An Observer's Guide To Pony Fanwork
January 23, 2014 5:33 PM   Subscribe

How much My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan content is there out there? LET'S FIND OUT. A few highlights:
What I Learned Today, morals to episodes
Twilight adjusts to a Season 3 plot development
Apogee, random, catchy
Celestia and Luna play Resident Evil 4 (repurposed from Two Best Friends)
The best of Sweetie Bot, from Friendship is Witchcraft
Slice of Life, a very well done fan Tumblr
How much more could there be? Well....

Have you heard about this thing called "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?" Do you adore the show intensely and watch it with your collection of plush and plastic dolls? Or, do you run screaming from the room whenever it is mentioned? Either way, you're probably aware of the gigantic, improbable community of fans built up around the show, called bronies. Whether reading about them makes you scratch your head, squee with joy, or curse the darkness, it is true that they have produced a lot of fan content. We tend to fear that which we don't understand, and somehow there's a lot of lack-of-understanding between bronies and others, and so to remedy this I present THIS: A Jumbo-Sized Observer's Guide To Pony.

Instructions for use:
- The world of bronydom is very large; instead of exhaustively following every link, consider using this post like (as jessamyn suggested of a previous post) a map, a map of bronydom.
- Absorb in small doses. Overexposure to pony can cause abreactions such as fan obsession, frosted baked goods and death metal.
- Browsing videos here will be much easier if you use the in-line YouTube/Vimeo player (click on the little "play" icon after link) to watch videos from this post. (Turn on in your MeFi profile if not visible.)
- While there is no "clop" in this post, review material before showing children due to occasional profanity and shipping.

A warning: Whatever you think of bronies, I should warn you that we're going to be swimming in the deep end of the Geek Pool here. You don't write fiction about characters on a show, any show, or for that matter write a 25-page post about them, without testing positive for nerd. If the thought of all this makes you scratch your head, you probably should just move on to another post. Remember, it's okay to not like My Little Pony.

The intent here isn't to present a comprehensive overview of the whole fan community, but more to give an impression of its scale, and the best content. There are both the good and bad elements of the fanworks of bronydom. At their best, they're witty, catchy, clever and self-aware. At their worst, they're glurgy, self-indulgent, full of empty sentiment, and embarrassing. They can be all over the map regarding professionalism. The purpose of this thread is to present good brony fanworks, the best face of the subculture. Not all of them, but a good number, and the ones, with my help, to be the most comprehensible to outsiders.

Notes applying to the following:
1. Absolutely no "clop," or sexually-explicit works. I know they exist, but I'm not interested in giving it an audience. It's actually much easier to ignore than you may have heard; the month I've worked on this, I've not encountered any of it. The most prominent non-board pony sites tend not to feature it. My goal is to make everything in this post acceptable for kids unless otherwise marked, although it is possible that the occasional use of a swear word sneaks through.
2. Longer video works (over seven minutes or so) will typically list running times. Please heed those times, some video works are over an hour.
3. There are lot of good things here, but there exists much more. Any compilation is bound to be biased towards the tastes of the compiler. I do apologize for missing those things that escaped my eye, or that I ran out of energy before including. You can take any one of the YouTube videos in this post and use its Related Videos sidebar as a diving board to the Great Ocean of Pony. Remember to bring a life preserver. There's also the Sources listed at the end of the post.
4. One of the things I find most interesting about Pony is how it's right at the forefront of the copyfight, where a huge and dedicated fanbase is put directly at odds with the rights holder over transformative uses of its property. Hasbro and the bronies have a weird relationship, mostly amicable. But two very popular remix series, Friendship Is Witchcraft and Mentally Advanced, have recently been taken off of YouTube due to the sharper edges of Hasbro's IP policy. (The creator of Mentally Advanced, FiMFlamFilosophy, made a video to educate bronies and the public at large of where copyright law currently stands in this area. See Mentally Advanced's entry, below, for more.) The fanbase has been more directly affected by copyright laws than most, and considering the size, breadth and fervor of bronydom, it is a place where public attitudes towards copyright are directly being shaped. It is an important demographic to watch regarding changing attitudes towards copyright.

Of aid in understanding the content in this monster of a post, I present my personal three rules of bronydom.
Rule #1: Bronies know how weird being fans of My Little Pony is, and they revel in it.
Rule #2: There is nothing a serious brony enjoys more than a bit of inspired randomness. -- Example.
Rule #3: The best brony fanworks are often more interesting than the show itself.
-- while the show is pretty good, bronies will figure out the weird implications of, say, making Twilight an alicorn princess within five minutes of the end of a show, and probably have a comic made poking playful fun of it up within a day, and that may be hilarious. One still generally must watch the show to understand the work though... unless one has a helpful guide to help them with references. Like this one.

Here we go!

*** Side characters/Background ponies
A "background pony" is a generic character design used to fill out street and crowd scenes. In the early days of the show the creators made a number of these and reused them indiscriminately. This is why in Season One you can sometimes see large crowds that contain multiple copies of the same character. Fans latched onto these characters and invented names and personalities for them. Now, nearly every background pony from the first two seasons has such a fan-canon background, and a few have popularity to rival main characters. In some cases, the sheer force of their enthusiasm has forced even Hasbro to accommodate it: the cyan unicorn with a lyre symbol known to fans as Lyra was, once toys started being made of her, called Heartstrings on packaging for a short while, but then changed to Lyra Heartstrings, as if they were her first and last name.

In some cases the use of fan names has had certain problems, such as with....

Derpy Hooves, aka Ditzy Doo
In case you're not up on the origins of this infamous character.... At the start of the fandom a bunch of guys from 4chan watched the first episode and noticed, in a crowd scene, one particular gray pegasus with askew eyes, that seemed to give her a crazy expression. They immediately adopted the character, naming her, in the two-word style similar to that of other pony characters, "Derpy Hooves." Production house Studio B claimed her appearance was an animation error, but the fans claimed her with such ferocity that they started putting her into episodes as an in-joke and shout-out.
Derpy's roots go back to the origins of the current show's fandom, and she is deeply beloved. So fans were delighted when Derpy was, briefly, promoted from being a cameo in-joke to a speaking character, even named Derpy by Rainbow Dash, in a notable sequence at the start of the second season episode "The Last Roundup." But then Hasbro got complaints that the name Derpy might be seen as ridiculing of the mentally disabled, and so after the initial broadcast later showings were edited to change the character's somewhat-dopey voice and remove usage of the name. This might actually have been the best call -- truth be told, the word derpy is not typically used as a compliment, and anyway the voice actress who did the original voice originally thought the character was male. At the time, the community took the change as a slap in the face, but that fervor seems to have passed, in favor of complaining about things like Twilight getting wings. Derpy still shows up once in awhile, although less often now, and never by name. Even semi-official products that refer to her make it a point not to mention her name.
Some other aspects of the fan image of the character: she's a mailmare, clumsy, loves muffins to a degree approaching mania, and sometimes she's depicted as being a single mother (her foal, Dinky, is like a smaller version of her mother, but a unicorn, with a slight purple tint, and no crossed eyes). Sometimes she's paired up with Doctor Whooves (below), both because of the name and due to their positions at the forefront of fan characterization.

As the keystone of brony fixation, the character finds its way into many fan works.
* Know Your Meme page on Derpy Hooves:
* Derpy says "Muffin," early on, her sole spoken word until The Last Roundup, and central to the fan's concept of the character. The first third of this video by Mr. Poniator demonstrates the strength of her mania.
* Epic Rage Time: The Incredible Derp. More muffin shenanigans.
* "Did you know that carrots are good for your eyesight?" (Very short)

Doctor Hooves
Another background pony, this one a mostly plain-looking brown stallion with shaggy dark hair and an hourglass symbol on its flank. Some fans took it into their heads that it looked like David Tennant, and christened the character "Doctor Whooves." How intentional the resemblance was at first is not precisely known, but around episode 9, at a party, several other ponies were seen with hourglass marks, and fans quickly drew lines between them and other past Doctors, going back to Jon Pertwee. Cutie marks are generally not duplicated casually among background ponies with different designs, making it a bit more substantiated that this was a legitimate reference. The Know Your Meme page on Doctor Whooves has examples. There is one other common background pony with an hourglass symbol, who is variously named either Romana (after the 4th Doctor's female Time Lord companion) or Colgate (because her striped mane looks like toothpaste).
Hasbro's own attitude towards the character remain obscure, but semi-official, licensed works like the comic book series, We Love Fine t-shirts and collectable cardgame all use the character and name "Doctor Whooves," or sometimes "Doctor Hooves," without apology. For the part of Doctor Who's owner, Doctor Whooves been recognized favorably in promotional materials put out by the BBC, which has got to count for something. You can get T-shirts from WeLoveFine with "Doctor Hooves" standing by a TARDIS. It's also known that Studio B/DHX uses the character's fan name internally.
For the two fan series based on the character, see below under Video.

Octavia (aka Octavia Melody) & Vinyl Scratch (DJ P0N3)
Both characters got brief cameos in Season One, and have turned up rarely since. Octavia is a cello player who showed up at the Grand Galloping Gala at the end of the first season, and Vinyl Scratch first spun tracks at one of Rarity's fashion shows. An absence of official content leaves room for the fans to speculate on the characters. Fans decided that Octavia was a classically-trained musician and Vinyl Scratch a party animal addicted to thumping music and loud WUBs. Both being musicians, and opposites, they are often paired, usually presented as roommates, and sometimes shipped.
* Epic Wub Time (5m) interviews the two and reveals a contentious relationship.
* Another short cartoon with the two, Sunrise Surprise.
* A bit out of character for her, Octavia fights changelings hand-to-hand in Once Upon A Time In Canterlot.
* Vinyl and an OC character try to stage a fake rivalry.

Lyra & Bon Bon
(Not covered: Seapony Lyra)
Both characters are used as background ponies throughout the show's run so far, and are often presented together because of their complimentary color schemes. Lyra is a unicorn with a bright cyan coat, and Bon Bon is a cream-colored earth pony with a two-toned mane. Lyra was used by an animator in Season One to occasionally do silly things in the background, like bouncing on clouds or sitting oddly on a bench, that endeared her to a lot of fans. Bon Bon occasionally has a speaking role -- but, confoundingly, with a different voice each time.

Lyra is my personal favorite pony. Although other characters may be more popular, I think none have been fleshed out as interestingly, and humorously, as her with her bizarre human fixation, and most fans give her an appealing bright and manic personality on top of that. Bon-Bon works well as a straightpony for her to bounce off of, in the time-honored manner of Ernie and Bert.

Submeme: Lyra is fascinated by humans
* Lyra - The Big Secret
* Another video titled Lyra's Secret
* Lyra Finds A Blob On The Floor
* Human Studies with Lyra, a collection of image macros
* "Humans are known for their ability to quickly grow giant mushrooms in times of famine."
* Know Your Meme page on Sitting Lyra

Submeme: Lyra is crazy, Bon Bon is her long-suffering roommate
* Lyra, Bon-Bon and Gangnam Style
* Dubs of a few Lyra and Bon Bon fan comics

Submeme: Bon Bon in the spotlight
Bon Bon usually is played as pretty centered compared to her crazy counterpart, but there are exceptions. One of them relates to the fact that, unique among background ponies, Bon Bon is sometimes voiced, but has had a different voice every time she has opened her mouth!
* Fan explanation for her changing voice #1: Special candy.
* Explanation #2: There's multiple Bon Bons.
* I'm sorry for this, but... here's Bonpun, a Tumblr of groan-worthy puns on her name. A highlight: Old Bon Bonbadil.

(The Great And Powerful) Trixie (aka Trixie Lulamoon)
Trixie isn't really a background pony so much as a recurring antagonist, but she's been in two episodes to date. Despite this she's very popular with fans, not only for being an effective rival to main heroine Twilight but also pulling it off with terrific style. BTW: she doesn't trust wheels. Although she pretty much always ends up being insufferable, fans interpret the character with differing degrees of sympathy.
* #1: Trixie can't catch a break. Here, she's pretty much behind the 8-ball of life, forever in Twilight's shadow, who gets all the blessings and attention from Celestia while Trixie is forced to work as a performer, going from town to town to make ends meet.
Twilight can be vindictive with those time spells
* #2: Twilight's girlfriend. Perhaps related to the rival thing, it's equally popular to ship her and Twilight together, a pairing usually referred to as "Twixie."
Power Mare Zero uses Twixie as an incidental element.
* #3: Trixie's a jerk. Well, she's usually a jerk in all those other interpretations too, but here the character is used specially for that reason, which contrasts nicely with the general friendliness of the Mane 6, and is sometimes endearing because of it.
PixelKitties' "Great And Powerful Trixie, Consulting Unicorn"
More Consulting Unicorn, with Twixie mixed in
Consulting Unicorn: Trixie and Pinkie

The flower ponies: Daisy, Lily (Lily Valley) and Rose (Roseluck).
Unlike the other background ponies these seem to have been characters before the fan interpretation of them, but only in a broad, on-stage extras kind of sense. Daisy and Rose have been named on-screen. The three sometimes appear together and seem mostly interchangeable, and are noted for being scared easily. That's typical behavior for real horses, of course, and residents of Ponyville in general, but these three seem especially easy to frighten. Lily is particularly remembered for saying "The horror, the horror!" after 1. a stampede of cattle, and 2. a stampede of rabbits.
* Lily is easily spooked.

