The Elements of Harmony
November 7, 2014 10:37 AM   Subscribe

 
She watched it all the time, this 22-minute toy ad...

Hey now.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:55 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still don't get the grown men.

I even know a Brony and I still don't get it. A friend of his tried explaining it to me, said it was no different than likely Scooby-Do as an adult. I guess?
Together with Sony Pictures, she is working on a treatment for an animated feature based on the mythic Greek monster Medusa. In her version, Medusa — the most iconic female villain in the encyclopedia of myth, she with the snakes for hair and the power to turn mortals into stone — is mis­understood, an exceptional figure who just hasn't yet found her place or her people. Faust's Medusa starts to brighten when she meets others like her: deformed, outcast, with an appetite for murder. “They glom on to each other.” Faust says. “It's like, 'Hey, we found each other, and we're all going to be who we are and like each other anyway.'”
This I understand.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:55 AM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


People often talk about MLP as though the only response-options for grown men are joining the bronysphere or sneering in contempt. One doesn't have to be a brony to acknowledge that the show is extremely well made, and culturally important in that it's one of the only girl-centered shows on children's television.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:58 AM on November 7, 2014 [21 favorites]


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow - my daughter has heard that excuse from me, watched the Bronies documentary on Netflix, then informed me that it doesn't wash and I am in fact a Brony, so I guess I am.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is why I like the phrase 'small equine aficionado'. Less semantic loading.
posted by mikurski at 11:04 AM on November 7, 2014 [13 favorites]


The Brony article is the new "we sent a reporter to the Juggalo gathering" article, I think.
posted by thelonius at 11:07 AM on November 7, 2014 [13 favorites]


The article is actually fairly Bronie light - lots of Lauren Faust though.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


One doesn't have to be a brony to acknowledge that the show is extremely well made, and culturally important in that it's one of the only girl-centered shows on children's television.

We accept you!
One of us!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:11 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bronies are the basis of one of the GREATEST episodes of Bob's Burgers ever.
posted by Renoroc at 11:18 AM on November 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


I still don't get the grown men.
I even know a Brony and I still don't get it.


Think of it as the TV-viewing version of playing a ukelele.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:21 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Think of it as the TV-viewing version of playing a ukelele.

Do you mean that the ukelele is an actual real instrument, that people can really play and be good at and grown men can really and truly appreciate My Little Pony because it's a well written show with plenty of witty and subtle jokes?

Also "Can anypony help me?" is an awesome turn of phrase.
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:30 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


But talk to the Bronies and the Pegasisters and they'll point to something else, too, an ideal so dangerously earnest that it risks universal derision, but visionaries throughout history — Jesus and Lenin, Mohammed and Joseph Smith — have staked their lives on it, the idea that a small, committed band of friends can change the world, can give hope to the hopeless and justice to the suffering. What if “friendship” as envisioned in My Little Pony really functioned as a geopolitical force and could ease global problems, such as inequality, terrorism, mistrust? The Bronies and Pega­sisters believe it could. [emphasis mine]

To be honest, this idea is one that I've held through my entire life.

I don't know about changing the world, as in all 7+billion lives on the planet, but changing the world, insofar as making life tolerable (dare I even say joyous?) for the immediate circle and potentially creating a ripple effect that extends outward into the larger community...

Yeah, totally that. Friendship... that is finding a tribe that accepts you for who you are and who will support you while you let your freak flag fly and whom you celebrate for their own qualities... that is truly a magical thing to have in one's life.

It's a shame it feels so rare, and that as one gets older and relocates to new haunts, becomes more elusive.

I'm certainly not a Bronie, but they are kindred spirits, and I'm glad they are amongst us. The more adults alive who realize that friendship is something to pursue, the better off we all are.
posted by hippybear at 11:43 AM on November 7, 2014 [15 favorites]


You know, I was horse-crazy as a kid, love animation, admire Faust, and have felt moderate enjoyment at watching MLP. But I still don't get the excitement. It has some clever things! But they are wrapped in MESSAGES OF EMPOWERMENT that are just so heavy-handed to me. Also, as a horse-crazy kid, the weird not-really-equine anatomy of MLPs always upset me a little. I had Breyer horses, which looked real and powerful. A MLP was like a horse sculpted out of marshmallow, with eyelashes stuck on.

I just...don't really get it. I have tried, I should get it, but nope.
posted by emjaybee at 11:46 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


emjaybee: As with most such things, it's not about the form of the characters, but about the substance of their engagement.
posted by hippybear at 11:53 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


We accept you! One of us!

There's no good reason not to think of MLP as a mainstream phenomenon. Lots and lots of people who are not comic book fans watch Marvel movies. Similarly, anyone who's interested in what's going on in pop culture should try out an episode or three of MLP.

It's striking that merely acknowledging that a girl-centered show is high-quality was enough to get multiple people on this thread saying that I ought to think of myself as a Brony. I don't identify as a Batmaniac or a Gaang member or or a Browncoat or an Anorak despite being more strongly attached to each of those fandoms than I am to MLP. Saying that a man who takes any interest in MLP needs to be pigeonholed into a super-fan subculture is treating that interest as deviant. (deviant just because it's a show for girls?)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:54 AM on November 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


Saying that a man who takes any interest in MLP needs to be pigeonholed into a super-fan subculture is treating that interest as deviant. (deviant just because it's a show for girls?)

wat?

You may have more to unpack than you realize.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2014


Please elaborate.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:00 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was intending to say that I find it strange that out of all of my pop-cultural interests I hear people assigning me to a subcultural fandom only when I'm talking about this girl-themed show. That seems to imply that our culture treats boy-targeted shows as being for everyone and girl-targeted shows as being for girls only.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:15 PM on November 7, 2014 [14 favorites]


cjorgensen: "I even know a Brony and I still don't get it. A friend of his tried explaining it to me, said it was no different than likely Scooby-Do as an adult. I guess? "

It's no different from liking stories as an adult.

Unless you're going to claim a narrative show needs to have certain levels of blood, swearing, sex or some other mature content to be watchable by adults...

There's an argument that shows pitched at children sometimes skimp on the execution or don't try very hard at the plot, but you can read any of the Dead Homer Society's “Compare and Contrast” pieces (latest here) to see how cartoons actually intended for adults are treated these days on that score.

Plus, since MLP is fronted by six female characters, they've actually had to give them different personalities, and that's such a refreshing change from the norm.
posted by Auz at 12:17 PM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is actually a great article. It avoids labelling types of audiences too much and focusses on a detailed background - history - which for someone like me, an outsider, is really useful. All other articles I've read have focussed on the creepy male aspect and laughing at them/

I feel pony educated now!
posted by greenhornet at 12:19 PM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Please elaborate.

