There comes a time in your life when you have to decipher nostalgia from reality. There was a long period in my adult life (I use that phrase loosely, FYI) when I would wake up to a do-nothing Saturday and decide to eat some cereal and watch cartoons. I was inevitably disappointed with what I found. There is a lot of arbitrary screaming in cartoons these days. I don’t like that.
And then one day I got fancy cable and decided to try again. While flipping through the guide, I stumbled upon a My Little Pony show. I was born in mumblegarbledysix, so I grew up a giant fan of the orignal and hit “select.” What a treat! My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, with its graffiti pallete of colors, sharp design and gleeful characters is a cross-generational cross-gender certifiable mega hit, and after chatting with the show’s story editor Meghan McCarthy, I’ve realized the show is as lovingly made as it is watched.
MLPFiM’s visit to NYCC solidified the show’s entry into pop culture stardom. “It was so cool seeing a Stormtrooper, and a Walking Dead zombie, and then like a Fluttershy sitting next to each other,” McCarthy beams. She is beyond appreciative of the show’s fans and mentioned several tributes and mash-ups of which she is especially fond. If you’ve not explored the world of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, a quick deviantart tag search will turn into hours of marvel.
McCarthy credits much of the show’s success to its optimism. “There are a lot of shows out there that are just so cynical,” she notes, and even postulates “maybe it was irony at first, like ‘oh, it’s OK to like this show’” but then turned into something else when viewers of all ages realized that the show is actually good. Themes of friendship, loyalty and acceptance? Hm, can you think of any other franchise that might have been a huge global success based on those three simple tenets? I digress. The point is that when stories are honest and encouraging, the public notices and responds with a matched enthusiasm. And then there’s the music. Daniel Ingram’s melodies in featured numbers are simple enough for a child to mimic, but so wildly catchy that adults will find themselves humming long after hearing them. Interestingly, the shows are not tailored for the musical numbers. “The songs occur very organically in the writing process,” McCarthy says. If it’s a good place for a song, one goes in, but story is never sacrificed to make room for a number, and ringers are never brought in – he who writes the episode also writes the lyrics.
But there really is no secret to the show’s widespread appeal; McCarthy simply credits the show’s quality. “If you are into animation or design, you’re going to enjoy the show no matter what.” She gives high accolades to her staff and implies that the show is hard work, but always a labor of love. The show also has “a rich mythology and constantly growing universe” – this season introduces the magical Crystal Empire in the show’s two part season premiere.
When asked about her future in animation, McCarthy says “a lot of people consider animation a stepping stone, like ‘I’ll do this for a while and maybe get a sitcom.’ I never thought this was where I would end up but if I spend the rest of my career in animation, that would be amazing.” She realizes the importance of Saturday morning cartoons and is reverent of her own contribution.
“My Little Pony Friendship is Magic” makes its eagerly-anticipated debut with Twilight Sparkle and her friends traveling to the magical Crystal Empire that has mysteriously reappeared after a 1,000 year-old curse caused it to vanish. In the two-part season opener, “The Crystal Empire,” Twilight Sparkle must find the Crystal Heart to restore the Empire to its full strength.
“My Little Pony Friendship is Magic” premieres at 10 am ET this Saturday, November 10. Games, party packs and other downloadable content is available at hubworld.com. I will be watching, all snuggly in my jammies, eating a bowl of Apple Jacks. I recommend you do the same.