The Ponyville Days Festival, a celebration of the founding of Ponyville, is three days away, and several ponies have applied to be Master of Ceremonies. When everyone gathers in the village center to see whose proposal has been accepted, Rarity is delighted to be named the winning pony. She has decided to put together a high-class festival focused on "small town chic," featuring a cider tasting, a formal gala, and a fashion show — very ambitious and demanding stuff. But the main source of Rarity's nervous excitement is the upcoming arrival of Trenderhoof, a travel writer (and her Celeb Crush), who is so fashion-forward that he "knows what's going to be hot even before it's tepid."
With Twilight in tow, Rarity meets Trenderhoof at the train station and instantly dissolves into giddy antics; despite this poor start, Trenderhoof seems to be impressed with Rarity and the small town charm of Ponyville, especially Sweet Apple Acres. But when he catches a glimpse of Applejack, hard at work as usual, he becomes instantly smitten, calling her the "pony of his dreams." Rarity's heart breaks.
Trenderhoof's clueless but persistent advances annoy Applejack, who has nothing in mind except finishing her chores and getting Sweet Apple Acres ready for the cider tasting. But Rarity decides that it has become a competition, and she sets out to reclaim Trenderhoof's attention by going more "country". Dressed in her rural best, she returns to Sweet Apple Acres and unconvincingly claims that she's always had a "rustic" side, even attempting to plow fields and buck apples. Alas, Trenderhoof still has eyes only for Applejack. Rarity decides to double down. She completely overhauls the festival's theme from "small town chic" to "Simple Ways", puts on unflattering country clothes, lets her mane go neglected, and tops it all off with an exaggerated Southern drawl. Applejack, thoroughly exasperated, tells her to stop the country pony act and just be herself, but Rarity insists that it's a legitimate aspect of her personality and not something she's doing just to impress Trenderhoof.
At Sweet Apple Acres, Rarity is inflicting her "Simple Ways" outfits on a few fillies when "Apple Jewel" arrives. Carrying herself in an over-the-top imitation of Rarity's fashionista sensibilities, Applejack pretends that her posh pony persona is just how she's always been. Rarity makes a heroic effort to maintain the farm-filly act, but when Applejack's beautiful gown gets splashed with mud she can't take it any longer and reverts to her real self. She confesses that she was so caught up in trying to impress Trenderhoof that she was denying who she really was. By the time Trenderhoof himself shows up, announcing his intentions to move to Ponyville for its "rustic charm," Applejack and Rarity have reconciled, and they join forces to talk him out of it.
After returning her Ponyville Days festival theme to "small town chic", Rarity writes in the Mane Six's journal that you should never change who you are to try and impress someone: if they don't like you for who you are, it's their loss. The high-class affair goes off without a hitch, and Trenderhoof even gives Rarity a rose at the height of her fashion show.
- The normally refined Rarity tries to "dress down". Her "Country Rarity" act is one part cringe-worthy and one part oddly endearing.
- Her initial bashfulness in the presence of Trenderhoof also counts.
- When he's not being patronizing, Trenderhoof can also count as this, normally when he's fawning over Applejack.
- An Aesop: You shouldn't change who you are just to impress someone else.
- Affectionate Nickname: Rarity calls Spike "Spikey-poo".
- All Love Is Unrequited: Spike still has his crush on Rarity, who has a crush on Trenderhoof, who gets a crush on Applejack, who would really like to be left alone. In the end, no-one ends up with anyone.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: The turquoise and pink gems in the hair accessory in Apple Jewel's mane switch places several times as she turns her head.
- Aside Glance:
- Twilight gives one after Rarity faints at the train station, before a face-hoof.
- When Rarity asks Spike how he could possibly know what it feels like to be obsessed with someone only to find out they're obsessed with someone else, he gives the viewer a wry stare.
- Bait-and-Switch: At the end it looks like Trenderhoof is going to ask Applejack to dance with him, but he ends up extending his hoof to Granny Smith instead.
- Be Yourself: The episode's Aesop. You should never try to change who you are to impress someone else.
- Brief Accent Imitation: When Rarity and Applejack swap their style of dress, Applejack barely attempts to put on a posh voice, while Rarity adopts a comically exaggerated Southern accent.
