Rainbow Dash: Especially when you got me around being better than the rest of us!
After a bout of magic practice, Twilight is busy modestly shrugging off praise from Spike, who is impressed by the variety of magical spells she can accomplish. Suddenly, they learn from two excitable unicorn colts, Snips and Snails, that "The Great and Powerful" Trixie is in Ponyville to perform her magic show. Twilight and her friends go see the show, but some of the others quickly grow tired of Trixie's boasting that she's the greatest magician in all Equestria and her tall tales about her defeat of a bear-like monster called the Ursa Major, and Rainbow Dash starts heckling her.
Trixie retaliates by challenging Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity to test her claim that "anything you can do, I can do better!", then proceeds to turn their challenges against them and humiliate them one by one. Despite urging from Spike, Twilight Sparkle refuses to do anything because she's afraid of being mistaken for a show-off herself.
Snips and Snails are impressed by the act, but Spike tries to convince them not to take Trixie's stories at face value:
Snips: Hmmm... an Ursa walkin' up the street, eh? Snails, you thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?
Snails: Why is it they call it a flea market when they don't really sell fleas?
The two unicorn lads sneak into the Everfree Forest with the intent of luring an Ursa Major to Ponyville so they can watch Trixie take one on. This proves to be a bad idea: the giant bear monster goes on a rampage, Trixie nearly panics at the sight of the beast, and when she does try to defeat it, she barely annoys it. With Ponyville at risk, Twilight finally decides to make with the magic and... lulls the Ursa to sleep by rocking it and feeding it with an improvised bottle of milk, made by telekinetically ripping open a water tower, milking a barnful of cattle, and affixing a makeshift nipple to the end. After returning the Ursa from whence it came, her friends ask how she was able to defeat a creature considered to be invincible, where Twilight reveals the titanic Ursa "Major" was only a baby Ursa Minor.
Trixie runs off while Twilight and company deliver the Aesop: taking pride in your abilities and using them when they're needed isn't showing off. Twilight also tasks Snips and Snails with helping out the town, but is generous enough to give them (and Spike) fashionable mustaches as well.
- The Adjectival Superhero: She's "The Great and Powerful" Trixie.
- An Aesop:
- Don't hide your talents under a rock. And don't worry about others being jealous of your talent. Because as a matter of fact, good friends support you to use your talents to the fullest.
- There's a fine line between celebrating your talents and boasting about them.
- Animalistic Abomination: Used as a punchline. Keep in mind that the following conversation concerns a creature so powerful, it nearly destroyed Ponyville because it was in a bad mood. Might Equestria be a more terrifying world than meets the eye?Twilight Sparkle: That wasn't an Ursa Major. That was a baby, an Ursa Minor.
Trixie: THAT was just a BABY!?
Twilight Sparkle: And it wasn't rampaging. It was just cranky because someone [gives a look at Snips and Snails] woke it up.
Spike: Well, if that was an Ursa Minor, then what's an Ursa Major like?
[cut to a monster large enough to cradle the Ursa Minor in its arms and rock it back and forth]
Twilight Sparkle: You don't want to know.
- Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: Trixie claims to be able to do this, but she just interfered with Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Rarity's tricks to humiliate them. Oddly, it's only in the latter two cases that the tricks could be taken as being impressive, given that every unicorn we've seen using magic has telekinesis.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Snips and Snails mimic the trope namer almost to the letter.
- Aside Glance: Twilight gives an amusing one in the vein of Jon Arbuckle when Spike slams the conjured door in the The Exit Is That Way example below.
- Bears Are Bad News: The Ursa Major (and Minor). Not just any bears: bears made out of stars.
- Be Yourself: The aesop is that if you use your abilities for good, then it's not really bragging.
- Big "WHAT?!": Twilight after Snips tells her he and Snails brought an Ursa to Ponyville. Seconds later, Snips and Snails also get one when Trixie admits she never vanquished an Ursa Major.
- Bound and Gagged: Trixie wins over Applejack by tying her up with her lasso and shoving an apple in her mouth.
- Bowdlerise: On Treehouse TV airings of the episode, an entire line said by Trixie is silenced.note Trixie: When Trixie is through, the only thing they'll call you [Rainbow Dash] is "loser".
- Brick Joke: Spell number 25 grows a moustache on whomever it is used on, at first demonstrated with Spike (to his pleasure). At the end of the episode, Twilight uses it on Spike again, as well as Snips and Snails, which all three say is cool.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: When Snips and Snails enter the cave.
