As a character fan, I am a hard sell. Television as a whole does not gather my wool, so to speak. Those who watch Mythbusters unravel many of the worlds most entertaining physics events will relate to my point of view. Really, what else is there to watch besides reruns of our favorite shows? Anime is just too bloody morally doubtful to invest myself in any longer. Series that should have ended hundreds of episodes ago (Bleach) and/or weren’t dubbed very well (Naruto) no longer matter enough to hold the popular interest.
Transformers just… is… no thanks. I’m honestly a little tired of seeing robots rip each other apart. What else is there? Well…
Along comes My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Hold that thought.
“My Little Pony.” <~<
Yeah, I was resistant at first. My nephew watched a couple episodes, then proceeded to watch every available episode. Being a fan of animation I was curious but repelled. I remembered MLP from Saturday mornings with my sister. She watched MLP, I watched Bigfoot, Transformers, G.I. Joe – you know the riff. Even then I was just “into” animation – we both watched Glow Worms, Smurfs – and pretty much everything else. I love traditional animation – best of all what would be considered children’s animation. The purity, the innocence – the life affirming light that sometimes is present. That’s what I love.
So over time I’ve learned something important. Rather I’ve seen what is important in these stories: The characters. Story is story, and in its various forms has repetition that we occasionally recognize and desire to capture. In my mind there’s too much focus on originality. How original is your life compared to anothers’? Not terribly. Does that negate the value of your existence?
Because I don’t trust your answer I’ll give you mine: No, it doesn’t.
The point is that I didn’t get character then. I liked Optimus Prime and Bumblebee was awesome. I didn’t want to be them, but when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came along I wanted to be those guys. Without any real awareness of myself I wanted to emulate Raphael. Cuz he was the man! So much discontent, I mean that guy was never happy! Neither was I, then – so he was my soul brother. A close friend and I memorized the first live action movie – we loved it! So – much – awesome! As I grew up I left some of my heros behind because they represented my life at that age. Others are still with me.
How many Bugs Bunny fans do we have in the house? I mean the original 1950s smart-talkin’ wise carrot who never started the fight but always finished it. Read me? It’s his nobility that I admired.
Since then I’ve found other characters (and yeah, people too) to emulate in the search for a better me. Roger Zelanzy’s Prince of Amber series had a few characters ( Corwin )… I loved The Three Laws of Robotics (Daneel, anyone – why did they have to butcher the movie so much? Simply because nopony would watch it otherwise)… Battlestar Gallactica was great, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Star Trek: The Next Generation… I mean, this is the stuff that had an impact on my choices, including the ones that better me. (Gettin’ a theme here?)
Back now to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and my hesitant curiosity. Yeah, I wanted to know – the animation looked really slick! At first glance I wanted to see more – the characters were so attractive, so interesting, and my nephew (and my Mom about a week later) were having so much fun that I knew I was sunk . I say that but the reality is it felt good too – so it wasn’t like having to wade into mud for a diamond.
So, finally I did it. I looked up MLP:FiM. My nephew was busy watching iCarly and other Family Channel garbage so I was basically free to watch everything. At the time we were still playing Aion online, and there was some pressure to play that – I’m the family healer, so – yeah. I didn’t want to, though. I’d discovered something that felt ridiculously good and I wanted to stay in that space.
Oh, and strange? You betcher saddle sores! In my own house where I am not criticized for being an anime fan I felt a bit of my own prejudice against these shows. How odd is that? We’re all self admitted Power Puff Girl fans. That was cool though because it involves violence. (Oh no, theme again.)
It wasn’t until I’d finished with the first season (since at the time that’s all there was) that I began to examine the talent behind the show. Lauren Faust, Sarah Wall (who I didn’t know or register at the time, but respect and trust now), and Craig McCracken. HELLO! I’d merely managed to follow the creative talent I already loved. How’s that for falling into the pool you’re already afloat in?
Same dessert in another dish?
Same clothes different brand?
Same car different seats?
Anyway I’m not the kind of guy who gives names much import. Never have. Either we are true to our hearts – what’s right – or we aren’t.
Now we watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as a family. We love the characters, the way they struggle with their core values and choices, the way they Play (Pinkie), Strive (Applejack), Learn (Twilight), Shine (Rarity), Love (Fluttershy) and even Race (Rainbow Dash). In the first episode I was impressed. After decades of morals and values thrown every-which-way at me, I had seen values brought to screen that are vital to our survival.
I’m going to repeat that.
For the first time in three decades of living I have seen values underscored that mean the difference between the success and failure of civilization. I’m a devout Mormon, and this means I work hard to live a morally sound life, and have been taught many good things by family, friends and many other teachers. However, despite this – My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic brought my family together in a way that church sometimes doesn’t manage to.
It is good. That means something. It means a whole lot more when you consider just how messed up the world is.
Now I need to say something. I am the sort of Brony who doesn’t tolerate clop fans, who doesn’t favorite “dat” fan art, who knows the day by day going ons and lets people carry on. I share the pure goodness of MLP:FiM as it was intended. I love Derpy, she is possibly the best character I’ve ever met, and I regret the choice Hasbro made in altering her because it represents the disconnect they have with their fanbase. They apparently don’t know how much we love the show – how much light and kindness it has brought to an internet seen manely (no typo) has sporting nothing more than trolls and 4-chan dwellers.
I love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and I have felt for the first time in my life a desire to share it with everypony. I carry a solid plastic Applejack figure because it reminds me about goodness and good choices, and what I can do for others. It makes me feel good when I see so much darkness, insecurity and saddness everywhere.
I’ve never wanted to share a show with everyone before.
But I’m happy to do it.