Shout Out / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic


For shout outs from the IDW comics books, please see the comic book series shoutout page. For shout outs from the trading card game, please see that page's shoutout page.

    open/close all folders 

    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.
  • Rarity escapes her kidnappers in "A Dog and Pony Show" by annoying them until they're begging her friends to take her back — the same strategy used by Danny and Surprise in the very similar "The Great Rainbow Caper."
  • 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 the original 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 the "G3" toy line.
  • 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 previous 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 Macintosh 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 original 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 the original 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  On top of that, the pony saying this looks a lot like "G1" Moondancer herself. (Or rather, Baby Moondancer. But that's who most people think of when they think of Moondancer, because the adult version was a blink-and-miss background pony. Recently, the comics introduced a Moondancer who looks just like that one. Presumably, this is who the other Moondancer lookalike, now known as Twinkleshine, was referring to. They share a scene in the comic, which is Hilarious in Hindsight: the "G1" Moondancers, despite supposedly being mother and daughter, never appear together.)
      • Twilight Sparkle can teleport. In My Little Pony 'N Friends, 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 third series 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 second toy line Pony Sky Skimmer and her name is based on her third series incarnation.
      • The original Fluttershy has the butterfly cutie mark, too. If Lauren Faust says she's based on Posey, well, she oughta know, but Sky Skimmer is the single pony she resembles most closely, with the exact colors and the butterfly CM.
    • Spike being in love with Rarity may be a shout out to the "G1" Majesty character, with whom the original Spike came and Rarity somewhat resembles (although really she's more of an amalgamation of Sparkler and Glory from the first toy 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 the original show, 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 or 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 was 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 have, 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. Friendship is Magic 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 Friendship is Magic 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.
      • The trading card officially makes her Surprise. However, due to trademark loss, calling her that on a toy is impossible, and in the show could be a bit problematic.
    • Every time Pinkie Pie plans a party or does a balloon gag she's giving a shout out to the third series theme song.
      Let's plan a party with Pinkie Pie
      Then watch her balloons lift her up to the sky!
      My Little Pony third series 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 Macintosh 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 2000's animated 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 Friendship is Magic, 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 the original series, 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 the third series 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.
  • "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 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" pony, to one of the cows from "Applebuck Season".
  • "Dragon Quest" has quite a bit in common with the My Little Pony 'n 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 the original series.
  • 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 '80s. She seems to be a Shout-Out to Firefly.
  • When Fluttershy is cleaning during "The Ticket Master", she hums the original 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 original 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 the "G1" 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 toy line from "G1" 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 a similar character named Toola-Roola (incidentally one of only two of the "G3" Core 7 to not appear in Friendship is Magic 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 'n 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 specific to the third series.
  • 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 original Firefly, who inspired Friendship is Magic 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 Tirek in Friendship is Magic is a callback to the Rainbow of Light used against his original counterpart.
  • The mane colors on Bon Bon's Cutie Mark Magic brushable toy more resemble "G1" Bon Bon than her show and blind bag counterparts. This after they were forced to start selling her toys as "Sweetie Drops," once the trademark on "Bon Bon" was lost.
  • The season 5 episode "Make New Friends But Keep Discord" features a Friendship is Magic version of the Smooze!
  • The pegasus Night Glider from the Season 5 premiere shares her name and color scheme with a "G1" Earth pony, although they have different cutie marks.
  • In the trailer for the 100th episode, Derpy sounds very much like "G3" Minty, the previous's generation's ditzy pony, who, uncoincidentally, was also voiced by Tabitha St. Germain.
  • Starlight's childhood friend Sunburst shares his name and design with one of the G1 Big Brother ponies.
  • When Derpy accidentally breaks a Hearth's Warming ornament in A Hearth's Warming Tail recalls Minty's accidental breakage of the Here Comes Christmas Candy Cane in the G3 special A Very Minty Christmas.

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.
  • "Friendship is Magic (Parts 1 and 2)"
    • 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.
    • Nightmare Moon's first name is shared with the sinister knight Nightmare, a prominent antagonist in the "Soul" video game series.
    • 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.
    • Applejack telling Twilight to "let go" parallels scenes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Finding Nemo.
    • 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.
    • Rarity regaining her tail in the aftermath of Nightmare Moon's defeat maybe a nod to Reepicheep, the mouse whose tail Aslan regrew following the climatic battle in "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian."
    • Luna's appearance after Nightmare Moon's defeat is similar to that of Cynder after her battle with Spyro in "Spyro: A New Beginning."
    • 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"
    • Included is 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).
    • "There's loons and toucans and bitterns, oh my!"
    • "And then I said 'Oatmeal? Are you CRAZY?'"
    • The title is a nod to the US-based ticket provider Ticketmaster.
  • "Applebuck Season"
    • This episode is the first of several (including Season One's "Swarm of the Century") featuring Applejack's rousing orchestral "galloping theme," which has plain similarities yet equally distinct differences with the "Bonanza" television series banjo theme. As seen later in the series, the most prominent episode featuring Applejack's "galloping theme" is in the pre-title scene for Season 2's "The Last Roundup."
    • The bunny stampede is a shout out to Night of the Lepus, a 1970's horror movie.
    • And the shot of them swarming around the fallen pony is a clear homage to The Lion King.
    • And don't forget the line immediately afterward: "The horror! The horror!"
    • At the start of the episode, Applejack asks Big Macintosh "are you saying my mouth's making promises my legs can't keep?"
  • "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.
    • Gilda yells "I'm walkin' here!" when Fluttershy bumps into her.
  • "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.
