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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E22 "What About Discord?"

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Doctor Discord researching the science of magic.

Twilight Sparkle: I can't believe I missed out on all that bonding!
Spike: I knew it! You are jealous!
Twilight Sparkle: Spike, I'm the Princess of Friendship. I don't get jealous.

Special Guest Star: John de Lancie as Discord
Written by Neal Dusedau
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In her castle, Twilight Sparkle gears up for a three-day weekend of reorganizing all of her books on her bookshelves with Spike, going to stay in her castle for all three days to complete it. When the weekend is over, Twilight and Spike leave her castle, only to meet Discord and Rainbow Dash. The two of them are still laughing about an event they had in the long weekend with the other Mane Six members except for Twilight, and the in-jokes between them only confuse her, since she wasn't there. Twilight even finds the rest of her friends in a similar state, which only draws more and more confusion, since Twilight doesn't get why the jokes are funny. All her friends tell her is that she "had to be there."

Back at her castle, Twilight gets frustrated at not getting the joke. Spike concludes that Twilight is jealous, but she insists that she only wants to understand the joke as part of her duties as the Princess of Friendship. To that end, she invites all of her friends, along with Discord, to recreate the fun event of that weekend. They all spend time at a cafe, trying to recreate absolutely everything down to the smallest detail, but it's no use. Finally, Discord comments that there's one variable that's different: Twilight's presence. No matter how hard they try, they'll never be able to accurately recreate the in-joke for her.

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Twilight, growing even more anxious, comes to the conclusion that her friends must be under a mind control spell from Discord, while Spike continues to insist that Twilight is overreacting. Twilight gets a potion to break the supposed spell from Zecora, and insists that her friends drink it the next morning. The Mane Six incredulously tell Twilight that Discord didn't do anything to them, and that she's going too far. Finally, when Discord lets out the in-joke one more time, Twilight finally breaks and admits that she's jealous that she missed out on a good time with her friends, and that as the Princess of Friendship, she feels she must be above petty feelings. The Mane Six assure her that it's okay that she feels that way, while Discord slyly admits that he asked the Mane Six not to invite Twilight. Discord insists that it was not to interrupt her book sorting, but the Mane Six only glare at him. He tries the in-joke again, but the Mane Six don't find it funny anymore, saying that the joke has run its course. They even start up another one with the idea of the Mane Six being under a spell, but Discord doesn't get it, to the point where he feels left out and breaks down, miserable over being excluded as Twilight was. Twilight cheers him up with a peace offering (referencing one of his own inside jokes), and Discord pulls the Mane Six and Spike into a group hug, all of them sharing a friendly laugh.

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Tropes:

