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Mythology Gag}}s

  • Nightmare Moon is trying to bring about The Night That Never Ends, just like Tirac. However, while Tirac only seemed to be doing it For the Evulz, Nightmare Moon's backstory establishes her as The Resenter.
  • The Elements of Harmony combine to summon the Rainbow of Light. There's even more of a shout out when they're used to beat Discord. Complete with similar music and a World-Healing Wave.
  • In the Pilot, the ponies have to cross a raging river and a rickety bridge to get to a castle, just like in Rescue from Midnight Castle.
  • Rarity's butterfly wings in "Sonic Rainboom" and the Glimmer Wings toy ponies are a nod to G1 and G3 winged ponies, the Flutterpony toy line (right down to how they're notorious for having delicate, breakable wings) and the Breezies in particular.
  • In "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", the younger Fluttershy's thinner body and legs is also reminiscent of the Flutter Ponies. All she's missing are the delicate butterfly wings... which, of course, can be found on her cutie mark instead.
    • Fluttershy has a yellow coat and pink mane and tail, like Rosedust, Queen of the Flutter Ponies - and her original inspiration Posey (who was an earth pony, but otherwise was nigh-identical in appearance, especially in Lauren Faust's early sketches).
  • In "Over a Barrel" Spike plays a piano for a show like G1 Spike does in the 1986 My Little Pony Movie.
  • Discord's mind rape of the mane cast making them lose their color and become jerks is reminiscent of the Smooze from the Original MLP movie, where touching it made a pony act like a jerk and "lose their twinkle".
  • The design of the Fire Ruby in "Secret Of My Excess" looks exactly like the Heart Stone from the original series episode "Crunch the Rockdog".
  • Twilight's Twinkling Balloon is actually a shout out to the balloon in MLP G3/G3.5.
    • Spike sending a photo of the ponies to Princess Celestia at the end of the opening is a reference to the ponies taking a group picture at the end of the G3 and G3.5 openings.
  • Heck, the opening starts with a shout out to every MLP commercial and theme song ever written.
  • Almost all of the main cast are amalgamations of G1 ponies from years 2 or 3 and based on the personalities that Lauren Faust had given her ponies as a child. Someone put together an influence list referencing both the G1 and G3 ponies that these were based on.
    • Applejack is just a redesigned version of the original. She and Spike are the only copyrights that the creators were interested in using that Hasbro retained from the 80s.
      • Applejack being a cowgirl may come from Megan, the human protagonist from G1 who started off as a Badass Normal cowgirl (though she didn't have an accent or a hat and traded the orange/brown cowgirl outfit for frilly overalls by the time of the Movie).
      • Applejack's brother Big Macintosh resembles the G3 version of Applejack.
    • Twilight Sparkle is a fairly direct cross of Powder, Twilight Twinkle and Twilight.
      • Her mother Twilight Velvet, seen in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" and "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2" as well as in the Wave 4 Blind Bags, is very clearly based on the G1 Twilight, who was intended to be the original main character of Friendship is Magic.
      • Her father resembles Nachtlicht, a German-only Pony from G1, a bit too much for comfort. It could be a genderswap Mythology Gag, similar to how Big Mac resembles G3 Applejack.
      • In the first episode Twilight Sparkle gets invited to Moondancer's get-together. This is both a nod to the G1 pony Moondancer and a Development Gag on the fact that Twilight was going to have a variation of Moondancer's cutie mark[1]
      • Twilight Sparkle can teleport. In G1, Unicorns can teleport (they call it "winking in" and "winking out"). The first Unicorn seen to teleport is G1 Twilight, in the opening theme of "Rescue from Midnight Castle".
    • Rainbow Dash is a perfect mix of Sunlight, Firefly and her Generation 3/3.5 incarnation.
    • Fluttershy was originally just SUPPOSED to be Posey but Hasbro had lost the copyright on that name.
      • Her cutie mark however is a shout-out to the G2 Pony Sky Skimmer and her name is based on her Generation 3 incarnation.
    • Spike being in love with Rarity may be a shout out to G1's Majesty, with whom the original Spike came with, and Rarity somewhat resembles (although really she's seemingly more of an amalgamation of Sparkler and Glory from the G1 line).
    • Early concept sketches of Pinkie Pie were just straight up Surprise. Her wings were passed on to Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie was given her G3 color scheme, sans the mane and tail.
    • Twist shares the name with a G1 pony, however it's probably coincidental. G1 Twist was an adult and her Cutie Mark was pretzel related.
    • The 3rd tier characters Snips and Snails (himself a shout out to the G1 pony Squirmy), make up 2/3rds of the ingredients of little boys, the exact opposite of the Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice that created the Powerpuff Girls.
    • The twin ponies working at the spa are directly based on generation 1 twin ponies that were only available in Europe. They even have an accent to match!
    • Most of the large stallions have unshorn fetlocks like the G1 Big Brother Ponies. Two of these large stallions are in fact big brothers, Big Macintosh to Applejack & Apple Bloom and Shining Armor to Twilight Sparkle.
  • Celestia resembles the G2 Pony design, with a bit of the G1 Beauty Dream Pony thrown in.
  • Cheerilee being a teacher is similar to her original unicorn version role in one of the G3 specials, notably Crystal Princess: The Runaway Rainbow.
  • The plot of "The Ticket Master" is near identical to a My Little Pony Tales episode (And the Winner is..) where one of the ponies wins a pair of tickets to a concert and has to choose which friend to take.
  • "Dragonshy" is about the ponies climbing a mountain to deal with a dragon in a cave, which also happened in the G3.5 special Twinkle Wish Adventure.
    • In G3, Spike wakes up from a thousand year nap. In G4, dragons are mentioned to nap for one hundred years.
  • "Winter Wrap Up" brings to mind the the opening theme to the the 1986 My Little Pony movie:

