Princess Celestia: It's nothing, really.
Rarity: (while kissing Celestia's hooves) Oh, but it isn't nothing, it's everything! I, I just don't know what to say but thank you, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Princess Celestia: You are very we—
Rarity: Thank you!
Rarity is in Canterlot for a few days to buy some new fabrics for her store, staying at a suite in the royal castle thanks to a few favors invoked by Twilight Sparkle. To thank Twilight, Rarity plans to make a new dress for her and present it at her birthday party that weekend.
While she's stopped at a cafe with her pet cat Opal, two ponies named Jet Set and Upper Crust start asking her about her hat when a country-bumpkin window-wiper recognizes Rarity, loudly revealing her commoner roots. After the two sophisticates dismiss Rarity for being "country," she vows to show a creation worthy of Canterlot and quickly designs an elegant dress for Twilight that matches the styles of the Canterlot elite.
Out for more material, Rarity's vision is blocked by her bags, causing her to bump into Fancypants, the pony on top of the Canterlot social hierarchy. As Rarity apologizes for the accident, Fancypants recognizes her as a special pony (thanks to her stay at the castle) and invites her to his private box at the Wonderbolts Derby later that day. Although it'll give her less time to work on Twilight's dress, Rarity accepts. After she correctly predicts the derby winner and name-drops Rainbow Dash as the Wonderbolts' trainer, Fancypants declares her his "new favorite party guest". Rarity is quickly flooded with more invitations from the Canterlot upper crust, which takes up all her time and leaves her too tired to do anything more than to construct the basic dress form for Twilight.
On the day before Twilight's party, Rarity is packed up and ready to head home when she gets an invitation to the Canterlot Garden Party, the second-most important event in all of Equestria. Despite her guilt, she accepts the invitation, then sends a letter to Twilight claiming that she'll miss the birthday party because Opal has fallen ill and can't make the trip home.
The next day, Rarity prepares to head out for the Garden Party, only to be surprised by Twilight and all their friends! Apparently, Twilight was upset that Rarity couldn't attend her birthday party, so she asked Pinkie Pie to move it in Canterlot instead. While Rarity starts to panic, Twilight spots the uncompleted dress, then profusely thanks Rarity and compliments her for capturing her own plain and practical nature.
The Mane Six proceed to the royal castle, as Princess Celestia has graciously loaned the main ballroom for Twilight's party. Fortunately for Rarity, the Garden Party is just outside, so she starts rapidly switching between the two events. After Rarity accidentally brings in a croquet mallet from outside, Twilight discovers that she's been sneaking out, then compliments Rarity for using the opportunity to sell her designs to the Canterlot elite. Not only do Rarity's friends let her go to the Garden Party...
Hilarity Ensues as the plain ponies of Ponyville and the Canterlot crème de la crème mix in a most inharmonious manner, with the latter appalled at the former. Twilight's dress catches Fancypants' eye, and he politely asks her for the designer. When Twilight reveals that Rarity made it for her, Upper Crust and Jet Set begin smirking and laughing, only to be set silent when Rarity gathers her courage and stands up for her friends as the most important ponies she knows. To her surprise, Fancypants throws his support behind her, complimenting the other ponies as "charmingly rustic". The various Yes-Ponies quickly change their view of Rarity again, rapidly throwing her compliments and orders for gowns.
Back in her suite, Rarity prepares a letter for Princess Celestia, only to deliver it verbally when Celestia herself stops by:
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: When Rarity imagines herself sitting in the VIP box with Fancy Pants.
- Abnormal Ammo: Pinkie Pie's Party Cannon, a cannon that shoots parties.
- Ad-Break Double-Take: Spoofed by Pinkie Pie. The rest of the Mane Six surprise Rarity and she faints, then commercials, then Rarity wakes up and Pinkie says "Hi again!"
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head:
- Hayseed Turniptruck kind of does a cross between a hair-tousle and a noogie to Rarity's hat while proudly talking up what a big-deal dressmaker she is in Ponyville.
