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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S8 E4 "Fake It 'Til You Make It"

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New look, new attitude.
Written by Josh Hamilton
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After calling in the staff from all her boutiques to help with a major fashion show in Canterlot, Rarity realizes that nopony will be left to run her Manehattan store at the height of shopping season. She asks everypony else in Ponyville with no success, then enlists the help of a reluctant Fluttershy as a last resort.

As her assistants prepare for the trip to Canterlot, Rarity shows Fluttershy the ropes and assures her that the raccoons, Smokey, Softpad, and Smokey Jr., are ready to help. Fluttershy's first customer seems overly-demanding but Rarity steps in and with a bit of shrewdness, suggests the exact outfit the customer wants. Fluttershy still feels she cannot do that, and Rarity suggest that maybe if she don an outfit, it might help her be more confident in handling customers. Rarity then leaves to catch the train to Canterlot.

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Fluttershy's first customer alone is initially difficult, but with encouragement of the raccoons, she is able to create a snooty persona for the outfit Rarity gave her, impressing him and securing the sale. Rarity has momentary second thoughts about leaving Fluttershy alone, but runs into this customer on the way back to the store, who raves about the service at Rarity's shop. Assured that Fluttershy has the store handled, Rarity goes back to the train.

As more customers come to the store, Fluttershy finds that her one persona is not sufficient for some of the customers, but with suggestions of the raccoons, she takes on another outfit and creates another persona, one more Valley Girl, that works for the sale. She's forced yet into a third Goth-style persona for other customers. Fluttershy quickly is able to shift in and out of these personas, but starts to lose herself in the role, treating both the customers and the raccoons with resentment when they don't take her suggestions. The raccoons know something is wrong and make it to Ponyville to warn Twilight Sparkle and the others. When they get back to the store in Manehattan, they cannot convince Fluttershy to drop the act, and she kicks them out of the store.

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Twilight and the others go to Canterlot and convince Rarity to leave the fashion show and come help the store. There, Rarity is able to convince Fluttershy she has been too forceful, firing each of her personas one by one, and Fluttershy reverts to her normal self. Rarity is pleased that Fluttershy was about to harness her inner strength to create her personas, and gets an idea for a new outfit based on this inner strength that Fluttershy proudly shows off to her friends.


Tropes:

