It's the start of a typical day for Pinkie Pie: make the Cake twins laugh, say hi to everyone she knows (which is just about every pony, cow, and even donkey in Ponyville), and burst into an incredibly catchy musical number about how she loves to make her friends smile. But what's this? There's a new face in Ponyville, and it's not smiling!
That face belongs to an old donkey hauling a cartload of junk through the center of town. Pinkie Pie tries to introduce herself, but all she learns is that the donkey is named Cranky Doodle Donkey, he's very sensitive about his middle name, and he's not interested in being Pinkie Pie's friend. Confused, she goes over her thought process and wonders what would possess anyone to not be friends with her. She quickly becomes determined to win Cranky over.
Pinkie starts following Cranky through town, offering to show him around, asking about the stuff in his cart (of which he's very protective), and even rolling out an actual welcome wagon: the whole song and dance (literally, in the case of the welcome wagon). Unfortunately, this just annoys Cranky even more, especially when she messes up his toupee in the process and causes him quite a bit of embarrassment while trying to find a new one. After a trip to the spa and the gift of a replacement toupee, Cranky reluctantly thanks Pinkie Pie, but still refuses to crack a smile.
Pinkie ends up following Cranky to his house and offering to help unpack, where Cranky mentions that he's been looking for a "special friend". While unpacking, Pinkie finds an old scrapbook with one page in particular that intrigues her... unfortunately, Pinkie accidentally sets fire to the scrapbook, and makes an even bigger mess of it trying to put out the fire. Furious, Cranky throws her out of the house and vows that he will never be her friend.
Cranky Doodle Donkey: Never ever ever ever ever! [slams door]
Pinkie Pie: That's four "ever"s. That's, like... [tears up] forever...
At the library, Pinkie Pie seeks sympathy from Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash, who tell her that she should just let things go and give Cranky some space. Pinkie agrees that she should leave Cranky alone... once she gets him to accept her apology, that is. She proceeds to hound the old jack-ass across Ponyville and its outskirts, begging forgiveness, but he ends up barricading himself in his house and stubbornly refusing, protesting that Pinkie ruined the only thing he had to remember "her" by. Pinkie is suddenly struck by inspiration, and finally leaves, only to return with someone special in tow: Matilda the donkey, who had a scrapbook to match Cranky's, with matching contents... including a ticket stub and a menu from the Grand Galloping Gala!
Cranky and Matilda met at the Gala years ago, but after Matilda left the next morning, Cranky missed the note she'd left him and spent his whole life trying to find her. Finally reunited with his long-lost love just when he was about to give up, Cranky manages a smile, and accepts both Pinkie Pie's apology and her friendship. Pinkie is ecstatic that she finally made Cranky happy... but quickly realizes that he'd be even happier if she gave him and Matilda some time alone.
The episode ends with Pinkie mentally preparing a letter to Princess Celestia, courtesy of voice over. In it she mentions that while some folks are as social and outgoing as her, others prefer to have some space to themselves now and then. Either way, she can be friends and make them smile.
- 100% Adoration Rating: Pinkie likes being friends with everypony and can't deal with having someone in Ponyville who isn't her friend
- Abnormal Ammo: As has happened before, Pinkie accidentally loaded her welcome wagon confetti launchers with cake batter.
- Accidental Pun: "That's four evers. That's like...forever!"
- An Aesop: There are some people who like to have fun and some that just want to be alone, and that's fine.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Pinkie has a puppy-dog whimper to go with her Puppy-Dog Eyes.
- Almost Kiss: A kiss between the donkeys is interrupted when Pinkie bursts into song right outside their house and getting in the way of their private time.
- Anti-Hero: Pinkie's behavior, while well-meaning and with no harmful intentions whatsoever, involved her stalking, harassing, and publicly humiliating Cranky Doodle, as well as invading his privacy, breaking into his home, and accidentally vandalizing his most important personal effects. She gets better and rightfully redeems herself by the end of the episode, but if Cranky called the Ponyville constabulary (if one existed) to haul Pinkie away on criminal charges before she could properly make up, he'd have been well within his rights, too.