Other popular background ponies not covered here: Carrot Top/Golden Harvest (sometimes Derpy's roommate), Berry Punch (alcoholic), Bulk Biceps/Snowflake (roided-out white pegasus with tiny wings). Here's a more complete list of characters.

*** Character remixes
Taking primary characters established on the show and reinterpreting them. Not covered here, among others: Flutterbat (vampire Fluttershy, fairly new), Woona (cutsy Luna, see Moonstuck, later), Gamer Luna (see Two Best Sisters, below), Metal Gear/Big Boss Twilight

One popular episode, "Party Of One," showed a despondent Pinkie Pie who thought her friends had turned against her. It revealed that, when disheartened, Pinkie's curly hair deflates, and hangs limp and straight from her head and tail. This, combined with her borderline insane behavior at the time (talking to inanimate objects), contributed to the fan character Pinkamina (after Pinkie's full name, "Pinkamina Diane Pie," used by her mother once), who is at best depressed and at worst a murderer. The way to tell this character apart from standard Pinkie, besides frequently being a psychopath, is straight hair. Straight hair on Pinkie always signifies Pinkamina.
The character got fully underway in the classic (and best left unread) story "Cupcakes," where she graphically cuts Rainbow Dash into pieces and makes her into baked goods. Pointedly not linked. Here's Know Your Meme page on "Cupcakes" (NSFW). Further below we have a (much less graphic) video interpretation of Cupcakes.
* Here's Viva IMMATOONLINK Reverie's delightfully evil treatment of the idea, thankfully without gore, set to Scissor Sisters' "I Can't Decide."
* Smile first appears to be merely an animation of a remix of "The Smile Song," but it rapidly takes a much more violent tone. (NSFW violence, gore.) I don't actually think you should watch this, but we're all grown-ups, right? Note, technically this version isn't Pinkamina (Doesn't act sad! No straight hair!), but just Pinkie killing ponies. You can find all kinds of brony fanworks, just as there are all kinds of bronies....

Once in a while on the show one can catch signs of a hidden, mischievous personality for ruler of the land Princess Celestia. It's not gone unnoticed that many of the problems Twilight and her friends face have their origins in some request made by Twilight's mentor, which might even be intentional and canon. Additionally, there's the whole sending her sister to the moon a thousand years ago thing. Take this to an extreme and you end up with Trollestia, where the ruler of Equestria basically tries to make life as difficult for those around her as she can.
* Here is an early Trollestia video, "Friendship is Magic Bitch." (NSFW language) "To the moon" is a submeme that suggests Celestia's solution to handling problems or ponies that offend her is just to send them directly to the lunar surface to chill for a thousand years. Video reacction.
* Trollestia messes with Luna playing Mario 3.
* Know Your Meme page on Trollestia/Molestia
* The flipside to Trollestia material is "Luna on the moon," which fills in the blanks about what she did for a thousand years on the lunar surface. These can vary from silly and cutesy (such as in Moonstuck), to kind of heartbreaking.
Another Celestia meme is Molestia, which suggests less than honorable motives for the ruler of Equestria's tutoring of impressionable young ponies, along the lines of the infamous Pedobear. Trollestia often wears a trollface; Molestia always has crazy eyes.
* The Tumblr "Ask Princess Molestia" (formerly NSFW, now gone) closed up shop in the past few days, and in fact appears to have been entirely deleted. Although of somewhat contentious content, it was the site that spawned the equally popular "Gamer Luna" meme.

Sweetie Bot
The fan repurposing series Friendship Is Witchcraft (further below) created many alternate versions of the characters (like a demon-worshipping Fluttershy), but this one caught on, by incongruously giving Rarity's little sister Sweetie Belle an obviously computer-generated voice. Rule #2 of Bronydom: There is nothing a serious brony enjoys more than a bit of inspired randomness, and so Sweetie Bot was born. Besides the robotic voice, fan depictions often show her looking rather cyborgy.
* A collection of Sweetie Bot clips from FiW.

One of the most memorable sequnces in the first season came near the end of the last episode, in which the usually-meek Fluttershy, driven to the breaking point by animals rebuffing her usual winning ways, handled it in a rather uncharacteristic fashion.
* Fluttershy's descent into madness, from the episode.
* In the different language dubs.
* YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE ME, Sparta Remix.

*** Prominent OCs (Original Characters)

Created by show creator Lauren Faust herself. This interview with Equestria Daily is headed by an exclusive sketch she made of a pony version of herself. Many fan works since have iterated their own versions of the character. Does not have an official name. For some reason, often depicted in combination with Subway sandwiches.

Fluffle Puff
Honestly I'm not entirely sure what's up with Fluffle Puff, who is a pony covered with thick fur. She seems to have a popular Tumblr (under Tumblr blogs, below).
Fluffle Puff Stories: PFUDOR (crossing over with a bit of Dan Vs.)

*** Other Memes
Pony Art fads on Know Your Meme. Not covered here: ponies in sweaters, juiceboxes, wet manes, Cyclops Pony, many others. A good list is on the MLP Fan Labor wiki.

Shrugpony, evolution of lol idunno
First drawn by DeviantArt user MegaSweet, these were popular image macros in the early days of the show.
* Know Your Meme page on Pony Reactions, leading off with shrugpony.

Ponies in socks
Created by Egophiliac, creator of Moonstuck and Slice Of Life. For some reason, ponies wearing socks are popular.
The focus of an early Drawfriend post on Equestria Daily.

Solar Empire vs. The Lunar Republic
Very early on the theme of there being a rivalry between Celestia and Luna, the two rulers of Equestria and emblems of the Sun and Moon respectively, became a prominent in-joke among bronies, despite the fact that in the show's lore all that ended at the end of the second episode. The webgame CLOP (under Games, later), a pony-oriented geopolitical simulation, uses the Solar Empire and Lunar Republic as two opposed world superpowers that player nations must appease, basically turning them into horsey versions of the United States and Soviet Union.

Rarity is a Marshmallow, Scootaloo is a Chicken, Fluttershy is a Tree
The latter two are based off of jokes or throwaway lines in the show, but Rarity being a mashmallow is a fan interpretation based on her white color and the fact that FiM hooves are usually depicted as being cylindrical, giving them a tube-like appearance, with the caption "No one must know that I am part marshmallow."
* Know Your Meme page on Pony Reimaginings, including all three of these.

Rarity vs. Giant Crabs
This one's more recent, and its origins seem to be a bit obscure. I've heard that it started with help from Equestria Daily, when one of their Artist Training Grounds posts asked novice artists to draw Rarity fighting a (giant enemy) crab. I can't see to find that post now, though. A comment on Tumblr points to a DeviantArt user who just happens to commission people to make pictures of ponies fighting crabs. Whatever its original, pictures of the equine clothing designer attacking giant crustaceans with all manner of weaponry continue to pop up. As they do.
One - Two - Three - Four - Five - Six - Seven - Eight - Nine - you know what this meme needs? ZOIDBERG

Lyra's "hornwarmer"
I figured I should address this. Some time ago someone on eBay sold a plush toy of popular background pony Lyra (see under "Background ponies," below) with a pocket in her rear. It was explicitly offered as a sex toy on the auction. Most bronies did not approve, but under the principle of "what you gonna do," some of them took to mocking the toy.
Some of the better takes on the unfortunate toy come from popular pony artist PixelKitties:
* It's a hornwarmer!
* Two of them can be slippers!
* It's a beer cooler!
* It's a scabbard for Samurai Jack!
* Know Your Meme page on the Lyra Plushie

Sweetie Belle Derelle
Another of the more WTF examples of bronydom, this time entirely due to randomness. A picture (sometimes an animated GIF) of Sweetie Belle with mouth wide open and screaming AAAAAAA. The name comes from the fact that it was used to derail threads, or refer to their derailing. I'm not sure why the alternate spelling/pronunciation. Probably because it rhymes.
* Know Your Meme page, with examples.
* "Oh my Celestia, make it go away"

MLP:FiM's production staff has a relatively close relationship to the fans. In one tweet, the actress who voices Twilight Sparkle, Tara Strong, tweeted what Know Your Meme calls "a short freestyle rap," which she then recorded. Fans later animated the recording. Sometimes it comes up in other fan works. The tweet: "I'm the T to the W-I, L-I-G-H-T, and ain't no other pony troll it down like me, I'm Twilightlicious..." Fan art.

A combo meme referring both to Shepherd Fairey's famous Obama HOPE poster, and Soviet-style propaganda posters, and are often cross-linked with the Solar Empire meme.
* Propaganda poster for the Solar Empire, noticed by Fairey himself.
* Twilight demands you READ

Ponies sliding into a box
* A silly YouTube video.
* Going the other direction.
* With an unexpected ending. (NSFW language)

Twilight Scepter a.k.a. "Twilicane"
Fans are quick to seize on anything for memeing purposes. In the Season 4 premiere, Discord (an omnipotent trickster figure) took an opportunity to mock Twilight's newly-gained princess status by giving her a goofy-looking scepter with her face on it. I refer you again to Rule #2.
* Neo fights Agent Smith with a new weapon.
* Not actually a new TF2 melee weapon.
* Versions for the other main characters.
* Pink Floyd: The Wall edition (orig)
* "This fucking fandom."
* Finally, a bit of leekspin.

Pinkie's Family
In a first-season episode we get a glimpse into Pinkie's foalhood, where it's revealed that she grew up on an Amish rock farm. Her whole family is mostly grayscale in tone except for her, which might explain how she got the name Pinkie. But she has two sisters. In what is my favorite bit of fanon (fan-canon) related to the show, folks decided that the perfect names for her sisters should be Blinkie and Inkie. And her parents? Clyde and Sue. (Giving away the reference. It was the noise I made when I discovered this that made me realize I might be a brony....)

This is a weird one even by brony standards of randomness. I can report on it because I watched it go down when it happened...
Let's go back in time to the evening before the premiere of the second season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. A bunch of bronies affiliated with the podcast Bronyville did a streaming event mare-athon of the whole first season, with the final episode of the season, the excellent "The Best Night Ever" at the end, which is full of songs. The stream provider interposed small Flash ads in the corner of the window while this was going on, at the time promoting the movie X-Men: First Class. So while the show's first song "At The Gala" played, appearing at the bottom of the window was a distracting animated ad with the words "Click here to unleash Magneto's powers!"
The whole thing was being voiced-over by the Bronyville podcast guys and guests, and host Cereal Velocity started improvising his own, Magneto-flavored lyrics over the music of the show, throwing everyone (some of whom by this point had watched approaching thirteen solid hours of pony) into gigglefits. Here's three minutes of it, but it didn't stop there. Know Your Meme describes the meme's spread. Equestria Daily "post". Magneto "fanfic".

Cataloging some of the many, many fan contributions to the lore of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

*** Comics
One of the more well-known pony artists. She made a name for herself early in the fandom's history for being able to reproduce the show's look accurately, and for the general quality of her comics. She has a tendency to ship Twilight and Trixie, and to produce some of the geekier crossovers.
* You got a purdy mouth
* Writing of Daring Do books taken over by 'George R.R. Mareton.'
* A completely unnecessary Castlevania comic
* Trixie adjusts to Twilight's new station - Page 2 - Page 3
* Princess Sign-Up Poster (Trixie has no luck)
* Arrested Development reference
* Only because it has Dan (Vs) in it
* NightMares
* Rainbow Dash starring in They Live
* Trixie's plan to get close to Twilight's mother
* More Dan, and Pinkie clones
* Poster for "Daring Do and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
* Doctor Whooves Watches Transformers 3 - Part 2

Another comic artist, specializing in more grown-up humor.
* Daring Do's stalker
* Twilight (in Equestria Girls) gets used to clothes
* Don't eat the green muffin
* Twilight tells her family about her promotion
* Changeling natal care
* Gemstones aren't worth a lot in Equestria
* Possibly the weirdest crossover in this post: Hellboy and Derpy - 2 - 3 - 4
* Pinkie decides she's a Pokemon trainer, for some reason - 2 (with Cthulhu) - 3 - 4
* Lyra looks for a pet
* Cadence looks on her husband's computer
* More Cadence vs. Chrysalis
* Mystery solving twins!
* Summoning Dr. Manhattan
Metal Gear Twilight
* Celestia vs. Luna
* Luna wasn't much help in the Season 2 finale
* Friends don't let friends ship ponies

He did the Moonstuck and does the Slice of Life fan Tumblrs (see further below), but he also does one-off comics. Mostly okay for all ages.
* Luna loses her snack chips
* Snow Day on the Moon (WARNING: CUTE)
* Lyra and Bon Bon switch postures - More - Even more - PANTS

Creator of the "Twilight's First Day" series, depicting Twilight Sparkle's first day at magic school. Fairly high on the cute meter, and very well-drawn. Suitable for all ages. Currently incomplete.
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16

Takes character art made by other people and makes comics out of them. Not NSFW, but kids might scratch their heads at some of the jokes.
* It's "Liar Liar" in Ponyville: Applejack's 'Element of Honesty' adventures! - #2: Facts of Life - #3: Santa Claus
* Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo - Emotionally Fragile
* The joke here is that, in a different comic, the kids stole Zecora's voodoo kit

* Pogo-styled Christmas art!
* Lyra and Bon Bon debate fan usage of characters from "My Little Human"
* KTurtle of DeviantArt tells us of changes coming to the characters in Season 4, and in the process mocks fandom doomsayers
* dm29's Parts of an Equestria Pony: Female - Male. Whimsical.
* What if the Mane 6 watched a slaughterhouse video?