 My Little Pony, My Little Pony

All in a twinkling spring is here.

My Little Pony, My Little Pony

When did all the leaves and grass appear?

Where there were snowdrifts, now there are no drifts,

Nor is the sky overcast.

My Little Pony, My Little Pony

Winter is over at last!

  • In one episode of G1, Wind Whistler had her wings tied during a race, like Rainbow Dash in "Fall Weather Friends".
  • Toy line exclusive pony Sweetie Swirl, a Palette Swap of Rarity, is colored similarly to Rarity's G3 incarnation.
  • The foal that Rainbow Dash rescues from the well in "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" has the same body color (and a near-identical voice) as Lickety Split, who had a musical number involving someone else trapped in a well in the original movie.
  • "Secret of My Excess" features a pony named Lickety Split and a mare named Junebug.
  • In "Hearth's Warming Eve" when Rarity (as Princess Platinum) claims Equestria as her own she christens it Unicornia. Unicornia is the name of the unicorns' kingdom from G3 whose princess is named Rarity.
    • Fluttershy's character in the play is name "Pansy", which almost sounds like "Posey", the G1 pony Fluttershy was base on.
  • The euphemisms and pony-versions of words characters use come from G1, mainly from European canon. Terms like "Pony feathers!" are the most obvious. Applejack in particular liked to use that term in the British comics, and her G4 Expy often uses it in G4 to.
  • "The Last Roundup" includes a pony named Cherry Jubilee. There was a G1 pony named Cherries Jubilee.
  • Party Of Ones plot is unusually similar to a comic in the British G1 comics called "A Surprise For Surprise. In the comic, everypony is ignoring Surprise and telling her to leave them alone. Surprise believes they all hate her and runs off, but it turns out they were throwing a party for Surprise. All the ponies the Mane Cast are based off appear in the strip too.
  • Flower Wishes, Daisy's name from the toy line, was also the name of a G3 pony.
  • The stunt that causes Rainbow Dash to crash in "Read It And Weep" is, going by the motions of the onlookers' heads as they follow it, Firefly's trademark double inside-out loop.
  • Bizarrely, "A Friend in Deed" gives Daisy Jo, the name of a G3/G3.5 pony, to one of the cows from "Applebuck Season".
  • "Dragon Quest" has quite a bit in common with the My Little Pony and Friends episode "Spike's Search": They both involve a little purple dragon named Spike leaving behind his pony friends to look for his draconic roots, only to fall in with a crowd of trouble-making dragons, which leads him to decide he's more at home with the ponies.
    • One of the dragons, Garble, has the same color scheme as Fiery from G1.
  • In "Hurricane Fluttershy", during the big tornado scene one can see a male pegasus with the color scheme of Firefly, the G1 pegasus who inspired Rainbow Dash.
  • A pony in "Putting Your Hoof" down - dubbed Valley Swirl by fans - has a blue mane, pink fur, lightning bolt earrings, and looks like she came right out of The Eighties. She seems to be a Shout-Out to Firefly.
  • "Pinkie Sense" is sort of like Pinkie's "Pinkie Squink" from G3.
  • When Fluttershy is cleaning during "The Ticket Master", she hums the G1 theme song. It's easy to mistake it for the Friendship is Magic theme tune, since they start the same way, but after the "My Little Pony My Little Pony" part, it clearly follows the melody and beat of the next line of the G1 theme tune ("Isn't the world a lovely place?") rather than the rising "Ah" that follows it in Friendship is Magic, though said beat would eventually find its way into the extended version of the Friendship is Magic theme ("What is friendship all about?")
  • Might not be intentional, but Princess Platinum's advisor is Clover the Clever. There was a G2 pony named Clever Clover.


