A book-smart unicorn is sent to the rural village of Ponyville to study lessons in friendship. Based on the "My Little Pony" toy brand by Hasbro, Friendship is Magic is notable for its adult-male cult following, particularly on YouTube and 4chan. Proof that the Internet is an interesting place.
Rarity's musical number "Stitching it Together" is actually a parody of the song "Putting it Together" by the musical theater group Sondheim.27 More Trivia
|Ashleigh Ball||Applejack / Rainbow Dash||63 eps.|
|Tabitha St. Germain||Rarity / Princess Luna / Cup Cake / Derpy / Photo Finish / misc.||62 eps.|
|Tara Strong||Twilight Sparkle||61 eps.|
|Andrea Libman||Pinkie Pie / Fluttershy||59 eps.|
|Cathy Weseluck||Spike||49 eps.|
|Nicole Oliver||Princess Celestia||28 eps.|
|Michelle Creber||Apple Bloom||22 eps.|
|Madeleine Peters||Scootaloo||15 eps.|
|Claire Corlett||Sweetie Belle||15 eps.|
|Peter New||Big Macintosh||14 eps.|
|1||Friendship is Magic (pt. 1)||10/10/2010|
|2||Friendship is Magic (pt. 2)||10/22/2010|
|3||The Ticket Master||10/29/2010|
|5||Griffon the Brush-off||11/12/2010|
|8||Look Before You Sleep||12/03/2010|
|10||Swarm of the Century||12/17/2010|
|11||Winter Wrap Up||12/24/2010|
|12||Call of the Cutie||01/07/2011|
|13||Fall Weather Friends||01/28/2011|
|14||Suited for Success||02/04/2011|
|15||Feeling Pinkie Keen||02/11/2011|
|18||The Show Stoppers||03/04/2011|
|19||A Dog and Pony Show||03/11/2011|
|20||Green Isn't Your Color||03/18/2011|
|21||Over a Barrel||03/25/2011|
|22||A Bird in the Hoof||04/08/2011|
|23||The Cutie Mark Chronicles||04/15/2011|
|24||Owl's Well That Ends Well||04/22/2011|
|25||Party of One||04/29/2011|
|26||The Best Night Ever||05/06/2011|
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is an animated children's program based on the "My Little Pony" toy line. It was one of the first shows that premiered with the launch of Hub, which replaced Discovery Kids on October 10, 2010. It follows the adventures and life lessons of Twilight Sparkle and her friends while living in the rural village of Ponyville.
While the show's target demographic is young to pre-teen girls, it has generated a surprising amount of adult fans, many male, thanks in part to the Internet community and the show's clever writing as well as strong characterization.
The show was developed for television by animation veteran Lauren Faust who worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. She stepped down as the show's executive producer at the end of the first season, but is still on board as a consulting producer.
Shows based on girls’ toys always left a bad taste in my mouth, even when I was a child. They did not reflect the way I played with my toys. I assigned my ponies and my Strawberry Shortcake dolls distinctive personalities and sent them on epic adventures to save the world. On TV, though, I couldn’t tell one girl character from another and they just had endless tea parties, giggled over nothing and defeated villains by either sharing with them or crying. (...) Even to my 7-year-old self, these shows made no sense and couldn’t keep my interest.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was one of the shows greenlit exclusively for the Hub, a children's network that replaced Discovery Kids and part of a joint deal between Discovery and the toy company Hasbro. As a result, many of the original shows for the network are revisits of some of Hasbro's past franchises, retooled for a new generation of children. Inevitably, the long running toy franchise of My Little Pony (MLP) figurines became one of these shows.
Up until her work on MLP, Cartoon Network animation veteran Lauren Faust, had been pitching a show idea to multiple networks based on her own creation, "Galaxy Girls". However, it was turned down every time due to the idea that cartoons made for girls are inherently unsuccessful. Eventually, she pitched her idea to Hasbro executive Lisa Litcht who, reportedly, brought up MLP out of the blue and thought that Lauren's art style would be perfect for the MLP project. Lauren, a "proud feminist", admits that she was skeptical at first. Despite playing with the toys as a child she never got into the original MLP cartoons. As quoted above, shows based on her favorite toys never reflected the way she played with them and were usually overly sappy and toothless. But once she warmed up to the project, she set out to prove that girls' television could not only be enjoyable, but didn't need to succumb to becoming, in her words, "a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness."
