It was brought to my attention recently that our airwaves have recently been graced by a brand spanking new version of 1980’s chick-toon “My Little Pony.” The fact that the show has been relaunched is no surprise; After all, we’ve already gone over Hollywood’s complete inability to come up with original ideas here. The new version, entitled “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” (Editor’s Note: No it’s not), is being produced at Hub TV, a new-ish network that you absolutely have to familiarize yourself with if you haven’t already. Seriously, go check out their programming lineup. “Wonder Years”, “Doogie Howser, MD”, “Happy Days”, “Batman”…If someone can find a cooler lineup than that, I’ll hand over the keys to this blog effective immediately (Editor’s Note: No we won’t). Given Hub’s nostalgia-heavy rotation, it’s no surprise that one of their few original programs is a throwback to a 1980’s classic. What is surprising, however, is the cult following that’s developed around the show, a cult following that consists largely of grown men.
Yes, you heard right. There’s a bizarre group of grown-ass men who are obsessed with “My Little Pony: Friend is Magic.” Not just fans. Super-fans. And not just because they got into it through their infant daughter. A lot of these guys have no kids (and probably never will, I’m guessing). And we’re not even talking about a small handful of people here. There are thousands of them. They do fan art, they buy toys, they watch the show religiously. They even have a nickname for themselves: Bronies. Yes, Bronies. As in Bro-Ponies. Bronies. I’ll say it again, just for effect: BRONIES.
At first glance, this sounds understandably creepy. I mean, let’s be honest, if you saw a grown man roaming the My Little Pony section at your local toy store, you’d assume he’s either got kids, or he’s got some kind of a weird sex dungeon somewhere. I mean what could these Bronies possibly see in this show? What could possibly be drawing them in so intensely as to drive them to this particular kind of fanaticism? I used to feel the same when I’d see adults in the comic book store I hung out in when I was twelve. “Get out of here,” I’d think to myself, “this is ours. Go file some taxes or whatever the hell it is you adults do.” In the same way, it feels weird that these grown-ups were so obsessed with this cartoon that’s meant not just for kids, but for really little kids, and generally speaking, little kids of the opposite gender.
But then I got to thinking: Maybe it’s not so weird. After all, for people who grew up in the 80’s, some of our most essential and basic life-lessons were taught to us via Saturday Morning Cartoons, so in that regard, it’s almost a little refreshing to hear about people going back to cartoons as adults and revisiting those simple, innocent messages. Or maybe it’s just that these people are smarter than all of us and have discovered a brief but powerful respite from the chaotic nature of our day-to-day lives in the form of a kid’s show. The more I thought about it, the more I sort of fell in love with the idea. Imagine all of us taking an hour out of every day to watch cartoons and forget about our problems and marvel at how beautifully simple things can be sometimes. I mean, it’s better than getting out of work, going home, and pounding a glass of scotch, right?