No Celebrities Were Harmed

  • Rainbow Dash's idols, the Wonderbolts aerobatic flight team, are named after the Thunderbirds, while their blue-and-yellow outfits are a reference to the Blue Angels.
    • Similarly, the Shadowbolts' logo resembles the logo of the Hells' Angels.
  • Hoity Toity is a clone of German designer Karl Lagerfeld.
  • Photo Finish is Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
  • The manly tennis player pony ("Ace") in "Call of the Cutie" and "Luna Eclipsed" is based on Andre Agassi.
  • The backstage manager at the Best Young Flyer competition ("Lucy") in "Sonic Rainboom" who later appears as a unicorn with a different cutie mark in "Putting Your Hoof Down" is based on Lucille Ball.
  • The ponies from The Hub's Web Games The Fabulous Ponymaker and/or Rarity's Bridal Boutique can look like Lady Gaga if the player designs them that way.
  • Mulia Mild's name, choice of career, and plummy voice are all based on Julia Child.
  • The Royal Wedding of Shining Armor and Princess Cadence is a shout out to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, down to the red shirt and blue sash that Shining Armor wears and the timing of the episode (close to Will and Kate's 1st anniversary).


Other Outside References:

Season 1

  • Twilight's last name was changed from "Twinkle" to "Sparkle". When Lauren Faust was asked if the name was an intentional joke, her response was "It passed legal."
  • The Cutie Mark Crusaders are suspiciously similar to the "Pre-Teen Sensations" from Are You There God Its Me Margaret, even to the point that they are waiting for a physical transformation and are trying all kinds of irrational stuff to make it happen. The entire scene where they are deciding on a name is almost exactly how it happens in the book.
  • The first outfit seen in the Costume Test Montage in episode 1 is very clearly the pony version of the Statue of Liberty. In a later episode, we see the statue proper in Manehattan.
  • Pinkie Pie tries to guess who Nightmare Moon is. Her first guess is "Hokey Smokes". (She also guesses "Black Snooty".)
    • Nightmare Moon's exit from her first appearance in the second episode is a shout out to Maleficent's exit in Sleeping Beauty.
    • Even Applejack holding back Rainbow Dash from charging Nightmare Moon, even though it suits the two of them so well it hasn't been the only time, has a clear parallel in the same scene, with Flora (red fairy) holding back Merryweather (blue).
    • Nightmare Moon's boasting to Twilight after shattering the elements mirrors a line by Maleficent almost exactly. See for yourself.
    • Either they noticed Nightmare Moon looked and sounded a lot like Maleficent, or that was intentional too.
    • Heck, in the beginning of the second episode, they literally take two lines from "Sleeping Beauty" almost word-for-word.
  • Twilight Sparkle emits the "transporter energize" sound effect from Star Trek, at about 18:23 of episode 2.
  • The manticore has a thorn in its paw. The manticore is part lion. Definitely a shout-out to the fable of Androcles and the Lion.
  • Luna is given a wreath of red and white roses, referring to the Tudor crest used to symbolize peace after the War of the Roses.
  • "Ticket Master" includes a Benny Hill-style chase scene, right down to Suspiciously Similar Song version of "Yakkity Sax" playing in the background.
  • "There's loons and toucans and bitterns, oh my!"
  • The bunny stampede from "Applebuck Season" is a shout out to Night of the Lepus, a 1970's horror movie.
  • In "Griffon the Brush Off", Pinkie Pie's relaxed, easygoing hopping in pursuit of mega-fast Rainbow Dash -- who is frantically trying to lose her -- and her ability to materialize out of nowhere, regardless of where Dash tries to hide, is a shout out to the old Pepe LePew shorts.
    • Rainbow Dash's frantic running and facial expression also mirror the escape of the black cat who gets a white stripe painted on her back and Pepe's affection as a result.
  • In "Boast Busters", Trixie refers to herself as The Great and Powerful, but is revealed to be a fraud, much like Oz, The Great and Terrible.
    • The same episode includes Snips and Snails making a Pinky and The Brain reference, and when Rarity demands for a mirror to see the mess Trixie made to her mane, she is mimicking The Joker's mirror scene from Tim Burton's first Batman movie.
    • The shout out to Batman is even more powerful when you realize Rarity is wearing a purple dress, her face is white and her hair is, well, green.
    • Twilight pacifies the Ursa Minor with a lullaby, created by blowing wind through hollow reeds. This could possibly be a reference to the Classic Disney Short The Old Mill.
  • In "Dragonshy", the music that plays during the preparation montage -- as well as the montage itself -- is a combination of references to The A-Team and Charlie's Angels. Additionally, the music that plays during the girls' journey up the mountain is a variation on the theme for The Lord of the Rings.
      • The Lord of the Rings music takes on an especially humorous light seeing as the dragon's design from that episode seems to be based on Smaug.
    • In just this episode, Fluttershy, and later Rainbow Dash, when startled, fall on their backs while their legs go rigid, while the sound effect of a goat bleating plays, referencing fainting goats.
    • Also, Angel doesn't like Spike.
  • During Twilight's Sanity Slippage moment, she suggests building a replica of Ponyville in less than a minute in order to keep Princess Celestia from seeing the Parasprite carnage. (Word of God confirms the reference.)
    • Pinkie Pie, after she saves the day and hears about another parasprite infestation: "Well, have tuba - will travel."
  • "Winter Wrap Up" has an ice skating scene similar to the one in Bambi, with Spike taking the place of Thumper and Twilight being Bambi.
    • Speaking of Thumper, that rabbit Spike's trying to take care of in "Dragonshy" might as well be Thumper; Spike's noggin learned that the hard way.
  • "Call of the Cutie":
    • Rainbow Dash tells Apple Bloom her cutie mark appeared when she discovered a "need for speed."
