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LightningSword


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Oct
13th
2019

A Tale of Two Shows · 9:49pm Oct 13th, 2019

I'm aware that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has finally ended. And I am aware that the final three episodes, as I predicted, received a mixed reception. And like most of you, I'm pretty sad.

Not because it's over, but because it wasn't over sooner. Because what it ended up becoming was a dried-out husk of it's former glorious self.

Like many shows that go on too long (The Simpsons, Fairly OddParents, Family Guy, SpongeBob, etc.), what once started as a good thing that brought people together devolved slowly over time into a cesspool of poor writing, no continuity, and lack of awareness or respect for the characters, the lore, and the fanbase. Considering the fandom of MLP, it was much worse: decisions made about the shows direction became the new base breaker with every season, to the point where the show itself is something of a base-breaker. For better or worse (mostly worse) the show changed over time, and became almost totally different about halfway through it's run.

There's the first five seasons, which had lovable characters, smart writing that catered to people of all ages, important lessons for kids, changed the face of female character representation in media, and ignited an international cultural phenomenon that smashed gender conventions to pieces and told boys and men that colorful pony girls were okay.

Then there's the last four seasons, which, due to the removal of the creator and the original writers, prolonged its run with old tropes, rehashes of past episodes, dumbed down and flanderized characters, toxic morals, lack of logic, poor decision-making, and an almost pathological resentment--borderline hatred--of the very fans that made the show the success it was--all for the sake of returning Hasbro from the groundbreaking progress in animated storytelling it was making back to business as usual: designing and selling overpriced and poorly-designed toys for the same kids they have no respect for in the first place.

The show ending leaves me conflicted. On the one hand, anything that's good and makes you feel good can't last forever, and it's sad to watch it go. On the other hand, for me, that moment happened years ago, when the writers made it abundantly clear that the success of the past has nothing to do with their direction for the future. This lead to the show being revitalized, overly processed, and pumped full of unhealthy preservatives to the point where it was less a show and more a shambling zombie groaning and waiting for the end to come. I'm sad that it's over, but I'm also glad that it's no longer suffering. After spitting in the fandom's faces and then trying so hard to appease the same fans, it's good to know at least that the show won't suffer anymore. Even if it did bring the suffering upon itself.

For a fandom as huge and dedicated as the Brony community, it's not surprising that the fanbase was just as divided as the show was. There are fans to mourn the old episodes and long for a return to form, and there are fans who praise the new directions and see no problems. The extremists on each side brought the conflict to a head for most of the show's most controversial moments (Starlight, the Friendship School, Fame and Misfortune, etc.), and as such, it's fairly safe to assume the fandom isn't what it once was, either. The loving, optimistic and endearing fans of season one through five, and the spiteful, arrogant, cultlike fans of post-season six: the fandom changed along with the show.

But like the show, moments of good still shone through even after the show's shark-jump. Episodes like The Perfect Pair and Surf and/or Turf, and specials like Forgotten Friendship showed that there were still some diamonds in the rough. For the fandom, it was something as simple as me starting a GoFundMe for a homeless friend that has been repeatedly added to and helped my friend get by at the worst parts of their life. Or it could be the simple act of pulling a fellow Brony out of suicide, starting a fundraising page, and raising so much money for their medical expenses, the already lofty goal had to be raised . . . twice.

I witnessed (and contributed to) this at a time when I thought there was no love left in the Brony community. And after I had also witnessed moments like this turn out to be scams or attention-seeking drama. So, even a bitter, burned-out old hack like me can see that there's still a small light in the dark.

It's not much, and I don't know how long it will last, but it's there.

So, with the end of the show upon us at last, take all this how you will. A different way to mourn, a cerebral retrospective, an embittered rant (probably still a few of you out there who will see it that way), you be the judge. But this show was as much a part of my life as it was of yours, even if we parted ways sooner than most. After all these years, there's still a part of me that's sad to see it go. And we had some good times. If we hadn't, we wouldn't be here. None of us.

Here's to a game-changing, somewhat-divisive, but still unforgettable show.

Goodbye Twilight, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and especially Fluttershy. Stay quick. Stay sharp. And thanks for being there.

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Comments ( 10 )

It does appear though they aren't going to be gone for long if G5 is anything to go on.

I agree. The show had this weird habit of sine-waving between good and bad episodes, I'm glad that the show ended with a great finale instead of just getting cancelled. At least this way there is some semblance of closure and not a sudden heart-attack stop.

Here's hoping G5 does a better job...

While I respect your opinion and understand where you're coming from, I have to disagree a bit. Keep in mind family Guy, the Simpsons even south park, are all pushing past 20 and the Simpsons case 30 years fim is only going out with 9 years under it's belt. It's my own personal belief that a show can usually stay decent for a decade but after that it can start to show its age..but ultimately if it goes on longer than the magic number of 12 that's when I draw the line.

I'm not saying I wanted fim to go on that long far from it. I'm just saying that I never thought it became a "shambling zombie" but to be honest it doesn't take much for me to utterly loathe anything in media. The only criteria for being "bad" in my book is to be boring, in bad taste (looking at you big mouth) or if the creators put their own personal opinions or beliefs before the storytelling. (Something that's becoming all too common in media as time goes by)

I honestly don't know what to say about this? But in my opinion Season 8 was the bad season for me.

But I like season 9 way better because their were episodes that I was looking for and I think it brings thing to a good end.

What made the brony community quite unique was that it was fairly disconnected from the show itself. Every fandom has it's own things that were invented by the fans but none had as much as the brony community. So that's why the brony community could continue to thrive even as the show itself declined.

For me, the wobble, as it were was just starting to become too noticeable to be overlooked with rose tinted glasses. I certainly don't think it would have been a good idea to prolong the show any longer, although I remain optimistic about the Season 10 comics, since IDW is a whole different kettle of fish. It has told it's story, and that's good enough for me. Whatever mistakes might have been made are outshone by what was done right. They took a show aimed at little kids, full of pink, rainbows and cute animals, and made it so parents could watch it with their kids without going mad, and in the process, accidentally appealed to an unexpected new audience.

You said bye to Dash too, huh? Someone doesn't hate a certain rainbow maned Pegasus as much as he says he does.

Friendship is Magic was, in my honest opinion, always a mixed bag; there have been many good episodes, but the bad episodes were just as numerous. Multitudes of writers working on the show means that, for example, Pinkie Pie can be endearingly quirky one episode and a complete nuisance the next. They forget morals at the drop of a hat if it suits the plot of an episode or movie, and overall it feels like there really was no clear direction from the start of the series all the way to the end of it.

And yet unlike the majority of people who say this kind of stuff, I enjoyed it thoroughly from beginning to end.

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