  • "Bridle Gossip"
    • Though Zecora's species (zebra) are native to Africa in real life, her gold-colored neck rings bear a striking resemblance to the neck rings worn by the Kayan Lahwi women in the Asian nation of Myanmar.
  • 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":
    • Applejack tells Bon Bon/Sweetie Drops "Ya'll Come Back Now, ya hear!" after reimbursing her for the hassle Apple Bloom threw on her. That line refers to the sign-off of "The Beverly Hillbillies," made through its title song at the end of each episode as sung by Flatt and Scruggs.
    • 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.
  • "Fall Weather Friends"
    • Sealing the deals between Applejack and Rainbow Dash on the Iron Pony competition and the Running of the Leaves is made with hoof pumps laced with spit (demonstrated twice in this episode). This is reminiscent of the Ridge Runners' handshake Uncle Jesse and Boss Hogg occasionally performed in episodes of "The Dukes of Hazzard," which also involved saliva. Applejack attempted this hoof pump earlier in "Look Before You Sleep" to Rarity's chagrin and disgust.
    • Twilight's racing number for the Running of the Leaves 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).
    • Twilight's test for evidence to support Pinkie's sixth sense uses an electrode-studded helmet alike to that of 1955 Doc Brown from "Back to the Future." Also both helmets fail to deliver on the tasks they were made for.
    • 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.
  • "Sonic Rainboom"
    • The swirling blue "whirlpool" accompanying Rarity's transformation 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.
    • Speaking of hammers, the Cutie-Mark Crusaders, try to repair Fluttershy's table with such a tool and before their ill-fated attempt, they acquire their hammers through a gag often seen in certain "Three Stooges" shorts.
  • 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 '80s).
      • 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 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.
    • Spike exclaims "Hi-ho, Trilight, away!" This is clear reference to the Lone Ranger's "Hi-ho, Silver, away!" shouted at the starts and conclusions of many episodes of "The Lone Ranger" television series with the William Tell Ouverture playing in the background.
  • 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 The Ren & Stimpy Show, 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.
    • Not to mention her hair and makeup style in that picture have a distinctly gothic character.
  • "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."
  • "Party of One"
    • When Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash give their excuse for not attending Gummy's after-birthday party, they burden themselves into explaining what Harry the bear was doing at the beach (with comedic ineffectiveness). This funny dialogue device is probably classic comedy gold for writers and is probably found with characters from many other stories. Examples include Lamont and Rollo in the "Sanford and Son" episode, 'Fred's Treasure Garden,' where they attempt to tell the police that a "wheelbarrow" and "parsley" were stolen, made all the more difficult as one man says one word at the same time as his friend says the other (both excuses to avoid saying the name of a plant used for recreational drug use which in 1970s USA was illegal to possess).A key difference between the two examples, is that Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy have three lines of synchronized divergent dialogue as opposed to two with Lamont and Rollo.
    • Just before Pinkie loses her cool, Applejack gives her an excuse ending in the line "That's my story and I'm sticking to it," (both a lyric and title reference to country song "That's My Story," from Collin Raye).
    • 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!"
  • 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.
    • Plus, the opening notes for the music during Rainbow's pursuit of Mare-Do-Well as the episode closes resemble the introductory notes to Danny Elfman's "Batman Theme."
    • Mare-Do-Well anonymity is also shared with "The Lone Ranger" television series, comics, and films.
    • 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.
    • One can also suggest that the construction accident by occurrence alone is a shout-out to "Spider-Man 3".
    • 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 Dalí'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
    • The first post-title scene backstage with the Mane 6 preparing for the performance is indirectly similar to the first scene of the musical, history, comedy, drama film "1776." Specifically both the ponies and the delegates were arguing but while the Twilight, Pinkie, Rarity, and Fluttershy wanted the window closed in light of a draft, the delegates wanted among other things, to "open up a window," for the opening song noted it was infernally hot in Philadelphia.
  • 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.
    • The plot is subtlety similar to 'The Guitar Player Returns,' from "The Andy Griffith Show," in that Applejack and James Best's character both have a sobering secret as to why the former cannot return home and for the latter to pay the debts he accrued while acting like a music titan in the town where he began small.
  • 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".
    • Pinkie's destruction of Crankie's toupee upon mistaking it for a spider can also be seen in a Three Stooges classic "Disorder in the Court." During a musical number, Larry catches the bailiff's wig, mistakes it for a tarantula, and Moe promptly shoots the wig into a smoking mess.
    • 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.
    • The episode's Japanese name ("Meitantei Pinkie!") is a reference to Detective Conan (also known back in Japan as "Meitantei Conan").
  • 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 instance of the villain magically grabbing the reins on the heroes' wedding plans with an imposter or distraction is also found in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog," and the non-Disney film "The Swan Princess."
  • 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 
  • "The Crystal Empire (Parts 1 & 2)"
    • 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?
    • King Sombra shares his name with the Sombra Corporation, an organization working for the Crimson King, a main antagonist in Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series.
    • The scene where the crystal heart returns and protects the city is similar to the ending of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, right down to the magic force field.
    • 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 545 during "The Failure Song" is named Professor Bill Neigh.
  • "One Bad Apple"
  • "Magic Dual"
    • 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.
    • The whole episode centers around a powerful magical object that slowly drives Trixie insane, just like a certain golden ring drives a hobbit insane.
    • The Mayor being stuck in a cage in the center of the town surrounded by evil brings Deckard Cain to the minds of many viewers.
    • Ponyville is trapped beneath a dome, where nopony can get in or out? A power-hungry leader taking full advantage of everything? The hero is cast out and unable to help? The entire town is in fear and powerless against said leader? Said leader has a vendetta against the protagonist? Quite a few have caught the similarities to a certain book and television adaptation...
  • "Sleepless in Ponyville"
  • 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.