    • There's a sequence at the end with Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo sitting around a table, with the camera mimicking the round-table shots that That 70s Show is known for.
    • The title is a reference to "The Call Of Cthulhu," of all things.
  • Twilight's racing number for the Running of the Leaves in "Fall Weather Friends" is 42 -- she may not have been reading "The Egghead's Guide to Running", but she probably read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
    • Someone on the animation team must have noticed that the combined number of points on all the stars that make up Twilight's cutie mark is 42. In an interesting turn of events, the (supposed) airing date of the first episode of the show, October 10th, 2010 (or 10.10.10), is tangentially related to this as well. 42 in binary is 101010.
      • Hell, Twilight Sparkle seems to BE the number 42 embodied. She has 7 6-pointed stars on her cutie mark, which equals 42 points. Does that make Twilight Sparkle (Magic) the ultimate meaning of life, the universe, and everything?
    • One thing that makes Twilight's number stand out is the fact that everypony else in the race has a number consisting entirely of 1's, 0's, and 8's? Why? Probably because they're symmetrical.
  • In "Suited for Success", Rarity's musical number, "Art of the Dress", is directly based on "Putting It Together" from Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in The Park With George.
    • "I vant to be alone," one of the lines Rarity shouts after locking herself in her bedroom, is a famous quote from Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel. She quotes it again (with Spike echoing it, to boot) in "Green Isn't Your Color."
    • During the second fashion show, the background music features multiple shout-outs. In the beginning and end, the music takes cues from 2001: A Space Odyssey, specifically, Also Sprach Zarathustra. Pinkie Pie's segment takes cues from both I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow and the Cartoon Cartoon music from Cartoon Network. Fluttershy's segment is based off of Claude Debussy's L'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun).
    • The opening shot of Rarity's house sure looks a lot like another show the creator worked on.
  • The entire sequence where Twilight was stalking Pinkie in "Feeling Pinkie Keen" was reminiscent of the old Wile E. Coyote cartoons. Complete with "scientific names" (Pinkius Pieicus), Amusing Injuries, and assorted objects falling on Twilight's head, including an anvil and a piano.
    • Early on, Twilight asks Pinkie Pie "What in the wide wide world of Equestria are you up to?", another reference to Blazing Saddles.
  • The swirling blue "whirlpool" accompanying Rarity's transformation in "Sonic Rainboom" is a reference to The Swan Princess.
    • What happens to Rarity's wings at the end of the episode is a direct reference to the Greek Mythology of Icarus.
  • The "outside" bit is arguable here: in "Stare Master", Sweetie Belle makes the comment "who wants a hammer on their flank anyway". As a matter of fact, the Wreckers, the Autobot subgroup from Hasbro's other major property Transformers, have a hammer over their usual Autobot symbols.
  • In "The Show Stoppers", Scootaloo's failure to find a decent rhyme, frustrated "NEVER, NEVER!", and piano head-desking are lifted straight from Don Music in Sesame Street.[2]
    • The outfits worn by the Cutie Mark Crusaders for the talent show make them look like the Misfits from Jem (another famous girls' cartoon from The Eighties).
      • The So Bad It's Good style of the CMC's Theme Song is also a shout out to the Misfits' musical style, that is off-key screaming metal of the 80s, a la KISS.
    • The way the Cutie Mark Crusaders are lit when their song begins is an obvious shout-out to the music video for Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.
    • The audience's reaction to the performance and its unintentional hilarity is almost directly lifted from The Producers.
  • In "A Dog and Pony Show", the diamond dogs themselves speak in a manner similar to Gollum from The Lord of the Rings films, have a gangly appearance similar to Gollum, and even refer to the gems as "precious."
    • The episode's plot seems similar to the short story The Ransom of Red Chief.
    • The name "Diamond Dogs" has got to be a shout out to the David Bowie album. The title song from that album contains the line "The diamond dogs are poachers, and they hide behind trees". When we first see the dogs, they are hiding in a tree and planning to steal the gems Rarity and Spike are collecting.
    • In the cold open, the music is reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda games while Rarity places rupee-like gems on her latest dress. The blue one even flies up from an open chest, much like those found in the games. In a related shout-out to Zelda, the Diamond Dogs are similar in shape to Moblins.
    • The music that plays when the girls try to get into the rapidly filling holes takes a few cues from the Rite of Spring.
    • Rover, leader of the Diamond Dogs, wears a red vest just like the Grundle King's from the 1986 movie.
    • The Diamond Dogs attempt to enslave ponies to dig up gems/jewels, which an evil wizard did in a G1 comic.
  • In "Over a Barrel", when Spike walks off in a huff because the girls keep interrupting his sleep, Fluttershy calls him "Huffy the Magic Dragon".
    • Made all the more bizarre by the fact that Fluttershy says it as if she's deliberately making the reference, and Twilight seems to get the joke.
    • This is immediately followed by a gag used in The Emperors New Groove -- Rarity getting up angrily and scaring the others with her Cucumber Facial.
    • The climactic slapstick pie fight near the end of the episode is almost certainly a Blazing Saddles reference, and Pinkie's dancing-girl outfit makes her look kinda like Lili von Shtupp.
      • Using pies in place of guns is also reminiscent of Bugsy Malone.
    • This episode makes at least two shout-outs to the classic Bugs Bunny short "Bully For Bugs": both the buffalo from this episode and the bull from the Bugs Bunny cartoon sharpen their horns using a grinding wheel, and the buffalo running into an anvil hidden in a hay bale mirrors the bull running into an anvil hidden behind Bugs' red muleta.
