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Rainbow Dash: So now that you know the elements of a good cheer, let's hear one.
Fluttershy: *inhales* Yay.
Rainbow Dash: ...Ugh! *facehoof* You're gonna cheer for me like that? Louder.
Rainbow Dash: Louder!
Rainbow Dash: LOUDER!!
Fluttershy: *deeply inhales* Yaaay.
Rainbow Dash: Ugh... *facehoof* *falls over*
Fluttershy: Too loud?
Written by M.A. Larson
Rainbow Dash is busy prepping herself for the Best Young Flyers' Competition in the pegasus city of Cloudsdale, with Fluttershy as her hopeful cheering section (easier said than done, considering she usually can't speak louder than a whisper). However, despite her being able to ace all the other parts of her routine, Rainbow can't quite manage her difficult finishing move: the Sonic Rainboom, a near-impossible move where a pegasus flies fast enough to create a sonic boom and a rainbow at the same time. Despite Rainbow Dash acting cocky about how she can ace the competition (and win the grand prize: a day hanging out with the Wonderbolts!), Rarity detects that the pegasus is a lot more nervous than she lets on, and talks Twilight into finding a spell to allow the wingless members of their circle of friends to go up to Cloudsdale and provide more moral support than Fluttershy can give. Twilight finds a rather difficult spell that will allow her to give a pony wings, and Rarity offers to be the test subject.
The day of the competition arrives, and after an encounter with a few old bullies from flight school (and Fluttershy botching the die roll on "Make Motivational Speech"), Rainbow Dash finds herself on the verge of a nervous breakdown over whether or not she'll win.
Rainbow Dash: What do I do?! Everypony is gonna see me fail! The Wonderbolts will never let a loser like me join! Princess Celestia will probably banish me to the Everfree Forest! MY LIFE IS RUINED!
Suddenly, who should show up but Rarity, sporting a beautiful pair of colorful, translucent butterfly wings. The other ponies show up as well, via Twinkling Balloon, as Twilight was able to find an easier spell to let them walk on clouds. Encouraged by her friends' presence, Rainbow Dash decides to show them around Cloudsdale. As they tour the town, however, Rarity keeps vainly showing off her new wings (ignoring Twilight's warnings that they're extremely fragile), making Rainbow Dash feel even more self-conscious. And as if that weren't enough, Rarity's new admirers suggest she enter the Best Young Flyers' Competition as well!
And so the competition begins, presided over by not only the Wonderbolts, but also Princess Celestia herself. Rarity and Rainbow Dash get slowly pushed near the end of the show; Rarity is too busy in her dressing room (putting on a rather garish getup), and Rainbow Dash keeps changing the order of the contestants as she still doesn't feel ready. Finally, both ponies have to go on together, despite Rainbow Dash having been reduced to a nervous, shaking wreck. Rainbow Dash tries to go through her routine while Rarity struts her stuff in the air, but Rainbow ends up messing up the first two parts of it, leaving only one chance of saving herself from losing: the Sonic Rainboom.
Meanwhile, Rarity, her ego having inflated to ridiculous levels, decides to fly up as close to the sun as possible, letting the light shine through her wings and covering all of Cloudsdale in colorful light. Almost immediately though, her wings get incinerated in the heat, leaving Rarity to plummet to the ground. Three of the Wonderbolts dive down to save her, but get knocked out by Rarity's wild flailing through the air. Rainbow Dash spots her friend and her heroes in trouble, and flies to the rescue. As she does so, she goes fast enough to not only catch up to them, but to successfully pull off a Sonic Rainboom in the process, surprising the crowd and causing Fluttershy to cheer louder than ever. Rainbow Dash is so busy snatching the falling ponies out of the air that she doesn't even realize what's happened until she starts soaring back to the arena. Having perfected her winning move and saved the Wonderbolts and Rarity, Rainbow Dash excitedly declares it the "best day ever!"
Rarity apologizes for stealing the spotlight and being too vain and prideful, and Rainbow Dash forgives her, regretting only not being able to meet the Wonderbolts when they were conscious. At that moment, who should show up but the Wonderbolts themselves, who thank Rainbow Dash for saving them. To make things even better for the already excited young pegasus, Princess Celestia shows up to declare Rainbow Dash the winner of the competition. The Princess then turns to Twilight, asking if she's learned anything about friendship lately, and Twilight decides to let Rarity declare the Aesop of the episode: that one should "keep your hooves on the ground" and be supportive of your friends. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash is approached by her old bullies, who apologize for the way they treated her, and want to hang out. Rainbow Dash turns them down, saying that "I've got plans!" as she flies off with two male members of the Wonderbolts…
- Absentee Actor: Spike.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: Rarity becomes entranced with the temporary wings Twilight gives her and soon forgets why she wanted them in the first place; going so far as to enter the competition herself just to show them off. At least she realizes in the end that she lost her head and regrets it.