- Granny Smith is on the committee to choose who will plan the party, and Rarity describes Sweet Apple Acres as the place where Ponyville started, references to the Apple Family founding Ponyville in "Family Appreciation Day".
- Rarity asks Spike how he could know about having an unrequited crush — to which he makes an irritated Aside Glance — then she hastily backtracks. "Secret of My Excess" confirmed that she knows about his crush on her.
- Call to Agriculture: Trenderhoof shows up dressed like a hillbilly and states he'd like to settle down on a farm.
- Cardiovascular Love:
- Rarity is surrounded by a flurry of hearts when she looks at Trenderhoof.
- It's Trenderhoof's turn to produce hearts when seeing Applejack.
- Celebrity Crush:
- Rarity is badly crushing for Trenderhoof, a famous traveling journalist.
- Inverted with Trenderhoof crushing on Applejack. It's clear that he's attracted to the "hard-working farm girl" instead of the "multi-savior of Equestria".
- Changing Yourself For Love: Zig-zagged. Rarity isn't so much trying to change herself and imitating (what she thinks of) Applejack out of love to get Trenderhoof's attention than to impress him, and she's getting jealous when he keeps focusing on Applejack, whom he becomes smitten with. Played straight with Trenderhoof, however, near the end when he nearly decides to leave his job and city life to be a "country bumpkin" (even dressing in overalls) just out of his crush for AJ, though she manages to talk him out of it.
- Character Development:
- Both Applejack and Rarity are rather upset with each other when one imitates the other instead of being herself. This is a good showing of how far they have developed as friends since "Look Before You Sleep".
- Spike has come to a more mature acknowledgement that his crush on Rarity is unrequited.
- The City vs. the Country: The normally refined Rarity attempts farm life to impress Trenderhoof.
- Continuity Nod:
- Rarity still has the Mane Six's dresses from the Grand Galloping Gala in Carousel Boutique.
- Ever wanted to see a grown-up Orangejack? Good news!
- The "cider tasting" recalls earlier examples of ponies treating beverages as alcohol; see Getting Crap Past the Radar below.
- The waltz music from "Sonic Rainboom" is used during Rarity's "Small Town Chic" presentation.
- Rarity asks Fluttershy, former extremely famous model, to help with her fashion show.
- This isn't the first time the spotlight is on the clash between Applejack's and Rarity's opposing personalities.
- Costume Porn: The dress that Rarity wears for her informal presentation of "Small Town Chic" to the rest of the mane cast and at the festival itself is one of her more elaborately bejeweled creations.
- Cringe Comedy: Rarity's farmpony impression is this in spades, as she very clearly has no idea what she's doing.
- Dogged Nice Guy:
- Spike to Rarity, as usual, as he helps her with her schemes to impress Trenderhoof despite his own crush on her.
- Trenderhoof tries to be this to Applejack, but he just ends up annoying her while she's trying to work.
- Drama Queen: Rarity talks herself into freaking out when Trenderhoof is late.
- Dramatic Irony: Rarity tells Spike he can't possibly know what it's like to be infatuated with someone who doesn't notice you. Lampshaded by Spike's Aside Glance.
- Everyone Can See It: All of Rarity's friends see clear as day that she is utterly obsessed with Trenderhoof (as if her Stalker Shrine didn't give it away).
- Face Palm: When Rarity faints after first meeting Trenderhoof, Twilight does a facehoof.
- Face Plant: Happens to Pinkie when she literally trips over herself with excitement waiting to see Rarity's plans for the festival.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: Spike in reaction to Rarity's Dramatic Irony, because it annoys him.
- Flanderization: In-Universe, Rarity goes a bit overboard trying to duplicate Applejack's style in that she becomes a borderline stereotype of a country hick. AJ decides to fight fire with fire by overplaying Rarity's usual quirks into a snobby fob.
- Funny Background Event: Trenderhoof tries to buck a tree, which gets an apple stuck on his horn. Then he eats it.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- When Trenderhoof first sees AJ, who has built up a sweat after bucking apple trees, he experiences a vision of her just having bitten into an apple, leaving her face covered in sweat and her lips covered in apple juice, staring at the camera with bedroom eyes. This shot has very sexual implications if taken out of context.
- There's some more playing with the idea that Sweet Apple Acres' cider is alcoholic when Rarity arranges a tasting of it, set out exactly like a wine tasting.