*** Art styles
Equestria Girls
This style isn't really created by fans, but by Hasbro themselves, in an attempt to position My Little Pony as a competitor to Monster High, from Another Company. The result was the "Equestria Girls" movie, in which Twilight travels to a human world and temporarily becomes a human herself, and in the process takes one solid step into fanfic territory itself.
* An essay decrying the movie. Makes good points.
* Spike the Dog, with a voice like Christopher Walken, wants to play a video game (audio from Dave the Barbarian)

Wind Waker
Aping the unique, cel-shaded art style of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker might be a surprising direction for fans, but it's turned out unexpectedly popular. Tends towards more cartoony stylization, stubby legs and fanciful swirls in accessories and hair. Most of these are from DeviantArt user AWildDrawfagAppears.
Mane 6 - Another Mane 6 - Spike - Celestia - Luna - Cadence - Twilight and Celestia - Mane 6 humanized - Iron Will (minotaur) - The Cake family - Snips and Snails - a Ganondorfy King Sombra - Big Macintosh - Another Twilight and Celestia, more thematically appropriate.

3D/Source Filmmaker
A side-effect of the surprisingly large intersection between the Team Fortress 2 and My Little Pony fandoms (which I don't get into here) is that fans have made models of all the main ponies in Source engine format, allowing them to be used for video production in Valve Software's popular tools Garry's Mod and Source Filmmaker.
* A song from the show, "The Smile Song," animation recreated in Source Filmmaker.

*** Fan Tumblrs
A prominent outlet for pony fervor is the creation and interaction with Tumblr blogs written in the style of some character, either official, mutated or original. Here are a few. Note: Tumblrs are blogs, and while these popular examples are mostly tame, shipping tends to be common, and some pony Tumblrs contain objectionable content, especially in the Ask blogs. Even among those here, because we're approaching the huge beating heart of the internet here, sometimes NSFW language.

Ask Pony blogs
These are a common sort of the breed. This page on the fanlabor wiki rounds up the most prominent, with helpful flags for avoiding objectionable content.

Moonstuck -- a concluded blog, supposedly the adventures of young Luna on the moon, originally created as a ponified version of Homestuck.

Slice of Life
HIGHLIGHT: Hands down, the best pony Tumblr I've seen. Created by Egophiliac, the guy who made Moonstuck, this is a continuity blog of short comic stories centering around the Cakes, owners of Sugarcube Corner Bakery and employers/caretakers of Pinkie Pie, set a few years ahead of the show so as to present the adventures of their young children, the Cake Twins, as preteens. Well drawn and very well written, with interesting OCs and believable future takes on other characters. I think they should hire Egophiliac to write episodes of the show. Note, most fan Tumblrs present short, quick content, but not this one -- expect multi-page comic stories in many updates. Light-hearted, joyful, funny, and not NSFW at all, if you like Pony at all then please read this, domo arigato.
Note: What follows are just a few personal favorites. Every installment of this series is terrific, to those of a pony turn of mind. The major plots so far involve the Cakes trying to raise the money to send their kids to Flight Camp and Magic School, and planning for a Hearth's Warming Eve pageant, with digressions for Halloween and a visit to Discord.
* As of this writing, this is the start page. (Use the "Previous Page" link to advance.)
* Character page
* Pinkie Meets the Cakes Part 1
* Part 2: Serious Hats
* The Cakes Meet The Bons, Part 1
* Part 2: The Seven Sisters
* "How many cakes, out of ten, reach the customer?"
* Here are some of Egophiliac's character designs Slice Of Life character designs 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Ask Surprise -- Surprise was a Gen 1 pony, one of the many that Hasbro failed to retain rights to. When Lauren Faust used her in the pitch for her reboot she had to redevelop the character into what would become Pinkie Pie. Of course fan blogs are less concerned with things like that, and this one presents Surprise as basically an even more random and flighty version of Pinkie -- with wings.
* Rapid hair growth
* Jelly bread, with Dr. Whooves
* Surprise flies to her homeland

Ask Hot-Blooded Pinkie Pie -- Takes the popular pink party pony and adds a large truckload, of all things, of Dragonball Z-style powerups and posing. Throws down pop culture references frequently. Occasionally NSFW violence (cartoony) and language (definitely).

Ask Sweetie Bot -- see below, under Videos, Friendship Is Witchcraft.

Ask Fluffle Puff -- Fluffle Puff is an OC ("original character") pony covered with thick pink hair. Very random and silly. Talks in raspberries. Hosts well-animated videos (see below). Shipped with with Queen Crysalis, for some reason. For some other reason crosses over with Dan Vs. Dan Vs. is another excellent cartoon on the Hub. Don't ask me, I'm just documenting. (Okay, the reason is this is a spin-off of another Tumblr that puts Dan in the ponyverse. If you think that sounds like the geekiest thing ever, well, you must be new around here.)

Ask Gaming Princess Luna is a sequel of sorts to the defunct, NSFW "Ask Princess Molestia" blog, which was taken down (voluntarily) very recently. Gamer Luna was one of the best ideas to come out of it, and the new blog promises to ignore "inappropriate questions." It's a newcomer on the scene, with only two posts as of this writing, but the art is well done. May be worth watching.

*** Fanfic
Fanfiction is the writing, by fans, of additional stories using characters in some other work. It has a much more direct connection to the enthusiast id as other forms of fan participation, which might be worth keeping in mind. I have not read many, of these, especially in the case of the longer works, as fanfiction is not really my thing, so for this section inclusion does not imply endorsement. Instead, I have tried to provide a good overview of popular and well-known works. Here is a good primer on pony fanfiction. This whole section is probably one level geekier than the average.

Fallout: Equestria
The 700-pound horned, winged, magical gorilla of pony fan fiction, about ponyland after a magical apocalypse. The audacity of the concept is matched only by its length -- and then there's the plethora of side stories by other authors. Note: I have not read this, but I hear it is NSFW in places.
* Resource site
* Wiki.
* A few Fallout-style ad posters, made by PixelKitties: Changeling Espionage - Sweet Apple Sarsaparilla - Do you like bananas? - Twilight Securitron - Wear Your Badge

My Little Dashie
This fic is particularly well-known in the fandom. The premise is that a young Rainbow Dash is found in a cardboard box on Earth and is raised by a lonely man living by himself, who must keep her secret from the world. There are probably at least three different metaphors that could be made out here, intentional or not.

Past Sins
Entry on fimfiction. An early story, written before Luna's reappearance in Season Two, that sought to fill in what was going on with her after the events of the series premiere. Luna reappeared in Season Two and obsoleted the work, but it still exists. Introduced the OC character Nyx.

One of the older popular pony fanworks, it's set in a future where Celestia and Luna have disappeared, and the sun and moon don't move in the sky. (Note, it's old enough that it only uses the events of Season One as canon.)

Other works
* Binky Pie -- Crossover between Discworld and Pony, largely successful although incomplete.
* Progress -- A silly fic, Princess Luna tries to come to terms with 1,000 years of Equestrian technology development. Pretty long at 21 chapters.
* Friendship is Optimal is about a computer-generated Celestia creating a virtual world, and it going frighteningly off the rails. Gave rise to the Optimalverse, a set of related stories. Previously.
* Through The Eyes Of Another Pony -- A man falls asleep in Equestria and wakes in in Ponyville, as a pony. Played as a comedy.
* It's A Dangerous Business Going Out Your Door is primarily an adventure fic.
* Sunny Skies All Day Long -- Another early story, true to the series of around Season 1, about an overworked Celestia taking time off to visit her favorite student and her friends, in disguise. Note.
* Anthropology -- Lyra has an obsession. She found some old legends about a mythical, advanced race of bipedal, ape-descended creatures called humans, and for some reason she can't stop thinking about them. Her roommate Bon-bon tries to put up with her obsession. Quite lengthy; just when you think the story has reached its end, it begins.
* Arrow 18 Mission Logs -- Earth scientists in the future find a planetary system with bizarre astrophysical properties: the sun revolves around the planet! Sent to investigate, a realistic human astronaut achieves first contact with a peculiar race of magic cartoon horses. Side series Sparkle's notes presents the encounters from the other perspective. I will admit that I'm rather fond of this one.
* The Mane 6 Discover Human Music -- It's another juxtaposing of real-world culture with the pastel-colored, heart-studded world of Equestria. Features reactions to Simon & Garfunkel, They Might Be Giants (Particle Man, natch), Cage The Elephant and Louis Armstrong.
* LOVECRAFT PONY ROUNDUP: The Neigh of Cthulhu - The Call of Colthulhu (just a fragment) - The Stars Will Aid Their Escape (Warning: horrible affairs, unhappy endings.)

*** Video
Friendship is Witchcraft (series)
HIGHLIGHT: A primary theme of brony fanwork is that of repurposing, putting the characters, and sometimes the animation itself, to uses very unlike the show in content, for either humor or shock value. Sherclop Pones' Friendship is Witchcraft has a bit of both, and is one of the oldest and most popular repurposing fan series, now up to nine episodes. This is the source of the "Sweetie Bot" meme. As far as episodes go, it's probably easier to get into them in the later installments.
This series has had a long and troubled history with Hasbro's efforts to keep piracy of the show under control, and fell afoul of YouTube's ContentID feature. For some reason the videos aren't currently available on the project's own website either, possibly due to bandwidth concerns. Currently, the best place to watch the unaltered series is on DailyMotion.
* Homepage.
* Episode 1: The Perfect Swarm (13m)
* Episode 2: Read It And Sleep (13m)
* Episode 3: Dragone Baby Gone (14m)
* Episode 4: Cute From The Hip (15m)
* Episode 5: Neigh, Soul Sister (18m)
* Episode 6: Lunar Slander (19m)
* Episode 7: Cherry Bomb (12m)
* Episode 8: Foaly Matripony (17m)
* Episode 9: Seed No Evil (14m)
* Extra: Friendship Is Witchcraft: Horse Women, their quick take on the Equestria Girls movie.
* The series is popular enough to have inspired its own fan works.
* Pinkie's "Gypsy Bard" song from FiW.
* I don't get it: "Talk about eye candy."

The Mentally Advanced Series
Another humorous repurposing, this one produced by FiMFlamFilosophy (more on him later) sticks closer to the original plots of the episodes, while still bending them in that special sarcastic fashion that only someone who really loves the show can hope to match.
* Episode 1 (The Ticket Master)
* Episode 2 (Applebuck Season)
* Episode 3 (Griffon The Brush Off)
* Episode 4 (Boast Buster)
* Episode 5 (Dragonshy)
* Episode 6 (Look Before You Sleep)
* Episode 7 (Bridle Gossip)
* Episode 8 (Swarm Of The Century)
* Episode 9 (Winter Wrap-Up)
* Episode 10 (Call Of The Cutie)
* Eppiiod 11111 ggrrlllppp@@@@####555-- NO CARRIER
* Episode 12 (Suited For Success)
A side series to Mentally Advanced is Rainbow Dash Presents, a set of parody animated video "retellings" (often inaccurate) of bits of pony fanfiction. Here are a only a few (because this post is long enough as it is). Note: humans in Mentally Advanced are depicted as orangutans and other apes.
* Somewhere Only We Know (6m), which posits that Equestria is the personal dream world of a real horse. It's damn depressing.
* Rainbow Factory (26m), about the CMCs, and probably one of the better episodes.
* Cupcakes (20m). This version of the infamous fanfic Cupcakes (in which Pinkie dismembers Rainbow Dash) is much safer for sanity than the original.
* My Little Dashie (27m) (covered under Fanfic) is also a big pile of depressing at the end. Wheee, happy pony world! The video is more like a reaction to it.

Doctor Whooves And Assistant (series)
A series of radio play episodes of a series that poses Doctor Who 1. regenerated into a pony, and 2. landing in Equestria. With companion Derpy Hooves (no relation... I think), these are fairly well made, and the first couple of episodes are intertwined with the events of the series premiere in a clever way.
* List of all DH&A episodes
* Again, listed episodes 1-3, fully animated by other parties.

Doctor Whooves Adventures
Another audio fan series based on a ponified version of Doctor Who, this one with Twilight Sparkle filling in the role of companion.
* The best list I've seen of episodes so far are on the show's TvTropes page.

The *.MOV series is a number of highly irreverent cartoons, drawn in a John Kricfalusi-influenced style. Very NSFW overall. The first was featured previously on Metafilter. (Oh, and here's John K. with a drawing he made of Pinkie Pie with Ren and Stimpy.)

Longer/more ambitious animations
* Double Rainboom (29m), an episode-length video produced by SCAD students. Basically an excuse to cross pony over with Powerpuff Girls. Trailer
* Snowdrop (14m), a fan-made animated story about a young blind pony. Be warned: a bit thick on sentiment.
* Children of the Night (4m), a short mood piece.
* PONIES the Anthology - One (22m, NSFW language) / One, clean version (18m) - Two (1h 22m) - Three (1h 14m). These are long compilations of very random, extremely silly pony videos. Worth sticking with for awhile, but can wear down on you unless you have a high tolerance for LOLWUT. Occasionally NSFW for language (for example, in music lyrics).

