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Trouble in Ponydise
March 25, 2012 11:17 AM   Subscribe

The internet phenomena of My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic [pre-vi-ous-ly] has been through a bit of a stir last month. Beloved fan character Derpy Hooves has become canon. And then her entrance was edited, much to the chagrin of fans.

Fans of the show, aka "bronies," first invented the character of Derpy upon catching an animation error or injoke where a grey pony in the background had wall eyes. Fans eagerly named this pony Derpy Hooves, after the chan-slang term "derp." [The definition of this term is at the core of the controversy]

As fans began create art and fiction around Derpy, as a public original character, her character evolved, despite being nothing but a peculiar screencap. They inferred from a brief clip that Derpy was obsessed with muffins, and from her eyes that she may be mentally handicapped, and from a filly unicorn with a similar eye error that she was a mother.

Animators began to work in more injokes and references to this pony as the series progressed. In Winter Wrap Up, Rainbow Dash complains of Ditzy Doo flying the wrong direction to migrate southern birds. In Feeling Pink Keen, the grey mare is seen accidentally dropping shipments on Twilight Sparkle. Being a background character, there is an appearance of Derpy in most episodes, growing more and more in-jokey over time, with the most prominent in the aforementioned cameo in The Last Roundup.

Naturally, the fanbase was ecstatic with their name becoming canon. But not everyone was happy with the name. While the screenwriter of the episode was not aware of the connotations of "derpy," there was concern the chanspeak term could be a slur against those with mental handicaps. The episode was edited after emails came in requesting a change, and Derpy's name was removed and her voice were changed in the iTunes version of the show.

Fans were horrified at this change, starting a Save Derpy campaign and Change.org petition to restore the original scene. A scapegoat was found in DeviantArtist and Tumblr user Yamino, who made a post complaining that Derpy's portrayal was ablist. Bronies began sending hatemail and death threats to Yamino, believing she organized a campaign to get rid of Derpy, with a creator from the show asking them to stop. The rumor of Yamino being a trans female was also spread.
posted by mccarty.tim (129 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Love and tolerance, bronies.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:20 AM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


FANTITLEMENT IS UNDER ATTACK! ACTIVATE THE RAGE CANNONS!
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on March 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


Methinks Tim knows WAY too much about this!
posted by HuronBob at 11:26 AM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sounds like they they backed themselves into a corner ...of the stable ...using hooves.

I got nothing.
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 AM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


The internet ruins everything nice. Film at 11.
posted by SansPoint at 11:30 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Agreed, leotrotsky. For all they bragged about being the most loving and tolerant fans on the internet, bronies were quick to gripe about political correctness gone mad.

I like the show, but I'm not really happy about the fandom. A tumblr called BronySay has collected the worst, interspersed with occasional dramatic readings.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:30 AM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


It sounds like another example of someone not running something past 8yo children to discover the horrible spin on their name.....

Hell, I belonged to a professional organization that almost changed its name to something that would have ended up as "AsSPro"
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:31 AM on March 25, 2012


This was concerning some time ago, but the writer of the episode came out and mentioned that she has a mentally-disabled son, and would rather steer clear of anything that could have negative connotations. But she said this very nicely, and while recognizing that by far most fans did not use the term maliciously. I think most fans accepted this, I know that I did.

As for "bronies sending hatemail and death threats," well, like any community there are unbalanced members of it, and the bronies aren't helped by some folk who seem to have it in for them. So take it with a salt lick, guys.
posted by JHarris at 11:34 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I love about this is that MetaFilter provides me with these occasional glimpses into a slice of reality which is entirely not part of my world, but is always discussed enthusiastically. It's a great reminder that my experience is not all there is in the world, and that people care passionately about things which I never even consider.
posted by hippybear at 11:34 AM on March 25, 2012 [37 favorites]


FANTITLEMENT IS UNDER ATTACK!

Yeah, if the show creators didn't want people to like it so much, they should have made it suck more!
posted by DU at 11:35 AM on March 25, 2012


Yeah, if the show creators didn't want people to like it so much, they should have made it suck more!

I don't think that would work either. The internet is proof that things that suck can have a huge fan following.

Oh wait.... sarcasm. I get it now.
posted by Fizz at 11:36 AM on March 25, 2012


This from a future terrible pony war.
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I like the edited version a lot better. Really cringed when I saw the original.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:37 AM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Greatest conflict since dickwolves.

I'm pro-derpy for whatever that counts today.
posted by jscott at 11:38 AM on March 25, 2012


I like the show, but I'm not really happy about the fandom. A tumblr called BronySay has collected the worst, interspersed with occasional dramatic readings.

