My Little Brony
I’m sorry what? Bronies.
This group is almost inescapable—the shirts, arm bands, internet memes—if Dawkins was dead, he’d be rolling in his grave. Their motto, “Love and tolerate,” rings on their lips, while they insult the inner workings of their social clique. They’ve been covered by Fox News and CNN. Who are they? What are they? And more importantly; how did they become this popular?
Membersof this group calls themselves “Bronies,” a combination of the words “bro” and “pony.” Essentially, they are fans of the long standing series My Little Pony, now titled My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Take as long as you need to wrap your head around that fact.
The fan-base usually falls between the ages of 13 and 30 and is predominantly male. Females sometimes engage in the Brony community, or another group called “Pegasister,” a clever little name that combines the words “pegasus” and “sister.” Earlier this year, in New York City, a group of about four thousand Bronies met together at a convention affectionately called “BronyCon.” When CBC news asked a man why he was a fan of the show, he said “It’s a step away from everything in life.” The trend is part of a larger “New Sincerity” movement, that combats the cynascism projected by hipster culture.
Few remember 1980’s My Little Pony with open arms and open hearts, yet the Transformer franchise is hailed as being a great addition to any childhood by both male and female alike. Now the paradigm has shifted: major reviewers such as Roger Ebert offer scathing reviews of the robot films, while critics almost unanimously celebrate My Little Pony. Maybe it’s because pastel ponies say more about the goodness of friendship than do cars-turned-killer-robots, or maybe it’s due to of the show’s rebirther: Lauren Faust.
If you asked anyone who Lauren Faust was before 2010, few would know, despite the impact she has had. The Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and even the 1999 film Iron Giant all have the influence of Faust on them. It’s almost impossible to have escaped the Faust touch.
The ponies are voiced by a strong talent. Voice actress Tara Strong was the voice of Timmy Turner from Fairly Odd Parents, and she now stars as Twilight Sparkle. Voice actress Ashleigh Ball, who currently stars as Rainbow Dash and Applejack, is actually the lead singer in the Vancouver based band Hey Ocean!. Lead composer Daniel Ingram has worked on shows such as Martha Speaks, and notable guest star John de Lancie gained his fame by playing Q from Star Trek and Desmond’s dad from Assassin’s Creed.
Despite its wide success, the Brony community is not without its famous haters. Radio host Howard Stern spent 13 minutes insulting and making false generalizations about the Bronies. Fox News has made several negative jabs at the Brony community, on one occasion comparing them to terrorists.
Although the Brony community is nearly inescapable online, there is something to be said about the community in this day and age. Is anything really wrong with a group of men falling in love with a TV show that stars pastel-coloured ponies discovering the magic of friendship? In the words of Lauren Faust, “I didn’t create this show for little girls, I created it for little girls and their parents—including male parents. It only stands to reason that adult animation fans without children may like it, too.”