Chapter 2, Part 2: Who are these ponies, anyways?

Chapter 2, Part 2:

Who are these ponies, anyways?

SPOILER WARNING! THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS CONTENT THAT IS IN THE SERIES.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED, WATCH THE SERIES NOW!

(continued from Chapter 2, Part 1)

(Also please note that the images used in this post are by http://theaceofspadez.deviantart.com. They are placeholders and I hope to have art expressly drawn for this book to replace these images.  If you are interested in submitting something, please see this post.)


Pony Basics: Characters
With such pony phrases in mind, it’s not much of a stretch to understand that the six main protagonists in MLP: FIM are referred to by Bronies as ‘the mane six’.  They will be described in this section.  There are also many side characters in the show, and they which will be the focus of the following chapter.

Twilight Sparkle
The protagonist of the show is a purple filly named Twilight Sparkle.  She is a unicorn pony, and she grew up in the royal city of Canterlot.   She has dark purple hair with a pink stripe down the center.  Her cutie mark is a pink six-pointed star with white rays, surrounded by five smaller white six-pointed stars.  Her nicknames include Twilight and Twi.

Twilight lives in a library tree house in the center of Ponyville, and has a pet owl named Owlowiscious.  She also has a hot air balloon which she uses in emergencies to fly to Cloudsdale and Canterlot.

[Picture will go here – art requested, no background]

Twilight Sparkle by theaceofspadez

Twilight Sparkle by theaceofspadez

When she was very young, Twilight Sparkle was singled out for her magic potential.  Princess Celestia herself selected Twilight to be her pupil – but first, there was a test.  The entrance exam for ‘Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns’ was the task of making a dragon egg hatch.  When Twilight succeeded, the baby dragon, Spike, became her assistant.  Twilight Sparkle became exceedingly studious and appeared to care only about her work.   The series opens with Twilight being assigned to Ponyville by the princess.  Partially, it was for her to make friends, but Twilight Sparkle was also tasked to check on the arrangements for the ‘Summer Sun Celebration’, a party that celebrated the Summer Solstice.  Through this assignment, Twilight made friends with the citizens of Ponyville, and Celestia allowed Twilight to stay in Ponyville and study “The Magic of Friendship.”  Twilight was tasked to write to the princess about what she learned, and these lessons are read at the end of nearly every episode.

Pinkie Pie
Pinkie Pie is a pink earth pony with curly hot pink hair.  Her cutie mark is two blue balloons with one yellow balloon between them.  She has a toothless baby alligator familiar named Gummy.  Her nickname is Pinkie, though technically this name is a nickname too…

[Another picture will go here – art requested, no background]

Pinkie Pie by theaceofspadez

Pinkie Pie by theaceofspadez

She grew up as Pinkamena Diane Pie, and she toiled under gloomy skies on a rock farm.  Thankfully, Pinkie learned to laugh while she was still young, which lifted the gloom of her upbringing out of sight.  Because she wanted to share her joy with others, she moved to Ponyville.  She now lives and works in the Sugarcube Corner bakery.  Pinkie Pie enjoys singing, partying, laughing, baking, eating, drinking, squeeing, skating, pranking and the like.  She typically moves by bouncing instead of walking, and speaks so quickly it is as if she is on a permanent sugar rush.  She often jokes and speaks in non sequiturs and though her actions seem random, she is often quite wittily planning something.  Pinkie Pie, though light-hearted, also has a dark side to her.  If Pinkie Pie feels left out and ignored, she becomes sullen and depressed, and may act paranoid and deranged.  When this happens,  her hair straightens back to the grey ‘Pinkamena’ style.

Applejack
Applejack is a yellow earth pony with blonde, ponytailed hair.  She has freckles and wears a cowboy hat.  She is the embodiment of a country bumpkin, accent and all.   Her cutie mark is three apples, which show her loyalty to Sweet Apple Acres, the family farm on which she lives.  Her nickname is AJ, and she has a pet farm dog named Winona.

[Another picture will go here – art requested, no background]

Applejack by theaceofspadez

Applejack by theaceofspadez

Fittingly, her entire extended family lives on the farm.  She excels at lassoing, running, and ‘bucking’ (kicking) apple trees to knock the apples off.  She is headstrong and stubborn, as well as practical.  She is known for her honesty and wiliness to help get the job done.

Rainbow Dash
Rainbow Dash is a Pegasus pony.  She has a blue coat and a rainbow colored mane and tail.  Her cutie mark is a white cloud with a red, yellow, and blue lightning bolt coming out of it.   Her nicknames include Rainbow, Dash, Dashie and RD.