- The Cameo: Cheerilee appears for the first time as a background pony in this episode, though she wouldn't actually play a role in the show until six episodes later.
- Celestial Body: The Ursas are bears made of stars.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Spell number 25 grows a Badass Mustache on whomever it is used on. Snips and snails are unaware of its effect, but when it is used on them, they both think it's cool.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Rarity each challenge Trixie who easily wins over the three of them.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The Japanese dub accidentally has Snips outright state in front of Spike that he plans to bring an Ursa Major to Ponyville, but he doesn't do anything to try and talk them out of it, which is probably what he would have done if he heard it in the original version.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The episode handles unicorn magic a bit differently than the show would settle into, going on the premise that unicorns are born with a concrete set of magic abilities rather than it being something that can be learned.
- The Exit Is That Way: Slamming the door just created in the middle of the room isn't an effective way to make an exit.
- Fake Ultimate Heroine: Trixie presents herself as a powerful unicorn who saved another city from an Ursa Major and has the personality to go with it. The first thing she does when a real Ursa shows up is to scream and run away, then when she tries to stop it, all she does is annoy it more, causing her to reveal her story was a lie to make her look tougher than she really was.
- Felony Misdemeanor: The episode itself towards Trixie. She hypes up her show by bragging, is shamed for it, then has her home destroyed and her reputation (vital for her line of work) destroyed. This is played as a Laser-Guided Karma.
- Foreshadowing: The spots on the Ursa's flank and tail form the Little Dipper. Not the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, because it's not an Ursa Major, it's an Ursa Minor.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The spots on the Ursa Minor's flank and tail◊ form the Little Dipper.
- The Heckler: Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Spike all complain about Trixie's attitude loudly in the audience, pivoting her challenge.
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: Trixie counters Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Applejack by turning their own tricks against them.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: "It seems we have some neeeigh-sayers in the audience!"
- Humble Pie: What Trixie doles out to those who challenge her claims, by taking whatever task they challenged her with and twisting it to her own ends. And at the end of the episode, she stoutly refuses to accept the slice that's served up to her, running away instead.
- Hypocrite: Rainbow Dash is the last pony who should be complaining about anyone being a loudmouth or a showoff, see Hypocrisy Nod.
- Hypocrisy Nod: Rainbow Dash, being as much of a braggart as Trixie, isn't in much of a position to lecture her, though even she knows that.Rainbow Dash: There's no need to go showing off like that. That's my job.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Seems to be a driving point of Trixie's boasting. Twilight plays with this since while she is insecure about showing off to her friends, she is visibly bummed when thinking she has been surpassed in magic.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: "I think I hear my laundry calling."
- Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: The episode is all about contrasting the bookwormish, shy Twilight (one of the most powerful sorcerers among unicorn-kind) against the flashy, hotheaded Trixie (who's not incapable of magic, but is nowhere near Twilight's league), and having Twilight ultimately save the day.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Though Trixie is forced to admit she never vanquished an Ursa Major, she still calls out Snips and Snails for bringing the Ursa to Ponyville.
- Let Me at Him!: Rainbow Dash tries to do this when Trixie runs away after the "Ursa Minor" problem, but Applejack holds her back.
- Let's See YOU Do Better!: Trixie issues this after being heckled by the other ponies. Granted she doesn't quite play fair.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Snips and Snails' Precocious Crush on Trixie is often cited as the reason they went to such extremes to see her perform and help her reputation as a mare who defeated an Ursa Major. Of course in the end, it really didn't work out as planned.
- Loud Gulp: Twilight lets out one when confronting the Ursa.
- Magicians Are Wizards: All unicorns have some degree of magic, but Trixie augments hers in her stage act with fireworks and smoke bombs.
- Matchlight Danger Revelation: Not done with a match, but when Snails uses magic to create light in the Ursas' cave, he and Snips find out they are just under the nose of the giant monster.
- Meaningful Name: Trixie is a unicorn who does magic tricks.
- Miles Gloriosus: Played with. Trixie claimed to be powerful enough as to defeat a powerful monster called an Ursa Major, and when Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Rarity challenged her to a skills duel, she defeated them by interfering with their own tricks rather than by displaying superior skill. May come with a side of Small Name, Big Ego, since when Snips and Snails lead an Ursa into Ponyville, Trixie attempts to fight it; only after failing does she admit that all of her amazing tales were just lies to make her look more important.
