Fluttershy: Oh, no! I'm doing this because you're my very best friend. Right, Angel?
[Angel Bunny glares at Fluttershy]
Fluttershy: Oh... yes, we are just doing this for the ticket.
Twilight Sparkle receives two tickets from Princess Celestia to Canterlot's Grand Galloping Gala, Equestria's biggest social event. Unfortunately all five of her new friends want to go: Applejack wants to drum up business for her family's apple farm so she can afford to fix up a few things around the homestead; Rainbow Dash wants to go so she can show off for the Wonderbolts, a troupe of acrobatic fliers who are scheduled to perform at the Gala; Pinkie Pie is the sort of party animal who would jump at a chance to go to "the most amazing, incredible, tremendous, super-fun, wonderful, terrifically humongous party in all of Equestria!"; Rarity dreams of meeting her true love at the Gala à la Cinderella; and Fluttershy wants to see the royal gardens in Canterlot and all the exotic birds and animals kept there.
With all five of her friends arguing over who gets the ticket, Twilight can't bring herself to disappoint any of them by choosing one as her guest. Unable to think straight on an empty stomach, Twilight's efforts to get lunch are further interrupted by her friends trying to butter her up for the ticket: Rainbow Dash makes a hole in a rain storm so Twilight doesn't get rained on, Rarity offers to give Twilight a makeover, Applejack plies Twilight with home-baked goods (which Twilight, even as hungry as she is, finds herself unable to accept in good conscience), Fluttershy and her animal friends straighten up the library and Pinkie throws a party in Twilight's honor. When word gets out that Twilight has an extra ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala, Hilarity Ensues (as does a big chase scene) with Twilight forced to flee from a mob of ponies trying to bribe her into taking them along.
Twilight escapes the mob, only for her friends to confront her one last time. Twilight finally gives up and admits she can't choose who to take along because she doesn't want any of her friends to feel left out. Feeling guilty, her friends all give up their claim for the extra ticket and Twilight has the tickets sent back to Princess Celestia with a note of explanation. She's pleasantly surprised when Celestia responds with a letter reading "Why didn't you just say so in the first place?" and extra tickets for her and all her friends. There's even one for Spike, who's pleased as punch despite his earlier claims that he wasn't interested in "any of that Girly Gala Gunk". As a way of apologizing, the other ponies decide to satisfy Twilight's growling tummy by taking her out to dinner.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: This is the first occurrence of what would become Amy Keating Rogers' Signature Style in her writing for Friendship is Magic.
- The Grand Galloping Gala itself.
- Rainbow's flying tricks in her daydream.
- Pinkie's listing of things at the gala.
- Spike claims that he doesn't want any part of that "Girly Gala Gunk".
- An Aesop:
- Sharing something special can affect your friendship if there’s not enough to go around.
- It’s more fun to share what you get with all your friends instead of just one.
- Aggressive Categorism: When the Mane Six share a group hug over Twilight's decision to return her "plus one guest" invite to the Gala, Spike becomes visibly ill. Applejack attributes it to him being a boy (though also partially because Spike had shown derision for what he considered "girly gala gunk"), but it's actually because he's about to belch up a letter from the Princess.Applejack: Well wallop my withers, Spike! Isn't that just like a boy; can't handle the least bit of sentiment.
- Apple of Discord: The ticket causes the Mane Six to argue over who gets it.
- Audience Surrogate: For the Periphery Demographic. Spike acts as this in more than one episode, but it's especially apparent here when he's completely overcome with glee at getting his ticket to the Gala which he had previously spent the entire episode stubbornly insisting that he had no interest in attending because it was too girly. This is particularly serendipitous because this episode was written, produced and aired long before the Periphery Demographic the show became famous for was even a thing.
- Background Halo: Rainbow Dash, looking through the hole in the clouds with the sun behind her.
- Bad Liar: Fluttershy is really bad at hiding her real reason for cleaning Twilight's house, so Angel forces her to tell the truth.
- Big "SHUT UP!": As Twilight's friends argue over who should get the ticket, she screams "QUIET!" to break it up.
- Big "WHAT?!": Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow, and Pinkie have this reaction when Twilight returns the Gala tickets to Celestia.
- Big "YES!":
- Rarity, fantasizing about the prince: "Our eyes would meet. Our hearts would melt. Our courtship would be magnificent. He would ask for my hoof in marriage. And of course I would say...YES!!!"
