These Are Not Your Mother’s Ponies

What has happened to My Little Pony since I was young?  I started thinking about this after one of my blogging buddies, Gilliad Stern, posted about the state of boys’ cartoons nowadays.

I don’t know much about boys’ cartoons. With two girls almost eight years apart, I have experienced two recent and different generations of My Little Pony.  If I count the ponies that debuted in 1983, when I was probably a tad too old (nah) to like them, then three generations.

Just so you know that I was a total dork, Spider-Man was really my favorite in high school. I liked him before he was cool.

The first MLP toys were fat, friendly, and happy little ponies. Their cutie marks spilled across their flanks and backs.  They were fun to draw.  Then the unicorns and flying ponies came out.  Did it matter than I was in high school?  Nope.  Just look at the cool thermos circa 1987 that I found at my parents’ house.  Isn’t she cute? The second generation pony wasn’t as round as the first generation and had a little more expression.

By the time my first daughter was born, My Little Pony was on the third generation of the ponies.  They were still friendly and happy, but not as chubby as the ponies I had.

Here’s where one of the differences is obvious.  I owed a couple of ponies.  Granted, I was in middle school, so I wasn’t playing with them.  They sat on my window sill.  Flash forward 20 years or so, and my daughter owned too many to count by the time she was six.  Toys are so much easier to buy, it seems, than when I was a kid.

The movies for my daughter’s My Little Pony ponies were cute.  They marketed the houses, accessories, books, and ponies expertly, but the stories were about friendship, courtesy, and manners.

Minty was one of my daughter’s favorites.

I didn’t mind so much that Ponyville exploded across the floor and the ponies stayed out to play for days.  We read the books and colored with crayons in giant coloring books.

Flash forward about a decade to my second daughter’s introduction to the My Little Ponies.  One Christmas, she found a huge herd under the tree.  (Did she wonder if they were once her big sister’s?  Nah. Toddlers don’t care about that.)

Then tragedy struck about two years ago.  We were looking at the toys in the store, because Little Sister wanted to buy another pony with her own, saved up money.  The ponies had been replaced with weird-looking, oddly-shaped imposter MLPs!  Where were the real ponies?

Turns out, the ponies had been changed for the fourth major generation.  Noooooooo!  We didn’t like them.  All three of us wrinkled our noses and huffed.  (It happened.)  No ponies were bought that day.  There might have been tears.  (No, not mine…maybe…)

One day, we happened across the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon series.  Big Sister and I watched with Little Sister.  Our curiousity won out against the deep desire to change the channel to Animal Planet.  I made up my mind that I was not going to like the show and that would be the last time any of us watched it.

How could they ruin my ponies like that?  Why would they make them with those giant eyes and pointy little noses that looked nothing like horse faces?  What did they do to my–bwahahahahahaha!

We laughed so hard during that episode.  These were not my ponies at all!  They were funny, witty, snarky, sleak, and evilly funny.  When I say “evil,” I mean that in a good way–absolutely nothing literal about that.  (Although, there are some people out there who really think MLP is evil.  *shakes head*)  These ponies are not push overs.

Princess Celestia is the sleekest pony.

Another huge difference is there is a huge following of adult men who call themselves Bronies.  Yes, the Friendship is Magic series includes B-O-Y-S!

If I had to pick a favorite of the six main characters, it would have to be Pinkie Pie.  She likes parties and sweets, but she’s clever and sings awesome songs (“Face Your Fears” is very cool).  Wait, Twilight Sparkle lives in the library and loves books and is purple. I don’t find it a bit strange that no one in town ever checks out any books.  It’s too hard to choose.  There is something to love about all of them.  Go to the Hub website here or the Hasbro website here to check out video clips.

The official MLP YouTube site doesn’t seem to be working as I write this.  There is a lot of creepy fanfic stuff on YouTube related to MLP (some is quite disturbing, so don’t let your kids surf YouTube for MLP–stick with the Hub or Hasbro sites).

I found a few sites with the history of the My Little Ponies in case you’re curious:

Not only did the history remind me that the new ponies are not the same as when I was a kid tween, but it was also a reminder of just how old I am–Old enough to like these sweet, loving ponies who are sassy, snarky, and eeeevillll.  (I mean that in a good way.)

What was your favorite cartoon as a youngster (young at heart counts)?  Do you have a favorite show or character who has been rebooted a few times?  (I’m totally thinking about Spider-Man now.)  Was the reboot worth it or a waste?

14 thoughts on “These Are Not Your Mother’s Ponies

  1. Julie Glover

    I really can’t think of any cartoons that fit that bill, but I have long been a bit disappointed that my Batman is no longer out there. To me Batman was the campy Adam West version, and now there are movie franchises and cartoon series where Batman is, well, SCARY.

    I like the earlier ponies too.

  2. TommieLyn

    Interesting to hear about how the ponies changed…I was already a mother when they came out…a mother of teenaged boys, so the ponies never galloped into my house. Instead, Star Wars action figures zoomed from under our Christmas trees.

  3. Gilliad Stern

    Now I can’t say that I ever watched MLP, but it is strange how a cartoon changes over time. I saw a trailer for the new TMNT that is coming out on Nickelodeon and I just shook my head. I don’t know but it just doesn’t seem like the old generation of the cartoon.

    Thanks for the link back to my blog though. 🙂 And ditto to the Star Wars toys, I have a bunch in my office.

    1. Diana Beebe Post author

      Just wait ’til your baby girl wants to watch cartoons. A lot of it is barf-worthy. We’re selective about the TV she watches.

      Stars Wars toys in your office? Who would ever think such a thing? What? Well, yes, those are Mr. Potato Heads as Darth Vader and Spider-Man thinly camoflauged by plants in my office. 🙂

  4. Pauline B Jones

    My daughter liked her ponies and the Care Bears. I was so relieved when she moved on to He-Man and She-ra. When I was little it was Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner. Tweety Bird. Lots of good, old fashioned cartoon violence. (grin)

  5. Rebecca Enzor

    While I CAN’T STAND the new toy line (they look so wrong) I ADORE the new TV show ❤ Care Bears were actually my favorite when I was little, but ponies were what started me writing, and they will always have a special place in my heart (and in my closet, since Hubs doesn't let me keep them out ;P).

    Thanks for stopping by the blog! Hopefully you get a chance to play with the pony creator – it's a huge time suck!

    1. Diana Beebe Post author

      I use my girls as an excuse to keep ponies around. **shhhhh** The pony creator is fabulous. It’s already sucked some of my time this morning. 😉 I will be making time to play with it later, since I love the idea of creating my novel characters as ponies.

  6. Reetta Raitanen

    I was a child during the first generation of My Little Ponies and I had a legion of them. And still do 😉 My three year olds get to play with some of the ponies in worst condition and the pony stable. But the rest are my precious. What has been done to the next generations of MLPs is sacriledge. No such ponies will enter my house. The only cool development is that now men are into MLPs too.
    And yes, many of the new children’s series are abominable. We don’t have regular TV at all. My kids watch only carefully selected DVDs, videos from safe sites, and handpicked YouTube channels.

    1. Diana Beebe Post author

      We all still love the older ponies. My 7-year-old loves them. We have grown to love the new show, but she doesn’t watch every episode and the toys are very different. I do like that they have male ponies, too.

      I agree with you about most of the rest of children’s TV programming. Most of it is terrible and encourages bad behavior. It’s very smart to be selective! I think TV shows for kids would change if more parents were more careful about what gets turned on.


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