Faust's vision practically overhauled the universe of MLP, giving the characters all distinctive personalities: the goal being to allow the girls have a diverse spectrum common female characteristics (i.e.: tomboy, fabulous, bookish, etc.) without divulging into outright stereotype or "cookie-cutter". The girls have sympathetic problems and despite working their friendships out, don't always get along. Her designs in character were sometimes limited due to Hasbo's presence, but she manged to work around them without comprising her vision. For example, Rarity was turned from a shopaholic, a trait seen in many girl properties, into a fashion designer. Ultimately, Faust's message in the show is that friends can be diverse and can get into arguments sometimes but work things out and girls cannot, and should not, be held back by being told what they can and cannot do.
The show also brought on board other seasoned names in the industry. Most of the crew involved on the show had also worked on shows featured during the so-called "golden age" of Cartoon Network. These include story editor Robert Renzetti, voice actress Tara Strong, writers Amy Keating Rogers and Dave Polsky, and storyboard artist Jim Miller, to name a few.
At the end of Season 1, Faust stepped down as the executive producer. Despite initial fan outcries and panic, she has assured fans of the show that she was only a component of the show's success and that the other people involved with the show would not be lost without her. However, she was involved with half of the writing of Season 2.
Twilight Sparkle is a bookworm unicorn and star pupil of Princess Celestia, the ruler of Equestria. Having no friends other than a young dragon named Spike, and spending all of her time studying in the library, the both are sent to the town of Ponyville. Here, Twilight Sparkle is ordered to make friends, learn about the 'magic' of friendship, and report her findings back to the princess.
While she has difficulty at first, she grows attached to the town and her five new friends: Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity. Together, they bond through various adventures and dealing with relatable social problems.
Most of the characters are based on past entries in the toy line as well as previous shows. However, they have been radically changed in both design and character.
The lead character of the show, and possibly of the group. She is a very booksmart unicorn, which makes her a dependable source of information but also socially awkward in some places. She is often the voice of reason among her friends; having to solve most of the problems and keep things organized. She is also very strong in her magic abilities, though she is reluctant to use them in some situations.
Following the events of "Magical Mystery Cure," Twilight became an alicorn and was made into a princess.
A tomboyish pegasus whose great speed and loyalty makes up for her lazy and proud behavior. She is often outspoken and rude, but can also be caring when she wants to. Among other ponies, she is in charge of handling with the weather changes in the area and is very good at what she does. Her lifelong dream is to be a member of her heroes, Equestria's aerial troupe The Wonderbolts, and because of this she spends her freetime perfecting stunts and maneuvers.
A headstrong country girl with a down-to-earth attitude. She comes from a long line of apple farmers and is often seen selling and harvesting her crop as well as doing other farm activities. She is known as being one of the most dependable ponies in the town, always willing to help others though preferring to not receive any for herself.
Imagining if you mixed Bubbles with GIR, Pinkie Pie is the ditsy free-spirit of the group. Her actions, which adds a bit of random and cartoony humor to the show, are almost never given explanation and, often, just accepted by the folk of Ponyville. While having a knack for baking (working at the town's bakery) she loves to plan and host parties (quite often, curiously) as well as play light-hearted pranks on most of her friends.
A calm, sweet, and very shy (hence, the name) pegasus. She is literally soft-spoken, with her speech being barely over a whisper. She loves animals, and is very talented at taking care of them. (and keeping them in line) She is very sensitive, easily scared, and a tendency to put others over herself. However, she does have the ability to stand up for herself and her friends at the most crucial moments.
Ponyville's premier dress designer. She works and runs the town's dress shop, noted for her attention to the smallest details: a knack that sometimes gets in the way of the more important things. She absolutely hates being messy, and often chastises ponies around her for their appearances. However, she is very generous: always willing to help her friends' images, among other things. She also has a special ability to locate gems with her horn; perfect for making fabulous dresses.
A baby dragon who has acted as an assistant to Twilight Sparkle since he was a hatchling. His primary job is to take notes and letters, the latter often sent to Princess Celestia though his own magic. He helps the girls when needed, usually through small tasks but once or twice he gets to shine. He is madly in love with Rarity.