  • "Spike at Your Service"
    • The plot matches 'Andy Saves Gomer' from "The Andy Griffith Show". Sheriff Taylor saves Gomer from a fire as Applejack saves Spike from timberwolves and like Spike, Gomer returns the favor to Andy with excessive and embarrassing help; prompting Andy to like Applejack, to improvise a situation where the roles are reversed to void a life-debt.
  • "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 
  • "Princess Twilight (1 & 2)"
    • The Tree of Harmony has a strong resemblance to the White Tree of Gondor.
    • The Plundervines somewhat resemble the Facehuggers from Alien.
    • When the sun and the moon are both in the sky at the same time during the season premiere it bears a striking resemblance to the sky seen during the Sekigahara conflict in Sengoku Basara.
    • When Discord mistakenly refers to Fluttershy as "Shutterfly", he not only uses an anagram for the former but gives a Shout Out to the real-life photography service Shutterfly.
  • The third episode is entitled Castle-Mania and features the Pony of Shadows.
    • The setting of "Castle Mane-ia" and the comical reasons behind Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Spike, and (towards the end) Twilight becoming scared (mostly Pinkie Pie and themselves) represents a theme previously seen in "The Andy Griffith Show's" 'The Haunted House' (where Barney and Gomer were frightened by said house by Otis and a moonshiner rigging the frights) and when two silver thieves use similar moves on an old house featured in "The Dukes of Hazzard's" 'The Hazzardville Horror.'
    • Twilight's discovery of Pinkie Pie playing the haunted pipe organ parallels the revelation Don Knotts' character came upon towards the end of "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" where his coworker, Mr. Kelsey was playing the organ at the haunted Simmons residence. Also as with "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken," the source of the scares for most of 'Castle Mane-ia' was not supernatural. Yet the viewer for both the episode and the film (in addition to the characters in the latter) are given an eerie feeling that a 'pony of shadows' and a 'ghost' may truly be present in the respective stories.
  • Episode four "Daring Don't" featured Ahuízotl once again with a Mayincatec culture as well. One of the artifacts was called the "Tenochtitlan basin"note . Dr. Caballerón's appearance and approach to archaeology mirror those of Indiana Jones character René Emile Belloq, who also sold artifacts for personal profit, and the whole episode is inspired by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
    • Daring Do's nome-de-plume is a spoof of J. K. Rowling.
    • Also if you look at the cover of the new book at the end of the episode you can see that Rainbow is wearing baseball cap making her Daring Do's Short Round
  • "Flight to the Finish"
  • Episode six, "Power Ponies," features a spoof of The Avengers and Justice League. The main villain, the Mane-iac, is a parody on Dr. Octopus, The Joker and Poison Ivy (and possibly Marvel's Medusa and Sedusa), Pinkie (Fili-Second) has super speed, akin to The Flash, Fluttershy (Saddle-Rager) loses her temper like The Incredible Hulk, Rainbow Dash (Zapp) controls the weather like Storm, Applejack (Mistress Mare-velous) has a lasso like Wonder Woman, Rarity (Radiance) has a gem that creates shiny things like Green Lantern, and Twilight (the Masked Matterhorn) has a freezing beam just like Iceman from X-Men. Spike is merely put as Robin, and although his character was just there for comic relief, and also as The Load and a Tagalong Kid, he ended up being The Chessmaster due to his insight on the comic books themselves.
    • Spike and the Mane-Six are sucked into a comic-book like Alan Parish was sucked into the game Jumanji in its cinematic adaption.
    • Spike travels through a ventilation shaft to the Mane-iac's lair where the Mane Six are held. The camera angle on him matches that used when Bruce Willis' character crawled through the ventilation of Nakatomi Plaza in the movie "Die Hard."
  • Episode seven, "Bats!" features a scene with Rarity in a special suit trying to catch a bat. The bat spits out an apple that lands on her "helmet" and licks the juice off it, like in The Empire Strikes Back, where Leia is attacked by a winged monster while inside an asteroid.
  • In "Rarity Takes Manehattan", Rarity improvises a new fashion line out of drapes, rugs and other objects in her hotel room, similar to the way that Maria made play clothes for the Von Trapp children out of the drapes from her room in The Sound of Music.
    • The stallion Rarity gives a flower to has a cutie mark that looks like Grumpy Cat.
    • Another stallion appears to be a 4chan reference.
    • Rarity's reprise of 'Generosity (Oh Manehattan)' mirrors Eponine's 'Alone' as sung in the cinematic adaption of the musical "Les Misèrables". For one, the word "alone" is mentioned twice as Rarity closes the reprise, and both she and Eponine sung their solos drenched with rain in a city.
  • A Freeze-Frame Bonus happens in "Pinkie Apple Pie" when a ponified Slenderman pops up in the background for a few frames. Meghan McCarthy herself has admitted she had no idea about this one, meaning it was likely a joke put in by a rogue animator.
  • In "Rainbow Falls", Mickey Goldmill trains the Wonderbolts.
    • The Wonderbolts get an A-Team Montage with music similar to the previous examples.
  • "Three's A Crowd":
  • The "Pinkie Pride" opening song "Pinkie the Party Planner" has Pinkie singing and the town singing back, which is very similar to "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast,
    • Pinkie sings "dale dale dale, no pierdas el tino, porque si lo pierdes, pierdes el camino", which is the typical song that Mexicans sing while a kidnote  flings his stick trying to hit the piñata.
    • Young Cheese Sandwich is a reference in/joke to "Weird Al" Yankovic's earlier image when he had poofy hair and glasses.
    • Also most of Cheese Sandwich's lyrics in the final showdown are in Polka form, which "Weird Al" Yankovic is infamous for.
