It was a slow day at Canterlot, and Princess Celestia had decided to spend some time catching up with her until recently estranged sister, Princess Luna.
“And then on the twenty first day of the fourth month of the five hundred and seventy-fifth year of my imprisonment, “Luna said, pausing to sip her chamomile tea, “the hallucinations became visible: certain upright creatures arrived on the lunar surface in a most strange carriage, and arrayed in white armor with their faces covered by a black visor. One of them planted a flag of stars and stripes on the ground. I interpreted this as an act of aggression–”
“Luna,” Celestia said, gently cutting her off, “this is fascinating, but you have been talking for over an hour. Isn’t there something you would like to do?”
Taken aback by the question, Luna searched desperately for an answer that did not involve gloating over the newly enslaved. “What of your disciple, Twilight Sparkle?”
“What about her?” Celestia said. Then a thought struck her. Oh, you know, sister…”
“The Grand Galloping Gala is only a few months away.”
“Ah, the Gala,” Luna said, “what a riotous festival the first one was.”
“Yes, well, as my student, Twilight is guaranteed a ticket. But, as you are aware, she has just made five new friends.”
“And that is of what significance?” Luna said, irked to be reminded of her recent humiliations.
“Well, what if I were to give her one extra ticket? Then she would have to choose one friend to take along with her. And I know that that sort of decision would just drive her up a wall. Wouldn’t it be fun to watch her have a meltdown?”
A smile spread across Luna’s face. “I see that the years have not dulled thy puckish inclinations. I shall fetch the Royal Binoculars.”
At least, that is what I like to imagine is happening behind the scenes of this episode, written by Amy Keating Rogers and Lauren Faust.
While helping Applejack with applebucking, Twilight receives two tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala. Then all her friends start sucking up to her in order to get the extra ticket. They all have their own motives for going: Applejack wants to makes some cash by setting up an apple stand there (I think you might need more than a ticked to do that, AJ), Rainbow Dash wants to impress the Wonderbolts, Fluttershy wants to hang out in the garden, Rarity wants to get hitched, and Pinkie Pie just wants to party. Everything reaches a climax in an amusing Benny Hill-style chase sequence. And then Twilight reaches her limit and sends both tickets back to Celestia, who promptly sends six tickets back, so that they all can go.
I mean, she knows that Twilight made five new friends in order to gather the Elements of Harmony, so I’m forced to conclude that she did this all for the lulz.
The story itself is pretty unremarkable, but where the episode really shines is in the art direction. While the quality of animation in FiM has increased quite a bit over the years, a lot of the shots here are pretty interesting:
I think this is also where we get our first real look at Angel, Fluttershy’s pet rabbit, who pretty much strong-arms her into asking for the ticket. I wonder if there’s some sort of a Pinkie and the Brain-type dynamic happening between the two…