I think Artw's daughter is a better judge than I.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:23 PM on November 7, 2014


I've read about nine zillion Brony threads here on mefi, but I have yet to meet an actual one in the flesh. And I know all kinds of odd folk.
posted by jonmc at 12:24 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


The mane point is that Friendship is Magic and we should all try to be our best selves, which means protecting the most vulnerable and trying to understand others and come up with solutions that help everyone.

Is everypony with me?
posted by Deoridhe at 12:26 PM on November 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


I was intending to say that I find it strange that out of all of my pop-cultural interests I hear people assigning me to a subcultural fandom only when I'm talking about this girl-themed show. That seems to imply that our culture treats boy-targeted shows as being for everyone and girl-targeted shows as being for girls only.

Exactly. Men liking a pony show for girls is deemed newsworthy.

Women liking, say, Star Wars Rebels, is just natural.
posted by Legomancer at 12:28 PM on November 7, 2014 [8 favorites]


i grew up with 1st gen mlp and was OBSESSED with them - like, they are one of my earliest manifestations of my ocd/anxiety that i recall. they all had very specific stories that i had cultivated and when i put them away they had to go in a specific order, facing specific directions. i got in trouble for shouting at girls who were playing with them wrong. i still have some of my originals (and am sad i don't have them all). when this new pony craze started and the bronies showed up, i actually felt weird or like i was intruding on this thing dudes were so into and there was some queer stuff involved and so i was made to feel (or i made myself feel) like i'd be intruding (yes yes, pegasisters, but that always felt like second class, or the less savory terms for women who befriend gay men). and then the gross parts of the subculture really took hold and then i just didn't want to engage at all with it anymore. luckily for me i've come back around and am enjoying the show, the (non-gross) fanart, all the stuff in stores to buy, etc. i actually just had a my little pony party for my 33rd birthday.

i guess what i'm saying is i love my little pony.
posted by nadawi at 12:35 PM on November 7, 2014 [11 favorites]


The comparison to Juggalos is interesting. Maybe there's some crossover potential..ponies in facepaint, perhaps? Maybe a wrestling event of some kind?
posted by jonmc at 12:38 PM on November 7, 2014


This is the first article I've read with the word "brony" in it that actually understands why adults, men even, might like the show. It's not merely a 22-minute advertisement for toys. Hasbro might have forced out Faust and made the current producers knuckle under and create "rainbow" versions, princess castles, and other marketable properties. Even that was subverted into a story that concludes that, when it's grounded in malice, individual strength and power is no match for unity and love.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:39 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I do my five-year-old's hair while she watches this show, and subsequently I'm pretty familiar with the first two acts of a number of episodes. My wife has only seen incidental bits, and recently referred to the show as "crap" in the course of a discussion of kids' TV as a necessary evil.

"It's actually much better than it has any right to be," I told her. I explained that it actually employs good narrative techniques, frequent allusion that she'll get later, and themes that my wife and I are positive on. It's still an ad, but that's apparently not mutually exclusive with also offering some value. I'd rather have my kid watching "Sarah and Duck" or "Peg + Cat," but I don't think MLPFIM can be described as anything less than decent.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:40 PM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


The first gen MLP cartoon wasn't much, but the design of the actual toys is still the best. I had an empire of MLPs and playsets and still have a bunch of them, and love seeing them on my bookshelves where they currently sit. First gen MLPs are best MLPs.
posted by PussKillian at 12:45 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


The comparison to Juggalos is interesting

People marginalized by the mainstream for bad reasons but which can actually be super problematic, leading to completely justified callouts getting conflated with mainstream ridicule? Sounds about right.
posted by kmz at 12:52 PM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


I watched the brony doc, more out of morbid curiosity than anything and found it pretty interesting and I can see it being a real help to the guys featured who seemed to range from socially awkward to being on the spectrum. Though it is a fan made thing and only very briefly touches on the more notorious lurid aspects of the fandom (we're not going there).

The comparison to Juggalos is interesting. Maybe there's some crossover potential.

Juggapos... I'm just off to kick-starter
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:00 PM on November 7, 2014


"It's actually much better than it has any right to be,"

That was word for word my reaction to the first Equestria Girls film, which really should be "Deviant Art: The Movie".

"Wow, that's pretty fucking great" was my reaction to the second Equestria Girls movie, so maybe my daughter has a point.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


(For those not in the know, Equestria Girls is pretty much there to support this line of toys .)
posted by Artw at 1:03 PM on November 7, 2014


Haha, I remember Brony fandom _completely_ flipping out when Equestria Girls got announced.
posted by kmz at 1:06 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Though it is a fan made thing and only very briefly touches on the more notorious lurid aspects of the fandom (we're not going there).

When I heard she'd found and watched it on Netflix my reaction was pretty similar to the time someone asked me if she should be reading the Rat Queens comic she'd found, but actually it turns out to be rather sweet.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on November 7, 2014


I watched the brony doc

Which one?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:11 PM on November 7, 2014


This is the one on Netflix.
posted by Artw at 1:13 PM on November 7, 2014


Metafilter: You may have more to unpack than you realize.
posted by Four Ds at 1:25 PM on November 7, 2014 [9 favorites]


I've been watching the bronies for a while. I load up Equestria Daily once every few days. I even sometimes identify as one, although I think I do this partly in order to consciously other myself, to find a group that is overall harmless and even beneficial that people seem to hate for bad reasons and throw my lot in with them. My thinking is, if you're going to reject me because I bear arbitrary signifier X, then good: you don't deserve to hear what I have to say.

I've explained the history of the bronies before (once within a certain notorious megapost) and will not waste more words on direct explication. I do think that history is part of why it exploded, in a kind of reverse (in terms of general attitudes towards women) Gamergate.

Here is something I've been thinking of. Some 4chan guys found the show and were prepared to mock, but found that they'd rather like it. As a long-time MSTie I am rather experienced with mockery, and I offer these observations:

- The difference between obsessive hate and obsessive love is less than you think. The MST guys "hate" the movies they watch, but there is also a kind of love there, which is more evident during Joel's reign. Especially in MST's first season, in host segments, Joel almost seems to defend the films to the robots. As the show becomes more honed and finds out what's funny, but also as the movies start becoming more egregiously bad, the mockery grows sharper.

- If you're determined to mock something, it is very difficult to flip that around unless you consciously grant it a chance, and recognizing those conscious chances is essential to being an open-minded individual. For my example here, the more I watch Foodfight, the more I come to understand that a lot of its flaws are simply because it's an unfinished workprint. Yet mocking the creators for their work (which is very inappropriate in places, but perhaps excusable if this version wasn't intended for public release) is more satisfying than the people who got the footage and released it unmodified to DVD. Sometimes this seems like a primary ailment of our age -- once the internet starts to hate something, it seems mighty difficult to turn it around.