- Rarity and Trenderhoof put a rather suggestive emphasis on the phrase "au naturel".
- Special focus is given to Applejack's rear during her "modeling".
- Gross-Up Close-Up: A mild example when "bumpkin" Rarity shows that her hooves are cracked and dry from working in the fields.
- Hipster: As is evidenced by his name, Trenderhoof is always on the lookout for the latest "authentic" experience to turn into a fad travel destination.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Applejack incredulously asks "What are you wearing?" when Rarity shows up at Sweet Apple Acres in her first attempt at dressing up to buck and haul apples, implying her outfit looks ridiculous (not to mention utterly impractical as work duds). Then there's her second attempt... More is definitely not more.
- Inflating Body Gag: Pinkie gasps so hard, her head inflates like a balloon and she floats away. She's fine later on.
- Innocent Bigot: Trenderhoof (a unicorn) comments to Applejack that he admires "the work ethic of earth ponies".
- Innocently Insensitive:
- Trenderhoof when he's talking with Applejack. He mentions that he ate four apples of a variety thought extinct, and mentions "the mundane, the simple, and the unappreciated" while pointing to specific ponies.
- Rarity laments about how it feels to be in love with someone who's in love with someone else... to Spike.
- It's All About Me: Trenderhoof spends most of his conversations with Applejack and Rarity talking about himself and his travels. He does try to get Applejack to tell him about herself but she just wants him to leave her alone.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Spike loves Rarity to the point that he'll help her impress a love rival just to see her happy.
- Love at First Sight: Tenderhoof is instantly smitten with Applejack, though the feeling isn't mutual.
- Love Dodecahedron: As suggested by the Hub's Facebook page The Love Triangle between Rarity, Trenderhoof, and AJ is amended by Spike's adoration of Rarity, and AJ's love of apples.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Rarity's crush on Trenderhoof makes her behavior throughout the episode Out of Character.
- Meaningful Name: Trenderhoof's special talent is setting social trends in motion.
- Messy Hair: Rarity's hair when going full country bumpkin is the opposite of her usual elegant coif.
- Nice Guy: Trenderhoof is a bit full of himself and can come across as insensitive, but he is never mean and takes being rejected well.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: According to Hasbro VP of Programming Mike Vogel, Trenderhoof was pitched as the "Anthony Bourdain of Equestria".
- Not Himself: Both Rarity and Applejack act like Flanderized versions of each other, although Applejack is intentionally doing it to snap Rarity out of it.
- Oblivious to Love: Applejack spends much of the episode wondering why in Equestria Trenderhoof is so obsessed with her. She lets him down gently when she puts two and two together.
- Ocular Gushers: Implied by the puddle trail the distraught Rarity leaves to her Stalker Shrine.
- Oh, Crap!: After Rarity snaps out of it and apologizes after getting mud on Applejack's dress, she asks her where she got it from, whereupon AJ hesitantly reveals it's one of Rarity's. Trope ensues.Rarity: [frantically shaking Spike] I need three gallons of boiling water and one ounce of detergent stat!
- Ojou Ringlets: Applejack sports a pair of curly sidetails when dressed as Apple Jewel.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-Universe; Tabitha St. Germain gives quite a convincing portrayal of Rarity faking a Southern twang and occasionally slipping into her real accent. At times she begins to sound like a younger Granny Smith; not surprisingly as she's also voiced by Tabitha St. Germain.
- Opposites Attract: When travel writer Trenderhoof is attracted to the down-to-Earth farm girl Applejack. Averted with Rarity, who's a fair bit like Trenderhoof and is attracted to him.
- Personality Swap: After Rarity tries to impress Trenderhoof by acting more like Applejack but going so overboard that she ends up being more like a stereotypical country hick, Applejack decides to retaliate by modeling as "Apple Jewel", a "trend-setting fashionista" who's an exaggeration of Rarity. The two of them essentially become Flanderized versions of each other, though Applejack is doing it to make a point about how silly Rarity is being.
- Pimped-Out Dress:
- Apple Jewel's dress befits her name and also its place in Rarity's closet.
- Rarity's at the beginning and end of the episode is very fancy but that's normal for her.
- Punny Name: Trenderhoof is a play on "tenderfoot", a term applied to novice ranchers.
