Sapphire Shores, the Pony of Pop, has just commissioned Rarity to design five costumes for her upcoming tour. There's just one problem; Shores wants them to be covered in gems, and Rarity had just gone through the last of her stock. In order to satisfy Shores' order, she goes gem-hunting with Spike in a nearby quarry. While Rarity casts Detect Gem with her horn, Spike digs up the caches of gems she finds.
As they are getting ready to return, however, the two are ambushed by the Diamond Dogs, a trio of Gollum-esque dog-men. They've taken notice of how easily Rarity is able to find gems, and so have decided to kidnap her and force her to find gems for them. Despite Spike's best efforts to fend them off, he is outnumbered and outmatched, and Rarity is dragged underground.
After several imagination scenes, Spike and the other ponies head underground to rescue her, thinking she must be in great danger. Meanwhile, the Diamond Dogs order Rarity to start finding gems for them. Slowly, however, she starts getting on their nerves: When the dogs tell her to dig up the jewels, she refuses to more than scratch the ground little by little, on account of her having had a "pony-pedi"; when they force her to pull a cart to carry around the gems, she proceeds to criticize her captors' nails, breath, overall hygiene, etc. and when they start complaining about the whining...
The dogs cave into Rarity's demands to treat her better at first, but then try to re-assert their authority over her. However, Rarity refuses to pull any passive-aggressive punches, and the whining starts to grate on the Diamond Dogs even more.
Meanwhile, Spike and the other ponies are getting closer to where Rarity's being held, only to be stopped by a group of Diamond Dog guards. After successfully bucking them into submission, the group charges into the dogs' lair, only to be met by Rarity's frazzled captors. The dogs demand that they take Rarity back, as they can no longer take her whining and complaining. Rarity arrives, stating that her friends are just in time to help her carry the huge cartfuls of jewels she's collected. As the group heads back home, with enough gems in tow to fill Sapphire's order, Rarity relates how she had the Diamond Dogs wrapped around her hoof, teaching everyone that even a ladylike pony can get herself out of a sticky situation.
- Accidental Kiss: Barely averted; Spike nearly kisses Applejack while in the middle of a fantasy about saving Rarity from the Diamond Dogs.
- Actually Pretty Funny: When Spike almost kisses Applejack due to daydreaming about rescuing and kissing Rarity, Applejack just chuckles at him for it and is seen smirking at him for a moment afterwards.Applejack: Hoho there, lover boy.
- An Aesop: Even the seemingly defenseless of friends can rely on their own wits to survive.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After the Diamond Dogs have kidnapped Rarity and attempted to make her their slave, one of them "calls her ugly," prompting a look from one of the others that just screams, "What the hay, man?"
- Badass Adorable: A rare time Spike shows impressive physical prowess. He briefly takes on all three Diamond Dogs so Rarity could escape. The effort was all for nothing, though still worthy of this trope.
- Batman Gambit: Rarity pulls quite an effective one when she finds out that her constant complaining and whining are gradually annoying the Diamond Dogs, so she decides to go all out with it until they decide to release her and give her back to her friends so they could be rid of her.
- Beneath the Earth: Where the Diamond Dogs live.
- Big "NO!": Spike does this twice, both with a Skyward Scream, although the second time a deliberate contrast to the first because now he's screaming from the bottom of a hole rather than topside next to one. The first was in response to Rarity being taken away, the second in response to the team simply not knowing which way to go.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: According to the writer, the reason the Diamond Dogs try to take Rarity in the first place. For Diamond Dogs, it's normal to be kidnapped and made to work for a stronger dog.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Combined with Insistent Terminology in the below quote.Rarity: I would appreciate it if you'd stop calling me "pony". I am a lady, and I wish to be addressed as such, so you may call me "Miss", or "Rarity", or "Miss Rarity".
- Canis Major: The Diamond Dogs and the Dig Dogs are bigger than the ponies, and much bigger than the only other dog shown in the series (Winona).
- Chainmail Bikini: How else would you describe what Spike is wearing◊ in his Fantasy about being a Knight In Shining Armour?
- Chain of People: When Spike gets pulled in after baiting the Diamond Dogs with a gem he saved, Applejack tries to pull him out, but before she slides in as well, Twilight follows but... you get the idea. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy join in the chain, then just as the latter is pulled in, Pinkie Pie joins the chain because, hey, it looks like a fun ride!Pinkie Pie: Wheeeeeeeee!
- Chekhov's Skill: Twilight's ability to replicate magic that other unicorns know after being shown a demonstration will pay off in later seasons.
- Complaining About Complaining: How the Diamond Dogs learn a valuable lesson in the difference between "whining" and "complaining".
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The Diamond Dogs easily outmaneuver the rest of the mane cast when they try to use the holes. The mane cast in turn fight off the Dig Dogs with surprising ease. Spike imagines one as part of his heroic fantasy.
