• Published 25th Dec 2016
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Behind the Laughter: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Smashology

This is the story they never wanted to tell you. This is the story about your favorite characters that has been kept secret. This is the story... behind the laughter.

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Perchance to Dream (Season 3)

Agreements. Merchandise. Privacy. Sell-outs.

Behind the Laughter

Despite the controversy surrounding the season two finale, “A Canterlot Wedding” became the most viewed episode of the show and produced the highest rating in the history of the network. Ponies continued having success among the youngsters and the young adults. It spurred a wanting to have their own set of figures, dolls and everything in between of their favorite characters from the series.

It was cute seeing dolls designed from our appearances in the stores. Mine flew off the shelves.

That’s what you say. With luck, I could barely find one, ONE in a store.

Don’t get mad with me, darlin’.

I know, but... why does nobody love me?!

...Ah do love ya.

Thank you.

In 2012, Hasbro and DHX renewed the series for a third season. However, there was a drawback in their plans. One of the contracts signed by Fancy Pants stipulated that he could do whatever he wanted with the programming of The Hub, and one of the many employees of the network explained it to us.

One of the agreements they had was that, to prevent saturation of the shows, as well as to avoid them from getting lengthen for no reason other than milking money, they had to last three seasons or sixty-five episodes. But even after that I don’t get why some shows had preference over mine. I mean, my show was one of the flagships of the network. And it was pushed aside for giving space to colorful horses?! OH, YOU...!

Dan... are you ok?


With this in mind, Hasbro and DHX had no choice but to abide by the agreement, having as a result of a season half the length of the previous ones.

This was a huge letdown for the team.

It was clearly a sign of limiting your own work. How could anyone agree with this?

I was in conflict with this new law. I mean, yes, I agree it is putting a stop signal to your own work. But at the same time, it’s a way to know when you need to move on and do other things. And for me, it was a good way to close this chapter in my life.

This came out with its problems, inside and outside the staff. Most of the episodes were done so quickly that the pacing and resolution of them were not the expected. Reception from the fans was highly underwhelming and not even the new, introduced characters could live up to the high. One of the few guests who made it was the Wonderbolt cadet Indigo Zap, who played Lightning Dust.

I was one of Prism Wing’s friends at Wonderbolts’ headquarters. And from time to time, I watched the show. So, when I got invited from her part to be in it, I guessed that could be called a unique life experience.

And how was your experience in the show?

Not what I expected. Everyone was coming in and out and some of the stunts were more dangerous than I thought, not to mention dye my coat and mane to fit my character. Not only that, but the two sisters constantly argued due to the limited time they had to finish what was, presumably at the time, the final season of the show.

Even the return of some loved guest stars was perceived as cheap fanservice.

To reprise your role after a lot of time is difficult, especially when you have to add more villainous elements to your character... Who am I kidding? It feels so good to be bad.

Honestly, I didn’t remember I was on the show when they called me back. I had to re-watch my own episode to get my memories back. But it was worth it because my character graduated from one-shot guest star to a recurrent member. I was now part of a family.

The staff decided to close as many narrative lines as they could, so they wrote about the Apple Family, Scootaloo being adopted by Rainbow Dash as her adoptive sister and the return of fan favorites like Trixie and Discord.

But my character was still the punching bag... I guess some things never change.

And then it arrived. 2013, also known as “the worst year.”

It was a normal year, for the most part. Nothing remarkable yet, but we were waiting for surprises to come. The sisters wrote an episode whose plot was specifically built for being the final episode in the series. No gimmicks whatsoever like last time.

But there were gimmicks in the end, all because of a leaked image.

I managed to convince everyone in the reunion to agree on that change. I mean, I was the main character after all and therefore, my merchandise should sell better than Prism Wing’s or Ink Blot’s.

It brought new material for fans to work with but, as far as I’m concerned, it was unnecessary.

They did what they wanted with this idea, it was like distorting the idea of someone else’s to fit into your own likes.

It has a nasty and rude amount of plot holes for a twenty minute episode.

The problem statement is weak and confusin’, not to mention the quick mcguffin out of nowhere at the end.

She was stealing the spotlight of everyone else... that’s my job!

Did I like it? ...Yes, I did.

Why? Everyone else says it was too modified.

Because we demonstrated that we could handle a spontaneous idea the best we could. And the answer was a musical episode, something we had never done before. That was the moment where our highlights worked at the best.

It was jumping the shark, that’s basically what you did. Anyone could become nuts.

Yes, and when the company doesn’t leave you many options and a horde is demanding your head, doing a risky movement like that and survive it deserves applause.

Explain yourself.

Well, the ending is already written, you have twenty minutes to propose the problem. So you solve it and reach the ending. Finally, you have to make everyone happy: your coworkers, your fans and the monetary interests of your company.

Wow... I mean, wow... with only half of that, honestly I’d shot myself.

We demonstrated that we were able to do anything Hasbro and DHX wanted with the show. And for me, it was the best way to end it up.

Yeah, like that’s ever going to happen. What a load of–!

