Web Video: Friendship is Witchcraft aka: Friendshipis Witchcraft
Friendship is Witchcraft is an Abridged Series using material from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. It is a joint project headed by Jenny Nicholson and Griffin Lewis under the collective pseudonym Sherclop Pones. Most of the voices are done by Jenny Nicholson while Griffin Lewis does the music, editing, and some of the voices (mostly secondary characters).Rather than directly parodying the show, it presents a version of the MLP universe where each character is just a bit... different. Twilight Sparkle is an ADD-addled narcissistic sociopath with aspirations of royalty, Spike is a universally scorned target of abuse, Fluttershy is the insane leader of an apocalyptic cult, Rarity is a PTSD-affected war veteran devoted to said cult, Applejack a war criminal and a Southern stereotype (as written by a space alien), Rainbow Dash is self-absorbed to the point of sometimes speaking using her name alone, and Pinkie Pie is an orphan who just wants to be loved. Oh, and Sweetie Belle is a robot, but no one seems to have noticed. The resulting show almost feels like a pony version of Sealab 2021.The series features original background music and even original musical numbers. Via use of clever editing and special effects, it even seems to be developing its own story arc, revolving around Pinkie's attempts to use gypsy magic to go back in time and save her dead parents. All the while, Fluttershy is attempting to prevent her from meddling with time magic as she leads a cult dedicated to the revival of Smooze and bring about the world's ending, and their goals apparently are in direct opposition to each other.The team's website can be found here. They also have an old Youtube channel, though now updates are done here. Like most MLP abridged series, Friendship Is Witchcraft has run into issues with copyright claims from Hasbro (the real one), resulting in their videos on YouTube being blocked to U.S. audiences for an indefinite period of time (remind you of anyone?). An attempt was made to move the series to Vimeo, but those videos ended up being blocked as well. (For those wanting to see the series, mirror sites are available.) Despite this, the creators insist that the series is not dead. Both creators have launched side projects, available for viewing on their Youtube channel: Jenny's "Kimi Sparkle" series, a parody of MLP Analysis videos, and Griffin's "Silver Spoon Escapes from Camp Energy"note Limbo, a series of largely improvised stream-of-consciousness ramblings done in character as Silver Spoon. And most recently, they have started a multi-part series based on the Equestria Girls movie, entitled Horse Women.Nine episodes have been released to date:
1. "The Perfect Swarm" (based on the show episode "Swarm of the Century")
2. "Read It and Sleep" (based on "Look Before You Sleep")
3. "Dragone Baby Gone" (based on "Dragonshy")
4. "Cute from the Hip" (based on "Call of the Cutie")
5. "Neigh, Soul Sister" (based on "Sisterhooves Social")
6. "Lunar Slander" (based on "Luna Eclipsed")
7. "Cherry Bomb" (based on "The Last Roundup")
8. "Foaly Matripony" (based on "A Canterlot Wedding")
9. "Seed No Evil" (based on "One Bad Apple" and the fan animated video Snowdrop)
Absurdly Dedicated Worker: "The Perfect Swarm" has a running gag with one particular pony watering a single flowerbed for hours on end. Even as a disaster is destroying Ponyville around her. Several episodes (and two in-universe months) later, "Foaly Matripony" reveals that this pony is still watering those same flowers.
Ambiguous Disorder: Princess Molestia/Luna has issues with personal space, social situations, and the volume of her voice. She's not avoided for being scary, as she thinks, but because she's awkward and clingy.
Ambiguously Jewish: Diamond Tiara, not because of surname nor mannerisms, but because of her "mark mitzvah" celebration upon getting a cutie mark. It's only really ambiguous because the finer points of pony religions are unaddressed. Human Diamond Tiara from Silver Spoon Escapes from Camp Energy is confirmed to be Jewish.
There's also Applejack's remark on the subject.
Applejack: For the last time, I ain't switchin' religions just so you can have a mark mitzvah like the popular kids!
Apple Bloom: But... Applejack says that— Rainbow Dash: Hey, who are you going to listen to? (does goofy 'applebucking' pose) Someone who does this all day? Or your sister?
We also have this from Rarity: "But we have nothing in common, I come from a rich family, and you like to eat apples."
Beat: In "Cute From the Hip", one lasts long enough for Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle to blink in time with the music several times.
Another in "Neigh, Soul Sister".
(Sweetie Belle has just activated Rarity's one-time use "self-hugging" sweater.) Rarity: Now who shall hug me? (Beat) Sweetie Belle:Sweetie Belle!
Believing Their Own Lies: Twilight seems to slip into this in "Foaly Matripony". As in the original, she peeks in on her brother and his fiancee—but this time it's implied that SHE's the one casting a mind-control spell. Nonetheless, she seems genuinely horrified and runs off screaming that Cadence is pure evil.
Black Comedy: A giant ball of parasprites crashing into a bowling alley knocking down all the pins is pretty funny, except when it kills eight ponies. Then it's hilarious.
