-style. She even urges on Philomeena to quit milking the melodrama and rebirth already, just like Dumbledore.
    • And during Celestia's brunch at the Sugarcube Corner, right when she announces that she must leave because royal duty is calling, the scene looks very similar to "The Last Supper" from Leonardo da Vinci. (Even the number of ponies on screen is exactly twelve and Celestia makes it 13.)
    • The little green hummingbird Fluttershy brings in as a friend for Philomena is "Hummingway".
      • This is followed by another instance of Fluttershy (and Hummingway) singing a tune similar to the theme song.
    • Pinkie Pie's introduction has her saying "Cupcakes and candies and pies, oh my!"
  • In "Green Isn't Your Color", one of the photos of Fluttershy shows her in Eeyore's signature slump.
  • "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" had a scene where Filly Applejack watches a pony version of the Statue of Liberty (linking back to Twilight's outfit in the pilot).
    • Filly Rarity also (literally) bumps into a rock that resembles the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, musical fanfare included.
      • This part also brings to mind the scene in The Road to El Dorado in which the main duo also come before a great big rock (Rarity's complaints about it have a similar tone to Tulio's) after thinking that it led to their main goal (which in both cases, turns out to be true).
    • Filly Twilight Sparkle tries to get accepted into "Princess Celestia's School For Gifted Unicorns" and during the admission exam her magical power violently awakens, turning her into a huge danger for everyone and herself, until Princess Celestia herself manages to calm her down and offers herself as her guide so she could learn how to control her immense magical power. The entire scene is a shout out to X-Men, with Twilight as Jean Grey, Celestia as Charles Xavier and the school itself a shout-out to "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters".
    • "There was no talking. There was no smiling. There were only rocks." Think that type of dystopian narration sounds a bit familiar?
    • The scene in which filly Applejack starts talking about farm life in her "proper" accent seems to be a shout-out to a similar scene in Pygmalion.
  • Spike spends a good portion of "Owl's Well That Ends Well" channeling classic comedically over-the-top cartoon villains, such as Snidely Whiplash and Dick Dastardly.
    • When Spike's looking for a new quill, one of the places he looks is in the shower, where Owlowiscious happens to be bathing. This is likely a reference to the Jean Craighead George book There's an Owl in the Shower.
    • When Spike first sees him, Owlowiscious is looking outside and to look at Spike, his head does a 180° while the lightning darkens and a scary tune plays. As Spike comments "Dude, that's creepy."
  • In "Party of One" during her Sanity Slippage, Pinkie Pie voices a pile of rocks that she gives the name Rocky and also a certain accent.
    • Not to mention that it "calls" Rainbow Dash "Chump!".
    • The Cold Open, where Pinkie goes around town acting as a "singing telegram" is a reference to the movie Clue.
    • At the end of the episode, we can see Spike dance like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
  • The opening of "The Best Night Ever" has Twilight channeling the Fairy Godmother by making a carriage out of an apple and horses out of mice, even adding the stipulation that they'll revert by midnight. The ending also includes a bit about one of Rarity's glass slippers.

    Season 2 
  • "Return of Harmony, Part 1" features a "chocolate rain".
  • "Return of Harmony, Part 2" ends with an almost shot-for-shot homage to the ending of Star Wars A New Hope, complete with a Suspiciously Similar Song version of the Throne Room music.
    • The same episode features a musical homage to The Empire Strikes Back: Compare this to this.
    • Discord also "Force Chokes" the Mane Cast during the final confrontation.
    • One background pony making her debut in this episode has a screw and a baseball for a cutie mark. In older cartoons, such as the Daffy Duck short "Duck Amuck", this was the universal sign for "screwball"
    • "The Return of Harmony" as a whole is similar to The Powerpuff Girls episode "Mime for a Change".
  • In "Lesson Zero", Twilight suffers from Sanity Slippage and starts talking to her reflection in a puddle.
  • In "Luna Eclipsed", Mr. and Mrs. Cake are dressed as the pony versions of Raggedy Ann and Andy for Nightmare Night.