The daytime, and former absolute, ruler of all of Equestria. After her sister, Princess Luna, turned wicked and attempted a coup, Celestia imprisoned her in the moon and took on to ruling both times of day for 1000 years. She is often kind to her subjects, who always go out of their way to please her. Despite being royalty, she has a mischievous side that sometimes pops out in response to the actions of her subjects.
Applejack's little sister. Just as headstrong as her sister, she is on a personal mission to earn her "cutie mark," a symbol that appears on the flanks of ponies when they learn of their special trait, and appears to be the most determined to do so. She is the leader of her own group of friends, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, formed for the common goal to find their talents and purposes. While she is currently unaware of it, she has shown to be quite talented at house-making and construction.
One of Apple Bloom's friends; a peagsus who is similar in attitude to Rainbow Dash, who acts as her inspiration and mentor. She rides around on a scooter, using her flightless wings to increase her speed and perform tricks. She is very agile though, like the rest of her friends, is unaware of her talent.
Another of Apple Bloom's friends, as well as Rarity's little sister. Like Apple Bloom, she wants to to be like her sister; even offering to help her in her work. (Only to get in the way) Like the rest, she is out to find her talent, which she is unaware is her beautiful singing voice.
A mysterious zebra shaman who lives in the depths of the Everfree Forest. She is of a foreign origin, reflected by her appearance, Swahili-like speech, and home decor. She was once feared by the folk of Ponyville due to her mysterious nature, but has since become a welcome visitor as well as friend of Twilight Sparkle. She is usually seen conjuring up folk potions and, for reasons unknown, speaks only in rhyme.
Princess Celestia's younger sister, who rules over the night. After her bitterness turned her into the evil Nightmare Moon, she became imprisoned in the moon. 1,000 years later, she escaped her imprisonment and attempted to blanket the land in eternal night. When she was defeated by Twilight Sparkle and friends, she returned to her original form and had continued her duties, while continuing to readjust and earn back the trust of her subjects.
Reaction to the show, so far, has been immensely positive. Critics and fans have applauded the show's self-aware humor, Flash animation, and strong characterization of the cast.
Note: For a better explanation of the "My Little Pony" phenomenon/meme, and I'm sure you want nothing but an explanation of all this, please refer to the article on KnowYourMeme .
Due to the said humor and characterizations, which practically depict a little girl's toy having believable, amusing responses and reactions to their world, the show has developed an increasing cult following on the Internet. Surprisingly, according to demographics of the episodes uploaded to YouTube, two-thirds of the viewers have been males between the ages of 20 and 30. Over time, the term "brony", a portmanteau of "bro" and "pony", was invented used to describe this new demographic.
The mysterious appeal of the show has been debated by fans and non-fans alike. Some fans, having no clear understanding of what makes the show good, have likened MLP to "crack". In an interview for Wired magazine, one brony put it as being due to a "perfect storm of ’80s nostalgia and cultural irony." However, some fans claim to enjoy the show without a single shred of ironic appreciation. In an blog post by animator Max Gilardi,—who achieved larger Internet fame for his series of adult-oriented MLP parodies—it was claimed that a "sufficient explaination doesn't exist" though suggested that it may be the combination of the show's "unique sense of sentimentality" and ability to not be nauseatingly "cute", compared to past installments in franchise.
The Internet's interest in the show can be traced back to an alarmist-toned article for the animation editorial website, Cartoon Brew. In the article, which was posted a few days after the launch of the Hub, animation blogger Amid Amidi bemoaned what he referred to as "the death of creator-driven animation", referring to the fact that industry big-names like Lauren Faust and Rob Renzetti were involved on the My Little Pony project; something he saw as a serious downgrade in comparison to their past works. The article sparked discussion on the 4chan imageboard's comic and cartoon section, /co/. As a result, many users went to watch the show's pilot episode and by the broadcast of the second episode there was significant interest in the show, leading to the creation of "pony threads" and a new surprise demographic.
Since then, and due to mixed-to-negative reactions on 4chan, numerous fansites and boards have popped up to cater to the growing demographic. These include the 4chan brony offshoot, Ponychan, the fan news site Equestria Daily, and pockets of fan groups on other popular websites and forums including DeviantART and Tumblr. Conventions and other get-togethers have also popped up, including the aptly named "Bronycon".