Short animations
An Australian brony with a lot of videos, some of them live action but with an increasing number of well-timed flash music pieces.
Weird Al & Rainbow Dash (BTW, Weird Al has a role in an upcoming episode....)
Apogee -- Short, abstract, yet oddly compelling. Warning: THIS WILL SEEP INTO YOUR BRAIN.
Some people didn't take news of Twilight's ascension well.
Particle Mare A refugee from the Albuquerque thread: have just a little more Weird Al.
Short and silly live action, usually making fun of the toys (and, by implication, the guy's own huge pony collection):
HMMMM - CAN'T USE THAT NAME ON PACKAGING - Not a toy: the toy - Twilight's busted - We can rebuild her - GOTH Pinkie Pie - Sarcastic response to commercial - That might be too many ponies - Rarity doesn't like babies - Pony hair - Pony cult

Mr. Poniator
What I Learned Today, "morals" to every episode of the first two seasons.
A Derpy Story (with Doctor Whooves)

FiMFlamFilosophy is sort of two people: the writer and main voice is Greg Hoffman, and the artist is Ryan "Petrirep" Petrie. Their major role in the fandom is producing Rainbow Dash Presents, which animates various fanfics, and the Mentally Advanced series (linked above). (FiMFlamFilosophy has been hit particularly hard by the unfriendliness of the current copyright regime, making it difficult to find some of their videos, particularly Mentally Advanced.) They've done some other interesting shorts however, which also fit into the "Mentally Advanced" series linked above.
* Alicorn Day
* Budget Impasse
* Slightly related: Greg Hoffman's a pretty sharp guy overall, and wrote this insightful post on some of the problems that ever expanding copyright and patent protections have been causing. He also made this video, summing up the situation regarding transformative fanworks in the US and on YouTube. Some interesting food for thought in that one.

Two Best Sisters
This is actually a repurposing of the popular YouTube series Two Best Friends, in which a couple of guys play video games together and, mostly, fail to get along. Two Best Sisters edits it down a bit and adds animations of Celestia and Luna speaking the words of the very male players, and somehow that makes them funnier. Part of the charm comes from a surprising amount of custom animation that puts the royal sisters directly into the games in question. NSFW language. Links to originals provided because they're not bad either.
Assassins Creed Brotherhood - Original
Resident Evil 4 - Original
Persona 4 - Original
Portal 2 - Original
Pokemon Snap - Original

Rainbow Dash's Precious Book (Flash combined with live animation):
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Button's Adventures
A new series of animations about the life of a less-prominent background pony, the fan-named, beanie-wearing Button Mash, who was in a brief shot caught playing an Equestria version of an arcade game. Made by JanAnimations, who worked on the Bronies documentary that was posted some time back.
First episode
Minecraft: Don't Mine At Night

Best Pony Videos series
A good place to discover new pony videos. Covers the whole gamut of brony fan videos, so sometimes NSFW, mostly for language. Many of these videos were found from these compilations.
2013: Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - June - July - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov
2012: Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - June - July - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - Dec
2011: June - July - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - Dec

Morals to episodes from the first two seasons (NSFW language)
Rainbow Dash Is Excited, set to Weird Al. (Did I mention he's in an upcoming episode? He is you know.)
Scrunch Off (with Lyra and Bon Bon)
Tay Zonday Sings My Little Pony
Pinkie Pie Tries To Break Your Monitor
Fluffle Puff: "Just Another Day"
Batman Hates Bronies
MLP Present A Realistic Representation of Life In Ponyville, a repurposing of the audio in an infamous Moonbase Alpha video. Original
Ponies sliding into boxes - Unfortunate Outtake
Lyra's unfortunate homicidal tendency
Luna takes a walk on the moon
Twas The Night Before Pinkie, in which a narrator is driven to distraction.

Live Action & Other
Bronies React series
These aren't works concerning the characters, directly, or actually even animations, but instead are edited-together clips of bronies watching parts of the show and commenting on it. It should serve to get across the breadth of the fandom, and the level and type of enthusiasm involved. Most of these are very long, and sometimes NSFW language. They do a good job of normalizing pony fans, I think, but their length makes them difficult to recommend to the non-obsessed.
* Season 2 Finale (18m)
* Season 3 Premiere (22m) - Season 3 Finale (28m)
* Equestria Girls (45m)
* Season 4 Premiere (33m)
* Smile HD (28m), that's the violent and gory fan video linked up above.

We "Really Hate" Ponies
* We "Don't Like" Ponies. They protest a little too much.
* We "Really Hate" Ponies. They protest a great deal too much. And kill a couple of guys.

Animation Errors
One more example of obsessive behavior for you, an exhaustive listing of animation errors from the first three seasons of the show.
Season 1 (1h 14m) - Season 2 (49m) - Season 3 (30m)

*** Music
Music is not generally my area, which is unfortunate because it is a major focus for brony fan labor. Here are a few token links. For more, check out Equestrian Beats.

Super Ponybeat
* Album 1 - Album 2 - Album 3

RC88's 8-bit adaptions
There are many of these, this is just a few selections.
* Theme song - Smile Song - At The Gala - Winter Wrap-Up - Cupcakes - Hush Now Quiet Now - Art Of The Dress - Parasprite Polka

Toast Beard
Named after its former home, it's a competition where different people are given a week to compose pony-related music, then everyone listens to them all and there's voting to determine a winner. List of past winners.

One of the earliest pony bands to make a name for themselves, although they haven't produced anything new since the first season. Live at Bronycon 2012.

* Linked earlier, but still: YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE ME, Sparta Remix.
* ROCKING death metal pony song.
* Death metal rendition of the theme song.
* Death metal "Giggle at the Ghostly" (linked previously -- by me)
* More pony metal on this SoundCloud page
* Polka is Magic, extremely happy.
* Anthropology, a song by Lyra based on the version of the character from the fanfic of the same name. Catchy!
* Pinkie's Brew, from Friendship is Witchcraft, extended version. Alarmingly catchy. Also a Pinkie song from FiW: The Gypsy Bard
* A Weird Al-style polka medley of a number of popular brony songs. (YouTube, 9m) Particularly well done. Links to original songs in description, a good place for further exploration.
* Some other clips, linked to in comments before: Appleloosan Psychiatrist (linked by mendel) - Nightmare Night (Wolfdog) - The Stars Will Aid In Her Escape (SPrintF) - Or We Can Fly (Up Up and Away) (myself)

*** Games
In general: Equestria Gaming. Previously on Metafilter.
* The Story of the Blanks (Previously) was an early Flash fan game with an edge of horror. (Not for kids.)
* Twilight vs. Walking (previously in this comment), a variant of QWOP.
* Ponyvania (What is a pony? A miserable pile of secrets!)
* Mega Pony (Although she looks like a hippo.)
* Pony remix of Miner Disturbance (IS GREAT, and please take this as my recommendation for the original Miner Disturbance too!)
* CLOP (doesn't contain that kind of clop) is a pony nation simulator, played online with or against other people.
* Pony RPGs
Note: Whenever a pony game seems to exceed a certain minimum level of popularity and/or quality, it seems only a matter of time before brand-owner Hasbro sends it a Cease and Desist or some other legal threat. This has completely killed off two promising fan projects, Fighting Is Magic and the Magic: The Gathering fan deck Shards of Equestria, and has resulted in dating sim Starswirl Academy having to remove all pony-related content. Although (mostly) turning a blind eye to fan video using their characters, Hasbro's tolerance of game-related pony content is paleolithic at best. Hasbro's own pony interactive content tend to be either simple Flash games or intensely stupid things like an infamous Gameloft social game where it costs hundreds of real-world dollars to unlock everything.
- Pony tabletop RPG #1: Roleplaying is Magic
- Pony tabletop RPG #2: Savage World of My Little Pony (requires Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition)

*** Semi-official products
Of course there's the Flash games, storybooks, coloring books and similar material. But of particular interest to and popularity with the brony subculture, there is....

Comic series
It isn't uncommon for popular adventure cartoons to get a tie-in comic book series these days. The MLP:FiM comic series is remarkably popular: the first issue received over 100,000 pre-orders, and total sales of all issues have reached over one million copies. The comics sometimes diverge from the style on the show. The first issues, instead of using the 2D Flash character vectors and puppets made up of component parts and colored outlines, had a distinctive hand-drawn style with black outlines and more cartooniness overall. (Later issues use the show's look with varying degrees of faithfulness.)

Part of the enthusiasm for the comics comes from the ready adaption of certain elements of the fandom in the story and art, to a degree unseen on the show. The many variant covers reference prominent memes, Derpy Hooves shows up much more frequently than in later episodes of the show, Doctor Whooves appears more often, Luna has been given an energetic and playful personality, and generally pop culture references and fandom shout-outs are much more numerous than on the show.

Here's a couple of short sequences: Here's scans from the beginning of Issue 2, referring Lord of the Rings, with a quick cameo by Optimus Prime. And the first few pages of Issue 3.

Licensed products
* WeLoveFine shirts
Probably the best-known providers of pony apparel, WeLoveFine hasn't been shy about courting the fanbase and actually solicits designs from fans. Hot Topic, Zazzle and a few others also sell semi-official pony merchandise, but WeLoveFine catered to bronies fairly early.
Here's only a few designs: Celestia looking metal, An unhappy-looking Nyan Dash, Bon Bon: "You just read this in one of my voices", Dr. Hooves 'scribble' design, AAAH! OH MY GOD WHAT IS IT?!, I can't believe they made this one, Sherlock reference, Sometimes I think a little too much work went into some of these, Meet Walter Pink, Trixie Flyer

* MLP Trading Cards and Collectable Card Game
Enterplay makes them both. The Trading Card line's been out for over a year now, and sometimes gets away with surprising fandom references -- Sweetie Belle's card makes a direct reference to Friendship is Witchcraft's Sweetie Bot. One can almost
A new addition to the Ponyverse is a card game. (For some reason, it's not made by Magic makers Wizards Of The Coast, which Hasbro owns.) Both are quite a bit less shy about making fandom references than the show; the "Dr. Hooves" card makes a fairly direct (although encrypted) reference to Doctor Who. Equestria Daily's introduction to the game, which is based on resolving "problem cards" with your roster of characters.

*** Podcasts
The podcast I myself have been known to listen to, once in a while, is Bronyville, which has a good combination of enthusiasm for PONY while also addressing the breadth of the community. I've been known to point to Bronyville Episode 82 when responding to people claiming bronies are a bunch of perverts. (Spoiler: they're not.)
Alternate Choice #1: The Brony Show isn't really as much a podcast as a YouTube show, but it's been around nearly as long as Bronyville.
Alternate Choice #2: Last Exit to Ponyville

*** Software
* Desktop Ponies
Puts a user-adjustable number of random ponies on your Windows desktop. You can interact with them with the mouse pointer, or let them just wander around and interact with each other. Open source, requires VB.NET runtime.
* Browser Ponies
A Javascript implementation of Browser Ponies. A number of fan Tumblr pages use these.
* Pinkie Pie Screensaver, by The-Paper-Pony
* ponysay is a Unix command-line tool written in Python 3 that will print colorful ponies to a terminal with quotes.
* Celestia Medium Redux is a fan-made re-imagining of the lettering style used for the show's title. The original font is called Generation B and is available for $19.95. The original version of Celestia Medium was a direct recreation of that font. The version linked here doesn't use its glyphs; instead, it's a recreation, using a similar style across the characters but applied to each differently.
* generalzoi's Pony Creator is a Flash tool for the creation of show-styled OCs, or "Original Characters." Allows the export of characters as "ponycodes," password-like text strings. Now available on Android ($0.99).
* Here's another Flash pony creator, with in-place animation.
* The Hub's website has their own pony building applet.

*** Other things
The coloring books
There are PDFs of two fan-content coloring books available, with art in a style accurate to the show but, while kid-friendly (at least the first; the second has more adult language in places), are also suitable for adult fans, or at least as suitable as a coloring book can be. Both books contain Nonogram puzzles (aka Picross) as an extra.
First - Second (NSFW language) - Supplement to second, 10 more pages
Outside references to Pony
From the Fan Labor wiki, So that you may track the degree to which Equestria has invaded our world.

*** Conventions
There are surprisingly many brony conventions, especially so for a show less than four years old. Here are some of the biggest.

Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Next dates: 1-3 August 2014
The largest brony convention, held in New York originally but now in Baltimore. Founded by "Purple Tinker."
Bronycon 2013 Promotional Video

Big Apple Ponycon
Site (Promotional video on site.)
New York City, New York, USA
June 6-7 2014
NYC's replacement for Bronycon.

2013 was in Manchester, UK, 2014 yet to be decided.
Claims to be Europe's largest brony convention.

Site (may be temporary URL)
Ludwigsburg, Germany
Next dates: 2-3 August 2014
Another large European convention.
Galacon 2013 Promotional Video (Well made! Produced by JanAnimations.)

Unicon (defunct)
(site offline)
22-24 February 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada
Just so you know it isn't all sunshine and rainbows in ponydom.... Unicon was a convention in Las Vegas in which, reportedly, the organizers ran out of money partway through. The result was a fiasco, resulting in hotels charging comped guests two or even three times to recoup losses, bounced checks, unpaid guests, and, according to one report, Tara Strong firing her agent for stealing money out of a cash box. The Daily Dot reported on the situation, and Equestria Daily raised money to help stranded attendees.