    • In the Goof Off, Cheese Sandwich steals Pinkie's "Smile, Smile, Smile" song and recreates it in polka form, passing it off as his own work. This may be a reference to Weird Al Yankovic's polkas and parodies and how he's been accused of stealing while his work is protected under fair use.
    • The hat and poncho Cheese Sandwich wears in the beginning of the episode is reminiscent of a hat and poncho worn by one of Clint Eastwood's most iconic roles.
  • Rarity's newer "Simple Ways" feels like a city slicker doing a sillier version of the old TV country music variety show, Hee Haw (in which normally more metro actors would appear as guests on and would try to act "yokel").
  • "Filli Vanilli" references the singing duet Milli Vanilli, and their notorious scandal when it was discovered that they lip-synced to someone else's singing.
  • "Twilight Time" shares its title with the 1940s song.
  • "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies":
    • Time Turner and Roseluck appear with each other again, with Time Turner inexplicably wearing 3D glasses.
    • Seabreeze. He's a tiny fae creature with a dark blue coat, a vaguely-Scottish-ish accent, and anger issues. He's a pony version of a bloody Nac Mac Feegle.
    • Though it's very likely to be coincidental, when Fluttershy rescues the out-of-control Breezies, one of them says something in Breezie-ese that sounds suspiciously like "PewDiePie". It even uses the same tone as Pewds's "My name is Peeewdiepie!" catchphrase.
    • When the Fluttershy tells the Breezies she can't let them go while they're sick, Seabreeze yells "D'oh!".
  • The title "Somepony to Watch Over Me" is a reference to the classic Gershwin song, "Someone to Watch Over Me".
    • Apple Bloom is in a swamp with flame geysers.
    • The snake head's eyes briefly span multiple colors, like Kaa from The Jungle Book.
    • One of the cajun swamp ponies does a dance similar to Shermy's dance from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
    • And another pony (the one wearing overalls and a red bandana) bears an uncanny resemblance to Bruce Mitchell from Swamp People.
    • In the beginning, When Applebloom is jumping for joy at the idea of being home alone, she does Macaulay Culkin's scream face from Home Alone.
    • The way the snake head wraps around the legs of the chimera and trips it is reminiscent of how the Rebels trip up the Imperial walkers in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • "Maud Pie":
    • Fluttershy's hummingbird friend Hummingway. This particular hummingbird previously appeared in Season One's "A Bird in the Hoof."
    • One of the mannequins (ponnequins?) in front of the obstacle course has Geordi LaForge's visor on it.
    • The obstacle course Pinkie makes is quite evocative of the Nickelodeon classic Double Dare.
  • "Trade Ya!":
    • In the scene where Rarity is talking to Applejack, two ponies that resemble Robert and Rosalind Lutece from BioShock Infinite walk by. The male one is even using his horn to levitate a bird cage, a reference to the Arc Words, "The Bird or the Cage?"
  • "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" is a shout-out to John Donne's phrase "for whom the bell tolls", where the "bell" is a warning sign from God to the individual to stop their destructive behavior.
    • At one point, Sweetie Belle rants at Rarity about her dresses in the same manner that Jan does about Marsha.
    • Sweetie Belle learns a lesson through visions of the past, present, and future in a dream.
    • Rarity asks, "What in the wide wide realm of Equestria" similar to the way Slim Pickens says, "What in the Wide Wide World of Sports" in Blazing Saddles. Twilight previously said a similar line in "Feeling Pinkie Keen".
    • The Violin chord played during the dream sequence as they descend through an ocean sounds very similar to a piece played during another oceanic descent.
  • In "Leap of Faith", Silver Shill resembles George McFly.
    • One of the injured ponies is wrapped entirely in bandages while also wearing sunglasses over his eyes, a 'la The Invisible Man.
  • In "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3":
  • "Inspiration Manifestation":
  • "Equestria Games":
  • "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 1":
    • For a long time, the villain is reduced to a weakened form, shadow of his former self, and then he sustains himself by preying on unicorns... wait, are we talking about Lord Tirek, or Lord Voldemort?
      • You might as well add in Cell too.
    • When Tirek first steals power from the unicorn stallion, the barrel of oranges he was carrying spills out onto the street.
    • Discord makes his entrance à la Mary Poppins.
    • He performs the typical shout out to Patton when addressing the Mane Six while in a highly decorated military uniform (while wearing Douglas MacArthur's corncob pipe, ironically enough).
    • He also takes off on Blythe Baxter's electric scooter from Littlest Pet Shop.
    • The way he avoids Tirek's attack is by splitting his head in two, much like the T-1000.
    • Tirek refers to Discord's role as friend to the Mane Six as "pony errand boy."
    • When Discord hauls in some captured ponies with a fishing line, he is dressed exactly like Quint.
    • The screechy sound of Tirek's devouring power is the shriek of the Aliens' queen.
    • The flag of Maretonia looks like the artificial Palm Islands in Dubai.
    • The way Discord and Tirek set up a magic show to drain magic out of the entire audience in the theater is reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft's short story "Nyarlathotep" — "...and in the sputter of his sparks there was taken from men that which had never been taken before yet which shewed only in the eyes."
  • "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 2":
    • A brief one, but Twilight Sparkle letting Owlowiscious go is similar to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
    • When Discord and Tirek capture the Mane 5 and Spike, Discord notes that he got her little dragon too.
    • The final battle against Tirek is obviously gleaning from Dragon Ball Z. Which also makes it an Out-of-Genre Experience.
    • Just before the big fight, Twilight's takeoff from the ground is similar to Superman taking off in Man of Steel, including with the rocks shaking moments before she blasts off.