Again, there are good fans and there are bad fans. In my experience the good ones are disproportionately high in number among bronydom, and some of the bad ones are actually trolls. So cherrypicking what some people may have said is not a good way to get a sense of the fanbase. Browsing Equestria Daily gives one a truer sense, I would say.
posted by JHarris at 11:38 AM on March 25, 2012


"Derp" is a phrase referring to the mentally handicapped?

Oops. "Hurf durf" is a variation of it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:39 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, said that wrong. I'm on Team Derpy.
posted by jscott at 11:40 AM on March 25, 2012


Also, Ponygoons tends to be a pleasant place to talk about the show. Don't know if they got into this Derpy debate though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:40 AM on March 25, 2012


is there a name for female, uh, bronies? and maybe females that have always loved MLP and feel like FIM is like a present they've been waiting on for about 25 years? i always feel like i'm intruding on bronies, but i also feel like i have decades invested into this particular fandom.
posted by nadawi at 11:41 AM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Derp originated as a kind of dopey nonsense speech, in the movie Baseketball. It's been used in a recent South Park episode too. Know Your Meme page & episode.
posted by JHarris at 11:42 AM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Female bronies are often called pegasisters.
posted by JHarris at 11:43 AM on March 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


That's a great attitude, hippybear.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:43 AM on March 25, 2012


pegasisters - i could get behind that. my favorite pony as a kid was the one with the plastic wings that attached (and broke so easily).
posted by nadawi at 11:48 AM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is a good post.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:52 AM on March 25, 2012


As only a casual viewer of the show I saw the pre-edit apperance of ...Derpy and kinda sucked my teeth in and went oh that has some uncomfortable implications and in the re-edit it seems totally fine. It's their show anyway.

Also

heh
posted by The Whelk at 11:52 AM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


According to this open letter the writer of The Last Roundup, Amy Keating Rogers, was going to call this character Ditzy Doo, but changed it to Derpy when one of the other creators asked her to.

She thinks "ditz" is okay but "derp" is not because the latter can refer to developmental disability.

I'm confused about the distinction. I don't think the terms are used to differentiate between whether or not you've been diagnosed with any mental disorder. So both words are used of people with a particular airheaded mannerism. If it's not okay to laugh at people for being mentally not-all-there, both words are offensive. If it is okay, but only insofar as the object of mockery is a behavior that the actor can do something about, "ditz" still isn't okay, because a ditz is something you are, and in this case the character is actually named that way.

Well, people will still call you "ditz" from time to time when it's obvious that it's just how you were on a particular day, but it's perfectly common to use "retard" for exactly the same meaning. In that case it's offensive because it was once a medical term, not because of what it means. "Derp" doesn't have that problem.

I wonder what kind of beans are popular in Ponyville.
posted by LogicalDash at 11:53 AM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am WAY in favour of the "censored" version. The original is just about the most off-putting piece of LOLRETARDS I've ever seen; simply changing the voice fixes it so that the character is just an obliviously unhelpful klutz instead of an egregiously offensive mockery of a vulnerable segment of society.

Kind of a seventh (and best!) season Homer Simpson level of derpy.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:54 AM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


>>> /mlp/
>>> /mlp/
>>> /mlp/
>>> /mlp/
>>> /mlp/
>>> /mlp/
>>> /mlp/
>>> /mlp/
>>> /mlp/
>>> /mlp/

Also, the title of this thread should really be "This is the official pony thread".
posted by Talez at 11:58 AM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was led to believe that fanon was split between Derpy being mentally handicapped or just having miserable vision.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:03 PM on March 25, 2012


I've always equated "derp" with Carlos Mencia's "doo-de-doo", while "ditz" I've always associated with stereotypical television character "bubble-headed blonde" types. So, I do think one has the potential to be offensive, while the other isn't. Although exactly why that kind of uneducated, spaced-out, unable to really process information but meaning well connotation of "ditz" isn't offensive, I can't quantify. I think it's because the assumption is that someone who is ditzy simply hasn't paid attention and could improve out of ditzy status if desired, while a derp is innately derpy.
posted by hippybear at 12:03 PM on March 25, 2012


innate != permanent
posted by LogicalDash at 12:05 PM on March 25, 2012


(and I don't mean to denegrate people with non-brown and non-red hair with my mention of blondes in my earlier comment. Jennifer Tilly's character in Bullets Over Broadway is also a ditz.)
posted by hippybear at 12:05 PM on March 25, 2012


Derp obviously means retard. It's not at all surprising they wouldn't want that in the show.
posted by delmoi at 12:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also these people need to get over themselves, for real.
posted by delmoi at 12:07 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which people, specifically?
posted by hippybear at 12:08 PM on March 25, 2012


No, it's not at all obvious that "derpy" means "intellectually delayed." Most fans, like myself, simply assume that it's a reference to her cross-eyed gaze.

Derpy is no more insulting, in my opinion, than "Goofy" or "Daffy" or "Bugs."

