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Is It Worth The Hype? My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic

6 min read

I’m the type of person who tries to stay away from things that get a lot of hype.  If I’m told repeatedly how awesome something is I get worried that it won’t deliver on its promises and I avoid it like the plague.  I’ve been disappointed by “great” things before.  I’ve stood in line at midnight only to go home a sad little fangirl.  I’ve dropped $60 on a game only to want to trade it in the next morning.  I’ve sat through 2 hour long movies and wondered what the weather was like outside because it just had to be better than the crap I had just spent money on.  So I’ve decided to do a segment about those popular things we’re all told to watch and play and answer the question, “Is it worth the hype?”

This week’s topic:

My little pony, my little poooony, aaaaaaaaah~

The plot:

Once upon a time there was a pony franchise that started back in 1983 in the form of adorable toys.  These colorful plastic ponies were all the rage back then — I think?  I wasn’t really a pony kid, I was more into “Rainbow Brite” and “Thundercats”… yeah, figure that one out.

But these aren’t the ponies you want to talk about, oh no.  You want to talk about the ponies where “Friendship is Magic” and all of that “brony” jazz.  Well then, shall we dash like the rainbow?

“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” started back in 2010.  The show follows the misadventures of the studious Twilight Sparkle — is that a jab at Twilight, by chance?  I have no idea, but if it is… well done.  Twilight Sparkle, with the guidance of her mentor, Princess Celestia, must learn about friendship in the town of Ponyville.  Twilight Sparkle becomes close friends with five other ponies: Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie.  They each represent a different face of friendship and each are a vital part of the “Elements of Harmony.”

The hype:

Dear lord, do I even have to explain this?  If you haven’t been hooked on Lauren Faust’s style back in the “Powerpuff Girl” days, or her newest series of shorts, “Super Best Friends Forever,” then you definitely know it from “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”  I know I’m supposed to go into how big the hype is, but this is one of those things where all I need to do is speak its name and you know what it is.  Be it girl, teenager, adult, woman, man, just… ponies.  I swear if I knew that this thing was going to explode as much as it did, I would’ve made my parents by me ponies back in the 80s and kept them in a storage unit somewhere so I could rediscover them and sell them for enough money to buy a new house, car, and take a nice long trip to London.

Is it worth the hype?

I don’t know.

What do you mean you don’t know?

I mean…

… I honestly don’t know.

Before you jump down my throat let me explain.

You see, I’ve been to a lot of conventions and pony-mania is just bigger than life itself.  I’ve discovered that people tend to pick a side.  You either worship the ground the ponies prance around on or you absolutely loathe their existence.

To be honest with you I can’t pick a side.

Have I tried to show?  Of course I have, I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t give it a shot.  Is it good?  Sure, I had a few good laughs as I watched one of the Halloween specials with some friends.  In fact, I laughed more than I thought I would.  Going in I expected nothing, coming out I had a smile on my face.  There’s something about it that’s genuinely amusing, and who isn’t going to love the inside jokes — The Sarah Palin pony, the Dr. Who pony, ect.  Also, who isn’t going to love the fact that the creator’s listen to the fans?  A pony with a derpy look on its face?  Sure, let’s name it Derpy Hooves!  But on top of just having cute names and a cute art style, each pony has its own personality.  Fluttershy?  Yeah, shy.  Pinkie Pie?  Kinda cray cray.  So its easy for people to watch and identify with a character.  It’s the same thing I did as a kid with Power Rangers.  “I wanna be the yellow ranger,” because she wasn’t as girly as the pink ranger.  So yes, I can appreciate everything that “MLP” does as a series.

I just… I don’t know, it didn’t really hook me in.

And I still cannot understand the craze behind it!

The reason I’m saying “I don’t know” to the question “is it worth the hype” is because I truly just cannot understand it.  Do I hate the series?  No.  Absolutely not.  The ponies are cute, it’s fun to see people cosplay them, and it’s cool to see people make ponies by hand because the crafting nerd in me can appreciate the work that goes into it.  But… do I love the series?  Not really.  Does that mean it’s bad?  No.  Does that mean it’s good?  Well, that’s for you to decide, I suppose.  But I truly don’t get it.  The odd part is, when I ask someone about it I don’t really get a well thought out response.  It’s that response you get from someone who really, really loves a series, “It’s just awesome, that’s all,” and it’s left at that.

And I can’t complain, because I do the exact same thing with series I obsessive over.  Why is “Persona 4” so great?  The immediate answer?  It just is!  If you give me a few hours to stew over it I can elaborate, but for now?  You should play it/watch it/appreciate it, right now!

I think the thing that impresses me so much about this series is the amount of love it gets.  On top of the costumes — ranging from hoodies to elaborate, full-sized ponies — and department stores carrying merchandise you can tell that the series has an impact on our culture.  But the fact that there’s conventions just for ponies, just from this one thing that’s shot up in popularity?  And “Friendship is Magic” is only two years old!  On top of all the love that it gets, the thing that is the biggest surprise to me is the amount of boys that are in love with this show.  Maybe it’s because I’m not immersed in the fandom, but I just don’t understand why.  Is it a bad thing that bronies exist?  No, not at all.  In fact, I would’ve killed to have a boy in the 80s who didn’t shy away from the few girl shows I liked.  Do you know how awesome it would’ve been to have a boy not whine and make faces at my Rainbow Brite stuff?  It’s like, suddenly, boys aren’t ashamed to like such a “girly” show.  They walk around conventions with “20% cooler” shirts.  They squeal when they see Fluttershy.  They ask for custom pony commissions.  They even have their own ponies that they’ve made up.  As far as I can tell there’s not too many male characters for the boys to identify with.  It’s not like watching the “Avengers” cartoon and calling yourself Ironman or the Hulk.  It’s a girly show, with a pretty girly cast, with bright colors, cute hairstyles, and magic.

When did this become a boy thing?  How?  Just… where were these boys twenty years ago when I watched Jem and wanted to play with my Barbies?

Final Thoughts

In the end I don’t have an answer to the question.  I don’t want to say “yes” or “no” simply because I do not understand.  So, I guess I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you’re a fanatic for the series or not.  Me personally?  It’s cute, yes, but I’m not jumping up and down for joy because its on Netflix.  Maybe I should actually refer my question to you, the readers.  Is “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic worth the hype it gets?”  I’m genuinely curious, please, let me know!

Want to see something make it into the segment? Let me know via email:  Tell me what it is and why you feel it is over-hyped, under-hyped, or hyped just right. Take care, fair readers, and remember: what fun is there in making sense?


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