Rarity's parents are brought back from the dead, and soon go off for a vacation in "Neigh, Soul Sister". Listen in the background for what happens.
Rarity has Post-Traumatic Dress Disorder. Cue jokes at her expense.
Sweetie Belle:(arguing with Rarity)At least I don't spend every Veteran's Day sobbing on the floor!
Episode 8 ventures into much darker territories with its humor. Most episodes generally retain the same storyline with bizarre, humorous changes, but "Foaly Matripony" involves Twilight sabotaging her brother's wedding so that she can marry him, and leaving Cadence in a cave beneath Canterlot to die.
"Seed No Evil" suddenly segues from its roots in One Bad Apple to an extended, much darker, parody of Snowdropthat inspires the Snooty Snark Evaders to use dark magic to blind Babs for life. Nobody learns anything. Oh yeah, and then it ends on a cheerful musical number mocking the now-blind filly.
Black Magic: There is a distinction between "legal magic" and "witchcraft". The difference has not been explicitly defined, but it would appear that unicorn magic falls in the former category, while the latter seems to encompass gypsy magic and magic invoked by summoning dark spirits, such as what the Snooty Snark Evaders use to blind Babs.
Blah Blah Blah: In "Cute From The Hip", Twilight apparently hears everything Apple Bloom says as her just saying "Apples!" repeatedly. She thinks she's speaking "Applenese".
Blind Without 'Em: Rainbow Dash admits that her astigmatism made her too nearsighted to join the army during the war or the Wonderballs now. Everything's blurry from her viewpoint. She mistakes Apple Bloom for Applejack at first, and then later both Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. She refuses to listen to her eye doctor about getting glasses, though.
Bowdlerise: The entire "buy some apples" Running Gag was a punch intentionally made on ridiculous censorship.
"Lunar Slander" begins with a notice explaining that DOLE has issued a cease-and-desist letter stopping the series from using the word "apple." Every mention of apples in the episode (including Applejack's name and the "buy some apples" gag above) is dubbed over with a different fruit, and every visual depiction of apples (including the apple-bobbing tub and AJ's cutie mark) is blurred out.
Apple Bloom: Uh, Pinkie, if you're going to start singing, could you put the lyrics at the bottom of the screen?
The extended version of said song has Pinkie singing about baking the fourth wall as part of her plan.
Twilight states that [MANGO]jack is "the most universally-adored character in the show" in 'Lunar Slander'.
All over the place in "Foaly Matripony". Celestia's letter states that all of Pinkie's dialogue was cut for time (and Pinkie's answer gets cut off mid-sentence). The mane six laugh at Spike for hoping that he'll get a larger role in the episode... and it happens again when he speculates that the marriage will shake up the status quo. The ponies brainstorm punny titles for that very episode.
In "Seed No Evil", Apple Bloom states that the portal can resurrect two more dead parents before that plot thread is complete.
In "Horse Women," Twilight's actress explains that her rather pathetic screams are due to her not being alone in the house while she's recording.
The "Elmer's bath" that Fluttershy took prior to "Dragone Baby Gone" appears to be a part of the usual treatment that she and Rarity have at her cult's "Conversion Spa" in "Neigh, Soul Sister".
In "Dragone, Baby Gone", Twilight offhandedly mentions that she may have to frame Molestia again to secure her place on the throne, and then tells the dragon that her Gaia name is Celestia2. Later, in "Lunar Slander", we're shown that Celestia was tipped off to her sister's alleged attempt to usurp the throne by a Gaia user named Celestia2—confirming that Twilight was indeed responsible for Molestia's banishment.
"Pinkie's Brew" contains the lyrics "Eye of a newt and cinnamon". In "Lunar Slander", Pip reveals that he lost an eye, and that his given name is Newt. At the end of "Foaly Matripony", it's revealed that he lost his other one as well. Along with his legs. He doesn't mind.
Rarity uses an invisibility scarf in "Dragone, Baby Gone" and can be seen walking around wearing it in "Lunar Slander"
Rarity's disguise contact lenses.
In "Cute From the Hip", Twist tells Apple Bloom, "Make sure you knock on my door seven times, or we'll assume it's the police!" rather offhandedly. Several scenes later:
Apple Bloom: *knock* *knock* *knock* *knock* *knock* *knock* *beat* Apple Bloom: *knock* Twist: Oh! Were you followed?
In the first episode, Twilight runs past a pony watering flowers several times, with Twilight commenting just how long she's been doing it. In "Foaly Matripony", one of the newspaper articles mentions a pony who's been watering flowers for two months, saying that she no longer feels anything.
Applejack accidentally pulls the top half of a neighboring tree into Twilight's home in "Read it and Sleep", then tries to jump and kick it while yelling "Destroy!" three times. Later, in "Neigh, Soul Sister", we get this exchange:
In "Foaly Matripony", at the end of the scene where Applejack presents Cadence with the bag of apple snacks, Cadence still tosses the bag into a trash can, but it's now labeled "Charity Food Drive". She gives an "apple sack" to "charity".