- Monster Is a Mommy: Inverted — after soothing the "Ursa Major" to sleep and sending it back to its lair, Twilight reveals that treating it like a baby worked because it was a baby — an Ursa Minor. A real Ursa Major is briefly shown rocking the Ursa Minor, and it is appropriately-sized in comparison.
- Mouth Cam: At one point during the Ursa Minor's rampage through Ponyville, there is a shot seen through its drooling maw, framing Snips, Snails and Trixie confronting it.
- Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Twilight's first move against the Ursa Minor is to create a wind that produces music by blowing through cattails, seriously mellowing out the monster.
- No-Sell: The entire Trixie vs. Ursa Minor "bout", if it can even be called that, consists of Trixie employing every genuine spell she can think of and none of them doing doing anything more than mildly irritate the Ursa.
- Non-Indicative Name: The Ursa Minor may be the baby of the species, but it's still the size of an elephant.
- Offscreen Teleportation: While Rarity challenges Trixie, Spike stands by himself in one shot. In the next cut, he's standing in front of Twilight, Applejack and Rainbow Dash.
- Oh, Crap!: Trixie when Snips and Snails bring the Ursa to Ponyville.
- Pun-Based Title: Who ya gonna call?
- Rent-a-Zilla: The Ursa Minor, a bear-like creature larger than a two-story building.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Trixie's magician uniform consists of a broad-brimmed pointy hat and a cape clasped by a blue gem, both purple and adorned with stars.
- Running on the Spot: Trixie, when she sees exactly what is stomping its way through Ponyville towards her.
- Shout-Out: Trixie's self-title is a reference to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and, like the eponymous Wizard, her supposed greatness is nothing but cleverly used stage magic and acting.
- Sidetracked by the Analogy:Snips: The Great and Powerful Trixie vanquished an Ursa Major. Can your Twilight claim that?
Spike: Oh, really? Were you guys actually there?
Snips: Well, uh... no, but—
Spike: But nothing! The proof is in the pudding!
Snails: Huh huh huh huh huh... I like pudding!
- Skewed Priorities: Rarity is more worried about her hair becoming green than the fact that Trixie made it a literal bird's nest, much to a green-maned pony's offense.
- Smoke Out: Though it doesn't last long enough to completely cover Trixie's exit.
- Snake Charmer: Trixie "charms" a rope and then uses it to tie up Applejack.
- The So-Called Coward: Though no one directly accuses Twilight of being a coward when she refuses to rise up to Trixie's challenge, her development in this episode otherwise fits this trope.
- Spell My Name with a "The": Trixie often refers to herself as "The Great and Powerful Trixie".
- Split-Screen Reaction:
- Snips and Snails screaming, and the Ursa Minor roaring.
- And later, Snips, Snails, and Spike receiving mustaches.
- Stealth Pun: Trixie goads Rarity into challenging her by calling her mane a "rat's nest". After Trixie changes her mane, it actually has two rat's tails poking out, making the earlier insult literal.
- The Only One: Spike's prompting nudges to Twilight after Trixie reveals she can't handle the Ursa are a clear non-verbal expression of "you're our only hope".
- Third-Person Person:
- "The Great and Powerful Trixie!"
- Rarity gets into it too.
- Too Dumb to Live: Snips and Snails, for disturbing an Ursa Minor's slumber and bringing it to Ponyville, all because they believed Trixie could "vanquish" it, and wanted to see it happen. At worst, this would lead to them and lots of other ponies getting eaten, had Twilight not put it to sleep and brought it back to its cave.
- Unwanted Assistance: Trixie's reaction to Snips and Snails bringing the Ursa Minor to Ponyville so she could "vanquish" it.
- Wipe That Smile Off Your Face: Twilight puts a zipper on Spike's mouth with her magic to stop him from boasting in her stead and further antagonizing Trixie.
- Word Schmord: How Rainbow Dash disapproves of Trixie showing off, following a glare from Applejack when Rainbow herself starts bragging.Rainbow Dash: Yeah! Uh, magic schmagic! Boo!
- You Do Not Want To Know: When asked what an Ursa Major is like, Twilight gives this response. Not without showing the audience, however.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Rarity is horrified that her mane (normally purple) has been turned green. But of course there is already one pony in the audience who has green hair and is offended by this. Ironically, the otherwise identical character (named Carrot Top) usually has orange hair and only ever appears with a green mane in this scene. Even in this episode, the orange-maned version is seen later. (Maybe she dyed it after the comment earlier?)