Past Sins is one of the most popular fanfics in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanbase. Months after completing the story, its author Pen Stroke decided to give various writers from the /fic/ board on Ponychan a chance to riff the original, previously unseen and unrevised version of the story. Readers from the Equestria Daily fansite were also recruited to add riffs of their own. The result is an MST, which can be found online.
Many years later, the people behind it(and the Conversion Bureau and Magic is Believing MSTs, of course) came together to revive the series as Fanfic Theater 3015, which has been going strong ever since.
- Affectionate Parody: Despite all the jokes, at least some of the riffers are fans of Past Sins. Pen Stroke even joins in to point out obvious flaws.
- The Alcoholic: A couple riffers end up like this thanks to the Drinking Game.
- Alien Geometries: The library has too many corners!
- And That's Terrible: The fact the Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon stole Nyx's cookies.
- Ascended Extra
- Proper Etiquette.
- Bastion Yorsets as well, which is lampshaded when the riffers come across a link to his character page on the MLP wiki.
- There's also Exposition Man and Sound Guy.
- The Bad Guy Wins: In a sense: once Nexus knock-outs Twilight and calls the guards on her, Crazy56U states that by doing this, Bowser has won.
- Bag of Spilling: If there's some important item missing, it's because Stonewall forgot to bring it.
- Berserk Button
- For Alcoremortis, the word turquoise.
- For Crazy56U, Celestia intending to kill Nyx if she turned out to be Nightmare Moon.
- For Wild Trotter, a minor one in the form of "It was expected of her".
- Blatant Lies: When Twilight reassures her friends that she's okay after being kidnapped.Pen Stroke: Flimsy Excuses! Get your Flimsy Excuses here!
- "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word:Ezn: Surprise sex, that is. Rape is such a negative word.
Nuke.Equestria: Prisoner is such a harsh word. I prefer mandatory guest.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: This little gem from Chapter 8:Ezn: And also, like, 20% co— (is shot)
Crazy56U: (hides gun, turns to you, the reader) You owe me.
- Butt-Monkey: Nyx, Stonewall, and Scootaloo.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Spell Nexus
- Midnight's "Too easy."
- RLYoshi often says "Next time on Ponyball Z!" after several questions have been asked in a row.
- Character Shilling: Nyx's popularity is lampshaded repeatedly.
- Clark Kenting: Nyx's glasses and disguise.
- Creepy Crossdresser: Spell Nexus may be a pathetic villain, but he is fabulous.
- Deadpan Snarker: Just about all of the riffers.
- Didn't Think This Through: The resurrection ceremony and Twilight's decision to hide Nyx.
- Disproportionate Retribution
- Celestia banishes ponies to the moon for mundane reasons.
- When Celestia crashes the resurrection ceremony, she uses her magic to brush the cloud cover away "like froth from a cup of hot cocoa."
- Drinking Game: Take a shot every time "Nightmare Moon" shows up, and you'll be under the table in no time.
- Evil Is Cool:In-Universe, as it's the explanation Crazy56U gives for why Nyxnote got more applause than Diamond Tiaranote at the end of the school play.Diamond Tiara: But Daddy, how could they cheer louder for her? She was the bad mare, and I was Princess Celestia.
Crazy56U: Easy, villains are cooler.
- Evil Minions: Night Wind, Gray Gale, and Stonewall.
- Evil Smells Bad: When Twilight returns to the library with Nyx, then asks her to get off her back so she can take a bath:Disco: I need to cleanse myself of your horrid, potentially evil stench.
- Evil Plan: Which is laughable at best.
- Eye Scream: When it's mentioned how Twilight is going to apply the same illusion spell used on Nyx's glasses directly onto Rainbow Dash's eyes, the obvious is pointed out:
- Failed a Spot Check: Spike, who somehow didn't see Twilight carrying Nyx when she returned from the Everfree Forest.
- Fantastic Racism: Towards Earth ponies and Zebras.
- Felony Misdemeanor: After Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon trick Nyx into exploring the Everfree Forest, they steal some cookies.soFreeKey: Because nothing beats a stolen cookie after an attempted murder.
Disco: Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon stole cookies. And that's terrible.
Vimbert: Those FIENDS.
- Foreshadowing: The lack of subtlety is pointed out numerous times.
- 419 Scam: When Nyx's black coat is first described.
- Genius Book Club: Any respectable library has the works of Horizontal Surface.
- Genre Blindness: All of the characters.
- Genre Savvy: All of the riffers. Several tropes are mentioned by name as well.