      Another shout out to Superman's comics and movies is how a crystal piece (in this case a chest) buries itself on the ground and makes a large, fully formed crystal building to emerge.
    • When Twilight saves Owlowiscous from the library before it is destroyed by Tirek, and sends him off flying to safety, it's much like the sequence in Avatar: The Last Airbender where Aang faces off against Fire Lord Ozai and sends Momo flying off to safety. The fact that both Tirek and Ozai are both Red and Black and Evil All Over really stresses this point further.
    • Twilight getting stuck in a rock crevice is one to One Piece as Luffy has a bad habit of this happening during fights with a Big Bad. Unlike Luffy though, Twilight can just teleport out.
    • The throne room in Twilight's castle has a low dais reminiscent of the Round Table at its center, surrounded by thrones for the Mane Six and Spike.
    • Spike's smaller, less ornamented (i.e., no cutie mark) throne next to Twilight's is a bit like the throne of the Steward of Gondor.
    • When using his power, Tirek manifests a fireball, hovering between his curved horns. This makes him resemble Hellboy, who would manifest a fiery crown hovering between his curved horns on the occasions that he tapped into his full power as the Prince of Hell.

      It's also been pointed out by fans that the fireball looks similar to the gem between Nicol Bolas' horns from Magic: The Gathering.

      It also somewhat resembles the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
    • The Mane Six's Rainbow Power is similar to the "Sailor Planet Attack" in Sailor Moon, even replicating the overhead shot as the ponies power up.

    Season 5 
  • "The Cutie Map (Part One and Part 2)"
    • The plot of the season premiere is alarmingly reminiscent of "Harrison Bergeron".
    • And Starlight Glimmer's staff looks unsettlingly like the Lance of Longinus.
    • Double Diamond throwing the staff at the Cutie Mark Vault is very reminiscent of Apple's famous commercial from 1984, parodying Nineteen Eighty Four. Appropriate, considering the dystopian themes of the episode.
  • "Bloom and Gloom":
    • The background music has one to Diablo 3: once Applebloom's nightmare devolves into utter craziness, you can briefly hear a slightly modified theme of Whimsyshire, the secret pony level.
  • "Tanks For The Memories":
    • Rainbow Dash's evil grin when she plots to stop winter from coming looks like the expression worn by the Grinch when he gets his "wonderfully awful idea" in the animated adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
    • One scene features a Who's on First? routine involving pegasus ponies named Clear Skies, Open Skies, and Fluffy Clouds, clearly a shout-out to Abbot and Costello.
    • Rainbow's song "I'll Fly" is sung with feelings of hope and confidence echoing Elphaba's "Defying Gravity" from "Wicked", though both songs have different melodies and rhythms.
    • Of all things, there's a Game of Thrones reference! "Prepare yourselves, everypony! Winter is coming!"
  • "Make New Friends But Keep Discord"
  • "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone"
    • "Hellooooo, Gilda."
    • Apart from the one bad eye and the fez, Grandpa Gruff's head looks like Gargamel's.
      • Or more obviously, Grandpa Gruff resembles Grunkle Stan from Gravity Falls even more.
  • "Slice of Life"
    • Doctor Hooves gets a big role (see below); though the writers wrote him with a bit of Dr. Emmett Brown in mind, Peter New confirmed his portrayal was based on David Tennant, with a touch of Christopher Eccleston (specifically, "Everybody Lives!") at the end (the Doctor's even sitting next to Roseluck for that line).
    • The Lebowski ponies are back, with the Dude even having some lines.
      • When they show up for the wedding, Donny is conspicuously absent, but Walter's holding a red coffee can.
  • "Party Pooped"
  • "Amending Fences"
    • Honey Lemon appears at Moondancer's party
      • She shows up again in "The Cutie Re-Mark Part 1", sitting next to Starlight Glimmer and above Moondancer while Twilight is giving her speech.
  • "Do Princesses Dream Of Magic Sheep?"
  • "Carousel Boutique"
    • Every one of Rarity's dress names is a shout out to something, with the Princess Dress being "The Reign in Stain". Sassy Saddles makes the allusion to Pygmalion even stronger by saying "The Reign in Stain is too complicated to explain".
  • "Rarity Investigates!"
    • While Rarity questions the cake store owner, ponified versions of the BBC series versions of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson appear eating in the background. The two later reappear chasing what seems to be a pony version of Moriarty. It is worth noting that the Sherlock pony has a bee cutie mark, referencing his eventual fate as a beekeeper in the original stories.
    • Towards the beginning of the episode, a costume very closely resembling the attire of Doctor Who's Missy is shown as part of Rarity's collection.
    • Rarity's primary Shadow Spade outfit is a dead ringer for Carmen Sandiego.
  • "Made in Manehattan"
    • Rarity briefly sets up a Friendship Booth, offering friendship help to those who need it. The stand looks a lot like Lucy's psychology stand from Peanuts, a pony wearing a blue version of Charlie Brown's shirt walks by it, and Rarity even says, "Good grief!"
    • One pony yells at a taxi cab, "I'm trottin' here!"
    • One of Coco Pommel's scrapbook photos is of a stage version of The Wizard of Oz, with Coco herself playing the part of Dorothy.
  • "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows"
    • Towards the end, Pinkie's eyes become blue spirals as she tries to keep herself from spilling Cadance's and Shining's good news to Twilight. The blue spirals also appeared in Roger Rabbit's eyes in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" as he tried to keep himself from finishing a jingle and reveal himself to the 'Who.'
    • The episode title itself is a reference to Friends and its Idiosyncratic Episode Naming.
  • "Scare-Master"
    • When Fluttershy tries to convince her friends she can make a haunted house, she has a few dangling cardboard cutouts of some unusual ponies, looking suspiciously like Usagi, Rei, Utena, Bulma and Ranma.
