My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

To be perfectly blunt, when I heard adult men were watching this show, I immediately suspected it was a sexual identity thing.

But having seen it, I no longer believe that’s the case.

I think it’s a suspended adolescence thing.

That is, what I saw in the 22 minutes I spent watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was a cartoon intended for children… but not necessarily little girls.

In all honesty, I didn’t see anything in this show that was inherently feminine.

Yes, the six main characters are female, but they’re not gender specific stereotypes.

They’re gender-neutral stereotypes.

One’s kind of a brain – self righteous and responsible. Another is wild and rebellious. One is kind of ditzy. Another is rural and industrious. One has ADHD, I think… Whatever. The point is, these are all traits that could just as easily be applied to boys.

And as far as the plot is concerned, these girls don’t spend their time doing stereo-typically girly things. They don’t sit around braiding each other’s tails or shopping for horseshoes. In fact, two are rather tomboyish.

What they do is explore the different aspects, and limitations, of what it means to be a friend .

It’s not exactly what I’d call sophisticated, but there’s enough to it to keep things interesting, entertaining, and even educational.

That’s a lot more than I can say for SpongeBob SquarePants, which is far less coherent.

In the episode I watched, one pony offered to make the other ponies dresses. They took her up on it. But then they were super critical of the designs and made her redo them over and over until they were abominations. Then they all embarrassed themselves at a fashion show where the Tim Gunn of the pony world shamed the shit out of them.

Moral of the story: Don’t be a dick. Or… Wait for it… Don’t look a gift-horse in the mouth.

Also, “Sometimes when you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one – including yourself.”

…That’s what the dress-making pony learned.

And it may have been a harsh lesson, but it’s one she learned in style.

There was not one, but two catchy musical numbers in this show…

I’m gonna be straight with you: I love cartoons.

I grew up watching them and I’ve continued watching them well into my adulthood.

Looney Toons, Animaniacs, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Venture Bros., Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Home Movies, The Critic… I watch them all. (Not anime though. Not my thing.)

And the art behind MLP holds up as well, if not better, than any other cartoon I’ve ever seen.

It has its own distinct style that’s bright and colorful, and it uses a lot of creative imagery.

The pony world is literally full of magic, and the artists take advantage of that freedom with whimsicality  and theatrics. The scenes sweep across the screen with flourishes, sparkles and vapor trails. And they’re interspersed with crisp transitional images.

Basically this is exactly the kind of show I would recommend watching while high.

That’s what I did. And I don’t regret it. The animation and music were definitely stimulating and the plot line was easy to follow. It was like taking a magic carpet ride through Candyland or a Mario Party or something.

It’s about ponies that happen to be girls… So what? Should girls not watch Breaking Bad because it features a bunch of men killing each other? Hell no! Everyone should watch Breaking Bad.

Does that mean it’s deserving of cosplay?

No, I probably wouldn’t go that far.

But if society can accept a grown man dressed up as Darth Vader or Batman, then we can certainly accept a guy who just wants to get his Rainbow Dash on.

Of course, I will say that I haven’t watched any more than the one episode, and I don’t plan on revisiting Equestria anytime soon.

But that’s not because it’s a bad show. It’s not because it’s a kid’s show. And it’s definitely not because it’s girl’s show.

It’s because I don’t have any more weed.

2 thoughts on “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic”

  1. MY LITTLE PONY: IS FRIENDSHIP MAGIC?

    This is a loose response to J-Money’s defense of adult males (and females) culturally identifying with a children’s show involving colorful ponies. Mostly he just serves as a catalyst to release my built up annoyance in defense of an over-hyped cartoon.

    My first introduction into the word ‘Brony’ was from a friend’s older brother who might have sparked my current prejudice against the group as a whole.

    Patrick, a 27 year old man, has little to claim to his name other than “he has potential.” He grew up being an average kid with a high IQ that presented itself well in school. I think during his middle school years and the beginning of high school, though, he experienced bullying.

    Despite a sufficient number of the U.S. population having experienced some form of bullying during adolescence- it seems to remain an excuse for a fraction of adults, including Patrick and his fellow Bronies, to resist growing up. Why do some victims grow to be conventional adults with at least semi-normal habits for obtaining friends and the others resort to a kid’s TV show?

    I doubt Patrick bothers adding the word “introspection” to his day to day thought-calendar and work on becoming the man he always envisioned. Unless he actually had his sights set on strapping self-glittered wings to his back, a five-o-clock shadow that never goes away, and a bright, baby-blue shirt that reads KEEP CALM AND BRONY ON.

    I was hoping he was the exception to the group.

    Who are Bronies?

    In a 2014 Brony Herd Census & State of the Herd Report (yes, that is an actual thing), it was revealed that Bronies tend to fall within the age range of 14-28 but can go to 40s.

    They come from families more stable than the national average with almost 70% having parents who are still married and living together.

    Those between the ages of 18 to 24 are also nearly two-thirds less likely to have failed high school than the national average.