  • An Aesop:
    • There's a thin line between being assertive and being overbearing.
    • Also, being mean and elitist isn't good for business. It can only garner so many customers before it wears out its welcome.
    • Clothes do not make the pony, but rather your best qualities that define you.
  • Call-Back: "Rarity for You", Rarity's flagship Manehattan offshoot of Carousel Boutique, first mentioned in "The Gift of the Maud Pie", and officially opened in "The Saddle Row Review", makes its return in this episode. Rarity has still retained the services of the three ponies that Rainbow Dash hired. Fluttershy is also pleased to be reunited with Smokey the raccoon and his family, whom she persuaded to help with the grand opening.
  • The Cameo:
    • During the Montage of ponies Rarity asked to look after the shop before Fluttershy, Starlight Glimmer, Big Macintosh, Cheerilee, Granny Smith, DJ Pon-3, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and Maud Pie are briefly shown.
    • Inky Rose (last seen in "Honest Apple") and Moonlight Raven (first seen in "Canterlot Boutique" and seen in the background of other episodes) are among the customers Fluttershy insults with her personas.
    • Sassy Saddles is seen during the Canterlot fashion show.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Fluttershy is inexplicably able to change clothes, add makeup and put on jewelry Behind the Black to transform into one of her differing personas on the spot. At one point, she walks behind a display in one costume, and comes out in another, all without breaking stride. At the end, when Rarity fires all of Fluttershy's personas one by one, Fluttershy walks off in each costume only to immediately appear on Rarity's opposite side wearing another one, three times in a row. She then instantly returns as her normal self to apologize.
  • Closest Thing We Got: The reason Rarity picked Fluttershy to run "Rarity for You" is because Fluttershy was the only pony out of everyone she asked to agree to it. Rarity asked all of the Mane Six, Big Macintosh, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and even Maud before going to Fluttershy.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • In "Suited for Success", Fluttershy's knowledge of fashion is revealed as her Hidden Depths. However, eight seasons and several script editors later, it seems to have been forgotten.
    • Fluttershy, who displayed masterful knitting ability in the comics, can't even knit an elephant tea cozy properly.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: When Fluttershy gets really deep into her personas, she actively discourages ponies from buying clothes and takes pride in driving potential customers out of the store — exactly the opposite of what a salespony should do.
  • Easily Forgiven: The raccoon family instantly forgive Fluttershy once she is back to normal and apologizes to them. The customers that Fluttershy offends don’t seem to hold anything against her either.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Fluttershy's "elephant" tea cozy is very poorly made, a piece of it tearing off when Fluttershy shows it off.
    • Fluttershy's attempt to replicate Rarity's "power poses" results in her getting tangled up in her own mane.
  • Fantastic Racism: Once Fluttershy has completely lost herself in her upper-class storekeeper persona, she takes to repeatedly referring to her trio of raccoon helpers as "rodents" and saying that they should "go back to the forest". The reaction of both the raccoons and other ponies to this is consistent with the use of a heavy racial slur.
    Fluttershy: And you'll be pleased to hear that I've taken care of your rodent situation.
    [raccoons chitter in shock, one faints]
    Pinkie Pie: Will somebody tell her to stop saying that!?
  • Faux Horrific: The pony customer next to Fluttershy utters a shrill scream when a droplet of tea almost spills on her.
  • Goth: One of Fluttershy's personas in "Rarity for You" is a dark and brooding goth pony who speaks with very stoic, dull tones.
  • Gratuitous French: Something Fluttershy's "snooty" character falls into when describing an outfit to a customer.
    Fluttershy: Yes, casual chic, prêt à porter, is very branché this season.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • A Decon-Recon Switch of sorts; Fluttershy uses her "inner strength" to bring out different personalities best suited for certain clientele, but soon becomes too immersed in them to remember the "keeping shop" aspect of her hidden strength and discourages ponies from buying anything. Once Rarity "fires" her different personalities, though, Fluttershy goes back to her original self, but now knows how to channel that "inner strength" without losing herself in the process.
    • Spike also shows off a hidden talent when the raccoons go to Twilight for help. He's able to interpret their miming of what's happening at Rarity for You with no trouble, to Twilight's amazement. Apparently, he's a champion at dragon charades.
  • Hipster: One of Fluttershy's costumes is a hipster, wearing old clothes and speaking with a Valley Girl style accent, complete with Like Is, Like, a Comma and Buffy Speak.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Rainbow Dash's objection to Severe Fluttershy calling her a "small-town pony".
    Rainbow Dash: You are a small-town pony! And your cottage isn't even in the town!
  • Jerkass Realization: Fluttershy apologizes to everyone she snubbed and insulted after Rarity "fires" all of her personas.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Rarity mentions Fluttershy has "Learned to be assertive a thousand times over." A subtle dig at her typically repeating plotline her focus episodes have.
  • Lost in Character: The crux of Fluttershy's problem; she becomes so immersed in each of the characters that she developed that she forgets why she herself was entrusted by Rarity to run the shop in the first place.
  • Master Actor: Fluttershy shows herself being able to create and get into roles quite well. Unfortunately, she gets carried away and loses herself.
  • Narrative Shapeshifting: The three raccoons miming their report for Spike and Twilight involves them temporarily acquiring manes in the style of Fluttershy's various personas.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Bracer Britches, the stallion that Fluttershy first helps, is a ponified Tim Gunn.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: When Rarity starts "firing" Fluttershy's personas, each one leaves, only for another to show up from the other direction, until only Fluttershy's original self is left.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Fluttershy insulting her raccoon friends by calling them "rodents." It's enough that everypony drops everything they are doing to head for the shop in Manehattan to help defuse the situation.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Zigzagged. All of Fluttershy’s characters are just her acting differently and not actually different versions of her, but at one point she acts like all three of them are different ponies. When Rarity fires her "severe" persona, her "goth" persona says she always felt she was too controlling.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: Fluttershy's "severe" persona has both the mane and the tail done up in a bun.
  • Reality Ensues: Being mean and unconstructively critical to customers (even to be assertive) empties a store pretty quickly.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Invoked by DJ Pon-3 at her turntables to emphasize her head-shaking refusal to look after the shop while Rarity is in Canterlot.
  • Reverse Psychology: Rarity uses a bit of this to convince a customer to buy something even though she was unsure she wanted it. Fluttershy tries to recreate Rarity's approach, and though initially successful, pushes it far too much by time her friends have returned with Rarity.
  • Running Gag:
    • Fluttershy changing clothes way too fast to be possible, even freaking out Rarity when she does this three times in a row.
    • Calling her raccoon assistants "rodents". The third time around, the father raccoon actually faints out of shock after hearing it from Fluttershy.
  • Say My Name: At the beginning of the episode, Rarity screams for Fluttershy so loud that all of Fluttershy's animal friends, except Angel, bolt in fear.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The goth pony who describes Rarity for You as "a barren, empty wasteland" is based off of Edward Scissorhands, but without the... well, scissors.
    • The slow motion shot of the tea droplet flying through the air includes the stock parody of using The Six Million Dollar Man slo-mo music.
  • Taxonomic Term Confusion: A plot-point in this episode. Animal expert Fluttershy calling the raccoons "rodents" (Raccoons are actually classed in the Carnivora Order, rather than the Rodentia Order) is used as a sign she is not herself.
  • Timmy in a Well: The raccoons rush back to Ponyville to get help for Fluttershy. Spike, the Dragon Charades champion, has to translate their gestures for everyone else.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Fluttershy's multiple salespony personas start off polite and knowledgeable, but gradually get more mean and snooty as time passes.
  • Totally Radical: Fluttershy's hipster persona uses slang such as "woke", "lit" and "BRB".
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Several times in the episode, there are trips made between Ponyville and Manehattan, and even trips between Manehattan and Canterlot all over the course of a single day.
  • Twitchy Eye: Rarity's lower eyelids start to twitch as she realizes how much Fluttershy has gotten lost in her different personas.
  • Valley Girl: A customer acting like one causes Fluttershy to make her second persona in this style.
    Hipster Fluttershy: I would seriously help you right now, but like, I don't wanna, y'know?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While the shop assistants hired in "The Saddle Row Review" are seen joining Rarity as she departs for Canterlot, Coco Pommel and Plaid Stripes are neither seen nor mentioned, despite both being shown to work at "Rarity For You".
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Fluttershy tells the others that she didn't think her normal self has what it takes to be a salespony, they point out that all of her personas came from her, and that she has all the inner strength she needs as herself.
  • You Say Tomato: Fluttershy's first persona takes a few phrases to try to appear more lofty than the customers:
    Fluttershy: It's an unique play on the old standard. We call it a Rarity cut with a triple-cut stitched hem and a guacamole chevka pattern fabric.
    Customer: Don't you mean "chevron"?
    Fluttershy: If I had meant "chevron", then that's what I would've said.

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