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Fanfic / Pinkie Pie's Fourth-Wall Variety Show

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Pinkie Pie's Fourth-Wall Variety Show is a non-canonnote  spin-off/side-story to the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, the Pony POV Series. It comprises numerous "episodes", often split into separate parts, and it is written as something of a Round Robin: Though usually started off by Alex Warlorn and hosted on his deviantart page, entries are mainly made up of scenes fans submit as comments on the story.


Though it references events from the canon of the main fanfic, it is not intended to directly affect the main series, and is somewhat a Non-Serial Movie version of a fanfic. Oh, and as you might expect from the title, it breaks the fourth wall.

The entries to the Fourth Wall Variety Show serve numerous tasks, including but not limited to: Interaction with the fanbase of the main fanfic, exploring what-ifs, exploring some characterization, roleplaying, parody and occasionally going completely mental.

Find it here.

It consists of several chapters, some of which get very involved, and which have their own continuity.

1. The First 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show: In which Pinkie introduces the concept, various ponies end up costumed as each other or even have their minds transferred between their bodies, and we learn something of Celestia's one mortal life as a horse. on Earth. Oh yes, and there's a dance contest and the Pony Rangers get introduced.


2. The 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show (Again): Opens with what would have happened if Nightmare Whisper had killed the unborn foals of Equestria; Megan shows up for the first time; and Twilight Sparkle gets turned into a Nightmare and has to flee Fluttercruel (all an illusion, and released several months before the reveal of the real villain in the Dark World Arc.

3. 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show Yet Again: Megan returns, the ponies battle Ponywise the Clown, several of the draconequi drop by for a party, and oh yes, Dark World Twilight goes mad and tries to kill the authors and audience.

4. Pinkie Pie's Surprise Totally Ordinary Variety Show: In this completely normal and non-dangerous episode, Pinkie Pie's nightmare, Nightmare Granfalloon, shows up and takes the show over and starts turning ponies into Nightmares. Everyone from the CMC to Trixie to Megan and Luna get zapped. Mostly comical (like the brawl between Nightmares Mountebank and Moon, but some darker moments are there.


5. Pinkie Pie's Fourth Wall Breaking Variety Show Plusand part 2: Consisting of two chapter, in this one the Dark World versions of the characters show up and share some anecdotes about life under Discord's rule and get to see some of their long-dead relatives. The Dark Worlders finally decide that the Variety Show is too bizarre even for them. Manages to be both sad and heartwarming at several points.

6. Pinkie Pie? 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show? Or...: Crosses over with the G1 Ponies, with a younger Celestia, Luna, and pre-Lord of Chaos Discord around. Time Travel (and lunacy) ensues. They meet with Hydia, Reeka, and Draggle once more as well as with Pinkie Pie, play some pranks on young Celly, Dark World Discord shows up, and we learn that Celestia used to be a big fan of The Cure.

7. Pinkie Pie's 4th Wall Breaking Recursive Fanfic Theater: Basically the Mane Six and a few other characters running through all the recursive Pony POV fics, even the bizarre ones. This is a long one,lasting several chapters to cover them all. Also, Applejack gets turned into a golden statue, Twilight meets her ascended alicorn self, and Pinkie Pie almost goes Nightmare.

8. Pinkie Pie's 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show Recovery: The Blank Wolf from the Shining Armor arc shows up for the first time and gets turned into a puppy; the Mane Six have to deal with a Pony Eating Plant, and both the Harmony Queens and Nightmare Mirror show up to try and use the show to their own ends. There are also two lengthy side-stories, in one of which Somnambula shows up and tries to enslave Ponyville, only to be defeated by Diamond Tiara and Celestia; and another in which the Mane Six tries to find a home for a oddly familiar foal named Midnight. Applejack also befriends the Blank Wolf and several self insert Mary Sues get permanently dealt with.

9. Pinkie Pie's 4th Wall Variety Show Special: The most epic chapter to date, as the hordes of Tartarus break loose and attack Ponyville. This story basically brings back every G1 villain at once, and the ponies are left to fight for their lives. Hydia and Somnambula conjure up both the Smooze AND Morning Star by sacrificing a helpless Celestia, the CMC get turned into monsters, Rarity and Fluttershy get turned into dragons, and then Chrysalis is restored to life. And that's just up to the halfway point.

10. Pinkie Pie's 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show Episode 10: The most recent chapter. It starts with Pinkie wanting to throw a party for Maud. But then a small army of Sues show up. Gilda returns, several of the ponies end up inside pony-suits and are nearly consumed by them, a rogue draconequs shows up along with her army of contract slaves, we get a look into a world where Shining Armor became the Element of Loyalty after Rainbow Dash ad Gilda were turned into the Spa Ponies, and it all just snowballs from there. Even Pinkie Pie seems to be getting tired of it all. Also the final chapter of the series.