    • There's an actual pony actually dressed as Sailor Moon, talking to another pony who's apparently supposed to be dressed as Jem, the comic relaunch of which hasn't been shy about nods to Friendship Is Magic either.
    • Angel being dressed as a vampire may be a nod to Bunnicula.
  • "What About Discord?"
    • When Pinkie suggests time travel, she briefly dresses as Marty McFly while the Back to the Future theme song plays.
    • The title and plot of the episode are allusions to the film, What About Bob? Discord even dresses up like the titular character, complete with a miniaturized snooze taking the role of the goldfish.
  • "The Mane Attraction"
    • The setup to show Svengallop's true colors to Rara (and every other pony) are also exhibited in "Batman Returns" where Wayne and Alfred rain on the mayoral campaign of the Penguin after he destroys the batmobile and in "Knight Rider" episode 'White Line Warriors' where Michael Knight and KITT jam a local radio's frequency to reveal a corrupt sherriff's criminal dealings.
  • "The Cutie Re-Mark"
    • The entire plot is quite similar to that of Back to the Future Part II, where the main antagonist uses time travel to change the past in his favor, causing the protagonists to end up in an alternate timeline with a Crapsack World . To fix the problem, the protagonists must go back to the exact time of when the antagonist altered the past and fix it so that the original timeline is (somewhat) restored.
      • The overall structure, however, has more in common with "Time And Punishment" from The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror V, where various changes to the past cause a different alternate future.
    • The process of time-travel has some parallels with Stephen King's "11/22/63" where journeys back in time produce resettings for all characters who exist in the destination event (save time travelers ex: Starlight, Twilight, Spike). This prevents self-meets-self paradoxes. Additionally, the alteration of a significant event, like President Kennedy's assassination has catastrophic consequences for the future (examples: catastrophic earthquakes, lost lives, and acts of war in the novel and in the episode, a cycle from Sombra's imperialism to the climate of fear with the changelings to the tyranny of Nightmare Moon to the gluttony of Tirek to the unfettered chaos of Discord to Flim-Flam's aggressive redevelopment to finally a complete wasteland). More to the point, numerous alternate timelines in the novel and the episode that deviate from a fixed timeline gradually destroy the settings for the characters. The only remedy for this devastation is creating a timeline which matches the fixed timeline to a tee, demonstrated when Twilight gains Starlight's trust.
    • Both Twilight and Spike get to say "Well, that didn't work."

     Season 6 
  • The Crystalling
    • The most viable candidate to suggest as an allusion is Sunburst, who told Starlight that he was "not the wizard you were expecting;" in a way like Oscar Diggs from "Oz: The Great and Powerful" revealed that he was not the wizard Glinda was expecting.
    • Sunburst appears to be modeled after Milo Thatch: both characters seem to have big round glasses and to be gifted scholars in their fields.
  • The Gift of the Maud Pie
    • The title is a play upon O Henry's "The Gift of the Magi," and the plot pattern is similar to the Christmas short story.
    • On the train to Manehattan in the beginning, Pinkie Pie bothers several ponies in the car, including Del Griffith, Neal Page and Kate McCallister.
    • One of the billboards in Manehattan's Times Square is a nod to Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats."
    • In addition to Manehattan's Lady Liberty and Times Square (seen in previous episodes), this episode offers three new locations that mirror landmarks from the real New York City: Manehattan's Grand Central Station, Central Park, and Rockafeller Plaza (or possibly for Manehattan: "Rockafilly Plaza").
    • The pony Pinkie (and later Maud) trades with is a composite character in terms of similarities. One potential reference is seen in his slight gangly frame, head shape, and gold tooth. All are characteristics shared with Mr. Gold/ Rumplestiltskin from "Once Upon a Time." The pony's mane is a halfway reference, being not as long as the O Ua T antihero's hair. As the character is a composite, the pony's New York accent and clothes are not nuances to Mr. Gold.
  • On Your Marks
    • The scene where Sweetie Belle attempts to teach a vocal warm-up for Apple Bloom and Scootaloo is a nod to the classic 'Do Re Mi' song from "The Sound of Music."
  • The Gauntlet of Fire
    • The title and competition is a nod to "The Goblet of Fire," and it's Tri-Wizard Tournemant from the "Harry Potter" series.
    • The scepter's function operates in a like manner to the sword Excalibur when lodged in the stone from Disney-Arthurian lore and again with "Harry Potter" the Deathly Hallows from book 7, as the three items gathered together make the gatherer "the master of death."
    • "Lord of the Rings" nods are also present, beginning with the horns of Ember and Torch, her father, which are positioned similarly to the Balrog's from "The Fellowship of the Ring," and "The Two Towers."
      • A more real-life similarity may be suggested specifically between Torch's horns and the death-mask of young pharoah Tutankhamen.
    • Torch's throaty English accent has a quality most in common with one of the three trolls Bilbo and the dwarves crossed in the first live-action Hobbit film. This was very likely unintentional, as throaty English and New Zealand accents have appeared many times recently in public cinema, television, web (and maybe radio) media. Other comparable vocal qualities can be heard in Ugluk, the Urukai leader who replaced Lurtz at the beginning of "The Two Towers" film, certain pirates belonging to Barbossa's and Davy Jones' crew from the Disney's first three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, and Manu Bennett's Slade Wilson/Deathstroke in the live-action "Arrow" series.
