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My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an animated television series produced by Hasbro Studios in the United States (for scripts) and a DHX Media's studio located in Vancouver (for animation; formerly known as Studio B Productions), which is based on Hasbro, Inc's My Little Pony line of toys and animated works. The series is considered to be the fourth generation (G4) of the My Little Pony franchise, following earlier lines and television show tie-ins in the 1980s and 1990s. The series premiered on October 10, 2010, on The Hub, an American pay television channel partly owned by Hasbro. As of November 2012, the show is in its third season, and is broadcasting internationally in dozens of countries in over ten languages. In addition to toys and home media releases, Hasbro has licensed clothing, comic books, and video games based on Friendship Is Magic.

Hasbro selected animator Lauren Faust as the creative director and executive producer for the show. Faust sought to challenge the established "girly" nature of the existing My Little Ponyline, creating more in-depth characters and adventurous settings, incorporating Hasbro's suggestions for E/I ("educational and informational") content and marketing of the toy line. Faust stepped down after the first season, but remains as consulting producer. Jayson Thiessen, the show's supervising director, became the showrunner starting with season two.

The show follows a studious unicorn pony named Twilight Sparkle as her mentor Princess Celestia guides her to learn about friendship in the town of Ponyville. Twilight becomes close friends with five other ponies: Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie. Each represents a different face of friendship, and discovers herself to be a key part of the magical artifacts, the "Elements of Harmony". The ponies share adventures and help out other residents of Ponyville, while working out the troublesome moments in their own friendships.

The show has been critically praised for its humor and moral outlook. Despite the target demographic of young girls, Friendship Is Magic has, in addition, gained a large following of older viewers, predominately teenagers and young adults, largely male, who call themselves "bronies". Reasons for this unintended appreciation include Faust and her team's creative writing and characterization, the expressive Flash-based animation style, themes that older audiences can appreciate, and a reciprocal relationship between Hasbro, the creators, and the fans. Elements of the show have become part of the remix culture and have formed the basis for a variety of Internet memes.



OriginEdit

Hasbro, Inc. has produced several generations of toys and entertainment related to the My Little Pony franchise, often labeled by collectors as Generations 1 through 3.[2][3] The animated series My Little Pony Tales, premiered in 1992, was the toy line's most recent television series before Friendship Is Magic, and it featured the pony designs of the first generation.[4][5] It was followed by various direct-to-video releases, which featured later designs up to the third generation.[6] Just as Michael Bay's film had helped to boost the new Transformers toy line, Hasbro wanted to retool the My Little Pony franchise and update it to better suit the current generation of young girls.[7] According to Margaret Loesch, CEO of The Hub, revisiting properties that had worked in the past was an important programming decision, influenced to an extent by the opinions of the network's programming executives, a number of whom were once fans of such shows.[8] Senior Vice President Linda Steiner also stated that they "intended to have the show appeal to a larger demographic", with the concept of "co-viewing" of parents with their children a central theme of the Hub's programming.[9]

[1][2]Lauren Faust, developer and initial showrunner of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

Animator and writer Lauren Faust approached Hasbro, seeking to develop her girls' toys property "Galaxy Girls" into an animated series.[10] Faust, who had previously worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, had been pitching original animation aimed at girls for years, but was always rejected by studios and networks because cartoons for girls were considered unsuccessful.[11] When she pitched to Lisa Licht of Hasbro Studios, Licht showed Faust one of their recent My Little Pony animated works, Princess Promenade, "completely on the fly". Licht considered that Faust's style was well suited to that line, and asked her to consider "some ideas where to take a new version of the franchise".[7][10]