- I think the guys on 4chan maybe recognized this, and were self-consciously trying to give the show a chance. When they discovered that Faust's vision won out over the bland toy commercial template they were expecting, their relief may have pushed over into appreciation. The inclusion of certain in-jokes (the pseudo-Yakety Sax sequence in the third episode, for instance) and apparent in-jokes (the cross-eyed background pegasus in the first episode) aided in this, and when some particularly well-written episodes came along (starting, I'd say, with Dressed For Success, where what appears to be the most shallow main character reveals hidden nobility), it amplified that into adoration.

- Of course, 4chan is a notoriously combative environment, especially for people who dare to like an ostentatiously girly show, but this caused fans who would otherwise just be fans to form an identity in response, as bronies, and fight back with a notorious sequence of early memes.

- It helps, of course, that the show itself doesn't have a malicious bone in its body, which allowed some fraction of bronydom to pick up its good-natured aspects and hold them aloft as a kind of banner, against the dark and gritty aspects of much of current-day pop culture storytelling.

- For some there is also a component of nostalgia there, since MLP:FiM's sensibility is closer to a older, more innocent breed of kids' cartoon, the kind that aired on Saturday mornings in the 80s.

- There are multiple groups that comprise bronies, and mix with each other to different degrees: just fans, obsessives, message banner-carriers, meme-carriers, creators, and trolls. The general sense I have gotten is that some obsessives and trolls are the main source of the more problematic aspects. But there are lots of bronies who reject those aspects, and it is not good to throw out the whole subculture because there exists pony porn.

- Ultimately, it's just a show. But so is Star Trek, and Star Wars is just a series of movies. You can enjoy the show, even obsess over it, without losing sight of that fact. The best pony fan creations recognize this, but there are some bronies that don't, and the worst of those tend to be the creepy ones.
posted by JHarris at 1:26 PM on November 7, 2014 [17 favorites]


(Sigh... I was actually editing the above and intended to preview it before posting it. I think it says what I want it to say, but I was going to give it a few more minutes of editing before I hit the Post button. Please treat with kindness.)
posted by JHarris at 1:29 PM on November 7, 2014


/holds hands with other commenters, shoots rainbow friendship beams at JHarris's comment to heal it.
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on November 7, 2014 [10 favorites]


Plus, since MLP is fronted by six female characters, they've actually had to give them different personalities, and that's such a refreshing change from the norm.

Interesting point! In that case, this show should probably be held up more often as an example of men - including the men of reddit & 4chan, even - also wanting better & more diverse female characters.
posted by dialetheia at 1:47 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would be a shame if this link in the article were to be ignored:

The Unbelievably Sweet Alpacas
posted by JHarris at 2:04 PM on November 7, 2014


The first gen MLP cartoon wasn't much, but the design of the actual toys is still the best.

What! Return to Midnight Castle was amazing!!!!

I had an empire of MLPs and playsets and still have a bunch of them, and love seeing them on my bookshelves where they currently sit. First gen MLPs are best MLPs.

Do you have Dream Castle pls say yes
posted by discopolo at 2:12 PM on November 7, 2014


I had gleefully written this show and Bronies off until my five-now-six-year-old son showed me the grave error of my ways. MLP is a surprisingly sweet, gentle, entertaining experience, and I really don't see why we'd prefer to see adult men nor women watch more traditional, violent "adult" fare when these tales of cooperation and friendship float their boats. The kids are allright.
posted by riverlife at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


Heck yeah I have the Dream Castle, although it's in storage at my mom's house. Spike is currently sitting on my bookshelf, though, next to Duck Soup from the waterfall playset.
posted by PussKillian at 2:42 PM on November 7, 2014


I feel kind of sad about being called a pegasister or lumped in with a movement I know very little about just because I've watched this show with my kids and look forward to it as much (or more) than they do. I don't see why the fact that I like the show makes me different from people who like Adventure and look forward and really dig the show, or Avatar TLA or Legends of Korra- all of which are well made cartoons with interesting pot and a lot of heart.

It seems like it's the show that is specifically the most girly that these guys are getting made fun for watching it, like because there are rainbows and sparkles and feel good messages that guys are really weird and culty if they like it.

It makes me sad because I feel like it's totally fine to talk with my friends, both parents and not, about some adventure time episode or legends of korra, but mention you're excited about the new MLP season and it's like "OOOh you're a pegasister, I just don't understand that fan club"

And I'm like, what? First I don't have anything to do with the fan club or call myself a pegasister, but I feel sad that a good show is being painted as sucky because of what fans are doing. But to be honest I think what squicks people out is the idea of grown men being excited about flowers, rainbows, magic, and love.

Because those are things only children or maybe under-developed females can like... ??? I mean, honestly it sounds really sexist to me, and alo like we relegate some of lifes's best traits to only being permitted for children. Like what you can't like love and celebrate the power of friendship if you want to be seen as "grown man"? Who says only children are allowed to enjoy flowers and rainbows and the magical power of love?

Fin and Jake are REALLY that much more mature?

I liked this article. It's a good show! Whatever the bronies are doing, it doesn't mean that any one who likes the show is a creep (and I do think some of what I have heard bronies get up to is creepy).
posted by xarnop at 2:42 PM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


The kiddo is getting into Advejture Time these days. I wouldn't say it's "more mature", per se, but it's certainly more explicitly aimed at an older audience.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on November 7, 2014


(and I do think some of what I have heard bronies get up to is creepy)

They should have stuck to Tumblr. Nobody would have noticed.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:52 PM on November 7, 2014


but mention you're excited about the new MLP season and it's like "OOOh you're a pegasister, I just don't understand that fan club"

I'm not going to say I speak authoritatively about this on any level...

There's a difference between someone who is a fan of Disney animated animal movies or old Warner Brothers cartoons, even one who collects animation cells and such, and someone who participates in an alternate reality of "the furry fandom" where big anthropomorphic animals are actually part of life, and they themselves are an animal in this alternate universe that is overlaid on reality.

I don't know if the pegasisters and the bronies do that, per se. I know several furry bronies, and they all have alternate pony selves for that context. But then, they are furries, and they decide to be animals all the time in various ways.