There is also a Spin-Off called Cutie Mark Crusaders' Journal of the Unexplained taking place in the same universe and hosted by the Crusaders as they explore Everfree. It's since concluded.

This side-story contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Badass: Hydia during her appearance, being powerful enough to hold her own in a magic fight with Twilight and Shining Armor at the same time before she goes One-Winged Angel, and is promoted to a full fledged Beast Master thanks to Summon Magic.
    Half-Light Noon: Well at least we've finally got a boss fight going...
    Pinkie Pie: Yeah, but Hydia seems to have got the 'obligatory Pony POV Series villain threat boost'.
    Half-Light Noon: Oh dear...
  • AI Is A Crap Shoot: The What-If Machine was always this trope to a degree, often showing things that Pinkie didn't want, but it eventually became self aware and gained a mind of its own. Ultimately subverted in that it isn't evil, it's just tired of getting damaged constantly for just doing its job, and Fluttershy convinces it to be good.
  • Alternate Universe: The story was always non-canon, but it eventually completely diverges from the main story.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Played for Laughs near the end of Special, with Applebloom lamenting that Katrina had been sent back to Tartarus, even saying she'll miss "that tiny cat-lady". Note that Katrina had (accidentally) cause the Crusaders to change into monsters, and when the monster-CMC later caught a shrunken Katrina, the latter thought they wanted to eat her alive.
  • Ass Kicks You: Referenced a few times in Special. Notably, not actually done by either character who brings it up.
    • When a dragon-ized Fluttercruel/shy defeats Reeka (who herself had been turned into a dragon, the latter reverting to human form by the end of their fight), she considers sitting on her as a Coup de Grâce.
    • Twilight is next, mentally snarking that if some villains an alicorn-ized Trixie shrank and captured (and is planning to use in her magic show as tiny "assistants") try to escape, she'll sit on them.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Happens to both Shining Armor and Big Mac in episode 10, with both ending up looking like Rarity, and poor Shiny getting turned into Nightmare Rarity to boot. Counting all his appearances, Shining Armor's spent more time as a mare than a stallion in this show!
  • Badass Boast: 2 in particular are notable, episode 10.
    Ispita:"Mortals! Give into your inner beast! Let it loose! Let it roam free wild and free! Society says let it rot away behind bars in the zoo, but I say let it loose upon the world were it belongs! I am the temptation of power! I am lust! I am power's corrupting influence! I am the selfish black heart we all have! I am the devil on your shoulder that tells the angel to be still! I am the force that draws ponies to the Alicorn Amulet, the One Ring, and all the rest! I am the Hyde inside of every Jekyll! I am ISPITA LILITH SET! TEMPTATION UNBOUND!"

    • And a more heroic one from Rarity.