Faust was initially hired by Hasbro to create a pitch bible for the show, allowing her to get additional help with conceptualization.[7] Faust said she was "extremely skeptical" about taking the job at first because she had always found shows based on girls' toys to be boring and unrelatable.[11] My Little Ponywas one of her favorite childhood toys,[10] but she was disappointed that her imagination at the time was nothing like the animated shows, in which the characters, according to Faust, had "endless tea parties, giggled over nothing and defeated villains by either sharing with them or crying". With the chance to work on My Little Pony, she hoped to prove that "cartoons for girls don't have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness".[11] To do this, she incorporated into the design of the characters and the show many elements that contradicted idealized stereotypes of girls, such as diverse personalities, the message that friends can be different and can get into arguments but still be friends, and the idea that girls should not be limited by what others say they can or can not do.[11] Elements of the characters' personalities and the show's settings were based on her own childhood imagination of the ponies' adventures, in part inspired by the animated shows that her brothers would watch while growing up, such as Transformers and G.I. Joe.[12]Faust still aimed for the characters to be "relatable" characters, using stereotypical "icons of girliness" (such as the waif or the bookworm), as to broaden the appeal of the characters for the young female audience.[13]

Faust stated that as she provided Hasbro with more of her ideas for the show, she was inspired by their positive response to the non-traditional elements. Faust had initially pitched the show to include "adventure stories" in a similar proportion to "relationship stories", but recognizing the younger target audience, as well as the difficulty of writing complex plots around the adventure elements, she trimmed back this content, focusing more on exchanges between the characters. The show still incorporates episodic creatures intended to be frightening to children, such as dragons and hydras, but it places more emphasis on the friendships among the characters, displayed with a comedic tone. By the time the show was approved, Faust had developed three full scripts for the series.[7]

Faust began to work out concept sketches, several of which appeared on her deviantArt page, including ponies from the first generation (Twilight, Applejack, Firefly, Surprise, Posey and Sparkler), which would later build on the core for the main cast of the show.[14] Hasbro approved the show with Faust as Executive Producer[15] and asked her to complete the pitch bible. In order to do so, Faust brought in Martin Ansolobehere and Paul Rudish, who had worked on other animated shows with her. Faust credits Rudish for the inspiration of the pegasus ponies controlling the weather in Equestria, as well as the character of Nightmare Moon during this period. Faust also consulted her husband, Craig McCracken, a fellow animator and creator of The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. After seeing the initial version of the pitch bible, Hasbro requested more character designs from Faust's team; subsequently, Faust brought aboard Dave Dunnet and Lynne Naylor to further refine the background and character styles.[7]

On completion of the pitch bible, Hasbro and Faust began looking at studios for the animation. Studio B Productions (renamed to DHX Media on September 8, 2010 after its parent company, along with DHX's other subsidiaries[16]) had previously worked on Adobe Flash-based animations and on shows that featured a large number of animals, and Faust felt they would be a good selection. Studio B requested that Jayson Thiessen be the director, a choice Faust agreed with. She, Thiessen, and James Wootton led the completion of a two-minute short to pitch the final product to Hasbro, resulting in the company's sanctioning the full production. Faust estimates that from being initially asked to develop the show until this point took roughly one year.[7]

ProductionEdit

The show is developed at Hasbro Studios in Los Angeles, where most of the writing staff is located, and at DHX Media Vancouver in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the animation work.

[3][4]A sample storyboard from the episode "Call of the Cutie", containing pencil sketches of the main characters, rendered backgrounds to establish settings, and instructions for the Adobe Flash animators, such as the panning shot shown in the second panel

Faust's initial writing staff at Hasbro Studios included several writers who had worked with her on her previous shows and were approved by Hasbro. These included Amy Keating Rogers, Cindy Morrow, Meghan McCarthy, Chris Savino, Charlotte Fullerton, M. A. Larson, and Dave Polsky. The writing process began with Faust and Renzetti coming up with broad plots for each show. The two would then hold a brainstorming session with each episode's writer, allowing the writer to script out scenes and dialog. Faust and Renzetti then worked with the writer to finalize the scripts and assign some basic storyboard instructions. Hasbro was involved throughout this process and laid down some of the concepts to be incorporated into the show. Examples of Hasbro's influence include having Celestia be a princess rather than a queen, making one of the ponies focused on fashion, and portraying toy sets in relevant places within the story, such as Rarity's boutique.[7][11] In some cases, Hasbro requested that the show include a setting, but allowed Faust and her team to create its visual style, and Hasbro then based the toy set on it; an example is the Ponyville schoolhouse. Faust also had to write to the E/I ("educational and informational") standards that Hasbro required of the show, making the crafting of some of the situations she would have normally done on other animated shows more difficult; for example, Faust cited having one character call another an "egghead" as "treading a very delicate line", and having one character cheat in a competition as "worrisome to some".[7] Each show also generally includes a moral or life lesson, but these were chosen to "cross a broad spectrum of personal experiences", and not just to suit children.[9] Because intellectual property issues had caused Hasbro to lose some of the rights on the original pony names, the show includes a mix of original characters from the toy line and new characters developed for the show.[10]