- Art Shift: Cranky Doodle's flashback is done in the style of a silent film, ignoring the voiceover, of course.
- Berserk Button: Nopony calls Cranky "Doodle". Except Matilda.
- Black Comedy: In-universe example; Daisy calls her (edible when raw) flowers "calla lilies".
- Brutal Honesty: Rainbow to Pinkie, in typical fashion.
- Busby Berkeley Number: Sort of. It has the requisite overhead shot, but only Pinkie is actually dancing.
- Call-Back: In the first episode, Pinkie Pie claims to know every pony in Ponyville. This episode proves it.
- The Cameo:
- This episode, Derpy appears... in a snowglobe?!
- One of the cows from "Applebuck Season" makes a return and gets a name: Daisy Jo.
- The old stallion from "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" and "Hearts and Hooves Day" is given the name Mr. Waddle (or possibly "Mr. Wattle(s)", referencing a skin problem sometimes seen in the elderly, but the closed captions use the spelling "Waddle").
- Captain Ersatz: Cranky is a terminally-depressed donkey. Sounds familiar.
- The Cat Came Back: Pinkie pursues Cranky Doodle everywhere, just so she can apologize.
- Character Development: Pinkie matures a little at the end by understanding that friendship works in many ways than just the kind she's familiar with, and that understanding and respecting others' privacy is a helpful way of being a friend to that type of person.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Matilda, the donkey who appears in the beginning, turns out to be Cranky Doodle's lost love.
- Chekhov's Skill: Pinkie's photographic memory of everypony she meets. She not only knew that it was Cheerilee's birthday and the day following Zecora's, but that Matilda's birthday was in 132 days. Near the end of the episode, Pinkie uses her photographic memory to make the connection between Cranky's album she had accidentally destroyed after seeing ONCE and an identical page that Matilda had in an album of her own.
- Clueless Mystery: Pinkie's deduction at the end hinges on several clues we were never privy to.
- Crowd Song: The "Smile Song" has the entirety of Ponyville's populace singing along by its conclusion. This is a Throw the Dog a Bone for Pinkie Pie — normally, Pinkie Pie's songs inspire confusion and vague horror in other ponies, and the closest she's come to this is having back-up dancers for a song she specifically set up as a stage production.
- Comedic Sociopathy: When Pinkie starts going through Cranky's stuff despite Cranky pleading with her to stop.
- Comically Missing the Point: Pinkie throughout the episode, most notably when Twilight tries to explain why Cranky might want some space.
- Continuity Nod:
- Pinkie Pie spends the cold opening practicing her goofy faces on Pound and Pumpkin. Unfortunately it still takes a Butt-Monkey moment to get the laughs out of them.
- Pinkie's habit of cleaning food off her entire person by eating it all (which Spike's picked up).
- Daisy Jo the cow apparently loves oatmeal cookies. Could it be?Pinkie Pie: And then I said "Oatmeal? Are you crazy?"
- Rose was also named in "Bridle Gossip". This makes her the first background pony to be named in multiple episodes.
- When Pinkie talks to Twilight in the library, Rainbow Dash is present, reading a Daring Do book. Notably, the picture is reminiscent of "...Griffin's Goblet," though the title is unclear.
- Manehattan is mentioned again, as is Fillydelphia.
- In the "Smile Song", depressed!Pinkie has a shadow over her coat.
- Rarity's new toupee for Cranky was clearly inspired by the effeminate sea serpent.
- Pinkie wishing Zecora a Happy Day After Her Birthday which just shows how much the two's relationship has improved.
- We see the full extent of Pinkie's lip exercises, a few episodes after they were teased in "The Last Roundup."
- Remember the first time Pinkie had to chase some one all over the place, popping everywhere no matter where she went?
- How about the second one?
- Rainbow Dash tries to explain Cranky's resistance to Pinkie's overtures by saying, "He doesn't want to be bothered by your over-the-top, super hyper antics." After all, she'd been in Pinkie's horseshoes not that long ago.
- "That's like... forever!"
- Pinkie gasping and running away to make a good impression on a new resident.
- To get into Cranky's house, Pinkie initially thinks "inside the chimney."