- Rainbow Dash when everyone else has given up on asking for the ticket and she thinks that means she can have it.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Pinkie Pie's list of decorations at the Gala: "Streamers and fairy-lights and pinwheels and piñatas and pin-cushions."
- Buffy Speak: Applejack apologizes on behalf of the group for being so gung-ho about getting the ticket that they didn't notice how "un-gung-ho" they were making Twilight feel.
- Captain Obvious: Rarity.Rarity: Twilight! It's raining.
Twilight Sparkle: [sitting in the rain, completely soaked] No, really?
- Collective Death Glare: Twilight Sparkle receives two tickets to a very popular event, but can't choose between her five other friends that all want to go. After the five see how much pressure they've been putting on her to choose them, they all tell her that she doesn't have to pick them. All of them, except for Rainbow Dash, who then gloats that she's going to be the one that Twilight picks. Fluttershy, Applejack, and Spike all glare at her for it.
- Comically Missing the Point: Twice when Twilight gets lunch. The waiter asks Twilight if she decided what to order, then she exclaims that she can't decide, then Spike points out that he was referring to the menu. Then, when Twilight asks what Spike thinks (about the tickets), he says that they should find another restaurant that serves rubies.
- Conforming OOC Moment: When the Mane Six hears about Twilight's extra ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala, they all chase her, even mild-mannered, timid Fluttershy. This may have been the first episode after the series premiere, but Fluttershy had been established to be extremely kind before that.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Princess Celestia's response after she gives Twilight enough tickets for her and all her friends is that Twilight could have just asked for more tickets.
- Didn't Think This Through: Twilight asking Rainbow to close the cloud results in her getting rained on just before she eats her sandwich, which she didn’t expect.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Fluttershy hums the G1 theme tune while cleaning as a Mythology Gag.
- Dynamic Entry: Rainbow Dash, as usual, but Pinkie also does one to Twilight.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: This episode was apparently the first episode written and produced, and it shows. Here are a few examples:
- Spike doesn't show interest in Rarity.
- Rarity's voice sounds different.
- Applejack's voice is slightly higher-pitched.
- Teleportation seems harmful.
- Non-unicorn ponies can levitate the tickets though this may simply be Twilight or Rarity grabbing all of them.
- Everyone Chasing You: When the whole town hears about the ticket.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Rarity wears a suitably elegant one in her Imagine Spot.
- Fourth-Date Marriage: In Rarity's fantasy about the Gala includes her meeting Princess Celestia's nephew and him asking her to marry him in the same night.
- Funny Background Event: An auditory version. As Twilight is being swarmed by Ponyville civilians trying to get her extra ticket, one can be heard saying "I'll do your taxes!"
- Furry Reminder: Twilight pulls the petals off a flower as she tries to decide which of her friends to give the ticket to. Then she eats the petals.
- Growling Gut: A Running Gag in the episode is that Twilight is so busy trying to decide who she should take with her to the Galla (and avoid any unwanted bribes) that she forgets to eat lunch, resulting in her stomach growling repeatedly throughout the episode.
- Healthcare Motivation: Applejack's motivation for going to the Grand Galloping Gala is to get enough money to replace Granny Smith's hip, among other things.
- Humiliating Wager: If Applejack gets all the golden delicious apples in the barn by lunchtime, Big Mac has to walk down Stirrup Street in one of Granny Smith's girdles.
- Idiot Ball:
- The Mane Six, save for Twilight, carry it when they pressure Twilight on an empty stomach into deciding who gets the extra ticket.
- On a minor note, Twilight has no excuse to not eat the sandwich she ordered before asking Rainbow to close the cloud.
- Imagine Spot: Twilight's friends each get one as they fantasize about attending the Gala.
- Just One Extra Ticket: The entire episode's plot but, instead of deciding on one of two friends, Twilight has to choose from five.
- Minsky Pickup: "Pinkie's Buttering Up Song" starts with this.
- Mistaken for Racist: Inverted. Spike is "Mistaken for Stereotypical" when Applejack instantly assumes that Spike's gagging is because of stereotypical boyish revulsion towards sappy moments, probably because he had shown some distaste for the "girly" gala earlier in the episode, when in reality it's because he's about to cough up a letter.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Rarity, when she tells Twilight about their matching outfits at the Gala: "All eyes would be on us, and then everyone would finally know, the most beautiful, most talented, most sophisticated pony in all of Equestria is Rarity the unicorn! ...And Twilight Sparkle, of course."
- Mythology Gag:
- Twilight shaking herself dry and soaking Rarity in the process mirrors the scene in "Rescue at Midnight Castle" where Firefly and Megan meet.
