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My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Sunset's Backstage Pass is an animated cartoon special set in the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls series. The special was adapted into book form six months prior to the release of the special in the Equestria Girls novel Make Your Own Magic – The Starswirl Do-Over. It first aired on July 27, 2019.

The Starswirled Music Festival is finally here, and the Mane Seven are going to get their "glamping" on! Sunset and Pinkie are the most excited to see their favorite band, PostCrush, perform live. But when Equestrian magic causes a time loop to start, Sunset gets stuck reliving "Festival Day 1" forever!


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My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Sunset's Backstage Pass provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: After Sunset breaks the "Groundhog Day" Loop by destroying the Time Twirler, she says that she was stuck in the loops for three weeks. In the original book, even in the best ending, Sunset was stuck looping for an entire year.
  • Adapted Out: The male character Sunset falls for in the book is never seen or mentioned in this special.
  • An Aesop: Perfection Is Impossible. Things will never go exactly the way you want them to. You have to learn to adapt and make changes, especially if your friends are involved.
  • All Part of the Show: When Sunset and Pinkie fight PostCrush over the Time Twirler, the brawl is accidentally moved onto the stage where PostCrush is supposed to be performing. All four of the girls stop awkwardly when they realize they are being watched, until Sunset smashes the Time Twirler, causing a magical explosion. The audience begins cheering, apparently thinking that this was an opening act to the show.
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  • Anachronic Order: The start of the special shows the Rainbooms arriving at the festival, and the whole time loop focuses only on "Day 1". Thus, all the Digital Series webisodes set at the festival itself are chronologically happening afterward, despite several having been released first. Logically, Sunset's Backstage Pass fits in-between "Camping Must-Haves" and "Festival Filters".
  • Arc Words: "Perfect." Sunset and Pinkie are trying to have the perfect day by seeing PostCrush, and K-Lo and Su-Z want their performance to be perfect before they stop the time loops.
  • Ascended Meme: Sonata's taco obsession is given a two-fer acknowledgement here — her dress is decorated by taco shapes, and it's implied she'd started a fire in the Dazzlings' van when she tried to cook tacos in the toaster.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Played for drama. Because Pinkie can't stop being distracted by the festival attractions, she and Sunset fall behind schedule. Then, when Pinkie gets a churro stand knocked over, she and Sunset get kicked out of the festival, unable to see PostCrush. During the "Groundhog Day" Loop, Pinkie's lack of focus only hampers Sunset's investigations, making Sunset more and more frustrated until she finally hits a Rage Breaking Point.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • The first scene with the Dazzlings shows they're just as nasty as they ever were. They've learned to hide their nastiness a little better while they're onstage, but that's it.
      Adagio Dazzle: That song's called "Find the Magic." [under her breath] Human scum. [drops the microphone]
    • Onstage, K-Lo and Su-Z are billed as "two best friends." Offstage, they're anything but; the two of them barely manage to work together through Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. And while the two of them pretend to care about their fans, they're apathetic to Sunset's problem of being stuck in the time loop with them.
  • Boomerang Comeback: Pinkie Pie throws a rock-hard churro like a boomerang and knocks the Time Twirler off K-Lo's hair bow during the return trip.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Dazzlings return, having last been seen in Rainbow Rocks.
  • Boring, but Practical: How do K-Lo and Su-Z plan to ensure Sunset and Pinkie can never stop their plan to keep resetting the day until they finally do the perfect show? By drawing their faces and informing security to not let them pass the gate every time they reset the day. Of course, that plan hinges on Su-Z's drawing actually looking like Sunset and Pinkie.
  • Breaking Old Trends: This is the first Equestria Girls special where the heroines don't go through a Transformation Sequence into Magical Girls.
  • The Cameo: Wallflower Blush can be seen among the people at the Music Festival.