  • Adorkable: Twilight Sparkle, already established as a book lover, becomes ecstatic in the Cold Open at the prospect of spending the weekend organizing the books in her library.
  • An Aesop:
    • You're not going to be there for every good moment your friends have, and it's okay to be upset about it.
    • Likewise, it's okay to be a little jealous and angry on occasion, just as long as you don't let it get out of control and work through it in a healthy fashion.
    • It's not really okay to deliberately hurt someone's feelings, even if you have good intentions.
  • Aesop Amnesia: You would think that Twilight would be a bit more careful about accusing others without evidence after it got her in huge trouble in "A Canterlot Wedding". Unfortunately, she tries it again, and the results are predictable.
  • Arc Words: When Twilight keeps trying to wrap her brain around her friends' in-jokes with Discord, they more or less reply, "You had to be there."
  • Aside Glance:
    • Spike makes epic roll-eyes toward the audience twice in the episode from Twilight being Twilight.
    • Twilight makes one herself in response to Spike's excitement toward their long weekend of book sorting.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Discord momentarily turns Fluttershy into a giant orange with a face, although she thinks it is quite funny. He quickly peels the orange to return her to normal.
  • Bob Ross Rib: Discord twice takes on the appearance of Bob Ross to explain himself, at one point using Ross's frequent "happy little" language, in order to literally "paint her a picture".
  • Break the Haughty:
    • The lengths Twilight goes to ignore her jealousy over her friends' fun weekend with Discord, from trying to recreate the fun to outright accusing Discord of evildoing, eventually push Twilight past the breaking point when she snaps at her friends, feeling like she isn't allowed to be angry or jealous because she's the Princess of Friendship. It veers into Break the Cutie territory when her friends' joy over something she would've loved to be a part of drives her to tears.
    • For his part, Discord finds himself excluded from an in-joke at the end, since he intentionally left Twilight out of the loop and enjoyed rubbing his own in-jokes in her face a little too much.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: In Sugarcube Corner, while telling an anecdote about their weekend, Discord briefly impersonates Applejack. Of course, being a shapeshifter he doesn't just imitate her Southern drawl, bust also morphes his head into a lookalike.
  • The Cameo:
    • A small version of the Smooze is seen inside a jar when Discord appears dressed as a fisherman.
    • During the scene when the Mane Six and Discord are discussing time travel, when Discord proposes re-enacting the In-Joke scene, Starlight Glimmer is seen observing them with binoculars from inside some bushes to the far right of the scene (her tail and parts of her mane are seen peeking from inside the bushes).
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Dastardly Whiplash: When Discord mentions something that his "evil self would do", a clone of him wearing a top hat, cape, curly moustache and shifty eyes appears only for the real Discord to push him away.
  • Dispel Magic: Zecora provides such in the form of a magic potion, that should dispel the charm Discord cast on Twilight's friends. Except there is no enchantment to dispel in this case, despite Twilight's stubborn insistence it is true.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Discord is making... weird noises while he... plays with Twilight's horn.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: When Discord tries to reference the In-Joke again after it's revealed that he deliberately set the entire episode's events up to hurt Twilight's feelings and make her feel left out in order to teach her An Aesop, the rest of the Mane Six make it clear that it's not funny anymore.
  • Easily Forgiven: Justified, since it's by far the most harmless scheme Discord's ever pulled, plus he does get the tables turned on him when the Mane Six lock him out of the loop with an In-Joke of their own. He, in turn, needs nothing more than to be offered an orange to easily forgive them for their small revenge.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: The episode ends with the Mane Six laughing about the whole "Twilight goes crazy again" fiasco while Discord feels left out and very small. He soon gets to join in, though, after Twilight cheers him up with a tiny orange.
  • Fantastic Racism: Played for Laughs. Despite their differences in size, age, and fur color, Discord mistakes Apple Bloom for Granny Smith in his recount of the story about the snake, claiming "All you Apples look the same."
  • Foreshadowing: Starlight Glimmer's cameo foreshadows her evil plan in the two-part season finale, as she's most likely spying on Twilight and gathering information to use against her.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Discord and everypony forget that he can show past events via Pensieve Flashback. Discord at least has an excuse.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Starlight Glimmer's cameo appearance (seen here).
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In-Universe, upon the rest of the Mane Six finding out Discord set everything up to mess with Twilight, they decide it's not funny anymore.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Pinkie Pie drinks the potion in a very similar manner to someone drinking alcohol. She even seems slightly drunk.
    • More literally, in response to Twilight's unusual behaviour, Applejack asks "What kind of fertilizer have you had your nose in, Twilight?"
  • Graceful Loser: After getting a taste of his own medicine, Discord only requires a peace offering from Twilight to accept his punishment. He then gives the Mane Six and Spike a Group Hug, clearly showing he has no hard feelings over it.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Twilight becomes quite jealous when she finds out her friends had a ton of fun with Discord and she wasn't included (Discord even paints an artist's representation of a monstrous Twilight enveloped in green flame), but she's afraid to admit it to herself because she feels someone with the title of "Princess of Friendship" doesn't have that right.
    • Spike is not pleased when he hears Discord call Rarity "dearest".
  • Group Hug: Discord gathers all the ponies (and Spike) into a hug that lifts them from the floor at the end of the episode.
