It was rather nice actually, because it meant I didn't know what was going to be coming in the episode, so every little twist and turn was genuinely that. Reminds me of the episodes of season two, actually, which now that I think about it, I went through mostly spoiler free too...whatever happened to those days?
Anyway, because of this, I spent the start of the episode mostly attempting to try and predict where the episode was going to go. It at first seemed to be going pretty smoothly. When Rarity was revealed as being the organizer of the Ponyville founding celebration thing whose name has already alluded me (dang it, and I just watched the episode!) I figured the plot was going to deal with her struggling to preform as she, in her usual manner, starts fretting about the little things.
Because that's something the show has always successfully managed to do without fail and always keep entertaining; Rarity going into a panic over trivial things and making a mess trying to correct what doesn't necessarily need correcting. And I figured this episode could only go in that same direction this time as well. It was just a question of "how," then.
When Rarity's showing Trenderhoof, trendy story writer and Rarity's crush, Sweet Apple Acres, I figured Rarity was going to get obsessed trying to "fix" Sweet Apple Acres to match her plans, or try and "fix" her plans to match Sweet Apple Acres (which in a way I was right on).
But then Applejack appears on the scene, and steals Trenderhoof's eye...and heart.
And I think, "uh-oh."
Whatever the case, she inadvertently becomes the target of Trenderhoof's affections...and many attempts to pander to the cowpony. This is a problem, though, because of two things: one is that Applejack could care less about Trenderhoof. Apparently not her type at all. Either that or she was just put off by all of his pandering and attempts to appear to be totally pro-country. But two is the more pressing, and more humorous, problem of Rarity being the one who has gone to all of these lengths to try and get Trenderhoof's eye on her. Which she does not take lightly.
And the hilarity ensues.
Something MLP has always generally been pretty good at is to take an old and mundane story idea we know backwards and forwards and still pull it off with an all-new twist that makes it fresh, interesting, and usually, hilarious. This one is no exception, because you know how this is probably going to play out, but nonetheless, you SO want to sit and watch it play out anyway, because you know that, no matter what, it's going to be funny.
And it was. I just about LOST IT when Rarity, desperate to steal back Trenderhoof's affection that she goes country (sort of) herself, starts speaking with a country accent to sell the act. Because not only was that totally out of character for her, she was laying that accent on thick. I mean, Applejack's accent is like butter that has been heartily spread on a piece of toast. Rarity's attempt at the accent was more like she just took the whole cube of butter and dumped it on the toast.
But the hilarity, as great as it was, wasn't the only thing to get out of this episode, because it does teach an important lesson. If you're trying to catch the eye of others, don't do it by trying to be something you're not. Because you can't keep it up forever, and people (or ponies) don't REALLY want that. And if they don't like you for who you are, well, that's their problem AND their loss.
Rarity is eventually made to see this too. But it took Applejack fighting back by acting like Rarity's usual fabulousness to do it (at the cost of one of Rarity's dresses), which was also funny as it's totally out of character for her (but as we've seen her do it before, it wasn't AS funny as Rarity's attempts to be country). Trenderhoof is also taught this lesson too, as well as getting let down lightly that Applejack wasn't really interested in him. The celebrations then go on as Rarity had originally planned them, and all's good.
Though this episode does hint that Ponyville cider might be intoxicating after all, despite claims to the contrary from the crew when it was first introduced. Because why else would you have a cider tasting event?
Not unless Sweet Apple Acres makes more than one flavor of apple cider...hmm...
Something that surprised me was how well Spike took Rarity's having a crush for somepony that WASN'T him. In fact, he seemed largely indifferent, to my genuine shock. And it's not that the subject just doesn't come up, because it does; Rarity asks him at one point how he could know how it felt to be "totally obsessed with another pony only to find that they're obsessed with somepony else" to which Spike makes an expression that sarcastically says "oh, where do I begin, Rarity?" Later, Rarity is also able to sweet-talk him into helping her with something and Spike falls for it as usual, also an old and tried trait of Spike's own infatuation with Rarity. Yet despite all that, Spike seems unconcerned by Rarity's infatuation and even, at times, seems to support it. Maybe Spike's growing out his "fling" with Rarity? if so, I guess that'd mean our little Spikey-Wikey's growing up, which could be a fun theme to explore in future episodes, but let's not get ahead of ourselves, eh?
But the MOST surprising thing of the episode? Who Trenderhoof ultimately dances with at the festivities' ball.