And, to be clear, among fans Derpy is a much-beloved character. There are many different interpretations to her character; my personal favorite has her married to Dr Whooves.
posted by SPrintF at 12:11 PM on March 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am disappointed the brony community has not produced an MLP vs Wu Tang Clan mash-up album yet.
posted by hellojed at 12:13 PM on March 25, 2012


I like the new voice more, but I'd keep Derpy as the name. Ditzy I've only ever heard used in a sexist context, whereas derp's just a nonsense word.
posted by klangklangston at 12:15 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


ditz isn't exactly free of problems, especially as it relates almost exclusively to females. i actually thought MLP did a great job subverting that particular trope with pinkie pie - she might come off as ditzy, but she's not dumb.
posted by nadawi at 12:15 PM on March 25, 2012


Given a nonsense word that might in principle be used as an insult, the probability that the internet will twist it to refer to mentally handicapped people approaches unity.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:18 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Reddit ragecomic creators constantly refer to themselves as derp or derpette, and usually going around "derping". The derp or derpette always comes out on top, or reveals the stupidity or ignorance of others. So at least over there yonder derp is essentially always used positively.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:19 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


pegasisters - i could get behind that.

The problem with getting behind pegasisters is that, occasionally, they "drop some apples." So, if you are behind them, it's a good idea to stay back a bit so that you can march around, rather than through....
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:20 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Use Internet With Caution. Internet May Cause Dizziness, Vertigo, Significant Weight Loss, Significant Weight Gain, and/or Loss of Judgment. Do Not Use Internet If You Suffer From Heart Conditions, Panic Disorders, Deficient Self Esteem, Excessive Self Esteem or Depression. Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery While Using Internet. Use Internet At Your Own Risk.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:23 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pegasisters

Sounds more like a group of pegging-positive ladies.
posted by The Whelk at 12:24 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


in marching band, when we'd show up on parade day, the first question on everyone's mind was "are we in front of or behind the horses?" because our band director was very strict - no breaking your march step for anything, especially horse patties.
posted by nadawi at 12:25 PM on March 25, 2012


Sounds more like a group of pegging-positive ladies.

well, as it happens, i'm a member of both groups.
posted by nadawi at 12:25 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I understand that Derpy is a "much-beloved character" among fans, but man...as someone who's seen the show but isn't in the fandom, I found the original scene incredibly off-putting and dissonant with the usual tone of the series. I'm not surprised they changed it.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:59 PM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm of the mindset that they should change the voice, but keep the name.
posted by SNWidget at 1:10 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


how long before Lifetime seizes on this cultural phenomenon with the chilling TV movie - My Husband The Brony?
posted by The Whelk at 1:14 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm so delighted they changed this. There's nothing weirder than a bunch of terrible fanboys getting mad that a show became more appropriate for the intended audience of children.

I think sane adult female fans of My Little Pony are just called women, heh. My little cousin is very into it and I like watching it with him. It seems like as well as being a great kids' show, it's a shoutout to fans of the older cartoons as well.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:18 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The inclusion of Derpy into canon is one of a long line of terrible and pointless attempts at fan-pandering throughout season two. If bronies want to complain, they should be complaining about how poor the show has been since Lauren left.

MLP:FiM became such a wide hit because of its smart characterisation and good writing. It broke gender boundaries not because it was actively written for the /b/ crowd but because the girly trappings were largely aesthetic and at its heart was a fun, entertaining animated show. It didn't need Big Lebowski references to gain fans.

By adding so much material just to appeal to an already dedicated fanbase, they are losing a lot of why they were fans of the show in the first place.

tl;dr Derpy is a straw pegasus who should never been in episodes anyway.
posted by AbsoluteDestiny at 1:20 PM on March 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ponyfans are kind of vague on gender roles anyway so you can call the women "bronies" too, usually.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:20 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


in a thousand years where you stand on the Derpy Divide is a major ideological battle prompting several armed conflicts.
posted by The Whelk at 1:23 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Still trying to wrap my head around the idea that LogicalDash isn't a pony name.
posted by SPrintF at 1:24 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Logical Dash races to conclusions without experimental evidence
posted by The Whelk at 1:24 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rainbow Dash's younger brother, Logical Dash, was one day a stable...
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:27 PM on March 25, 2012


SPrintF: "Still trying to wrap my head around the idea that LogicalDash isn't a pony name."

LogicalDash always dresses in style!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:54 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Rainbow Dash's younger brother, Logical Dash, was one day a stable...

I always thought that her siblings were Em Dash and En Dash. (Call them — and – for short.)
posted by sourcequench at 1:55 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


This from a future terrible pony war.

in a thousand years where you stand on the Derpy Divide is a major ideological battle prompting several armed conflicts.