  • Hero with an F in Good: If we can assume Discord's intentions were genuine, his obvious glee at making Twilight suffer and very poor attempt to hide that his motives were mostly sadism sour everypony against his "friendship lesson" pretty quickly. At least he was trying. Twilight's friends still let him know this isn't okay.
  • Hourglass Plot: Discord made sure that Twilight was excluded from the luncheon. By the end of the episode, the same thing happens to him.
  • Idiot Ball: Twilight (falsely) comes to the conclusion that her friends have been brainwashed by Discord, so she gets a magic potion from Zecora that will remove the spell. Twilight then explicitly makes it obvious to her friends' faces that she thinks they have been brainwashed by Discord, and tells them the drink she's serving will help remove the spell. Which is the last thing Twilight should be telling a person she suspects to be under mind control.
  • In-Joke: Discord and the gang apparently created a lot of these over the weekend that Twilight isn't privy to: snakes, oranges, peanut butter hooves. In the end, the Mane Six use Twilight thinking they were all under a spell as a joke Discord doesn't get.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Twilight Sparkle's Booksorcation, to Spike.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Twilight's hubris comes into play again when she feels left out by the others, refusing to accept she is capable of petty jealousy and getting increasingly wound up and uptight at Discord's fun and games ("It's not that funny! I know funny!"). This culminates in her deducing Discord brainwashing all of her friends is more logical than her having insecurities.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Twilight comes to the conclusion her friends are being brainwashed by Discord, her explanation about this to them more or less insinuating they were careless and dumb enough to let him do it. They call her out on this.
    • Throughout the episode, Twilight's friends obliviously hurt her feelings as they laugh about the hilarious weekend they spent without her, thinking she was perfectly fine with being alone like she usually does, while she secretly stews over being left out. It isn't until Twilight finally breaks down that they see just how much pain she's been hiding from them.
  • Ironic Echo: Discord and the rest of the Mane Six tell Twilight that she "had to be there", when in reality, Discord deliberately did not invite her. Later, Discord is told by Spike that he had to be there as the Mane Six talk about how Twilight thought Discord put them under a spell.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Discussed frequently when Twilight doesn't get what's so funny about Discord's jokes.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Just before the opening theme, Twilight proclaims that reorganizing her library is going to be the "Best long weekend EVER!" Naturally, she comes to question this later.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Though Discord is ultimately presented as having intentionally left Twilight out of the weekend for fun, he is right in stating that Twilight needed to learn that she isn't going to be able to spend every waking moment with her friends and that it's okay for her to feel left out rather than just holding it all in.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Discord initially started out with pure intentions, just trying to be his usual Trickster Mentor self to Twilight and help her out. But when he saw how extreme her reaction was, the Sadist in him was unable to resist milking it for all it is worth.
  • Kick the Dog: Discord admits that seeing Twilight fail miserably at recreating her friends' weekend is a supposedly unexpected bonus to his Trickster Mentor antics. This sours the others against him.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Discord (somewhat mockingly) puts on a labcoat during Twilight's "experiment" to recreate the condition of the weekend.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Discord arranges a fun get-together with Twilight's friends to ensure Twilight herself isn't included so she can learn a lesson about how to cope with being left out by her friends. He gets a taste of his own medicine when the Mane Cast start laughing about how Twilight went so crazy she thought her friends were under a mind-control spell, which he wasn't there for.
  • Magic Cauldron: Played with. Zecora is mixing ingredients in her giant cauldron while talking with Twilight about a cure for her "bespelled" friends. When she passes Twilight a ready-made potion off the shelf, Spike asks her about the stuff in the cauldron. She admits it's mostly for show.
  • Measuring the Marigolds: Twilight attempts to scientifically define what made the others' experiences such a good bonding moment. Discord eventually tells her it's impossible to quantify something like that.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Invoked by Discord, who tells Twilight's friends not to invite her to go with them on their weekend adventure, just to teach the Princess of Friendship a lesson about jealousy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Twilight's friends have this reaction when she breaks down about how hurt she was about not being able to share in the bonding they all had with Discord.
  • Noodle Implements: The in-joke between Discord and everypony except Twilight at least involved a garden hose that looked like a snake, oranges, and peanut butter jars.
  • Noodle Incident: We never do find out what happened that weekend. It's just as well, because nothing could be as hysterically funny as it seems to have been when it happened.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: As is quite usual for him, Discord shows a complete disregard for ponies' personal space, especially Twilight's, to whom he gives a "huggy-wuggy" at one point.
  • Not Brainwashed: Twilight jumps to the conclusion that Discord must have brainwashed her friends to explain why they'd all enjoy hanging out with him so much (when in the past he has been something of The Friend Nobody Likes for most of them). Eventually she has to accept that their amusement was genuine.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Despite being the Princess of Friendship, Twilight is jealous that her friends had fun with Discord without her. It's deconstructed when Twilight points out she should be above it all because she is the Princess of Friendship, and tries bottling up her feelings as a result.
    • Zecora, normally one of the most straitlaced characters in the series, admits that the bubbling cauldron in her hut is mostly decorative.
  • Not So Different: Considering his previous misbehaviour, Discord takes perverse pleasure pointing out Twilight, often his polar opposite, is not above irrational jealousy either.