- Cute, but Cacophonic: While Rarity normally has a lovely voice, if she's trying to be verbally irritating then her whining voice becomes weaponized.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The Diamond Dogs have a mine that is loaded with gems. Rarity desperately needs gems. If the Dogs had approached Rarity with a deal to give her, say, 20% of the gems that she locates and they dig up, and generally treated her acceptably, everyone could have gone home with a lot of gems. Instead, Rarity gets everything. Maybe if the Diamond Dogs weren't really, really stupid... Furthermore, Rarity had absolutely no problem simply finding them gems when she thought that's all they wanted. If they hadn't tried to make her their prisoner forever, they still would've ended up better off in the end.
- Damsel in Distress: Played with; this is how the others picture Rarity in their Imagine Spots. In truth, Rarity had her kidnappers "wrapped around her hoof the whole time." Which is a...
- Damsel out of Distress: Not only does Rarity rescue herself, but she reverses the situation and puts herself in charge.
- A Day in the Limelight: While it's about Rarity, Spike plays a major role in this episode.
- Deadly Dodging: The bad guys pull it off when fending off the ponies trying to enter the holes in the ground, making Rainbow and Twilight collide.
- Deadpan Snarker: If Rarity isn't torturing the Diamond Dogs, she's snarking at them. Sometimes she does both at the same time.
- Defiant Captive: Rarity is far from a docile damsel. The Diamond Dogs come to fear her defiance.
- Drama Queen: Rarity already is a major one, but she purposely invokes and turns it up to eleven as part of her gambit of getting the Diamond Dogs to release her.
- Dream Sue: Spike is daydreaming about being a muscular knight that would save Rarity and gets a kiss from her.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Spot gets noticeably upset with Rover when the latter calls Rarity "ugly".
- Even the Girls Want Her: Sapphire Shores is not surprised to see a mare swooning over her.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: After Spike tries to eat one of the diamonds Rarity finds after she's released.
- Exact Words: Rover tries to invoke this when Rarity accuses him of calling her ugly, but it backfires spectacularly.
- Face Palm: Spot does this twice. Rover does a slower version while moaning.
- Fantastic Racism: Rarity (seemingly) gets even more upset about being compared to a mule than she does getting slapped on the flank.
- Foreshadowing: Rarity designates a dig site at the base of a cave formation, causing a stalactite to fall on two dogs. This hints at Rarity getting out of her situation by using her wits.
- Flashback Cut: Played for Laughs. Before a commercial break, just after Rarity's abduction, Spike lets off his Big "NO!". After the commercial break, Spike has gathered the other Mane cast, racing to the rescue, but then leads to a quick flashback scene, with Spike arriving in Ponyville, panicked and out-of-breath, uttering the quote at the top of this page to convince the mane cast to help.
- Food as Bribe: Rarity pays Spike in gems for helping her (which he eats), although he's so infatuated with her he'd do it for free.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: In a sense, Spike's fantasy of rescuing Rarity counts as one. The usual scenario is of a knight on a white horse rescuing the princess from the clutches of an evil dragon. In Spike's fantasy, the dragon is the knight and the princess is a white horse (er... unicorn). Afterward, a dragon charges into battle on the back of a (future) princess to rescue the white (magical) horse — who has pretty much freed herself.
- Furry Reminder: Invoked by Spike when he asks Twilight to be his steed. See the page image.
- Guile Hero: Rarity. Once she realizes the Diamond Dog's can't stand her complaining voice, she makes full use of her advantage until she is running the show.
- Hammerspace: Spike pulls a large gem Rarity personally gave to him out of a pocket, despite being completely naked save for his scales.
- Horsing Around: Applejack deliberately flinging a dog off her back.◊ (Followed quickly by each of her friends doing this to the dogs trying to use them as workhorses.)
- Hyperventilation Bag: Spike is shown breathing into one after Rarity gets kidnapped.
- I Take Offense to That Last One:Spike: Show yourselves, you dogs! You curs! Ah, there you are, you mangy mutts!
Diamond Dog: Who are you calling mutts? Unleash the hounds!
- Imagine Spot: Several involving the other ponies imagining what Rarity must be going through, and one particularly hilarious one...
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Spike's fantasy where he's a manly older dragon knight, who effortlessly fights off the Diamond Dogs and rescues Princess Rarity. Things go a bit differently during the real rescue.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: While the Diamond Dogs are surprisingly sly in holding off the other ponies, they are ultimately oafish weasels that are brought to their knees by the greater horror that is Rarity's whining, at one point even correcting themselves when they think they offended her.
- Insistent Terminology:
- Ladies do not "flip out"; however, Rarity was "quite in awe" of Sapphire Shores.
- "I am NOT whining; I am complaining!"
- It Was a Gift: Spike doesn't eat the gem he got from Rarity because of this. The gems she didn't give him? In his opinion, fair game.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Spike gets Twilight to be his steed for their supposed Big Darn Heroes moment.Spike: I'm coming for you, milady! Heigh ho Twilight, away!
Twilight Sparkle: And just what do you think you're doing?
Spike: Please, Twilight. Just give me this?
Twilight Sparkle: Fine.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Rarity, one of the heroes of the series, goes completely gaga over The Pony of Pop.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Fantasy Spike displays this along with Heroic Build.