Maybe bronies here can help answer this for me -- does the MLP fandom do that sort of odd immersion thing, where you participate in extending the universe into life by assuming a ponysona to any great extent?
posted by hippybear at 2:55 PM on November 7, 2014


I generally react negatively to adult MLP fandom, but that's mostly because when I see MLP fandom in the wild, it's channers and redditors and horrifying porn. I'm not familiar with the show beyond watching about half an episode to see if I liked it, so my generally negative reaction is based on what I've seen of the fandom, not on the object of the fandom.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:55 PM on November 7, 2014


Guys, Channers and Redditors are going to be horrifying no matter what.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's one of those cases where the normal bronies are less noteworthy than the creeps, so the creeps are the ones who are visible everywhere, which causes everyone to assume they're the norm. You could be forgiven for not seeing this however, since I think most normal bronies have gotten over being showy about their fandom. It also doesn't help that certain people really have it in for them, so if your exposure to bronies comes from Something Awful, which I've heard has a no-pony policy, you certainly aren't going to be seeing the best side of the fandom.

Another aspect of it? Really, it's the fact that there's a name. As people have said above, If you're a fan of Adventure Time, you're a fan, not a "Timey," or whatever. Bronies got labeled (actually, self-labeled, because they were self-conscious about liking a girls' show), and being labeled is an effective way to get othered. So everyone who just likes the show gets referred to by the same name as the creepiest pony fan.
posted by JHarris at 3:06 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I would probably claim loudly not to be a Trekkie while wearing a Captain Kirk T-Shirt.
posted by Artw at 3:07 PM on November 7, 2014


No, you'd be a Trekker. ("Trekkies" was always a derogatory term imposed from outside, "Trekkers" is the Star Trek fandom's name for themselves.)
posted by JHarris at 3:08 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Guys, Channers and Redditors are going to be horrifying no matter what.

What exactly is horrifying about /r/mylittlepony?

They do use the NSFW tag for episode spoilers, but that's because they don't allow NSFW content anyway and reddit does not have a proper spoiler tag.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:13 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


xarnop: I do think some of what I have heard bronies get up to is creepy.
I hear you. However, see Artw's and JHarris' statements above. There's a world of difference between liking the show, even to the point where you know all the songs by heart, and having a complicated relationship with a plush Rarity toy.

Artw: The kiddo is getting into Adventure Time these days. I wouldn't say it's "more mature", per se, but it's certainly more explicitly aimed at an older audience.
Absolutely. MLP:FiM is rated TV-Y7, and at least the first season was also classified Educational/Instructional. Adventure Time is TV-PG. Although you have to give AT credit for at least trying to have Finn grow up a little in the last season.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:21 PM on November 7, 2014


I'm part of a fandom that also includes the fans of MLP:FiM, and despite having some friends who consider themselves fans, none have ever been able to really offer any sort of details on why it appeals to them ("I dunno, it's cute!"). So I appreciate the articulate theories presented in the article and feel like I have a better understanding about the appeal of the show (though, as a fan of the original 80s MLP, I don't really share it). Friendship is absolutely important. Accepting and being friends with people different than you to make the world a better place is absolutely a message worth sharing and embracing.

However, this, really stood out to me:

Bronies, especially, get a pervy rap. But according to the tiny group of self-appointed MLP cultural analysts, the show's appeal is actually the opposite of fetishistic

Bronies aren't getting a "pervy rap" just because they like MLP. The show itself is not innately fetishistic. Bronies get a "pervy rap" because many fetishize the show through the fandom and it's there for everyone to see/find. I go to conventions all over the US and have personally overheard several different/unrelated brony groups all discuss the finer points of: having sex with real ponies (how-tos, mostly), how young is too young when it comes to real girls/ponies, how much can a real girl/pony accommodate in her genitals before irreversible damage is done (there's a whole lot of bronies seemingly very eager to brutalize womens' parts with life-size horse toys), and how being a brony makes it easy to 'get in' with girls (that they presumably couldn't otherwise?). And since I have no reason to doubt the experiences with bronies that girls in the MLP:FiM fandom have shared with me, I'm not entirely convinced the appeal isn't fetishistic for the majority (but certainly not all) of these grown men. I find it's very reminiscent of the boys in junior high/high school who'd purposely take classes that they thought were for girls (ie: home ec) because it meant lots of girls to try and pick up and less competition from the other boys. Many of them actually believed that if they were the only boy (or one of very few): they'd have their choice of any of the girls in the class, every single girl in class would suddenly fall all over herself for his attention, all of the girls would become jealous and fight with one another over him, and eventually all the girls would just have to learn to share him.

But hell, maybe I'm just a little bitter that the only reason this show seems to garner any attention, despite having other areas worthy of discussion, is because everyone wants to know what men think of it and how it's affecting the men who like it. It's all about bronies and men fighting for their right to like a girly thing without being judged. No one seems to want to dig into why themes like friendship are considered 'girly' (or made for girls) to begin with or why they're viewed as inferior/laughable by most men (resulting in other men being bullied for liking them). No one seems to want to touch on why girls are feeling pushed out of a fandom centered around one of very few shows that was made for them (and that they clearly enjoy and want to be a part of). No one seems to care that every girl MLP fan (that I've met, at least) has several "Bye Felipe" stories to tell you about bronies.
posted by stubbehtail at 3:27 PM on November 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


What exactly is horrifying about /r/mylittlepony?

Try /r/clopclop! (actually don't, unless you love MLP porn)
posted by dialetheia at 3:32 PM on November 7, 2014


Yeah, def going with "there's something wrong with the internet" over "there's something wring with MLP" there.
posted by Artw at 3:39 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Guys, gals, there's no need to argue... we still all hate furries!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:44 PM on November 7, 2014


*sigh*
posted by hippybear at 3:47 PM on November 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah, def going with "there's something wrong with the internet" over "there's something wring with MLP" there.

Oh definitely, I don't think anyone's arguing that there's anything wrong with MLP itself, or loving it no matter your age or gender. In fact, I was just providing evidence to back up your earlier statement that reddit can make anything horrible and that's where a lot of the awfulness is coming from.

But acting like that stuff has nothing to do with the reason folks might have a negative impression of the MLP fandom is silly. Seeing so many stories of young girls stumbling on that kind of shit when they're just trying to get down with their age-appropriate fandom is sad. I'm continually surprised that there's so much pushback against folks who dismiss adult MLP fans, thoughtless as that is, and so little against the people who are going out of their way to sexualize a kids show. They're the ones who are making the adult fans look so terrible to outside observers here.
posted by dialetheia at 3:52 PM on November 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


I have furry freinds now - I'll have to become a zen like being of pure non-hate.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Guys, gals, there's no need to argue... we still all hate furries!