- Opalescence gets one from Rarity while trying to remind her to make Twilight's dress.
- An Aesop: Wherever you go, your friends will always be part of your life.
- Ageless Birthday Episode: It's Twilight's birthday, but her age is never revealed.
- Auction: Rarity attends one during her musical moment.
- The Beautiful Elite: Rarity is already In with the In Crowd thanks to being friends with the Princess; when she mentions this upon bumping into Fancy Pants, it's practically a first-class ticket to the more rarefied strata of Canterlot society.
- BFG: The Party Cannon. It's as awesome as it sounds, able to blast decorations all over a room with one shot. Pinkie never leaves home without it.
- Big "NO!": Rarity when the rest of her friends decide to crash the Garden Party.
- The porter pony just can't catch a break.
- And as usual, Opal is the victim of Rarity's distractions.
- The Cameo: All the previously known celebrity ponies make brief appearances during Rarity's musical number.
- Photo Finish can be seen attending the art show with Rarity and in the mosaic shot. Sadly, since her only appearance is during a song, her theme music does not make a cameo.
- Prince Blueblood can be seen as Rarity enters one of the halls and when she christens an airship during the song. Strangely, they seem more or less tolerant of each other's presence, considering what happened at the Gala.
- Hoity Toity and Sapphire Shores are also featured in the mosaic.
- Derpy's appearance can also be found in this mosaic.
- Bon-Bon and Carrot Top attend Fancypants' party in fashionable dresses. When did they become Canterlot socialites?
- The mare who loses her wig due to Rainbow Dash throwing her croquet mallet is the first one to call out Pinkie Pie for her "Pony Pokey" song.
- Cats Hate Water: Opal isn't too happy about receiving an unexpected shower.
- Celebrity Lie: A variant: Rarity claims Rainbow Dash is the Wonderbolts' trainer. Why she doesn't use her friends' actual accomplishments is a mystery.
- They liked Rarity’s hat, until it was revealed she made it. The fact that Canterlot Elite didn’t seem to care about the whole “saving the world” thing could suggest they value reputation among deeds. Thus, they wouldn’t care about any of Rainbow Dash’s accomplishments. They would however care if she was in a prestigious position like being the Wonderbolts Trainer.
- Color Coded Magic: Consistent throughout, further extending the change in Season 2; each of the various unicorns has a unique magical aura color when he or she is using telekinesis for items, and the aura switches color when one unicorn "hands" an item over to another.
- Continuity Nod:
- The Grand Galloping Gala is mentioned twice. If you look closely at the pillars in the ballroom, you'll notice they're cracked, implying a repair from when Rainbow Dash accidentally broke them at the Gala.
- We also see many outfits from previous episodes. Among other things, there's her gala dress, the dress she wears during her Imagine Spot in "The Ticket Master", her dress from the end of "Sisterhooves Social" and two of her dresses from "Green Isn't Your Color". While she's magically making Twilight's dress, she's wearing the dress that she magically made from Trixie's curtains. It's just about an Unlimited Wardrobe.
- Pinkie Pie has a little blurb that might be familiar.Pinkie: Swoosh! And right before she hit the ground, shoom! She... hi again!
- There's another nod just a moment before.Mane Five: (to Rarity) Surprise!
- The previous episode had Pinkie mention that the only thing that should be rubbed in anypony's face is chocolate cake. Guess what happens this episode?
- When Fluttershy summons a large number of birds at the garden party, several of them make a nest in her hair. This isn't the first time Fluttershy enjoyed having a nest on her head. Plus, it seems she's now figured out how to get them to befriend her. Be (like) a tree!
- Meta example: Rarity telling the Canterlot ponies that her friends are the most important ponies she knows.
- Rarity said "Oh, but it isn't nothing, it's everything!", like Twilight did.
- Continuity Porn: Every celebrity pony and most of Rarity's previous outfits appear somewhere in this episode.
- Cool Airship: Rarity calls it a yacht.
- Crash-Into Hello: How Rarity meets Fancypants.
- Crazy-Prepared: Pinkie never leaves home without her party cannon.