  • Baleful Polymorph: Happens on a rather regular basis. The Mane Six in particular seem to spend a lot of time getting turned into everything under the sun.
  • Big Bad: Some episodes have one if they're being more action based.
  • Broad Strokes: The interactive nature and Loose Canon of the story can result in this when it's not Retcon, Canon Discontinuity, or Negative Continuity
  • Butt-Monkey: Katrina in Special. By the story's end, she gets chased around by the monsterfied CMC, shrunken to the size of a mouse by her own spell, almost gets eaten by Opalesence, is briefly captured by the monster-Crusaders (as she begs them not to eat her, no less), gets stepped on by Draggle, chased around AGAIN by a reformed Crunch, AND kept in a jar and used as a prop/sideshow by an Alicornifed Trixie. And all of this happens BEFORE she gets sent back to Tartarus! And since she ''wasn't'' un-shrunk before that, she'll likely remain tiny forever in the afterlife!
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Pinkie Pie, of course. And depending on what's being written, potentially anyone.
  • Deal with the Devil: Lady Babylon's MO. During her appearance she not only makes one to separate Big Mac and Red Gala without destroying either of them in exchange for releasing her from her prison, she tries to make them with Shining Armor (getting to teach his first born dark magic in exchange for restoring Athena to existence, which would erase the one who now has her Light of Existence) and Miss Cheerilee (a day from her life in exchange for a day of the worst luck imaginable for the one who caused the siutation in the first place). While neither take them, Twilight ultimately has no choice but to accept primary deal, leading to them having to find a way to invalidate it and put her back in her can. Anyone who knows the character shouldn't be surprised by this.
  • Deity of Human Origin: The Nightmare Special, naturally.
    • Trixie, during the big Tartarus breakout, temporarily becomes an Alicorn to even the odds, though this is just a glimpse of her true potential.
    • At the end of 10, Pinkie Pie becomes an Alicorn with help of Rota Fortuna.
  • Disability Immunity: Morning Star has the ability to make ponies despair at each and every one of their failures, temporarily discording them. Dash is able to fight it off with her natural loyalty, but Coffee Swirl just takes them like a stiff breeze since he already suffers from crippling depression and self-loathing.
  • Eldritch Location: The Fourth Wall Studio. While not dangerous in and off itself, it is basically its own internalized universe where crazy and insane things happen outside the bonds of canon, and nothing inside can directly effect the outside.
  • Epic Fail: In the Special, Shining Armor gets a special gun from Pandora and fires a bunch of blasts at Hydia... only for every shot to miss despite Hydia literally being right in front of him.
    • Hydia even stops attacking them for a second, out of sheer incredulity.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In one chapter, Nightmare Eclipse and Discord try to argue an insane Dark World Sparkle out of killing all the Shadows-Who-Make and Watch (that is, the writers and readers of the story); and in another, Nightmare Granfalloon refuses to turn Cupcakes Pinkamena into a Nightmare after she's zapped practically everypony else.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Happens to Queen Chrysalis after she escapes Tartarus in the Variety Show Special. She tries shapeshifting and finds to her disgust that she can only take on hideous and twisted forms. Even her original form looks horrific.
  • Fate Worse than Death: In episode ten both Gilda and Rainbow Dash see alternate versions of themselves from the 'Red Gala' alternate universe get turned into Earth ponies like Aloe and Lotus, working alongside their cousins at the Spa. They're both briefly traumatized.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: On occasion thanks to the interactive and loose-canon nature of the story. One notable example is right here where an angry Nightmare Eclipse pulls the writers and readers in to make them repair the damage done to an alternate Ponyville by the monsters of Tartarus.
  • Gender Bender: When the hordes of Tartarus attack Ponyville, the witch Hydia turns Shining Armor into a mare. In the next story, first Shiny and then Big Mac end up inside the Rarity-costume from episode 1. Also briefly happens to Photo Finish and Octavia in chapter 10 courtesy of some stallion suits.
  • Heel Face Mindscrew: Ispita/Lady Babylon is caught in a reality rewrite. While the original one still exists, this version of her is rewritten into a benevolent version of herself to fit into the new reality.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the Variety Show Special, Draggle finally gets the break she never got back in G1 and finally splits with her mother Hydia to become good.
    • Fluttershy manages to get the What If Machine to calm down and turn good as well after it becomes sapient.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Pony POV Chrysalis, of all ponies, gets this in the chapter where the Hordes of Tartarus invade Ponyville. She destroys herself in an attempt at destroying Morning Star and saving her former 'friend' Sweetie Belle from him. It only half works by saving Sweetie.
    • And shortly afterwards, ghosts of the Love-Poisoned Cheerilee and Big Mac, Flutterbat, and the Inspiration Manifestation version of Rarity try to stop Morning Star, sacrificing their existences in the process. Or so it seems.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Several villains suffer this fate in the Special; chief among them Katrina, whose shrinkage was inflicted by her own misfired spell, and was the start of a Humiliation Conga that lasted the whole episode.
  • Ironic Hell
    • In the Variety Show Special, this happens to Hydia after she's defeated by the ponies. She returns to Tartarus and finds her punishment at Havoc's hands — she gets stuck with the Care Bears.
    • In Episode 10, the version of Hell for Chrysalis is ruling a copy of Equestria as the best queen ever...not as a good queen, the best queen. Whether she wants to be or not.