[5][6]Jayson Thiessen, supervising director (left), and Shaun Scotellaro ("Sethisto"), the founder of the fansite Equestria Daily, atBroNYCon 2011

Completed scripts were sent to Studio B for pre-production and animation using Adobe Flash. Thiessen's production team was also allowed to select key personnel subject to Hasbro's approval; one of those so selected was art director Ridd Sorenson. The Studio B team would storyboard the provided scripts, incorporating any direction and sometimes managing to create scenes that the writers had believed impossible to show in animation. The animators would then prepare the key character poses, layout, background art, and other main elements, and send these versions back to the production team in Los Angeles for review by Hasbro and suggestions from the writers. Thiessen credited much of the technical expertise in the show to Wooton, who created Flash programs to optimize the placement and posing of the pony characters and other elements, simplifying and economizing on the amount of work needed from the other animators.[17] For example, the ponies' hair and tails are generally fixed shapes, animated by bending and stretching them in curves in three dimensions and giving them a sense of movement without the high cost of individual animated hairs.[10] The storyboard artists and animators also need to fill in background characters for otherwise scripted scenes as to populate the world; many of the small nods to the fandom, pop culture references, or other easter eggs would be added at this point by the studio, according to writer Meghan McCarthy.[18] Once the pre-production work was approved and completed, the episode would then be animated. Though Studio B performed the initial animation work, the final steps were passed to Top Draw Animation in the Philippines, an animation studio that Studio B had worked with in the later part of Season 1 and beyond.[19][20]

The voice casting and production is handled by Voicebox Productions,[21] with Terry Klassen as the series' voice director. Faust, Thiessen, and others participated in selecting voice actors, and Hasbro gave final approval.[7] The voice work is performed prior to the animation, with the animators in the room to help provide direction; according to Libman, this allows herself and the other actors to play the character without certain limitations. Libman noted that for recording her lines as the hyperactive Pinkie Pie, "I learned that I can go as over the top as I want and they [the animators] rarely pull me back."[22]

[7][8]Daniel Ingram at Everfree Northwest 2012

The series' background music is composed by William Kevin Anderson, and Daniel Ingram composes the songs,[23][24] which are only included if they would make sense in the episode's script. The production team identifies specific parts of the episode where they want music cues, allowing Anderson to create appropriate music for each.[7] Ingram works alongside Anderson's compositions to create vocal songs that mesh with the background music while filling out the show's fantasy setting.[25] The composition of the music and songs far proceeds the broadcast of the episode; for example, songs for the show's third season that began airing in November 2012 were composed in 2011.[25] Ingram's songs have "became bigger and more epic, more Broadway and more cinematic over time"[24]with Hasbro blessing the effort to try "something groundbreaking for daytime television", according to Ingram.[25] Lyrics and overall musically themes may be suggested by the writers; two examples include songs written by Amy Keating Rogers, who is a self-admitted Stephen Sondheim fan.[26] The song "The Art of the Dress" in the first season episode "Suited for Success" is inspired by "Putting it Together" from the musical Sunday in the Park with George, while the season one finale's song, "At The Gala", is based on Sondheim's Into the Woods.[24][27][28] A large musical number in the episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" paid homage to the song "Ya Got Trouble" from Meredith Willson's musical, The Music Man.[24][29]

Before the show was approved, Hasbro and Faust had planned for episodes to be 11 minutes long, to which Faust conformed in her first full-length script, "The Ticket Master", which was part of the pitch bible. However, Faust preferred more traditional 22-minute episodes, and Hasbro eventually agreed to this. The initial production stages were very tight, requiring a schedule twice as fast as Faust had previously experienced, and frequent remote communication between the Los Angeles writing offices and the animation studio in Vancouver. At times, the two teams would hold "writer's summits" to propose new ideas for characters and situations, at which the animation team would provide suggestions on visuals, body language, and characterization. Faust estimates that the time to complete one episode was one year; at one point, the team was simultaneously working on various stages of all 26 episodes of the first season, and when the second season was approved, that number rose temporarily to 32. Episodes then aired about a month after completion.[7] Thiessen explained that they had pushed to start work on the second season as soon as the first was completed, to prevent staff turnover.[17]

