Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Friendship really is magic!

OK, hear me out on this one... My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

WAIT, COME BACK! This is totally legit, y'all. For reals. For serious.

Anyone who's anyone on the internet knows that this show has soared in popularity on the wings of a meme - oh, 4chan. I will never, ever, ever visit you. My favorite manifestation of MLP-madness is the "brony," e.g. a macho "bro" who enjoys this show. I would have never watched it (psst, the entirety of season one is currently available on YouTube), except to find out what the bronies were all raving about.

In many ways, MLP is a classic kids show - adorably anthropomorphic animals deliver morals and lessons direct to your doorstep! Somehow, this show does more. I think the good people at TV Tropes say it best: "[MLP] is a rare example of how to update a retro cartoon the right way: with clever self-aware humor, a more streamlined art style, and strong characterization." If you've seen even a bit of the original series (which was little more than an extended commercial - take that, Pokemon, we had the idea first!) you'd never expect the update to be as good as it is.

Not to mention the hilarious little extras,
like the pony fandom has dubbed "Dr. Whooves!"

Honestly, though, I should have expected as much from the brilliant Lauren Faust - she of Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends fame. Although skeptical at first of taking on MLP, Faust realized it was an opportunity to prove "cartoons for girls don't have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness." And that's what really draws me in - I've previously bemoaned female stereotypes in cartoons, and the need for more interesting and diverse characterization. Ms. Faust, have you been reading my diary?

For more information, read this article by Faust on the Ms. magazine blog - My Little NON-Homophobic, NON-Racist, NON-Smart-Shaming Pony: A Rebuttal. Yeah, apparently someone went there. This is why we can't have nice things.

I know, Fluttershy. I know.


Mac Attack said...

The first two-part episode was amazing. The next few after that were... really, everything that was bad about cartoons back in the day. By the fifth episode, however, they were totally on track with breaking the mold and being interesting and different. And you're totally right, their self-awareness is really what makes this watchable. It's interesting to see that you can have happy endings without being a fairy-tale, and that you can amuse adults without profanity or obscenity.

And Pinkie Pie is just awesome. AWESOME.

Maggie Cats said...

As someone who has clung to her My Little Ponies TO THIS DAY...I may have to give this a look.

Damn you, ponies!