My Little Pony, a Hasbro television show created in 2010, has taken much of the internet by storm like a virus. No place is safe from these “bronies,” a combination of the words “bro” and “pony” (though I ask what about a preteen girl’s TV show inspires the adjective of bro). No matter where you try to go, the brony scourge is there to harass you.
Just the other day, I was looking up a picture on Google Images about the game Metal Gear Solid 3. It’s a great game, and probably one of my all-time favorites. But it’s also an M-rated stealth game, with violence and things generally not for preteen girls. Anyway, I Googled Metal Gear Solid 3, and this is the seventh image that popped up.
Really? Really!? A video game for adults and you’re bronifying it? Try it yourself; look up any variety of things with “My Little Pony” at the end. Nothing is sacred, nothing has been spared. I don’t want to send you into a further panic, but see it for yourself; truly, it is bile-inducing.
So let’s back up a bit. Where did bronies begin? Where did this idea that “Hey, I watch a show for little girls, and I should tell everyone about it!” come from? Let’s start back at the beginning. Really, what started it all was an essay by a blogger named Amid Amidi about how the show wasn’t about selling toys like most cartoons of its nature (think Transformers), and this attracted a small fandom from the internet forum 4chan, where the bronies were eventually given their own message board to talk about the show. It snowballed from there, as the ranks of bronies rose from a small fanbase on the web to the very vocal ‘enthusiasts’ who are holding conventions for this show.
Another problem with the bronies is how they have affected the show itself. In an early episode, a pony character could be seen in the background with crossed eyes as a result of an animation error. Bronies took to the web, dubbing her “Derpy Hooves,” and Hasbro caught on, later giving her a speaking part in an episode. However, the episode in question depicted her as being idiotic and with slapstick jokes that drew ire that Hasbro was making fun of mentally-challenged people with the character. This lead to the pony being regulated back to a background character, changing its voice, and removing the crossed eyes.
At this point, you might think I completely hate bronies because they watch a show designed for young girls. I don’t. I’m not adverse to this whole thing. Lots of people like things not intended for them, like I did when I saw Wreck-It Ralph, and that was, of course, a kid’s movie. What I really dislike is how the fanbase operates. Like I pointed out earlier, the brony picture of Metal Gear Solid really bugged me. Try Googling a movie or game and tag “My Little Pony” to the end of it, the results will shock you. The sheer number of bronified art is astounding, and it doesn’t end there. There’s a large part of the fandom making art of the show that definitely isn’t for little kids (or for any sane person, really). Think of it: a little kid goes on the computer after watching an episode of My Little Pony to look up stuff about her new favorite show and runs across these images. This creates a problem for the kids who just want to enjoy the show that’s made for them, and the parents just want a show that is appropriate for their children.
That’s my problem with bronies. The way they’ve taken something for little kids, taken such an unusual (and perhaps ironic) liking to it, and corrupted it so quickly. I don’t hate the show at all. It’s the fanbase I dislike. If they weren’t so vocal about the show and how much they love it, I wouldn’t care. But bronies don’t keep their obsession to themselves, like a heavily-guarded secret. They have to tell everyone. I don’t think I’ve met someone and had them say, “Did I ever tell you I watch My Little Pony?” No, bronies always have to let you know how much they love it as soon as they can.
All I’m saying is this: Bronies, you can keep doing what you want with this show. You can keep talking about it on the internet, in real life, wherever you want. But please, tone it down with the art, with the annoying mention of it every minute, with the obsession. And please, whatever you do, leave me out of it.
(Images Copyright Hasbo/Lauren Faust)
For the counterpoint opinion, read “Pony Craze the Swept the Nation: Hits Closer to Home” by Barry Auxilien.