Near the end of the first season, Faust announced that she had left the show, and for season two she stepped down as Executive Producer, to become Consulting Producer. Her involvement in the second season consists mainly of story conception and scripts. Despite her decreased participation, she still has high hopes for the staff members, stating that "the gaps I have left are being filled by the same amazing artists, writers, and directors who brought you Season 1. I'm certain the show will be as entertaining as ever".[30]

PremiseEdit

Friendship Is Magic takes place in the land of Equestria, populated by varieties of ponies (including variants of Pegasus and unicorn), along with numbers of other sentient and non-sentient creatures. The central character is Twilight Sparkle, a unicorn mare sent by her mentor Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria, to the town of Ponyville to study the magic of friendship. In the show's opening episodes, Twilight resents this assignment, as she is more concerned about the foretold appearance of Nightmare Moon. When Nightmare Moon does appear, vowing everlasting night and causing Celestia to disappear, Twilight sets off with five other ponies—Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity—to obtain the Elements of Harmony and defeat Nightmare Moon. Before Twilight can activate the Elements, Nightmare Moon appears and shatters them. In a flash of inspiration, Twilight realizes that each of her new friends represents one of the Elements of Harmony, and that she herself is the final piece, Magic. The magical power of the ponies' friendship reverts Nightmare Moon to a repentant Princess Luna. Celestia reappears, reunites with her sister Princess Luna, and allows Twilight to stay in Ponyville to continue studying the magic of friendship.[31]

Later episodes follow Twilight and her friends dealing with various problems around Ponyville, including interpersonal problems between friends and family, as well as more adventurous stories involving creatures like dragons and hydras. At the end of each episode, Twilight sends a report back to Celestia explaining what she learned about friendship from these adventures. This part of the formula was abandoned in "Lesson Zero", the second season episode in which Twilight was convinced to be less rigid in her perceived duties; after this, all the principals contribute reports, although the formality is disregarded when appropriate. There is a loose continuity in these episodes; a theme throughout the first season, for example, is the ponies' preparation for the Grand Galloping Gala that occurs in the final episode of that season. Episodes are otherwise designed to standalone, though callbacks to previous episodes are included to reward those that have followed the show, according to Thiessen. The show is developed to give a "timeless" feel, limiting the world's technology to simpler devices, such as record players and filmstrip projectors.[32]

A central theme of the show is "cutie marks", iconic symbols that magically appear on a pony's flank once they have discovered their special talent in life.[33] While physically young adults, the six main characters are envisioned as similar in maturity to human teenagers in the 12- to 18-year-old range.[34] One episode, "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", highlights how each received her cutie mark as a younger filly.[33] Several episodes focus on the exploits of a much younger trio of pony characters that call themselves the "Cutie Mark Crusaders", who have yet to receive their cutie marks and are teased by other young ponies as "blank flanks". In response, they desperately hurry to try to discover their talents and receive their own cutie marks, often doing so in comical fashions.[33]

CharactersEdit

Main article: List of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic characters[9][10]The cast of Friendship Is Magic, presented as a poster at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. Major characters include (mid-front row, starting sixth from left) Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Spike and Rarity. The poster also includes minor characters and those named by the fandom, including "Derpy Hooves", "DJ PON-3", and "Doctor Whooves".

The show revolves around the adventures and daily life of the unicorn pony Twilight Sparkle (voiced by Tara Strong, singing voice by Rebecca Shoichet), her baby dragon assistant Spike (voiced by Cathy Weseluck), and her friends in Ponyville:

  • Rainbow Dash, a tomboyish pegasus pony who helps control the weather (voiced by Ashleigh Ball);
  • Rarity, a glamorous unicorn with a flair for fashion design (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain, singing voice by Kazumi Evans);
  • Fluttershy, a shy and timid pegasus pony who is fond of animals (voiced by Andrea Libman);
  • Pinkie Pie, a hyperactive pony who loves throwing parties (voiced by Andrea Libman, singing voice by Shannon Chan-Kent for most songs and Andrea Libman on occasion[35]);
  • Applejack, a hard-working pony on her apple farm at the outskirts of Ponyville (voiced by Ashleigh Ball).