In the grim, dark future, there is only terrible pony war.
posted by Sparx at 1:58 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


LogicalDash and Pyrogenesis deserve more upvotes. Avoiding all negative slang terms is impossible. Just check urban dictionary! Derp is a very positive and affectionate ragecomics term.
posted by EnterTheStory at 2:01 PM on March 25, 2012


War, war never changes[WARNING, LITERALLY LONGER THAN WAR AND PEACE].
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:02 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


As an aside, I just realized that My Little Pony may be the originator and cause of the popularity of tramp stamps.
posted by Muddler at 2:08 PM on March 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


It should be noted that Tabitha St. Germain, who did the original voice for Derpy thought the character was male, which goes some way to explain the original deeper voice.


AbsoluteDestiny:
The inclusion of Derpy into canon is one of a long line of terrible and pointless attempts at fan-pandering throughout season two. If bronies want to complain, they should be complaining about how poor the show has been since Lauren left.

Really? Are we watching the same show? How do you feel the writing has deteriorated? Episodes such as Sisterhooves Social or A Friend In Deed were both well written. The animation has become better in Season 2. The songs, e.g. Find a Pet, Becoming Popular, Smile, are certainly keeping the already high standard. Sure, there are nods to the fandom, but pandering is much too strong a word—if anything, it is fairly understated (which it should be). A fine example of the approach taken by the fine folk at Studio B is from the most recent episode (Hurricane Fluttershy), where Fluttershy briefly conceals herself as a tree. This is a fairly standard cartoon approach and as such unnoticed by the average viewer, but a nod to fans who recall a line from a Season 1 episode (Over a Barrel), where Fluttershy states she would like to be a tree.

As for complaining about the show going downhill after Lauren Faust, wouldn't it be more relevant to do so when we hit episodes, where she has had no input that is Season 3? Not to mention that there actually are and were other talented people working on the show beside Faust?

I was sorry that the whole Derpy debacle happened. I accept the way Hasbro handled it, though I wish they would have made an official statement early on, which could have prevented a fair amount of hand and hoof wringing in the community. Derpy is back to being a background pony, and I'm fine with that (quite coincidentally wearing a Derpy shirt).

Another take on Who Dresses in Style.
posted by bouvin at 2:15 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, I'd never say I ditzed, but I'd totally say I derped.
posted by effugas at 2:20 PM on March 25, 2012


Well, naturally Derpy has a deeper voice. She a little hoarse.
posted by SPrintF at 2:21 PM on March 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


^ I want to groan, but I have become quite immune to horse puns at this point.

but a nod to fans who recall a line from a Season 1 episode (Over a Barrel), where Fluttershy states she would like to be a tree.

Heh, one of my favorite lines in the entire show but I didn't make that connection, thanks for pointing it out.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:23 PM on March 25, 2012


I've been saving up links in preparation for a pony megapost, in an effort to keep the total number of PONY posts I make down.

There are a number of fun fan characters beyond just Derpy/Ditzy. Doctor Whooves is fairly awesome, a ponified version of Doctor Who. He and Derpy have starred in a surpisingly well done series of audio adventures, done in a way that they're interleaved with the first two episodes of the show. (Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4) The first episode has been animated.

Another popular fan pair are Lyra the unicorn and her roommate Bon-Bon, which are a particularly strong example of fans reading between the lines and extrapolating from details. The two are frequently seen together in the first season because their color schemes look good together. Lyra has a distinctive design, and in the few places she shows up seems to have a strong personality, crying, bouncing excitedly on clouds, and in one infamous place sitting on a park bench "human style," on her rump. Fans took this and just ran with it, giving her a fixation on humans and doing things in a human way. Except... there are no humans in the show, as in none at all. This, if anything, has just made the fan product concerning her more entertaining, in extreme examples making her into a kind of reverse furry.

The "Fighting is Magic" fan-made fighting game, a.k.a. "Mane 6," appears to be coming along fairly well. A couple of videos: Fluttershy is not OP, Bug reel

There is a surprising amount of overlap between MLP:FiM and Team Fortress 2. 1, 2, 3

Not that anyone asked, but... why is this show so popular with the male fanbase? Well, there are three contributing factors I think:

1. First, that Cartoon Brew article decrying it tipped off 4chan to the show, giving it a good, large audience willing to give it a chance. Lots of great things vanish from existance before they get on anyone's radar. Even if that early publicity was negative (and I do think there is such a thing as negative publicity), it helped the show greatly that it was at least known of from early on.
2. The show really is good. That's the most important thing.
3. But I think the astounding breath of the fandom comes from the fact that the show really does fill an underserved need. There has been an overabundance of testosterone-fueled entertainment out there for a while now, while its slowly become less "okay" for males to like anything that could be considered feminine. Slowly over the past few decades it has become less "okay" for straight males to exhibit non-macho behavior (witness the rise of "gay" as a casual insult), and I think we're seeing something of a backlash against that. I think a lot of men are discovering, hey, one doesn't have to pose as hyper-masculine quite so much anymore.