[Another picture will go here – art requested, no background]

Rainbow Dash by theaceofspadez

Rainbow Dash by theaceofspadez

Rainbow Dash lives in Cloudsdale, where she assists with manipulating the weather.  She is known for her speed and flying prowess, as well as the ability to create a ‘sonic rainboom’, which looks like a rainbow colored nuclear warhead explosion.  Rainbow Dash is a tomboy and is arrogant.  Sometimes she appears to be lazy, caring to only put in effort when she sees fit.  She lives for dares and pranks.  To prove just how good she is, Dash dreams of joining a stunt flight team called the ‘Wonderbolts’, whom she admires greatly.  She is loyal and only wants the best for herself and her friends.

Rarity
Rarity is the girly pony of the bunch.  She is a white unicorn with a smoothly curled purple mane and long eyelashes.  She has three shiny diamonds as her cutie mark.  She is a fashonista and drama queen.  Rarity speaks with a more sophisticated voice, and always wants to prove to others that she is indeed one of ‘the elite’ of society.  She has a primped white cat named Opalescence, whose long white hair is tied up in a silky bow.

[Another picture will go here – art requested, no background]

Rarity by theaceofzpadez

Rarity by theaceofzpadez

Rarity is known for her style, and she lives in and runs Carousel Boutique.  While working, she wears glasses, which very few ponies have.  Her magic is in sewing, as well as finding gemstones to spruce her outfits up with.  She acts quite girly when her hair or clothes are messy, quickly wanting to rectify the situation.  As a friend, she is known for her generosity in giving fashion advice and trying to help others look their very best.  Although sometimes she pays too much attention to detail, she also can be tough and resourceful in a pinch.  She knows martial arts, and is not afraid to use those skills in self-defense.

Fluttershy
Fluttershy is a yellow Pegasus pony with a gentle curl of light pink hair.  She has three pink butterflies as her cutie mark.  She is the ‘Disney Princess’ of the bunch – shy, quiet, kind, generous, sensitive, and loving to animals big and small.  Her personal pet is a ‘cutesey wootsy’ bunny named Angel.   She has no nicknames.

[Another picture will go here – art requested, no background]

Fluttershy by theaceofspadez

Fluttershy by theaceofspadez

Although she is a Pegasus, Fluttershy fell in love with animals that lived on the ground, and she vowed to take care of them all.  As such, she acts as the veterinarian for Ponyville.  Fluttershy also has a motherly quality, and can give silent ‘stares’ of disapproval to creatures to make them behave if simply asking nicely doesn’t work.   She lives at the edge of town in a hut with Angel, as well as any animals that she is currently caring for.

– – –

These six ponies bonded in the first two episodes.  Throughout the show they learn about each other and what being a friend is really about: understanding, support and love.  The details of the origin of their friendship, as well as episode synopses will be in the next chapter.

Bronies take characters very seriously, and it is quite common to hear them say “Twilight Sparkle is Best Pony”.   This “X is Best Pony” statement may be considered a meme, in that almost all Bronies have a favorite pony (or ponies), and the phrase is often used as a shortened way of saying who their favorite is.  For me, Rarity is best pony.  I associate with her dream of becoming popular, I enjoy sewing and I am very hard working.  I also like shiny jewels and enjoy her admiration of fashion and style.

Throughout this book,  there will be other side characters that are proclaimed ‘best pony.’  These are teasing the original concept, but also saying that other characters can also be favorites.  Many Bronies compromise in discussions of favorites by having a 1.) favorite of the mane cast 6, 2.) favorite other pony, and 3.) favorite other creature.  As such, the meme expanded to address all characters, yet the saying remains as ‘best pony’ even if the favorite character is not a pony.

Although I have named my ‘favorite character’, I do have many favorites!  This is because I share traits with every main character in the show.   This is another reason why Bronies like the show.  Each character has their own unique and very vibrant personality that stands out.  They are not the generic girly-girl characters that could be anyone.  Indeed, each pony in the show is exactly who whey want to be.

To provide an illustrated example, the following traits I share with each character:

Twilight Sparkle – I think if I was a kid again, I’d love her the best.  Her nerdiness and love of reading accurately reflected my childhood, even down to pretty much living at my public library.  I’d take out over a dozen books at a time, and begged my parents to take me back to the library every Monday.  I also enjoy magic, and chemistry class was very much like magic to me.  Twilight shows that it’s okay to be a geek, but also shows that it is good to have friends, which is a lesson that younger me definitely should have learned, and I am worse off for not having had it.

Pinkie Pie – Although I am not a joker, or high spirited, I do enjoy singing.  I also love to bake and eat, and Pinkie Pie is great at both.  It’s awesome to see her in the kitchen, making sweets as fast as she can eat them.  I am amused by her antics, even if I don’t share that love with her.

Rainbow Dash was almost my favorite pony this go-around.  She’s a very tomboyish character, which is exactly like me.  I love her sense of adventure and need for speed.  She is a bit arrogant, which although I am not, I do enjoy seeing in her.  She is a very confident girl, and her awesome hair helps to round out her coolness.

