Monday, July 9, 2012

My Little Brony

The internet is weird. It almost seems to have formed into a culture all on its own, with various subcultures sprouting off here and there, starting out on large sites like YouTube, or in chat-rooms, and then growing off by themselves into their own thing. Once in awhile I'll hear about something that makes me curious enough to look into it a little deeper. That's what today's post is about.

Have you heard of Bronies? They are adults, mostly guys, (Most of the girls prefer to be called Pegasisters), who like the show "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic."

I have considered writing about the "Brony" phenomenon for quite some time now, as it was something that intrigued me when I first heard about it. Recently Rhett and Link spent a whole episode of Good Mythical Morning talking about it, and I decided now would be the perfect time to do so.

After I watched the episode I started reading the comments. It was pretty pathetic. I know, I know, YouTube comments sections are a dangerous place to hang out. I am doing another "Snarky" blog post on pathetically bad misspellings though, and I consider reading the comments "Research." :p

For example:
it stupid these grone man hav nothin to do other than watch my little ponny lol
Despite the air of superiority with which the comment was written, the author lacked even the most basic spelling and grammar skills, leaving out all forms of punctuation, apparently had no concept of what a silent E was, or even capitalization for that matter. So I pose the question now, who has the bigger problem? An adult male who enjoys a children's show about rainbow colored horses, or a drooling idiot who can barely master a keyboard and uses their less than average skills to make fun of people?

I've heard about Bronies here and there, but I first REALLY heard about them on an episode of Teens React. Teens being teens, most of them acted like the idea of a guy liking My Little Pony was somehow a reflection on who that guy was as a person. A lot of teens are really shallow. I know, I used to be one, and I probably would have had a similar reaction at their age.

This episode got me to wondering about the true nature of My Little Pony. Why was it so popular? There had to be some reason that grown men would be drawn to a show about cartoon ponies. If it were just a few, they would just be considered anomalies, and wouldn't be talked about all over the internet. My Little Pony is an extremely popular show and has grown into its own internet meme, so there had to be a reason for it. I was very curious. I started looking around YouTube for more information and found an entire episode of "Know Your Meme" dedicated to the phenomenon.

As a slight warning to anyone easily offended, there is one unsavory word pictured in one of the image macros in the video, just a warning so no one get their knickers in a twist. :)

Later, I found this video shortly after that episode of Teens React was released. Someone got a whole bunch of guys who identify themselves as "Bronies" and had them watch the Teens React episode, and talk about why they liked the show.

After this I decided that I needed to see this show for myself. Eventually, I found access to all the episodes that had so far been released, and I started watching them.

I suppose at this point you are expecting me to reveal that I too am now a Brony. Well, you would be expecting wrong, though before I watched the first episode, I fully expected that I would become one. After all I'd heard about the show, I was expecting something really awesome, but I was actually rather disappointed in it.

The show is about 6 teenage ponies and a baby dragon who have adventures and learn what it means to be a good friend. It's your typical "Children's show with a moral." These 7 are all good characters, but sometimes there are these "little kid" ponies who are just beyond annoying. I don't think they're even in half the episodes, but when they are there, the show just seems to drag on and on, and I find myself wishing it would just end already.

Even though I didn't like any of the "Little Kid" characters, there were a couple older characters that I did like. The first was Pinky Pie. As you know, I love random humor, and Pinky Pie can be just off the wall weird sometimes. Rainbow Dash was another character I liked. She was as close as the show got to an "Action Hero" type character. If they made a spin off about her fighting evil, I'd totally watch it.

I do agree with all the reasons that Bronies give for liking the show. My Little Pony does have great animation, great voice acting, and great writing, but for all that it is, I still found it to be rather boring. The few episodes that I did really like were the ones where they had to fight some sort of mythical beast, or an evil pony. And that hardly ever happened.

Humor-wise the show can be pretty funny sometimes. Though not nearly up to the quality of one of my favorite childhood cartoons, Animaniacs, My Little Pony does have quite a few instances of adult humor. Not "Adult" as in "Filthy," but just stuff that kids wouldn't understand. It was subtle, but there was enough that I can see why a lot of adults like it.

I guess the reason I'm not a fan of the show is because there's not nearly enough action. If every episode was about fighting bad guys, I would totally be a Brony. But that's never going to happen. If they made it into a violent show, little girls' parents probably wouldn't let them watch it any more, and they'd lose their main audience.

If I want animated action, I guess I'll just have to stick to watching "Star Wars: Clone Wars" and "Young Justice." (I should totally write reviews of those shows, they are awesome!) Bronies can keep their My Little Pony, it's just not my thing. Maybe some day when I'm REALLY bored I'll go watch some later episodes and see if it has improved at all.

I may not be a fan of the show, but I am a fan of the art that has been made based on it. Since almost 100% of Bronies are geeks, most My Little Pony artwork consists of tributes to other areas of geek culture. Adult My Little Pony fans like to take the My Little Pony figures and repaint and re-sculpt them, sometimes even removing or replacing the hair, and creating a whole new figure out of them. Just as an example here are a few of my favorite ones.

I've never seen any of the Alien movies, but I still thought that this My Little Pony tribute to Alien was very cool.

Aragorn from Lord of the Rings? Awesome. How about Gandalf as well?

Love the beard. :p

Super Heroes are one of the most popular things for fans to make out of My Little Pony figures. Here is the Thing from the Fantastic Four.

And one of my favorites, Batman.

Also cool, but leaning toward disturbing, was "The Dark Knight" version of the Joker.

And since we're currently on a Batman theme, here's one of my favorite Batman villans, Harley Quinn.

Star Wars seems to be another favorite thing to make pony figures of. Here's Boba Fett, Princess Leia and Darth Vader. How awesome are these? :)
Another thing I have almost no knowledge of, since I've never played it, is Halo, but I still thought that this pony was awesome.

And for Avengers fans, Iron Man. Now someone needs to make pony figures of all the rest.

The level of detail that goes into these is what makes them so cool. Only a true geek would get these details so precise.

Before I close this post, I have a few more interesting things that I found on YouTube. And by interesting, I mean pretty hilarious, and kind of cool. If anyone still needed convincing that the male fans of My Little Pony were not girly-men, check out this prototype game that someone is working on. They are using the characters from the show in a fighting game.

This is being made solely as a fan creation. By Bronies, for Bronies, if you will. Though the creators of the show have nothing to do with it, they do know about it, and they aren't doing anything to put a stop to it. They have effectively given it an OK by keeping silent about it. I think that's pretty cool of them, since any other animation company would be up in arms trying to sue the pants off them for copy-write infringement.

There is a guy on YouTube who animates his own cartoons, and has done a whole bunch of movies, including Star Wars and The Avengers, as reenacted by My Little Pony characters. These are hilarious if you've seen the movies and the show, because the videos are a very even mix of references to both.

I'm not sure whether I found it disturbing or hilarious that he used Granny Smith as the Hulk. Maybe disturbingly hilarious.

Another big thing that My Little Pony Fans do is make trailer mash-ups. They take the soundtrack from a trailer, and put together actual animation from My Little Pony, to make it seem like that movie is about the My Little Pony characters. Here is The Avengers. If this were the actual show, I'd be a Brony for sure. :p

I think I need to figure out which episode had those zombie/bug pony things in it. That looked pretty awesome. Obviously I didn't watch enough episodes, because I never saw that one. :p

Even though I myself am not a fan of the show, I have no problem with guys who are. Sure it seems a little weird, but they have just as much right to like My Little Pony as a girl has to like Transformers. I say, embrace the weird. If everyone were "Normal" the world would be unbearably boring.

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