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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E16 "28 Pranks Later"

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"Coooooookiiiiiiiiieeeessss...."

Story by Meghan McCarthy
Written by F. M. De Marco
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While walking through the Everfree Forest at night, Fluttershy and her animal friends are suddenly set upon by a mysterious shadowed figure, who scares them into screaming. It turns out to be Rainbow Dash pulling a prank, who laughs at Fluttershy's fear. Fluttershy doesn't think Rainbow's prank is at all funny; in fact, the next day, she convenes the Mane Six in Twilight's castle to talk about how insensitive Rainbow is being. While Pinkie Pie thinks Rainbow's pranks are hilarious, the rest of the Mane Six say her pranks are "lazy," since Rainbow never takes into account if the pony she's pranking would think it's funny, and that she needs to put in actual effort to her pranks.

Rainbow takes "effort" to mean making her pranks bigger and more elaborate, and she's soon pranking everypony in town. All of Ponyville gets fed up with Rainbow's antics, and they turn to Pinkie to help put an end to it. They convince Pinkie into trying to talk Rainbow out of pranking anypony else, but Rainbow has already thought up another prank to pull on the whole town. In the upcoming Filly Guide cookie sale, Rainbow will replace all the normal cookies with joke cookies that turn everypony's mouth rainbow when they take a bite, even giving Pinkie one of the cookies to try. Trying to hide her enthusiasm, Pinkie tries to convince Rainbow not to go through with it, since the town won't think it's funny. Rainbow is insistent on going through with it, and ignores Pinkie's warning.

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Later, as Rainbow Dash gets ready to help Applejack, Rarity, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders unknowingly sell the joke cookies, she visits Pinkie Pie, who is suddenly pale and bedridden. Pinkie says she doesn't even have the strength to stand, but has been eating the cookies to help her feel better. Rainbow lets Pinkie rest while helping her friends sell the joke cookies to everypony in town. At the end of the day, almost all the cookies are gone. Rainbow keeps waiting for the ponies to come out with rainbow-colored mouths, but the town is distressingly quiet. Rainbow leaves her friends to check around town, only to find it empty. Finally going to Sugarcube Corner, Rainbow finds Mrs. Cake hunched over a box of the joke cookies. As Mrs. Cake turns around, she moans for more cookies, slowly approaching Rainbow Dash like a zombie.

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Scared, Rainbow flees Sugarcube Corner, only to find that everypony else that ate the cookies is in a similar zombie-like state, moaning and slowly stalking Rainbow. Rainbow flies to Carousel Boutique to get Applejack, Rarity, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and they all flee to Sweet Apple Acres, locking themselves in the barn. Rainbow admits to the prank as the zombie ponies try to break in, saying they should be safe until the effects wear off. But, Applejack, Rarity, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders have also eaten the cookies, and the rest of the town breaks in. As the ponies back Rainbow into the corner, she pleads that she didn't want this to happen, and that this isn't funny anymore. As soon as she does, the town suddenly wipes their mouths clean, revealing they were pranking Rainbow Dash. They concocted the whole thing to make Rainbow see that her pranks weren't being funny, they were being mean, and that she needs to consider other ponies' feelings before going through with them. Rainbow Dash admits the town's prank was good, then says she'll have to do a lot of work to top it.

Everypony gapes, thinking Rainbow got the wrong takeaway again... before she reveals she was only kidding and assures them all she will be more respectful with future pranks.