- This wasn't the first time Pinkie's mistaken something harmless for a creepy critter.
- Cranky's reaction to being reunited with Matilda calls to memory the reaction Pinkie's family had to their first party.
- Cool Big Sis: Pinkie is this to all the colts and fillies of Ponyville.
- Deadpan Snarker: Cranky is easily one of these.
- DecemberDecember Romance: Implied between Cranky and Matilda, because it's not exactly clear how old they actually are.
- Decon-Recon Switch: Of Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Pinkie Pie's efforts only ends up irritating Cranky to the point of shunning her away from him, and her attempts to apologize only make things worse. But by understanding and being considerate of Cranky's feelings and re-uniting him with his long lost special friend, Matilda, she is able to finally make him smile and win his friendship at the end.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Cranky becomes this by the end of the episode.
- Disney Acid Sequence: The felt animation, though short, comes out of nowhere (even by Pinkie standards) and is pretty damned surreal (again, even by Pinkie standards).
- Dodgy Toupee: Cranky's new toupee could be considered this. His old toupee is definitely this.
- The Eeyore: Cranky Doodle. Heck, he's even a donkey.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Cranky Doodle Donkey.
- Epic Fail: Pinkie Pie put the confetti in the oven and the cake batter in the confetti cannon, and it apparently wasn't the first time. Given that this is Pinkie Pie, it could also be a really weird plan...
- Expressive Ears: The ears in Friendship is Magic have always been somewhat expressive. In the case of Cranky, they're used to illustrate his dismay at missing the girl of his dreams, and becoming increasingly more miserable until Pinkie finding Matilda makes him happy again.
- Eye Recall: Occurs when Pinkie is remembering her friend-making checklist.
- Eye Scream: It doesn't hurt her, but it's pretty nasty to see Pinkie shove her eye through a keyhole.
- Flat "What": Cranky's reaction when Pinkie says she "put two and two and two together, and it added up to Matilda". It Makes Sense in Context, as Pinkie is holding up six hooves at this point.
- For Happiness: Pinkie's goal, as stated in her song.
- For Want of a Nail: The entire plot of this episode could have been avoided if Matilda had bothered to put the note anywhere else besides on the back of a door.
- Fourth Wall Psych: In the beginning, it at first looks like Pinkie is shaking and making faces at the camera, but she is really doing it towards the Cake twins.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: when Pinkie poured water to douse the fire on Cranky's photo album, he was getting teary eyed watching it getting burned.
- Freudian Slip: Cranky makes occasional slips to his past.Cranky Doodle: Yes she was, I mean, yes it was, I mean, yes it is.
- A Friend in Need: The episode in a nutshell; Pinkie's new friend is in need of a smile!
- Funny Background Event: Twilight hitting her head against her reading desk when Pinkie completely misses her point.
- During the "Smile Song", when Pinkie goes over to cheer up Apple Bloom you can see the fillies she was jumping rope with earlier still doing so. The jump rope is also still not being held by anypony.
- Furry Baldness: Cranky is called bald because he doesn't have a mane, even though he still has donkey hair.
- Furry Reminder:
- Flowers are snacks. Rose tosses one to Pinkie Pie and she eats it.
- Cranky occasionally brays when something surprising happens.
- Furry Confusion: Daisy-Jo is a cow that drinks milk??
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- Cranky makes a snide comment about Pinkie being extra special.
- What one can expect the newly-refound couple to be doing with their "privacy" at the end of the episode. In the same vein, what they did during what Cranky calls "the most magical night of [his] life"...
- Grumpy Old Man: Cranky is an old jack ass who refuses to smile.
- Headdesk: Twilight Sparkle does this into a book after Pinkie Pie agrees to leave Cranky alone... then insists on apologizing first.
- The Hermit: Cranky aspires to this, but Pinky won't leave him alone to do it.
- "I Am" Song: Pinkie's "Smile Song" perfectly describes her personality; "Smile!"
- Innocently Insensitive:
- Pinkie does not realize that Cranky wants to be left alone, and accidentally burns one of his precious belongings.