*** Sources
* Equestria Daily, the most popular fansite.
* Derpynews, another news site, covers other cartoons too including Wander Over Yonder, Gravity Falls, Littlest Pet Shop, and (although I could find no content for it) Stephen Universe.
* Equestrian Beats, pony-themed music and remixes.
* Equstria Gaming, pony-related fan games.
* Rainbow Dash Network, a pony social networking site.
* Derpibooru, pony image board.
* FiMFiction, prominent pony fanfiction archive.
* Pony Fiction Vault reviewed fanfiction and interviewed authors. It's no longer updating, but before it closed shop they actually interviewed show writers Amy Keating Rogers and M.A. Larson about a couple of their scripts.
* Ponychan, brony alternate home after 4chan threw them out, before /mlp/.
* Show Wiki.
* Fan Labor Wiki.
* Cheezburger Networks' brony meme site.
* Everfree Network, a media channel providing audio and video material to the brony community.

*** Glossary (some adapted from this Know Your Meme page)
This is far from exhaustive, but might be helpful in understanding some fanwork. Characters are provided with identifying characteristics.
A combination pegasus and unicorn, that is, a pony with both wings and a horn. Is is rare in Equestria; there are only four on the show, one of them due to a recent development. Apparently having both immediately identifies you as Equestria royalty; all alicorns are identified as "princesses." It is a popular fan opinion that, since one of the alicorns uses magic to raise the sun every day and another raises the moon, that they possess god-like powers, but in other ways their power level seems less extreme. UPDATE: another alicorn, a background pony, has been spotted, and doesn't appear to be a "princess."
Cutie mark: Three apples.
One of the main characters, the hard-working farmer earth pony. She is orange, has tied hair, and wears a Stetson. One of the few characters, along with Spike, who holds over from a previous generation of My Little Pony. In addition to a very large extended family, she has a sister, Apple Bloom, a brother, Big Macintosh ("Big Mac" to fans), and a grandmother, Granny Smith. The fate of her parents is unknown, but it's been hinted that they're deceased.
Equestrian currency, usually depicted in-show as coins. Sometimes a brony term for money.
Brony-speak, G-rated replacement for "fuck" as an intensifier/expletive. Examples: "Buck off." "Buckin' A."
(Princess) Cadance
Cutie mark: A crystal heart.
Full name: Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. For most of two seasons Celestia and Luna were the only alicorns on the show. Then in the Season Two finale a third was revealed, the pink Princess Cadence. The extent of her power appears to generally be much less than the godlike duo in charge of Equestria, and she has gone to the Crystal Empire to rule with her husband, and Twilight's brother, Shining Armor. Fan opinion is divided on whether she was a good addition; it's pretty obvious that she was introduced so Hasbro could sell a legitimately pink princess toy (see Celestia). But lots of aspects of the show were added so toys of them could be sold -- the show's production staff have generally managed to make it work with solid art design and storytelling.
A.K.A. "the royal Canterlot voice," the loud speaking style Princes Luna uses in Luna Eclipsed, the first episode where she was given a chance to shine without being a villain. Because of its loudness fans sometime depict it USING ALLCAPS, hence the use of the term Canterlock.
Capitol of Equestria, residence of Princess Celestia, and home generally to unicorns. Twilight Sparkle's hometown.
(Princess) Celestia
Cutie mark: A stylized sun.
1. A noticeably larger pony than most, she is a white alicorn, and the co-ruler (until recently, the sole ruler) of Equestria. One of the show's many weirdnesses (which you have to watch a little while to find out) is that she raises the sun each morning with her magic horn, and, although she doesn't look it, is at least a thousand years old. That's rather old for a "princess," and she's one solely because Hasbro thinks queens are evil. Alicorns in Equestria are princesses (may be changing); the reverse may not be true. There is pony nobility that isn't long-lived. Celestia's history is a big unknown area in the show's lore, and there is predictably a lot of fan fiction dedicated to exploring the issue. Notably, while she's white on the show, for a long while the only available toy available for her was pink. This has thankfully changed recently, with the introduction of Princess Cadance, who appears to have been created specifically so Hasbro's toy department could have a show-accurate pink alicorn princess.
2. In brony-speak, a G-rated replacement for "god," referring to her great power. Example: "Thank Celestia!" Has been used twice in this capacity on the show, by Rarity and Fluttershy: "As Celestia is my witness...."
Notably insectoid ponies who can disguise themselves as normal ponies. Their design is distinctive, with bug wings and a hole-studded carapace. They feed off the emotions of ponies. Their attack on Canterlot at the end of Season 2 gave us one of the few unabashed fight scenes in all the decades of the property.
(Queen) Chrysalis
Leader of the changelings, and the only character on the show allowed the title queen, probably because she's evil. Although it should be noted that very few characters on the show are actually evil; even Queen Chrysalis is presented as needing a food source for her followers, who, considering her similarities to an insect queen, may actually be her young. Of course she did so by disguising herself as Twilight's brother's fiancée and leeching off his love energy, but hey, it's a living. Note, her name was never mentioned on the show; it was revealed by production staff after the episode aired.
"Clop" is brony-speak for wank, and refers generally to pony pictures that depicts acts of a sexual nature. Yeah, they exist. I know, right?
Overall it seems that most bronies do not engage with the consumption or production of these particular things. (Despite my catalog of obsession, most bronies are pretty centered about the show.) But, it's the internet, and furthermore it's a section of the internet with its roots in 4chan.
The primary brony fansite, Equestria Daily, has a strict no-clop policy, and Derpibooru will hide objectionable images by default. Still though, there is a reason Rule 34 is called a rule of the internet. I have kept all clop out of this post (it wasn't hard), but there are still other NSFW aspects of common brony culture, especially language. Because it's funny to hear cute cartoon horses swear.
A city in the sky, made out of clouds, and apparently the primary pegasus city in Equestria. Hometown to both Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy.
Cutie Mark
The magic butt symbol ponies mysteriously receive early in life, usually indicative of that pony's talent. Sometimes used in written documents depicted on the show as an alias for that character's name. (Pony written language is odd; we've seen a newspaper, the text of which was garbled English letters.)
Cutie Mark Crusaders, or CMCs
B-characters and best friends Apple Bloom (Applejack's little sister), Sweetie Belle (Rarity's little sister) and Scootaloo (relationship unknown, but watched over by Rainbow Dash). They're young ponies who are overdue for getting their cutie marks, and, feeling insecure about it, relentlessly try a variety of things in the hopes of discovering a special skill. Notably, they were the ones who accidentally revived Discord at the start of Season 2.
Derpy Hooves
Cutie mark: Seven bubbles.
A gray pegasus with unruly yellow hair, the most famous fixation of bronydom, and the center of one of its largest controversies. Mostly harmless. See section on Background Ponies.
A draconequus, a mixed-up creature with body part from different animals, but with nearly omnipotent powers. He's a trickster figure, like Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation (and, in a bit of genius casting, is voiced by his actor John DeLancie). Originally an antagonist, he's kinda-sorta reformed and friends with the extremely amiable Fluttershy. Possibly the only character who could out-crazy Pinkie Pie. At least as old as Celestia and Luna; a popular subject of fan speculation (and shipping) is his early history with the two.
Earth pony
In the show's fiction, a pony without wings or a horn. That doesn't mean they're not magical, but their magic is thought to be more subtle than the others. Often this manifests as an affinity with the land and with growing things (as with Applejack), but in Pinkie's case it seems to appear in other ways.
Elements of Harmony
The most powerful magic known to pony kind. A set of magical trinkets found by Twilight and her friends in the second episode, and used by them to defeat Nightmare Moon. Since then they've become attuned to them, so that others cannot use them. They turn up rarely. In the second episode of Season Four they are lost, replaced by a mysterious locked box.
The land of the ponies, ruled over by Princesses Celestia and Luna. It is not the world in which the ponies live; it has been established in official non-broadcast materials that there are other lands, ruled by other creatures, like the Griffin Kingdoms. Most of its towns are named after horse-related puns, like "Fillydelphia" or "Baltimare."
The pony version of "everybody," as used on the show and adopted by bronies.
A story based on characters in some other work, written by a fan of that work. By no means restricted to MLP.
Brony-speak, G-rated replacement for "butt" or "ass." Example: "Kickin' flank."
Any of a number of variants of Fluttershy, depending on context. Examples: Flutterrage, Flutterhulk, Flutterbat.
Cutie mark: Three butterflies.
One of the main characters, the incredibly timid, animal-loving, light-yellow pegasus. Her episodes tend to be about trying to draw her out of her shell. When she does become more assertive, however, look out. Possesses "The Stare," a mysterious power to tame animals.
Sometimes an official story will leave some part of its universe unexplicated, either because it's unimportant to the story at hand, because it's best implied, because it can't be easily explained in the medium of the work, or even to give the reader/viewer the opportunity to fill in the blanks himself. The answers a reader comes up with in his head to fill in those blanks is his headcanon. Sometimes, a fanfic will explain and explore that headcanon.
"* is best pony"
A popular topic for fan debate is which character is "best." The named character need not actually be a pony. The answer reveals a lot about one's place in bronydom, and might not be obvious at first glance. Rarity, for example, is a popular choice among males despite being the most girly character, because she's ambitious and a very hard worker.
(Princess) Luna
Cutie mark: A white crescent moon on a dark background.
Celestia's sister, an alicorn, and co-ruler of Equestria. Large, dark blue, and often with a big, sparkly, dark blue mane. Celestia is in charge of summoning the day, and Luna raises the moon to begin each night. For a long while Celestia did both jobs; a thousand years ago Luna, angry over how their subjects preferred the day to night, became warped by her jealousy and became the wicked Nightmare Moon. She returned in the pilot episode, and Twilight and friends defeated her and turned her back into Luna. She's been on the show sporadically since then. Saying that she's an extremely popular character would be putting it mildly, she rivals Derpy for attention, and there are many memes involving her.
Mane 6
1. The fan name for the six main characters.
2. The name of the development group behind Fighting Is Magic, a fan-made pony fighting game that was tragically Cease and Desisted by Hasbro. (Work on the game has continued, with replacement characters and art contributed by show creator Lauren Faust, in an incredibly classy move by her.)
Nightmare Moon
Luna warped by evil magic. Was sealed away in the moon for a thousand years. Twilight and friends turned her back to normal in the second episode, but she remains a part of pony legend, and the focus on Nightmare Night (Equestria's version of Halloween).
"Original Character," a fan-invented character in the style of the show that has never appeared on it. They have a reputation for lameness ("My OC has reptile eyes and bat wings and his cutie mark is a skull and his coat is as black as night and...."), but a few are cool. (See "Fluffle Puff," somewhere above.)
Taking their name from the horse of legend, a pony with wings, which usually means they can fly. (There is an exception to this.) Pegasi can physically interact with clouds (other characters fall right through) and even have a city in the sky called Cloudsdale. Many pegasi are involved with producing Equestra's weather, which is not natural but must be manufactured and distributed by the pegasus population.
Pinkie Pie
Cutie mark: Three balloons.
One of the main characters, the party-loving, hyperactive, meta-textual, pink earth pony. Somewhat dotty, and the most cartoony of the Mane 6, which makes her popular with fans. She usually seems fluffy-minded, but shows occasional hints of genius. Possesses "Pinkie Sense," a series of strange tells that can predict the future. Among them: a twitching tail means something's about to fall down. Also has a party cannon. IT FIRES PARTIES. It's a popular meme that she can "break the fourth wall" and see the viewers at home, which is borne out by a few iris-out gags involving her throughout the show. Everything about Pinkie is silly and cartoony.
The act of making a pony version of anything. The video series "PONIES The Anthology" is basically made up of a long sequence of ponifications of other work.
1. A horse of a small breed, esp. one whose height at the withers is below 14 hands, 2 inches.
2. A small drinking glass or the drink contained in it.
Primary setting of the show, current residence of the main characters, and hometown to Applejack and Rarity. Its residents tend to be somewhat excitable, prone to running in fear at any little danger. Since it seems to get threatened on alternate Thursdays and destroyed once a month, this is probably wise. This week it's a parasprite invasion, next week Cerberus strays here away from guarding Tartarus, and now Discord's hanging around too. Notably, although founded by earth ponies (among them Applejack's ancestors, with aid from Princess Celestia), the show has mentioned that Ponyville is the only town in Equestria in which all three races of ponydom, earth ponies, pegasi and unicorns alike, mingle and mix in roughly equal proportions.
The highest title in the land, and starting to become something of a devalued currency. As of this writing there has been exactly one prince on the show, but he didn't appear to have any capacity for rule, so Equestria appears to be a strict matriarchy.
Rainbow Dash
Cutie mark: A cloud emitting a rainbow-streaked lightning bolt.
One of the main characters, the adventurous, athletic, light-blue, rainbow-maned pegasus. The only pony to have performed the "Sonic Rainboom," a feat of incredible aerial speed. Ponyville's weathermare, but a bit of a show-off, and known for being a bit lazy when not performing for onlookers.
Cutie mark: Three diamond gemstones.
One of the main characters, a light-gray unicorn with styled purple hair. She's the most girly of the six, and affects a glamorous personality, but is ambitious and a hard worker. Owns Carousel Boutique, where she also works as a seamstress and clothes designer. Her episodes tend to be focused on the advancement of her career, and are among the show's strongest.
A fan-imagined romantic relationship between two characters. Need not be sexually explicit (indeed, for pony often isn't, or is only implied). The custom is to refer to pairings as the characters' names combined in some fashion, like Twixie for Twilight/Trixie.
A main character, Twilight's assistant, a purple baby dragon. Eats gemstones (they're valuable in Equestria but not as much as real life), is somewhat sarcastic, and has a crush on Rarity. The other remaining holdover from G1 MLP, and one of the few males who show up with any regularity.
(King) Sombre
To date, the only unabashedly evil character ever depicted on Friendship is Magic. Easily identifyable by his black armor, green smoking eyes, red unicorn horn, and growly voice about an octave below the Cookie Monster. There are many antagonists on the show who don't have our heroines' best interests at heart, but they usually have some other motive than just personal greed. As the show has demonstrated, even Discord's not so much evil as mischievous. Not only is Sombre the darkest figure presented on Friendship is Magic, but he's also definitely a pony. He's kind of like ponyworld's very own Darth Vader; unfortunately for his reputation, he only lasted two episodes, and was defeated by what was essentially a pep rally.
Twilight Sparkle (now Princess)
Cutie mark: A purple six-pointed star with five sparkles surrounding it.
One of the main characters, and the primary POV character, a studious purple unicorn, later alicorn. A compulsive organizer and unapologetic nerd, but doesn't always handle pressure well. Student of Princess Celestia. Spike is her assistant. Her ascension to princesshood and bewingedness didn't sit well with some fans, but bronydom has always had an uneasy relationship with Hasbro's use of the show to push new toylines.
As in tradition, a horse with a horn, but discarding nearly everything else about unicorns from literature or legend. Here, unicorns can perform magic, although this is usually limited to levitating small objects and one or two other unique tricks per pony, except in the case of the magically proficient.
posted by JHarris (125 comments total) 138 users marked this as a favorite
And with that, the magical, pastel-colored monkey is off my back.
posted by JHarris at 5:35 PM on January 23, 2014 [25 favorites]