  • Character Focus: Pinkie Pie is the next member of the Rainbooms to get her turn to share the spotlight, after Twilight in Friendship Games and Legend of Everfree, Applejack and Rarity in Rollercoaster of Friendship, and Rainbow Dash in Spring Breakdown.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Pinkie finally gets some churros during the final loop, only for Sunset to discover that they are as hard as a crowbar. The two of them later try to use one to break back into the festival before they are let back in, only for that to be unnecessary, and Pinkie uses it as a boomerang to get the Time Twirler.
  • Companion Cube: After Sunset ditches her in the third loop, Pinkie Pie makes a fake Sunset out of random junk and treats it like the real Sunset, briefly shocking the real Sunset when she sees her "twin".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Wallflower Blush is among the patrons of the concert.
    • The chef running the churro stand is Puffed Pastry, the same one from Spring Breakdown that Pinkie ran afoul of.
    • Waking up early still isn't Sunset's strong suit — by the time her alarm goes off, everyone else is already up and enjoying breakfast.
    • The RV and other camping gear the group uses were previously seen in "Camping Must-Haves".
    • Pinkie is excited about standing in line, like in the "Five Lines You Need to Stand In" short (which is likely happening after this special).
    • Sunset might have obtained her driving license in "Driving Miss Shimmer", but as seen when taking the RV she's still not that skilled a driver.
  • Crowd Hockey: Sunset, Pinkie, K-Lo, and Su-Z all scramble for the Time Twirler after Pinkie knocks it loose.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Invoked. When Sunset learns that the huge security guard once worked a cat food convention, she shows up with a very cute kitty cat to get on his good side. It works.
  • Don't Explain the Joke:
    • Invoked by Twilight when Sunset asks if anyone else is feeling a sense of déjà vu.
      Twilight Sparkle: Nope. Just déjà V-you. [laughs] Get it? 'Cause it's just you? With the déjà v...
    • Inverted when Fluttershy is confused by the joke Pinkie tells on the first day: "What do you call a PostCrush fan with three eyes? Pinkie Pie!" It's only after Sunset explains the joke (it's a Pun on the "three I's" in Pinkie Pie's name) that Fluttershy finally gets the joke and laughs.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Sunset, when she tries to flee the festival site in the middle of the night. Her terrible driving ruins the RV's transmission, strands the group by the roadside, and fails to break the time loop.
  • Evil Counterpart: PostCrush to Sunset and Pinkie. K-Lo is the serious cool one and Su-Z is the wacky and fun one. However, K-Lo is a perfectionist who has no tolerance for Su-Z's antics and insists they keep repeating the day until things go perfect, and Su-Z doesn't care about K-Lo's concerns and doesn't take their performances seriously.
  • Fantastic Racism: After the Dazzlings finish their song at the festival, Adagio whispers "human scum" when thanking the audience.
  • Festival Episode: The Rainbooms go to a music festival, where Equestrian magic once again causes things to go haywire.
  • Flung Clothing: On waking up the first day, Sunset throws her empty pajamas on her bed from off-screen; the next second she's fully clothed.
  • For Want of a Nail: If Sunset allowed Pinkie to get those churros, she would've figured things out sooner.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the first performance of "True Original," K-Lo knocks the head of her guitar against Su-Z's hi-hat cymbal, and looks for a moment as if the world is about to end.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of the repeated events Sunset goes through is Rainbow accidentally smacking her in the butt with a paddle. On the third instance of the time loop, as Sunset happily realizes it's happening again, she grins and yells "Thank you!" when Rainbow hits her. Rainbow looks mildly weirded out seeing Sunset's excited reaction and scurries out of the scene while clearly blushing, meaning Rainbow might have gotten the wrong idea.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The main source of conflict in this special. After missing PostCrush due to Pinkie Pie, Sunset wishes she had another chance to see them. Equestrian magic promptly sticks Sunset back at the beginning of the first day, letting her have another chance. It turns out to be K-Lo and Su-Z using a device called the Time Twirler to relive the same day over and over until they get their performance right.
  • Guile Hero: Sunset uses her Touch Telepathy on K-Lo to learn that PostCrush has the Time Twirler. Sunset does this by tricking K-Lo into shaking her hand as a fan meeting her idol.