*Cue spooky credits music*


Tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: After a whole episode of bad pranks, the whole town finally laughs when Rainbow Dash says she'll have to top their cookie zombie prank, then reveals she's just kidding.
  • An Aesop: You should be considerate about others' feelings before engaging in any sort of activity that would be funny to one but scary (or even hurtful and mean-spirited) to the others.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Played with. Rainbow Dash did learn her lesson — she just told all of Ponyville that she would get them back for the zombie prank for the sake of having the last laugh.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Rarity finds Sweetie Belle's Filly Guide uniform atop a giant cake which she thinks Rainbow Dash has rigged for a prank, so she instead goes to her sewing machine and decides to make a new uniform. The real prank turns out to be that the machine is a very convincing cake which ruins the fabric she placed under it.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Parodied, with Applejack waking up only to find she's sharing her bed with a pig. Startled, she jumps out of it, to find out that Rainbow Dash has moved her whole bed to the pig pen.
  • Berserk Board Barricade: Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity and the CMC retreat into a barn and nail plenty crisscrossing boards over the windows. It doesn't stop the cookie zombies for very long, though.
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie shout this when Applejack calls the whoopee cushion gag a "joke shortcut".
    • Rainbow Dash utters one in disbelief when Pinkie Pie tells her she doesn't think the town-wide rainbow cookies prank is that funny.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Not actual blood, but all of the "zombie ponies" have rainbow-colored stained muzzles which serves the same purpose.
  • Boring, but Practical: Dash's prank on Pinkie was to simply hide in her closet and say "boo". Pinkie loves it, naturally.
  • Brainy Baby: Pumpkin Cake and Pound Cake are surprisingly intelligent enough to get in on the prank and play along with the others.
  • Bucket Booby-Trap: Among the safety measures Applejack takes against Rainbow Dash pranking her in her sleep, there is a bucket above the door set to fall on whoever stumble on a rope at the entrance. Apparently, this isn't enough to stop Dash.
  • Ceiling Cling: A variant; Rainbow Dash doesn't cling to a ceiling, but to the other side of Cheerilee's rotating blackboard, to prank her. Rainbow Dash is holding to the frame of the blackboard with both wings and all four hooves, in a pegasus version of the position that is usually envisioned for the trope.
  • Character Check:
    • A relatively brief example but after her previous episode adored by the fandom and seen as one of her strongest to date, Fluttershy seems to resort back to her Season One "Cowardly Lion" self where the tiniest "boo" from Rainbow Dash sends her squealing and clinging to a tree branch while shaking in terror. To her credit, this is after Fluttershy was already rattled by the dragon disguise, so her adrenaline might have still been running.
    • Rainbow also suffers from this, as even her pre-character-development Season 1 self would know better than to prank Fluttershy like that.
    • In Season 1 Pinkie Pie is the one who set the rule to never prank Fluttershy because it would hurt her feelings (as it did here), yet in this episode she thinks it's funny and never once shows any disapproval of it.
  • Character Development: After "Scare Master", Fluttershy has gotten a lot more comfortable with scaring other ponies.
  • Chirping Crickets: When Dash says she'll have to work extra hard to top the Zombie Walk prank the town got her with, the stunned silence of all the other ponies is punctuated by the sound of crickets chirping.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • The other Mane Five's advice for Rainbow Dash to stop pranking ponies unnecessarily instead makes her think they're challenging her to put more effort into her pranks, and decides to go Up to Eleven.
    • Later subverted as the point of one last prank when Rainbow Dash pretends to believe the whole town staged an elaborate Zombie Apocalypse to goad her into trying to top them. This time, everyone finds it funny.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Covered in Gunge: Applejack jumps out of bed in surprise after seeing a pig in it, only for her to find out Rainbow Dash moved said bed to the pig pen. Cue Face Plant, and Applejack ending up with her front caked in mud. Then the pig dive-bombs next to her, finishing covering her with mud from head to hooves.
  • Deadly Prank: The climax of the episode is Rainbow Dash accidentally unleashing a Zombie Apocalypse on Ponyville with her tainted cookie prank. In the end it was being played with because it was a faked zombie apocalypse courtesy of a Massive Multiplayer Scam. The people of Ponyville were just that fed up with her pranking.
  • Death of a Child: In the spirit of the prank. Pound and Pumpkin Cake are a few of the first cookie zombies Dash comes across. At the end, Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo "reveal" that they've been turned as well.
  • Defanged Horrors: A kid-friendly pastiche of Night of the Living Dead. Starring: cartoon mini-horses, addictive cookies. Rated TV-Y.
  • Disapproving Look: Harry the Bear keeps giving very explicit looks of disapproval to Rainbow Dash after she frightened Fluttershy.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The reason behind Rainbow Dash actions? Because the rest of Mane Six say her pranks are "lazy".