That is a lot of My Little Pony.
posted by Artw at 5:38 PM on January 23, 2014 [8 favorites]

omg - *faints*
posted by erebora at 5:39 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Suddenly the fact that there are at least 7 plastic ponies scattered around my house seems altogether reasonable and reserved.
posted by maryr at 5:41 PM on January 23, 2014 [8 favorites]

Yeah, ok post, but I've seen all that already.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:48 PM on January 23, 2014 [15 favorites]

A friend of mine was talking recently about how they found getting photographed for a media thing and how odd that was and I had to stop myself from talking about Fluttershy and Photo Finish because I new she wouldn't know what the fuck she was talking about, so that shit has got its hooks in deep. In my defense the kids have watched that episode approximately 500 times in my presence.
posted by Artw at 5:49 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

There is a great evil here.
posted by angerbot at 5:53 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Sweet fancy Moses!
posted by Going To Maine at 5:53 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

TL;DR: ponies ponies ponies ponies (SWAG!) omigosh omigosh omigosh omigosh
posted by Wolfdog at 5:56 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was about to post on another message board TODAY asking someone to explain bronyism.

I'm not going to make that post now.

I'm going to close this window and go lie outside in the snow.
posted by meadowlark lime at 5:57 PM on January 23, 2014 [21 favorites]

Well this is...


All I know about My Little Pony is that my Mom's cat likes to steal them and hide them under the rug, so this is all a little overwhelming.

I might need to ask my nieces to help me with this.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:57 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Pretty okay post, needs more Pinkie Pie though.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:01 PM on January 23, 2014

Flagged as double. Add to one of the several open bronies threads, please.
posted by etc. at 6:01 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

I am impressed.

And terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.
posted by delfin at 6:03 PM on January 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

YouTube is showing me advertisements saying "ABUSED AS A CHILD? YOU ARE NOT ALONE!" next to these. Whaaaaaa
posted by Riki tiki at 6:10 PM on January 23, 2014 [12 favorites]

Makes my Doom post look like a Tweet.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:13 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Holy pony turd! I knew I wanted to favorite this amazing post pretty quickly, but kept scrolling...and scrolling...and scrolling... to find the favorite button.
posted by zachlipton at 6:18 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Control F "braiding your ponies' hair in the bathtub"

I mean, surely this is what My Little Ponies are for, no?
posted by Sara C. at 6:25 PM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

Worth it for the Dr Whooves alone.

.... Though, do you think there's an Inspector Spaceclop too?
posted by bonehead at 6:32 PM on January 23, 2014

If there wasn't, there should be.
posted by JHarris at 6:34 PM on January 23, 2014

Okay, who gets dibs on an Adventure Time MegaMonstroPost?
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:37 PM on January 23, 2014

Some one other than me. My brain still hurts.
posted by JHarris at 6:38 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

For the record, I dumped this into two different WordCount apps which show a total verbage of over 13,100 words... Your brain SHOULD be hurting.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:42 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

You included Surprise! Surprise is best pony.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:42 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

WOW. Why? How? Nevermind why. HOW? WOW.

I had zero interest and now I'm ROPED IN.
posted by vers at 6:44 PM on January 23, 2014

I haven't watched the show for years, but Twilight Sparkle is still the best pony, right?

Seriously, though, as someone who found the fandom toxic enough that I stopped keeping up with pony stuff altogether, I really appreciate this masterlist of the best it has to offer. I'm looking forward to checking all this stuff out slowly, over a month or so.

I can also thank Pony fandom for at least one thing: I am a huge Homestuck fan, and I'm pretty sure it was Moonstuck that introduced me to it.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:58 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


thank you for explaining what 'clop' means. I was idly noodling about maybe investigating this whole pony thing at some point a little ways back and now i know what to avoid. hooray!
posted by sldownard at 6:58 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Many Names of Snowflake
posted by Evilspork at 7:13 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seriously, though, as someone who found the fandom toxic enough that I stopped keeping up with pony stuff altogether

Could you please explain how you came to determine this? Despite appearances I am only a borderline brony, and I've seen very little of it -- but I didn't have to sidestep around anything at all to compile this post! Is there some kind of magic shield that's kept it from my eyes?
posted by JHarris at 7:17 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think it's mainly a product of the kind of places I was hanging out online at the time. Stuff like Molestia was linked to uncritically, people got very angry at the idea that it should first and foremost be a show for girls, rampant misogyny and homophobia, etc. All fandoms have their dark side, and I was unfortunate enough to encounter only that part of it when I was watching the show.

Thankfully, as evidenced by this post, there's more to the Pony fandom than that!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:24 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Wow. This post is quite something amazing/overwhelming, and that's from someone who's dressed up as Twilight Sparkle (the best pony) to be the musical guest at a My Little Pony-themed burlesque show and who has performed the theme on handbells. (Yes, I know I've mentioned that before, but I think it qualifies as "weird fan-created stuff." Plus the tiara I used totally predicted a plot event by accident.) I just wish there was a video I could include of us playing it, you know, so I could add another link to really fill out this otherwise-thin posting effort above.
posted by ilana at 7:25 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

My daughter is just starting to get into these crazy, sparkly, manically happy animals, so I will be referring to this post regularly over the next few years to understand what is up.

This post! I just cannot!
posted by onlyconnect at 7:30 PM on January 23, 2014

I was going to do an FPP about the card game, which is really well-done. Unfortunately, I couldn't really find an angle on it other than "this game is surprisingly good". Mostly I just wanted to make a Friendship Is Magic: The Gathering joke in the post title.

I'm not a brony (I think I've seen the show once) but it's really refreshing to play an enjoyable well-designed game that's not grimdark power fantasies or 17th century farming simulations.

They got veteran game designer Darrell Hardy (Rubebound) to create it, and they tested it for over a year before releasing it. (In the world of licensed board games based on popular franchises, the fact they tested it at all is remarkable...doing so for this long is the equivalent of having E.L. Doctorow write the Equestria Girls novelization.)

It's not perfect. I was a bit surprised they went with making it a head-to-head CCG, as a My Little Pony card game would be the perfect platform for a cooperative game, where you and your friend would work together to solve a problem. And considering the alleged demographic is tween girls, it would sit better with me if they'd went with the "living card game" model, where additional card packs are available but they're not random...they're closer to expansions than boosters.

But those are minor criticisms; the game's fun and you can play it with your nieces without feeling like you need to turn your brain off for the duration of the game. A starter pack is twenty bucks and comes with everything you need for two players to play, and it's robust enough that buying additional cards doesn't feel mandatory.

If you're interested in picking it up and you have a game store in town, maybe get it from them? All the other gamers in town would appreciate it.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:32 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nice start. Now make the post 20% cooler.
posted by ardgedee at 7:38 PM on January 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

posted by mlis at 7:43 PM on January 23, 2014

ArmyOfKittens, it's easy to miss in the admitted logjam of the post, but Ask Princess Molestia closed up shop a few days ago, and its creators were repentant enough at least to have deleted the whole blog, replaced with Ask Gaming Luna. Which, okay, still geeky, but less skeevy.

I don't know how bad it was when it was up, but with that name, yeah, I didn't feel any urge to visit it.
posted by JHarris at 7:44 PM on January 23, 2014

Here's a somewhat negative recent article about the Bronies (and the "Molestia" shutdown specifically) that shows some of the 'darkside' of MLP fandom.

Reads more to me like a look at the dark side of Tumblr, and the darkness of 4chan and MRA groups in general.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:44 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ah, there is that, certainly. Yeah, it is worth remembering that bronydom got its start on 4chan. I'm reminded of that line from Swift, about gaudy tulips raised on dung.
posted by JHarris at 7:46 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ian A.T., I was surprised that Wizards Of The Cost doesn't make it. It's produced by Enterplay, who also makes the trading cards. I'm not up on collectable card game design ideals, but it's good to hear it's well-made.
posted by JHarris at 7:49 PM on January 23, 2014

Aah, oneswellfoop's link is informative about what happened to Molestia. Thanks as always foopy.
posted by JHarris at 7:50 PM on January 23, 2014

What, no mention of the Milky Way phenomenon?
posted by kafziel at 7:53 PM on January 23, 2014

Here's a somewhat negative recent article about the Bronies (and the "Molestia" shutdown specifically) that shows some of the 'darkside' of MLP fandom.

I find it interesting that the article whitewashes over the whole nature of the thing. The Princess Molestia premise is "Hey, wouldn't it be really funny if Princess Celestia was just an unrepentant serial rapist?"

Bronies are terrible.
posted by kafziel at 7:56 PM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Here is your usual healthy reminder that all fans of television shows are not a hive mind that enjoys the worst of what 4chan comes up with for their shows.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:58 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

kafziel the only thing I have ever heard of regarding the words "Milky Way," regarding pony, is at at least two removes: a character Lauren Faust created for Galaxy Girls, a side project of hers. I submit, if I could write 25 pages on pony memes and have never even heard of this "Milky Way phenomenon," it might not actually be that well known.
posted by JHarris at 8:41 PM on January 23, 2014

No love for Brainy Twilight? Aw...
posted by DataPacRat at 8:46 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Control F "braiding your ponies' hair in the bathtub"

I mean, surely this is what My Little Ponies are for, no?

Oh, Sara C., no. No! Bringing your My Little Ponies in the bathtub makes their tails fall out and then they get water in their butts and while it IS absolutely HILARIOUS to make the ponies poo/pee/squirt water out their butts in the bathtub, not all of the water gets squirted out and then they get mildew growing inside them and then the next time a bath is taken and the ponies are played with they poo/pee/squirt BLACK MOLDY WATER out their butts.

So, no. At least not the old ones.

All our ponies ended up tailless.
posted by maryr at 8:47 PM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

Mod note: Folks, there's a Metatalk thread if you want to talk about the length of the post rather than the post itself.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:55 PM on January 23, 2014

Way to raise the bar, J. Way to raise the bar. :)
posted by zarq at 8:58 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mod note: A couple of comments deleted. Please don't drop "Google this" prompts for NSFW stuff, and just generally how about not filling the thread with the worst stuff you can possibly find, since the whole premise of the post is to show the best – and OP has deliberately eschewed sexually-explicit works?
posted by taz (staff) at 10:47 PM on January 23, 2014 [10 favorites]

Is this for real? My god, I've been spared!
posted by Anitanola at 11:04 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is this for real? My god, I've been spared!

This is for real. This is my desk yesterday as I contemplated whether to share my thoughts on the ONE pony who flipped herself upside down. There's a story in there somewhere...
posted by mikelieman at 3:23 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

This post is the MeFi equivalent of an angler fish.
posted by the painkiller at 4:07 AM on January 24, 2014

And if this post didn't satisfy your curiosity, there's always the research conference in June (UK-based, but open to the public). They've got a call for papers out at the moment, if anyone's feeling inspired.
posted by PeteTheHair at 4:30 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Gamer Luna was one of the best ideas to come out of it, and the new blog promises to ignore "inappropriate questions."

Gamer Luna os the nerd pandering moe fanservice character (See, Luna totes plays Call of Duty!) that was a side character in a Brony fan comic called "Ask Princess Molestia" which the running joke was that Princess Celestia, a character in a show that was made to appeal and inspire little girls was a rapist and molester and how ha-ha funny that is!

Leaving aside wether it's a good character or not, the fact that the Gamer Luna character is built on the back of a long running rape joke for a show for little girls whose both creator and fans harassed a vocal critic (a 16 year old abuse survivor) both online (ridicule, rape threats, breaking into her paypal, the creator of the comic deriding her, fans of APM drawing art of one critics pony OC getting raped) and off (doxing, accosting her at school and the mall, publishing her address), so how you can call this a good idea or use mealy-mouthed equivocations of "somewhat controversial" is astounding.