I don't think this means that every girls' show will end up being popular with young adult males. First, most of them really do suck (a good example of this can be found on the same network), and second, I think MLP:FiM released some of the pressure by being in the right place at the right time. I'm not sure another show could fill the niche so effectively, at least while FiM is still around.
posted by JHarris at 2:26 PM on March 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


I messed up the link to Fluttershy is not OP, which is strangely hilarious.
posted by JHarris at 2:39 PM on March 25, 2012


yeah really, attacking the fans for being upset that the show decided to shit all over the fan's creation is amazing bit of schadenfreude. But whatever gets people off, I guess snark does it for some.
posted by Shit Parade at 3:50 PM on March 25, 2012


It was a mistake to get over involved in fan service, it usually is. Let the fans be the fans. I love a lot of stuff the brony community has put out but I'm here for the creativity of the folks who make the show. The background stuff, like the Lewbowski references, are fine. No need to take it further. Instead of indulging us with Derpy, spend your time putting in more funny looking and unique background ponies and let the fans service themselves.

The Ditzy/Derpy debate had gone on for a while before they gave Derpy the speaking role, and everyone pretty much understood why it was an issue even if they didn't fully agree it was offensive. Once they took the plunge and put it on the air though, the change back was destined to be rough, but still the right move. If anyone honestly stops watching the show over this, come on now, do you like the show or do you like the fan generated stuff?

If it's the fan stuff, well it's still there, as is the original Derpy appearance available for download. Did you really expect Derpy to get a lot more appearances anyway? Why? What would be the point of that? Shows rot and die when they do the same old thing over and over and go back to the well for running gags. Ask people which Chicken Fight on Family Guy they like the most, the first or the third? Or Blue Harvest v. It's A Trap!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the "horror" about the change to Derpy's voice was largely the consequence of the ham-fisted way that Hasbro went about it.

Had they simply issued a statement to the effect that, yes, some viewers might feel bad about the way Derpy was presented, so we'd like to revise this episode a bit, everypony would have OK with that. If they had just changed her name to "Ditsy" and re-done her voice, we would have understood.

Instead they tried to bury Derpy in the dark, as if they were ashamed of her. As if this fan call-out had never happened.

Hay! You know what? I was there that morning when The Last Roundup was released. I rejoiced when Rainbow Dash called out, "Careful, Derpy!" Because this little gray pegasus was one of us, the often-socially awkward fan base that loves this show.

You know what I think would be great? A Derpy-focused episode, in which a "slow" pony is seen as accepted and loved by the Ponyville community. Impossible in the real world, I know. But in Equestria, I think there's a place for her.
posted by SPrintF at 4:07 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hay! You know what? I was there that morning when The Last Roundup was released.

The mists were rolling across the landscape, and the crisp air made the sunshine even that much more welcome upon your skin.
posted by hippybear at 4:11 PM on March 25, 2012


Yeah, that would have worked fine if they had gone that direction, but instead it was a throwaway gag. You could try and build that up to the hypothetical good episode but shows for kids generally have to be careful about relying on continuity. If a lot of your viewers are just getting the setup but not the eventual payoff, you would have a problem. In FIM the format of teaching lessons pretty directly within each episode, not spread out, is pretty well set.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:12 PM on March 25, 2012


It would also require some sharp writing to avoid insensitivity, South Park has done a few episodes with Timmy and Jimmy that have touched on some issues with disability in a positive way, but they have the advantage of being allowed carte blanche to indulge in offensive messages at the same time. It would be a minefield to try and take on more strictly mental disability, still think they could do it though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:18 PM on March 25, 2012


No lie, when I first saw The Last Roundup, I was seriously expecting it to be about Rainbow Dash learning to be more accepting of people with disabilities. I was expecting her to snap at Derpy, or insult her.

I mean, it fits her character nicely, even. She gets frustrated at others' weaknesses very easily (see Dragonshy, where she keeps wanting to leave Fluttershy behind). And kids are terrible to kids who are different until they're taught to stop it. I mean, my younger sister, who is autistic but was mainstreamed for many classes, was bullied several times. Some of the bullies were jerks, but others just hadn't thought through how it'd hurt her. One came to our door to apologize, crying, after my mom talked to their class.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:23 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


but shows for kids generally have to be careful about relying on continuity.

FiM did a very nice 3 episode arc in the first season dealing with a fancy, invitation-only party called the Grand Galloping Gala, where continuity was carried across the beginning, middle, and end of the season (the episodes were not back-to back). Season two's had multiple continuity nods such as Princess Celestia breaking Discord's spell on Twilight Sparkle by mailing all of Twilight's letters from the first season back to her, Rainbow Dash's newfound love of reading continuing for more than one episode, and even fourth-wall-breaker Pinkie Pie gets into the continuity action by having her "Pinkie Sense" acknowledged multiple times in the second season and actually showing some character growth by becoming a more responsible pony through her babysitting job.