Broken (Spoof) Aesop: Twilight concludes that it doesn't matter how far you slide, as long as you look cool doing it, but Sweetie Bot states that the only thing that matters is how far you can slide. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, PEOPLE!!!
To be fair, that was part of Sweetie Belle's song, wherein she admits that she did "sacrifice some meaning just to have the words rhyme." Well, half-rhyme, really...
The aesop of "Foaly Matripony". Throwing a fit will get you exactly what you want (especially if you kidnap, incarcerate or vaporise the competition).
Buffy Speak: Regarding the mountain in "Dragone Baby Gone":
Fluttershy: It's so... tall/steep... Rainbow Dash: Well it is a tall/steep thing!
Bus Crash: Implied with Rarity and Sweetie Belle's parents; after leaving, the sounds of an offscreen crash are heard.
Also what happened originally. Apparently Pinkie's brew is wreaking havoc with reality.
Butt Monkey: Everypony hates Spike. They always think of mean things to say about/to him and give him the hardest tasks such as holding a lightning rod on top of Twilight's library during a thunderstorm. In the montage in Episode 3, the Element, Skills, Item and Dislikes of every pony in Team D.E.S.U. are displayed. Every pony has "Spike" in their dislikes, and Fluttershy has "clubbing Spike" listed in her likes.
In "Foaly Matripony", the forcefield around Canterlot seems to exist for the sole purpose of keeping Spike out of the city during the wedding (and it does).
Call Back: "Seed No Evil" has Sweetie Belle declaring "Look how far I can electric slide!"
In "Neigh, Soul Sister" Sweetie Belle claims that the water makes her feel funny after Rarity tells her to take a bath. In "Seed No Evil" Sweetie Belle literally goes haywire while in the bathtub.
Cassandra Truth: Unlike in the original show, Pinkie and Applejack are very clear about their respective problems (Pinkie clearly spells out the threat the parasprites pose and what they need to do about it, while Applejack tells them in her letter that she's been enslaved). Their friends ignore them. Applejack doesn't exactly flat-out state that she has a bomb strapped to her until it came out, but that may be because Whiplash would activate the bomb if she did.
Catchphrase: Some of the characters have their own, but this one gets around: "Talk about eye candy!" It was lampshaded via Spinning Newspaper in episode 8.
Cerebus Syndrome: Each episode is progressively darker than the last as the plot develops.
Characterization Marches On: In the first episode, Princess Celestia seems to actually like Twilight Sparkle — albeit in more of a "celebrity and Big Name Fan" way than their close relationship in the actual show — and actually asks her for a friendship report. Later episodes show Princess Celestia to consider Twilight obnoxious at best and creepy at worst, and establishes the letters as something Twilight took it upon herself to send and Celestia wishes would just stop.
Chekhov's Gun: The line "They say a kitch-en time save nine" from "Pinkie's Brew" seems like a throwaway rhyme. However, when various parents start coming Back from the Dead in subsequent episodes, a counter appears on screen, ticking up toward nine.
In the same episode as Pinkie's Brew, Cheerilee gives a seemingly irrelevant and paranoid lesson about robots that seems to have no bearing on anything. Then, at the end of the episode, Sweetie Belle is introduced.
Sweetie Belle:Why is it funny to laugh at someone else's misery?! "Oh look, our characters are so malevolent and heartless!" Maybe next we'll hear a new cheap catchphrase! *beat* Applejack: Moonshine gravy!
Comically Missing the Point: Nopony seems to grasp that the "free iPod" Applejack won was a trap, or that AJ is enslaved, or that she has a bomb attached to her that detonates if she tries to leave. Even when she spells it out in plain English and the bomb is sitting there in plain view.
Applejack: I'll give you a nickel to outrun them! *the coach pulls ahead* Twilight: I'll give you a piece of string! *the coach falls behind* Applejack: I'll give you two sticks of gum and a rubber band! *the coach leaves the other five in the dust* Rarity: She's richer than us!
Companion Cube: Diamond Tiara gets a gift box, and declares it her new best friend. While Silver Spoon is right next to her.
In the same episode...
[Snails takes a massive bite out of a cake with a smiley face drawn on it. The cake frowns.] Diamond Tiara: Hey! Cakey is my best friend! I get to decide when she dies!
Consulting Mister Puppet: Mister Sandwich in this case, on to which Twilight has projected the personality of an admirer she rejects.
Crapsaccharine World: Let's see... all dragons are slaves when they aren't second class citizens, an unknown but no doubt sizable proportion of the population are actually robots who apparently go on murderous rampages if they learn their true natures, there was a massive World War One-esque conflict not long ago, a cult is openly seeking to destroy the world...
Credits Gag: Rarity's parents are named "Mommity" and "Daddity", and Dole CEO David H. Murdock is listed among the "donors" in "Cherry Bomb".
Played straight with the pacts made with Twinkle. Unusually, however, Twinkle asks those who call upon him (or at least in Snowblind's case) to reconsider their wishes before he grants them ("Are you sure you don't want something more whimsical?").
