Bronies Anonymous

Hi.  My name is Dennis Amador Cherry and I’m a brony.  I guess it started a few years ago when somepony someone showed me the first couple of episode of “My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic”.  I thought it was cute, but being into Dr. Who and Cartoon Network at the time, I didn’t really get into it.  We also did not have the Hub Network.

Two things earlier this year started my decent into pony mania.  A friend of mine showed me a Youtube clip of Weird Al Yankovic guest staring as a pony named Cheese Sandwich.   Well, I thought, if Weird Al thinks it’s cool, maybe I should check it out.  And now I could because with a new cable provider, we had to go up one tier to get the package that included BBC America, and coincidentally, the Hub Network.  (Side note:  I just love the Time Warner commercials that say, “You shouldn’t have to pay for things you don’t need”.  Meaning if you only want internet access, you shouldn’t have to buy a package that includes phone and cable service.  But I have to buy a fifty-channel tier when all I want is two more channels. Oh, the irony.) 

So I started recording three episodes of MLP:  FiM every Saturday morning.  That wasn’t too bad.  I was still in control. But then, on the first week of August, the Hub ran a MLP Mare-A-Thon.  All ninety one episodes in five days!  I loaded up my DVR and still got only two-and-a-half out of four seasons.  And now I’ve seen them all!  So I scavenge my local Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Toys-R-Us for season three, four, and the theatrical movie “MLP:  Equestria Girls.”  “pssst!  Hey cashier, got any ponies?”

And then there’s the merchandise.  Should I collect the Funko vinyl figures?  Or the Hasbro toys – even though they are smaller than the original toys?  The itty bitty mini ones?  Should I just collect the mane (not a typo) six?  How about the secondary character?  How about the background ponies that have developed their own following, like DJ Pon 3, Photo Finish, Derpy and Dr. Whooves (fan named pony that Hasbro now acknowledges)?   And why can’t I find the Cutie Mark Crusaders in any form?  They keep staring in their own episodes, for Pete’s sake!    And the t-shirts.  I’m going to need more closet space.

And which of the twenty six pony conventions should I go to?  Oh, and that list didn’t even include Equestria L.A.!  How about all of them?  I see a lot of frequent flier miles in my future.

So does my wife help me with my addiction?  Actually, she is an enabler.  While I was becoming a brony, she was becoming a pegasister.  She always liked the moon, so it makes sense that her favorite pony is Princess Luna.  And then there’s my sister.  On almost every Facebook pony related page I checked out, she already “Liked” it.  So I guess it runs in the family.

So why do I bring up my newest fandom here?  Because of one of my favorite Solomon Short quotes:  “When you transcend the medium, you achieve art”.  In other words, when you take a subject and go beyond what its medium is expected to accomplish you pass from project to art!  The Hub has had a lot of shows geared toward young girls, from “Strawberry Shortcake” to “The Littlest Pet Shop”.  But none of them have come close to the popularity of “My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic”, not even the earlier versions of MLP.  This can be attributed to the writing quality, production value and their musical productions.

At face value, the show teaches lessions about friendship.  But it does it without being preachy.  Also, you don’t have to be young or a girl to have friends.  It’s not about ponies doing what little girls do.  It’s about character interactions, problems that can arise and resolutions.  The show has also created its own mythos with a history dating back a thousand years.  It’s didn’t just create a setting for the stories, it created a universe.  A lot of imagination was poured into this show and it invites the viewer to engage their own imaginations.  We’re use to Star Trek having many conventions in a year, but a four-year-old kid’s show?  It’s because, like Star Trek, the audience is engaged.

The point is that publishers and producers like to categorize books and movies.  It gives them an idea on how much money to spend and how to advertise.  But a well-written or produced project will transcend its “target audience”.  “My Little Pony” is not the first.  Cartoon Network’s “Regular Show” has a large adult following because its creator, J. G. Quintel treats it as a sitcom, not a cartoon.  “Harry Potter” was a Scholastic Books series, but it became an international phenomena.  The “Twilight” movies were targeted at young adults, but how many “Twilight” moms are there?  “Star Wars” was targeted at science fiction fans, but has since created its own empire.

Whatever it is you’re writing, don’t short you story or your characters.  Don’t write a children’s story and think, this is just for kids so the story doesn’t have to be deep.  Don’t write a villain and think, this is an action/adventure movie so he doesn’t have to be three dimensionally fleshed out.  People connect with characters, so write the best characters you can no matter what genere.

Don’t write a children’s story, or a science fiction story, or a romance, or a comedy.  Write the best story you can no matter what genere it happens to be in.  Transcend the medium and achieve art!