Ever seen something that seems to hit a relevance somewhere beyond it’s intended target audience? It happens frequently with cartoons, comics and computer games. And what ever it is, takes on a life of it’s own, and gets a following so much better than the original product itself.
Well, anyone paying attention to anything I have posted within the last few months on the various sites I frequent, would have picked up mentions of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. A cartoon series aimed at young girls, produced by American Kid TV channel The Hub. Which is getting attention from adult males, so much so that they call themselves ‘Bronies’.
Lauren Faust, who worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, was signed up by Hasbro, for their new reincarnation of My Little Pony, after they saw her fan art on Deviant Art. After almost 2 years in production, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was launched on The Hub, and the rest they say is history.
The story is, that Unicorn pony, Twilight Sparkle and her helpful assistant, baby dragon Spike, are sent from Canterlot down to Ponyville by Princess Celestia, Twilight’s mentor. Twilight is sent to discover friendship, as she is a bit of a bookworm and needs to learn that ‘life isn’t all in books’. Whilst in Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle befriends 5 new ponies.
- Hardworking Applejack, an earth pony who works in Sweet Apple Acres, growing and harvesting apples.
- Playful Pinkie Pie, another earth pony, who is little Miss party planner, and is always bouncy and full of fun.
- Tomboy Rainbow Dash, who is a show off pegasus pony, who is a skilled flier and aims to be a member of the Flying Team the Lightning Bolts.
- Vain Rarity, a unicorn who prides herself as the premier clothes designer in Ponyville. She is an old fashioned type of girl, who is looking for prince charming.
- Gentle Fluttershy, is always caring about the animals in and around Ponyville. She is a really quiet pegasus pony.
The series documents the adventures of the 6 ponies, and what Twilight Sparkle learns, is fed back to Princess Celestia at the end of each episode. This sounds a bit flat, but the stories and can be really funny without resorting to toilet humour, like most kids shows these days.
The main interest in the series in a meme sense, came from 4Chan, an image board. One user posted a video of the show, and people started to watch and the crazy started and the show quickly became one of the fastest, most popular Memes on the internet. With screen shots, animated GIFs and fan art quickly becoming extremely popular. The makers of the show, including Lauren Faust, are aware of their unintended audience, and have approached the Bronies. With people on the show posting on the /co/ (comics & cartoons) forum on 4Chan, and thanking the people there for their part in making the show such a success.
Without the Bronies and 4chan, the series would have not been as successful as it has been, and it would be questionable if the series would have continued. In fact the first season was split, because there was a chance not all the episodes would air. But the internet, gave the series a life of it’s own, and it became more and more popular.
On Saturday, The Hub showed the last episode of series 1, which coincided with a statement from Lauren Faust, saying that she is stepping down as executive producer. People were shocked, but with the mid-season split because of uncertainty, you can see that the show was maybe only planned to run 1 season. So because there is a season 2, changes had to be made. With season 2 in development (expected to air in December), and the fandom going from strength to strength, this is a meme which isn’t going anywhere.