    • There is a background pony (dubbed "Goldengrape" in the script) dolled up in an apparent homage to JAWS. Another (dubbed "Meadow Song") is dressed as Ermac.
    • The eye-shaped Nightmare Night decorations (such as this balloon) are based on the Eye of Sauron. The filename even contains the phrase "SauronBalloon."
    • "Nightmare Night, What a Fright, Give me something sweet to bite!" is a play on the Halloween jingle "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!"
    • Twilight disguises herself as Star Swirl the Bearded, 'Father of the amniomorphic spell'. Amniomorphic means "bowl-shaping". So, in other words, a bearded, or, hairy potter.
    • Nearly the end of the episode, Luna comes out of a cauldron filled with green goo. Does this remind you of anything?
    • When Luna first appears the background music is a mishmash of classics Disney scare themes and the Imperial March.
  • "Sisterhooves Social" includes a line that parodies Gone with the Wind: "As Celestia is my witness, I will never go sisterless again!"
    • Rarity and Sweetie Belle's parents are rather reminiscent of Spinelli's parents.
    • After Applejack and Apple Bloom drive sheep into a corral, one of the sheep says "You could have just asked," referencing a scene from Babe.
  • In the bowling alley scene at the start of "The Cutie Pox", you can see pony versions of several characters from The Big Lebowski, including Jesus Quintana, Walter Sobchak, Donny, and the Dude.
    • Two of them were later named in a licensed mobile game by Gameloft: Jeff "The Dude" Letrotski and Jesús Pezuña. The pony resembling Walter was added to the same game for a winter update, but he was called simply "Bowling Pony".
    • One shot inside the Apple family's house features a painting in the background that looks like a pony version of Grant Wood's American Gothic.
    • The statue that Apple Bloom carves is a direct reference to the Renaissance Italian painting The Birth of Venus.
    • After a chess-playing cutie mark appears on her, Apple Bloom plays, and beats, a chess-playing pony who looks an awful lot like Geri.
    • Apple Bloom first discovers she's forced to use the talents the Cutie Pox gives her with a tap dancing mark, referring to the Hans Christian Anderson story "The Red Shoes".
    • The part where Apple Bloom is diagnosed is awfully reminiscent of a typical House scene, team and everything.
    • The last pox cutie mark AB recieves causes her to tornado-spin like the Tasmanian Devil.
  • In "May The Best Pet Win!", Rainbow Dash's wing becoming trapped beneath a boulder in a canyon is reminiscent of hiker Aron Ralston, who was trapped in a canyon for five days when a falling boulder pinned his arm.
  • Mare-Do-Well owes a lot to Batman's animated series version. The banners resemble the show's opening logo, and the central plot is a Whole Plot Reference to Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
    • Going back even further than Batman, MMDW strikes a classic Zorro pose immediately following her first appearance.
    • The costume, however, is more similar to Darkwing Duck.
    • During the Rainbow Dash fan club scene, there's a poster in the background that shows Rainbow flying with a starry background and a rainbow streaming out behind her.
    • At a couple points in the episode, Rainbow Dash calls herself "Your friendly neighborhood Rainbow Dash".
    • She also rescues the filly in the well with "I'm Rainbow Dash and I'm here to rescue you."
    • Rainbow Dash's first attempt to stop the runaway coach resembles Peter Parker's first attempt at stopping the elevated subway in Spider-Man 2.
    • The crane driver is an earth pony version of the pegasus foreman from "Feeling Pinkie Keen", who might look like Fred Flintstone.
  • In "Sweet and Elite", a painting in an art gallery is inspired by Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory.
    • Twilight's awkward dancing at the Canterlot ponies' party mirrors a scene in Seinfeld.
    • The underscore as Rarity soaks Opal in water is a reference to Ravel's famous piece "Bolero".
    • The design of the blimp that Rarity helps see off in her musical number evokes the Wind Fish.
    • The overworked bellhop pony seems to be based on the Squeaky Voiced Teen from The Simpsons.