- Genre Shift: "Past Sins" turning into a Let's Play.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Nyx has ticks, Nyx has ticks, Nyx has ticks.Disco: There are worse rhymes they could have used.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Not in the fanfic itself, but when it's brought up how Nightmare Moon's armor feels uncomfortable in chapter 12, a comment RLYoshi makes ("At least she wasn't a stallion. Then it would just start riding up in the crotch.") apparently causes Crazy56U to die of an aneurysm ("Image... can't... remove... eyes... brain... bleeding... [drops dead]")... only to regenerate immediately after.
- Grammar Nazi: The riffers, but only to the point of making fun of the mistakes.
- Idiot Ball: Brought up frequently.
- Idiot Plot: Also brought up.
- I'm Standing Right Here: During the scene where Nyx prepares to reveal her wings to the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Crazy56U begins counting how much more uncomfortable things are getting (starting with "Hmm... I can't tell, but I think things got 20% more uncomfortable."). When he misses one point:RLYoshi: Crazy56U isn't around to say it, so... 70%...
Crazy56U: ...I'M SITTING RIGHT HERE, MAN.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Wild Trotter's response to the end of Chapter 12.Wild Trotter: And good God I need a stiff drink.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Spell Nexus
- It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Twilight knowingly witholds Nyx's identity from the authorities for no logical reason whatsoever.
- Just Between You and Me: Lampshaded when Nexus explains his scheme to Twilight.
- Just Eat Gilligan: The riffers point out how quickly and easily everything could have been resolved if Twilight wasn't constantly holding the Idiot Ball.
- Large Ham: All of the riffers.
- Lethal Chef: When the resurrection bowl starts billowing black smoke, Spell Nexus is left without any Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Everyone blames Sweetie Belle.
- Mary Sue Tropes: Nyx's characterization is lampshaded repeatedly.
- Mathematician's Answer: When posed with the question "How does a queen work?", Crazy56U decides to consult an expert. The answer he gets from his (Russian) Magic 8-Ball is "Как мне кажется, да." Or, "As I see it, yes."Crazy56U: ...thats the last time I buy a Magic 8-Ball from eBay.
- Misery Builds Character: Nyx's first day of school.Vimbert: Giving implied permission for everypony to abuse and traumatize Nyx like good children.
Ezn: That's what school is for! Trauma builds character!
- Mood Whiplash: The riffers tend to be sarcastic and funny, but occasionally they'll get more serious for whatever reason.
- Mythology Gag: Lampshaded whenever a reference to an episode is shoehorned in. Also when Bastion Yorsets is introduced.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: The Cutie Mark Crusaders. And Nyx.
- No Ending: Near the end of the riffing, Crazy56U points out that since they are only riffing the original draft of "Past Sins" (which ends at chapter 13), they will not see the resolution of the story.
- Non Sequitur, *Thud*: After Crazy56U runs into a wall after attempting to escape in Chapter 8:Crazy56U: (dazed) What? I don't think I can hear anymore. The wall broke my space... (falls over) ...I'm alright...
- Noodle Implements: The ingredients for the resurrection spell.
- Noodle Incident: Midnight's explanation of why Spell Nexus has only one sister.Ezn: Good to know.
Midnight: Only the one sister. We don't like to talk about... the accident.
Nuke.Equestria: Didn't that sister use to be a brother?
Lightsideluc: You would have to ask Midnight about that.
Midnight: ...don't judge me!
intangiblepony: Well, damn, I feel awkward now...
- No OSHA Compliance: The Children of Nightmare used a fire-based resurrection spell in the middle of a forest.
- Not So Omniscient After All: Despite being a goddess, Celestia still can't figure out what the cultists were doing... even though Nexus explained it to her prized student beforehand.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: "Tonight we, the Children of Nightmare, shall see our queen given life, blood, and a form of her own."
- Overly Long Gag: The riffers' responses to the intro.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Nyx's glasses and vest, which also double for a Velma cosplay costume.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: For the riffers, it's Harrowing, despite it being an actual word.Ezn: Rarity's word of the day: "harrowing".
Nuke.Equestria: Can everyone spell "Harrowing"? H... A... R... R... O... W... I... N... G!
Anon13: She couldn't wait to just harrow all over the place.
Ezn: Later that day, she offended an Asian tourist with what she thought was a clever greeting pun.
- Plot Coupon: Twilight's bag of books.