I have a furry friend too and wouldn't endorse this statement at all, but I hadn't ever thought about the intersection of clop and furries before. Is that a big factor in this whole thing? Do a lot of clop folks identify as furries? I'd be interested if anyone has links on the subject.
posted by dialetheia at 4:03 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have furry freinds now

Jesus wept... then again I spoke to a couple of filkers at the last con I went to and they seemed pretty much human.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:08 PM on November 7, 2014


(I'm not at all intending to derail on the gross aspect of the fandom, though - I've really enjoyed the thoughtful commentary here about the very positive aspects of the show, the nuances of why it's seen as an especially intense fandom with special names, the sexism of seeing it as a 'girls-only' show because friendship is weak and there's pink in it, etc. I just think if we're talking about negative stereotypes that plague the fandom, that's definitely the biggest one I've come across.)
posted by dialetheia at 4:12 PM on November 7, 2014


I watched the brony doc

Which one?


A Brony Tale is on Netflix now, too!
posted by danabanana at 4:14 PM on November 7, 2014


Basically the whole SF fandom snobbery chart is looking in pretty sorry state right now... Time to rip it up and begin anew.
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do a lot of clop folks identify as furries? I'd be interested if anyone has links on the subject.

I have no idea what the Venn diagram overlap between furries and bronies might be. I do know bronies are not uncommon in the furry fandom.

[adjective][species], a sort of "deep thinking furry" website, has a writer who watched a whole lot of MLF:FIM on a quest to try to understand it in the context of furry. I found the resulting articles to be pretty interesting and full of insight in a lot of ways. Maybe you will, too.

My Little MLP Adventure: Prologue, Verdict

Bonus: The [adjective][species] My Little Pony Cocktail: Vodka Is Magic
posted by hippybear at 4:20 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm always a little surprised that people never seem to mention the comics being put out by IDW, because they really are delightful. The first issue has a DONALD SUTHERLAND PONY! How do you not love that?
posted by MrBadExample at 4:48 PM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Personally I deal with enough rated XXX grown up shit in my regular life, - that I already know I'm a grown up, I don't need my taste in movies to prove to me that I am or am not a grown up. I manage to keep myself alive without shooting up heroin, binge drinking all day long, or fucking up people's lives around me by being an abusive jerk and I'll call that a success. If it means I am childish because I like cartoons I guess I'd rather take childish than a cold heart that doesn't like rainbows. Care-bear stare! I'll be healing all those gray hearts that don't have enough rainbows! YAY MAGIC OF LOVE!!!
posted by xarnop at 4:50 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Though there certainly is a lot of crossover and acceptance of things in the furry fandom, not all fans of MLP are furries and/or identify as such. The two don't necessarily go hand in hand and IME, you'll find just as many MLP fans at anime cons as furry cons. Also, furries love to hate on bronies just like everyone else but since many of the same problems plague both fandoms...well, glass houses, y'know?

That said, having been part of the furry fandom for over 15 years, this type of stuff isn't new. Any media that depicts animals with human traits (ie: speech, eyebrows, etc.) just sort of automatically becomes part of the furry fandom (the anime Polar Bear Cafe is next. I'm calling it.) Even if it has its own fandom (ala MLP), even if that fandom base despises furries and actively rejects the association, enough furries will be fans to warrant calling it a 'furry' thing too. And since the furry fandom is pretty infamous for its size and debauchery, people will remember that it's furry (because scandalous).
posted by stubbehtail at 4:51 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I feel like the references in the comics are very Not For The Kids and therefore Go To Far. That said I did like the panel where the ponies were sucked into a fantasy book about ice zombies and complained that it was all just walking. There's also a page in a Rainbow Dash story that's done in Miller style 16 panel grid complete with those little TV screen with text underneath panels that he used in Dark Knight so much.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on November 7, 2014


xarnop: I think it's literally impossible to "binge drink all day long", unless you only do it once a month or so, carefully scheduled.
posted by hippybear at 4:54 PM on November 7, 2014


But hell, maybe I'm just a little bitter that the only reason this show seems to garner any attention, despite having other areas worthy of discussion, is because everyone wants to know what men think of it and how it's affecting the men who like it.

Well, yeah. Man bites dog is a more obvious story. That said, I think the FA actually addresses your concerns.

Do a lot of clop folks identify as furries? I'd be interested if anyone has links on the subject.

I have a couple friends that are both fans of the show and furries. Last we talked about it they indicated that MLP was pretty divisive in their fandom. I think in large part because furries already have a hard time of it and being associated with a show targeted at little girls wasn't going to help them any.

That was a couple years ago when this was still a new phenomenon, though, so I'll ask again when I run into them.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:57 PM on November 7, 2014


stubbehtail: No one seems to want to dig into why themes like friendship are considered 'girly' (or made for girls) to begin with or why they're viewed as inferior/laughable by most men (resulting in other men being bullied for liking them). No one seems to want to touch on why girls are feeling pushed out of a fandom centered around one of very few shows that was made for them (and that they clearly enjoy and want to be a part of).

There's this weird cognitive dissonance which occurs within the psyche of men I've known and listened to about determining "real men" in opposition to women and homosexual men (who are really women in this construct).

"Real men" the story goes, are powerful and isolated and strong and admit to no weakness. They don't need others, so others flock to them. They are courageous and save the world through their individuality.

This is a really common theme across a lot of different media and genres.

The reality, though, is that actual people need human connection, love, care, nurturing, etc... and that acting as if one doesn't because one is afraid of being judged for it is actually the opposite of courage - concealing vulnerability and being aggressive to cover for a desire for connection is weakness, not strength. It's been sold to us as strength, however, and most people want to be seen as strong and not weak so as to not be the victim of others.

So you end up with this black/white distinction between victims and victimizers, with neither recognition that victimizers were often victims first, nor recognition that there are alternatives to this combative type of culture.

And into this walks Friendship is Magic, with a solid history of ponies saving the world through cooperation and teamwork, through mutual respect, through utilizing each other's strengths and being gentle to each others weaknesses. I'd put this in direct contrast to a similar ensemble piece of the Avengers, where the individualism played out through violence against each other before the teamwork could kick in - where the emotional connections and support are all carefully concealed out of fear of them being used against the members, or the members being judged as weak for needing each other.

The Avengers is a more "masculine" frame while the Ponies is a more "feminine" frame, but both tell stories about how we build relationships with each other through honestly interacting with each other and learning to know and trust each other. One of the critical moments in Avengers was when the most aggressively individualistic and isolative member - Iron Man - asked for the direction of Captain America as a signal that he was willing to work in concert with the others rather than assert his own dominance.

I think the inclusion of violence within the group is part of the difference in views of friendship - and also accounts for the verbal aggression often found within male or masculinized (I'm thinking of gamer girls in particular) social environments. For the Ponies, using violence is a sign of weakness and failure, not strength and triumph, and that stands in direct contrast to standard masculanized social interaction.

However, despite the difference in framing, in the larger context boys and men are used to being catered to and paid attention to, and are used to women being presented as prizes, tools, or toys - and the greater society is more likely to seek them out for comment and prioritize their words as well.

