To heck with movies, it’s time to talk about some kiddy cartoons.
CLICK HERE or on the image above to download a bonus episode in which guest hosts Clarissa and Gerald from AnimeWorldOrder help Paul review My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Review in a Nutshell: Our topics of the discussion run the gamut of gender roles, feminism, intertextuality, mythology, and the nature of strong characters and clever writing.
We explore thoroughly what it means to be adults enjoying a cartoon meant for children. This podcast is a counterpoint to the one published by Jeremy and company over at Destroy All Podcasts DX.
This is so full of win. My first experience was the DA2 characters as MLP on the BWS forums. Then MLP movie trails, so awesome.
One other comment about season 2 and Lauren Faust. She left the show at the end of season 1. You can check out her deviant art page to confirm. Makes me sad =(
So for the cupcakes is the shipping free or will we have to cough up some change.
so you won’t touch Dr Who but you will talk about MLP?? I say this as your friend, you have entered a zone of weirdness even I won’t go. Just warn me if you’re going to get into Strawberry Shortcake or Rainbow Brite next.
I remember when I first watched MLP: FIM; I was under the pretense that I could get a few pretentious, semi-comedic/semi-critical tweets from episode 1 and be done with the series (yes I’m a horrible human being who makes decisions based solely on how funny a tweet I can make about said decision). So then I watched it.
Now I surf the internet with a Twilight Sparkle Google Chrome theme. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
I enjoyed your constructive praise and general reviews of the show (talking about the characters, the humor, the clever stories). I was, however, a little peeve’d that you were bashing people who write fanfiction of the show and people who (for lack of a more appropriate term) “clop” to ponies. I have never written any fanfiction, but I feel the need to defend my fellow “bronies”—such as the ones on Equestria Daily—who do. Being fanfiction doesn’t inherenty make it bad (quality is subjective and soforth, but I’d rather not get into that); there is really great fanfiction in existence, the only thing keeping people from appreciating it merely because it is fanfiction is their ignorance that something can be good regardless of what it belongs to. And, well, people who get off to ponies, but I’m going to say as very little about that as possible.
Man I have been F5-ing for this podcast all week–three of my favorite podcasters analyzing one of my favorite shows. Needless to say you guys did not disappoint.
Sivan, methinks Paul doth protest too much. I give it two episodes before Silicon Chickens features a grimdark fluttershy epic.
I suppose I fall into the anti-pony camp of the comments thread over on DAPDX, because I talked about being astounded by the level of popularity this show has achieved when from what I’ve seen of it, there was far from enough to hold my interest as an adult, which is not something I feel about many other children’s cartoons. Looking at it post brony-backlash, I think my wording was a little too incendiary, though, which was probably unwise considering that my negative feelings weren’t that strong (I actually prefaced part of my post saying that I don’t think it’s a bad cartoon, but rereading it I feel like the tone of my negative comments make that sound like bs).
But I think I’m going to give it another shot after listening to this, and even from what I’ve seen, I do agree with your positive points about design, animation, and characterization.
Wait, so this thing is real? Thought it was a revived internet meme.
If you want to keep doing bonus episodes like this with this kind of discussion, I’m all for it.
I’m not a My Little Pony hater, nor have I been swept up in the internet frenzy, but I can see how others might not like something with the word Twilight Sparkle in it. That’s not a series of words that should ever have to come out of anyone’s mouth.
Even with poor toy sales the pony show will at least get 2.5 seasons. Hasbro appears to be in an “invest now and profit later” mode.
Well now that this is out of the bag….
Will there be a Wakfu episode? How about Adventure time and Regular show? I would be very interested in a wakfu episode.
Also, I really liked the episode, and I’m all for you doing more like it. Actually I think you should just do another MLP one and make Daryl watch it haha.
I have no interest in forcing people to watch stuff they’re dead-set against…unless the person in question happens to be related to me, and thus is required to love me regardless.
I’ve never seen Wakfu, Adventure Time, Regular Show, or any serious amount of Doctor Who, so the likelihood of me talking about any of those is pretty much nil. On the other hand, I’m sure Sean wouldn’t mind talking about The Prisoner sometime, and maybe I could touch on Twin Peaks or something. Also, the CUPCAKES! option is gaining in the poll, so it might be a moot point anyway…
Twin Peaks would be cool.
I’m not a familiar here, but I wanted to say that I enjoyed the podcast. It was a good, interesting listen.
Really liked listening to this episode – but I find it strange that I found out about it on Equestria Daily instead of just automatically getting it in my itunes.
agreed with most of what you said and basically had more to say on the DAPDX podcast than I did on yours.
I have not watched classic MLP I do not think. (I remember some she-ra and sometimes think I watched some Gem…but MLP G1 I don’t…but because of the new show slightly want to try and search out for it. (I have listened to “who is a silly pony applejack” unironically. I am not sure if there will be differences between US and UK MLP but it is something I am willing to find out.