  • Double Take: Applejack, upon waking up, has to blink twice to confirm that yes, there is a pig next to her in the bed.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Everypony except Pinkie Pie (at least initially) finds Rainbow Dash's pranks to be anything but funny. Rainbow lampshades this as well after being pranked in return.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: When Dash tries to hide out at the Apple Arches and tries to bar the door. Big Mac and Granny Smith emerge from the shadows behind her, showing they've likewise been zombiefied. This likewise happens when Rarity, Applejack and the CMC show that they've been turn as well when Dash's lantern light shines on them.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: The whole town finally laughs when Rainbow Dash says "Gotcha!" after she takes their lesson to mean she'll have to try and make another prank that will top theirs.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Granted, she was trying to hide her enthusiasm, but Pinkie Pie — the only one out of the Mane Six to (initially) find Rainbow Dash's pranks hilarious — thinks that the whole town won't find the cookie prank funny.
  • Eye Am Watching You: Used by Harry toward Rainbow Dash when she "innocently" sells her joke cookies, the bear understandably still sore about her pranks on Fluttershy.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Dash, expecting to see the results of her prank to give everyone colored mouths through prank cookies, arrives at Sugar Cube Corner and sees Mrs. Cake from behind. When she doesn't respond to Dash's calls, she taps her on the back to which Mrs. Cake turns with said colored mouth but also moaning for cookies to Dash's horror. This is repeated when Dash comes across Twilight, Spike and Fluttershy with the same results.
  • Flat Scare: Rainbow Dash uses a simple "boo!" twice:
    • First on Fluttershy in the opening, after having already scared her good with a dragon disguise. She's so jumpy already that she springs away and clings to a branch like a tree sloth.
    • Then on Pinkie Pie, while upside-down inside her closet. Pinkie finds it hilarious, as it makes her shriek in terror, and then fall on the floor laughing.
      Pinkie Pie: She got me gooooood.
  • Foreshadowing: Every pony that is shown buying the joke cookies is someone who was earlier shown being pranked by Rainbow Dash.
  • Friendly Scheming: Rainbow Dash's friends pretend to turn into zombies as a payback for her numerous pranks.
  • Hand Behind Head: Pinkie Pie rubs the back of her head with her hoof in a show of uncertainty when the townsfolk task her to talk to Rainbow Dash and ask her to quit it with her pranks.
  • Here We Go Again!: Subverted. Rainbow Dash's reaction upon being told that the zombie attack was just a prank to give her a lesson about her pranking spree is to tell all of the townsfolk that she is gonna have to top their prank somehow and say "gotcha!" when they all react in shock. She did learn her lesson — she just said that for the sake of having the last laugh.
  • Heart Beats out of Chest: Pinkie invokes this while describing how much fun it is being scared.
  • Horror Hunger: Parodied. These zombies are hungry... for cookies!
  • Hypocrite: Dash criticizes the town for scaring her as part of the prank, even though she did the same thing at the beginning of the episode.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Rainbow Dash's joke cookies are depicted as having strong addictive effects, first by Pinkie Pie who gets sick and start to become demanding of more cookies, and then by the whole town. Subverted in that it's just an elaborate prank.
  • Ignored Aesop: Invoked by Rainbow Dash for her final prank at the end of the episode, pretending she didn't learn anything about being a more tactful prankster even after the whole town faked a Zombie Apocalypse to teach her this lesson.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Rainbow Dash states that her large-scale cookie prank is gonna be the best prank ever. By the end of the episode, she is certainly rethinking this opinion.
  • Jerkass Ball: Rainbow Dash acts like a jerk to her friends and even all of Ponyville for really silly reasons and her personal fun. There's also the fact that she seems to have forgotten Pinkie's reminder from "Griffon the Brush Off" that Fluttershy is extremely sensitive to pranks. This way, it's easy to sympathize with the townsponies when they decide to get even with her.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Dash's prank on Rarity involved setting Sweetie Belle's Filly Guide uniform atop a very large cake with a card reading "You asked for it!" Rarity concludes that trying to retrieve Sweetie's uniform will set off the trap, so she tries to work around it by sewing a new one...only to fall into Dash's actual prank of replacing her sewing machine with a lookalike that's made out of cake.
  • The Last Straw: Compared to their last occasion dealing a Break the Haughty to Rainbow Dash, the other ponies do first try to scold, reason and plead with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie to cease and desist first. It's only after it's made apparent Rainbow isn't going to get it that they resort to an elaborate revenge.
  • Massive Multiplayer Scam: Pinkie's counter-prank on Rainbow Dash entails getting everyone in Ponyville to act like zombies after letting them in on Rainbow's mass-selling joke cookie prank, effectively tricking Rainbow Dash into thinking she's actually started a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Raindow Dash when she sees the "effect" of the tainted rainbow cookies.
  • Mythology Gag: This whole story is a rework of the My Little Pony Tales episode "The Impractical Joker", complete with the taste of her own medicine scare prank.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Rainbow Dash's string of pranks only begins when the Mane 5 call her out that pranking Fluttershy (who is easily scared) or using standard gags like a whoopie cushion is "lazy". Rainbow proceeds to crank up the intensity of her gags due to a hurt pride.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Dick move though it was, Rainbow Dash managing to get past Applejack's traps and move her entire bed, with Applejack still in it, out into the pigpen, all without waking Applejack, was really pretty impressive as far as pranks go - and we never even found out how she did it.
