Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

The Re-emergence of My Little Pony

A glut of 80s Hasbro properties have recently seen a resurgence in popularity, so it was to be expected that some Hasbro exec would do something fairly drastic with the My Little Pony license. After all, other Hasbro properties like Transformers and GI: Joe have been turned into (financially) successful films, with the Transformers franchise grossing over a billion dollars in U.S. receipts alone. The toys have seen a similar uptick, Hasbro having released at least four waves of movie-specific figures. The GI: Joe Rise of Cobra figures were also a sales success (and were pretty cool, especially some of the alternate Storm Shadow figures).

What I never saw coming was that Cartoon Network stalwart Lauren Faust would help transform My Little Pony into an equine juggernaut — a behemoth popular with fans of all ages (and genders). I never expected to see myself giving much of a crap about anthropomorphic ponies learning life lessons and becoming friends through adversity, trials, and tribulations. But that’s exactly what happened. And honestly, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (airing on The Hub, but also available on iTunes) is an incredibly solid show.

I can speak volumes about the surprisingly mature themes, the upbeat color schemes and solid animation, or even the well-defined individual personalities of each of the main ponies. The show has a ton to offer in any of these respects. I have yet to meet a fan who does not yet have a specific favorite character, or at least one who speaks more strongly and personally to them then the others might. I’m an Applejack fan. My girlfriend likes Rainbow Dash. The personality of each pony is just defined so well, much more than one might expect to find in what was probably initially seen as little more than a 22-minute commercial for a toy line.

Speaking of which, another thing I like about this show is that it could have settled on just being a toy commercial, but it doesn’t do that. Faust obviously has a respect for the source material and her track record is solid (she has logged time with Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home). She could have rested on her laurels, but she has instead given people something interesting and note-worthy to appreciate. I respect her for that a ton. It makes recent news of her stepping down as show runner a bit hard for the diehard pony fans out there, but they’ll persevere I’m sure.

I haven’t liked something with this much reservation in a long time. On the one hand, this is a quality show with some great writing, inside jokes for older fans, and solid animation. On the other, it’s a show which is ostensibly for six year olds and prominently features colors, sights, and sounds which are typically associated with females. But I don’t care; I can see the quality here and I am appreciative of Faust and crew for giving their fans something they can enjoy for a long time. It’s not for me, but it’s great that people have connected with it in such a way.

-Z-

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6 responses to “The Re-emergence of My Little Pony

  1. CultureCast-N July 29, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I kinda refuse to get into this. Not because I am taking some sore of nonsensical arrogant fanboy stand, but that the webseries has already risen to a “Community”-level of fan devotion where if you say anything mildly against it, you become an Internet pariah.

  2. CultureCast-Z July 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I haven’t found that with FiM. In fact, there’s a large number of people I see on the Failblog network of sites that have railed against the show entirely. Yes, there’s an immense group of vocal fans online, but they mostly annoy me too. Nick, if you don’t like the show, don’t worry. You’re entitled to your opinion. This is the first time in a long time where I honestly feel ashamed for liking something!

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  4. CultureCast-N July 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Interesting. Apparently, we’ve been running in different online circles. I have nothing against the show. I’m sure it is fine, and if people are enjoying it, then who am I to say they are wrong? It is the surprising quick rise in popularity mixed with the militant fan community which I have encountered that has put me off to the show. ::shrug::

  5. CultureCast-Z July 31, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I’m not sure if the circles are different, I just think our interpretations are. This show has a ton of loyal fans who create some pretty brilliant fan-art and recut trailers. What I haven’t seen are the obnoxious “IF YOU DON’T LIKE THIS SHOW FUCK OFF!” that shows like Community and to a lesser extent Parks and Rec seem to have. The fanbase is militant, but in a different way. It’s more Star Trek and less Joss Whedon I guess.

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