- Death Glare: Opalescence to Rarity after she's given an unexpected bath.
- Expy: Fancypants works rather well as Rhett Butler◊, especially given that Rarity has loudly established herself as Scarlett O'Hara.
- Faint in Shock: Rarity faints when her friends surprise her by showing up in Canterlot.
- Favouritism Flip-Flop: The great majority of the Canterlot elite acts like this when Fancypants says he loves Twilight's simple dress.
- Friend-or-Idol Decision: Rarity has to decide whether to spend time with the upper-class ponies in Canterlot or make a dress for and attend Twilight's birthday party back home. She ends up choosing her friends, but things work out for her in both ways (Her friends, upon learning her conflict, encourage her make her social contacts for her business and Fancypants helps swing public favor her way as well) keeping her connections in Canterlot thanks to Fancypants.
- Foreshadowing: When Jet Set and Upper Crust are introducing themselves to Rarity, Hayseed Turniptruck describes her as "a big-time fancy-pants dressmaker". At the end of the episode, Fancy Pants strongly implies that he wants Rarity to make dresses similar to the one she made for Twilight that he can sell in his shop.
- Good Ol' Boy: Hayseed is a positive version of this, greeting Rarity in an excited if clumsy manner and complimenting her hat in front of Jet Set and Upper Crust.
- Hilarity Ensues: When the Mane Six move their party to the Garden party outside, with the Canterlot elites.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: By asserting that they wouldn't be caught dead wearing Ponyville fashion, Jet Set and Upper Crust start a chain of events that ultimately forces them to want Ponyville fashion for themselves to save face.
- Horrible Judge of Character: After Jet Set and Uppercrust insult Rarity's fashion and walk off with their noses in the air, Hayseed waves good bye to them, saying to Rarity, "Well, they seemed real nice!"
- Humble Pie: Jet Set and Uppercrust get this thanks to Fancypants on two occasions. First by him taking Rarity into his reserved balcony seat at the races, right in front of them, and second, when he endorses Rarity and her friends, who they'd just spoke down to, forcing them to suck it up and praise her.
- "I Am" Song: "I'm the Type of Pony Everypony Should Know". After some discussion with the fan base, Daniel Ingram has officially decided to call the song "Becoming Popular (The Pony Everypony Should Know)".
- I Have to Wash My Hair: Rarity lying about Opal, in order to go to the fancy party.
- I Kiss Your Foot: Rarity is very grateful over Princess Celestia having a suite to spare. Not only does Celestia show a bit annoyance with Rarity practically insisting on it, when Rarity is at it, we see Celestia roll her eyes just hoping that SOMETHING will divert her attention.
- Impairment Shot: The eye-shaped one as Rarity wakes from the faint she fell into upon discovering her friends have surprised her by showing up unexpectedly in Canterlot.
- Implausible Deniability: When Rainbow Dash asks about the croquet mallet in Rarity's mouth, Rarity feigns ignorance about said croquet mallet, despite it being clearly visible.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Rarity downs a presumably nonalcoholic punch when her friends embarrass her at the fancy garden party.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
- When Rarity is trying to attend both parties, we have a series of cuts in which she makes some ridiculous excuses. She also slowly starts to lose the ability to come up with a pretense.Rarity: (exasperated) I have to...to go to the— to the thing with the stuff, you know...
- There's even a bit of an aversion to Nopony Poops when she whispers to Twilight that she "need[s] to visit the Little Fillies' room."
- Rarity tries to distract Fancy Pants by telling him "I have to show you... something... over there... on the other side of the room". Made even worse by the fact that they're outdoors.
- When Rarity is trying to attend both parties, we have a series of cuts in which she makes some ridiculous excuses. She also slowly starts to lose the ability to come up with a pretense.
- In with the In Crowd: Rarity's ascendance to Canterlot's elite is the focus of the episode. Unusually, it works out better for everypony involved than this plot usually does.
- Ironic Birthday: Twilight and company show up and take the birthday party to Rarity immediately after she has decided to spend more time with the Canterlot ponies.