    • The scene where the buffalo line up along the edge of the cliff before charging down towards the town is a reference to a Tex Avery short to boot.
    • There are a couple widescreen closeup shots of the Buffalo chief's eyes that are very Leone-esque.
    • The name of the apple tree Applejack is tending to is named Bloomberg. The mayor of New York City (AKA "The Big Apple") is Michael Bloomberg.
    • At one point before the big battle is about to begin, Rainbow Dash tries to think of something in a manner reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh, tapping her hoof to her head repeating "think" to herself.
    • Pinkie Pie's show girl get-up brought back fond memories of American Tail: Feivel Goes West, when Feivel's sister sings "The Girl You Left Behind".
    • The climax beginning at high noon is a pretty standard trope for Westerns, but is possibly specifically a shout-out to High Noon.
  • "A Bird in the Hoof" has Angel running around with a watch, and Fluttershy eventually remarks "I'm late! For a very important date!"
    • It also has another "Yakkety Sax" chase-scene, with a Scooby Doo door gag and A Hard Day's Night reference thrown in for good measure.
    • The scene where Fluttershy tries to get the bird to take the pill. The tactic of dumping birdseed over it, its manner of eating, and even Fluttershy's smug fourth-wall-breaking look are all reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote's tactics to get the Road Runner.
    • There are a few moments in this episode inspired by Ren and Stimpy, including a single up-close shot of Philomeena's face with crusty eyes.
    • The overall plot of the episode is reminiscent of the scene in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets where Dumbledore's pet bird burns to ash in front of Harry, and Harry thinks he's in deep trouble until Dumbledore reveals that his pet is a phoenix. Philomeena even looks a fair deal like almost dead Fawkes.
      • Drilled in when Princess Celestia cheerfully states "lovely, isn't she?" and is still quite cheerful when everyone else is horrified, and is clearly enjoying trolling the other ponies, Dumbledore-style.
      • She even urges on Philomeena to quit milking the melodrama and rebirth already, just like Dumbledore.
    • And during Celestia's brunch at the Sugarcube Corner, right when she announces that she must leave because royal duty is calling, the scene looks very similar to "The Last Supper" from Leonardo da Vinci. (Even the number of ponies on screen is exactly twelve and Celestia makes it 13.)
    • The little green hummingbird Fluttershy brings in as a friend for Philomeena is "Hummingway".
    • Pinkie Pie's introduction has her saying "Cupcakes and candies and pies, oh my!"
  • In "Green Isn't Your Color", one of the photos of Fluttershy shows her in Eeyore's signature slump.
    • Pinkie Pie silently popping up from the apple vendor stand and sternly watching Twilight before eating an apple is a reference to Ryuk who does the same thing. She even says "Juicy" afterwards, still a reference to Ryuk.
  • "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" had a scene where Filly Applejack watches a pony version of the Statue of Liberty (linking back to Twilight's outfit in the pilot).
    • Filly Rarity also (literally) bumps into a rock that resembles the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, musical fanfare included.
      • This part also brings to mind the scene in The Road to El Dorado in which the main duo also come before a great big rock (Rarity's complaints about it have a similar tone to Julio's) after thinking that it led to their main goal (which in both cases, turns out to be true).
    • Filly Twilight Sparkle tries to get accepted into "Princess Celestia's School For Gifted Unicorns" and during the admission exam her magical power violently awakens, turning her into a huge danger for everyone and herself, until Princess Celestia herself manages to calm her down and offers herself as her guide so she could learn how to control her immense magical power. The entire scene is a shout out to X-Men, with Twilight as Jean Grey, Celestia as Charles Xavier and the school itself a shout-out to "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters".
      • When Filly Twilight accidentally unleashes the full force of her power, her eyes go solid white, similar to the Avatar State.
    • "There was no talking. There was no smiling. There were only rocks." Think that type of dystopian narration sounds a bit familiar?
    • Filly Fluttershy's song really seems to hearken back to the various Disney princess movies.
    • The scene in which filly Applejack starts talking about farm life in her "proper" accent seems to be a shout-out to a similar scene in Pygmalion.
  • Spike spends a good portion of "Owl's Well That Ends Well" channeling classic comedically over-the-top cartoon villains, such as Snidely Whiplash and Dick Dastardly.
    • When Spike's looking for a new quill, one of the places he looks is in the shower, where Owlowiscious happens to be bathing. This is likely a reference to the Jean Craighead George book There's an Owl in the Shower.
    • The whole episode may be a reference to the 1970 The Pink Panther short Muff The Magic Dragon.
    • When Spike first sees him, Owlowiscious is looking outside and to look at Spike, his head does a 180° while the lightning darkens and a scary tune plays. As Spike comments "Dude, that's creepy."
  • In "Party of One" during her Sanity Slippage, Pinkie Pie voices a pile of rocks that she gives the name Rocky and also a certain accent.
    • Not to mention that it "calls" Rainbow Dash "Chump!".
    • The sequence may be a nod to the Ren and Stimpy episode "Hermit Ren", right down to the splotchy paint backgrounds.
    • At the end of the episode, we can see Spike dance like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
  • The opening of "The Best Night Ever" has Twilight channeling the Fairy Godmother by making a carriage out of an apple and horses out of mice, even adding the stipulation that they'll revert by midnight. The ending also includes a bit about one of Rarity's glass slippers.