  • The music in the cold open of "Secret of My Excess" is inspired by The Sorcerer's Apprentice. This music recurs several times throughout the episode, including a sequence when Twilight lures Spike back to the library by baiting him with a broomstick.
    • The re-shelving scene seems slightly similiar to this scene.
    • In addition to King Kong references above, the presence of a giant rampaging lizard has a tendency to make one think of Godzilla. His roar is almost directly lifted from that franchise.
    • The scene where Rarity's tears fly upward as she and Spike free-fall seems reminiscent of Spirited Away.
    • Twilight teleporting Spike back to her to clean his cheek, yet another allusion to Doctor Who.
    • Spike's monstrous corruption after greedily demanding extra birthday presents is similar to the fall of Smeagol.
    • Applejack's line "Twilight, get my rope" is a reference to a Pace Picante sauce commercial from the '80s.
  • In Family Appreciation Day, Apple Bloom gets called "Half Pint" when wearing the same bonnet Laura "Half Pint" Ingalls wore.
    • At the very beginning of the episode, Granny Smith is running around in the middle of the night causing a huge ruckus in direct reference to the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.
  • The scene in "Baby Cakes" where Pinkie suddenly sees Pound Cake walking along the ceiling may be a nod to, of all things, the film version of Trainspotting.
  • A part of the soundtrack of Hearth's Warming Eve comes from the opening of the Exodus theme.
    • The Cold Open for this episode has the mane cast riding a train into a town while poking their heads out with it snowing around them is a lot like the intro for another cartoon.
    • The fire of friendship is a heart that looks similar to the background of the intro of The Powerpuff Girls
  • At one point in "The Last Roundup", the chocolate line scene from I Love Lucy gets the pony treatment, only with cherries.
    • Rainbow Dash asks if Applejack met Wild Bull Hickok and Calamity Mane while competing at the rodeo.
    • The music playing through AJ's training sounded an awful lot like Bonanza's Opening Theme
    • And the one during the Mane 6's search for Applejack in Dodge Junction sounds very similar to the Hammer Bros. theme from Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • Several lines/characters in Dodge City bring to mind Gunsmoke.
  • In The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000, Flam calls out Granny Smith on being a chicken, to which she responds by saying "What did you call me, sonny?", looking backwards with pure anger in her eyes. The camera angle is even similar to the Biff scenes.
  • In "Read It and Weep", the Daring Do book Rainbow Dash reads is based on Indiana Jones, with the "step on the right tiles" puzzle from Last Crusade and a direct nod to the UHF parody of the idol scene.
    • The scene with Rainbow Dash bouncing the ball off the wall was taken right from The Great Escape.
    • Ahuízotl is the name of a Mexica hueitlatoani (emperor), and also a mythological creature from Mexica mythology: a dog-like creature with hands in its front legs and a hand on its tail.
    • The last scene when Ahuízotl caress the kitty comes from Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
    • Right before Rainbow hits the ground, Pinkie Pie exclaims "Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!", a la Alpha 5 of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
    • The mental patient who sneaks out of a hospital to indulge in the latest hijinks elsewhere. Now, are we talking the barking pony, or Murdock?
    • The music playing when Rainbow Dash is contemplating whether to pick up the book is a homage to The Never Ending Story.
    • A subtle one, but the entire episode is about a Reading Rainbow!
  • Cranky's snowglobe in "A Friend In Deed" is clearly based on the one from the infamous final episode of St. Elsewhere.
    • Pinkie's guesses as to what the "C" in C.D.D. stands for include "Chico" and "Carl".
    • Cranky's name and species, as well as the ending music, are a giant reference to the song Yankee Doodle, particularly the first verses. Likewise, Pinkie's "Cranky Doodle Donkey" song is a reference to "Yankee Doodle Boy" from Yankee Doodle Dandy.
  • The music that accompanies Iron Will's first appearance in "Putting Your Hoof Down" is a play on Eye of the Tiger from Rocky III.
    • The music that plays when Fluttershy realizes her assertiveness has gone too far is almost exactly like The Lonely Man from the The Incredible Hulk. What is more, it plays as Fluttershy walks down a road slowly, away from the camera.