The younger Cutie Mark Crusaders include: Apple Bloom, Applejack's younger sister (voiced by Michelle Creber); Sweetie Belle, Rarity's younger sister (voiced by Claire Corlett, singing voice by Michelle Creber); and Scootaloo, a pegasus filly that idolizes Rainbow Dash (voiced by Madeleine Peters).

The show takes place in the fictional land of Equestria, which is ruled by Twilight's teacher Princess Celestia (voiced by Nicole Oliver) and her sister Princess Luna (voiced by St. Germain).

Many friends, family members, and other residents of Ponyville appear frequently, including the local schoolteacher Cheerilee (Oliver), Applejack's older brother Big Macintosh (Peter New), and the eccentric zebra Zecora (Brenda Crichlow[36]), who lives in the nearby Everfree Forest and dabbles in herbal medicine. Antagonists include the corrupted form of Princess Luna, Nightmare Moon (St. Germain) from "Friendship Is Magic" (the first two episodes), the draconequus Discord (John de Lancie[37][38]) from "The Return of Harmony", the Changeling: Queen Chrysalis (Kathleen Barr) from "A Canterlot Wedding", and King Sombra ('Big' Jim Miller) from "The Crystal Empire".

EpisodesEdit

Main article: List of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episodes

In total, 52 episodes have been produced and broadcast. The third season, consisting of 13 confirmed episodes, aired in North America on November 10, 2012. Investment documents for DHX Media's 2012 financial year indicate that they have also been paid to produce a fourth season.[39]

Series overviewEdit

Season Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale
1 26 October 10, 2010 May 6, 2011
2 26 September 17, 2011 April 21, 2012[40]
3 13[41] November 10, 2012[42] TBA

DistributionEdit

United States broadcastEdit

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is one of several animated shows used to premiere The Hub, a retooling of the Discovery Kids channel of Discovery Communications in United States markets. The block of programming is a joint development of Hasbro and Discovery, designed to compete with similar family-friendly programming blocks on other networks such as the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.[43] The first episode of Friendship Is Magic premiered on the first Hub broadcast, on October 10, 2010.[43] In March 2011, the show was renewed for a second season to air in 2011-2012.[44][45] The season two premiere on September 17, 2011,[46] had 339,000 viewers,[47] and Hasbro reported that the second season finale, "A Canterlot Wedding", produced the best ratings of the history of the network in its core and other demographics, with an estimated 1,032,400 viewers.[48] Shannon Chan-Kent, the singing voice performer for the character Pinkie Pie, has begun recording for an upcoming third season.[49]

The series is rated TV-Y (designed for ages 2 and up). The first season was produced and broadcast to "E/I" ("educational and informational") standards, but Hasbro allowed the standard to be dropped in the second season.

International broadcastEdit

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has been distributed to international markets, including Treehouse TV for the English-speaking audience in Canada, Boomerang in the United Kingdom, Okto in Singapore,[50] Cartoon Network and later Boomerang in Australia, FBC TV in Fiji and ntv7 in Malaysia.[51] Some of these international broadcasts, including language translations, were arranged with Turner Broadcasting System, which had broadcast Friendship Is Magicand other Hasbro shows on many of their European and Middle Eastern channels.[52] According to Hasbro Studio's CEO Stephen Davis, they have marketed the show to over 140 territories around the world.[53]

The series is or will be available in the following languages, sorted in chronological order of debut:

Home mediaEdit

In the United States, episodes of Friendship Is Magic are available for digital download through the iTunes Store.[74] The show, along with several other Hasbro properties, was added to the Netflix video streaming service on April 1, 2012.[75] A two-episode DVD, "Celebration at Canterlot", was offered to Target Corporation stores as an exclusive, packaged with certain toys from the franchise.[76]