Season 2

  • "Return of Harmony, Part 1" features a "chocolate rain".
    • The rabbits suddenly growing disproportionately long legs seems to be a reference to the works of Salvador Dali, such as "Elephants on Stilts" and "The Temptation of St. Anthony".
    • Discord is pretty much Q as a dragon-pony... thing. He even has Q's snap-and-star teleport style, as well as the same voice. Yes, that is John de Lancie himself.
      • He also may be a bit of a homage to Him. A "silly" looking villain who excels psychological torture via reality warping powers and mind games. Considering Lauren Faust worked on that show as well, it's a big possibility.
      • A possibility? He turns into a butterfly retaining his face to trick the yellow-haired/furred nice girl with a thing for animals into doing something evil!
      • This shrub in the hedge maze can't just be a coincidence.
      • The director confirms the reference. Apparently, Lauren Faust wrote the character of Discord shortly after a Star Trek binge.
    • And towards the end of the episode, an enraged Rainbow Dash makes threatening gestures towards Discord.
      • Her "Put'em up!" boxing gesture also resembles the one used many a time by Scrappy-Doo.
    • Discord dancing on Twilight's head in the stained-glass window: either he's doing the Running Man, everyday he's shufflin', he's a fan of Big Daddy Phat, or he walks the dinosaur.
      • everyday he's shufflin' is unlikely, as the show was produced before the music video was released. Not impossible, however, it could have been a late addition.
    • Rainbow Dash's temptation to go "home" during a quest after seeing it in ruins is similar to the same situation with Samwise in Lord of the Rings
      • It could be actually interpreted in another way too. She abandons what she should do to fly off to a city... in the clouds... where she knows her friends are in danger. Sounds familiar.
    • Discord's Hypnotic Eyes are on loan from Kaa.
    • After the first signs of Discord emerge, Twilight has a spell that will fix EVERYTHING.
    • Discord saying "Arrivederci" was inspired by a line from Pee Wees Big Adventure.
  • "Return of Harmony, Part 2" ends with an almost shot-for-shot homage to the ending of Star Wars a New Hope, complete with a Suspiciously Similar Song version of the Throne Room music.
    • The same episode features a musical homage to The Empire Strikes Back: Compare this to this.
    • Discord also "Force Chokes" the Mane Cast during the final confrontation.
    • Applejack has a similar boxing pose as Rainbow Dash above, when Twilight finds her at her farm.
    • A double rainbow all the way across Ponyville saves the day and Discord is sealed again. It was so intense!
    • One background pony making her debut in this episode has a screw and a baseball for a cutie mark. This possibly hearkens back to the flag Daffy Duck, drawn as a Mix and Match Critter, carries in "Duck Amuck".
      • The whole of Discorded Ponyville, especially during Twilight's sorrowful walk back to the library after being Discorded herself, seems to be an homage to Wackyland.
    • "The Return of Harmony" as a whole is similar to The Powerpuff Girls episode "Mime for a Change".
  • In "Lesson Zero", Twilight suffers from Sanity Slippage and starts talking to her reflection in a puddle.
    • When Twilight enchants her Smartypants doll, the Cutie Mark Crusaders say that "I want it," "I need it," and "I really like her mane." An Elvis Presley song is "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You".
    • The skyline shots of Ponyville indicating the passage of time are accompanied by a loudly-ticking clock sound effect - possibly a reference to Twenty Four.
    • "If I can't find a friendship problem... I'll make one instead!" sounds like a nod to the classic Christmas tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
    • One of the tunes late in the episode, when Celestia is talking, comes from The Kings Speech.
    • Celestia's intervention right when her student's magic has gotten really out of control is awfully reminiscent of Yen Sid's saving Mickey from the enchanted brooms in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice".
      • Dash and the others don't see what the big deal is with Twilight...in other words, they think she should deal with it.
  • In "Luna Eclipsed", Mr. and Mrs. Cake are dressed as the pony versions of Raggedy Ann and Andy for Nightmare Night.
    • Background pony Sir Colton Vines III's costume might be a nod to Jaws