  • Oh, Crap!: Dash when she first see the "outbreak" starting and again at the barn when Rarity, Applejack and the CMC seem to have eaten the cookies and started turning as well after she barricaded the doors and windows. Which becomes even bigger when the now zombified Applejack kicks the wagon blocking the door and lets in the other zombie ponies.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Since the series rarely has anypony die, or even use the word "die", the "zombies" here are instead ponies addicted to special cookies rather than undead ones. Even then, they're all just pretending to be zombies in order to prank Rainbow Dash.
  • Out-Gambitted: Pinkie Pie single-handedly manages to turn Rainbow Dash's prank on the entire town on its head by getting everyone in Ponyville to stage a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Overly Long Gag: Twilight and the whoopie cushion. Though this actually is what might make it funny to some viewers.
  • Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: Some of Rainbow Dash's pranks show insane amounts of preparation (a massive tiered cake and a sewing machine shaped cake, sneaking Applejack and her bed out of her booby-trapped bedroom, collecting thousands of scrolls on a balcony in Twilight's castle) just to prove that her pranks aren't "lazy". The most overly pre-prepared gag, though, is replacing the CMC's Filly Guide cookies with Rainbow-themed joke cookies.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Dash doesn't tell Rarity, Applejack and the CMC about the tainted cookies sooner till they're surrounded by cookie zombies. By that point, well...
      [after Dash states her plan to stay in the barn till things blow over]
      Rarity: That's lovely, darling, except for one thing. [droning, grunting voice] We've already EATEN THEEEM!
  • The Prankster: It's already well established that Rainbow Dash is one, but in this episode her pranks get out of control enough for her friends to feel the need to teach her a lesson.
  • Record Needle Scratch: The background music gets one when Pinkie Pie jumps up, saying that Rainbow's latest idea of a whole-town prank sounds amazing, and then catches herself and backpedals — while staying suspended in the air.
  • Say My Name: Both Rarity and Applejack angrily yells Rainbow Dash's name after she pranked them.
  • Scout-Out: The Equestrian equivalent to Girl Scouts are called "Filly Guides" (a likely reference to the Girl Scouts' Canadian equivalent the Girl Guides), as seen here with the CMC selling cookies.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sick Episode: Pinkie Pie pretends to be sick when Rainbow Dash comes to her room to ask her why she didn't come to help her with the joke cookies. She shifts from coughing and talking in a soft voice to yelling at her about the cookies.
  • Smelly Skunk: Rainbow Dash replaces Cranky's toupee with one, which ends about as well as you'd expect.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Creative Closing Credits feature some scary music... overlaid with the sounds of someone eating cookies.
  • Staging an Intervention: The meeting at Twilight's castle is intended to rein in Rainbow Dash's uncontrolled pranking. It fails, with Rainbow determined to pull her most elaborate pranks ever.
  • Stealth Pun: Zombies that have a craving for cookies. You can say they're cookie monsters.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: This episode exemplifies the trope no better than a literally sugar-induced Zombie Apocalypse with rainbow-faced infectees.
  • Supreme Chef: Rainbow Dash, of all ponies, as Sweetie Belle's approval of the prank cakes shows.
  • Surprise Creepy: Opening scene aside, the first half of the episode starts out as cute and colorful as any other episode. Once the zombies show up in the second half, however, the atmosphere shifts into something fitting for a standard horror film.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Rainbow Dash's friends repay her pranks with a prank of their own with a cookie-fabricated Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Technically Living Zombie: The "zombies" of the episode are simply ponies infected by Dash's tainted prank cookies, not undead — presumably because the show rarely even uses the word "die", and even if they did, they'd never get away with showing rotting/partially devoured corpses (ambulatory or not) and ponies being Eaten Alive. In the end it turns out there is no infection at all, everyone is just faking it (set up by Pinkie) to get Dash back for all the pranking she has been doing.
  • Teleport Spam: A Literal Metaphor example similar to the one in "Griffon the Brush Off", this time with Rainbow Dash dropping scroll after scroll on Spike, which results in Celestia's throne room flooded with scrolls.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Mr. Cake has some mild tooth pain after trying to eat a "brick sandwich".
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The description synopsis from the DFC press release already spoils the fact that the Zombie Apocalypse is fake and is the prank they all pull on Rainbow Dash in return. Likewise the single-sentence description on Amazon Prime TV, which is usually better than that.
  • Undead Children:
    • Although not actually undead, the babies Pound and Pumpkin Cake are evidently in on the prank as well, stumbling along with rainbow-stained mouths and moaning about cookies along with everypony else in town.
    • Near the end, the Cutie Mark Crusaders pretend to have been zombified as well.
  • Whoopee Cushion: Twilight Sparkle falls for one when she sits down on her throne.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: A Lighter and Softer version since the "zombies" here are cookie-addicted ponies with rainbow-stained mouths, but it appears to have infected all of Ponyville. And then it turns out that it was a massive-scale prank.
  • Zombie Infectee: Rarity, Applejack and the CMC don't reveal that they've been "infected" by the joke cookies until they start to turn, because Dash didn't mention that the cookies were the zombifying agent.

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