- Large Ham: Rarity has a definitely hammy moment when she comes up with the Opal excuse to stay in Canterlot.
- Liar Revealed: Averted. Rarity lies about Opal being sick, but no-one ever finds out the truth.
- Literal-Minded:Applejack: How come y'all aren't doin' any gardening? This is a garden party, isn't it?
- Look Behind You: Used by Rarity when she tries to prevent Fancypants from being told by Twilight that she made Twilight's dress.Rarity: Fancy Pants! Come with me, I'd like to show you... uh, this thing that's over there, on the other side of the room.
- Lots of Luggage: How Rarity packs for her few days in Canterlot, much to the detriment of the poor busboy.
- Meaningful Name:
- Hayseed Turniptruck is a stereotypical country bumpkin (a "hayseed") who seems rather slow and oblivious (as if he "just fell off the turnip truck").
- Fancypants, Jet Set, and Upper Crust are quite appropriate names for members of an upper class.
- Milholland Relationship Moment: Rarity expects Twilight to be upset that the dress she made for her is so simple, but Twilight thinks it's perfect for a practical pony like her. Then Rarity thinks Twilight will mind the fact that she's missing part of Twilight's birthday party to visit the garden party, but Twilight thinks it sounds like a great idea to drum up her dress business and to go to both…in fact, why don't they all go?
- Morality Chain: Opal acts as Rarity's conscience when she opts for the fancy events over Twilight's dressmaking. The clearest example is when she stands on Rarity's drawing table, tapping the dress design to say, "Get to work, already!"
- Mundane Made Awesome: At least, "partying, Ponyville-style" in the eyes of the Canterlot elite.
- Mundane Utility: The most we ever see any of the Unicorns (excluding Rarity) use their magic is for basic telekinesis.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The pink-maned unicorn mare (Fleur dis Lee) that hangs around Fancypants resembles Brigitte Bardot. She even has a triple fleur-de-lis cutie mark!
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Expect to hear this whenever the elite are around.
- Nobody Poops: Averted when one of Rarity's excuses to Twilight is she "has to use the little filly's room".
- Non-Indicative Name: Played with. Fancypants is fancy but, like almost everypony else, doesn't wear pants.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Fleur dis Lee seems to be a master of this. During her thirty seconds onscreen she rapidly moves about in relation to Fancypants. Nuzzling him on one side, for example, then lounging on his back from the other when the camera has been off them for maybe a second.
- Opinion Flip-Flop: Jet Set and Upper Crust go from mocking Twilight's new dress to praising it the moment Fancy Pants complements it.
- Orphaned Punchline: The ending of Rarity's story.Rarity: ... And then I said, "Puh-lease, that isn't a hat, darling, that's a natural disaster that somehow landed atop your head!"
- Palette Swap: The poor unicorn tasked with carrying Rarity's luggage is one of Snails.
- Parental Bonus: In the museum shot during the song, at least two of the paintings are inspired by real-world artists, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí (more specifically, "The Persistence of Memory"). Rarity is also dressed like Yoko Ono.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Rarity's draft of Twilight's dress is very elaborate.
- Pretty in Mink: One of the Canterlot ponies has a fur hat and fur-trimmed coat.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Downplayed version used by three of the elite when pleading with Rarity to attend their events.
- Rule of Funny: While the Party Cannon has a visible fuse, Pinkie Pie presses it like a button to fire it.
- Running Gag: The porter pony struggling to carry Rarity's things. Done three times throughout the run-time.
- Schizo Tech: Jet Set's cutie mark is a trio of jet planes. In the same episode where we're introduced to balloon-buoyed airships.
- Rarity's behavior at the Wonderbolts Derby is similar (though not as extreme) as Audrey Hepburn's character in My Fair Lady.
- The comically abused bellhop is very reminiscent of Jerry Lewis' equally comically abused bellhop in the movie The Bell Boy.
- One of the shopping bags in Rarity's luggage pile has a logo of a double-crossed pair of horseshoes, similar to the double-crossed C's of the Chanel logo. The laurel wreath is the logo of the Fred Perry brand.