    • Iron Will says "I pity da foal" at one point, a shout out to Mr. T and his catchphrase.
    • Iron Will's seminar is in the middle of a corn maze, which is a Classical Mythology Shout-Out to the story of Theseus and the Minotaur.
    • Fluttershy's way of dealing with Mr. Greenhooves overwatering her petunias just might be a reference to L'Arroseur arrosé, the first comedy film ever made.
    • Pinkie's haggling and later her handling of Iron Will when coming to collect his fee from Fluttershy would make Bugs Bunny proud.
    • This episode's premise is similar to the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Walking Small". The writer also worked for that series.
  • In "It's About Time", Twilight Sparkle wears a headband, an eye-patch, and sneaks around in a black bodysuit, and her time-travelling spell is reminiscent of the Terminator.
    • The music playing during her conversation with herself (both in the beginning of the episode, and when the same scene is revisited at the end) is a remix of "I am the Doctor", a piece of Doctor Who music. Also, Future Twilight's appearance is preceded by a sound similar to the one heard when the TARDIS materializes. (A key being rubbed against a piano string, incidentally.)
    • When Twilight, Pinkie and Spike circle around to where they started while sneaking around the Canterlot Archives, Spike says "Isn't this where we came in?"
  • "Dragon Quest"'s name.
    • One of the teenage dragons resembles a Gronkle.
  • In the episode Hurricane Fluttershy, Spike asks Twilight Sparkle what a squirrel says. She says, "Do I look like I speak squirrel?".(Twilight Sparkle is voiced by Tara Strong, who also voiced Bubbles)
  • In Ponyville Confidential, Rarity asks Sweetie Belle "Et tu, Gabby Gums?".
    • Citizen Tiara, anypony? Diamond Tiara addresses the rest of the students from behind a podium in front of a giant-sized portrait of herself, and turns the Foal Free Press into a success based on yellow journalism. Fortunately for her, she's still young enough to avoid Kane's Downer Ending and learn from her mistakes... maybe.
      • Her scenes also contain nods to John Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle from Spiderman.
  • "MMMMystery On The Friendship Express is direct homage to Murder on the Orient Express, and borrows several plot elements, including the ending.
    • Donut Joe's antics as Pinkie imagines them are based off the James Bond series of films. Gustave is portrayed as a Dastardly Whiplash-type villain, and Mulia is portrayed as a Kurosawa-esque ninja.
  • Andrew Francis is a captain of the guard, Kathleen Barr voices an evil queen commanding a legion of insectlike creatures... seems familiar...
  • The Changeling Queen's plot to take over Canterlot is similar to Ursula's plot to take over the sea in The Little Mermaid. Both disguise themselves as the bride, both possess the bridegroom, and both get a Villain Song where they sing about their plans into a mirror!
  • The Changelings as a whole are very reminiscent of Visorak. Bonus points in that Chrysalis' VA was also Roodaka, Visorak queen.
  • The way Shining Armor's shield looks and works is quite reminiscent of the shield that was put up to protect Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
  • When impostor Cadance is singing her half of the duet, we see the chandelier in her chamber—straight out of the Myst library.

    Season 3 
  • In the preview clip for "The Crystal Empire", Pinkie Pie's night-vision goggles look quite a lot like the ones worn by Sam Fisher, only in gold and yellow. Also, when Pinkie startles two of the Crystal Ponies, when she says "A spy?! How did they know?!", if you listen carefully you can hear a very slight musical cue that sounds awfully similar to the James Bond theme.
  • The first episode deals with a magical kingdom that has a powerful device/object that is hold sacred by its inhabitants. Suddenly, an evil man/creature tries to seize this power to himself and ultimately corrupts the land because of his evil heart, turning it into a wasteland and the castle into his tower, leading the goddesses to seal him away only to return after many years and try to seize this power once again. Gee, where have I heard this before?
