My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
|Name:||My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic|
|Date(s):||October 10, 2010 - present|
|Country of Origin:||United States / Canada|
|External Links:||Hasbro official site|
Hub Network official site
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is one of several animated series based on the popular Hasbro toys. It is a reboot of an earlier show, and while MLP:FIM is geared towards young girls and their parents, it became unexpectedly popular with adult audiences. The most media attention has been paid to the brony segment of the audience, but the show is popular with adult female audiences as well.
The creator says about the messages she is trying to get across:
- "There are lots of different ways to be a girl. [...] Cartoons for girls don’t have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness. Girls like stories with real conflict; girls are smart enough to understand complex plots; girls aren’t as easily frightened as everyone seems to think."
More information on the canon can be found at the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Wiki.
- See also: List of MLP:FiM Pairing Names
As with most shows with many characters, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has its fair share of shipping. Some of the most popular are:
- Fluttershy/Rainbow Dash ("Flutterdash")
- Twilight Sparkle/Spike
- Twilight Sparkle/Rainbow Dash
- Twilight Sparkle/Applejack
- Rainbow Dash/Applejack
- Lyra/Bon Bon
- Octavia/DJ PON3
There has been controversy between fans as to what is and is not an "appropriate" ship. While no definitive ages have been given, it is generally agreed that characters like Pinkie Pie and Twilight are in their mid-twenties, while characters like Spike, Applebloom, and Sweetie Belle are more likely to be young teens. Some fans see this as proof that ships like Rarity/Spike or Twilight Sparkle/Spike are not plausible or wholesome. Others argue that since Discord/Fluttershy has more than a thousand year age difference, that this argument doesn't hold water. Another argument is that since Twilight was guessed to only be five when first she hatched Spike, if she and the Mane Six are all around twenty-three, than Spike is around eighteen and combined with the idea of dragons maturing more quickly than ponies, is more likely to be in the same age category. The other big debate amongst fans is whether or not cross species relationships are likely to happen. While there has been no Canon evidence of a cross species relationship so far, with the strong theme of equality and love that the show provides, it is not unlikely that such a relationship could be happening somewhere in the MLP world.
MLP:FIM fandom could be considered a feral fandom. It started on the official series boards and has grown out to YouTube and DeviantArt in an almost viral spread. This history is documented on Know Your Meme.
- 1. /co/ discovers the new (and awesome) show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The dark horse of The Hub's lineup, it's become quite popular since it's debut.
- 2. A significant number of the users on /co/ like the show, and threads start popping up everywhere. Seems like it should be fine, since /co/ is for comics and cartoons, right? Ponies of a different color should fit right in!
- 3. /b/ discovers Pony. Pony threads start popping up all over /b/. You know, that place where gore, bizarre fetishes, and pretty much anything except for Child Porn and Scientology lives in peace?
- 4. Pony threads reach 6,000 posts in one day. 
Several background ponies were adopted and named by the fan community. These include:
- Ditzy Doo/Derpy Hooves: The cross-eyed Pegasus pony, who delivers mail. While she originally once appeared wall-eyed by accident in the background, the fans felt sorry for her and adopted her, broadening her background story and making her a pony with a disability rather than the stereotypical dumb blond. Due to her popularity, the show continued to show her cross-eyed from the middle of season 1 on.
- Dr. Whooves, a light brown stallion with an hourglass shaped cutie mark and a similar hairstyle to Ten. He was an earth pony in several episodes, but he was a Pegasus in another, thus confirming to the fandom that he's capable of regeneration. Both the show and the IDW comics embraced the Doctor Who parody in later years.
- Lyra, a mint-green unicorn with a lyre cutie mark who has been seen sitting on a bench in a human-like pose in one scene. From this, the fandom extrapolated a fascination with humans and hands. "Lyra" eventually became part of her full official name, Lyra Heartstrings.
- Bon Bon, a beige earth pony who has shown up with Lyra. Fandom depicts the two of them as friends/roommates/a couple. She has had minor voice lines with different actors, which sometimes results in fandom depicting her as an aspiring VA herself, or as a changeling. The name Bon Bon which originally came from My Little Pony G1 was semi-confirmed by the show later.
- Vinyl Scratch/DJ P0N-3. Originally an unnamed background pony, fans gave her the name Vinyl Scratch and a club name of DJ P0N-3. The latter name was adopted by the Hub (the network running the show) and in their Equestria Girls music video, used the fan name to identify the pony. It eventually became her name in all official material. Hasbro also used the name Vinyl Scratch at the 2012 Las Vegas Licensing Expo.
- Octavia, a gray sophisticated-looking pony seen playing the cello. In fandom, she is commonly paired with Vinyl Scratch for a contrasting musician duo. Her name (as part of Octavia Melody), her British accent given to her by various voice actresses in the fandom and her friendship with Vinyl all later became official.
The above six ponies had main character roles in the episode "Slice of Life", a tribute to the fandom.
Fans of the series have created a variety of fannish works. Because there is a lot of texture to the characterization of the ponies, both light and dark versions of the ponies get written. "Cupcakes" is the most infamous of the darker stories in MLP fandom, and postulates Pinkie Pie is a serial killer. [know your meme analysis of the story]. Stories with a similar bent are usually labeled grim dark.
Since Hasbro makes their money from sales of the figurines, creation of vids and other fan works is actively promoted by the parent company.