  • Hair Decorations: K-Lo wears the Time Twirler on the back of her ponytail.
  • Hand Behind Head: On the third loop, after Rainbow Dash hits Sunset in the backside with a paddle (again) and she responds twice with "thank you!", RD puts her hand behind her head and blushes in embarrassment, apparently not having missed the Accidental Innuendo.invoked
  • Hand Wave: Princess Twilight writes to Sunset that what's causing the time loop is an Equestrian artifact called the Time Twirler. However, Princess Twilight has no idea how, when, or why the artifact appeared in the human world. The rest of the story doesn't touch on how the Time Twirler got to Earth, instead focusing on its effects.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: The Dazzlings have gone from dangerous magical threats to living in a rundown van, doing concerts to get by.
  • Indestructible Edible: The churros Pinkie wants are hard as a rock. Sunset compares eating them to trying to chew on a crowbar.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Pinkie Pie is, as usual, oblivious to how she disrupts Sunset's plans for the festival.
  • Irony: After Sunset's Jerkass Realization, she resolves to be a better friend to Pinkie, time loops or otherwise. Through all of this, Sunset eventually finds that PostCrush is causing the time loops when Pinkie goes for churros. In other words, it's only when Sunset stops focusing on ending the time loop that she finally finds the ones causing the time loop. And, as stated above, Pinkie Pie insisting on getting churros — which was Sunset's Rage Breaking Point — is what helps solve the mystery.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Sunset hits a Rage Breaking Point after being caught by the Dazzlings, yelling about how Pinkie can't control her impulses. Pinkie overhears this, causing her to cry. But the straw that broke the camel's back was Pinkie leaving to get some churros while she was supposed to be standing watch to keep an eye out for the Dazzlings. Pinkie admits that it's understandable why Sunset would be frustrated and that she deserves to have a good time.
  • Jerkass Realization:
    • Pinkie gets one when she realizes that her antics got her and Sunset kicked out of the festival, costing them their one chance to see PostCrush. Pinkie has another when she gets all of the Equestria Girls kicked out of the festival in a later loop.
    • Sunset double subverts this. After two loops, Sunset just ditches Pinkie Pie entirely to see PostCrush on her own. When Sunset gets back to camp, the others throw shade at Sunset for it, but Sunset doesn't catch it. A few time loops later, Sunset ends up ranting about her frustrations with Pinkie's attitude to the Dazzlings. This rant ends up overheard by Pinkie, who runs off crying as a result. Only then does Sunset realize that she's been a bad friend, time loops or otherwise.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Because Sunset mends fences with Pinkie for the final loop, the time loop is stopped and she and Pinkie get to join PostCrush on stage.
  • Lethal Chef: Puffed Pastry (in contrast to her previous appearance). Her churros are as hard as rocks. Pinkie later uses one as a boomerang to knock the Time Twirler off of K-Lo's hair.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: At the beginning of each time loop, Rainbow Dash accidentally hits Sunset in the butt with a paddle, to which Sunset mentions "intense pain" the first time. On the final day, Sunset avoids this by dodging out of the way.
  • Mic Drop: Adagio concludes the Dazzlings' concert by dropping her microphone.
  • Misplaced Retribution: After Pinkie and Sunset crash into the churro stand, the security guard throws them both out, despite the fact that (as Sunset points out), it was more Pinkie's fault than Sunset's.
  • Mood Whiplash: Just before she runs off crying from Sunset's angry outburst, Pinkie tells the Dazzlings "cool tour bus!"
  • Mundane Solution: Deprived of their auto-tuning magic necklaces, the Dazzlings have taken to using a looped vocal track as a substitute.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor:
    • The Dazzlings act innocent and harmless onstage during their show, but once offstage they revert to their haughty ways. They still snip at each other quite often, and relish verbally tearing into Sunset.