  • The whole plot actually shares a lot of elements from Atlantis. The city's general layout, the fact it was lost for a long time, amnesiac citizens, a missing page in the otherwise complete guidebook to the civilization, which details how the power crystal which protects the empire works. Uh huh. Totally a coincidence.
  • Shining Armor's appearance when he arrives at the station may pretty well be the Star Wars Shout-Out one can find in every season opener.
  • A crystal palace growing out of a chilly Arctic ice desert has been done before.
  • King Sombra's horn tip being sheared off by Cadance's magical barrier is somewhat reminiscent of Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
  • The Crystal Heart, when it powers up, shares the same sound effect as the Proton Pack from Ghostbusters.
  • The circle of crystals that Twilight gets trapped in towards the end of part 2 seems rather reminiscent of the bubble of destructive magic Odette and Jean Bob are trapped in towards the end of The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Kingdom.
  • The pony who declares "She is correct!" after Twilight gives the square root of 546 during "The Failure Song" is named Professor Bill Neigh.
  • In One Bad Apple, during a montage, a (slightly modified) rendition of The A-Team theme can clearly be heard.
  • When Babs occupies the CMC's treehouse, Sweetie Belle cries like Numbuh 3
  • In the opening of One Bad Apple, one of Apple Bloom's outfits includes glasses with one rectangular lens and one round lens.
  • Twilight's training with Zecora in "Magic Duel" shares some similarities with the one Luke once went through, taking place in the local lost woods of sorts, having a mentor who puts a lot of emphasis on concentration and likes to talk funny, down to the training itself involving levitating objects while standing on water - and failing due to similar distractions. Not to mention that Trixie's dark cloak and red magic aura make her look very much like a Sith Lord.
  • In "Sleepless in Ponyville", the scene where Scootaloo tries to run away from the Headless Horse is reminiscent of the last part of Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the final shot of Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash flying is similar to the final shots of the Superman movies.
  • Wonderbolt Academy is very Top Gun.
    • The mustached instructor pegasus accompanying Spitfire very closely resembles a pony version of Viper from Top Gun.
    • Pinkie's subplot with the mailbox brings to mind an episode from another show Merriwether Williams wrote for.
    • Pinkie Pie appearing right behind the other ponies while they were still watching her from a distance could be seen as a nod to Dio Brandowho was able to move and appear great distances while people's eyes were still trained on him, or even move victims.
    • Even though, the roles of protagonist and The Rival (and loyal second) are inverted from Top Gun, and Lightning Dust's attitude toward team flying is more like Maverick, her mane nonetheless bears a more than passing resemblance to Iceman's haircut.
    • Spitfire's Drill Sergeant Nasty speech at the beginning of the episode is evocative of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's from Full Metal Jacket.
    • "IT'S A TWISTER!"
    • One of Spitfire's uniform badges closely resembles the rank insignia from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Future Imperfect", while the three red pips underneath it are very reminiscent of the stars worn by Royal Manticoran Navy officers to denote their previous hyperspace-capable starship commands.
  • "Just For Sidekicks" starts with Spike singing a variant on Bill Cosby's "Dad is Great" song.
    • Spike tying up all the animal companions into a ball form and rolling them around can be seen as a nod to the Katamari games.
  • Keep Calm and Flutter On.
  • The season finale episode Magical Mystery Cure
    • "Magical Mystery Cure": In the opening musical number two stallions lift Twilight down from a table where she was dancing and she runs forward. It's very reminiscent of the big dance scene at the end of Dirty Dancing.
      • The whole opening number is reminiscent of the opening of Beauty and the Beast, with Twilight taking Belle's place on a morning walk through town.
      • Its ending is highly similar to the end of the Temporal Cold War arc of Star Trek: Enterprise, as seen here.
      • The name of the episode itself is a shoutout to the album Magical Mystery Tour from a certain well known band.
      • The music for the episode borrows heavily from classic Hollywood and Broadway musicals.
      • "Morning in Ponyville" bear a more than passing similarity to "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!" from Oklahoma!.
      • "Celestia's Ballad" is reminiscent of Disney Award Bait Songs.