Rarity – See above

Fluttershy – I was a very nerdy, quiet girl growing up.  That same shyness is shown in Fluttershy. She is adorable in her inability to speak higher than a whisper.  I also love her association with Disney princesses, singing and enjoying all that is around her.  I myself never wanted to be a princess, but I did love nature growing up, and Fluttershy’s love of animals is not lost on me, even if I am allergic to their fur.  Her compassion is telling, and I think that because she is so reserved and yet able to speak her mind, her character helps to bring balance to the mane six.

Applejack – Although she is my least favorite pony of the main cast, I see that her cowgirl persona shows that girls can be just as strong as boys can be, and that they can do farm work and compete just as well as boys can.  I dislike her accent, but my relatives are from Missouri, so I know it well and truly (I have just as many relatives as Applejack has, with just as strong an accent).  I also like that she has freckles.  I have freckles, and I learned through Judy Blume’s Frecklejuice that although they are a different feature, they are not something to be ashamed of.   In fact, they make Applejack look pretty darn cute.

Most Bronies will admit that every pony is best pony, but there will always be some friendly rivalries between fans.  Take it at face value, pick a pony and run with her.

Pony Basics:  Interpretation Varies with Age
Morals and story lessons abound in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  The episodes were well written, and have interpretations that change depending on the age of the viewer.  The plot, the characters and even everyday, common issues will be seen differently by parent and child.  In ‘Green is Your Color’, a child may see that Fluttershy is scared to have her picture taken, but adults will realize that Fluttershy not only has social anxiety, but she also doesn’t have the competitive nature and superficiality that are often characteristics of a model.  For both, the lesson can still be that as a famous pony, Fluttershy had no time for her humble friends, and that that wasn’t worth doing.

Each pony has a tipping point, and for adults seeing a pony act crazy is more of a mental extension of the pony’s personality, while for kids it might just be silly.  For example, Twilight Sparkle’s worry over her assignments is often a humorous overreaction.  Her expressions in ‘Lesson Zero’ became so extreme that they looked like ponified Internet ‘anger faces’, which amuse those teenaged and older.  For any age, these typical cartoony animations make all viewers smile and laugh at the ponies’ silly reactions.  In addition, while the bright colors of the show’s animation might interest children, the quality of animation and the clean, smooth artwork entices grown-ups.

The show has been critically praised for its humor – which includes outright jokes and playful scenes, slapstick comedy, and references to other works that the older audiences will understand.  Fans agree that there is subtle humor for both kids and adults.  There is crude humor, such as ponies burping in the show, as well as all the little silly things that kids giggle about.  There are also many references to Looney Tunes, such as falling anvils, throwing pies, and wild farm animal antics.  Other references will be mentioned within the upcoming episode summaries, but even those noted only skim the surface of humor that the show has within.

Every character also has their own ‘brand’ of humor.  Pinkie Pie provides the most laughs, and her uppity, sugar-fueled lifestyle constantly hosts quite a bit of slapstick comedy.  Spike is second in the humor category, and his jokes are quite often either slapstick, witty comedy, or they break the fourth wall of the show (14).   Rarity’s never-ending well of drama provides much of her laughs, and Rainbow Dash does sometimes crash land.  The list goes on and on, and discovering all the ways the show is funny is part of why many Bronies love the show.

In addition, the show has references to old tie-ins from the 80’s that now-mothers and fathers can enjoy with their children.  MLP:FIM provides conversation starters and teachable moments for older children.  The references also instill in parents a sense of nostalgia, reminding them of their own childhood and the innocent, open-minded, optimistic times that those were: where fantasy was not fantasy but a real world that they could escape into, where characters were always heroes and the good guy always won.  This optimism and enthusiasm is simply not replicated in adult targeted shows.  For some fans, this makes watching ponies a ball of happiness.  The show can be a break from the otherwise mundane or downright awful lives some Bronies live, and that is a very welcome relief.

(insert vignette here)

Footnotes

(14) This occurs when a character speaks to, looks at, or otherwise acknowledges that there is an audience at the other side of the television.

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About isaunter

I'm 30 years old and I have been living in the District for six years now. I love all things geek: from tabletop to video gaming; from computers to manga. I am a brony. I wear glasses, have short hair and sport a dragon tattoo (gasp!). I enjoy wearing tall socks and short skirts, and tend to dress more goth and Lolita than chic. It's just a fun thing.

Posted on February 3, 2012, in Chapters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I was browsing through on the net I found your article Chapter 2, Part 2: Who are these ponies, anyways? My Little Brony: Our Fandom is Magic and considered it really engaging. There is some superb concepts right here. Your viewers may like to have a glance at my report about feelings. Cheers.

  1. Pingback: Chapter 2, Part 1: What is My Little Pony all about? « My Little Brony: Our Fandom is Magic

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