    Nearly 5%t of them are or have served in the military.

    Over 21% of Bronies have donated to various charities created by or supported by the fan base. Cool, they’ve created charities but it doesn’t take a Brony to help out others.

    He is an adult, white male who came from a loving family with copious amounts of money. His brother, my friend, had also experienced bullying in the same school. Hell, I was bullied extensively throughout elementary, middle, (had a good HS experinece), and freshman year of college (weirdly enough). Somehow we managed to grow interested in things with a slightly higher age range.

    I will say, I agree with integrating positive messages to your being and genuinely caring about friendship. It’s been proven that being lonely and feeling isolated creates physical sickness. So, the Brony movement bringing lost groups of people together to fill that companion gap should be a celebration for society, right?

    I think my failure to understand and sympathize with a large number of Bronies is their focus on a culture that takes little effort to grow within. It is the Neverland that accepts people who don’t have to branch out of their adolescent awkwardness into becoming someone who worked past their insecurities while still maintaining relate-able persona.

    I don’t actually mind adults watching cartoons. Sure, Bob’s Burgers and Aqua Teen Hunger Force supply some entertainment, but I’ve yet to experience a person becoming meat-wad. I’m sure there are life-lessons within those shows like, “don’t disrespect your parents” or “don’t play with matches” but after a certain age- these things are second nature and no one watches them for their potentially influential messages.

    Even more adult shows like Breaking Bad, as J-Money mentions, are fantastic and touch on themes probably more complicated than MLP. But, again, I don’t need to watch it to know that selling methamphetamine is dangerous and illegal. I watch it to see someone else make these mistakes.

    The argument is that MLP teaches life lessons about “the magic of friendship.” I think most other people learn this through other, practical means. I’m not sure why it takes a show directed towards kids between 2-10 years old to understand that you have to be nice to your friends.

    The only thing I could agree with mostly in J-Money’s article was that it does sound entertaining to watch while under the influence. Pass and puff.

    1. Hi Ms. Lennsbrooke.

      First, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      Secondly, I’d like to point out that this was a review of the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – not Brony-ism.

      My initial observation is that the show is not inherently feminine. And my second observation – clearly stated in the third line (Did you make it that far?) – is that there is definitely a suspended adolescence thing going on here.

      So, we are – at least partially – in agreement.

      And I wasn’t out to “defend” Bronies.

      But since you brought it up, let’s look at your argument…

      To begin with, it seems like you’re mostly frustrated with your friend’s older brother, Patrick.

      The first problem is you’re conflating your arguments. You vasillate between blaming Patrick’s Bronyism on bullying and immaturity. I don’t think anyone would argue that bullying, in and of itself, creates bronies. Though I think many would argue that many bronies are bullied, unfairly, I might add, by judgmental people like you.

      Frustratingly you ask: “Why do some victims grow to be conventional adults with at least semi-normal habits for obtaining friends and the others resort to a kid’s TV show?”

      Well my question to you is this: Who are you to decide what is and is not a “semi-normal” habit for obtaining friends?

      Certaintly my making friends by joining a Breaking Bad discussion group would be a “semi-normal” method of making friends… Why then is MLP different?

      Because it’s a “kids’” show? So what?

      As I said, I still watch kids shows. The movie Frozen was “for kids,” should I not have watched it on that basis? Should adults not watch Snow White, Lilo & Stitch or Wall-E? Should I stop watching Saved by the Bell reruns?

      Of course not. Saying that would be akin to saying I shouldn’t ride the Tea Cups or Splash Mountain at Disneyland. It’s overly cynical.

      Which brings me to my next point: Being an adult doesn’t mean you have to grow up.

      Yes, it’s true that some men are clearly averse to facing adulthood. Instead, they choose to escape into the fantasy world of MLP. But that’s not a problem unique to the MLP community.

      I know a lot man-children with some very “adult” hobbies. Just like I know many well-rounded, mature people who indulge in childish fun. As you yourself note, many bronies have strong academic records, healthy homes, and have even served in the military.

      So there’s nothing wrong a bit of escape – especially if its into a world of magic and positive thinking. That’s a hell of a lot better than escaping into a world of alcoholism, drug abuse, or *shudder* gothic melancholy.

      To that extent, I wish you understood that by forming a community around their common interest these men ARE branching out. They ARE confronting the hardships of reality. They’re just doing it in a way that is unique to them and foreign to you.

      Friendship is magic, whether you find it in school, on the subway, in a bar or at an MLP convention. Being a part of community is the essence of being human.

      So these guys dress up like ponies to do it… Bikers dress up like leather daddys and millions of “grown men” wear sports jerseys – jerseys that bear the name of a 22-year old athlete they look up to.

      Isn’t that just a little bit childish? Isn’t the fact that those guys get together EVERY SUNDAY to drink away their problems together, to cheer and dance when their team wins, and cry when it loses, a bit of suspended adolescence?

      So lay off the bronies. They’re alright.

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