Against all odds, “Magical Mystery Cure” became a hit around the world. Even if the future was uncertain for the series, for most fans it was a great ending. What nobody expected was some sabotages during the production of the episode... not from the main cast, but from the background one. The family responsible of demanding the show due to the controversy surrounding one of its members stroke back.

We were able to sneak mom in the episode, nobody noticed it until it aired.

Yeah, they deserved that for blaming mommy from all the problems in the world!

Not only that, we’re hoping for a rev to be formed. We demand equal rights to handicapped people. They are demanding our heads now, of course, but there’s nothing a good bribe can fix.

Yeah, like when I cut a class!

No Dinky, it’s not like... wait, what did you just say, young lady?

Eh... that I love you?

With the exception of Stardust Nova, every member of the Mane 6 continued looking each other from time to time, but everyone took their own path and did what they wanted with their gains. Ink Blot could cooperate in the design of other cartoons at the time.

I constantly broke the fourth wall in my drawings, and my style suited for other fantasy worlds, so I borrowed and designed some sketches used later in other shows, one of them was of a... kid with magic powers and has adventures with three humanoid rocks known as... The Crystal... something. I don’t know, I left after season one.

Ivory moved with Sparkling Cider to the big city, and they lost much of their fortune investing in an ambitious project.

It was supposed to be like a fightin’ videogame, but with the irony of a friendly and cute concept. Unfortunately, Hasbro sued the development team for ‘copyright claims’, and they won... It was a fan project, not profitable in our image and we supported it. Ah’m upset to this day.

We don’t know what has happened since then with the game, but I learned something. When ponies search for our images on the Internet, they don’t want to see my picture.

That didn’t affect their friendship but, strangely enough, we began to notice that our sisters were gettin’... eh... how can Ah say it delicately?

Sparkling Cider and Ivory sitting on a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.♪

Stop it!

But it’s true! Even an artist did an anthro recreation of our last Thanksgiving dinner.

The sisters Futas and Lunare invested their money adapting MLP-related works to the theater.

Looking for enough good and popular stories was the form of maintaining ourselves in the media. And the theater was an unexplored territory for us.

We did a poll about the most popular stories and the winners were Pinkie Pie killing a friend, our past sins, a filly being adopted by a human, a genderswap love, you name it.

I took advantage of their situation and mounted a theater play about me switching places with Princess Twilight Sparkle. I wrote it myself and it helped me to set apart from “My Little Pony.”

However, the biggest achievement was from Cottontail and Q.

It’s curious how we went from complete strangers to friends and finally, lovers.

What was initially an illusion and desire from fans became true behind the cameras. We usually went to amusement parks, conventions, her parents’ house... it was weird, but comforting.

We enjoyed causing so much chaos everywhere we went. We were so similar and we share many of our feelings, we were meant to each other.

The time we spent together inspired us to write a play, with our romance as the main focus. Both Futas and Lunare produced our work so it could have as many presentations as possible.

Inspired by “Beauty and the Beast” and keeping the same characters from “My Little Pony”, “Bride of Discord” became both critical and financial success. It made money enough to change their lives. The couple moved to a private residence in Vanhoover and prepared an unexpected surprise for the rest of their friends and family.


A wedding at a cherry blossom garden, guests sat in lines, both Cottontail and Q at the altar with the priest at the front. They are about to exchange votes and trade glances. The priest proceeds.

Cottontail, do you take this chimera as your beloved husband, your partner in life and your one true love?

I, Cottontail, take you, Q, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.

Q, do you take this pony as your beloved wife, your partner in life and your one true love?

I, Q, take you, Cottontail, for my lawful wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.

By the power that God has granted me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You can kiss the bride.

Q and Cottontail kiss. The crowd breaks out into cheers and sighs of relief as they run victoriously down the carpet.

I have records of you saying you might not approve her choice. Mind to explain?

Really? I mean, haven’t you noticed how old is he in comparison to hers? Besides, they got married just a few months after they started dating each other.

Love doesn’t know age restrictions.

That wasn’t a manakete marrying a human, at least in that case the difference isn’t noticeable until much, much later.

But, in the end, if she was happy, you were happy.

Very true.

The entire staff went to her wedding. It was more... different than we expected, too much madness rather than order. Too much emotions for my head, but the cake was soooooooooo delicious.

Honestly, we never thought she will be the first one of us to get married.

Yeah... I always thought it would be me.

We had tons of nights of passion, during our engagements, before the recordings, during the airing of the season and after our wedding.

And just when we thought our life was as perfect as it could be... a miracle happened.

Their daughter, Screwball, was born in August 2013. They kept their life as private as they could, unlike Prism Wing, whose dilemmas were unintentionally revealed.

I came back to the Wonderbolt Academy, thinking things would be different after my three-year absence... it wasn’t what I expected.

Why did you come back to the Academy if you left it in the first place?

I believed that my absence could bland the hearts of my coworkers and they will welcome me back, or at least hug me, when I step into it. However, it wasn’t like that.

Prism Wing herself refused to reveal more information, so we had to search in other sources. One of them was a close friend of the blue pony: a gryphon named Gilda.

