- Accidental Aesop: Defied. Fluttershy takes "being assertive" to mean "using intimidation to force others to do what you want", which is then shown to be very wrong. While she does use her Stare on Angel at the end, it's only to make a point; he eats the salad of his own free will.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Did Fluttershy only say those harsh things to her friends because she knew it would upset them, or does she deep down really think that Rarity and Pinkie Pie's special talents are frivolous and pointless, and she could only ever express it while in her assertive mode? Worst of all, does this episode imply that Fluttershy is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing? That said, if she did she probably thinks it's less frivolous and pointless now.
- Base-Breaking Character: Angel's treatment of Fluttershy. It can either come across as funny slapstick or mean.
- Crosses the Line Twice: The fact that Fluttershy's cottage and garden withered and died in response to her? Not funny. The fact that all that somehow happened in two hours tops? Funny.
- Designated Villain: Perhaps intentional; Iron Will was just doing his job the entire episode, teaching Fluttershy to be more assertive and claiming his payment when he thought she was satisfied with the results. One could argue that his threat of violence against her was merely a bluff to get his money, especially since when Fluttershy explained that she wasn't satisfied and thus had no obligation to pay, Iron Will respectfully backed down. To put it another way: Iron Will is an antagonist, but not a villain. Despite this, The Merch considers Iron Will an outright villain on the same level as the show's major antagonists.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Some fans interpret Iron Will as being a perfectly upstanding entrepreneur and say the onus is entirely on Fluttershy for taking his 'product' too far. While Fluttershy does admit her share of responsibility, Rarity and Pinkie Pie are also in total agreement that Iron Will is a charlatan peddling terrible advice and is directly responsible for the bad behavior of an easily manipulated 'doormat'. While real-world debates about use versus intent can get lively, the script makes its stance on Iron Will pretty clear.
- Epileptic Trees:
- The two Valley Girl ponies that show up early on have the exact same coat and eye colors as Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash. Since Rainbow wasn't in this episode, it's lead to... suspicions.
- Iron Will teaches that to be assertive (and therefore an object of admiration), you should yell at people who do things like bump into you instead of getting out of your way. Previously, what character who was obsessed with being seen as cool did the exact same thing to Fluttershy...? Maybe Gilda wasn't really a complete jerk, maybe she'd just recently taken the assertiveness course! Trixie incorporates a lot of Iron Will's act and presence as part of her stage show. Just how many ponies took this course?
- Fanon Discontinuity: Most fans prefer to forget about Fluttershy going berserk and insulting Rarity and Pinkie Pie's lives.
- Genius Bonus: Iron Will's first appearance is inside a maze. He's a minotaur. In Greek Mythology, the original minotaur was imprisoned in a labyrinth. While "maze" and "labyrinth" aren't technically the same thing (a maze has multiple paths, whereas a labyrinth has one path that gets concentrically smaller) they've evolved into synonyms over the centuries.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Fluttershy's lament "I am the monster" becomes this after she turn into a vampire.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- In previous episodes, Fluttershy has shown that she can be assertive, but it really takes a lot to push her to her limit.
- In the end, Shy uses The Stare on Angel to get him to eat. Fans have drawn her doing this in her "get him to eat a carrot" scene in "Dragonshy" since that episode.
- It may be this or Harsher in Hindsight, depending on your point of view, but Fluttershy calling Pinkie's destiny "frivolous" becomes pretty karmic when she finds out how hard it is.
- Jerkass Woobie: Sure, New and Nasty Fluttershy is a jerk, but given how the other townponies (sans Pinkie and Rarity) and her pets treat her, can you blame her? At least, until she took it too far.
- Memetic Mutation:
- The shot of Iron Will giving a thumbsup to the camera has been snowcloned into an advice animal.
- Also, in a similar vein as "Disco Discord" from "Return of Harmony, Part 1", clips of Iron Will dancing to different music have been making the rounds on Youtube.
- Never Live It Down: This episode sealed Angel Bunny's reputation for many as an unpunished Domestic Abuser. That he was acting worse then usual (so was near everypony else), and every appearance since had had him act nicer or receive karma doing little to sway them. According to some people, that wasn't even abuse, but the equivalent to a bratty kid slapping food out of his mother's hand.
- Poison Oak Epileptic Trees: There has been speculation to the effect that a bull and a human are Iron Will's parents. Hopefully somepony's just joking.
- Reviews Are the Gospel: Almost nobody outright hated this episode before The Mysterious Mr. Enter reviewed it. Before his review, consensus was it was not one of the better ones, but still relatively harmless. Afterwards, it became one of, if not the most hated of the show.
- The Scrappy: Boxxy Brown, the cherry seller. Thanks to his unreasonable pricing upon hearing that Fluttershy needed his last cherry and then rubbing salt into Fluttershy's wounds after selling it to another customer for a much cheaper price, has earned himself some less than flattering alternate names and is probably the most hated of the Jerkasses in the episode. And he doesn't even get a well-deserved taste of New!Fluttershy's wrath.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: The music used to introduce Iron Will is very similar to the opening bars of "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The head turn scene analyzed in this video.
YMMV / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S2 E19 "Putting Your Hoof Down"