  • Jerkass Shadows-who-Make: Definitely Twilight Sparkle's attitude towards certain writers for the series. Only Nightmare Eclipse was ever able to act on that anger, however. Pinkie Pie gets annoyed with them once or twice herself.
  • Latex Perfection: There have been several chapters in which the ponies by one means or another end up costumed in a full-body suit as one of their friends. Mostly played for laughs, like when Applejack and Rainbow Dash ended up looking like Rarity and Fluttershy, and ended up fighting, but not comical at all when in a recent installment Big Mac hid inside of a Rarity-suit possessed by the ghosts of three of the G1 Big Brother Ponies and was nearly consumed by it.
  • Lighter and Softer: Intended to be this compared to the main Pony POV Series in many stories, but thanks to the what-if machine not working like Pinkie Pie usually intends, can also be Darker and Edgier when exploring some What Ifs.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: The What If machine becomes self aware after being struck by lightning. The improbability of this has been lampshaded.
  • Loose Canon: Though it does share a relatively coherent continuity within itself, the series doesn't really have a fixed canon as a result of being a hybrid of roleplay and interactive/collaborative story, though it doesn't often use Negative Continuity.
  • One Alicorn Army: Morning Star takes on both his sisters and three(!) turned into dragons ponies AND greed-growth Spike and Coffee Swirl and Applewolf all at once. And for most of the fight he's winning.
  • One-Winged Angel: Hydia merges with the Smooze during the fight with her.
    • The Mary Sue Big Brothers fuse together into a monster form as well.
    • Lady Babylon is released from her prison and transforms into her true Draconequus form.
  • Persona Non Grata: Rarity apparently got banned from a hoofball team she tried to join for trying to give them frilly dresses.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: The What-If Machine is often prone to throwing out everything but what Pinkie Pie wanted it to show.
  • Pony-Eating Plant: At one point the Mane Six have to deal with a plant that ate both Lotus of the Spa Ponies and Sweetie Belle. It then tried mind-controlling them into letting it eat them. They promptly roasted it The last time we see it is when its ghost is getting carted off to Tartarus with the promise that 'Now you can bite bad ponies who deserve it'. It's quite happy to hear this.
  • Running Gag: So many of them!
    • Any sort of transformation is likely to end badly...and hilariously...for whoever was changed.
      • Relatedly, Shining Armor getting gender-swapped.
    • Later episodes have usually had at least one montage of the Blank Wolf erasing a series of Mary Sues, self-inserts and other unwanted rubbish. Usually involving epic Oh, Crap! moments from the Wolf's prey just before deletion.
  • Sanity Slippage: In the Recursive Fanfic Theater, Pinkie Pie almost experiences the Despair Event Horizon and becomes Nightmare Granfalloon before her friends talk her down.
  • Shout-Out: The What-If Machine tends to be used by readers to reference and ponify other works.
    • The What-If Machine is itself a Shout-Out, originating from Futurama. And it's not a copy, it's the actual What-If Machine that Pinkie Pie got ahold of after it was out. It even throws a brick at its creator's head through a portal with a note telling him he was a bad creator.
  • Show Within a Show: More or less what the What-If Machine does, showing a scene of an AU or What-If story.
  • Smelly Skunk: Hydia turns one into a giant monster during her fight with Shining and Twilight.
  • Taken for Granite: Happens to Applejack offscreen in one entry of the show (though she becomes a golden statues, not a stone one), not that she minds. She gets better.
    • Happened twice so far in the CMC's show, once with them ending as art treasures thanks to a cockatrice, and once becoming golden statues when they're adventuring with a filly Daring Do.
  • The Tease: Bareedina, Zecora's sister, is this, though she also uses it as a Secret Test of Character. Justified, as she's a post Heel-Face Mind Screw Ispita. Regardless, she's a much more benevolent version than Sweetcream Scoops.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: In part 10 because Pinkie has now became an alicorn, she has to ensure that the Love cats are created to prevent a time paradox.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Pretty much every character to appear takes a few levels in the Special, but Coffee Swirl takes the cake. He starts by blasting ghosts with a salt-loaded blunderbuss (that he stole from an undead pirate), and ends with being the only vanilla mortal to fight against Morning Star. And he actually fought the latter one-on-one for a short time.
  • The Vamp: Sweetcream Scoops has shown up twice, and has hit on several stallions, including Big Mac and Shining Armor. In front of his ALICORN wife, Cadence.
  • Villain Song: Hydia gets one in Chapter 2 of the Variety Show special as she fights Twilight and Shining Armor with the help of the Smooze to summon Morning Star.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Happens to Morning Star in the Variety Show Special. After being beaten by his sisters Luna and Celestia (and about half the cast) he begs them not to send him back to Havoc. When they seem to consider, he tries to kill them both — only to be stopped and slain by Applewolf.
    • Lady Babylon/Ispita begs Maud not to hold her to be hit by the reality rewrite Red Gala and Big Mac existing at the same time caused, which would make that version of her a seperate entity altogether.
    • Also from the Special: a shrunken Katrina begging the monsterfied CMC not to eat her. Later, she begs Twilight not to give her to the fillies.
  • Walking Arsenal: Ispita, who more or less brings her entire shop's worth of cursed objects to bare during her fight.
  • Wrote the Book: Ispita claims that trying to find a loophole in her contracts is a waste of time, as she literally invented loopholes. Luna confirms this is indeed the case.

Cutie Mark Crusaders' Journal of the Unexplained contains examples of the following tropes:

Alternative Title(s): Pony POV Fourth Wall Variety Show


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