Deface of the Moon: Twilight, being the princess of the night and a total narcissist, carved her own face on the moon (specifically, the face from the above title card).
Delivery Stork: Raincloud, having delivered Twilight's adopted brother Francis to her doorsteps.
Descent Into Darkness Song: Pinkie Pie's orphanage song does this. It begins as a happy song, but then Pinkie starts singing about how unworthy she is.
Designated Hero: Lampshaded in "Seed No Evil", after the Evaders wish for Twinkle to blind Babs:
Sweetie Belle:Now she is protected from harmful cynical media that could influence bad behavior, so we're still the good guys. Correct? Applejack: ... Yeeeeah.invoked
Devil in Plain Sight: It's pretty ridiculous how the other ponies regard Fluttershy when she called the parasprite swarm her "Army of Darkness", killed at least 13 dragons and many other demons, enjoys clubbing Spike with her spiked club, throws rabbits into bonfires, and leads a Religion of Evil (see below).
None of the Mane 6 pay attention to Whiplash's frequent, unsubtle bomb puns, nor her treatment of Applejack.
Twilight as of "Foaly Matripony". No one notices that she left Cadence for dead and stole her groom, who is her adopted brother. Plus, she actually sang about how she vaporized her competition during It'll Be OK.
Through the rest of the episode, any apple-related imagery is blurred out, and any mentions of apples is subtly changed to other fruits.
In "Cherry Bomb", on-screen text claims that "Buy some apples" is a Dole trademark, and the Sound Effect Bleep comes complete with a classified ad for the Dole Chairman.
Do Androids Dream?: Even though everypony accepts that robots have no souls, the robot Sweetie Belle is one of the few characters to demonstrate love or empathy, or to call the others out on their Comedic Sociopathy.
The trope namer is directly referenced as well - when Sweetie Belle sees sheep, she mentions seeing them in her dreams.
Dramatic Irony: Sweetie Belle accuses Rarity of being a "soulless automaton" when she protests attending the Sentient Social with her. Of course, she's also (quite obviously) a robot herself, but nobody (including herself) notices.
Dumb Is Good: Parodied: Ponyville's citizens are proud of their ignorance, to the point that when they receive a letter from Applejack in "Cherry Bomb", they think she's been 'corrupted by knowledge' and believes she's too good for their friendship now that she knows how to write.
By the end, Applejack agrees, reporting that it's better to not know anything at all.
Dysfunction Junction: Applejack and Rarity are tormented by their memories of the war, Pinkie Pie is an orphan accused of witchcraft, Fluttershy is an affably evil cultist, and Twilight Sparkle is prone to obsession and completely lacking in empathy. Rainbow Dash is the only one of the Mane Six who isn't horribly emotionally scarred—she's just stupid.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Some of the running gags established in later episodes are so pervasive that their absence early on can be striking, particularly with regard to the first episode, "The Perfect Swarm".
The first episode's establishing shots feature silent background characters.
"The Perfect Swarm" uses traditional censor bars and bleep sounds.
"The Perfect Swarm" also sticks pretty faithfully to the plot of the original episode, something that would not be true of later episodes.
The original music gets progressively more elaborate throughout the series, making the early episodes seem somewhat sparse in comparison.
Episode Title Card: Starts out as white text on black background, but by "Cherry Bomb", it becomes an actual drawn card.
"Meet fanboys by the dozens, they'll shower me with plushies!"
Everything's Better with Princesses: Along with Princesses Celestia and Molestia/Luna, in "Dragone Baby Gone" Twilight claims Celestia has named her a princess along with being the leader of Team D.E.S.U.
And as of "Lunar Slander" Luna gave her title to Twilight Sparkle.
Applejack: I guess sometimes it just takes one unspeakable cruelty to counteract another!
Sweetie Belle: Is that really the moral?
In-Universe example in the same episode: "Snowblind" ends with the main character declaring that if she wants something, she'll take it, and that she's not some kind of Christmas special feel-good pony. Given that she did so by trafficking with dark powers...
Fantastic Racism: In addition to the cast's utter contempt for Spike, adult dragons are apparently kept in cages in Equestria, for children to throw things at. Twilight all but directly states that the only reason baby dragons don't suffer this fate is because they're not a large enough target.
Applejack is apparently a huge xenophobe:
Applejack: Apple Bloom, the grapes are different than our kind! You know what that means! Apple Bloom:(cheerfully stomping grapes) Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!
Despite being a helpful worker and delivering mail, Raincloud will never be seen as one of the ponies.
Applejack: Hey, all of us have some depth to our characters... Rainbow Dash:I don't! Applejack:Almost all of us have some depth to our characters...
Deconstructed in "Foaly Matripony". Cadence finds the one-dimensional nature of the Mane Six unnerving, and worries when it starts to rub off on Francis. Rightly so, as it's implied that Twilight's the reason for this.
Foreshadowing: "Gypsy? I'm not a gypsy! I'm a pastry chef! Those aren't even similar! ...Or are they?"