- Twilight's dancing style (and the people's reaction to it) is very reminiscent of "The Elaine"
- "Becoming Popular" is similar in style to Madonna's early-mid-'80s songs.
- Simple, yet Awesome: Twilight likes Rarity's unfinished dress because it is plain and practical.
- The Sky Is an Ocean: If an airship is a yacht then the sky is what it sails through.
- Slobs vs. Snobs: The contrast between the Canterlot Elite and Rarity's Ponyville friends at the garden party.
- Snap Back: The Canterlot elite don't recognize Rarity and her friends, who have saved Equestria from eternal reigns of evil twice, among various other accomplishments. They also regard Ponyville as a backwater, even though it's the home of the national heroes, the site of last year's Summer Sun Celebration, and the site of Luna's public debut. And despite being fashionable, they don't recognize Rarity as a designer of dresses recently sold at an upscale boutique in Canterlot, or recognize Fluttershy from her brief but successful modeling career. Fortunately, that's not all they seem to have forgotten.
- Snobby Hobbies: The process of Rarity ingratiating herself into the upper class involves her engaging in their various upper-crust pastimes, such as croquet, garden parties, perusals of art galleries, charity dinners, the opera, and the like.
- Spit Take: Rarity does this when Twilight is about to reveal who made her dress to Fancypants.
- Squee: Similar to "Green Isn't Your Color", Rarity seems very calm about meeting with Fancypants, then she squees and giggles like a fangirl. (Which she probably was, already.)
- Stealth Pun: Rarity spends A Day at the Races and A Night at the Opera.
- Sucks at Dancing: Twilight at the Garden Party
- Sure, Let's Go with That: When Rarity sees an out and accepts Twilight's plausible-yet-wrong explanation for her switching between the two parties.
- That Poor Cat: Opal lets out a tortured off-screen yowl at least twice.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Rarity's expression all but amounts to this when her friends decide to join the Garden Party.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: This episode sees three Mane Characters get at least some portion of what they wanted out of last year's Gala. Rarity is accepted into the Canterlot elite, Fluttershy gets to play with the animals in the palace garden, and Pinkie Pie attends (indeed, hosts) a party, Pinkie-Pie-style, in the palace ballroom, and gets to crash the garden party. The Canterlot ponies are unimpressed, but Pinkie actually seems to enjoy herself this time (probably because her best friends are there). Rarity also meets a high-society pony who actually behaves like a proper gentleman towards her as well, what she expected from Prince Blueblood but never got. Twilight actually gets to have a fun birthday party despite being neglected by Rarity.
- Two-Timer Date: Rarity has to switch between going to Twilight's birthday and attending the Canterlot Garden Party.
- Uncle Pennybags: It turns out that Fancypants is open-minded and not quite as snooty as other Canterlot ponies, and he would love Rarity to make more dresses for them, despite her coming from Ponyville.
- Upper-Class Twit: The Canterlot elite, especially Jet Set and Upper Crust, generally look down on Ponyville as backwards and unsophisticated. This is not the case with Fancypants, who finds the rest of the Mane Cast "charmingly rustic" and is very kind towards them and Rarity.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of the episode, Fancypants asks Rarity to introduce her friends to him. It then cuts to Rarity presenting the Friendship Report, never showing if anything came of her lie about Rainbow Dash being the Wonderbolts' trainer.
- In Canterlot, the higher up you are, the more you have. This saves Rarity's reputation in the end; while everypony initially laughs at her, Fancypants approves of it all, saying he finds her friends "charmingly rustic". Within seconds, everypony there is swamping Rarity with orders.
- Rarity invokes this trope in her song.Rarity: See how they hang on every word that I speak
My approving glance is what they all seek.
- She also uses her Yes-Mares to emphasize her element of Generosity: She accepts everything the snooty ponies don't like, and makes the snooty ones accept it because she does.
- Zeppelins from Another World: Rarity is shown riding in, and christening, an airship with a swordfish balloon.