Pony Craze That Swept Nation Hits Closer To Home

The "Mane 6" characters of MLP

The “Mane 6” characters of MLP. (Copyright 2010, Hasbro / show creator Lauren Faust)

Oct. 10, 2010: The Hub network, owned and operated by Hasbro, airs for the first time ever on TV with a bombardment of new shows.   Among the many was something special, life-changing in fact.  No one could expect such results at the time, and the wave took the internet and pop culture fanatics by surprise. I speak, of course, about “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”

The fan base kept gradually growing and growing.  It became somewhat of a pleasant surprise, at first, because the previous variations of the show introduced audiences to mind-numbing pink ponies frolicking in meadows while hypnotizing youth to buy toys. However, this generation took the animation to a whole new level.  Right off the bat, we were introduced to vibrant color and scenery. The characters were making a splash with the fans. The kids must have really taken a liking to the show, it seemed. Well, not exactly.

A few months into the show’s airing, the internet boomed with images of the characters and scenes from the show on YouTube.  It became clear the high ratings weren’t all from kids.  Adult male fans were so enticed by the program, they started creating fan art, merchandise, and original media like songs and animated shorts. They even created a name for themselves: “bronies.”

The show creator is Lauren Faust, who also made hit shows like “Powerpuff Girls” and made contributions to other popular cartoons like “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” and “Code Name: Kids Next Door.”  In addition to such a powerhouse creator, the show has a sensational cast. The voice actresses of the main six include Tara Strong as Twilight Sparkle, Andrea Libman as both Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy, Ashleigh Ball as Applejack and Rainbow Dash, and Tabitha St. Germain as Rarity.

If you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you for your valiance.  I know it must be confusing and perhaps a bit disturbing if you haven’t heard of this before. Well, hear me out.

The show has sparked the talent, emotion, and general happiness in the millions that have given it a chance and accepted it as a favorite show.  It’s absolutely not about pink characters running around aimlessly with no real point.  Rather, “Friendship is Magic” has created epic story lines in each show with numerous characters and plot lines. The characterization is so good, even the background ponies are given back-stories by fans simply based on the artwork. And in many cases, the show producers take the fan content and make it canon.

Still not convinced? Well check out these testimonials from a few of St. Paul’s bronies themselves.

Bronies, including pony musician Living Tombstone, in NYC for Bronycon on June 31 thru July 1, 2012

Bronies, including pony musician Living Tombstone, in NYC for BronyCon on June 31 thru July 1, 2012. (Huffington Post)

“I watch the show because it has great characters, great stories, and most importantly, a great message. But, being a brony is more than just watching a show. Being a brony is about being a part of something bigger than yourself. It might not be the most conventional thing to get into, but we don’t care. We are a family and MLP is the thing that connects us,” said sophomore Alec Gravelle.

“Do you think That MLP is GIRLY? You got something against sunshine and rainbows? LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING! BACK AT THE DAWN OF HEAVY METAL, there was Ronnie James Dio! If you don’t know who this man is, you should feel bad! He was in Black Sabbath after Ozzy! But, he was also in a band called “Rainbow,” which was the epitome of manly! SO THEREFORE, rainbows are manly! Gandalf used magic! Magic is manly! We’re all bros at St. Paul’s, right? And St. Paul’s is manly! That means friendship is manly! The title of the show is ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ That’s double manly, right there! Rainbow magic? Triple manly! Rainbow magic being used to fight off evil eldritch abominations? Quadruple manly! They might as well name it “My little pony; Friendship is MANLY!,” said junior Jonah Knickles.

“We were all hesitant at first.  We all went through that phase of questioning how anyone in their right mind could bear watching it, and we all said there was no way.  But, we were wrong. Everyone gives in at a different pace, but we all sat down and gave it a try. And as it turns out, it was something we wouldn’t regret.  It’s a very unique show.  You don’t have to like it, but at least give it a chance and see for yourself,” said sophomore Drew Bratschi.

“MLP teaches us morals that you aren’t going to find on any other show these days.  Put it up against things like the reality TV we get, and it’s no contest. Plus, we are given great story and fun characters.  People may not agree, but it doesn’t change us a bit. We love the show and what it has to offer,” said sophomore David VonBodungen.

You may be thinking to yourself, “So what is the deal with these people anyway? What kind of person lowers themselves to that?”  Great people, actually.

The brony fan base is a unified group. Sure it has its dark spots just like any other fandom, but unlike the rest, it is made up of the nicest people with whom one could ever hope to be acquainted. In the first year of their existence, bronies raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for numerous charities and research, and they continue to do so today. They are also there in the fight against suicide and bullying by allowing people to be who they are and reaching out to those who need it with absolutely no restrictions or questions asked. We aren’t here to tell you how to express yourself; we’re here to help you express yourself.

Of course, you’re not obliged to watch it. If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. We aren’t here to judge you or retaliate with hate if you judge us. Think about it, though. Maybe, you haven’t been feeling your natural, happy self lately.  Maybe things aren’t going the way you want, and you need a break from reality. Well, my friend, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” is just a few pushes of a button away. Give it a try. Two episodes are all I request. So, what do you say? Join the herd today.

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For the counterpoint opinion, read “Run for the Hills: Bronies Invade America” by Matt Spedale.

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