    • In the strictest degree of coincidence, Dragon 2 's comical plan to steal every pillow from Equestria and his reason for doing so upon becoming Dragon Lord echo the grievance of the wild men of Dunland from "The Two Towers" film, who according to Saruman were driven out from their lands by Rohan "...into the hills to scratch a living off rocks." This cannot be mentioned without adding Garble's plans to burn and raid Equestria as Dragon Lord, echoing Saruman's command to the wild men to take back their lands from Rohan and "Burn every village!"
    • Ember's determination to challenge her father's doubt in her as a suitable successor mirror Eowyn's relationship with her uncle Theoden in "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King." And as Eowyn in the latter film, Ember clads herself like a warrior to hide her identity as she takes on the gauntlet.
    • Rarity and Twilight appear with many improvised disguises including one resembling a rock to appear camouflaged in the presence of antagonistic dragons such as Garble. Two hobbits use their Elven cloaks to pass for rock just outside the Black Gate when two curious Easterlings break away from their unit to investigate a rock slide accidentally caused by Sam in "The Two Towers" movie.
    • Ember shares her name with another female dragon from "Spyro: A Hero's Tail," an installment from the original series pre-dating the reboot and the current "Skylanders"' franchise. The sleek appearance of MLP:Fi M's Ember, however is more reminiscent to Cynder in the "Legend of Spyro" trilogy and the 2010's series. Furthermore, unlike quadrupedal Ember from the "Spyro the Dragon" series and Cynder from the reboot and current video game lineup, Equestria's Ember is bipedal and blue rather than pink or black.
  • "No Second Prances"
    • Probably a subject with more similarities than those to be presented is the poster for Trixie's magic show. The "eyes without a face" (not to be confused with a Billy Idol song) element resembles the album cover for Styx's "The Grand Illusion!" the 1925 Francis Cugat cover illustration for "The Great Gatzby," and the novel cover appearing at the end of Season 4's MLP:Fi M episode 'Daring Don't.' The crystal ball carries a more loose thematic reference to the album covers of Styx's "Crystal Ball;" and Electric Light Orchestra's (ELO) "Discovery."
      • Though pure coincidence, Trixie even says the words: "grand illusion."
    • The confrontation between Starlight, Trixie, and Twilight concludes with Starlight running off feeling used by Trixie and Twilight contemptuously telling the latter, "I hope you're happy!" Though Twilight said this line earlier in Season One's 'Look Before You Sleep,' the circumstance necessitating the statement in that episode had less in common with the 'I hope you're happy' intro to 'Defying Gravity' sung by Elphaba and Galinda in "Wicked." Summarily, Twilight's utterance of "I hope you're happy," in 'No Second Prances' was more in theme and mood to "Wicked's" use of the statement.
    • Hoofdini is a pun on Houdini.
    • The symbol adorning the top of Trixie's stage is Trixie's cutie mark, but the enlarged figure resembles the "hammer and sickle" once used to identify Communist factions. This is not as visible when Trixie's cutie mark is on her flank, hence why such a similarity is harder to suggest in her earlier episodes.
    • Starlight and Trixie face similar predicaments to Sunset Shimmer's from the "Rainbow Rocks" spinoff.
  • "Newbie Dash"
    • It was a rare twist of fate that the Don Knotts comedy film "The Reluctant Astronaut" was shown on AMC at 10:00 p.m. EST, nearly twelve hours before 'Newbie Dash' aired on Discovery Family on May 7. The 1967 movie was mentioned because "Newbie Dash" has a few coincidental features (merely Dash's janitorial duties, her welcome home party, and the closing disaster in the presence of her friends are indirectly paralleled in Knotts' film). As such, these features are not true similarities as unlike the titular astronaut (or janitor as initially employed), Dash knew the job she'd be taking; Dash's friends were sympathetic and open to listening to her plight at the welcome-home-from-work-party, and by the end, Dash's fellow Wonderbolts responded similarly and raised her spirits when Rainbow explained her discomfort with "Rainbow Crash" (additionally, Spitfire put Dash on probation rather than firing her for the mishap).
    • Chronologically within the overall series' storyline, this is the third episode where the derogatory "Rainbow Crash" is heard, preceded by 'Sonic Rainboom,' and 'Bridle Gossip.' Altogether, it is the sixth appearance of the name by broadcast when 'The Cutie Mark Chronicles' and both parts of 'The Cutie Remark' are included.
    • The nickname Dash uses during her Twilight impression: "Reading Rainboom" is a play on the popular PBS program "Reading Rainbow."
      • And subsequently, the nickname during Dash's Fluttershy impression is "Care Mare," a singular pun on a plural franchise sharing the same adjective only attached to bears.
    • Rubbing salt in a wound for Dash was the degrading "Rainbow Crash" symbol/nickname appearing on her Wonderbolts' jacket. Archie Bunker had more excitement about the nickname he could get on his club jacket in the appropriately named "All in the Family" episode: 'Archie and the Bowling Team.' But this may be true for some clubs in reality, not to mention additional clubs from other imaginative stories.
    • With the exception of two segments in Rainbow Dash's climatic fumble, the rest have similarities to specific accidents endured by characters in the following films: "Jingle All the Way," "How the Grinch stole Christmas," "Baby's Day Out," "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," and "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit." Also worth including many more scenes both in animated and live stories where cartoonish electric shock occurs.
  • "A Hearth's Warming Tail"
    • The episode is a Whole Plot Reference to How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Snowfall Frost disliking the Hearth's Warming and trying to stop it for others) and A Christmas Carol (him being dissuaded from his plan by the ghosts of past, present, and future).
      • Specific in regards to an adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic, Applejack as the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past is aptly clothed in Victorian attire; which is unusual for a portrayal mirroring the Ghost of Christmas Past save for another in the film "Scrooge" with Albert Finney as Ebeneezer.
      • Featherweight's counterpart in the tale-within-a-tale is a clear homage to Tiny Tim.
    • A spell to erase memories of a holiday on a massive scale has been previously shown with a few differences in "the curse" from the first season of "Once Upon a Time."
    • It is best to concur that the song "Hearth's Warming Eve is Here Once Again" contains no direct connections to any other song save an obvious foundation on several upbeat Christmas hymns and songs. The characteristic of the repeated song title between the lyrics in the opening song is shared though equitably distinct to Broadway number "Shoeless Joe," and Don Henley hits like "All She Wants to do is Dance."
    • "Say Goodbye to the Holiday" is a murmur of a reference to "Wicked's" "No Good Deed" solely by settings around cauldrons and similar tempos. But they have stronger differences than likenesses, most observedly in their melodies. More solid parallels can be seen (and heard) between "Say Goodbye to the Holiday" and "Don't Fall in Love" from "Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas." Both take place during the Yuletide season and feature specters summoned by the singers (smoky windigos and green melody phantoms).
    • The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Present's song is a musical shoutout to jazzy brass songs with a tap-dance interlude included.
    • Professor Flintheart has physical similarities and attitude to Professor Snape.
  • "The Saddle Row Review (Saddle Row & Rec)"
    • For starters, Saddle Row is a play upon London's Savile Road.
    • Next, there is a web silk-thin resemblance of store name "Rarity for You," and Broadway musical, "Crazy for You."
    • The interluding interviews in the episode refer to a comedic direction and or/scripting used occasionally in sitcoms like "Scrubs" and more often in "The Office," and "Parks and Recreation."
    • The reporter at the start of the show bears a physical resemblance to J. Jonah Jameson. His New York accent slightly resembles said accents used by late Canadian actor Danny Wells, especially when heard in episodes of "Sanford & Son," and "The Jeffersons."
      • Speaking of "The Jeffersons," Plaid Stripes is similar to Mr. Whittandale's niece in the episode: "Who's the Fairest."As Plaid's father threatens to raise Rarity's rent if his daughter is not employed and appeased, Mr. Whittendale, who owns the Jefferson Cleaners building, threatens to destroy the new lease he prepared for George if he does not pick Whittandale's immature and frankly untalented niece (dressed in common 80s punk apparel) to be Mrs. Jefferson Cleaners in the beauty pageant centered in the episode's plot. Plaid Stripes, however appears to have been designed more tacky than punk and more goofy than immature. Plus, Applejack even sees the silver lining of one of Plaid's eccentric ideas to improve "Rarity for You's" opening.
    • Likely a coincidental point, Mr. Stripes resembles the 007 ally and Russian kingpin played by Robbie Coltrane in "Goldeneye," and "The World is Not Enough."
    • The building that houses Rarity for You resembles the 96 and 98 East 8th Street buildings in Manhattan, best known for the cover of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti.
  • "Applejack's Day Off"
    • The title can be suggested as a reference to a popular 80s comedy film starring Matthew Broderick and Ben Stein, though the likelihood of it being suggested to reference many other similarly named stories is very high.
    • The contours of the rows in Applejack's fields are vaguely reminiscent of Rabbit's from the 80's/90's "Winnie the Pooh" animated TV series.
  • "Flutter Brutter"
    • To a modest extent, Zephyr Breeze's voice resembles Roger Rabbit's, but it is overlaid with vocal qualities also heard in characters portrayed by Eddie Murphy and Tyler Perry.
    • A pony resembling Link can be seen hauling a cart full of Ruppies.
  • "Spice Up Your Life"
    • Apart from the pre-title sequence, much of this episode appears as a more bearable and G-rated cousin to the frequently swearing and callous staffs of restaurants in "Kitchen Nightmares," and "Restaurant Impossible."
    • A pony version of Gordon Ramsey can be seen.
    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. Their cutie mark: An hourglass. Yet, the staff says it was originally a coincidence until the fans latched onto "Doctor Whooves."
    • It gets better. While he was eventually named Time Turner, some time after that it was officially changed to Dr. Hooves, which is as close as they can get to his fan name without getting sued. It's after this point that he starts doing things like wearing 3D glasses and hanging out with Roseluck (who is called simply "Rose" the one time she was called by name, much earlier.)
    • "Slice of Life" runs with this, making him a super-smart yet quirky scientist with a British accent and a house that looks suspiciously like the inside of the TARDIS. In the end he shows up wearing the famous super-long scarf from the Fourth Doctor and says, "Allons-y," the Tenth Doctor's catchphrase.
  • 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 music at the beginning of the episode, when Applejack is practicing her rodeo events, is very similar to the theme from Bonanza.
  • 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.
  • In "Party Pooped," there is the entire life of a pony version of The Beatles with Pinkie as Ringo Starr, in one afternoon!
  • In "What about Discord", said character briefly appears with the hair, beard, talent, and (subtly) voice of painter Bob Ross.
  • Countess Coloratura is a pony version of Lady Gaga, in addition to being voiced by an actual celebrity, Lena Hall, whom Coloratura/Rara resembles in her non-Countess form.
  • Coincidently, "The Mane Attraction" aired during the broadcast of "American Horror Story: Hotel," where Lady Gaga plays a character called "The Countess."
  • Svengallop's voice resembles Monte Durham's from TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta."
  • No exact inspirations can be said of the silent pony in the blue suit whom Rainbow Dash hires in "The Saddle Row Review;" guesses are that his appearance is subtly similar to that of Monte Durham and Carson Kressley.

    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 Star Trek: The Next Generation character Q. (some Fanon declares them to be one and the same). (It doesn't hurt these theories that Discord is voiced by John de Lancie.)

Alternative Title(s): My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ShoutOut/MylittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic