Tag: editorial

MLP Season Six in Review

I knew I forgot something! Actually, I didn’t because I had tons of other things going on between the end of “To Where and Back Again” and now. Anyway, admittedly this season was not as stellar as Seasons Four and Five. It was not as mindblowing as Season Four or emotionally pulling as Season Five. It was still an enjoyable season nonetheless. As usual, we go from 24th to 1st. Of course with time, opinions tend to change about certain episodes and indeed, I’ve adjusted the grades of some episodes in Season Six. You’ll find out which ones along the way. So let’s get to it!

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Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! – Days Gone By

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Source: MLP: FIM, Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000

As 2016 winds to an end, I want to do something different.  Rather than reflect upon the show directly, I want to celebrate a very minor detail in pony apocrypha.  Last year, Hasbro released an album, “It’s a Pony Kind of Christmas.”  The songs on it have a wide range.  Some are quite beautifully scored, and some are tender, but for the most part, the appeal of the album is its whimsical nature – and unapologetic corniness.

One track on it, however, stands out above the others.  The Apple Family’s version of Auld Lang Syne.  Like all the songs on the album, it’s a classic tune with altered lyrics.  This version is about family.  Nostalgia. Tradition.  Solid subject matter for Applejack, for obvious reasons.  However, whoever put this song together snuck something else in there.  Something deeper.  “Days Gone By” is not just a generic song about family.  It captures something extremely specific.   It is all  about paying tribute to family members who aren’t with us.

Have a look at the opening lines:

“When family cannot be here
Havin’ journeyed far and wide
We sing a song to honor them
To remember days gone by.”

The song doesn’t say so directly, of course, but it really feels – to me at least – like Applejack is singing about her dead parents.  The specific words that were chosen are very reminiscent of the way one talks about one’s ancestors, or the recently departed.  You don’t “sing a song to honor” your cousin who couldn’t make it to a New Year’s eve party, no matter how much you love them.  That’s how you celebrate those no longer with us.

The entire song lends itself to duel interpretation.  Even the lyrics put in there to be reassuring (that the song is about something other than honoring the dead) – come off as merely metaphorical.  The departed are not there because they are “journeying,” or in later verses, “across seas far and wide.”   These lyrics almost paint a picture of death as a sort of new beginning.  After all, the moral of the song is that those whom we love are still with us in spirit, and that the way to honor them is to tell stories of days gone by.

If you haven’t heard the album, I would strongly recommend, at the very least, to give this song a listen.  Why?  Because 2016 sucked.

It was a year of tremendous loss – not just of the countless beloved celebrities – people who made remarkable contributions to the world – but on and intimate level too.  A lot of us lost loved ones.  Family members.  Pets.  You’d be hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn’t, in some way, feel like this entire year is cursed.  It’s even been a running gag all over the Internet that, this New Year’s, rather than celebrating the birth of 2017, we will all be celebrating the death of 2016.

As cute as that sounds, I think we have an opportunity to make more of it than that.  Let’s take this opportunity to honor those we have lost in 2016 – to celebrate their lives, and the many ways, however small, that our own lives were changed because of their contributions.  Let’s celebrate that we are still here.

Even as we face what is sure to be a tumultuous and uncertain future, let us look to those who made a difference for us in our pasts, and with those memories, plant a seed of responsibility – a dedication to make a difference for others, and to live out the legacies of those we have lost.  I’m not talking about lame resolutions we all break two weeks into December.  I’m talking about a way of looking at the world – a way of looking at our heroes, and using them as a source of inspiration.

Few of us get memes made about us when we pass, nor are we talked about on television, but we can leave our own legacies behind through the people whose lives we touch – through lives well lead.  And while we’re still here, let’s look back at those who paved the way for us in our own lives, and raise our cider mugs high.

-Sprocket

Excerpt from SONG: DAYS GONE BY

“Our paths will cross again one day
In time to reunite
For family is always near
Even when the seas are wide
So take your cup and raise it high
Just as surely I’ll do mine
And make a toast for family
And the tales of days gone by.”

 

Please support Heart Full of Pony on Patreon.  You can also follow my essays on tumblr, and FimFiction

Opinion: From a Show ‘For Girls’ to ‘All-Inclusive’ Brand

(NOTE:  This opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of DerpySquad, Spazz, Marimo, or Sprocket.)

When asked about potential challenges in marketing MLP as it is “limited” to the girls’ aisle at NYC Toy Fair 2016, Hasbro Brands President John Frascotti had this response:

“It’s all about “Friendship is Magic”, said Frascotti. “As we look at expanding that across audiences, what we find is that the brand has a credible authenticity. Last year in out licenses which we now call Consumer Products, [MLP] was one of our fastest growing opportunities in all types of aisles from apparel to consumables. As we look to expanding to Preschool and “Guardians of Harmony,” I don’t think we should think about Pony as being ‘limited’ to the girls’ aisle. In fact, we look at viewership in the United States, over 30% of viewership is actually boys.

“So the brand is evolving into an all-inclusive gender brand. And while it traditionally started as a girls’ brand, it really has the legs to go just about anywhere.”

 On Tuesday, Friendship is Magic Supervising Director “Big” Jim Miller tweeted an open letter after a tweet about the show being “for little girls”. Some interpreted the tweet as an admission of a “lack of effort” in what they believe to be a lackluster season in Season Six. My Season Six Review will come after “To Where and Back Again” airs on October 22nd in the US, but looking back at the grades I have given Season Six episodes, I have give three episodes an A+ (“Gauntlet of Fire”, “A Hearth’s Warming Tale”, and “The Times They Are A Changeling”). An additional 10 episodes were graded A or A- (so far). Compare that to a total of 12 episodes receiving A+, A, or A- in Season Five. Admittedly, I’m not the harshest reviewer of episodes, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

I feel all of this is less an issue of the show being “for little girls” than “fans” who feel entitled and feel the show should cater to them exclusively. If these “fans” bothered to recall the moral to “Stranger Than Fan Fiction”, they would realize that different people can like the show for different reasons. Indeed, the target demographic for the show is girls aged 6-12 and still is today and there are simply some things that the show will not be allowed to do unlike shows such as Steven Universe or Star vs. the Forces of Evil. It is a testament that many people outside that demographic enjoy the show, inspired by the show, and even felt their lives were saved by the show. All of that perhaps led to Hasbro declaring MLP an “all-inclusive brand” earlier this year.

For “fans” and “analysts” who feel the need to nitpick anything and everything on the show and go ballistic when it smashes their precious head canon, it really does come of as entitlement or being incapable of getting off their high horse (or really a certain other ungulate that I shall refrain from using on here) because the show is not Ben-Hur or Batman:  The Animated Series. It’s insulting.

It is especially insulting to believe that just because some TV shows have females are the main characters and is set in a universe that is predominately female and the primary target audience is female—they are automatically inferior to shows where a male is the central character and most if not all the females on the show are one-note. I’ve gone on record saying this show is one of the best of this decade—if not the best this decade.

On a side note, I’ve repeatedly spoken out against harassing show staff whether it is concerning this show or others. Frankly, I feel more people in the Pony Media and prominent members in the fandom should do the same. It’s far too easy to say “just ignore the trolls.” Sadly, some people continue to act like jerks go out of their way to be jerks towards show staff or the “horse famous” in the fandom. Conversely, everyone has their own way of dealing with this garbage. Unfortunately, there are times where ignoring them is simply not an option and that additional steps need to be taken root out such misbehavior.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a show whose target audience is girls aged 6-12 that so happens to have a massive following outside that demographic. Girls deserve quality entertainment like “Big Jim” said and I still feel they and those who aren’t girls aged 6-12 are getting it through this show. To suggest that because the show is targeted towards the target audience in question somehow automatically makes it inferior, is an insult and is ridiculous.

StatManDan

PS:  Below is the full text of Big Jim’s note:

StatManDan – PSA: Stop The Harassment (Towards Animation Crews)

A friendly reminder to keep your hands inside the bus.

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Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! – Rainbow Crash

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Image Source: Newbie Dash

Rainbow Dash has always been a dichotomous character.  She is a braggart – a show off hellbent on trying to get the world to recognize her awesomeness.  However, beneath her arrogant exterior is a profoundly insecure pony.  Over the years, we have been shown time and time again that Dash’s arrogance, in reality, stems from her need to compensate for her insecurity.  That is a huge part of what makes Rainbow’s stories compelling.  From her fear of public failure in Sonic Rainboom, to her shameless idol worship in Daring Don’t, to her thirst for validation in The Mysterious Mare Do Well, Dash is a pony who is constantly struggling – always walking the hairy line between narcissism and crippling self-doubt.
Perhaps the most profound window into her psyche came in Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3.  We see a Rainbow Dash who has spent her entire life practicing her strengths – her flight – but actively avoided confronting her weaknesses.  She chases the thrill of feeling good about herself by winning, and by breaking records, but actively writes off any area where she lacks talent as being totally devoid of value.  Dash actually says that she believes that eggheads “invented” academia as a scheme to keep good flyers down.  Think about how extreme that is!  It’s a minor line, but it carries with it an entire history.  Rainbow Dash isn’t simply bad at academia.  Her hatred of it comes with bitterness, pain, and resentment toward “eggheads.”
What does that mean?  Well, we already know about her trouble with her peers as a filly.  Almost all of her flashbacks deal directly with jock bullies.  In this moment where she professes a frustration that eggheads are “keeping [her] down,” it is not difficult to imagine a young Dash who was equally put upon by smart kids.

When you put all of these facets to her character together, you see a pony who is constantly showing off simply to prove her worth – to justify her very existence.  A lot of people didn’t care for Newbie Dash, but personally, I found it inspiring.  In Newbie Dash, you see Rainbow finally reach her lifelong goal – to become a Wonderbolt – the best of the best; to wear a uniform that proves that she’s a winner.  When Rainbow gets there, she finds her perfect dream spiraling rapidly into her worst nightmare.  “Rainbow Crash” is more than just a hang up she has.  It is a repeat of the experience she’s spent her entire life running away from.  The reason that she goes off the rails, and becomes reckless again like she was in Season One – the reason that she lashes out in anger at the other Wonderbolts – the reason that she goes to the extreme of trying actively to be anyone but herself (her infamous impersonations of her five friends) – is that, after a lifetime of training and achievement, she’s all of a sudden that scared little kid all over again.  Rainbow couldn’t deal.
Now here’s where it gets good.  Here’s the part that I found inspiring.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a show that, by its very nature, encourages sensitivity.  However, this episode makes a bold choice in the end.  Rainbow never tells the other Wonderbolts why that name upset her so much.  She doesn’t make a plea for sympathy or sensitivity.  In some social situations, that is simply not the way to win respect.
Realizing the spirit in which the nickname was assigned to her, Rainbow accepts it.  It was her problem, not theirs.  She had been projecting her own baggage onto the situation, not the other way around.  The beauty of this is that becoming a Wonderbolt is suddenly no longer a shallow achievement meant to validate her insecurities.  By embracing the name Rainbow Crash, it can never, ever, ever hurt her again.
Now obviously, it doesn’t always work out like that.  I’m not saying that survivors of bullying should simply walk it off.  I know I will never forget the terror I experienced during my middle school years.  I am saying that self-actualization happens when you stop running from yourself – running from your pain and fear – and that that milestone of personal progress can take a thousand different forms.  For Rainbow Dash, it was this.

Rainbow Dash finally owned her fear, and her pain, and her insecurity, and she let it all go.

-Sprocket

You can also follow Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! on FimFic and Tumblr, and Patreon

Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! – Science

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(Source)

The big dark spots on the surface of our moon that give it the appearance of having a face were caused by massive pools of moon lava that cooled billions of years ago.  When we first started sending satellites up there to take pictures of the “darkside,” we expected to find similar dark blotches.  There were none.    It was a uniform shade of white, pocked with regular old craters.  There was no face –  no Mare in the Moon.

Current data suggests that the “darkside” of the moon has a crust that is 40 miles thicker than the side that we can see, so very little moon lava ever made it to the surface, thus the “darkside’s” lack of a “face.”  After decades of mystery, recent computer simulations doing intensely complex moon math have figured out the most likely reason for this major difference between the two sides of the moon.

Once upon a time, there was not one moon, but two – a big moon, and a little moon – both born of the same collision with Earth.  Over the course of billions of years, the two moons fused, creating the wonder we see today.

So when you look up at the night sky, and see those dark patches (that really do look like the Mare in the Moon), remember: that imprint is only there because a long, long time ago, a big sibling imprisoned a little sibling there.

-Sprocket

You can also follow Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! on tumblr.  http://heartfullofpony.tumblr.com and FimFiction https://www.fimfiction.net/user/Sprocket+Doggingsworth

Editorial: Element of Sincerity

Tuesday’s announcement that the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode, “The Cutie Map”, was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form was a surprise to the fandom. Indeed, it is a historical moment since no other TV animated show has ever been nominated for such an award. However, fans woke up Wednesday morning to learn about “Sad Puppies” and “Rabid Puppies” and how they have a right-leaning slate of candidates for the Hugos and that they “hijacked” the nomination process yet again.

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