It's not your average show for kids. It's better than that.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:30 PM on March 25, 2012


Self link, but: Premier League teams as My Little Ponies.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:30 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


FiM did a very nice 3 episode arc in the first season dealing with a fancy, invitation-only party called the Grand Galloping Gala

Right, my point is what happens if someone only sees part 1 where you establish how stupid Derpy is.

That isn't as big of a deal as if someone doesn't know where the dresses for the gala came from.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:35 PM on March 25, 2012


*It isn't as big a deal if...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:35 PM on March 25, 2012


Yeah, I agree. Continuity should a bonus, not a prerequisite.

And I think 21 minutes is plenty of time to tell a simple story with a good moral, considering a lot of other kids shows get only 10 minutes for each episode. Besides, a bunch of episodes where Derpy is shown as dumb for laughs with no consequences sends the message that it's okay to people who watch sporadically/don't catch the episode where people learn a lesson about Derpy.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:39 PM on March 25, 2012


I've not had an opinion about bronies before. I think I might have one now ...
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:40 PM on March 25, 2012


If only we knew what that opinion is...
posted by SPrintF at 4:45 PM on March 25, 2012


Bronies: Best Fanbase OR The VERY Best Fanbase?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:47 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


^ Surely, we can be both?
posted by bouvin at 4:49 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Certainly one of the fastest developing. Took Trek and Potter years to reach that level of obsession.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:50 PM on March 25, 2012


*should be.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:57 PM on March 25, 2012


I have to admit, I enjoy watching MLP:FiM... Uh... WITH MY TWO DAUGHTERS.. .Yeah...

And I think a huge part of it is I remember how HORRIBLE the Hasbro/Mattel tie-ins could be, that this is really a surprisingly GOOD breath of fresh air.

Twilight Sparkle getting up on an actual soap box to pontificate to Pinkie Pie, for example.

Oh, G-d. I'll stop now...
posted by mikelieman at 5:12 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are several other troubles in Ponydise, as this comic points out:

http://equestria.fadri.org/034-offensive

Even the most recent episode had a nod at a dragon that was different who was made being fun of.

I suppose the larger question is, how do we get past stereotypes? What can replace them for the better? Why do some stereotypes (such as the portrayal of First Nations people as train jacking bison) still persist in the 21st century?
posted by Calzephyr at 5:57 PM on March 25, 2012


yeah really, attacking the fans for being upset that the show decided to shit all over the fan's creation is amazing bit of schadenfreude. But whatever gets people off, I guess snark does it for some.

Wait, I'm sorry, are we supposed to be supporting the transphobic ableist asshats faction of fandom?
posted by kmz at 6:52 PM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: the transphobic ableist a--

Nah, too easy.
posted by hippybear at 6:57 PM on March 25, 2012


transphobic? Where is that coming from?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:58 PM on March 25, 2012


The last link in the post.
posted by kmz at 7:03 PM on March 25, 2012


I'm also amused at the notion that one person was able to get Hasbro to make the change. Trust me, plenty of people other than just Yamino were unhappy with the original appearance.
posted by kmz at 7:08 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, okay, that should definitely be attacked, but I'm pretty sure that is not a particularly large faction of the fandom there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:08 PM on March 25, 2012


From the last link what I got was laughing and mocking stupid people(ponies) is ok, but if they are retarded it's not...

So, I know the fans are upset. But please don't be upset at Hasbro or the Hub or DHX Media or the "Anti-Derpy" fans or me. Let's remember what the message of MLP:FiM is--tolerance, kindness, understanding, and, most importantly, friendship.

so what should fans be upset with? Perhaps the fans should collectively sue Hasbro for infringing on their collective creativity and uses the name (and persona) of a fan made character.
posted by Shit Parade at 7:23 PM on March 25, 2012


It was a mistake to get over involved in fan service, it usually is. Let the fans be the fans. I love a lot of stuff the brony community has put out but I'm here for the creativity of the folks who make the show. The background stuff, like the Lewbowski references, are fine. No need to take it further. Instead of indulging us with Derpy, spend your time putting in more funny looking and unique background ponies and let the fans service themselves.

I'd like to respond to this. We don't know how true this is, because nearly no show of this type has engaged with its fans to this degree before. MLP:FiM is off the map in this regard, and it's easy to say that something that no one else has ever done shouldn't be tried.

That's the safe, easy decision to make, it's what the lawyers and executives will always council, it seems obvious, and there is no reason to believe that it's true. It's pure assertion.