In "Cherry Bomb" Pinkie Pie makes the exclamation that her magic candy told her that Applejack's trip was going to be "the bomb." This turns out to be much more literal than Pinkie anticipated.
Forced Meme: Rainbow Dash tries to make one in "Foaly Matripony".
Rainbow Dash: While Twilight was singing that song, I thought of a new word! It's called blarf! I don't know what it means yet, but I know it's gonna be big!
In "Dragone Baby Gone", you can see that Twilight's map is indeed not a map.
You can spot Rarity wearing her Invisibility Scarf in "Lunar Slander".
Raincloud can be spotted in the background of several scenes in Con-Junction in "Cherry Bomb".
A blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in "Foaly Matripony" when Twilight finds Francis on her doorstep: Raincloud dropped him off!
Several of the Littlest Pet Shop pets can be seen in the background of "Foaly Matripony".
In Kimi Sparkle's review of 'Transyl-Mania' a translucent horn appears on Kimi's forehead.
In "Lunar Slander" when Twilight is giving the trick-or-treaters books, if you pause at just the right time, they're her own fan-fictions. "Diamond In The Rough" can be seen, as well as something that looks like her once-mentioned Discord fanfic.
Freudian Excuse: Fluttershy's evil seems to be the product of her hellish childhood.
Fluttershy: Do you know what a bunny fire is? Fluttershy's father: Is it like a fire? For... bunnies? Are you still angry because I threw your velveteen rabbit in a fire?
An original song entitled How Applejack Won the War implies that Applejack put the entire farm on a war footing and was involved in the accidental killing of civilians, as well as massacres of surrendering enemies.
Hair TriggerABBAlanche: Deliberately triggered by Fluttershy. For that moment, the falling rocks (and mountainside) play a music video of the song SOS.
Heroic Sacrifice: In "Cherry Bomb", Applejack tries to take the bomb outside of town and spare her friends from fiery death, but they just catch up with her anyway. Raincloud then saves them all by taking the bomb and flying away with it, just before it explodes. In keeping with the tone of the show, however, nopony notices or even cares. Not even Applejack. Until "Star Waving Mad", when Twilight drops the moon, setting most of Ponyville on fire.
"Red alert! Red aler! Raincloud! Come in Raincloud! We need your help! Where are you?"
My father left me to fend for myself in the frozen tundra with nothing but a hatchet and a length of rope. I would have died if a pack of wolves hadn't taken me in as one of their own. But I wasn't safe, the wolves were robots built by my father to lull me into a false sense of security. I awoke one morning to find that he had slaughtered them all and left a message in the snow reading "I dare you to love again." But the message was actually written in ant pheromone. I was suddenly engulfed by thousands of rabid african ants, each trying to borough its way inside me to get to the queen larva my father had put in my Cheerios.
Hollywood Tourette's: Averted. Spike's Tourette's doesn't cause obligatory swearing, but it does cause him to involuntarily teleport his epic fantasy trilogy to Celestia... who destroys his years of work, thinking it's another one of Twilight's creepy fics.
Applejack: Oh, hay. I gotta go on home and wreck something so I can file an insurance claim saying the storm did it. See ya!
Interspecies Romance: Spike's crush on Rarity in the original series suddenly makes sense here as we learn that dragon-pony relationships have happened before, there have been offspring, and we've already met at least one. Evidently dragon genes are entirely recessive.
Ironic Echo: Sweetie Belle practices a song early in 'Neigh, Soul Sister' about how much she loves her sister Rarity. Compare to the song she sings during the race, after rejecting her.
Sweetie Belle:Life is a journey. She has plenty of time to grow up, fall in love, and start a family, like you or I. For love is the fluid that beats through our collective hearts.
In "Neigh, Soul Sister", Rarity's disguise contact lenses altered her appearance to look like Applejack... every part except for her eyes.
It's All About Me: Twilight seems genuinely incapable of understanding that she's not the entirety of her friends' lives, to murderous levels judging from Rarity's reaction to Applejack's plans to leave in 'Read It and Sleep'.
Just a Machine: According to Cheerilee, robots don't have souls. This is supposedly the main difference between them and cyborgs.
Just for Pun: Twilight Sparkle tries numerous puns for the name of her book fort for Princess Celestia.
Karma Houdini: Twilight. She gets Luna sent to space camp out of jealousy, kills a few of Celestia's students (and just gets scolded), and kidnaps Cadence and hides her in a cave after stealing her fiance.
Kids Are Cruel: "Snowblind" has the titular filly being informed by her teacher that the others are waiting to attack her with snowballs. "Better get it over with now, or they'll just attack you again tomorrow."
Laughing Mad: Twilight giggles in a rather unsettling fashion just before showing Rarity her Applesack/Charity fanfiction.
Laugh Track: One is played after a particularly horrible joke in "Seed No Evil".
Law of Disproportionate Response: Fluttershy seems more upset with her father over his refusal to come to her softball games or not putting pictures on the fridge as opposed to his setting her velveteen rabbit on fire, or pretty much everything else about her childhood.