- Let's Get Dangerous!:
- If jumping straight into a fight with a manticore in the pilot wasn't big enough of a hint, this episode shows that Rarity is more than capable of taking care of herself, and she doesn't even need to resort to violence to do so.
- This is also one of the few times we see Spike fight, and although he isn't able to prevent Rarity from being kidnapped, his performance is surprisingly impressive.
- The rest of the Mane Cast get a moment when they easily defeat the Dig Dogs that try to enslave them (even Fluttershy).
- Lost in Translation: In the German dub, where the Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs example becomes something like "'Lady,' 'Rarity' or 'Valued Rarity.'"
- Low-Tech Spears: The Diamond Dogs, goblin-like brutes who live in rough underground tunnels, speak like Gollum, and have little visible culture outside of obsessively hoarding gems, are armed with rough spears consisting of pointy rocks tied to sticks.
- Made a Slave: The Diamond Dogs kidnap Rarity so they can force her to find gems. It doesn't last long thanks to her wits and her willingness to weaponize whining.
- Mugging the Monster:
- The Diamond Dogs picked the wrong unicorn to enslave.
- It also happens to the Dogs that try to capture the rest of the Mane Cast. Indeed, they take them for a ride, but not the way they wanted.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Three huge dogs have trouble pulling carts filled with gems, while tiny girl ponies manage just fine.
- My Instincts Are Showing: Spike tries very hard not to eat the gems Rarity makes her outfit with.
- Mythology Gag: See the old series' "The Great Rainbow Caper" for a very similar Pity the Kidnapper plot.
- Offscreen Teleportation: The Diamond Dogs move instantly between the holes in the ground when they're keeping the ponies from entering them.
- Oh, Crap!: The Diamond Dogs when they realize Rarity hasn't even begun to whine.
- One-Man Army: Spike, in his fantasy, can effortlessly trounce a pack of Diamond Dogs on his own.
- Pity the Kidnapper: Invoked by Rarity when she discovers her complaining seriously annoys the Diamond Dogs. So she takes it up to eleven to be as annoying as she possibly can on purpose. By the time her friends finally reach her, the dogs literally beg them to take her back.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:Applejack: If you can take this bull by the horns, you better be ready for a ride!
- Pun-Based Title: A "dog and pony show" is an expression for an elaborate display meant to convince someone or promote something (like Rarity deliberately exaggerating her fussiness and complaining to annoy the Diamond Dogs). In this case, there are actual dogs and ponies involved.
- Quit Your Whining: The Diamond Dogs to Rarity's complaining and her actual "whining".Spot: Aaah! Make it stop!
Rover: Stop whining!
Rarity: But I thought you wanted whining!
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Averting this is the Aesop of the episode. Being a lady does not mean Rarity is a pushover. During the epilogue, all of her friends congratulate her, impressed with how she has got out of her kidnapping situation.
- Redundant Rescue: By the time the heroes arrive to save her, Rarity has already saved herself and subdued the Diamond Dogs.
- Remembered I Could Fly: It's not until Spike suggests Twilight copy Rarity's gem-finding spell that she remembers Rarity taught it to her. It's justified as Twilight was worried about Rarity and there had never been a need for her to use said spell, so forgetting that she knew it is forgivable.
- Running Gag: "Doomed Rarity" fantasy sequences, and Spike's attempts to steal Rarity's gems.
- Sapient Steed: Deconstructed in the climax. Twilight is not amused by Spike's attempt to ride her into battle, but ultimately decides to humor him this once.
- The Diamond Dogs. They're poachers who hide behind the trees.
- The lines in the first scene where they appear could just as easily have been spoken by Gollum, voice and all.
- "Hi-yo Twilight, AWAY!"
- The episode is one long homage to O. Henry's classic story "The Ransom of Red Chief".
- "Unleash the Hounds!"
- Take That!: To the Real Women Don't Wear Dresses idea. Faust is really big on averting this trope as much as possible, so it's no surprise that she would have this episode written.
- Terrible Trio: The Diamond Dogs are led by such a trio. Word of God says their names are Fido (the hulking one), Rover (the tall, skinny one) and Spot (the short one).
- Title Drop: The wording is slightly off, so it's a lot more subtle than, say, "The Show Stoppers", but the Diamond Dogs call Rarity "[their] precious little pony".
- We'll See About That: The Diamond Dogs block off the holes that lead to their lair and Applejack says that they can't muscle through it. Rainbow Dash replies "We'll see about that." They can't.
- Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: Sapphire Shores is introduced at the beginning of the episode, but hasn't been seen since. That said, Rarity is still fulfilling the star's order as she and her friends leave the Diamond Dogs' caves with carts full of jewels.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Spike kept thinking that he was going to be a knight who saves the Damsel in Distress Rarity and get the Standard Hero Reward, only for her to free herself.
- You Need a Breath Mint:Rarity: Good heavens! What is that smell?
Diamond Dog: Smeeeeeeeelllllll?
Rarity: Ah. Mystery solved. It's your breath.