I think it is indisputable that the perhaps most controversial topic on the Internet these days is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Never before I have seen anything that had such an impact on internet culture as those ponies. The reason for writing this essay is mainly to provide non-bronies a way to understand and accept this phenomenon.
First let me give you a quick backstory. In October ’10, the television network The Hub launched the Television show “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic”, a cartoon aimed for little girls telling the tale of the land of Equestria, in which ponies are the dominant race. There are three kinds of ponies, Pegasus (winged ponies), unicorns possessing magic and “normal” earth ponies. The show’s main characters are a band of six ponies, lovingly dubbed the “mane six”, and their adventures in the city of Ponyville. So far it sounds not too unusual. But then the internet came in.
After an online article about the show appeared, talking about “the end of the creator-driven era of television” and how all shows nowadays are simply to promote products, the internet, or better its people, decided to take a look at this so-called terrible show manipulating children into buying stuff.
They loved it.
Within weeks, ponies became the heraldic animal of the web. The show received an incredible boost in views and its main demographic turned from little girls to young, mostly male adults, calling themselves “bronies” (bros + ponies). It was wonderful. Countless new memes sprang up, together with reaction images, pictures, fanfics, fan-created characters, fanart and a new part of internet culture emerged!
[You may not use images containing the name of a site with inappropriate content. -Shine]
But not the whole internet was happy with the show.
Many people looked confused at bronies and asked themselves “What in the name of Peter Venkman are they doing watching a cartoon for little girls?” Confusion turned into anger, anger turned into hatred and hatred led to unimaginable suffering. Or something like that. Anyway, the second great civil war of the Internet occurred (For those who don’t know, the first one was when people fought over Boxxy. Don’t ask.). Flame Wars. Bannings. Ponies were called “the cancer of the web”. While the bronies tried to spread the show’s message of Love and Tolerance, haters turned against them, and the fight still prevails today. It fills me with pleasure that BZPower seems to be mostly pro-brony (I have already spotted members with names of two Cutie Mark Crusaders and four members of the mane six).
Now many people wonder why bronies like me actually view a show that is designed for girls of ten and below. Fairly simple: just because it originally targeted toward that audience (which has changed at about the middle of season one, when the creators of the show noticed their unintended demographic), does not mean that only said audience can enjoy it. More unintentional than intentional, Faust and Co. hit the love nerve of the internet. But was this an accident? It was definitely unintended yes, but I think there's a reason for the impact the show had. Other television series Lauren Faust created include Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and the Powerpuff Girls, both very popular cartoons back when they aired. I have watched none of them, but from what I read I gather they both had intelligent humor and strong characters, coupled with good animation.
And that’s exactly what My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is. In an era of television where the only funny parts are about making fun of politics and kids shows get banned for mentioning the word “stupid” (I know I am exaggerating but you get my point), Lauren Faust created a smart, witty show with a cast of characters you simply have to love. It has almost nothing of the cheesy, girly … stuff you’d associate with Ponies. The show simply has the essence of the qualitatively much better shows of the nineties (Like Pinky and Brain or the earlier Spongebob episodes) most internet users grew up with. It resonances with their childhood and lets memories of the past resurface.
Also, Discord. Best Character ever. He alone would be a reason to love this show.
But perhaps it’s simply not what you want from a TV show. Maybe you want deep emotional conflicts. Maybe you want humans. Maybe you want advice, morals. Whatever it is, perhaps My Little Pony is not your kind of show. And I accept that. Other people have other opinions. But most people who don’t like the show simply have not watched it and that is simply … yes, I can’t even describe it. Such behavior just makes me speechless.
So my resume:
If you are a brony, accept that people who don’t like the show have different opinions. Not everypony has to like a show you think is good. Perhaps it simply is not their thing.
If you are not a brony, don’t jump to false conclusions. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is unlikely to be what you expect it to be. It is an intelligent show with strong characters and good jokes. It is said that all the people who don’t like the show are simple those who have not watched it yet. So don’t say you dislike it until you have actually done so. And I am not talking about just the first two episodes. Don’t judge a book by its cover. But after you have consumed a respectable amount of episodes, you can make up your mind. You don’t have to love it. Heck, you don’t even have to like it. But at least know it. And if you do not like it, accept that other people have other tastes.
(And to end all this, here are ponified, 20 % cooler versions of the main characters of my comics, using General Zoi's Pony Creator from deviantART: COOB PHYOOHRII DLAKII)