    • The eye-shaped Nightmare Night decorations (such as this balloon) seen throughout Ponyville seem to be based on not only Nightmare Moon's eyes, but also the Eye of Sauron and possibly the eye of supervising director Jayson Thiessen's Golden Russet potato character.
      • Heck, the .swf file for that balloon is even named "MLP_PropH_SauronBalloon.swf"!
      • The designs could also be based on this guy from The Powerpuff Girls episode "The Mane Event"--a show Faust herself worked on.
    • While most likely a coincidence due to their similar moon themes, another Nightmare Night decoration bears quite a resemblance to Cresselia's head.
    • Pipsqueak, a colt with a British accent (albeit a strangely sporadic one), is a possible reference to the character of Pip in Dickens' Great Expectations.
      • Most likely unintentional but Zecora does call him Littlepip at one point.
      • Also, being a newish, young character with a British accent dressed as a pirate and experiencing his first Hallowe'en-like event, he may be a shout out to the character Lumpy from Winnie the Pooh's Heffalump Hallowe'en.
    • "Nightmare Night, What a Fright, Give me something sweet to bite!" is a play on the Halloween jingle "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!"
    • Twilight disguises herself as Star Swirl the Bearded, 'Father of the amniomorphic spell'. Amniomorphic means "bowl-shaping". So, in other words, a bearded, or, hairy potter.
    • Nearly the end of the episode, Luna comes out of a cauldron filled with green goo. Does this remind you of anything?
      • Speaking of fanon Shout-Out, Lunas antiquated expressions have been used in fanart well before the episode, even though her few lines in season 1 didn't indicate that.
    • Pipsqueak saying that Luna and Nightmare Night are "Scary...but fun!" calls to mind Memetic Molester Niblet, of "Secret butt fun!" fame.
  • "Sisterhooves Social" includes a line that parodies Gone with the Wind: "As Celestia is my witness, I will never go sisterless again!"
    • Which doubles as a Shout-Out to the fans' habit of replacing the word "God" with "Celestia" in common phrases.
    • Rarity and Sweetie Belle's parents are rather reminiscent of Spinelli's parents.
    • After Applejack and Applebloom drive sheep into a corral, one of the sheep says "You could have just asked" which is a reference to how Babe just asked sheep to go where they were supposed to, and they complied.
  • In the bowling alley scene at the start of "The Cutie Pox", you can see pony versions of several characters from The Big Lebowski, including Jesus Quintana, Walter Sobchak, Donny, and the Dude.
    • One shot inside the Apple family's house features a painting in the background that looks like a pony version of Grant Wood's American Gothic.
    • The statue that Applebloom carve is a direct reference to the Renaissance Italian painting The Birth of Venus.
    • After a chess-playing cutie mark appears on her, Apple Bloom plays, and beats, a chess-playing pony who looks an awful lot like the titular character of Geri's Game.
    • Applebloom first discovers she's forced to use the talents the Cutie Pox gives her with a tap dancing mark, referring to the Hans Christian Anderson story "The Red Shoes."
    • The part where Applebloom is diagnosed is awfully reminiscent of a typical House scene, team and everything.
    • The entire concept of ponies unable to control their cutie mark talents and one pony exclaiming Applebloom was "cursed" might very well have been a Shout-Out to Story of the Blanks, and might give the backstory of the game some canon explanation. The fact that Applebloom happens to be the starring pony of both doesn't help matters.
  • In "May The Best Pet Win!", Rainbow Dash's wing becoming trapped beneath a bolder in a canyon is reminiscent of hiker Aron Ralston, who was trapped in a canyon for five days when a falling bolder pinned his arm. Thankfully, any similarities between the two stories end there.
  • Uh, "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well"? Darkwing Duck called. He wants his hat back.
    • Batman's Spoiler probably would like the rest of her costume, including her face mask, back.
    • Alternately, Mare-Do-Well is a Ponified Cybersix! Spike's VA played the titular character.
    • And the signs a few of the ponies are waving at the parade have the MMDW in silhoutte with a red background--exactly like the profile of Batman from the Animated Series opening/logo.
    • Also music during chase scene right after bears resemblence to the opening theme of the Batman: The Animated Series.