I would not assign blame on this so readily. Not everything that seems obvious is true. In any case, "fan service" is not the proper term to use here I think, which a kind of loaded term most often used for unclothed female flesh in anime -- it's more like fan utilization. The MLP:FiM fans are one of the most inventive groups around, to ignore them seems unnecessarily limiting.
posted by JHarris at 8:28 PM on March 25, 2012


Trust me, plenty of people other than just Yamino were unhappy with the original appearance.

This is, unfortunately but understandably, true. My GRAR about the change has largely passed.

Self link, but: Premier League teams as My Little Ponies.

Where does Tottenham Hotspur get off being a pegasus/unicorn?!

A Derpy-focused episode, in which a "slow" pony is seen as accepted and loved by the Ponyville community. Impossible in the real world, I know. But in Equestria, I think there's a place for her.

This would have to be done very carefully, not just to be respectful, but also to avoid being too saccharine. Challenging to write, but maybe possible.
posted by JHarris at 8:37 PM on March 25, 2012


I see at is a term for "giving the fans what they want", yeah, it's titillation for a lot of anime shows but it goes beyond that and MLP is far from the first show to experience the pitfalls.

TVTropes puts this kind of thing (including the Derpy scene) in the "Pandering to the Base" category rather than fanservice though, so use that term if you want.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:39 PM on March 25, 2012


it's more like fan utilization.

Case in point, the names assigned to the ponies in various later waves of the blindbag toys. Several of the toy designs were inspired directly from background & minor characters from the show. In the case of background characters, it's understandable that the name that they had come up with didn't match up with the fan name for the character, but in one case, there was a pony who had not only been named on the show, but had been the antagonist of a whole episode, and then they put out a toy with the same look, but an entirely different name.

However, Hasbro took note of the brony outcry, and in the next wave, they made official the fandom's solution to the issue, that ponies can have a first name and a last name, and so now in Wave 5, we have Lyra (fan name) Heartstrings (Wave 4 toy name), and Trixie (TV show name) Lulamoon (Wave 4 toy name).
posted by radwolf76 at 8:39 PM on March 25, 2012


(And that TVTropes page really summarizes my feelings)

Furthermore, the overall quality of the property can begin to suffer; just because someone is intensely committed to a particular work of fiction doesn't necessarily mean they know what makes good fiction work. The hardcore fans are generally fascinated by the backstory, trivia and continuity which can build up around a franchise, but this doesn't necessarily make riveting entertainment to anyone less interested in all of this stuff. And if you somehow get the continuity hopelessly tangled up or make mistakes, this makes things worse; not only have you lost the interest of the people who don't care about this stuff, you've annoyed the people who do, and it's now guaranteed they won't be shy about saying so. In many cases, Pandering To The Base rarely succeeds in making anyone happy, not even the fans it's supposed to win over, because ultimately what most devoted fans want is the same as the casual ones; interesting and engaging stories, not just constant pandering.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:47 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


TVTropes puts this kind of thing (including the Derpy scene) in the "Pandering to the Base" category rather than fanservice though, so use that term if you want.

Except that some of the fan works are really excellent, and could almost serve as episodes in their own right. What the show has done so far could perhaps be termed pandering (it's really more like nodding to the extent they've done it so far), but some of it really is good enough to build off of, not just in a sense of nodding to some fans. And I think the rendition of Derpy is fun regardless of whether she is named or which voice she has.

(Of course, maybe I'm just arguing this in order to edge Lyra closer to getting a speaking role onscreen.... HANDZ FOREVAR!)
posted by JHarris at 9:14 PM on March 25, 2012


Most of it was nodding in my view, I can't see the Derpy scene as anything but pandering though. Keep the creative juices flowing from show to fans, if it has to go the other way around it's a sign the creative folks behind the show are out of gas.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:18 PM on March 25, 2012


Of course, maybe I'm just arguing this in order to edge Lyra closer to getting a speaking role onscreen

Not that speaking roles have worked so well for Bon Bon, poor pony's had so many different voices that one of the fan theories floating around out there is that she's a voice actor, and her cutie mark is throat lozenges instead of Bon Bons.

Though the fact that one of the animators snuck in a scene with Bon Bon going around wearing saddlebags with Lyra's cutie mark on them instead of her own was a very nice touch.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:25 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


A significant portion of the fan speculation around L and BB is that they're a couple. That kind of thing can hardly even be referred to onscreen however, lest they run afoul of the Right and their legion of marriage protection robots.
posted by JHarris at 9:39 PM on March 25, 2012


And Bon-Bon is obviously a master impressionist.
posted by JHarris at 9:40 PM on March 25, 2012


i dont think those ponies are actually real

i mean where would they keep them
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:53 AM on March 26, 2012


That kind of thing can hardly even be referred to onscreen however

hardly even
posted by radwolf76 at 2:59 AM on March 26, 2012


Sofie Liv (creator of the "Red Suitcase" series at the Agony Booth), takes on the Derpy Issue as part of a general argument in favor of MLP:FIM. (warning: delightful Danish accent and swearing included)
posted by ShutterBun at 3:29 AM on March 26, 2012


