Rainbow, I do not feel comfortable accepting favors. Zip up that hole in the cloud right now! – Twilight
Twilight is helping AJ bring apples into the barn when a letter from Celestia forces its way out of Spike's oesophagus, to invite Twilight plus one guest to the Grand Galloping Gala. This scene pretty much created the Trollestia meme. Because there are not enough tickets, fans thought that Celestia was playing around with Twilight. It's pretty clear from the way the letter was written, though, that this isn't true. The letter is very impersonal, starting with "Hear ye, hear ye" rather than Celestia's usual greeting, "To my dearest pupil Twilight." Probably some harried clerk sent the letter instead.
Then Rainbow Dash falls from the tree where she was napping to avoid work and asks Twilight for the spare ticket... but AJ ain't havin' none of that:
The two start arguing over the ticket, ending up in a winner-takes-all armwrestle, but Twilight breaks it up, saying the one with the best reason should go. This is silly of her, for two reasons. First, Applejack's reason for going (which Twilight already knows, mind you) is clearly far better. She wants money to help her farm and her family. RD only wants to go so she can get a chance at meeting the Wonderbolts. Even leaving aside the fact that this is a pretty selfish desire on RD's part, I don't think the WBs would be all that happy with someone dropping in uninvited to ruin their routine. The second reason is that Twilight was already asking AJ to go with her when RD interrupted. Citing a rumbling tummy (d'awww!) as a reason to have time to think, Twilight retreats. The predictable happens, with Twilight meeting each of her friends, who all really, really want to get that ticket from her.
First she (literally) runs into Pinkie, who mistakes the tickets on her snout for flat golden bats, somehow. Pinkie's imagine spot shows that she knows NOTHING about the GGG, thinking it one big super duper party for six-year-olds. Next comes Rarity... Rarity, the strong independent business mare, wants to be swept off her hooves by Prince Charming? Lame! Yeah, when I first watched this episode, I wasn't a Rarity fan in the slightest. I was, in fact, in the "Applejack is best pony" camp. Hard to imagine, isn't it?
Angel Bunny and Fluttershy arrive. AB steals the tickets from Spike and brings them to Flutters, who also wants to go to the GGG, because there she can meet and befriend many rare animals...
AJ and RD re-enter the fray, and everypony argues until Twilight snaps and shouts for quiet. She send them away, and goes to get food. She does a "loves-me-loves-me-not" with a flower from her table decorations, and then eats the petals, which is just too d'aww-inducing for words (except "d'aww", naturally.) Then her friends start showering her with favours, each trying to get browny points for the ticket... some more subtly than others. First RD, then Rarity, AJ, Flutters and finally Pinkie. What I love about this is that everyone who says Rarity is manipulative fails to realize that all of the Mane Six acted the same way in this episode.
Pinkie lets it slip that Twilight has a spare ticket, setting off a chase through town with all the ponies now wanting to trade a favour for the ticket. See Twilight. See Twilight run. Run, Twilight, run! Finally cornered, she teleports herself and Spike back to the library, where all her friends have been waiting to ambush her. Realizing their actions are distressing Twilight, they all give up their claim to the ticket (RD only when she is guilt-tripped into it), causing Twilight to decide to send both tickets back unused. This results in Celestia giving them all tickets, even Spike, with a bemused "Why didn't you say so?" message. Yes, folks, this could have been resolved in the first two seconds of airtime, if Twilight had just written a letter saying "What gives?" But alas, hindleg sight is 20/20...
While the episode is amusing, and references Benny Hill, the plot really could have been resolved quite easily if Twilight had just let Celestia know she needs more tickets. It's the first slice-of-life episode after the pilot, so that should also be taken into account.
5 – Celestia Rank: A great episode. It will be re-watched frequently.
4 – Luna Rank: A good episode, but with one or two problems that prevent it from being great.
3 – Spike Rank: An average episode. Positives and negatives are balanced.
2 – Discord Rank: Worth watching once. After that, turn it to stone and put it in the garden.
1 – Nightmare Moon Rank: Send it to the moon!
Stay on the sunny side!