- Exaggerated when she initially tries to make friends with him and accidentally crushes his toupee.Pinkie Pie [through a megaphone]: Does anypony have a toupee? This donkey is really, really bald!!
- Insult Backfire:
Pinkie Pie: I've never seen you before!
- First off...
Cranky: Kid, you're smarter than you look.
Pinkie Pie: Thanks!
- And later on...Cranky: This was a special friend.
Pinkie Pie: Like me?
Cranky: (rolls eyes) No, you're "extra special", kid!
Pinkie Pie: Yes! I'm in!
- I Will Find You: Cranky spends most of his life travelling from town to town, searching for the long-lost jenny of his dreams. A somewhat unusual example in that he and Matilda had met a grand total of once beforehand.
- Just for Pun: Pinkie has a wagon she uses to welcome people. Imagine that.
- Kitsch Collection: From Hearth's Warming tree ornaments to windchimes to snowglobes with Derpy in them...
- Lampshade Hanging: Pinkie Pie is fully aware of the random, out-of-nowhere nature of her songs.
- Le Parkour: Pinkie and several other ponies are seen jumping along several rooftops during the "Smile Song" and again at the end of the episode.
- Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Pinkie realizes the importance of personal time and leaves Cranky and Matilda alone with each other.
- Leitmotif: A variant of Yankee Doodle Dandy for Cranky Doodle Donkey.
- Lens Flare: A very subtle one during Pinkie's song.
- Literal Metaphor: Pinkie Pie has a literal welcome wagon, as in a wagon she uses to welcome folks to Ponyville.
- Loners Are Freaks: Subverted in Pinkie's letter to Princess Celestia.Pinkie Pie: Some friends like to run and laugh and play together, but others just like to be left alone...and that's fine too.
- A slightly more disturbing example than usual. Pinkie demonstrates a child's understanding of personal property and personal space. It combines with Innocently Insensitive (see below). It can be quite disturbing when you realize that Pinkie's behavior is intrusive and insensitive. She looks through and handles someone's personal property not only without asking permission, but on multiple occasions in direct defiance of pleas to stop. She attempts to force her way into someone's home, again without asking permission and in direct defiance of pleas to stop. All of these serve to demonstrate a disturbing degree of childishness in Pinkie Pie's behavior.
- Though played with later on when Cranky's mention of a 'special friend' appears to go straight over Pinkie's head. At the conclusion however she simply laughs and states she wasnt born yesterday' when Cranky expresses surprise that she worked out he was looking for a romantic partner.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A platonic variant. Pinkie sees that Cranky is very unhappy and she makes it her mission to cheer him up and be his friend.
- Meaningful Name:: Cranky Doodle. Maybe his parents got fed up with his braying and coloring on the walls when he was a foal.
- Medium-Shift Gag: The short sequence showing Pinkie's internal thought process is done as a felt animation, lampshaded in a brief Medium Blending when Pinkie inexplicably pulls out the green felt check. (The felt animation was done by Jayson Thiessen and his wife Jocelan Thiessen.)
- Mind Screw: If you thought Filly Derpy was confusing, try Derpy inside a snow globe.
- Monochrome Past: Cranky's flashback with Matilda.
- Musical Theme Naming: Cranky Doodle Donkey = Yankee Doodle Dandy; Matilda = Waltzing Matilda.
- Musical World Hypotheses: This is the first time Pinkie has utilized an Alternate Universe-style musical number, and later performs three other Diegetic pieces, as is more typical of her.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: A normal person would probably not want to mess with some one named Cranky.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: Averted! Cranky gets a kiss on the nose from Matilda twice!
- Noodle Incident: As mentioned earlier, it's apparently not the first time Pinkie put cake batter in the cannons and confetti in the oven.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Pinkie Pie on multiple occasions with Cranky. Although it's justified in that Pinkie Pie considers him her friend, much to Cranky's dismay.
- Overly Long Gag: When Pinkie tries to convince Cranky to accept her apology, she says she's really really really really really really really really (etc.) sorry.
