First: why I like the show.
It makes me happy. Seriously, that's about it. I like the characters, I like this little world they inhabit, and I like the shit they get into. It's fun, FOR ME, to watch. Now, to add to that, this cartoon is the only one I know that allows for pure easy escapism. I love watching cartoons, but none seem to have the effect this one does in terms of making me forget what's going on. I can just enjoy this when I watch it. Not so with Spongebob, or Fairly Odd Parents, or any of the adult cartoons on Comedy Central. There's a certain charm, simplicity, and innocence in this show that I find refreshing and calming. Watching an episode to end the night just makes me feel better.
Secondly: the world of Equestria
I find the world the characters inhabit to be very interesting. For example, the whether in Equestria is physically controlled by the ponies, and not by nature itself. In episode ten, "Winter Wrap Up" the concept of controlled whether is introduced. Here, the ponies are changing the season from winter into spring, because they need to to survive. They melt/move all the snow away, they wake the animals from hibernation, and they start planting more food as their stores have started to wane. Later, in episode 13, "Fall Whether Friends" the ponies begin to change the season from fall to winter. They host a race and gallop throughout the town to remove the leaves from the trees.
All whether is manufactured by the ponies in Cloudsdale. The Pegasus ponies make the clouds, they make the rain, they make rainbows, and they make snow. This is all transported by them, I would guess, to other parts of Equestria when the seasons need to be changed.
Obviously, this brings in some interesting thoughts. There are areas of Equestria that operate without the need of the ponies, meaning the whole planet was like that until they figured out how to change the whether. While man has industrialized his world to suit his needs, these ponies have actually CHANGED their world to suit theirs. It's all very cool, in my opinion.
Gems come into play a few times, like rubies, opals, emeralds, etc. These gems seem to be easier to find on this planet than they do on ours, and they are dug out of the ground and broken out of rocks already cut. The gems being cut is more a cosmetic choice for the artists, but the fact that they are so easy to find is interesting. I wonder what kind of world they have that would do that. I know nothing of geology so I can't speculate.
Thirdly: The Characters
As I watched this show, I got to see the characters change and develop. This usually does not happen in a children's show, much less a show aimed at such a young audience. But, the characters really do go through changes as the show progresses. Mostly minor ones mind you, this isn't some great piece of literature, but when a character does something new, it seems plausible. Fluttershy is the biggest example. She starts off extremely shy and soft spoken, and remains this way throughout most of the show, but towards the end, she becomes more assertive and is more prone to bursts of loudness and emotion. It makes sense when she does this. Rarity becomes a nice example for a well rounded character. The viewer gains new insights and facets as they watch the episodes surrounding her, and the end result is a well developed and functioning character. She is not flat.
I like all the characters in the show, some more than others, but there aren't any unlikeable ones. Even the group of young ponies, Applebloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetiebell, sort of grow on ya as the show progresses. Their first two episodes are kind of annoying, but by their last one, well, they become amusing and pretty cute. I find their overall message/goal of finding out who they really are rather uplifting.
Fourthly: Mental Illnesses
Part of the fun of this show is the subtext, and so I'm going to go through each character and narrate her mental illness. Arguments can be made and backed up based on how these characters act, so this isn't some "ha, she must be retarded" kind of thing. That's another thing about the show I like, the subtext is usually kind of farfetched, but it still can be argued to some extent, though it depends on what is arguing. It's a fun show to read into.
Twilight Sparkle has assburgers. She starts the show off being such an extreme introvert wrapped up in her very narrow field of studies, that her teacher tells her to go outside and make friends. That is her job of sorts. In each episode, she learns something new about social interaction, and she even writes it down. There are a few episodes that show her flimsy grasp on social norms and mores, which help lead to my hypothesis.
Rarity as OCD. Rarity is obsessed with her appearance to the point where it probably hinders her in some ways. OCD can manifest itself in multiple ways, and I think this is one of the ways it shows in her. Moreover, she's very particular about what she's doing, to the point where she'll spend hours on some little thing to fix some little detail. That's not normal. And finally, she seems to have this obsession where she needs to make things look "pretty."