This sort of stuff is why I take great pains to say I am a fan of the show, but I'm not a Brony.
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:55 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

JHarris: "Seriously, though, as someone who found the fandom toxic enough that I stopped keeping up with pony stuff altogether

Could you please explain how you came to determine this? Despite appearances I am only a borderline brony, and I've seen very little of it -- but I didn't have to sidestep around anything at all to compile this post! Is there some kind of magic shield that's kept it from my eyes?

Yeah. It's called "male privilege" and it works on shielding us guys from lots of unpleasant things.
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:06 AM on January 24, 2014

Where does Fetlock Holmes figure in this universe?
posted by jadepearl at 6:07 AM on January 24, 2014

You people are straight-up nuts.

Fluttershy is clearly best pony.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:27 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

.... Though, do you think there's an Inspector Spaceclop too?

Considering what 'clop' means in the brony community...

...almost certainly there is.
posted by Gordafarin at 6:33 AM on January 24, 2014

Metafilter introduced me to My Little Pony and bronydom back in 2011-12, when I was going through a stressfull period for reasons and I have to say there are few things more destressing than watching a much better than it should be cartoon series about talking ponies and their friendships. The creativity within the fandom is also awe inspiring, especially when you see it all come together like here.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:39 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah. It's called "male privilege" and it works on shielding us guys from lots of unpleasant things.

Yeah, you're going to have to unpack that one, because I don't see how male privilege fits into what I basically see as a search problem.

Considering what 'clop' means in the brony community...
...almost certainly there is.

Actually, I know (and linked to!) at least one use of clop with no porn connotations -- a social geopolitical simulation game that happens to involve ponies. And one of the most prolific fan creators is Sherclop Pones, whose "Friendship is Witchcraft" series, while adult in humor, isn't risque. So it's not like scorched earth.

Gamer Luna os the nerd pandering moe fanservice character (See, Luna totes plays Call of Duty!) that was a side character in a Brony fan comic called "Ask Princess Molestia" which the running joke was that Princess Celestia, a character in a show that was made to appeal and inspire little girls was a rapist and molester and how ha-ha funny that is!

I see no one at this point who is defending Molestia. As Drinky Die said, no fandom is a monolith -- just like Metafilter isn't a monolith.
posted by JHarris at 7:18 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

By the power of Grayskull! This is amazing, thank you. I've been sort of following the fandom for a while, but there's a lot that I missed, apparently. I have a bizarre love for Princess Trollestia, because there's just so much canon to support it (see A Bird in the Hoof episode for the most obvious example).

Also Fluttershy is best pony. If, um, that's okay with you?
posted by ashirys at 7:19 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's no Mefi post. That's a small moon.
posted by Faintdreams at 8:14 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Mod note: Comment removed, let's just not go there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:43 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Canterlot is a silly place!
posted by Artw at 8:50 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

.... Though, do you think there's an Inspector Spaceclop too?


I don't think there is an "Inspector Spaceclop", no. Save possibly as someone's username on a really incredibly terrible place. As mentioned, "clop" as a noun means pornographic MLP fanworks, and "clop" as a verb means to masturbate to said pornography. However, be aware (and DON'T go looking at work) that among the bronies on reddit and elsewhere, "spaceclop" is the term for live-action human-on-mare pornography.
posted by kafziel at 9:10 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

First I've heard of that term, although the word reddit says volumes.
posted by JHarris at 9:12 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by zarq at 9:13 AM on January 24, 2014

First I've heard of that term, although the word reddit says volumes.
I imagine it has ties to /r/spacedicks.
posted by charred husk at 9:17 AM on January 24, 2014

/r/spaceclop has a little over three thousand subscribers.
posted by kafziel at 9:23 AM on January 24, 2014

Ponies, all the way down.
posted by davros42 at 9:36 AM on January 24, 2014

While it's not my most popular MLP story, it's the one I'm proudest of: The Rummy Business of Old Blooey, the Grand Galloping Gala as re-imagined by PG Wodehouse.
posted by SPrintF at 9:43 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

/r/spaceclop has a little over three thousand subscribers.

Appears to be mostly a straight bestiality sub after clicking a few very unpleasant links. I'm wondering if the problem here isn't so much bronies as it is general interest sites like tumblr, Reddit, and 4chan that allow the most extreme pornography to exist short clicks away from general conversation on the same domains. It confuses people's sense of what is appropriate for wider audiences when you don't set up more clear boundaries. I'm not anti-porn in any sense, but I do think it is most healthy if it exists in a more segregated environment.

Anyway, kafziel you should consider doing your own mega post on pony porn because you seem to have a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the subject and a passion for sharing that information with the site.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:01 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

/r/spaceclop has a little over three thousand subscribers.

And Equestria Daily, which has a strict no clop policy, is at over 442 million page views.
posted by JHarris at 10:23 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

the Grand Galloping Gala as re-imagined by PG Wodehouse.

posted by JHarris at 10:26 AM on January 24, 2014

It's all fun and games until Mr. Hands gets a mention.

On a (much) lighter note, pony fandom sometimes pops up in unexpected places.
posted by delfin at 11:08 AM on January 24, 2014

Drinky Die just made a ~list~
posted by maryr at 11:28 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm surprised there's no link to the operating system. My Little Unix. An OS for everypony.
posted by hot_monster at 12:12 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm a recent MLP watcher. The kid and I watch it on netflix. I know it's purpose is to sell soap ponies. Being as objective as possible, it's a pretty good show. It has good animation and well-rounded characters. The pop-culture references are amusing. ie: There's a bowling alley scene in one episode with The Dude, Walter, Donny and Jesus from the Big Lebowski.

I can see why a 20-something male would start watching it for lulz and then become a real fan. I did the same thing when I was a teen. About when I finished high school Animaniacs came out. My friends and I thought it was the best thing ever. We watched and recorded them. My friend can still sing some of the songs from the show. At the time, I would have gone to an Animaniacs convention if there had been such a thing.

I think as you are hitting adulthood, there are those moments you want to still be a kid. Stuff like MLP:FiM scratches that itch for a lot of people growing up.
posted by hot_monster at 12:26 PM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

There's a bowling alley scene in one episode with The Dude, Walter, Donny and Jesus from the Big Lebowski

This also happened in Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:30 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

FYI, if you like what you see in the Pony Fiction Vault (and there's some fantastic stuff there), a very similar site has taken up the reins over at the Royal Canterlot Library, with a similarly-curated selection of stories and author interviews.
posted by Kortney at 12:58 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Looks like an interesting find, Kortney! I will admit, I don't actually keep up with fanfiction (not since the days of Mystery Usenet Theater at least), and I had to do a lot of browsing around to get an idea of which were the most popular fanfics.
posted by JHarris at 1:03 PM on January 24, 2014

I can't take credit - I'm acquainted with RBDash47, who ran the Vault, and when I told him that he'd been mentioned on MeFi he wanted me to make sure interested parties knew where to go.

That said, if someone were looking for a general overview of very, very good ponyfic, those two sites would be, in my opinion, the places to check.
posted by Kortney at 1:07 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here is your usual healthy reminder that all fans of television shows are not a hive mind that enjoys the worst of what 4chan comes up with for their shows.

Keep in mind also that not all fans of MLP are "bronies" (even if you make it a gender-inclusive term).
posted by kmz at 1:22 PM on January 24, 2014

Keep in mind also that not all fans of MLP are "bronies" (even if you make it a gender-inclusive term).

Well, there are kids, true. But beyond that, I don't think there is a useful distinction to be made, other than a way to other the fans who aren't your kind of fan by attaching to them the name egghead brony. SO: All non-child fans are bronies. They're not an organization, there is no membership fee.

A fan can say he or she is not one, but as far as most people use the term to mean a fan of that show, it's just semantics.
posted by JHarris at 1:36 PM on January 24, 2014

I would suggest that it's kind of sad that the term for adult fans is automatically Brony--the word coined specifically for men who like a girl's thing. For a while I was an MLP fan, but I definitely wasn't a Brony; not distancing myself, just not a bro.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:46 PM on January 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

By the way I am treating any an all favourites I receive in this thread as endorsements of Twilight Sparkle for best pony.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:11 PM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

if being into mlp for its own merits makes me a 'brony', then does my being into exercise physiology because science make be a 'broscience bro'?
posted by mikelieman at 2:11 PM on January 24, 2014

I think people should pretty much call themselves whatever they want, there are several different competing definitions for brony.

Also now I am going to have to restrain myself from the habit of favoriting everything AoK says.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dear Princess Celestial: I'm so alone.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:19 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was racing the edit window to correct that to "Celestia" and I totally pushed the button with one second to go.

Bloody autocorrect.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:25 PM on January 24, 2014

Well, there are kids, true. But beyond that, I don't think there is a useful distinction to be made, other than a way to other the fans who aren't your kind of fan by attaching to them the name egghead brony. SO: All non-child fans are bronies. They're not an organization, there is no membership fee.

A fan can say he or she is not one, but as far as most people use the term to mean a fan of that show, it's just semantics.

It's a hell of a lot more than just a semantic difference. There's a difference between simply enjoying a thing, and making your enjoyment of that thing into part of your identity. Turning your enjoyment of My Little Pony into something as which you internally identify, and seeking out others who do the same as part of a self-selecting subculture, with its own rituals and signifiers and chosen traumas and other sociological symbols ... that's the difference between being a fan of something, and being a part of the fandom. Bronies are adults who are part of that fandom.

I enjoyed Friendship is Magic, at least until Lauren Faust left and it all went to shit, but I'd never call myself a brony, and I take exception to being lumped in with those people. Fandoms are toxic.
posted by kafziel at 2:36 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah that's one of the not universally agreed upon definitions.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:39 PM on January 24, 2014

posted by Artw at 2:44 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

My daughter has been watching this lately.
posted by zarq at 2:48 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Honestly I'm not fond of the term myself, considering the word bro has negative connotations, but people use it. For female fans, I've actually heard more negative comments about pegasister than positive, so there's that. But while there's the question of semantics and what other people mean when they say the word, I will admit, it doesn't matter much what one calls his or her self.

While there may be toxic elements in fandoms, they're not entirely, or even mostly, toxic. Admittedly I have my qualms about tying a lot of your energy up into the progress or fate of a big multimedia property, because the owners are bound to wreck it eventually. (See Star Wars.) But on the other hand, if you can't let yourself like something, I have to wonder what you're in this world for.

People should find things to enjoy in this world while they last, because they won't last long. I've left that sentence a little ambiguous on purpose.
posted by JHarris at 2:51 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Let's get some dubtrop up in here.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:21 PM on January 24, 2014

About the name brony? Man, I dunno. I think the title of ‘Brony’ was unnecessary to begin with. I think it was an unnecessary masculinization of what could have been a gender-neutral term for ‘pony fans.’ I think the fact that men felt so insecure in their masculinity that hey had to make a noticeably-male moniker for people who are fans of a show about My Little Pony (which is an inherently feminine program) was one of the earliest signs that the fandom might be in trouble.

JHarris: "While there may be toxic elements in fandoms, they're not entirely, or even mostly, toxic. "

When it comes to the brony fandom, there most certainly are. The Gamer Luna comic you approvingly link to was spun off from the Ask Princess Molestia comic you glossed over, and APM had over 68 thousand followers on tumblr. On thanksgiving, the voice of Princess Celestia, actress Nicole Oliver, tweeted fanart from the Princess Molestia blog, not realizing that it was blatant sexual innuendo.

I have gone to 3 different computer in my area today on different ISPs, that don't use Google as a default search engine, and searched with safe search on for images of 3 different characteres: fluttershy, twilight sparkle and rainbow dash. On the first page of results, I was able to see an onnuendo or sexualized pony. Doing a regular safe search google for fluttershy in fact, also suggested "fluttershy rule 34" and "fluttershy r34"! There;s video of a brony at a all ages my little pony convention making a Princess Molestia joke to a panel including Nicole Oliver (and a kid right behind him). The one convention I went to, Bronycon 2012 (to get autograhs for a friend of mine and his son) was also al ages and in the general walking around areas, there was plenty of cursing, nsfw discussion and the like within earshot of kids.

Bronies are already exerting an unusual amount of influence on Hasbro as it is. Shifting the focus of their toyline from brushable toys (which Bronies loudly and vocally dislike) to molded-hair toys; if you look at this year’s lineup, we have a majority of repeated characters in the brushable line, while all of the ‘unique’ or new designs are delegated to the blindbag assortments.

The creation of the 2012 SDCC toy, which was, Ms. Hooves. Not only did Hasbro use an extremely popular (and controversial) fan character for the toy, they also completely erased the secondary fan-exclusive they typically create for the MLPFair that year, as well as the fact that the SDCC pony is usually an ‘art’ pony, and not a fan-favorite. Instead, they gave the MLPFair the SDCC pony, but in much smaller numbers than normal, so that many long-time collectors at the MLPFair missed out on getting the exclusive, and it sold out incredibly quickly. In short, they were planning on bringing many more exclusives to SDCC (where they anticipated most Bronies would be), and shafted the non-Brony collectors out of their promised exclusive.

