• Member Since 27th Feb, 2013
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Sprocket Doggingsworth


I write horse words.

More Blog Posts173

Jul
31st
2020

Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! - Not Knowing · 4:53am July 31st

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was constantly in the process of reinventing itself. It started out as a "Rated E for Everyone" show that had trouble getting the word "egghead" past the censors, and ultimately evolved into the kind of program where massive battle scenes felt totally in place and appropriate.

It's wild - this journey - this evolution.

I've been slowly re-watching the series, as well you know, and one thing that's lost in the experience is the sense of anticipation - the sense of not knowing where the show was heading next. That mystery was once a source of tremendous excitement.

Take Princess Luna, for example. When Season One wrapped up, a lot of us were left wondering if Princess Luna would ever return, or if her very presence had been a mere fluke of the pilot.

Why wasn't she at the Grand Galloping Gala? Why? Why? Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?!

When she finally did appear in Luna Eclipsed - a full year after the pilot had first aired - many of us reasonably speculated that the suits in charge of Studio B had deemed her too spooky to appear in anything other than a Halloween episode. After all, for months and months and months after Nightmare Night, Luna still showed no sign of being integrated organically into the MLP universe.  When Canterlot Wedding aired, we freaked out in utter delight when Princess Luna was briefly seen way off in the distance. She simply said, "as always, I will guard the night," and flew away, but to us, this was amazing.

They had that confirmed that Princess Luna legitimately had something to do!  It seems like such a small thing now - a detail that should have been taken for granted, but the show had given us very little indication up until that point that they were planning on fully incorporating Luna into the show. It wasn't until Sleepless in Ponyville that Princess Luna finally had an actual role in Equestria - the Princess of Dreams - and that was two whole years after Friendship is Magic had premiered.

Luna fans had spent every moment in between eagerly anticipating the mere possibility of her return. We filled in the blanks with memes and discussions - with songs, and stories, and comics, and works of fanart. That was our attitude toward everything - taking a not-fully-fleshed-out universe that we somehow felt a part of right from the start, and just...building.

That not knowing - that mystery. At its best, it was actually part of the magic.

At its worst, it also left folks doubting the very future of the show.

It's sort of legendary how big of a wedge Magical Mystery Cure drove into the fandom when it first alicornized Twilight Sparkle. While binge watching Seasons 1-3, it's totally easy to forget that, after MMC initially aired, we didn't have the option of skipping ahead, and seeing where they were going with this idea. It left a lot of people nervous, myself included.

Looking back, Season 3 took a lot of risks - made a lot of bold changes in a very short period of time - world-altering ideas like the reformation of Discord, and the alicornization of Twilight (that probably could have benefited from a bit more build up and development). All this happened with a new show runner in Meghan McCarthy, a thirteen episode timeline, and an overworked staff simultaneously developing Equestria Girls on the side. Season 3 always felt a little disjointed to me, even though it's got a few gems in it, and that's okay.

I don't think quite as many of us would have quit the show, left the fandom, or gotten into such heated debates over Magical Mystery Cure if we could simply have skipped ahead to binge Season 4, and seen for ourselves what a spectacular job the show was going to do of following up on the idea of Twilight Sparkle, Alicorn Princess. Also those who loved MMC from the start wouldn't have had to deal with quite so much division in the fandom.

Looking back now, I realize that such a split was inevitable. Like I said, so much of our energy as a fandom was borne of anticipation. With no clear sign of where they would be going with the concept of alicorn Twilight - a lot of us, particularly those who found Magical Mystery Cure somewhat lacking as an episode - anticipated the worst. It seems so very silly now, but like I stated earlier, the very momentum of bronydom itself came from so much not knowing.

There's no way to recapture that experience - the good or the bad.

I'm glad I was around to watch the show evolve in real time - to get hyped - even to experience doubts. But I'm not writing this to wax nostalgic about the good old days of the fandom, (if such a thing can even be said to exist). In fact, I'm even more thrilled now that I can watch the whole darn thing from start to finish with the benefit of hindsight. Looking back, I not only love the shape that the show ended up taking, (especially in the very end), but I finally respect the struggle that it took to get there - the commitment to trying new things - the fearlessness. At the time, I didn't always like or agree with every single twist and turn, (and I admit that sometimes, not knowing got the better of me), but that journey, in its own way, is a huge part of the soul of My Little Pony - a constant evolution - a perpetual reinvention of itself.

There's nothing else quite like it, and there never will be again. Isn't it great to have been there as it happened, (even if you only joined the herd in the later seasons)? Isn't it magical? This quaint little show that become an inexplicable phenomenon.

What a long strange trip it's been.
Sprocket

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Comments ( 4 )

You're very much correct, Sprocket. The anticipation and wonder of learning new things and experiencing new places, characters and stories was a huge part of enjoying the show. Being a part of the fandom since mid season 3 (I binged the episodes on YouTube after I happened onto the pilot one night!) I've seen almost everything from the first moment. I wouldn't have missed it , or being in this fandom community, for anything in the world. I'll always be a Brony. It will always be a part of who I am.

Well said. Through all the controversial decisions, whether it was opening the School of Friendship, turning the changelings into skittlebugs, blowing up the library, or even—shock and horror—introducing a third alicorn and Twilight's brother who she'd suddenly always had, my mantra was "Wait and see." Yes, the staff did more with some decisions than others, but I always appreciated every new development. Even when the show writers didn't do anything with it, that meant that much more fodder for us.

Reese #3 · July 31st · · ·

Thank you for your remembrance, and as usual for your insight and commentary. :)

It is indeed curious, trying to think back to those early days, and knowing the latest episode without knowing what would follow. Heh. I recall a few things I had Opinions on at the time, which over time changed. :)
And fanfiction, of course, so often had to decide how to incorporate new information from the show in ongoing stories, whether it would be better to continue on as planned or whether the new thing could be worked in well. And so many stories spawned from new things from the show!

I'm in a hurry at the moment and not sure how well I'm expressing myself or properly thinking this over, but yes, thanks. :)

5326071
To be fair to the criitiques about Shining Armor, literally everything about Twilight Sparkle's personality screams only child.

The mythos of the universe was also more grounded when there were only two alicorns; they represent different polarities that balanced each other out. However, it doesn't ruin the entire show, and you can get around that problem easily by adhering to the reasoning that :
waving-cosmic-hair equals "goddess," and
regular alicorn equals "monarch appointed by powers beyond our understanding."

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