Fluttershy has Social Anxiety Disorder. She secludes herself, most of the time, in forests and nature to interact and talk with animals. She's very shy, to the point where it seems to hinder her daily interactions, and for a good portion of the show, is pretty much incapable of speaking up. She seems to value her animal friends, if not above, then on the same level as her sapient pony friends.
Rainbow Dash doesn't seem to have any actual disorders or mental illnesses, but she does have insecurity issues. She has to be the best, she has to prove that she is the best, and she has to then tell everyone that she is the best. Granted, I'm being slightly hyperbolic here, but she is very boastful and strives to be the best. I'm not sure who she is trying to prove, but she is out to prove something.
Applejack doesn't seem to have any disorders or illnesses either. She's pretty much a well absorbed hick. She runs a farm, she has some southern colloquialisms, and that's about it. She seems to overwork herself, and she's very prideful, but none of these things seem to hinder her in her daily life; they merely manifest themselves as character traits.
Pinkie Pie has ADHD, shows signs of severe paranoia, has multiple personality disorder, and abandonment issues. Most of these major issues show up in only two episodes, but her ADHD is pretty prominent throughout the entire show. No, I'm not making any of this up. When her friends avoid her in one episode, she immediately thinks they don't like her anymore and replaces them all with objects. She converses with these objects. It's both scary and hilarious.
Fifthly: The shoutouts to older watchers and bronies
The show contains many references to older cartoons, movies, etc that the intended audience wouldn't get. Episode 19 "A Dog and Pony Show" features three villainous dogs who act like Golem does from Lord of the Rings. Episode 23, "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" contains a shoutout to 2001 A Space Oddesy, as well as X-Men. There are other examples, but I need not name all of them. The point is, finding these older references/jokes is just fun. It's nice to see well placed references and jokes that were clearly not for the intended audience.
One of the funnest parts of this show is knowing that the creators know this unintended audience exists. The first brony shoutout deals with Derpy Hooves, a background pony with an animation error in that her eyes are crooked or "derped." Once this was made known to the director and art teams, they began to show her consistently with derped eyes. She ends up being a sort of "Where's Waldo?" character of the show, and bonus points if she shows up with silly looking eyes or some other goofy expression on her face. Everytime I see her, I know she was put in for viewers like myself.
Another shoutout to the bronies came from a promotional commercial for the show, which I linked above. Pinkie Pie sings a song spoofing "California Girls" and she has a line, "and the bronies hangout too..." then Spike says "Come on bronies" in the background, like a rapper. At the very end of the song, Spike mentions a DJ pony--a background pony in one episode which fans named DJ Pon3--by her fan created name. He says, "alright, break it down DJ Pon Three..." These deliberate shoutouts are nice and welcoming.
Sixthly: Pinkie Pie reminds me of Haruhi
I am under the firm belief that Pinkie Pie is indeed God, much like Haruhi is in The Meloncholy of Haruhi Suyzimia. First, the characters in MLP:FiM are put into a hierarchy based on their names. The more syllables in a name, the more power the character has. Of the six main ponies, Twilight Sparkle has four, the others have three. Spike has one because he's on the bottom of the totem pole, while Princess Celestia has five. But, we later see Pinkie Pie actually has about eight, as she is given a middle name and her first name is extended. If this hierarchy is true, then she has more power than the rest of the ponies.
When Pinkie Pie is telling the story of how she got her cutie mark, she ends it with "and that's how Equestria was made." This could just be chalked up to her being herself, or she could have actually created the world they inhabit. It's entirely plausible.
In Episode 15, "Feeling Pinkie Keen" Pinkie Pie has the odd ability to predict the future. When she jitters and fidgets in certain ways, she knows what will happen. This is actually proven through repetition. I'm pretty sure only God knows the future; ergo, Pinkie Pie must be God!
So, that's why I like the show, why I've continued to watch the show, and I don't have much more to say on the matter. It's a fun cartoon with an interesting fanbase, but this will most likely all be short lived. Lauren Faust, director and "creator" of this brand of ponies, will be leaving after season two. I don't see season three being any good without her, since she's been such a driving force in the shows quality. Ah well, two seasons will add up to 42 episodes, and that's a damn good run.
Edited by CONKERSBADFURDAY, 18 July 2011 - 09:50 PM.