    • PostCrush is advertised as being "two best friends" when onstage, but offstage they constantly argue with each other and barely acknowledge their fans. They also don't care that their constant time loops also affect Sunset and once she finds out they are the ones causing them, they plan to ban her and Pinkie from the festival forever so they can't interfere.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Sunset finds out the Dazzlings are not responsible for the loops she's suffering, and rants to them about how everyday is literally the same and that Pinkie keeps ruining it. Adagio mockingly tells Sunset that maybe she is the one who needs to change. This actually helps Sunset realize that she hasn't been the best friend to Pinkie, and resolves to give her the best day ever. By doing so, Sunset starts piecing together more of why the time loops are happening.
    • With the Dazzlings having no idea about the time loop, Sunset is at a loss for what else could be causing it. Then she and Pinkie deliver food to PostCrush, and Su-Z makes the comment that "the delivery guy is different this time", alerting Sunset that she knows things have changed.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Because Sunset was nice to the security guard in the final loop, he lets her and Pinkie back into the concert area.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, Sonata once started a fire with the Dazzlings' toaster by trying to make tacos with it.
  • Not Me This Time: Sunset assumes the Dazzlings are responsible for the time loop she's stuck in, even accusing them of trapping her. But the Dazzlings tell Sunset (truthfully) that they have nothing to do with it. Sunset even uses her Touch Telepathy on Adagio, and sees that the Dazzlings are being honest.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Every time the loop restarts, Sunset hears Applejack finishing telling a joke to Twilight and Fluttershy.
    Applejack: So, I says to Big Mac, "Get your own chicken coop!"
  • Perfection Is Impossible: PostCrush started the time loop to repeat their performance until it was perfect. Sunset tries to take advantage of this by giving herself the perfect day, but in the end realizes that it's the mistakes that make a day perfect, and teaches this lesson to PostCrush.
  • The Perfectionist: K-Lo and Su-Z, though K-Lo is much more serious about it. If anything at all goes wrong with the set, she just resets the whole day to give them another chance. Popped guitar string, broken drumhead, loose shoe heel, snapped drumstick...
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Sunset and Pinkie are excited to see PostCrush together, but Pinkie gets them kicked out of the festival and angers Sunset. When Pinkie does it again during the first loop, Sunset ditches her for the next loop to see the show alone. When Sunset keeps looping afterwards, she continues to get annoyed by Pinkie Pie and her antics. Sunset finally hits her Rage Breaking Point when Pinkie leaves guard duty to get churros, and rants about how Pinkie has constantly been ruining all her attempts to figure everything out. Sunset realizes she has been acting like a jerk to Pinkie, loop or no loop, when Pinkie overhears Sunset's anger and runs off crying to stop from ruining anything else for Sunset. So Sunset resolves to make up with Pinkie in the next loop and give her the best day ever.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Sunset and Pinkie never seem to realize that the root of the problem is that they're not paying attention to what the other wants. Even when Twilight all but spells it out for them, Sunset and Pinkie don't get the hint.
  • P.O.V. Shot: In the fourth loop, the opening shot of the RV from Sunset's perspective is shown.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Being trapped in the loops slowly starts to get on Sunset's nerves. She becomes more sarcastic and gives deadpan responses to those around her and lashes out at her friends over various annoyances, which they don't understand because they do not remember the loops like she does. The final straw is when Pinkie Pie abandons her guard duty of watching for the Dazzlings to go get churros, and Sunset rants about how Pinkie keeps ruining her various loops and screams she hates churros, which Pinkie overhears.
  • Reality Ensues: Pinkie knocks over a churro stand, sending herself and Sunset tumbling end over end, covered in cinnamon. Typical slapstick antics? Nope; the security guard kicks them out of the festival for causing trouble.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The security guard turns out to be this, letting Sunset and Pinkie back in after PostCrush has them thrown out, believing that they're just regular fans who want to see their favorite band, which isn't illegal.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Dazzlings haven't lost their touch for them, as they verbally grind into Sunset after learning she's stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
    Adagio: ["Find the Magic"] is about being stuck in this miserable human world with no magic, or hope of returning to Equestria. We made the mistake of using our power to manipulate Canterlot High School, and we've paid the price for it... with our magic. [...] What I'm saying is, we already get a do-over with every new day. It's called "living life."