Leave No Survivors: Applejack's philosophy during The War, according to "How Applejack Won the War"
Literal-Minded: Twilight thinks Princess Celestia wants her to build a "book fort". At the end of the episode we find out the princess had told her that "books are your forte".
Twilight: Fort... e?
Lock and Load Montage: "Dragone Baby Gone" uses the one from "Dragonshy" for the most part, substituting a stat list after each freeze-frame (and adding one for Twilight, who wasn't part of the original).
Loser Protagonist: Apparently shaping up to be Pinkie Pie. In fact, every appearance of hers after "The Perfect Swarm" more or less involves her attempts at witchcraft.
Lost Aesop: The original episode lesson always gets shoved aside by things that distract Twilight.
Episode 1 "The Perfect Swarm":
Princess Celestia: Didn't you learn something about one of your dear friends? Twilight Sparkle: Oh, right! Dear Princess Celestia, today I learned that it doesn't matter if you can slide two feet, or even five or six feet. What's important is that you look cool no matter what.
At the end of Episode 2 "Read It and Sleep" Twilight's friendship report is actually her 70 chapter ship-fic, which she sends to the Princess.
In Episode 3 "Dragone Baby Gone", she ends up writing to the Princess about the ball Rainbow Dash was playing with.
Also in Episode 3, Twilight cuts Applejack off just as she was about to finish her teamwork speech.
Episode 4 "Cute from the Hip": Twilight starts out with what sounds like a normal letter about remembering her childhood only to go on about how much she likes writing and sending letters to Princess Celestia.
Averted in Episode 5 "Neigh, Soul Sister". Even though Twilight doesn't appear in the episode, she gives a lesson (via a micro tape Sweetie Belle swallowed) on always loving one's brother, mirroring Rarity's and Sweetie Belle's lesson in the original episode.
In Episode 6, "Lunar Slander" has her write about the difference between a ghoul and a phantom, and how she will one day be able to be a princess to deliver her letters as soon as they're done.
Applejack writes to Celestia in Episode 7, "Cherry Bomb", claiming that knowledge always comes with a price and Ignorance Is Bliss.
Lucky Translation: Although the Russian translation sadly loses some of the glorious puns that this show has, the joke about Twilight (not) speaking Applenese (по-яблонски) is made even better than in the original.
Also works similarly well in the Japanese translation, as the names of every language in Japanese ends with the sound "-go", coincidentally so does the Japanese word for "Apple" (Ringo).
Lyrical Dissonance: "Pinkie's Brew" starts off as a zany attempt by Pinkie Pie to go back in time but quickly becomes depressing as it's clear she wants nothing more than to see her parents. There's a reason the song cuts out partway through in the episode.
"The Gypsy Bard" from "Cherry Bomb" also counts. Applejack lampshades this:
Pinkie: Wanna hear the song I sing to my parents? Oh, sorry, the one they sang to me? Applejack: Doesn't matter which one, Pinkie. Long as it's not one of those sad ones with the deceptively happy tune.
Pretty much any one of Pinkie Pie's songs counts.
The episode-independent song "How Applejack Won the War" is a bouncy, jaunty tune about battle, jingoism...and Applejack's war crimes.
Manipulative Bastard: Twilight Sparkle plays Molestia like a harp from Hell in "Lunar Slander", and is all but confirmed to have been the one who convinced Celestia to banish her to Space Camp in the first place. Her apparent success in convincing Molestia to abdicate might push her into full fledged Magnificent Bastard territory.
Noodle Incident: Twilight maintains that her attempt to make waffles in a bounce house would've worked if not for Spike's weak grip, but Celestia forbidding Twilight to enter a bounce house ever again says otherwise.
Also, Twilight did something to her friends in Canterlot, if Rarity is to be believed when convincing Applejack in cooperating at Twilight's slumber party.
Not Blood Siblings: One-sided. Twilight is very affectionate towards her adopted brother Francis Sparkle, who only sees her as a sister. The others think it's creepy. They get married.
Doubles as a Running Gag. "We're not biologically related, so it's technically okay."
By "Cute from the Hip", she's actually learned gypsy magic from Zecora.
Sweetie Belle is the only one to call out other characters on their callousness, when she's not busy "contemplating the fragility of life" and declaring her love for her sister. Despite being a robot.
Applejack seems to be the Only Sane Mare in "Cherry Bomb", until she tells Pinkie how she planned to 'break the news gently' by letting them witness her horrible demise.
Cadence in "Foaly Matripony". She even lampshades this.
Celestia earns sanity points for not only being the only one besides Cadence who not only notices Twilight's darker side, but actually does something about it (for example, exiling her from Canterlot and more or less ordering her to do nothing when she's allowed back in).
Orphanage of Emotional Abuse: Judging from Pinkie's Orphanage songs, she was taught that she probably wouldn't ever be adopted because she was an 'ugly pink earth pony' and wasn't special enough to be loved. Her song in "Cherry Bomb" also reveals that they taught her to hide what did make her special.