This is why you never, never, ever try to appeal directly to fans, especially nerd fans. They are not interested in what's best for the show/movies/games, they are interested in what's best for the fans. They don't care about the property, they care about being fans of the property. They will happily hug the bunny to death.
posted by Legomancer at 4:52 AM on March 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Do you follow the brony fandom, or it that just a general statement? Because that is not what I am seeing at all. Contrary, I would say the fandom has responded positively to fanon-breaking canon, such as the canon Luna (Luna Eclipsed), who until then had a huge presence in the fandom based on one short appearance and two lines of dialogue. There had been much worry leading up to that episode, because the fans feared what Studio B would do with their beloved Luna. The end result was spectacular, and the canon Luna was firmly established. The fan pandering (if we must call it that) is, with Derpy speaking as the exception, done in the background, with Studio B firmly in control of the foreground action and plot. As such, it does not detract but just adds to the show.

Hasbro is adapting to the customer base, as you would expect any commercial entity to do (e.g., the new, more show accurate, figures). That takes time, but Hasbro has adult fans of other properties, such as Transformers. As I wrote above, much of the commotion could have been avoided, if Hasbro had been better at communicating—things have a tendency to spin out of control in a vacuum. In general, fans (and here I'm mainly talking about readers of EquestriaDaily and the pony subreddit) have reacted reasonably to other, potentially unpopular, actions taken by Hasbro, including the take-down of PonyArchive. But that, of course, is not as newsworthy as this.

A far better representation of the fandom (rather than e.g., the 4chan link soup linked above, because finding toxic content there is not exactly hard) are the reactions to Amy Keating's post on EquestriaDaily (also linked above), or the discussion on podcasts such as Bronyville. Are there ruffled feathers? Sure, but the reasonable voices outweigh the grousing. To paint the entire fandom based on a minority is a bit unfair.
posted by bouvin at 6:48 AM on March 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here I was going to respond to Legomancer's statement, but bouvin did it for me. Correct on all points.
posted by JHarris at 7:02 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


i dont think those ponies are actually real
i mean where would they keep them


Don't even get me started on the pale pink poop.
posted by JHarris at 7:04 AM on March 26, 2012


Every time I look at the title for this post, it makes my brain start singing Ponydise By The Dashboard Light.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 AM on March 26, 2012


Eww, now I know what "clopping" means.
posted by Windigo at 8:02 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, while ponydom is generally of a higher caliber than other fanbases, clop does exist. Also, you don't want to know what "Cupcakes" is.
posted by JHarris at 8:16 AM on March 26, 2012


Apropos: Twilight shows Pinkie Pie the Internet.
posted by bouvin at 9:29 AM on March 26, 2012


Also, you don't want to know what "Cupcakes" is.

Not that that sort of thing is exclusive to pony fandom--it goes back at least as far as Power Rangers. Look up "Agony In Pink". Note: DO NOT ACTUALLY LOOK UP "AGONY IN PINK".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:37 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts!

There are some pretty funny Ask $PONY Tumblrs, although they tend to fall inactive frequently. Two popular ones right now are Ask Surprise and Ask Hot-Blooded Pinkie Pie.
posted by JHarris at 9:50 AM on March 26, 2012


If weapon grade adorableness is your thing, the Ask Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie tumblr (light shipping) is just the thing.
posted by bouvin at 9:57 AM on March 26, 2012


10 Secrets to Creating Unforgettable Supporting Characters
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on March 27, 2012


But Derpy and company don't follow many of those edicts.
posted by JHarris at 12:19 PM on March 28, 2012


Derpy & Company was the name of my law firm!
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:33 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some more stuff uncovered by Equestria Daily: a sequence of Flash animation breakdowns by YouTube user gbeaudette:

Pinkie's walk cycle in the Smile Song
Fluttershy's face and shading depicted in 3D in pan shot
Breakdown of Applejack throwing a hay bale
Ziplines
Lipsyncing
posted by JHarris at 3:20 AM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


(That last one, the one on lipsynching, is awesome, coming complete with Flash work files and additional materials.)
posted by JHarris at 3:23 AM on March 29, 2012


It occurs to me that it is pertinent that more know of Ask Dr. Adorable. Who knew evil could be so cute?
posted by bouvin at 7:01 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


A very on-topic (and recent) post on the nature of fan participation in popular culture in Japan and ponydom. Someone who gets it.
posted by bouvin at 7:22 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good links, bouvin!
posted by JHarris at 9:23 AM on March 29, 2012


bouvin's second link above is also a great response to the people above who think that Hasbro should hold itself aloof to fan input.
posted by JHarris at 2:59 PM on March 29, 2012


Netflix has started carrying My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:10 AM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


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