This really is just a view of what happens to anything within which a significant male population congregates, even if it had originally been made by women or aimed at. They take over, take credit, and act as if the women are interlopers.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:59 PM on November 7, 2014 [12 favorites]


I feel like that comment made a lot of generalizations... I'm talking cultural tropes not individual people, for what it's worth.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:02 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't disagree that some of the references in the comics aren't for the kids, but it reads to me more like the old Warner Brothers cartoons where they'd include references to, say, Peter Lorre or James Cagney. It wasn't necessarily that they were trying to sneak stuff in for nefarious purposes, they were just trying to keep both the kids and the adults entertained. I just read an issue where Spike and Princess Celestia were kidnapped by Rock Lobsters and giggled my fool head off.

And yet I was annoyed by the Big Lebowski ponies in the cartoon because I thought it was pandering. I can't explain.
posted by MrBadExample at 5:03 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


The only think I'd argue with in that terrific comment, Deoridhe, is that I can't say I've ever seen male bronies acting like female fans don't belong. I seriously don't see it. I'm sure there are some out there, but it doesn't seem to be a prevailing attitude to my eyes.
posted by JHarris at 5:04 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


That was a couple years ago when this was still a new phenomenon, though, so I'll ask again when I run into them.

The last two furry conventions I was at had MLP:FIM panels.
posted by hippybear at 5:09 PM on November 7, 2014


> Guys, Channers and Redditors are going to be horrifying no matter what.

I read this as a three item list. Still rang true.
posted by lucidium at 5:17 PM on November 7, 2014


I really hope I don't offend anyone if this is horribly off base, but I get the impression that the MLP fandom is a lot more, well, straight than the furry fandom. My personal, totally biased and B.S. theory is that MLP appeals to a lot of straight guys who are fed up with the ridiculous hypermasculinity that seems everpresent in modern media (Or, really, what Deoridhe said), and that the furry fandom is appeals to people who like the idea of 'like normal people, but a little different' that appeals to, among others, LGBTQQ folks.
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:21 PM on November 7, 2014


In fact, we have data on the sexual preferences of bronies. It's volunteer participation that was culled primarily, I think, from Equestria Daily's userbase, but it's something at least. The breakdown is on page 53 of the State Of The Herd Report (PDF). The rundown is, 64.5% self-identify as exclusively straight, 20% primarily straight, 11.1% bi, 2.4% primarily homosexual, and 1.7% exclusively homosexual. Not reflected in the chart but mentioned in the text, 5.6% identified as asexual.
posted by JHarris at 5:30 PM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


dialetheia: I'm continually surprised that there's so much pushback against folks who dismiss adult MLP fans, thoughtless as that is, and so little against the people who are going out of their way to sexualize a kids show.
For me, I guess part of the problem is that the only place I really talk about the show is here. I don't go to conventions or participate in Internet forums where I'd encounter the kinds of shocking behavior stubbehtail details above. I just don't even know how to address that. I certainly never see that kind of talk here, and wouldn't put up with it if I did. On the other hand, the sudden realization that everything I've ever written in defense of grown-up (as opposed to merely adult) male fans of the show can be read as, "Actually, it's about the magic of friendship," makes me a little sick to my stomach.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:33 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


This really is just a view of what happens to anything within which a significant male population congregates, even if it had originally been made by women or aimed at. They take over, take credit, and act as if the women are interlopers.

That seems to be a common assumption, but it's not like the bronies invaded the existing fandom. They just built their own. (I don't think it even occurred to them that there might be an existing fandom. (Which means they were just so insensitive that… you never can win.))

The last two furry conventions I was at had MLP:FIM panels.

Good to know. I suspected things might have settled down by now.

My personal, totally biased and B.S. theory is that MLP appeals to a lot of straight guys who are fed up with the ridiculous hypermasculinity that seems everpresent in modern media ….

That is certainly a huge part of its appeal. I can't find the study, there's been more than a few… on preview JHarris to the rescue! So, predominately straight, albeit with more tendency to ambiguous identifications than the general population. Is there a similar survey of furries?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:37 PM on November 7, 2014


I've always thought the weird aspect of "Bronydom" is not necessarily grown men being obsessed with a show for girls, it is adults being obsessed with a show for children. I think it's equally weird as, say, grown men unironically obsessed with GI Joe cartoons.

Also count me among people who would have never known this was a "thing" without Metafilter and reddit. Actually, the first time I heard about it was when that "Fedoras of OK Cupid" tumblr still existed. I didn't get why so many of the guys were posing in the children's toy section, or what "MLP" stood for.
posted by pravit at 5:41 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it's equally weird as, say, grown men unironically obsessed with GI Joe cartoons.

You may want to avoid this last season of Community.

Or, really, any season of Community.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:45 PM on November 7, 2014


I think it's equally weird as, say, grown men unironically obsessed with GI Joe cartoons.

I continue to be unironically obsessed with Animaniacs, Freakazoid!, and Pinky & The Brain.

Take from that what you will.
posted by hippybear at 5:51 PM on November 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


"Brony" merch and actual children's merch seem to exist in parallel without intersecting much.
posted by Artw at 5:55 PM on November 7, 2014


"xarnop: I think it's literally impossible to "binge drink all day long", unless you only do it once a month or so, carefully scheduled."

Next you're going to tell me that tying my shoelaces isn't an accomplishment either. Adulthood is lame! And anyway I where slip-ons! Vaaaans in my head, vaaaaaans on my feet.... do you ya'll remember that.... checkerboard slip ons...

vans. hehehee.
Now I want my brown dickie pants and orange hair again. So far adulthood has been pretty awful I'm not sure why people are so into it. It really needs more sparkle hearts.
posted by xarnop at 5:57 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


So far adulthood has been pretty awful I'm not sure why people are so into it. It really needs more sparkle hearts.

This is a non-minor ingredient in why I am a furry.
posted by hippybear at 6:03 PM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Brony" merch and actual children's merch seem to exist in parallel without intersecting much.


Moreso now that there are adult alternatives, but there was a time when folks would buy tweener t-shirts and sew them into their denim jackets.

Also, leave it to bronies to hack the packaging.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:04 PM on November 7, 2014


That seems to be a common assumption, but it's not like the bronies invaded the existing fandom. They just built their own.

