Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Image courtesy The Hub (source)
Anyone who was a child of the 80's knows My Little Pony. But this isn't your old MLP with Megan and lots of pink. This one is SO much more awesome. Welcome to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, brought to you by the same animation studio as Dexter's Laboratory and PowerPuff Girls (both of mid-90's Cartoon Network fame).

The main pony cast consists of (from left to right):

Twilight Sparkle. A unicorn, she is a student of Princess Celestia (not pictured above), tasked with learning about friendship in Ponyville and reporting back through letters written by her pet dragon Spike.

Rarity. A unicorn, but she doesn't possess any magical powers other than knowing how to accessorize an outfit perfectly. She doesn't like to get dirty, and is one of the few ponies spotted wearing clothes.

Applejack. A country gal pony, she lives on a farm with an apple orchard, and speaks with a Southern twang. She is fearless and kind of tomboyish.

Pinkie Pie. A pony that needs no caffeine to be full of energy and happiness. She loves to throw parties for any reason she can find, and is always joyful and positive. She is a stark contrast to her dreary gray upbringing by an almost Amish pony family.

Fluttershy. A pegasus, she is soft spoken and, well, shy. Her talent is talking to animals and caring for nature.

Rainbow Dash. Also a pegasus, she is boisterous and loves to fly fast. She holds the record for fastest pegasus in Ponyville.

Image courtesy The Hub (source: see above)
There are tons of other commonly occurring pony characters, most notably Princess Celestia. She is the ruler of Equestria, in which Ponyville lies. She has a sister named Nightmare Moon, who was once evil, but now is just socially inept because she was trapped in a statue for so long. Princess Celestia is a pegasus unicorn, and very magical. She also has a great sense of humor and can be laid back when she wants to be. She has a pet phoenix as well, who gave poor Twilight Sparkle a fright while she was bird-sitting... apparently phoenixes molt. Amusing.

Something interesting about this program is that it has an interesting fan base that refer to themselves as "Brony" (bro-nee). These fans are generally male, in their late teens to early thirties, and enjoy watching MLP:FiM. My son, who is only almost 3, is also a hardcore Brony. I'm totally cool with this, as my go-to toy in the 80's was MLP. I still have several of them, and my son's collection has grown to three of his own. Being a mom of a boy, I was always kind of remiss that I wouldn't ever get to share my favorite childhood things with my kid, but MLP:FiM changed that for me. We can play ponies, and be totally hardcore doing it. Way cool.
The Brony Pony I made for my son using this awesome pony creator

Each episode usually ends with Twilight Sparkle writing her letter to Princess Celestia regarding what she learned about friendship, normally things like "it's okay to be proud of your talents". (You can find all the friendship lessons at the MLP wiki.) These lessons are pretty much the only "education" going on in this program. As far as cartoons go, this is probably the first non-educational one I've reviewed. So parents who are dead set on their child viewing only educational programming, this one probably isn't for you. This is more of the "fun Saturday morning cartoon" variety. With that said, however, it's not violent, and it is amusing to watch even as an adult. That said, I'm not going to include a "What your child learns" section in this article. They learn to be a good friend. The end.

This show airs on the Hub network, which is available through cable or satellite providers, so check local listings for channel and show times.

Age ranges for this show are going to be really broad. Pretty much, most ages will enjoy this show. Maybe Grandpa will be annoyed with it, but I'm almost positive there is something for everyone 40 and under. It really is an enjoyable and amusing show, perfect for family time in jammies with bowls of cereal on a weekend morning. My husband and I are almost thirty, and we both enjoy it just as much as (if not more than) our son does. Girls are going to be drawn to it for obvious reasons... "Ponies! Sparkles! Magic! Cuteness!", but parents of boys, don't freak out if your son loves it too. Remember, being a Brony is a cool thing!

I highly recommend checking out MLP:FiM. It's definitely one of my favorite cartoons on the air right now. My son enjoys it. My husband enjoys it. And for the geeks out there, there are tons of awesome pony mash-ups (my favorite is the MLP Dr. Horrible one... youtube it. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.) Even more information can be found at the MLP wiki, which is run by some super awesome fans. It's a great family program and a fun watch.

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