- Plot-Sensitive Snooping Skills: Celestia and her security forces can't figure out what the cultists were doing...despite Spell Nexus having told Twilight exactly what they're planning.Nelighan: If only we had a witness who was there when the villains attacked her with plot exposition!
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Twilight's ridiculous devotion to Nyx outweighs her common sense.
- Purple Prose: Lampshaded when the bowl and armor in the resurrection spell are "wrapped in crimson flames."Hellioning: What were they burning with before, burnt umber flames?
Nuke.Equestria: It was more of a burnt sienna.
Alcoremortis: Ah, crimson, another one of my old enemies. Overused in fanfictions everywhere. Protip: Just say "red". Nobody will think you're a Communist if you do. These are more enlightened times.
- Put on a Bus: Pen Stroke, who riffed in Part 1, is absent during parts 2 and 3.
- The Quiet One: Compared to parts 2 and 3, Crazy56U was practically silent in part 1.
- Remember the New Guy?: Some riffers don't start making comments until later chapters, but nobody brings up their sudden arrival. Justified, as sometimes riffers don't show up until some of the earlier chapters have been closed from more comments, so they have to start at later chapters. For example, Wild Trotter showed up to riff on chapters 9 through 13, thinking that the first eight chapters were boring.
- Running Gag
- Spell Nexus's fashion sense, particularly his love of hoof polish.
- Spell Nexus's real name is Epic Failure.
- Stonewall is routinely blamed for forgetting something.
- Luna's obsession with her abacus.
- The Common Kinks of Equestria, including bondage and holding breaths.
- Anytime there's a FLASH, the riffers start singing lyrics from Queen's Flash Gordon theme.
- The overuse of the color turquoise.
- The constant, grating comparisons to Nightmare Moon.
- Ponies are either suffering from Skewed Priorities Syndrome or Common Sense Syndrome.
- Rarity really likes Nyx's coat... as material for her next dress.
- Zebras and Earth ponies are considered second-class citizens.
- Anything involving Twilight, magic, and other ponies has something to do with cacti.
- Any respectable library includes the works of Horizontal Surface.
- Nyx really does have ticks.
- The responses to the Questions, Comments, Concerns? lines.
- Numerous attempts to end the story prematurely.
- Nobody likes Scootaloo.
- Getting annoyed at how often the fic references the original show.
- Crazy56U referencing Atop the Fourth Wall.
- Bringing up how Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon stole cookies, and how terrible it was.
- Sarcasm Mode: All of the riffers run on it.
- Especially when Twilight has to return to the Everfree Forest:Distort: DUN DUN DUN...
Vimbert: ORIGINALITY STRIKES AGAIN!
Nuke.Equestria: That's not original, everyone uses the Everfree Forest.
Anon 13: Nuke, are you familiar with irony?
Nuke.Equestria: That's when something has a lot of iron, right?
- At the end of Chapter 10, after Nyx has been turned into Nightmare Moon by the cult Celestia trusted:Crazy56U: Well... I can safely say that Celestia's well-thought out plan of dealing with Nyx went over PERFECTLY!
- Especially when Twilight has to return to the Everfree Forest:
- School Play: The Reunion of the Royal Pony Sisters is still around, and it gets thoroughly mocked for its unoriginality.
- Self-Deprecation: Pen Stroke, the author of Past Sins, not only volunteered his work to be riffed, but he joins in as well.
- Sequel Hook: Invoked by Crazy56U in Chapter 13 (the last chapter of the original edit) by mentioning a Past Sins fan sequel.
- Serious Business
- Recess and Pinkie's parties.
- Song quoting:Vimbert: TWIST AND SHOUT! Twist and shout. C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, baby now...
Alcoremortis: Please. If we're going to start quoting songs... "Let me in, get me out. Can't do more than twist and shout..."
- Shout-Out: Enough for their own subpage.
- Show Within a Show: The works of Horizontal Surface.
- Sixth Ranger
- All of the readers from Equestria Daily who joined up with the established /fic/ group.
- And Wild Trotter.
- Skewed Priorities: Many of the ponies suffer from Skewed Priorities Syndrome.
- Space Whale Aesop: "Remember kids, always get your rest. You may never know when you have to fight a resurrected evil in a death battle!"
- Squishy Wizard: When Celestia interrupts the resurrection ceremony, Spell Nexus attempts to take her down single-handedly... and gets knocked out and dragged to safety by his underlings.
- Streisand Effect: How the Children of Nightmare attempt to keep their summoning ritual a secret.eycor0: Never mind the fact that a bunch of pegasi in cloaks pushing clouds around over the Everfree forest would probably draw more attention than just leaving it be.