The show has also been elevated to meme status, though some criticize that this has been forced. This is due to the show's unexpected popularity on 4chan which, at one point, got so out of control that one moderator began to delete all posts regarding the show as well as ban the users who started them. Despite this, bronies and trolls continued to flood the site with macros based on the show, usually when moderators were asleep. Since then, special fan-sites and imageboards have popped up to cater to the growing demographic.
Regardless, in some corners of the Internet, the fandom's "cancer"-like spread, including the endless trove of memes, injokes, and derailment discussions, has resulted in disgust and confusion, giving the show a "love it or hate it" status overall. Some have expressed more disgust towards the rampant fanbase than towards the actual show, seeing that the unavoidable fan obsession ruins any fun the show could provide.
While initially surprised by the fandom, Faust has been very supportive of the brony community. She has answered fan questions over her deviantART page and has even condoned the uploading of episodes to YouTube. Other animators who work on the show have also been supportive, with some taking part in discussions on fan boards like Ponychan. Actors, writers, and animators have made videos and public appearances thanking the community for the continuing support.
Hasbro has shown their support for the surprise cult following, through press statements and introducing ad campaigns and merchandise made to appeal to the brony-demographic. The company, for the most part, have been laid back about the show's unauthorized YouTube streaming, though have recently begun to crack down on such channels and websites that distribute the show illegally. Fans have been civil regarding Hasbro's actions, with more fans legally purchasing the episodes through iTunes and DVD sales, though some argue that shutting down MLP sites and fan streams cuts off a currently unrecognized international market and that sales of the core My Little Pony toys have increased thanks to the so-called "free advertising."
In a Forbes article about the then topical SOPA bill, the MLP phenomenon was used as a counter-point to long standing criticism that piracy and streaming sites jeopardizes company profits. Hasbro's handling of the issue, and fanbase, was highlighted as an example of how media companies can market turn a profit in the age of online streaming.
Since the middle of season 1, the writers and animators of the show have acknowledged the ongoing phenomenon; more so during the second season. Creators have since included pop culture references such as an homage to the ceremony scene from Star Wars IV: A New Hope, a call back to the "Chocolate Factory" scene from I Love Lucy, and a brief cameo of "ponified" versions of characters from The Big Lebowski in a bowling alley scene.
However, one of the biggest gestures of gratitude towards the community has been the acknowledgement of names given to the large number of background characters by the fan community. Animators have admitted that during production, they refer to the background ponies and extras by names given by the fans. These include Time Turner, a brown earth pony whose unofficial fan-name, "Doctor Whooves", is named for his hourglass cutie mark and resemblance to Doctor Who actor David Tennant, and, thus, is often seen in fan lore as The Doctor in a pony form. DJ-PON3, once a one-shot unicorn DJ, often used in relation to fan remix music, who has become a staple figure in MLP merchandise. Octavia, a cello-playing earth pony often depicted as the civilized foil to DJ-PON3, who is often written as her roommate. Also Lyra Heartsrings and Bon Bon, a unicorn and earth pony, respectively, who appear to be inseparable friends; the former often depicted as a pony who wishes to be a human. (A joke rising from a sitting pose she had in the episode "Dragonshy.")
But the most widely known fan pony is the character Derpy Hooves: a grey peagsus who, due to an animation error in the first episode, was named for her humorous wall-eyed expression. While she appeared in the first few episodes only as a crowd extra, ever since "Feeling Pinkie Keen" the animators have promoted the stock character to a fan service character; an Easter Egg for fans to spot with her trademark "derp eyes". In season two, Derpy's presence became more prominent, with the animators planning out her appearances in the storyboard process. Derpy was given a minor role in the episode, "The Last Rodeo", where she was referred to by her fan-given name and even given a voice. However, controversy over her appearance has led to Derpy being given a reduced role in the show; her lack of appearances in season three is attributed to this, however she still appears in licensed merchandise, comic books, and video games.
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|Name||My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic|
|Date of 1st Airing||Oct. 10, 2010|
|Date of Last Airing|
|Original Air Day||Saturday|
|Original Air Time||130|
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