The creation of products with the word ‘BRONY’ proudly emblazoned on them. This would not be an issue if it was, for example, a one- or two-off; but we have reached the point where you can assemble an entire outfit, with accessories, with the words ‘BRONY’ on them.

The aforementioned Ms. Hooves got more and more prominent thanks to influence from bronies-- a tertiary demographic, not the targeted demographic for the show. For a show based on frienship and sharing an awful, awful lot of bronies need to learn to share.

I have honestly never seen a brony tell their group that they’re being out of line. There’s this mentality of just ignoring the gross behavior and then blaming people outside the group who don’t ignore it.
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:49 PM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

When it comes to the brony fandom, there most certainly are. The Gamer Luna comic you approvingly link to was spun off from the Ask Princess Molestia comic you glossed over, and APM had over 68 thousand followers on tumblr.

I mention Gaming Princess Luna twice. The second, fuller treatment is more along the line of maybe it will be better; far from approving. We don't know what it will be like yet, at the moment it only has three posts.

On "overlooking" Molestia, it was gone by the time I got to it. But even if it was there, as I said at the front of the post, my purpose was to present good, non-objectionable material; if it was there I would have mentioned it and not linked to it. As it stands, that's what I did anyway.

I did a fair amount of Google image searching and didn't see what you saw, so, anecdote vs. anecdote. But I would caution you against using Google Suggest, or search results in general, as an indicator of zeitgeist. As for how many followers the Tumblr had I can only point, AGAIN to relative sizes, and EQD's much bigger userbase: you can throw around large numbers, and I can throw them back.

But really, I don't want to. You're trying to put me into the position of defending random people at a convention, for crying out loud! I don't go to brony conventions, but I've been to DragonCon several times, and I'm not going to do that. I did, at D*C two years ago, sit in on a pony multimedia panel, and didn't see any questionable content. But that's just as anecdotal as the events you present.

It was not my intent to defend bronies in making this post, but to present a good image, that people might be interested in exploring. I curated it to make sure of suitability. What else can I say? I can only speak to what I've seen, and I have.

The creation of the 2012 SDCC toy, etc.

On this, I really don't know what to tell you. I don't really see what the point of that story is, other than that a large corporation will seek profit.
posted by JHarris at 6:47 PM on January 24, 2014

This is great. It can be — treacherous — to try and navigate the fan created art and music. What a fantastic roundup.

The only thing I'd add is a link to Black Gryph0n's YouTube channel, which has some great Friendship is Magic music, music about bronies, and covers of popular music and animations featuring voice actors from the show. As a bonus, I tracked down some hilarious non-pony video of Black Gryph0n and his shipmates performing in the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet Band.

As for the bones of contention mentioned above vis-à-vis "adult" pony content, frankly, I'd like to see more soi-disant "bronies" live by the Elements of Harmony and less of them sexualize cartoon ponies. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one in that boat.

It's far too late in the game to propose that the weird, creepy, sexual deviant fans call themselves 'pontaku' or something, but I wish it weren't. I'd love there to be a bright-line division between the nomenclature for "adult fan of the show" and "adult fan of the show who has a complicated relationship with a plush toy pony." As things stand, I find myself having to say, "Yeah, I like the show. I'm not one of those guys though."

Then again, I'm pretty sure the entire idea of "clopping" started out as trolling. The fact that anyone actually got into it… i_dont_want_to_live_on_this_planet_anymore.png

P.S. Princess Luna is best pony.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:13 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I remember seeing that "we watch it for the plot" image with the montage of pony asses and finding it funny: the idea that explicit pony art would become a thing was hilarious! Whoops.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:38 PM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Let it not be said that I don't contribute to a discussion of fan work without citing a good fanwork myself: Ask Feminist Celestia.
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:36 AM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is this a cry for help? Do we have to stage an intervention?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:23 AM on January 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Making a post like this is its own intervention. Also, the MetaTalk thread made me so sick to my stomach that right now if I never hear the word pony again, it'll be too soon.
posted by JHarris at 10:17 AM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I know someone, friend of a friend, who worked at last year's BronyCon. A number of the voice actresses were having panels, and he was in charge of vetting all questions before they could be asked in the open forum. He was given a lengthy list of topics for which he should disallow any questioning, because the actresses had expressed a desire to not deal with that shit again. I've yet to get my own copy of this list, sadly, but I do remember that for panels with Nicole Oliver (Princess Celestia), questions about the Trollestia or Molestia memes would have prompted her to storm out.
posted by kafziel at 11:54 AM on January 25, 2014

I must admit, ShawnStruck's post irritated me.

The criticism based on the name feels unfair to me. The name that was chosen a long time before most people joined the group, back in the 4chan days. At the time, the (relatively few) people discussing mlp and forming the seed of the community were indeed mostly young adult males and 'brony' was probably as good a name as any. Now, anyone who isn't a female child who enjoys the show will get labelled with the same name and it isn't really appropriate any more. You can judge the entire group by the label you choose to apply to them if you want, but that's your call, not theirs.

The criticism on the 'Ask Gaming Luna' blog doesn't sit well with me either. To be clear here: ShawnStruck is criticising a blog for having a character that came from another blog that they strongly disapprove of. AGL has not had much content so far and none of it appears to be objectionable to me. It is possible that the creators have matured and wish to move on to a more socially acceptable topic, and early evidence is that they wish to give that impression. The criticism feels premature.

Calling the entire fan community 'mostly toxic' is unkind. There is plenty of anecdata about badly behaving people at conventions and on the internet. You don't have to search far to find posts about sci-fi conventions, gaming conventions, programming conventions and a great many on-line groups struggling with the exact same problem. If someone said 'most young white males on the internet are toxic' I'd probably support them. I don't see the need to single out bronies.

I'll take the 68k number of followers for the 'Ask Princess Molestia' blog as correct. That number of people is not even close to being the majority. The last episode for which we have neilsen figures was watched by over 500k people. Demographics suggest that adults consist of just under half those viewers. Let's pretend that everyone who doesn't watch the show when it airs is not a brony - people who don't live in the US, people who prefer to stream or watch later etc.

ShawnStruck is still calling getting on for a quarter of a million people toxic based on the actions of a minority. That irritates me.
posted by YAMWAK at 4:56 PM on January 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I did a fair amount of Google image searching and didn't see what you saw, so, anecdote vs. anecdote. But I would caution you against using Google Suggest, or search results in general, as an indicator of zeitgeist.


To add another bit of anecdata, I contract for the Goog, and am required to do my work with SafeSearch OFF. And I just leave it off as a matter of course anyway. I did the same searches, and saw nothing amiss. And, yeah, using search results or Suggest to determine what's hot and what's not in any category is not the greatest idea in the world. That's...not what those things mean.

JHarris, MLP hasn't really been my jam since I was a kid, but I still dig this post, and I sent it on to my 22 year-old son, who ADORES the new MLP. He turned into a small child again, squealed like a 6 year-old girl, and was up all night reading and watching videos. So, thank you. Both for the nostalgia thing, and for turning my son into a gigglebot for an entire night. It was profoundly entertaining.

Also, he says Rarity is best pony.
posted by MissySedai at 5:48 PM on January 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Thanks MissySedai, I am glad your son enjoyed them! The thing about Google, I think, is that it can't read minds, and really wants something relevant to your search in the first page of results. It does use prior searches, however, to build up a profile of what you tend to search for... which is negated if you search from different computers.

So, I've noticed, you'll often get several possible interpretations of what you searched for in the first page. And if you don't search for pony regularly, it doesn't know why you're searching for it. That can take relatively niche search results and plop them on the front page.

This may also provide an explanation for why I didn't find ShawnStruck's unfortunate results; the other pony searches I did for this post caused Google's algorithms to conclude that's not what I was looking for.
posted by JHarris at 7:22 PM on January 25, 2014

The recent episode was pretty great, I thought. PixelKitties made this referring to it, which is probably not the first, but it's the first I've seen, crossover into the territory of Hunter S. Thompson.

Next week's episode has Weird Al in it.
posted by JHarris at 10:34 AM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed the episode and the Taztlewurm / graboid guest star. I suppose Discord was okay too. This has been a remarkably strong season so far, but I'm still waiting to see if they can make the whole 'keys' thing work.
posted by YAMWAK at 12:42 PM on January 26, 2014

You know what this thread needs? Moar Guile's Theme.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:44 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's funny you mention Equestria Daily since two of the mods there were big fans of Princess Molestia (of whom the Gamer Luna comic was spun off from, and is famous from and is drawn and curated by the same Molestia team) and the site founder, head mod and owner of Equestria Daily laughed when it was pointed out they were signal boosting a brony fan award poll with thousands of votes that one of the entries called a minor girl and sexual assault survivor's blog campaign against APM one of the worst things to happen to the fandom in 2013 including saying it was "as serious as molestia lol".

So yes, while you, personally, may not be like that, there is a huge, awful prevalent toxic element to the whole brony sub-culture, and by saying "oh we're not all like that" instead of working actively against things that make the fandom a very unsafe space-- a fandom about talking cartoon horses aimed at teaching little kids, girls especially, about good values and written with feminist underpinnings-- this stuff just continues to mushroom.

I mean, in just 3 years, look how much fanwork has exploded. Look how in just 3 years, this kids show has enough elements to where even wanting to focus on only good things (things "better than the show itself, even) mentions NSFW elements of things from Pinkie Pie being a serial killer or other ponies being crazy or nsfw language a sprawling fic that even the OP hadn't read all the way through but is told has nsfw elements...
posted by ShawnStruck at 12:55 PM on January 29, 2014

Saying "The vast majority of people are not like that" does not preclude calling out the toxic elements. I doubt you will find anyone here who approves of the internet mob stuff directed at that girl.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:45 PM on January 29, 2014

The sheer ubiquitousness of it kind of puts a lie to the claim that "the vast majority of bronies are not like that", though. To the point that, no, the vast majority of bronies are like that. Especially when the site in question is one being pointed to as this big prominent stronghold full of the perfectly innocent.
posted by kafziel at 3:35 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, we aren't gonna agree on that.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:18 PM on January 29, 2014

Things on the Internet that are not full of shits:
posted by Artw at 6:19 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Everywhere. Everywhere is just full of shits.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:23 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

What's distressing to me about the whole we-have-to-mention-that-Bronies-do-bad-things attitude is that it seems to ignore the fact that it is generally considered odd by society to be an adult male who likes things aimed at girls. Or rather, it's so obsessed with the oddity of it that it fails to note its own fixation.

Surely some portion of men who like things aimed at girls are going to react by trying to make them butch. Is it overcompensation? A desire to corrupt something? I've no idea, but there's an academic paper to be written that ties together bronies, the Diablo 3 pony tee-shirt, the Threadless "Afternoon Delight" tee-shirt, and Robot Unicorn Attack, plus some other pop-culture. While it seems that society has gotten onboard with the idea of girls who like boy things, it's still not really comfortable with men liking girl things. And some of those folks want to act suspect for any number of reasons that it would take a good ethnographer with a tape recorder and some free time to suss out. (Of course, I'm commenting at about a 10,000 foot remove here, not having seen an episode. As someone who visits bandcamp a fair amount, though, I will say it's surprising how often there's some sort of MLP-themed EDM near the top of the charts.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:39 PM on January 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'll be the first to tell ya some anti-bronies just hate them for liking girl stuff, but the issues that have been brought up in this thread have not been those issues, they have been things like Molestia and other instances of putting sexualized or adult content where it doesn't belong and being creepy bullies about it. I do feel those are derails from the mission of this thread, but they aren't invalid complaints in the more general sense.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:45 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

We've had a whole pile of complaints (from two people mostly) about how terrible bronies, or whatever name you want to use for them (I am going to stick with bronies for rhetorical convenience) are. And in the post itself I stayed away from talking about the tremendous amounts of money they've raised for various charities, partly because it wasn't entertainment oriented, and partly because, towards the end, I just wanted the post done with so I could do other things with my time.

But really, they've given a lot to charity. There was a thing going for a while where there was a kind of rivalry between a person going by HumbleBrony, and notch (of Minecraft), to overpay more than the other for the Humble Indie Bundle. This page has some info on it, but it's out of date by over a year, and I don't think they're focusing on the Bundles any more.

Bronies now have their own tax-exempt charity, The Brony Thank-You Fund, that provides a wide array of disbursements.

Bronies for Good categories other current efforts.

Two tragedies struck the fandom as of late. In June a young fan named Kiki Havivy died of brain cancer. Before she passed there was a great outpouring of support for her. After her death, voice actor Tara Strong held an auction to help her family with medical expenses. Very recently, a young fan, Michael Morones, attempted suicide after being savagely bullied at school for enjoying the show. Although he survived, he remains unconscious and suffered a degree of brain damage. Some details are in this EQD post, which also mentions early fundraising attempts towards helping him and his family.
posted by JHarris at 11:30 AM on February 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Weird Al episode was great, I thought.

The first episode of the official comic series mentioned in the post, which is full of pop culture references, is available free for a week on iTunes.
posted by JHarris at 10:15 PM on February 4, 2014

Word is the story of Michael Morones has hit it big on mainstream news channels and broadcasts, and the recovery fund is up to $52K.
posted by JHarris at 8:08 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thread is still open, so here's an addition. Some wacko pony fans are making a MLP-themed variant of Arkham Horror, called Ponyville Mystery!
posted by JHarris at 6:15 PM on February 15, 2014

posted by kafziel at 9:23 PM on February 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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