- Stupid Evil: Spell Nexus
- Sucky School: Ponyville Elementary.
- Take That!
- Whenever the plot is mentioned.
- "Rarity!" Twilight half shouted.Ezn: And half whispered, creating an interesting vocal effect.
intangiblepony: What's with all the half talking?
Nuke.Equestria: They're half-decided on what to say.
Anon 13: It's a half-assed fic. Er, half-flanked.
- There's also a reference to The Conversion Bureau, a series of fanfics that the /fic/ MST group riffed before Past Sins.
- Interestingly enough, there's one delivered to coffee.Disco: The smell was horrendous.
Crazy56U: Ah. So it smelled like coffee.
- Lest we forget THIS gem from Chapter 12:
- Near the end of Chapter 10, Crazy56U has the following to say... about one of the riff's own running gags:Crazy56U: OK, I know Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are jerks, but singling them out as the main reason you're now Nightmare Moon? ...I'm shocked that I have to say this, but... that's a little... harsh.
RLYoshi: That's not the important part! The point is that they stole cookies! AND. THAT'S. TERRIBLE.
Crazy56U: OK, that joke is running thin. Knock it off.
- From chapter 13:
- That Came Out Wrong: All over the place, especially with Rarity.
- This Is Gonna Suck
- When Rarity gets an iiiiiddddddeeeaaaa~!Disco: This won't end well.
- In chapter twelve, the part where Twilight apologizes to Nightmare Moon.Wild Trotter: This is gonna hurt, isn't it?
Crazy56U: Ooooooh, yeah. (pulls out tissues)
- When Rarity gets an iiiiiddddddeeeaaaa~!
- Time-Travel Tense Trouble: Lampshaded whenever the unedited tenses get mixed up.Nuke.Equestria: Twilight's time travel spell malfunctioned. And so, Twilight Sparkle finds herself leaping from life to life; trying to put right what once went wrong, and hoping that her next leap will be the leap home.
Ezn: And suddenly I started liking this fic a whole lot more!
- Too Dumb to Live: Spell Nexus attempts to take on Princess Celestia after the botched resurrection.Vimbert: I don't think deicide is quite as easy as Nexus thinks it is.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Nearly all the characters, but Twilight especially.
- Trade Snark: When Nyx is first mentioned by name, she's given a symbol afterward.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Played for Laughs when Twilight insists that she's okay despite having been kidnapped.eycor0: I'm lying of course, I'm in denial.
Nuke.Equestria: Repression is a healthy thing.
Anon 13: I'll probably have a breakdown later. Screaming and everything.
- Viewers Are Geniuses
- Violation of Common Sense: It's so frequent that any character who does show a hint of logic is proclaimed a victim of Common Sense Syndrome.
- Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: All over the place. Given that the version of the story being riffed is unedited, it's expected.
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Lampshaded when Twilight heads back into the Everfree Forest, stating that she knows how to keep herself out of trouble.Disco! Yet it happens in nearly every episode.
intangiblepony: Saying a phrase like that is the same as saying "What could possibly go wrong".
Pemberton: Which is proven by how she was kidnapped less than 24 hours ago.
Alcoremortis: Personally, I'm a fan of, "There's no turning back now" and talking about the wife and kids in a war movie.
- What the Hell, Hero?
- Pretty much any time Twilight does something foolish.
- And when Spike is bribed into not revealing Nyx to Celestia.
- When it's revealed that Celestia planned on killing Nyx if it turned out she's Nightmare Moon.Celestia: She is a product of a spell, and well be dealt with as such. She will be dispelled and the lingering energy purified.
Crazy56U: So... in other words, you're going to kill a filly to confirm your paranoid suspicions... yeah, um, lady? WHAT IN HOLY HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?
- Not to mention this bit (albeit played for laughs):
- Worth It: Vimbert feels this way concerning Celestia's plan to kill Nyx if it turns out she's Nightmare Moon. Crazy56U begs to differ.
- Written Sound Effect: KRAC-CROOO-OOOM! is either lightning or the Polish Nightmare Moon.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When Celestia's labored breath is brought up:Crazy56U: So... she's about to give... birth to breath babies?
Disco: Epic Failure must be so proud.
Crazy56U: His approval fills me with shame.
- Your Head Asplode: Happens to Svensvenderson when he gets confused.Sven: Wait, so her eyes are adjusting to the light of her eyes? How does that— (head asplodes)