So I listened to your podcast, and first up an admission: We did gay-bait Rainbow Dash, and it was a bit…well, I’m not really going to apologize for where we go on our podcast (that would be pretty stupid considering some of the antics Zuey gets up to) but I will say that it was low-hanging fruit, a joke that was maybe a little too easy. It’s the modern equivalent of the cheap ethnic joke, depending more on violation of social taboos than on actual humorous content.
But then…the fact that it *was* an easy joke kind of goes back to my central idea, which is that we’re all too old to be watching this show. Like, *we* all get the idea that “short hair + rainbow = gay”. We don’t even need to be prompted to get that idea, because our life experiences just kick us right into that context. Same with the idea that portraying Africans or American Indians as separate races is an act of marginalization or “othering”; it’s a context that grows from many years of learning, not something that’s innate. Many of the criticisms your team brought up were things that kids simply wouldn’t bring to the show because they didn’t know about them.
And that bounces back to us on DAPDX; one of the things I said was that the show’s morality message was pretty trite, something we’d seen dozens of times before. But…well, there it is. *We’d* seen it dozens of times. The little kid watching this show would have no idea about any of this stuff; it would all be new and exciting and interesting, and the moral messages would be very fresh because they haven’t *seen* them yet. And I like how you guys pointed out that the show’s moral lessons often skew older than the demographic would imply (I really enjoyed the bit about how the show portrayed the way that good intentions and effort can still result in unappealing failure.)
So I guess I’ll have to stick to my original claim: while it’s a really good kids’ show that I wouldn’t mind watching with children, I can’t see how adult fandom is much more than a 4chan meme run riot. If I wanted to see something that was as good as the Powerpuff Girls…well, I have a DVD player and an internet connection, so I can see the *actual* Powerpuff Girls any time I like.
Just a bit on Rainbow Dash: I never once thought she was a lesbian. For me, short wild haircut + rainbow colors = punk rock, and that’s the context that informed her actions for me.
What does it matter to me what kids get out of the show, Mike? We spent over an hour explaining what we three adults get out of the show; we spent a great deal of effort trying to explain what we like about it and why. That you still want to characterize our fandom as some sort of 4chan thing is frankly a little insulting. It’s fine that you don’t enjoy it, but please don’t try to paint everyone who does with the same brush.
Another uninformed comment, as I haven’t listened to the show yet, but I had to say that yesterday, as my spunky 6 month old did not feel like going to bed, I decided to cater to her needs and put on something colorful we both could enjoy. I’d heard a lot of buzz about My Little Ponies, but I’d never seen it. So I watched it On Demand and fell in love. So did my daughter. I loved MLP when I was kid. I had the castle and a bejeweled yellow pony that resembled Fluttershy. I used to watch the old cartoons, and I remember it not holding up that well. I thought this one was awesome, and funny. I outright laughed a few times.
Watching my child, she doesn’t pay attention to a lot of tv, being an infant and all, but when I put this on, she stopped rolling around, propped herself up on her elbows, gave wide eyes and said ‘OOOoooh’. Admittedly I was a little annoyed with the names, like Pinkie Pie, but the whole of it won me over.
Comment after hearing podcast.
I really hate bringing up the fact that I’m a mom, but I am, of a baby girl, and I have been railing to no end against the toy industry and gender roles. I hate that the Melissa and Doug Fill and Spill comes in Sports Balls, Power Tools, or Pretty Purple Purse with keys, lipstick and cell phone. My daughter wears boys and girls clothes, has an umbrella stroller with dinosaurs on it, and she will be playing with the Power Tools and the Purse because Mommy has a purse, and Daddy uses Power tools.
That being said, the main reason I wanted to sit down and watch MLP with the baby was because of the nostalgia, but then I noticed the characters and the lessons, both spoken and unspoken. The two ponies I identified with the most, Rainbow Dash and Rarity, speak volumes about my personality and will likely reflect in my child through my parenting style. It is extremely refreshing to have something that does cater to girls that isn’t retartedly pink and forcibly feminine. As Gerald says, it shows you can be any kind of girl. You can simply be yourself, and their ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
Sorry for double posting, or whatever, but ya know…its the internet.
Seems to me that the whole Zebra issue comes down to, how to you show those cultures in a magical pony land where the ponies of ponyville have fantastic colors? I am sure the writers thought, “Do we show Zecora as a black horse?” That has its own problematic dimensions. They could have had Zecora as a regular pony but from an African-like culture. In my own mind, Zecora as a zebra works fine. Zebras are not shown as lesser in any way. It enhances that Zecora is different. And, different is not bad. That is the whole point of the episode. I doubt any child or adult is going to see Zecora and say that “Negroid is a perfectly legitimate classification of human.” If they did, that is due to their own deficiency rather then the show’s.