Shout! Factory has the DVD publishing rights for the series within Region 1. Two five-episode DVDs have been released to date, with a third one planned for December 2012. Shout has also announced a complete Season 1 DVD set to be released alongside the third DVD exclusively through the retailer Amazon.com.[77]

Title Release Date Episodes Additional Features
The Friendship Express[76][78] February 28, 2012
  • "Friendship Is Magic" (Season 1, Episode 1 and 2)
  • "Over a Barrel" (Season 1, Episode 21)
  • "Hearth's Warming Eve" (Season 2, Episode 11)
  • "The Last Roundup" (Season 2, Episode 14)
Biographical sketches of main characters

Karaoke sing-along (Full two-minute theme song) Pound Puppiesepisode ("The Yipper Caper", S1E1) Coloring pages

Royal Pony Wedding[79] August 7, 2012 Extended "Love Is In Bloom" sing-along

"The Perfect Stallion" sing-along Printable coloring sheets

Adventures in the Crystal Empire[77] December 4, 2012
  • "The Crystal Empire" (Season 3, Episode 1 and 2)
  • "It's About Time" (Season 2, Episode 20)
  • "Luna Eclipsed" (Season 2, Episode 4)
  • "Sonic Rainboom" (Season 1, Episode 16)
Season 1 DVD set December 4, 2012 All Season 1 episodes Sing-Along song videos

Printable coloring sheets Brand-new audio commentaries with cast and crew[80]

Hasbro has also signed a deal with Leapfrog Enterprises to release episodes of the show for the Leapfrog Explorer tablet system.[81]

Madman Entertainment has license for publishing the series in DVD and digital downloads in Australia. They are currently releasing a 5-disc DVD set of Season 1, disc-by-disc, with a collectors box for the full set.[citation needed]

Merchandise and other mediaEdit

Main article: My Little Pony

Friendship Is Magic is associated with the 2010 relaunch of My Little Pony toy line, having figurines and playsets based on it.[82] A section of the Hasbro website gives information about Friendship Is Magic for children and their parents, including character backgrounds, videos, and interactive games and media.

In conjunction with Ruckus Media, Hasbro released an iOS application Twilight Sparkle: Teacher for a Day in October 2011. It gives children practice in reading and incorporates mini-games.[83] Several eBooks based on Friendship is Magic, including story versions of the Ruckus applications, have been released for the Barnes & Noble Nook, in partnership with Hasbro.[84]

Hasbro has licensed Gameloft to create Friendship Is Magic video games for mobile devices, with the first game reaching the market on November 8th, 2012.[85] The first game is a village-building game, featuring action-based mini-games for iOS and Android devices.[86] Though the game is aimed at younger players, Gameloft's Barnabé Anglade stated that there are nods to the show's brony fandom, such as the inclusion of fan favorite characters and popular background ponies.[87]

Enterplay, LLC has been licensed to create trading cards based on Friendship Is Magic, with a first set released in early 2012. In addition to the base cards, Enterplay has offered limited edition cards at the various fan conventions that have become of collector's value.[88]

IDW Publishing and Hasbro have licensed the use of the show for a comic book series, drawn and written by Catie Cook and Andy Price, to begin publication in November 2012.[89] The first issue, by early October, had already gained over 90,000 pre-orders, making it a better seller than other comics for that month.[90] By early November, the title had exceeded 100,000 pre-orders, and IDW committed to a second run of the issue to meet the additional demand.[91]The first issue features 19 different covers, most exclusive to specific comic book shops and chains and only available in limited numbers.[92]

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

The series has received positive reviews from critics. Todd VanDerWerff of the A.V. Club favorably noted its "sheer and utter joyfulness" and lack of cynicism, unlike many other shows that garnered a cult following of parents and adults. He complimented the characters' stylized appearance, the stories' relative complexity for children's television, and the solid jokes which make the show enjoyable for parents as well as children. He gave the series a B+.[33] Genevieve Koski of the A.V. Club later commented that Friendship Is Magic is an example of a show that, while considered "girly", has been able to tap into the nerd culture to allow it to gain wider acceptance than other comparable forms.[93]Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media, an organization focusing on the parenting aspect of children's media, gave the show a rating of four out of five stars, emphasizing its messages of friendship, tolerance and respect, but advised parents to be wary of the "influence the characters might have on their kids' desires, since it's rooted in a well-known product line of books, toys, and just about everything in between."[94] Liz Ohanesian, for L.A. Weekly, said that the show is "absolutely genuine in its messages about friendship but never takes itself too seriously".[95] Matt Morgan, writing for Wired's "GeekDad" column, praised the show for having "rebooted the long-time Hasbro property while managing to lace it with geeky undertones" and being one of the few "girl-focused shows that a geeky dad can appreciate with his daughter".[96]