    Sonata: You should try it sometime.
    Adagio: If the day's always the same, maybe you're the one who needs to change.
  • Red Herring: Sunset first suspects the Dazzlings of being behind the "Groundhog Day" Loop, especially when she overhears Adagio say that "the loop is working." It soon becomes clear that the Dazzlings have nothing to do with it; the "loop" Adagio was talking about was their vocal backing track.
  • Reflective Eyes: When Sunset sees K-Lo and Su-Z appear onstage, they are reflected into her eyes.
  • Retired Monster: The Dazzlings have given up their villainy after losing their magic, and are now going around as a normal band playing music to earn money so they can get by. They are still just as mean as ever though, and show no remorse for their actions, only expressing regret for them due to the consequences it brought them rather than how it hurt others.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: In the third loop, after Sunset ditches Pinkie to see the show alone, Rarity sarcastically asks her how the show was.
    Sunset: It was... perfect.
    Rarity: I was being judgmental, darling. What is the point of throwing shade if no-one is there to catch it?
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Sunset retains her memory of the loops because she happens to be close enough to the Time Twirler to be affected by its magic the first time it's activated. So do K-Lo and Su-Z, since they keep setting the thing off.
  • Running Gag: Pinkie Pie attempting (and failing) to resist getting churros. Even when she's supposed to be focusing on something, like getting to the front of the stage or standing guard for Sunset. This gets deconstructed because this single act, being played over and over and over again for three weeks gets on Sunset's nerves, to the point that she blows up after Pinkie (once again) goes for churros.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: When Sunset returns to the campsite in the third loop, while everyone is throwing shade at her for ditching Pinkie, Rarity sarcastically asks her how the show was. Sunset enthusiastically replies it was perfect, much to Rarity's annoyance. Sunset just says she is too blissed out to care if it was sarcastic or not.
  • Sanity Slippage: Pinkie suffers from this after Sunset spends one of the repeats intentionally avoiding her; by the end of the day, she creates a mannequin in Sunset's image to hang out with.
  • Saying Too Much: Su-Z is surprised when Sunset and Pinkie Pie are not the usual delivery guy, then is immediately silenced by K-Lo. This clues Sunset in to the pair being responsible for the loop.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After being stuck in the loop for weeks, Sunset tries to get out of it by hijacking the RV while everyone else is sleeping and getting as far away from the festival as possible. But she ends up destroying the transmission, stranding the group on a dark forest road, and the loop still resets in the morning.
  • Serious Business: The security guard sees his job as this.
    Security Guard: Security is an art. It cannot be rushed.
  • Spit Take: Fluttershy does this when Applejack makes a joke about a chicken coop, since it had animals in it. Unfortunately for Applejack, she's right in front of Fluttershy when this happens.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Sunset points out to PostCrush that since all physical objects reset for each new loop, they can't use a photo of her and Pinkie to get them banned from the festival. Su-Z retorts by saying that she can just draw a picture of them and use that, due to the Ripple Effect-Proof Memory she and K-Lo have from using the Time Twirler. Of course, the drawing itself isn't that good, so it would probably take some work.
  • Twisted-Knee Collapse: After Sunset Shimmer breaks the Time Twirler, Kiwi Lollipop falls to her knees from shock before the broken magic item, crying.
  • The Un-Reveal: We don't actually get to see Adagio's thoughts when Sunset Shimmer uses Touch Telepathy on her.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While Spike is shown playing with Rarity at the beginning of each loop, he's completely absent for the rest of the festival each time, with no verbal acknowledgement of where he went during that time.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sunset's friends attempt to do this to Sunset during the third loop by throwing jabs at her for ditching Pinkie. But their guilt-tripping fails since Sunset had way too much fun seeing PostCrush and has the knowledge of knowing what would happen if she didn't ditch Pinkie.

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