- Race Fetish: Trenderhoof certainly seems to have something of a (G-rated, of course) fetish for earth ponies, and one of the driving forces of the plot is that he's interested in Applejack because she fits his idea of what earth ponies are supposedly like rather than being interested in her as an individual. Applejack, of course, wants nothing to do with him.
- Remember the New Guy?: Rarity claims she's had a crush on Trenderhoof "EVER SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME!!!", but the only crush we've heard her mention before was for Prince Blueblood. Justified in that, well, it's Rarity.
- Sanity Slippage: Rarity, having adopted a "country" personality, breaks down more as AJ mocks her by posing as a Southern Belle, to the point where Rarity willingly jumps into a mud puddle.Rarity: [in a southern twang] I LOVE BEIN' COVERED IN MUD!
- Shout-Out: Rarity's newer "Simple Ways" feels like a city slicker doing a sillier version of the old TV country music variety show, Hee Haw (in which normally more metro actors would appear as guests on and would try to act "yokel").
- The Simple Life Is Simple: Rarity's and Trenderhoof's understanding of life on the farm is limited at best. At one point they talk about how much they love farm life and apple hauling in front of Applejack, who has doubts of their sincerity, let alone their aptitude for farming.Applejack: [muttering] Maybe you two should try it sometime.
- Skewed Priorities: Rarity is more interested in impressing her crush than getting ready for the Ponyville events.
- Skyward Scream: During Rarity's freak-out at the train station, which gets everypony within earshot gawking at her.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: This isn't the first time it's happened with Applejack, but when she becomes "Apple Jewel" she looks like a Southern Belle.
- Southern Belle: Applejack comes across as this with her posh persona.
- Stalker Shrine: Rarity has one for Trenderhoof. It includes a lock of his mane.
- Stealth Pun:
- Applejack becomes the apple of Trenderhoof's eye.
- At the beginning of the episode, Pinkie Pie is absolutely sure that she's a shoo-in for the pony of ceremonies job and then she holds her breath until her head swells up. She got a swelled head.
- Stock Sound Effect: The reversed version of Pinkie's gasp from the pilot is reused when Pinkie balloons herself.
- Straight Man: The only reason that Rarity and Applejack acting like each other doesn't turn into Ham-to-Ham Combat is that Applejack remains cool and collected, and it's just Rarity that goes over the top.Applejack: My hooves are so polished, you can see your reflection in them.
Rarity: My hooves are cracked and dried, from working in the fields!
Applejack: I smell like rosebuds!
Rarity: I LOVE BEING COVERED IN MUD!
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Said by Trenderhoof while talking and staring right at Rarity...Without farm life, there'd be such disparity
These thoughts I think with great clarity
Apples high to the sky
She's the one of my eye
That fruit-hauling pony named... Applejack!*
- Swapped Roles: Rarity and AJ begin acting like each other (Farm Girl and The Fashionista, respectively) though AJ does so to mock how silly Rarity is acting.
- Take That!: During Trenderhoof's spiel, he mentions "the unappreciated"... and points to Derpy. Whether this is a dig at Hasbro or to Bronies (or is just straight-up ironic or Hypocritical Humor) is up in the air.
- Title Drop: When Rarity changes the theme of the festival, she names it "Simple Ways".
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Applejack and Rarity, as usual, but pretend to be their opposite personality this time. In the end they create a caricature.
- Triang Relations: Type 5; Rarity is attracted to Trenderhoof, who is attracted to Applejack.note The preexisting friendship between Rarity and Applejack closes it to a type 12.
- Unkempt Beauty: How Trenderhoof sees Applejack; he just loves her "authentic" look. Rarity attempts to achieve this look with her farm-filly getup.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Rarity tries to avoid Trenderhoof's notice by hiding behind Princess Twilight, multi-time savior of Equestria. Rarity seems to expect Twilight to be this.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Twilight, Rainbow, Pinkie and Fluttershy were not seen again for the rest of the episode after "new" Rarity leaves the boutique; in fact, they weren't seen at the festival later on.
- Wingding Eyes: Just before Trenderhoof pushes her aside to gaze on AJ, Rarity's eyes go heart-shaped staring at Trenderhoof.
- Your Makeup Is Running: Rarity's mascara runs down her face while crying about how Trenderhoof has a crush on Applejack instead of her.