Kathleen Richter of Ms. believed that Friendship Is Magic did little to change the nature of older animations for girls, which she considered "so sexist and racist and heteronormative." For example, she suggested that, through the character of Rainbow Dash, the show was promoting the stereotype that "all feminists are angry, tomboyish lesbians." She also considered that the only darker-colored ponies shown to date were in positions of servitude towards the "white pony overlord."[97] Lauren Faust responded to these claims by stating that while Rainbow Dash was a tomboy, "nowhere in the show is her sexual orientation ever referenced" and "assuming [tomboys] are lesbians is extremely unfair to both straight and lesbian tomboys", and further stating that "Color has never, ever been depicted as a race indicator for the ponies."[11] Amid Amidi, writing for the animation website Cartoon Brew, was more critical of the concept of the show, calling it a sign of "the end of the creator-driven era in TV animation". Amidi's essay expressed concern that assigning a talent like Faust to a toy-centric show was part of a trend towards a focus on profitable genres of animation, such as toy tie-ins, to deal with a fragmented viewing audience, and overall "an admission of defeat for the entire movement, a white flag-waving moment for the TV animation industry."[98]

RatingsEdit

Friendship is Magic originally premiered with an average viewership of 1.4 million per month, but expanded to 4 million per month by the end of the first season because of interest from older viewers,[99] making it the highest-rated of any Hasbro offering at the time.[96] Advertising Age reports that the viewership doubled between the first and the second season.[100] The Hub reported that "Hearts and Hooves Day", an episode on the theme of Valentine's Day, which aired on February 11, 2012, in the middle of the second season, was the show's most-viewed episode ever, and the second highest of any program of the Hub network; its viewership exceeded 150% of that of the previous year.[101] This was surpassed by the two-part Season 2 finale, "A Canterlot Wedding", airing in April 2012, marking the broadcast as the highest viewership for the Hub network to that date.[102]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Friendship is Magic was nominated for three British Columbia Leo Awards for Animation, "Best Program", "Best Direction", and "Best Overall Sound".[103] Additionally, the songs "Becoming Popular (The Pony Everypony Should Know)" (from Season 2 Episode 9, "Sweet and Elite") and "Find A Pet Song" (from Season 2 Episode 7, "May the Best Pet Win!"), both written by Daniel Ingram, were nominated, but did not win, for "Outstanding Original Song - Children's and Animation" in the 39th Daytime Emmy Awards.[104] The show was named the best animated show for the 2011-2012 television season in a user poll at the website Television Without Pity.[105]

FandomEdit

Main article: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom

Despite the target demographic of young girls and their mothers,[82] My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has become an Internet phenomenon, with many male fans between 13 and 35.[106] The response from the Internet has been traced to cartoon and animation fans on the Internet board 4chan,[82] responding to Amidi's negative essay on the show and on current trends in animation.[98][107][108] As a result of the discussion on 4chan, interest in the show spread throughout other parts of the Internet, creating a large fanbase representing a form of New Sincerity and a multitude of creative works, fan sites, and conventions.[106] The fanbase has adopted the name "brony" (a portmanteau of "bro" and "pony") to describe themselves.[109][110] The older fanbase had come as a surprise to Hasbro, Faust, and others involved with the show.[24][106][111][112] They have appreciated and embraced the fandom, adding subtle nods to the fans within the show and the toys,[10] while allowing the creative elements of the fandom to flourish without legal interference.[113]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Danielimusic on Facebook". January 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  2. ^ Tyrrel, Rebecca (2004-12-24). "Pony tale". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  3. ^ Hix, Lisa (2012-06-28). "My Little Pony Smackdown: Girls vs. Bronies".Collectors Weekly. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
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