How I became a fan of “My Little Pony”

Duncan Cooper

I still remember my reaction when I first saw the discussion beginning on my computer screen. I was half-certain it was a joke, but the longer the discussion continued, the more I realized that this was completely legitimate, and I could hardly believe my eyes.

The people online were discussing the TV show “My Little Pony,” and it wasn’t just anybody it was a bunch of grown men.

I had seen weird things and strange interests, but this was new, even to me. I couldn’t imagine what on earth had convinced them to watch a show made for little girls, or why they would be so easygoing about it. Worst of all, they would try to convince others to watch it.

Eventually, after the shock had worn off, I just accepted the phenomenon as something people did and chalked it off as nothing. However, despite my displeasure, I found myself growing curious as to why it had happened.

About four years ago, I decided I had to find out for myself, to assure myself it was as terrible as I thought it was. And so, quite unexpectedly, I found myself watching “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.”

And what happened was on the level of nuclear disaster and world Armageddon: It wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t bad.

In fact, the situation was much worse than that — it was great. I loved it, but I was horrified by the thought.

After two weeks of conflict, I found myself returning to finish the entire first season. After the fifth episode, I knew I was hooked, and any resistance I had given was now futile. I was a male fan of “My Little Pony,” better known as a “Brony”, pure and simple.

Looking back, I don’t think I actually knew what made me like the show. There was so much that “My Little Pony” was doing right that I couldn’t really put a finger on it.

The flash animation style was superbly done and friendly to the eye. A great surprise was the amount of humor that laced the episodes. But what may have been the show’s best claim was the excellent storytelling and well-rounded characters that it developed.

But still, that wasn’t quite it.

There were multiple Brony conventions such as BronyCon and GalaCon from the United States to Europe to Asia, where thousands of fans come together for weekends of music, art and to party with fellow Bronies. I’d become a part of a community that had created hundreds upon thousands of pieces of artwork, countless songs, and plenty of our own animated shorts. Even the voice actors of the show’s characters had bought into the series, fully embracing the show and its fans. It was a cultural phenomenon that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before.

Though it may come as a surprise, what I believe draws people to “My Little Pony” is not its humor, its characters or its storyline.

It is that the show has hope. “My Little Pony” has an ever-present sense of morality to its characters and storytelling. The heart and warmth of the show is that it truly believes that doing even the smallest amount of good can make this world better.

This morality and decency the show possesses is not a coincidence. In the book, “The Elements of Harmony: Friendship is Magic (The Official Guidebook)” Phil Caesar, location designer for “My Little Pony” once said, “It makes me feel good to know I’m part of something positive. Goodness knows we need that in this world.”

Megan McCarthy, story editor, said in the same book, “We all feel like we are working on a project that isn’t just entertaining but contributes something positive to the world.”

That is what makes the difference. The show’s staff and creators believe in what they’re doing. They’ve invested themselves fully into this, and the result is so well done, so joyful and so hopeful that people stood up and took notice. As we watch the world, we see so much bad news, so many scandals and murders and theft that it can be so depressing. So “My Little Pony” is trying to change that, not by changing the whole world, but by trying to change its people and its youth, and convince them that even the smallest act of goodness can have a difference.

It may not seem like much, but as McCarthy said in, “The Elements of Harmony: Friendship is Magic (The Official Guidebook)”, “No matter your age or gender, it is important to be reminded every now and then that honesty, generosity, laughter, kindness, loyalty, and friendship are keys to a happy and fulfilling life. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic seeks to do just that in a hilarious, music-filled, jaw-droppingly well-animated way.”