      • Twilight's transformation into an alicorn features a swirly effect similar to Odette's aforementioned transformation in The Swan Princess.

    Season 4 

    No Celebrities Were Harmed 
  • Hoity Toity is a clone of German designer Karl Lagerfeld (with Tim Gunn's accent).
  • Photo Finish is Vogue editor Anna Wintour (with Karl Lagerfeld's accent).
  • The manly tennis player pony ("Ace") in "Call of the Cutie" and "Luna Eclipsed" is based on Andre Agassi (before he started shaving his head).
  • The backstage manager at the Best Young Flyer competition ("Lucy") in "Sonic Rainboom" who later appears as a unicorn with a different cutie mark in "Putting Your Hoof Down" is based on Lucille Ball.
  • Mulia Mild's name, career, and voice are all based on Julia Child.
  • The Royal Wedding of Shining Armor and Princess Cadance is a shout out to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, down to the red coat and blue sash that Shining Armor wears (not to mention the shamrocks of the Irish Guards on his collar!) and the timing of the episode (close to Will and Kate's 1st anniversary).
  • Cover B (and by extension, the Midtown Comics variant cover) of the upcoming Issue #1 of IDW's comic books includes a cameo by The Hoof Beats, who appear to be the pony equivalent of The Beatles.
  • The ponies from The Hub's Web Games The Fabulous PonyMaker and/or Rarity's Bridal Boutique can look like Lady Gaga if the player designs them that way.
  • In episode "Putting Your Hoof Down", the motivational speaker (and minotaur) Iron Will is voice-acted to mimic and parody Anthony Robbins, life coach and motivational speaker.
  • One of the background characters was eventually dubbed "Time Turner" by the staff after fans noticed he looked like David Tennant's portrayal of The Doctor from Doctor Who. A few of his appearances (and one of his collectible cards) directly reference lines or scenes from episodes in which Tennant played the Doctor.
    • Expies of the Doctor as portrayed by John Pertwee, Peter Davison, and Matt Smith have also appeared in-show, and they have the same cutie mark as Time Turner.
  • In "The Last Roundup" there are several shout out to the classic western series Gunsmoke. The city of Dodge Junction is named after Dodge City and Cherry Jubilee bares a strong resemblance to brothel owner Miss Kitty.
  • The title and the plot of "Filli Vanilli" is in reference to the 90s band Milli Vanilli, who lost their Grammys due to having someone else sing their songs behind the scenes while the two frontmen took credit.
    • The Ponytones may also be a Shout-Out to a South African band named The Parlotones.
      • Or American band Deftones. After all, one of their members is a white pony.
  • Coco Pommel's name and looks are based on Coco Chanel.
  • Cheese Sandwich IS "Weird Al" Yankovic, to the point of looking exactly like him and even being voiced by him.

    Collectable Card Game 
The trading card game is loaded with references:
  • A few references to the grandfather of the CCG genre itself, Magic: The Gathering:
    • The ultra-rare card Heart's Desire, which gives a player a big one-shot boost of action tokens for winning a face-off, is clearly inspired by the infamous Game Breaker Black Lotus. The flavor text even quotes a pony named Lotus Blossom saying, "The black variety of this herb is particularly rare!"
    • The flavor text for Pie Family Rock Farm makes a reference to the mechanically-similar card Howling Mine.
    • The first expansion is named "Canterlot Nights", possibly in reference to Magic's first, "Arabian Nights".
  • The Dr. Hooves (aka Time Turner)'s card has a subtitle "Unblinking", referring to the episode "Blink" and, more subtly, the Weeping Angels, which appeared in that episode.note  The flavor text of the card includes an apparent nonsense string of letters, but since has been revealed to be a Sharky’s Vigenère cipher, using the key word "WHO", and translating to "BAD TIMBERWOLF", a play on both the MLP Timberwolf creatures and the Doctor Who arc word "Bad Wolf".