As evidenced by "Dr. Whooves", MLP fandom is heavily influenced by pop culture, drawing in other sources and leveraging them within the fandom. Some vid mashup examples include:
- The Rainbow Knight - The Dark Knight trailer as told by MLP
- The Lord of the Ponies - The Lord of the Rings trailer with Spike as Frodo
- 300 Ponies - The 300 trailer as told by MLP
- PonyCraft 2 - StarCraft II Launch Trailer trailer as told by MLP. After three weeks it has been viewed almost 500,000 times and has more 'likes' than the StarCraft II Launch Trailer where the Top Comment is "Is this a parody of PonyCraft 2?"
- Van Helsing trailer - MLP vs Dracula.
There are also fanart fusions where artists ponify characters from other series, drawing them as ponies in the MLP style. A running joke among fans is the Imaginary Rule 85 of the Internet, stating that all things have been drawn as ponies. Some examples include:
- Azula, Ty Lee, Mai and Zuko of Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Donna Noble of Doctor Who.
- 22 characters from Harry Potter
Fans aren't just creating mashups however. Along with more traditional fanworks like fanfic, art and vids, MLP fandom contains a large number of musicians that create original songs inspired by the show in a variety of styles, enough to supply several 24/7 Web radio stations specializing in pony music.
- A selection of music classics from the fandom
- | discord by Coleknows A trance music theme for Discord
- | =Magic=, a trance theme for Twilight Sparkle, also by Coleknows
- Nightmare Night, a theme for Princess Luna by WoodenToaster and Mic The Microphone, based on the episode "Luna Eclipsed"
- The Moon Rises (original, extended) a theme for Princess Luna by ponyphonic
- Lullaby for a Princess, a theme for Princess Celestia by ponyphonic
Friendship is Witchcraft by shercloppones is a version of key scenes from MLP episodes where the editor has replaced the lyric line/soundtrack using actors with similar voices to create stories that have the mane six participating in more magic than is shown on the series (demons, robots, etc.) As part of the changes, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, which are a pegasus and an earth pony respectively, are given magic. Pinkie's Brew takes one of the series songs (Cupcakes) and creates new lyrics to support the creation of a time spell by Pinkie Pie and Applebloom as part of the reimagined episode.
Fans are also active in the gaming community, and have created many mods on different gaming platforms such as Minecraft, Team Fortress 2, Garry's Mod, etc. These versions of the ponies also appear in fanfiction and fan art outside of the game mods.
Other popular fanworks include:
- Cupcakes, the only story ever tagged "GRIMDARK AS FUCK" by Equestria Daily in over ten years
- Fallout: Equestria which spawned its own fandom
- Past Sins
- Rainbow Factory
- Background Pony
- The Conversion Bureau
- Names of ponies when genderswapped, such as:
- Dusk Shine (Twilight Sparkle)
- Rainbow Blitz (Rainbow Dash)
- Butterscotch (Fluttershy)
- Elusive (Rarity)
- Bubble Berry (Pinkie Pie)
- Barb (Spike)
- Names of pony relationships (Pinkie Pie candy names vs. smushed names)
- Human versions of the ponies in fan art and cosplay
- Art by Newyorkx3
- Fan songs by SoGreatAndPowerful
The show was not without controversy. Early in its run, Kathleen Richter, a journalist for Ms. Magazine, wrote the article My Little Homophobic, Racist, Smart-Shaming Pony, wherein she coded Rainbow Dash as being a lesbian due to her having a tomboyish personality compared to the other ponies and for her mane and tail being colored like a rainbow (a commonly associated symbol of the LGBT community), coded dark coated ponies as darker-skinned people serving a white pony (Princess Celestia) and that the protagonist Twilight Sparkle is being shamed for studying. This prompted a response from Lauren Faust herself refuting the accusations.
In addition, some fans and media critics have discussed problematic content in the series:
- My Little Pony Fail at debunkingwhite discussing the Bridle Gossip episode which features African themes.
- "Settler ponies" and buffaloes in MY LITTLE PONY (new TV series) by Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature, about the episode, "Over a Barrel" which features Buffalo representing American Indians.
- Thread on the Reese post at Fail-Fandomanon which begins with discussion of personalities and meta on the reaction to the episode in fandom and then veers into discussion about the Bridle Gossip episode.
- And The Pony You Rode In On by sanguinity lays out the colonialist and racist themes zie saw in the Over a Barrel episode.
- Discussion of the season two episode that makes the background character dubbed "Derpy Hooves" canonical at Fail-Fandomanon. It also led to more controversy, which led to the near-censorship of Derpy.
- During the end of the show's third season, several controversies emerged at once, erupting the fanbase into a massive uproar. These controversies were...
- A C&D towards a highly popular fangame where players pitted ponies against each other.
- News of a special where the ponies become humans.
- The cancellation of production for a documentary involving the fanbase.
- The third season's finale itself, in which Twilight Sparkle ascends to become an Alicorn Princess, was a source of controversy with some fans finding it a "Jumping the shark" moment.
The fandom itself is similarly a source of controversy, having drawn criticism from the media and pundits who have derided the older demographic's embrace of a television series marketed towards young girls as well as the mass amounts of fan-produced pornographic artwork and literature and alleged misogyny by bronies. The Baltimore Sun condemned the fandom in 2014, writing "the problem with bronies has nothing to grown men liking a children's cartoon and everything to do with their usurping of a safe space for young girls and distorting it into a hypersexual and toxic environment for these younger fans."
Resources and Communities
- Equestria Daily
- My Little Pony Corrals Unlikely Fanboys Known as ‘Bronies’
- My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Wiki
- Derpibooru (imageboard)
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic works at fanfiction.net
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic works at AO3
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Fanfiction Archive
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Explicit Fanfiction Archive
- FIMFiction.net, a My Little Pony fanfiction archive
- The Fan Labour Wiki
- Example of Spike/Rarity