So, anyway, the last few weeks I’ve been seeing My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic stuff everywhere.
It’s the huge new in thing in several corners of the internet. Supposedly the ‘manliest show on TV’ and all that jazz.
So I decided to check it out.
Now I’ve gotten decently into it and I can say that it surprisingly impressive. It is not, at least so far, the be all and end all of animation ever. What it is, however, is the best children’s TV I’ve seen in a long time.
The main thing it does that impresses me is that it doesn’t talk down to it’s viewers. This is a big pet peeve of mine in regards to children’s TV. While children do not have the experience of an adult, what they are not is inherently dumb. In fact, most children are rather bright and what they need is learning experience.
MLP’s story structure is simple, but I feel not dumb. It presents tropes and cliches in a way that teaches the way stories work. I’ve consumed so much fiction that I know these tropes and cliches by heart and can see them playing out in my head the instant they introduce them. That said, I still enjoy it because I do not feel like I am being beaten over the head with a ‘you are dumb and can’t figure this out on your own’ stick.
That brings me to my next point in that the stories are stories. In fact, they are fantasy stories. And I love me my fantasy. It follows story structure properly and completely.
Now, to go on to some negatives.
The are definitely weak episodes. Gilda the Griffon in particular was bad. Everything I mention above was still there, but the story itself was weak. It also felt like it was trying too hard to be relevant. Despite that, I did enjoy how it was a bit more accurate in representing the bully situation and how bullies are unlikely to just reform and mend their ways.
Also, the moralism. While I hate poo-pooing morals in stories, at the same time I very much dislike TV being the source of moral lessons. I wouldn’t mind it if the show were just taking the moral stand that love, kindness, understanding, and friendship are good things. Especially since they haven’t been pushing any agendas beyond simple love, kindness, understanding and friendship. In fact, it is okay to disapprove of a friend’s behavior, but do so in love and not in jerk. It is somewhat heavy handed with the delivery, though. If the heroes act out these virtues that should be enough, they don’t need to spell it out in the denouement. And that spelling out is exactly the kind of treating kids like idiots I was talking about earlier, though it is kind of a minor case due to it being just once and not all throughout.
This is the show’s true weakness. And, most likely, the thing that’s holding it back from being great.
Speaking of morals, let me gush a little more.
In the self-esteem episode (which has been the second best episode I’ve seen), they do a great job. They don’t teach self-esteem for the sake of self-esteem, but being confident in real abilities. But even when dealing with those very real abilities, it is a-okay to be humble about them. And definitely don’t be a braggart and needless show-off.
Finally: the characters are a delightful bunch.
I wish I could think of more to say, but my mind is blanking.
And yes, the show is for girls. But that’s really due to the color palate and the fact that the characters are ponies. Girl ponies.
The show may not, well does not, deserve it’s wild popularity and the vast majority of the praise thrown its way. But it is very solid and enjoyable.
P.S. Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy are awesome.
Anyway, I’ll finish with some amusing videos.