  • Odd Friendship: The driving point in the story is Twilight questioning why all her friends grew so close to Discord so quickly.
  • Orphaned Punchline: All the Inside Jokes between Discord and Twilight's friends are introduced with just the punchlines to the jokes. Some attempts are made to explain the setups, but "you had to be there".
  • Portmanteau: "Booksorcation" is a combination of books, sort, and vacation.
  • Properly Paranoid: Twilight figures that something funny is going on with her friends and Discord. She erroneously chalks it up to Discord casting a spell on her friends, who call her out on her error. However, it turns out Discord did manipulate events by intentionally leaving Twilight out of their weekend. Twilight's friends quickly let him know that this is not cool.
  • Pun: Discord and the ponies (save Twilight) make numerous puns about snakes and oranges, and later (save Discord) about spellcasting.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: After gathering the rest of the ponies and Discord and asking about what they did on the weekend, Twilight's friends and Discord appear to have their own interpretation of the events. Was it a snake, a hose or a stick that led to the "hissertical" joke?
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Spike's idea of a good vacation involves a claw massage, a backrub, and a bubble bath.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Twilight asks Spike if he can think of anything more relaxing than a weekend of reorganizing books. He responds with a list of spa pampering activities before realizing she wasn't expecting him to answer.
  • Running on the Spot: Subverted by Discord the first time he takes leave from Twilight; he does the typical cartoonish run on the spot, complete with Wheel o' Feet, except than instead of zipping away he just teleports.
  • Shameful Shrinking: Happens to Discord as part of a visual pun, due to him feeling neglected when the Mane Six joke about Twilight thinking they were under a spell of some sort.
  • Ship Tease: A small one when Discord pulls Fluttershy's chair out for her- and only her- and pushes her in like a gentleman while she looks somewhat bashful. Notice that Rarity gives this not one, but two sly smiles.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The episode title is a reference to the 1991 comedy What About Bob?. When Discord later rejoins the Mane Six in the castle, he's dressed as Bob Wiley (Bill Murray's character from that film), sporting a fishing hat, blue T-shirt and life preserver. Twilight also parallels two of Dr. Leo Marvin's behaviors from that movie: firstly, when she can't understand why her friends could have more fun with Discord than with her; second, when she insists to Spike that she doesn't get jealous (or in Leo's case, get angry).
    • When Rainbow Dash and Discord rocket in front of Twilight, Discord goes plaid.
    • When Pinkie Pie suggests using time travel, she takes on the outfit of Marty McFly from Back to the Future, and the background music has a similar flavor to the film's main theme. Discord later dresses as Doc Brown.
    • Discord twice takes on the appearance of Bob Ross from The Joy of Painting to explain himself, at one point using Ross's frequent "happy little" language.
    • A tiny Smooze seen inside a jar brings to mind the end of The Blob (1988). It also doubles as another shout-out to What About Bob?, referencing Bob's goldfish.
  • Speak in Unison: Rainbow Dash and Discord had rehearsed a unison greeting for when they meet Twilight and Spike, including a prepared response for when Spike asks if they had rehearsed.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Discord when morphed into a snake. "It was hyssssterical."
  • Stealth Pun: Applejack tells Twilight "What kind of fertilizer have you had your nose in, Twilight?", a more family-friendly way of saying Twilight's full of bullshit.
  • Sticky Situation: Discord describes the "peanut butter incident" that happened this weekend using the exact trope name. It seems to involve peanut butter jars stuck on someone's hooves, but we never get any further details.
  • Tempting Fate: After three days spent reorganizing her library, Twilight Sparkle says "It's not like we missed anything." Naturally, she missed plenty, but that was intentional from Discord's part.
  • Trickster Mentor: Discord claims he was doing this to Twilight by leaving her out of their weekend and then having her admit she felt bad about it, but his clear glee in picking on her shifted the Mane Five's sympathy over to her. They then turned the tables on him by making him feel the same way, and he learned his lesson too.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: In the end, Twilight holds no grudge against Discord for all his antics. After his Laser-Guided Karma, she gives him a tiny orange as a peace offering, with a warm smile on her face.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Mane Six, minus Twilight. For the bulk of the episode, they just think that Discord is being funny when he constantly references their fun weekend together and fail to realize how it's hurting Twilight. When it comes to light that Discord intentionally didn't invite her and was constantly bringing up their In-Joke to them in order to make Twilight feel left out so he could teach her An Aesop, they make it clear that such actions are not okay.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Twilight tries convincing her friends that Discord has put them under a spell, they rebuke her — not only for accusing him of doing something evil, but also for assuming that they wouldn't catch him doing it. Then they give a similar treatment to Discord after finding out he maneuvered them into leaving Twilight alone the whole weekend just to make her feel left out.
  • Wheel o' Feet: The first time Discord takes leave from Twilight, he does so by Running on the Spot with his legs becoming round blurs, kicking enough dirt to cover up Spike. And then he just teleports away.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Twilight assumes that her friends were Brainwashed because of Discord's influence, as done once before. This is proven to be false.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Twilight spends the episode denying her own bitterness over being left out by her friends because she thinks the Princess of Friendship should be above such pettiness. Her friends and (in an underhanded way) Discord tell her that jealousy is a perfectly normal feeling no one should be ashamed of, so long as they are able to admit and express it.

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