- Photographic Memory: Pinkie can remember every detail she's ever seen or heard about her friends, no matter how small or obscure.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: Both "Yankee Doodle" (ca. 1770), as well as "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1904), by George M. Cohan (died 1942). It's hard to say whether Pinkie is singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" at the end of the episode or a Suspiciously Similar Song of it; since she's setting different lyrics to the same melody, she has the right to do so as parody.
- Punny Name:
- "Cranky Doodle Donkey" for "Yankee Doodle Dandy". In fact, Pinkie sings the tune of "Yankee Doodle" with his name in it. She later sings a song to the tune of the chorus of "The Yankee Doodle Boy". To drive the point home, the normal credits music is replaced with an instrumental version of "Yankee Doodle".
- Additionally, William Anderson sneaks in bits of "Yankee Doodle" into the background score in scenes with Cranky.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Complete with quivering lip and whimpering. Even Cranky can't completely resist it.
- Reality Warper/Rule of Funny: Pinkie appears inside a brick wall and from within a gramophone, holds up six hooves at once and literally blasts off like a rocket in happiness. She can make a jump rope work without anyone holding the ends (unicorn magic included). It even continues to do so after she leaves.
- Remember the New Guy?: We've never been introduced to Matilda Donkey in any of the episodes beforehand, and yet it's been shown that Pinkie Pie knows her pretty well since day one. The same can be said of Pinkie for everyone in town.
- Roof Hopping: Pinkie and all her friends love to do it because they do in the song.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Making Pinkie oblivious to Cranky's brush offs.
- Cranky is a sour, depressed donkey. Sound familiar? May also double as one in a more meta sense, as Eeyore was voiced by another Transformers franchise voice actor.
- Pinkie putting on her exercise clothes is a likely nod to Flashdance.
- Cranky is awfully similar to Carl Fredricksen, from the Kitsch Collection to the scrapbook to Cranky's lost love... except that she was still alive, still single - and right under his nose the entire time!
- A hyperactive youngster insisting on befriending an elder, grumpy character, and unintentionally causing him several problems, yet in the end the grumpy character gets to actually appreciate the youngster's friendship and good intentions... Dennis the Menace (US) anyone?
- "Ooooh, what does this bauble do?" Pinkie Pie is the new Deedee.
- One of the names Pinkie guesses for the "C" in Cranky's name sounds like Cheagle. Another is Coraline.
- When Cranky accepts her apology, Pinkie rockets into the air, exactly like Scooby does in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo when he's given Scooby Snacks.
- Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: The basic premise is that everyone in Ponyville is Pinkie's friend, except Cranky.
- Stalker Without a Crush: Pinkie acts in this way toward Cranky Doodle Donkey. More specifically, she's a Stalker Who Just Wants To Be Friends.
- Stealth Pun:
- Cranky Doodle is a sarcastic donkey? I suppose you could say he's a real smart-ass.
- Cranky Doodle was travelling all across the country with his keepsakes. In other words, he was "Waltzing Matilda".
- A thought process usually shows how someone felt.
- Stock Episode Titles: A number of other shows have used this as an episode title, as diverse as Pokémon, Columbo and The Facts of Life.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: Lampshaded. Part of Pinkie's "checklist" to making a new friend is "sing random song out of nowhere".
- And the trope's played with in her initial song in that episode, which manages to draw in half of Ponyville (averting the usual course of things) and would perfectly offset the plot if there were any plot yet. As all we see before the song turns out to be a warm up to the song, the sheer magnitude of the performance comes entirely out of nowhere.
- Toon Physics: Bordering on Mind Screw but it's a Pinkie Pie episode, so it's to be expected.
- Third-Person Person: Pinkie switches between first-person and third-person throughout the "Smile Song".
- Training Montage: The episode opens with what appears to be Pinkie Pie's morning exercise regimen, complete with 80s synth-pop and aerobics gear. She's trying to entertain the Cake twins.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: In The Smile Song.
- Visual Pun: During Pinkie's song when she sings "If you are sad or blue." The filly she was saying that to was blue, in both meanings of the word. Then she sings to a blue-tinged copy of herself on the bridge.
- When She Smiles: This is Pinkie Pie's; to make Cranky smile. It, in turn, makes her so happy she blasts off like a rocket.