...i feel like that's kinda not true - at least not in the beginning. some bronies absolutely muscled their way into the little girl fandom and demanded a space at the table and expected fan service and acted creepily towards some of the creators and voice talent both in person and online. i think they've gotten better about it over time, but in the beginning one of the things that turned me off of even wanting to watch the cartoons is the way that the group didn't self police and in some circles, would even accuse people of shaming if it was suggested that maybe you could be careful about where you put the adult content knowing that little girls would be googling their favorite show. this is not an impression i got second hand - it was from hours and days reading forums, talking directly to bronies, etc. i know that in fandoms there are no leaders and there's gross parts to pretty much any media you can pick out so it's a game of no true scotsman whack-a-mole, but i do feel that other contemporary fandoms have consistently done a better job at being respectful of the kid fans - and this seemed like an even bigger violation since, yes, it was originally explicitly targeted at little girls. and, again, just the groups of people i was interacting with, i also very much felt like they thought i was trying to steal their thing by being a woman and wanting to interact with the non-sexual parts of what they were doing. in the places i was reading, pegasisters was totally a sneering putdown - like we were the johnny-come-latelys. having said all of that, when i've looked around recently, a lot of those problems are being self-policed and i appreciate that.

oh and if we're making a list - i've had furry friends since the late 90s and they're all really tenderhearted nice people who do a lot of drugs (i realize there are problematic parts of that culture too, but luckily none of my friends fall under that umbrella). they're the best cuddlers around, imo. of course, i also consider a juggalo one of my oldest and dearest friends - again, really tenderhearted and does a lot of drugs. more horrorcore than the furries, but there are some personality overlaps.
posted by nadawi at 6:09 PM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, leave it to bronies to hack the packaging.

Well, in fairness, people do this with lots of kinds of blind bag merchandise, you can use those codes to figure out what's in Lego Minifig bags too.
posted by JHarris at 6:16 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


in the places i was reading, pegasisters was totally a sneering putdown - like we were the johnny-come-latelys.

Well, it was resisted early, by a (vocal) majority of all sexes, in favor of "brony" being read as inclusive. But as "brony" has taken the hits previously reserved for "neckbeard" or "fedora wearing" Pegasister appears to have become more acceptable within the fandom.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:22 PM on November 7, 2014


MetaFilter: more horrorcore than the furries, but there are some personality overlaps.
posted by hippybear at 6:22 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, it was resisted early, by a (vocal) majority of all sexes, in favor of "brony" being read as inclusive.

i know you can't judge and entire fandom by a few bad applejacks (haha), but i was screamed at (typed loudly at?) by a group of bronies for daring to be a woman in their space. it very much felt to me how i was treated as a teenage girl gamer by the boys who thought i was faking it for attention. again, i'm glad that those parts seem to be mostly sidelined at this point by the main adult mlp fandom.
posted by nadawi at 6:30 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


i know you can't judge and entire fandom by a few bad applejacks (haha), but i was screamed at (typed loudly at?) by a group of bronies for daring to be a woman in their space.

I'm sorry you were subjected to that.

I don't really consider myself part of the community (while acknowledging that following it this closely may make it so) but AFAICT that kind of behavior is frowned upon by the vast majority of bronies. It's probably inevitable that you'd run into it, though. There's probably some #gamergate crossover there, just by virtue of demographics.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:10 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just like the show.
posted by kyrademon at 7:13 PM on November 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


and yeah, i can't reinforce enough that these problems were far more prevalent in the beginning. i really do think they're doing a better job now.
posted by nadawi at 7:16 PM on November 7, 2014


The only think I'd argue with in that terrific comment, Deoridhe, is that I can't say I've ever seen male bronies acting like female fans don't belong.

I know of at least one megafan who was put through the fake geek girl quiz for saying she loved My Little Ponies, and she started when I did - in single digits. She was livid, having already had to put up with being questioned on her status as a Marval fangirl and suchlike; to be excluded-via-quiz-questions from a fandom she was in before they ever heard of the Ponies, and by someone who probably couldn't pick Gen 1, 2, and 3 ponies out of a lineup, infuriated her. I fully expect it happens, frankly, though the aesthetic in general is to welcome everyone.
posted by Deoridhe at 7:38 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


That seems to be a common assumption, but it's not like the bronies invaded the existing fandom. They just built their own. (I don't think it even occurred to them that there might be an existing fandom. (Which means they were just so insensitive that… you never can win.))

Any rebuttal I might make is included in your comment, but the fact is this is simply what happens.

Women build a space around something they value or enjoy or are paid well for. Men come in.

If they hit a certain level they take over and the created input of women is systematically removed and women are pushed out (see: computer programming).

If they don't, then the space is considered inferior or questionable (see: fan fiction, though this is shifting because of women as a substantial market force).

If it's professionalized, men will be considered the experts while women are responsible for non-professional versions (see: cooking).

Men build a space around something they value or enjoy or are paid well for. Women come in.

If they hit a certain level, the space is considered less important and is no longer a stepping stone to substantial influence or power (see: secretaries - when they were male, it was the step below the boss; now it's female, and a secretary can never be a boss; see also teachers, "casual" video games).

If they don't it's considered "a man thing" and women within it are marginalized and denied easy routes to influence or power. They are also sexually harassed and viewed as a potential dating/sex pool for men, particularly men with influence or power. If the women push back, rape and death threats follow. (see: atheism, skepticism, gaming).

I know it may feel like, in this push back, that men can "never win" but if you look at the actual shifts in power and influence, it's not the men who can never win.
posted by Deoridhe at 7:51 PM on November 7, 2014 [24 favorites]


I find it's very reminiscent of the boys in junior high/high school who'd purposely take classes that they thought were for girls (ie: home ec) because it meant lots of girls to try and pick up and less competition from the other boys. Many of them actually believed that if they were the only boy (or one of very few): they'd have their choice of any of the girls in the class, every single girl in class would suddenly fall all over herself for his attention, all of the girls would become jealous and fight with one another over him, and eventually all the girls would just have to learn to share him.

Q, who took Women's Studies courses at U.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 PM on November 7, 2014


I started to watch this show expecting to like it because I used to love Powerpuff Girls when I was a kid. I watched the first 3 episodes and basically couldn't stand it, but kept watching thinking it would get better since so many adults love this show. Nope. I cannot for the life of me understand why an adult would like this show. And I am a person who absolutely loves Adventure Time, so I am not opposed to watching good kids' shows.

Powerpuff Girls was better.
posted by Librarypt at 10:13 AM on November 8, 2014


Also, I was pretty disturbed by the fact that the first couple episodes are all about the main character discovering that socializing is more important than reading and learning. Seems like, I dunno, young girls should probably be learning the opposite lesson.
posted by Librarypt at 10:19 AM on November 8, 2014


Those early episodes are not the best ones. Try Suited for Success, Feeling Pinkie Keen, or Sonic Rainboom before dismissing the show.
posted by JHarris at 10:47 AM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, I was pretty disturbed by the fact that the first couple episodes are all about the main character discovering that socializing is more important than reading and learning.