Spoofed in "Cherry Bomb", where she switches back to the old voice during an otherwise perfectly repeated scene.
Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle's stunned blinking, to the point where they eventually start blinking with the background music. Followed immediately after by the three thinking of names for their group, to which Sweetie Belle can only think of "Cutie Mark Acquisition Program."
Repeated in "Neigh, Soul Sister". While listening to Spike's audition tape, Sweetie Belle's reflection in the mirror occasionally blinks out of sync with her.
Cherry Bomb has an extremely long train sequence of the train cars moving across the screen, with the cast noting that it was the longest train in the world.
Painting the Medium: When Rainbow Dash holds her hooves over Pinkie's mouth as she's singing "The Gypsy Bard", the captions are faded out to match her muffled voice.
Parental Abandonment: Most of Pinkie Pie's character revolves around being orphaned following her parents' untimely deaths.
Rarity's parents also died six years ago while on vacation. They come back via one of Pinkie's portals, and then decide to take another vacation without their daughters. And die again, if the offscreen crash sounds are any indication.
If Scootaloo is to be believed, Rainbow Dash is her mother, but doesn't so much as acknowledge her existence.
Pet the Dog: Rarity missed the eclipse and the attempted return of the Smooze in order to attend the Sentient Social with Sweetie Belle. Even her reasoning for doing so is a little heartwarming. "I wanted to save your soul". She cared enough for Sweetie Belle that she wanted to make sure she got through the apocalypse, when it did arrive.
Sweetie Belle:One lives one's death, one dies one's life.
Poe's Law: Jenny's "Kimi Sparkle" videos have been subjected to this, especially her Season 4 wishlist. So much so that Digibrony ended up posting a 35 minute follow-up video explaining the joke and poking fun at the Youtube commenters who didn't get it.
Rainbow Dash: I always liked rainbows and all, but I was dashing nowhere in a dash. It wasn't until my very first dash that I rainbowed a rainbow need to dash. And rainbow! Dash rainbow dash rain dash rainbow rain dash dash!
Poor Communication Kills: Parodied in "The Perfect Swarm"; Pinkie Pie repeatedly tells the others exactly what she's doing and asks for help, only to get completely ignored.
Happens again in "Cherry Bomb". Applejack outright tells the others that she's been kidnapped, but they all think Applejack has abandoned them and found new friends.
Applejack: Wait, are you even listening to what I'm saying? [Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy all shake their heads.]
Product Placement: Parodied. The credits ask viewers to "Please buy lots of toys" out of gratitude to Hasbro, Dole's goodwill is won back with flattering comments about its CEO, and the conductor of the Friendship Express openly advertises it Cheat Commandos-style.
"Foaly Matripony" has an advertisement for Socker Boppers in it (most likely as a reference to the Gak incidents).
Religion of Evil: Rarity is in a cult led by Fluttershy. They worship "Lord Smooze", a monster from the G1 movie. Oh, and they attempted to summon him during a solar eclipse with the intention of ending the world.
Ridiculously Equine Robots: Cheerilee starts Episode 4 by giving a lecture about the dangers of robots, who are indistinguishable from, and believe they are, actual ponies. Then Sweetie Belle appears and starts talking in Robo Speak and nopony bats an eye.
Rhymes on a Dime: Subverted with Zecora, who is introduced as "the whimsical rhyming zebra" and proceeds to screw up her first chance:
Zecora: Gather, kids, and form a circle And listen as I...um...uh...'circle'...um... ...Hey, kids, who wants to follow me to the creepy statue?
She later botches what should be an easy rhyme while trying to console the children over the cancellation of Molest Fest as well:
Cheer up, kiddo, don't be sad. This night didn't turn out so...s-sad. Just listen to what I've sa-ai-ad And then you won't feel so sad!
Robo Speak: Sweetie Belle at times drops into stilted speech. Even when she's talking about heartfelt emotions or life and death, it still sounds heavily synthesized.
On the website, there's the variations of "Twilight Sparkle learns a valuable lesson about Friendship and Magic" in the video description of every video.
"Seed No Evil" has Old Man McX, who helps fillies in need. Each mention of him is accompanied by a pun on "Bad Seed" (i.e. Old Man McMovie provides free movies to children - "which is good, since the torrent had a bad seed".)
The Silent Bob: Raincloud is somehow able to carry on a conversation with Rainbow Dash, in spite of being completely silent and expressionless.
Smurfing: Rainbow Dash does this with "rainbow" and "dash".
Sound Effect Bleep: Played straight in Episode 1. Starting in Episode 4, it's replaced with a sound clip of Apple Bloom saying 'Buy some apples!' with an apple and a "censored" bar covering the offending muzzle.
Parodied in "Lunar Slander", where due to a cease and desist letter prohibiting any depiction or mention of apples, the apple image over the muzzle and Applejack's Cutie Mark is blurred and the sound clip of "Buy some apples!" is censored accordingly. "Cherry Bomb" returns to using a standard bleep, claiming that Dole owns a trademark on "Buy some apples."