That you still want to characterize our fandom as some sort of 4chan thing is frankly a little insulting. It’s fine that you don’t enjoy it, but please don’t try to paint everyone who does with the same brush.
I agree with this 100 percent, it stands to reason why an informed person on the internet who is in the know with the culture believe that is the case, but at this point, with its widespread popularity and reaching out to both younger and older audiences who may or may not even know about the internet culture in the first place, that point is moot.
I would say that was my main problem with the DAPDX podcast, i was thoroughly feeling mildy insulted the whole time, listening to their podcast made me feel as though i was watching and liking something i should not, and just because someone claimed a supposed intellectual highground by attributing this to some ‘4Chan thing’. In fact, i had not known about the 4chan issue until after i was done with the whole season.
Thanks gooberzilla for clearing up this one. Ive forwarded this podcast to many friends and fans of the show just to spread the word.
Finally got around to listening to the podcast and greatly enjoyed it. And while I’ve never seen MLP, either the old or new versions, the podcast was entertaining none the less.
One of the reasons it took me a few days to listen is that I was expecting the podcast to show up in iTunes. Did you not load it there because MLP isn’t a movie (yet)?
If so, speaking personally I wouldn’t have minded in the least to have it show up in the queue, and I certainly wouldn’t mind if you reviewed other “kids” shows. I recently found out that all four seasons of ReBoot is finally being released in a boxed set for example.
“One of the reasons it took me a few days to listen is that I was expecting the podcast to show up in iTunes. Did you not load it there because MLP isn’t a movie (yet)?”
Thanks Firest. Until I saw your post I thought I was the only one who didnt have this on their iTunes.
Great job! I’ve enjoyed the show myself and look forward to seeing more of it. My big concern is . . . how are Dave and Joel going to feel about being left out of the MLP Podcast?
Liked the whole part on how Lauren Faust responded to the MS. blogger hating on her. As I said on your FB page, Tamora Pierce and I caught similar flak for our writing of Hispanic characters when we worked on WHITE TIGER for Marvel, and Gail Simone caught for writing an Asian hero in ALL-NEW ATOM – apparently fans feels only Hispanic writers can write Hispanics, Asian writers can write Asians, gay writers can write gays, and so on. (Which would come as a shock to X-MEN scribe Jim Lee or Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, I should suspect!)
BRONIES on NPR! “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” had this as story today. And
Oh, and Simon Pegg is on too.
Good to see the podcast up on iTunes Gooberzilla. And I approve of, as well as encourage, occasional forays into the Greatest TV Show EVER! but agree that it should be an infrequent event.
I think if you find a TV show or other property that YOU think deserves some attention then by all means do a podcast on it, but you’re already inundated with requests for movies to be reviewed. If you open the floodgates to TV request (or God forbid, youTube videos) you’ll never get a moments peace and we might never hear another movie review again. 😛
To me, though, the moral expressed in each episode is no more anvilicious or heavy-handed than the South Park “You know, I learned something today” convention, but just played more straight. Considering the context of the show and Twilight writing about her findings, I find the moral lessons in each episode to be less irritating and spoonfed than what’s been seen in past kids’ shows; whenever I watch the series, I’m more passive toward the “Twilight’s Report” segments because it’s just a “Eh, whatever” narrator moment near the end rather than something that dominates the entire episode.
Just because the show adds something to cater to the younger audiences doesn’t mean it has to take the experience away for the older fans, and that’s why I can respect what’s been done with FiM; it’s a cartoon I can watch that doesn’t make me feel like an idiot, because it doesn’t have a juvenile approach toward comedy, characterization, or even the life lessons.
I had to comment on the comments about the ‘taking things on faith’ episode, because that one really bothered me too and I’ve been wanting to bitch about it. It’s not that twilight necessarily came to the wrong conclusion (pinkie pie can predict the future) but that she got there by giving up and accepting woo rather than by using science.
Let us say that somebody claims to be psychic and predicts that a coin toss will be heads. If they are right that is evidence supporting their claim, but not very strong evidence: Coincidences happen all the time, so for proof we would need a much higher statistical standard.
If twilight were to apply Science to the question of pinkie pie, she would collect data and do some statistics. If the data were to show, say, that pinkie pie correctly predicted four falling things or people, and that things or people fall near pinkie pie on average once every 10 days on average, and if pinkie also predicted one encounter with a swarm of angry stinging insects, and this happens once every 1000 days on average, this would stack up enough improbabilities that a non-psychic predicting the same things randomly would be wrong 99.99999% of the time, the significant 5 sigma. Even if pinkie’s predictions weren’t allowed by any known process, this would be very strong evidence that such a process does exist.
So yeah. I like to think of that episode as non-canon, because otherwise I would have to be disappoint with both twilight and the creators. I’m very happy to hear that the message I got from it may not have been the one they were trying for.