    • Another Batman reference: The central plot of "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well" is basically a ponified Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
    • During the Rainbow Dash fan club scene, there's a poster in the background that shows Rainbow flying with a starry background and a rainbow streaming out behind her. Nyan Cat reference?
    • At a couple points in the episode, Rainbow Dash calls herself "Your friendly neighborhood Rainbow Dash".
    • She also rescues the filly in the well with "I'm Rainbow Dash and I'm here to rescue you."
    • The little filly. Down a well.
    • Rainbow Dash's first attempt to stop the runaway coach resembles Peter Parker's first attempt at stopping the elevated subway in Spiderman 2.
    • The crane driver is an earth pony version of the pegasus foreman from "Feeling Pinkie Keen", who might look like Fred Flintstone.
  • In "Sweet and Elite", a painting in an art gallery is inspired by Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory.
    • Twilight's awkward dancing at the Canterlot ponies' party mirrors a scene in Seinfeld.
    • The underscore as Rarity soaks Opal in water is a reference to Ravel's famous piece "Bolero".
    • The design of the blimp that Rarity helps see off in her musical number evokes the Wind Fish.
    • The overworked bellhop pony seems to be based on the Squeaky Voiced Teen from The Simpsons.
    • While most likely a coincidence, there seems to be an actual reference to various incarnations of the Doctor from Doctor Who. Heck, they even have the same hourglass cutie mark!
  • The music in the cold open of "Secret of My Excess" is inspired by The Sorcerer's Apprentice. This music recurs several times throughout the episode, including a sequence when Twilight lures Spike back to the library by baiting him with a broomstick. (No word on whether the broomstick was magical.)
    • The re-shelving scene seems slightly similiar to this scene.
    • The scene where a giant Spike peeks into Carousel Boutique and grabs Rarity is heavily based on the famous scene in King Kong where Kong snatches Anne from her hotel room.
    • The scene where Rarity's tears fly upward as she and Spike free-fall seems reminiscent of Spirited Away. The fact that Spike and Haku are both dragons adds to it.
    • Twilight teleporting Spike back to her to clean his cheek. All that's missing are the blue and orange Portals.
    • Spike's monstrous corruption after greedily demanding extra birthday presents is similar to the fall of Smeagol.
    • Applejack's line "Twilight, get my rope" is a reference to a Pace Picante sauce commercial from the '80s.
  • In Family Appreciation Day, Apple Bloom gets called "Half Pint" when wearing a bonnet. The same kind of bonnet Laura Ingalls wore- and her nickname was "Half Pint"!
  • The scene in "Baby Cakes" where Pinkie suddenly sees Pound Cake walking along the ceiling may be a nod to, of all things, the film version of Trainspotting.
    • While trying stand up to make the babies laugh, Pinkie tells Steven Wright's "Spot Remover" joke.

  "I used spot remover on my dog the other day, now he's gone!"


Other

  • Even the advertising for the show gets in on this.
  • The officially licensed shirts and bags have a lot of shout outs. This shirt is inspired by illustrator Hajime Sorayama, and may also be a reference to something else. It should be noted, however, that the shirts by We Love Fine are not designed in-house by Hasbro, but instead by designers who specialize in pop culture, as well as featuring contest-winning designs submitted by fans.
  • Pretty much any town or city mentioned in the show and/or shirts other than Ponyville is a direct reference to some location from real life. Canterlot is based on Camelot, Fillydelphia on Philadelphia, and so on.
    • So that would make Ponyville based on Townsville?
      • Possible, but not likely, as the G3 version was also centered around a town named Ponyville. While PPG is older than MLP G3/3.5, Lauren Faust was working on another show at the time of the G3 animation productions.
  • In the season 2 finale, Spike is shown playing with wedding cake figures of Princess Cadance and Shining Armor. Guess which two ponies are going to be in an upcoming play set together?

Notes

  1. It could also be a reference to the G3 Moondancer but considering they're in Canterlot, which is mainly inhabited by Unicorns, it's probably the original Moondancer.
  2. A character who was dropped because of concerns that children were imitating this behavior.
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