    • The second Dr. Hooves card in the Canterlot Nights expansion is subtitled "Just In Time", and has flavor text alluding to the Doctor's original meetings with Amy Pony (though played here by Roseluck), about the Doctor being 12 years late, from "The Eleventh Hour".
    • In addition, the pony speculated to be either the Fifth Doctor or the Master is named "Perfect Pace" with the title of "Time Master."
  • The Brown Parasprite card's flavor text asks "What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen parasprite?".
  • The flavor text of "Royal Guidance" includes the quote "With great power comes great responsibility."
    • In the same vein, the flavor text of "Foal Free Press" has the quote "Pictures! I want pictures of ponies!"
  • Some of the cards related to Pinkie Pie, such as "Ridiculous Outfit" quote from her "The Art of Fun".
  • There is an event card titled Gotta Go Fast.
  • One of the Problem cards is called "The Problem With Parasprites"
  • Pipsqueak's card flavor text is a warning about having an eye poked out with a Red Rider sword.
  • The flavor text on Snips' card is "Are you pondering what I'm pondering?". Snails' card, in reply, "I think so, Snips, but burlap chafes me so."
  • "Joe's Doughnut Shop"'s flavor text, "Do you have any bear claws? - Cheese Sandwich", is a reference to "Albuquerque" by "Weird Al" Yankovic (who voiced Cheese Sandwich). Another card, "Critter Stampede" quotes Cheese Sandwich with another line from "Albequerque", "Hey, you've got weasels on your face."
  • Photo Finish's card has a subtitle of "Picture Perfect Pony", Golden Harvest's card in the Canterlot Nights expansion is "Beyond Her Garden".
  • "Purple Waters" flavor text is not-so-very subtle about it's nod to the band Pink Floyd. (Even adding the common surname for Roger Waters.
  • Cloudchaser's card comments on how "Stormwalker" could have been a cool name; this is a nod to an error made in the "Elements of Harmony" book that named her as "Stormwalker", a leftover from the animation resources.

    Other 
  • Even the advertising for the show gets in on this.
    Pinkie Pie: So get ready to let it go and sing your heart out!
  • The officially licensed shirts and bags have a lot of shout outs. This shirt is inspired by illustrator Hajime Sorayama, and may also be a reference to something else. It should be noted, however, that the shirts by We Love Fine are not designed in-house by Hasbro, but instead by designers who specialize in pop culture, as well as featuring contest-winning designs submitted by fans.
  • Pretty much any town or city mentioned in the show and/or shirts other than Ponyville is a direct reference to some location from real life. Canterlot is based on Camelot and Canterbury, Fillydelphia on Philadelphia, and so on.
  • In the Season 2 finale, Spike is shown playing with wedding cake figures of Princess Cadance and Shining Armor. Guess which two ponies are going to be in an upcoming play set together?
  • A poster that showed up at Hasbro's booth at a licensing expo was adorned with, in familiar writing, the caption of This is Vın̈yl Scratch.
  • Pinkie Pie in general is a Shout-Out to the Looney Tunes.
  • In the comic detailing the Nightmare Forces attacking Ponyville, you can briefly see Time Turner/DoctorHooves holding a Sonic Screwdriver.
    • Also his trading card (which was where his name was first revealed) declares him to be a time keeper. In charge of 'keeping Ponyville's clocks in sync, setting the hourglass for cider competitions, and pretty much all things timey-wimey'.
    • The name Time Turner may even be an alias, since in the official guide, his name is listed as Doctor Hooves. Due to the whole 'Timey-Wimey' bit, it may be inferred that either this is a different iteration of the character, or he may have changed his name if he regenerated. Fanon, after all, holds that Doctor Hooves is The Doctor himself!
    • In "Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair", Time Turner is seen holding a pocket watch out to Derpy, saying "This watch is me."
  • Fluttershy's Cutie Mark resembles the shirt Hannah, Sid's sister, wore in the original Toy Story. The only major difference seems to be they have blue instead of purple on them.
  • Word of God reveals that Discord was inspired by The Next Generation character Q. (some Fanon declares them to be one and the same).

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alternative title(s): My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
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