Tuesday, April 01, 2014

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic


I recently talked about my favorite television series, which also happens to be a children's series. That's no surprise. I spend a good deal more time with children's TV than I do with TV for grown-ups. I've developed some pretty strong opinions on a lot of the shows out there. So here's another one.

Like most of you, I first heard about the new incarnation of the My Little Pony franchise when I heard about bronies. A brony is, of course, presumed to be an object of ridicule. A male, aged 13 or older, who enjoys a show that's aimed at girls aged 12 or younger. I thought it was kind of an odd thing, and mostly forgot about it.

Fast-forward a bit, and my daughter got to the right age to watch My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, so I put it on the DVR. I wander in and out of the room while she's watching it, and I manage to catch this:

It cracked me up. So, despite my misgivings, I started watching the show with her. And the boys. And we all enjoy it.

Mock if you will. It couldn't get much more girly than it is. There's a lot of pink and purple, and a lot of super-positive messages, and a whole lot of singing. But I will attempt a brief defense.

It was created by one of the co-creators of the Power Puff Girls, which had some very broad appeal. The show is genuinely funny, particularly the characters of Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. It takes place in an extremely imaginative fantasy world where they may encounter dragons, chimeras, manticores, or any number of other mythological/made-up creatures. Their princess is not only their ruler, but also over 1000 years old and apparently a sun goddess. It is, surprisingly, not all fluff.

But perhaps better than that, it's anti-cynical, anti-hipster: You cannot watch it "ironically," because it will wear you down with its utter genuine nature. At the same time, it's self-aware, poking fun at itself without mocking itself. This article sums it up pretty well.

Now, am I saying you should watch it? Yes, if you have a girl in your life between 2 and 12 years old. Otherwise, no, there are probably better things for you to watch.

Am I saying I'm a brony? Well, I suppose it depends on what the bar is for that. A quick look around the Internet reveals that the people who self-identify as bronies are more than a little strange. It suffices to say I'm not watching the show when my daughter's not with me, and I'm not reading fan fiction. But do I have a little Fluttershy Happy Meal toy on my desk? Yes, right next to my Star Wars and Adventure Time paraphernalia.

And by now, you've probably concluded that this is my annual April Fool's prank. But here's the twist: You think I'm joking about it, but I'm not.


  1. Yeah man, I think it is a great show for all kids. I have a 5 yr old boy who started watching it a few months ago and he loves it.

    It has great story lines and I think the way it explains action/consequence and points out the flaws in each character in a constructive way is great.

    My son is just starting to put things into "girls" and "boys" categories (anything acoustic music is girl's music apparently) but he doesn't see MLP as being girlie at all.

    Sooner or later he is going to come across some other kids that will give him a hard time about liking it. I have told him from day one that you have to run your own show so it will be interesting.

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    The thing about this is, anyone who's seen it will have a positive attitude toward it, and anyone else will think I'm crazy.

    The problem with most girly stuff is that it's also stupid. This isn't. The girliness in itself isn't a problem.

  3. I watched the Brony doco recently and the thing that I found most unusual was how people thought it was so odd for a male to be watching it MLP.

    I guess that emphasises your point that anyone who hasn't watched it will already have a perception of what it is all about and who should be watching.