Things didn’t change, nobody missed her, some of them even blame her for portraying them as douchebags and jerks in her show. I have nothing against her, I mean, she portrayed me as rude towards her other friend, which I haven’t met in person, but it was a fiction, it was not supposed to be taken seriously.

Many of the stories were based on real events. That should’ve been a huge problem.

You want to know what’s a real problem? Money. Prism Wing felt so depressed that she was spending money like an ATM. She bought me a Rolex and cashmere jeans. I felt kind of guilty because I was always trying to score with Soarin. So when do we start filming?


Oh, you–!

I watched the notices about her. I didn’t know how to react, so I went to her house to make her company.

But you didn’t know where she lived.

There’s nothing the Internet can’t do for you. Besides, I felt sorry about her. I have no idea if it was all the time we share together or the relationship our characters had and I don’t care, she needed someone to support her.

I have taken her under my wing since then. I believe I can make her a better pony.

Meanwhile Stardust Nova was the only one of the Mane 6 who stayed at Hasbro and DHX.

I couldn’t return to my old lifestyle. What was I supposed to do? Struggle again with debts? Come back with my parents to told me they were disappointed towards me? Steal to the mafia once more? No, no, no. I finally found a place where I could have everything I ever wanted.

One of the many choices she had to do was deciding which project should the executives approved.

They gave me my own office. It was similar to the one Prism Wing mentioned a while ago. I don’t understand her posture, honestly. I was becoming rich thanks to that. Then, one day an orange pegasus came into my office, saying he was a vivid fan of our show and that the magic shouldn’t end like that.

That fan responded to the name of Flash Sentry. His sister Pauly told us about him.

Nobody told me how tough it is to be a male and watch a girls-oriented TV show. That’s how I was raised, and now I am on TV. I wanted to go further, to create a similar concept to “My Little Pony”, but in a different environment.

I’d see him sitting on that couch all day long, just staring at that Canterlot Shit.

My favorite show was Canterlot Shit, but I also loved High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Camp Rock, you name it.

I loved his form of seeing the world, consumerism and loyalty to a show. He was going to be a visionary, one of the greatest of all time if I must say. So I talked with the superiors about it and they approved the project. The only thing missing was the name.

And that name was “Equestria Girls”. Hiring new staff for this concept, and under Stardust Nova’s supervision, this idea of setting the MLP universe in the human world, more specifically, in a scholar environment was interesting and it wanted to expand the horizons of the show, as well as maintaining the spirit of ponies alive. The movie finally premiered and... the results were not the expected in terms of quality.

Ah read reviews of this project and they were mixed to say the least. Some ideas and hints were here and there, but everythin’ became wasted potential.

As a marketer and artist myself, there’s an excellent reason why economy and art should never be together, because it’s extremely rare the case when a concept doesn’t finish as a sell-out. You have a product to sell and, no matter what you do, you will force it into the story.

What’s strange and worse about it is that the biggest criticism came from our own fans. They thought we sold our souls to the devil, when in reality not one of us was involved in the project. We were busy and happy doing other things in our lives.

None of us liked how our project was managed by executives.

So, you thought it was a failure?

In quality material yes. However, the film achieved much success among the children’s audience and at the box office, as well as in the promotional vintage, but nothing more.

When they announced the concept of “Equestria Girls” and what it pretended to be, I won’t deny it: I thought it was a stupid idea. And yet, I wanted to watch the final result. I wanted to see how the staff could handle this types of topics and themes, which were clichéd by nature. And without me and the rest of the original staff involved, it was the perfect challenge to make an extra effort, to demonstrate that “My Little Pony” was not a lab accident... I didn’t see that effort.

Which element you think was the weakest of “Equestria Girls”?

The biggest sin were the characters. They don’t have six or seven main characters, they have one main character and a ton of supporting characters with too many dialogues. They want every single one of them to share screen time and that sole main role. I don’t know how they do it, but the characters ended up as bland and pathetic. I mean, my characters were not that complex, but they were tridimensional in comparison.

After these letdowns, Prism Wing came back to Hasbro. Against the odds, the executives agreed, a new contract was signed and the original crew was back for one more round. But at what cost?

I wanted to save my creation from the corruption it suffered, but at the same time, I had nothing better to do. I was lost, without a course, I felt forced doing this. Perhaps, it was going to clear my mind and find the joy I lost time ago.


When we come back.

What made you quit at the top of the game?

You think I quit?

That’s what everybody says.

No... they quit on me.

When Behind the Laughter continues.

Author's Note:

Season 3, as a whole, didn't give me too much to talk about. Perhaps it's its own nature (shorter than the rest of the seasons and with its own strengths and weaknesses), so I decided to focus more on other details and characters. Also, take into account that adding Equestria Girls to the story was much, much harder than I thought.

For those who are wondering, I know Sunset Shimmer is, technically, a Season 3 character. But I'm planning something special with her. You just have to wait and see

Finally, the story has been focusing on the comedy for the most part. Starting from the following season, the drama will be more present.

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