- The plot of a character getting only two tickets to an event all her friends want to go to and not being able to choose whom to give it to is the same exact plot as the My Little Pony Tales episode "And the Winner Is..."
- Noodle Implements: We never actually see them, but Rarity putting Twilight in a pretty saddle and Spike in a page uniform has the distinctive sound of power tools, underscoring earthshaking crashes, and sundry whinging.
- Parental Bonus: When the crowd of Ponyville residents give Twilight even more offers for her ticket, one says "I'll do your taxes!"
- Personal Raincloud: In a literal inversion, Rainbow Dash opens a hole in the clouds so it rains on everyone except Twilight.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Rainbow Dash gets a slight case of this during her initial effort to convince Twilight to take her along to the Gala.
- Running Gag: Twilight being unable to get food due to constant interruptions by her friends.
- Running on the Spot: Twilight briefly does this when she decides to run away from the crowd of ponies who are trying to offer her favors in exchange for the ticket.
- Say My Name: Twilight's reaction to Pinkie's blatant attempt at buttering her up.Twilight Sparkle: PIIIINKIIIIEEEE!
- Seven Minute Lull:Pinkie Pie: ... And then I said "Oatmeal? Are you craz—" ...oh.
- The Japanese dub has Pinkie blurting out the similarly Non Sequitur, "Your back is itchy? Isn't that kind of weird?"
- In the Italian dub she says, "Tell me one thing: Where do you put the colored drinks?"
- When Fluttershy is explaining why she wants to go to the gala, she says there will be "loons and toucans and bitterns, oh my!", alluding to the line "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" from The Wizard of Oz.
- The music during the chase scene is a pastiche of Chet Atkins' guitar cover of "Yakety Sax", referencing The Benny Hill Show's famous chase sequences.
- Shouting Free-for-All: In "The Ticket Master", Twilight's friends argue with each other over who deserves her second ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala, ast least until Twilight yells "QUIET!!!".
- Sickeningly Sweet: Right when the girls group-hug after Twilight gives up the two tickets, Spike gags as he gets ready to cough up Celestia's reply. Applejack calls him out for being unable to take the sappy stuff.
- Story Arc: This is the beginning of the Grand Galloping Gala story arc, which continues in "Suited for Success" and "The Best Night Ever".
- Sweet and Sour Grapes: To avoid having to pick any of her friends over the others, Twilight gives up both tickets and sends a letter to Celestia explaining that she won't be attending the Gala. Celestia immediately responds by sending enough tickets for everyone, including Spike.
- Take Me Instead: Inverted when each of Twilight's friends gives up on taking the extra ticket.
- Teleportation Sickness: Twilight accidentally teleporting herself and Spike is a lot rougher on him.Spike: Uehhhh... Warn me next time you're going to do that...
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: This is literally exampled when Rainbow closes the cloud to Twilight's request, which gets her rained on right before she can eat her sandwich. To top it off, before asking Rainbow to close the cloud, she never takes one bite of the sandwich while doing so.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Rarity's fantasy about meeting Prince Blueblood at the Grand Galloping Gala plays out like a classic fairy tale.
- Visual Pun: Among the animals that Fluttershy dreams of encountering in the private gated garden of Canterlot are "Hummingbirds that can really hum. And buzzards that can really buzz." At the same time, her Imagine Spot indeed shows us a humming hummingbird and a buzzing buzzard.
- Wingding Eyes: Pinkie's eyes become filled with stars when she sees Twilight's tickets. Rarity's eyes turn into stars when she tells Twilight about the outfit she designed for herself for the Gala.
- Wham Line: When Spike gets a reply from Celestia after Twilight returns the tickets:My dear student Twilight, why didn't you just say so in the first place?
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Rainbow closes the cloud to Twilight’s orders, which also results in her getting wet and her sandwich gets ruined just as she is about to eat.
- Yes-Man: Twilight's friends perform various favors and services for her in their blatant attempts to get her spare ticket.Fluttershy: Well... hello, Twilight. I hope you don't mind. We're all doing a little spring cleaning for you.
Twilight Sparkle: It's summer.
Fluttershy: Oh... well, better late than never, right?
- "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: Applejack tries to interpret Twilight's rumbling stomach as a positive answer to her offer of (a bribe of) something to eat, and even after she rants about how she doesn't want any unwanted favours and runs off, Applejack refuses to give up hope: "So, that's a 'maybe'?"