This feels like a misread for me. Twilight Sparkle remains the bookiest pony who ever booked; what she learned was that she needed relationships in addition to the bookiness, and that learning things from other people - and from interacting with other people - is important. Previously she had entirely dismissed other people besides Princess Celestia and Spike.

That's what the letters to Princess Celestia are about - taking what she's learned in books and applying it in the real world with the help of other people.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:12 PM on November 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, my favorite Twilight Sparkle episode is Winter Wrap-up because it centers on Twilight Sparkles specific gift and role in the world. Unfortunately, I lack her awesome skill; I'm more like the twisted hybrid of Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:15 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


It seems like if there's one thing the various cultural upsets in the nerdosphere this last couple of years should have taught us it's the limits of being smart without empathy.
posted by Artw at 1:54 PM on November 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


This feels like a misread for me. Twilight Sparkle remains the bookiest pony who ever booked

I could be wrong about this interpretation because I only watched 3 episodes, but it just weirded me out that the first episodes centered around that.

It seems like if there's one thing the various cultural upsets in the nerdosphere this last couple of years should have taught us it's the limits of being smart without empathy.

Yeah, my problem with it is that girls and young women are already taught to defer to others, to be nice, to be polite, to put others' needs before their own. I feel like being shown that "bookishness" is acceptable would be a much more valuable lesson.

Again, I only watched the first 3 episodes. I'd rather not have to watch the entire show to decide if I like it or not.
posted by Librarypt at 2:20 PM on November 8, 2014


you certainly don't need to watch more, you just might have an incorrect impression of the show based upon the earliest episodes. i think across the board pretty much everyone agrees that it gets better as the characters get more established.
posted by nadawi at 2:46 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, my comment wasn't intended to imply you should watch the whole show, but one of a range of specific episodes that are generally recognized as the show at the top of its game. That way, you can see if there is something for you instead of something missing early on when the show is still trying to establish its world (a bigger part of this iteration of Pony than you'd think) and characters.

Well I seem to remember doing this before, but I can't find the exact comment in which I expressed it best. Here are some of the best episodes presented so far, in my opinion, with why. My intent isn't to say here watch all of these, but rather that you should pick one or two, and if you don't like them, then I think it's safe to say that the show isn't going to be able to find any receptors on the surface of your brain to latch on to. (Also, my intent is to talk about the episodes I like. Because I like them.)

1-14: Suited for Success, because it was the episode that caused people to finally like Rarity
1-15: Feeling Pinkie Keen, because it's one of the funniest episodes
1-16: Sonic Rainboom, for world-building and sheer awesome
1-17: Stare Master, because of Fluttershy and the CMCs
1-20: Green Isn't Your Color, for excellent plotting and also its funny
1-23: Cutie Mark Chronicles, for backstory and funny
1-25: Party of One, for surprising darkness and funny
1-26: The Best Night Ever, for subverting girl's show tropes and large amounts of funny
2-1, 2-2: The Return of Harmony, parts 1 & 2, for introducing Discord
2-3: Lesson Zero, aka Twilight Sparkle Goes Off The Deep End
2-4: Luna Eclipsed, for bringing back Luna and funny value
2-5: Sisterhooves Social, general quality
2-8: The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well, although I'm not fond of it generally, is notable for being an episode of a girl's cartoon that's unafraid to make references to Batman: The Animated Series
2-9: Sweet and Elite, another strong Rarity episode
2-14: The Last Roundup, for a certain gray pegasus, but also because it contains a notable Pinkie freak-out later on
2-15: The Super Speedy Cider-Squeezy 6000, because the world needs more Music Man homages
2-16: Read It And Weep, for the adventure scenes
2-18: A Friend In Deed, for the hilarious trouble Pinkie puts poor Cranky through, but also because Cranky, an older character, is presented as solidly sympathetic, and yet is not the usual kind of character this show tends to have, who'd rather be left alone
2-20: It's About Time, for humor value, and also because it's a talking horse cartoon with a time travel episode
2-23: Ponyville Confidential, mostly for the stories the CMCs come up with that make them pariahs in town
3-5: Magic Duel, the return of Trixie
3-6: Sleepless in Ponyville, for a surprising appearance by Luna
3-10: Keep Calm And Flutter On, for more Discord shenanigans
4-3: Castle-mania, for humor value
4-12: Pinkie Pride, the famous 'Weird Al' Yankovic episode
4-18: Maud Pie, who became a fandom sensation, and which shone a little more of a light on Pinkie's growing up on the rock farm
4-25, 4-26: Twilight's Kingdom, for bringing back Tirek, of all characters, from the old show
posted by JHarris at 5:10 PM on November 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, I was pretty disturbed by the fact that the first couple episodes are all about the main character discovering that socializing is more important than reading and learning.

It's not that it's more important, it's that book learning only gets you so far. Twilight recognizes the threat of Nightmare Moon because of her studies, but what you should realize by the end of that two-parter is that Celestia knew that she would need friends with other skill sets to help her deal with it.

To narrow down JHarris' suggestions: there's a stealth arc in the first season (Hasbro didn't want arcs) that is pretty great (and will only take an hour out of your day.)

1.03 The Ticketmaster
1.14 Suited for Success
1.26 The Best Night Ever

If you're not a fan after that, it's just not for you.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:38 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm getting a little uncomfortable with the "just watch these episode" calls. There is a line between sharing something we love, and pressuring people to do something they said they don't want to, and it feels like we crossed that line.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:20 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Whatevs. I think if Librarypt is truly interested in seeing if there's something she's not gotten from the early episodes, and I can perhaps supply information she could use to make that determination, then I will supply it, and if she doesn't, she's free to ignore me. I'm not holding a gun to her and demanding YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE IT.

I strongly believe it is the duty of those who know things to tell those who don't and might need it, and I tend to supply that information even if it makes me look silly to do so, an attitude that has stuck me with supplying many hours of free tech support, but there you go. People are free to ignore me when I blather, but if there is something there they could use, then I'm going to offer it just in case.
posted by JHarris at 1:55 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


There is a line between sharing something we love, and pressuring people to do something they said they don't want to, and it feels like we crossed that line.

I'm not bothered by it. Honestly I'm probably not going to watch any more of it, but I am reassured to know that my dislike of the show was most likely caused by seeing a few bad episodes.
posted by Librarypt at 5:54 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


> "4-18: Maud Pie, who became a fandom sensation, and which shone a little more of a light on Pinkie's growing up on the rock farm"

I hadn't seen this episode. Thanks for a heads-up that encouraged me to seek it out.

Maud is awesome.
posted by kyrademon at 11:57 AM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]




Also.
posted by JHarris at 12:13 PM on November 9, 2014


« Older How to wreck the economy and avoid prosecution for...   |   SCOTUS v. Obamacare Pt. Deux Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments