That was a very interesting read. I'm not entirely typical of bronies, mostly because I'm well above the average age for the community, but I'll try to give a few thoughts.
First, I deliberately watched the first two seasons of the show without diving into the wider fandom. Of course, it wasn't in total isolation as friends who already knew it commented, but even so I think I would have enjoyed MLP:FiM a lot even standing alone. I think you're probably right, though, that it wouldn't have stood out from everything else as it does without that community. It's the combination that truly makes it so much fun for me.
As I said, I'm much older than many bronies (I'm 37) and my formative years of cartoon-watching were on weekend morning TV. In those days, the BBC especially, but also ITV, made a lot more of their own animation than they do now, so I actually watched relatively little US-originated stuff other than Looney Tunes shorts. The American buy-ins like The Get Along Gang (which I liked!) were mostly to fill in the gaps, not to form the backbone of the morning's entertainment. Incidentally, I've barely ever watched The Powerpuff Girls!
I don't even know whether G1 of MLP was broadcast here at all, but I think it would have done okay, as series like The Raccoons did. I've noticed quite a few bronies starting to take that original series more seriously, certainly compared with those that came after. Actually, at UK PonyCon recently, there was apparently a quite well-attended "G1 for Bronies" panel.
All the other guys are doing it.
I'm dealing with this out of order, because it's one part that I'm not sure works for the UK fandom. Yes, in this age of the internet, national boundaries mean a lot less than they did... but MLP:FiM is in no way a big phenomenon over here. I've never -- and I mean never -- seen another person, even a child, wearing a T-shirt with an image from the show, other than one friend who had already told me he'd be doing so. UK TV has only ever broadcast S1, and that on a channel even more obscure than The Hub once was. And so on.
Now, I think the "it's cool" point can still apply, but in the UK I think it's so in a rather different way. Here, it's not so much a case of wanting to be part of a big pop-culture phenomenon, but more a case of feeling part of a smallish, tight-knit group of people who've discovered something wonderful. I do wonder whether that's one reason the British fandom is (with really very few exceptions) such a happy, welcoming place to be.
It becomes not just another show to watch, but a social phenomenon to experience and be a part of.
That's definitely true, though. I've never been part of a really huge fandom before, and it's been an eye-opener. There's no doubt that for me, and I think most bronies, the immense hinterland of fan-made music, writing, art and so on has resulted in a richer experience. As I said above, the show is one I consider very good on its own merits -- but it is the fan community that lifts it clear of everything else. I'm not sure I'd choose FiM as my "desert island cartoon", but if I could have an internet connection as well and remain part of the community, it would be the one I'd choose without a moment's hesitation.
I’m sure that eventually MLP will go off the air again or become warn out for many Bronies.
Though some will remain, as they have done for the wider MLP fandom all these years. UK PonyCon, which I mentioned above, has run every year since 2004, so clearly isn't dependent on G4. It will be a smaller, quieter fandom, but it will still be there -- and I suspect I'll still be part of it. Probably not to the level or intensity that I am now, but I can't see myself growing bored with FiM entirely. It's given me too much; it's part of my life in a way that among fandoms only Watership Down and furry itself have really matched.
Edited at 2012-11-11 03:44 pm (UTC)
I don't know what it is about "My Little Pony" either. I have heard it's gotten a more solid plot since the 80's show of the same name, but I have to take their word for it since I don't see the show. As a Second Life resident, the pony avatars make for an amusing sight. But I see no reason to get and shapechange to one.
Probably the time I did the most pondering was when I saw an Afghanistan veteran in a brony avatar. That a symbol of testosterone would be going about in an avatar from a "girl's show," well, that spoke a few things.
But most of the time in virtual reality, I just smile to those I know, and hand them an apple.
Well, as a fan of both the old and new shows, I can't really see where the plot has improved. As I've said, the old show was dramatic of nature. Some MLP serials ran as many as 12 episodes with a cliff hanger at the end of each one. The new show is mainly just half hour sit-com episodes that don't have any developing plot at all - just characters in a situation like you'd have in any sit-com.
That's why I have such a problem backing up Bronies. They say this is better and that is better, but I just don't see the improvement.
Sit-coms are not properly judged on plot. They are more judged on how funny they are. In the case of all shows that have gone through this transition from serial to sit-com, if you said the sit-com versions were funnier, I'd go for that in a big way. But more plot? I just don't get where that is coming from.
Unless the plot they're referring to is a plot they're inventing in their heads or through fandom discussion. This is the true wonder of this type of program. An imaginative person will often see more than is actually there.
I'm quite a bit older than Logan but much of the same applies. No Bronies or children in G4 shirts in my neighborhood, and half a million people walk the grounds each summer where I work. I'm more of a Disney snob. The cartoons of the late seventies and eighties were dominated by cheap filmation and Hanna-Barbera. Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears was a breath of fresh air and I also really enjoyed Dungeons and Dragons and Ulysses 31. I never cared for Rescue Rangers and the only Power Puff Girls I'd watched before MLP:FIM was the movie (which was not good).
In October 2010 I saw the first 15 minutes of the first episode, and it didn't grab me. It looked off for a show about magical brushable little horses. I really didn't like what her sister did to Princess Luna. So I moved on, not watching any more of MLP:FIM until late February 2011. After a few episodes and googling up the write-up on MLP:FIM on Know Your Meme, I was smitten. Good cartoon and a hippy freak-out on 4Chan? Too funny and too awesome! I'd browsed 4Chan a few times so I knew it existed (looking to get grossed out isn't what first leaps to mind when I get online, so browsing 4Chan isn't a priority). A good cartoon and a fandom that is artistic, vibrant and fights the good fight hits all the right buttons with me.
I've been to a few very small furry cons. I like animals, I like cartoons, I like art, so, to furry con I go. But I'm not particularly gregarious, I don't care for cosplay or fursuits, and there so many predators (foxes, wolves, cats, bears...). Cons are not the best time I've ever had. I think twice and a few times more before I even consider a meet-up with strangers, even if we all like cartoons (and maybe even ponies).
It's a sad thing I've had to face over time, but not everyone who claims to like the things I like is nice, or likes things for the same reasons. I've had more knock down drag out fights with fellow fans than trolls.
If I go to a con or any other public affair in the real world, I won't go alone. I'll go surrounded by friends that I know I can have a good time with and feel safe. To go alone I would probably feel like a ghost, an invisible observer, unable to participate in anything.
Sadly, I have no local Furry friends to do anything with. So I doubt I'll ever get to any meet ups either.
I know what you're saying. I'm not a Brony, but I'll watch episodes of FIM, and I like it, I'll laugh, it's great... but that's as far as it goes with me. And believe me, I'm one that can be carried away by things. When TTA was on in the 90s I was a major TTA fan, and when it was Powerpuff Girls that you mentioned, I was majorly into that too.
But I just don't get the depth of how active furries who I've personally counted on for one task or another on Rainbow Ark for instance, are so captivated and changed by the show, that for all practical purposes many have left the furry fandom and are 24/7 Brony. And months will go by, I try to contact them to find out how they're doing and if they're going to eventually do this thing or that thing they said they were going to do, and they're all, "oh, hai, yeah, I have this whole other life now as a Brony and I have the greatest friends, and you should really give it a try yourself, ciao."
With about 3 people in particular it's been on par with getting wrapped up in a religious cult so that nothing of their former life, their commitments, promises, their former friends, nothing else matters at all, to the point of being absolutely scary. Now I have about 3 other friends who call themselves Bronies, and they love the show and characters and they're really into it, but they're still friendly and they still sound like themselves, and they seem fine - so I'm not talking about ALL Bronies by any means. But the phenomena I've found in a few is to the point of feeling like I need to send a deprogrammer after them :) I just hope they don't slit something important when they stop making episodes.
Edited at 2012-11-12 01:18 am (UTC)
Fandoms do tend to be like that. They are obsessions that can be all encompassing. And when a new one comes along that is more engrossing, the old one tends to get stored in a mental attic rather quickly.
But no one should have to leave Furry Fandom to be a Brony. We're supposed to be the fandom for all Furry titles, including MLP. But obviously there's a fandom out there providing something we don't - something certain snobbish furs in positions of visibility have devalued over the years, preventing us from providing the full range of fandom fun.
Furries really should look at all the good things Bronies have and demand that Furry Fandom be allowed to provide the same.