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Ingested liquid rainbow acts like this, as demonstrated by Pinkie.
- The Cameo: Recurring Unicorn Lyra Heartstrings makes a notable cameo in this episode as the only non-pegasus outside of the Mane Six (and Celestia) to appear in Cloudsdale. Apparently she knows the cloud walking spell too!
- Chekhov's Gun: Twilight specifically cautions that the wings she gives to Rarity are fragile during their tour of Cloudsdale.
- Chewing the Scenery: Rainbow's hammy moments in the episode have been compared to The Room on Youtube. As seen here.
- Die or Fly: Rainbow Dash is finally able to pull off the Sonic Rainboom successfully to save Rarity and the Wonderbolts from falling to their deaths.
- Early-Bird Cameo: This episode is the first appearance of Spitfire and (outside of fantasy sequences) Soarin', though we wouldn't learn their names or more of their personalities until "The Best Night Ever".
- Facehoof: Rainbow Dash does two concerning Fluttershy's cheering, the second accompanied by her flipping over.
- Flat Joy: Fluttershy's cheering. Until the end, that is.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The construction worker ponies staring at Rarity's wings.
- Go, Ye Heroes, Go and Die: Both Fluttershy and Rarity's attempts to give Dash confidence actually wind up driving her to a breakdown.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: After Rarity's wings burn up, she hangs in the air long enough to make the Oh Crap face before falling.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Kevin is one of the male Pegasi that makes fun of Rainbow Dash.
- Nelson is apparently a pony now as well.
- Homage: Rarity's wings burn up when she flies too close to the sun.
- Icarus Allusion: Twilight Sparkle makes some magical wings for Rarity, warning her that they are very delicate. Ignoring this, Rarity enters a flying competition, deciding to fly as high as possible so that the sun would shine through her wings and cover Cloudsdale in colorful light. The sun burns her wings up, and Rarity plummets nearly to her death, being saved only at the last moment by Rainbow Dash.
- It Got Worse: Rarity's wings are gone and she's plummeting from a great height through Cloudsdale (Which cannot support her since she's not really a Pegasus) to the ground below. Then, in her panicked flailing, she punches out the Wonderbolts, who are trying to save her. Now Dash has to rescue FOUR ponies.
- Large Ham: Rarity in almost every scene she has wings.
- Magic A Is Magic A: After she's rescued by Rainbow Dash, Rarity has to sit in the Twinkling Balloon; she hasn't had the cloud-walking spell cast on her.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: Nor is it the 2000 G-forces you would get from a 90-degree turn with that small a radius at Mach 1. Apparently, the Sonic Rainboom somehow alters the laws of physics.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Fluttershy's voice doesn't really lend itself to loud cheering, so Andrea Libman pretty much just uses Pinkie Pie's voice.
- Similarly, when Pinkie tastes the rainbow, her voice becomes much higher, making her sound like Fluttershy.
- Polka Dot Paint: Pinkie Pie dips a hoof in the liquid rainbow and it retains seven distinct stripes of color, despite dripping off her hoof. She then licks it...and starts breathing multicolored fire!
- Punctuated for Emphasis:
Rarity: For I! Am! Rarity! (cue remix)
- Screen Shake: Particularly noticeable and somewhat unusual in this episode when it's caused by Rainbow Dash shouting.
- Schizo-Tech: Pinkie's foam "#1 finger". Of course, this is Pinkie.
- Shout-Out: When Pinkie Pie tastes the rainbow, her face goes through color changes and fiery breath, similarly to the more notable effects of the prairie oyster in Asterix and the Laurel Wreath.
- Stealth Pun: Pinkie Pie decides to "taste the rainbow" but finds it not to her liking.
- Tastes Like Purple: Playfully inverted. Apparently, liquid concentrated rainbows (in the most literal sense) taste incredibly spicy, even for Pinkie Pie! And it's no wonder: real rainbows are refractions of light, so a concentrated mouthful of the stuff would taste like Frickin' Laser Beams.
- Thinking Out Loud/Aside Comment: Both Rainbow Dash and Rarity think out loud about what they're doing next in their practice or performance, and each looks at the audience on one occasion while doing so.
- Troubled Fetal Position: Rainbow Dash ends up like this when her anxiety gets the better of her.