Yesterday I read in the news about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a new show that was becoming an internet meme and gaining a following of grown men – also known as “bronies” – even though the show’s target audience is 7 year old girls.
Honestly, my daughter is 8, and she packed up all her My Little Ponies last year, put them in a bag and gave them to me, saying “Here, I am SO done with these”.
I was actually doing some research, getting ready to list them on eBay, when I realized MLP was a hot item and selling for good money. I wondered what was up – why was MLP so hot now?
Our family doesn’t watch TV hardly at all anymore – we watch almost all our entertainment on YouTube or online, with a Netflix stream or DVD regularly thrown in. After reading the article in Time, I got on YouTube and thought I’d check out the latest show, to see what the fuss was about.
We started watching the first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and holy cow, what a treat! Bright colorful animation, witty writing, magic, and teenage ponies with attitude. MLP:FiM is funny and quirky, with problem solving ponies in sticky situations. Each show ends with a message/moral, and shows the power of friendship. A blending of frosted pink My Little Pony cute-and-fluffy and snarky sharp Powerpuff Girls edgy-and-cool.
We are almost all the way through the first season already. I asked my daughter why she loves the show? She says because, “It’s humorous, with tons of fighting and adventure, and it’s also all about beauty and fashion”.
Finally, a show we can both watch together and enjoy. And no more requests to watch SpongeBob.
Plot and characters
“Get your muzzle out of those books and make some friends!” That’s what Princess Celestia tells Twilight Sparkle. She may be the smartest unicorn in Equestria, but Twilight Sparkle gets an “incomplete” in friendship. There’s more to life than learning magic, after all — so she goes to Ponyville on a mission to make friends. There she meets five special ponies who take her on exciting adventures and teach her the most powerful magic of all … the magic of friendship!”
According to Wikipedia, these are not your sweet, young ponies – these are teen/young adult ponies written in the “12-18 year old range”:
“The series stars a unicorn pony named Twilight Sparkle, who is a pupil of Equestria‘s ruler Princess Celestia. Seeing the young pony buried in books, the princess sends her to Ponyville and gives her the task of making friends. Along with her assistant, a baby dragon named Spike, she becomes friends with the tomboyish Rainbow Dash, glamorous Rarity, hard-working Applejack, timid Fluttershy, and hyperactive Pinkie Pie. Together they explore the ins and outs of the town and solve various problems. Each episode usually ends with Twilight Sparkle reporting back to Celestia on some aspect of friendship that she has discovered in the process, either through her own experience or by watching the other ponies.”
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is an American animated television flash cartoon series produced by Studio B Produtions in association with Hasbro Studios. It is based on the original My Little Pony brand, which Hasbro first released as a toy line and cartoon way back in 1982.
It debuted in October 2010 on the Hub channel (which replaced Discovery Kids), and was developed for television by Lauren Faust, who was hired by Hasbro Studios to relaunch the My Little Pony franchise for Hub TV. According to her deviantArt profile, Faust is a “cartoonist, animator, writer and doll designer. I was a story artist on Powerpuff Girls and the head writer on Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.”
According to Wikipedia, “the series was first developed by Lauren Faust from her early artwork created in 2008. Several drawings of the 6 ponies from Generation 1 (Twilight, Applejack, Firefly, Surprise, Posey and Sparkler) first appeared on her Deviantart account, which became the basis for the six main characters of the series. After Hasbro picked her up as the Creative Steward for the Generation 4 Line, she deleted the drawings but fans somehow saved the pictures that were deleted on her account.”
Also, “during the 2010 Hasbro Toy Fair, the prototype toys for the Generation 4 line were revealed. Faust stated in her online journal that is a childhood dream come true, that they are teaser prototypes and she designed the characters for the upcoming animation series”.
Faust says she “intentionally looked to create a show that could be enjoyed by adults”. She “acknowledges that her work on The Powerpuff Girls influenced her creative process and that she intentionally looked to create a show that could be enjoyed by adults”. She feels that together with the many MLP:FiM fans, “we helped prove that ‘for girls’ does not have to automatically equal ‘lame.’”
Here’s a take on Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” – “Equestria Girls”, as sung by Pinkie Pie.
Bronies? An Internet Meme
According to Wired, MLP bronies, or fanboys, are:
“In addition to watching the show, these teenage, twenty- and thirtysomething guys are creating pony art, posting fan videos…and feeding threads on 4chan (and their own chan, Ponychan).”
MLP:FiM fans have created an internet meme with their creating pony art on deviantArt, fan videos and mashup videos on YouTube, and fanfiction on brony-created fansite EquestraDaily (which gets up to 175K views/day).
According to KnowYourMeme, MLP:FiM has been a popular subject of threads and images on 4chan, and the subject of drama on that site’s boards:
“While /co/ initially loved the series because of the artwork and animation, fans on /b/ seemed to enjoy the plot and characters more. The “cute and cuddly” nature of this show is the opposite of what members of /b/ like to think of themselves as.”
According to Hubworld’s For Parents page:
“My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is more than just fun and games. It’s a well-thought-out program designed to contribute to developmental and educational needs.
Between the ages 6 and 8, kids are combining skills like reading, writing, and computing in order to accomplish more complex tasks. They’re coming to understand how friendships work, and they’re grappling with the concept of different communities — like the ones they operate in at home, at school, and during after-school activities
As they watch the show, children learn about their own lives through the colorful, four-legged citizens of Equestria. The ponies have very different personalities and behaviors, and most kids identify with at least one of them.
If you watch the show with your child, you’ll see that many episodes help her develop these areas of Interpersonal Skills:
- Awareness and acceptance of personal feelings
- Empathy and management of feelings
- Effective group participation
- Skills for managing conflict
- Valuing honesty, ethics, rules, and codes of behavior.
Where can I watch?
Watch My Little Pony Friendship is Magic on Hub TV on Summer Saturdays at 8 a.m. ET, 5 a.m. PT. Or, catch all of season 1 on YouTube. (Since the show generates more profits through merchandise than it does actual viewership, Hasbro has not removed any episodes posted online as of yet.)
Recommended for all ages. Rated TV-Y, E/I.
Hubworld – Check out for The Ponies, Pony Videos, and Pony Games
Lauren Faust’s deviantArt profile – Fyre Flye