Not only that, but the censor bar contains a personal for David H. Murdock.
Continues in "Seed No Evil", showing up in a movie called Snowblind, when the titular character swears near the end.
Colt: Stars? You can't make stars! It doesn't even look like one. Snowblind: That's because I'm blind, you jack-BLEEP-!
Status Quo Is God: Not particularly. Most episodes have massive amounts of continuity. But along comes "Foaly Matripony", where Spike wonders how this will affect the status quo. Everypony else just laughs.
Stealth Insult: Done incredibly subtly with Applejack and Rarity in Episode 2.
Applejack: Dance on that table. Should come natural to ya.
Rarity's sleep song — based on "Art of the Dress", itself a parody of the song "Putting It Together" — prompts Applejack to remark that she doesn't "care much for covers."
"Your talent is wiggling—" (Silver Spoon wiggles her butt) "—my talent is exposition; both of our talents have to do with plot!"
"What an interesting plot, Twist!"
In "The Perfect Swarm", Celestia exclaims "I'm sorry to have to put you through so much tribble."
"The eldest came to be known as Celestianote pronounced Suh-lestia, because she raised the sun each day. Her younger sister, who used her powers to raise the moon, was called Molestia."
"...I'd have to say that this was the most touching Molest Fest yet!"
In the song "Pinkie's Brew", she sings "I'll cook up a solution with the knowledge I've accrued," which could be talking about her attempt to fix things or the brew itself (The word "solution" can refer to a type of mixture).
Stepford Smiler. Pinkie. Oh, dear God, Pinkie. She learned to pretend to be happy while growing up in an orphanage, and her skills are listed as baking, smiling, and facades.
And Rarity. Poor, shell-shocked Rarity.
Sweetie Belle:Well at least I don't spend every Veterans Day sobbing on the floor!
Straw Fan: Twilight Sparkle and Princess Molestia/Luna are caricatures of anime and related media fans. Twilight Sparkle is a scatterbrained Japanophile with a viciously manipulative streak, while Molestia/Luna is a naive socially awkward weirdo. Both are into cosplay, writing fanfiction, Gaia Online, and Deviant ART.
Subverted in "Foaly Matrimony". Princess Cadence Notevil Goodpony's name is a little suspect. She's actually a world peace activist, gives to charity, and, most importantly, the Only Sane Man. Shame about that...
Apple Bloom: Thank goodness I woke up from that horrible nightmare!
And then they took on the film anyway, devoting one song entirely to Twilight insisting that ordinary high school life is far more interesting and worthy of a feature film than what typically goes on in Equestria.
Talking To Herself: Most scenes in the show, since one girl is doing the majority of the Mane Cast.
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon also share the same voice actor.
Theme Tune: Nearly every episode has background music specifically based around the song performed that episode.
Twilight and Francis (Shining Armor), in the romantic way. Well, for Francis at least. Twilight has been his number one fan for his entire career, and she's even been in love with him from the very day she found him on their doorstep. After Twilight disrupts his and Cadence's wedding, chases Cadence to the crystal caves beneath Canterlot and either kills her or leaves her for dead, they get married.
This Loser Is You: Twilight appears to be a fairly lighthearted jab at the fandom, with her obssessive shipping and manipulation of characters, general nerdiness and otakudom, and Ambiguous Disorder. Her totally-not-creepy incest song is even made using popular fan art forms, including "pointy ponies" and kinetic typography.
Too Dumb to Live: The characters are never particularly bright, but "Cherry Bomb" takes it to new levels. The entire town utterly fails to understand Applejack's clearly-worded letter, and the rest of the Mane Six completely miss Applejack's blatant hints to help her escape from Whiplash's ranch.
Total Eclipse of the Plot: The intent was for Rarity and Fluttershy to awaken Smooze during the eclipse and end the world, but Rarity misses it to attend the Sentient Social instead.
Trust Building Blunder: In "Cherry Bomb", Pinkie says that she'll have to "do lots of trust exercises" to get over Applejack leaving. She then throws herself onto Rarity, shouting "Catch me!" Rarity fails to catch her.
Princess Molestia:(spits out false fangs) I do not see how these scary teeth will make me MORE sexy. Twilight Sparkle: Because... vampire!
Victory Is Boring: Twilight, after achieving her dreams of becoming a princess and an alicorn by Horse Women, undergoes a crisis of faith. She wonders " now that I've fulfilled every teenage pony fantasy, what more can I possibly take by force?"
Wham Episode: "Foaly Matripony". Unlike the previous episodes, there is very little humor, instead playing Twilight's previously light hearted amorality dead seriously, turning her from a Know-Nothing Know-It-All to a flatout terrifying sociopath and murderer.
The 'very little humor' is debatable, however. Foaly Matripony was much more of a Wham Episode in the large difference of effort put in in comparison to the previous episodes (there were many guest artists, animators, voice actors, and song writers contributing to the episode) as well as the humor being slightly darker. This doesn't make it any less hilarious.