Uhg… this one was a pain in the butt to draw… hope it makes sense. XP
Anywho, so what I’m trying to get at with this comic is a bit of a commentary on the latest season of the instant internet cult classic series, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
Ok, for those not in the loop, lets catch you up. MLPFIM is a cartoon re-imagining of the old Hasbro series, but this time, it has the limitless talents of Lauren Faust (who brought you Powerpuff Girls, Fosters, etc). With her involvement, the characters were super stylized and the stories highly polished. Something that is exceedingly surprising for a series that was classically just an extended length toy commercial aimed at little girls. But, something happened, the internet was involved, and because of the awesome talents that come with a Faust work, it became in instant success in a demographic far removed from the target; 18-35 yr old men! Tons of memes (a derivative set of artworks with central themes or categories) followed and the internet came alive with buzz.
Well, that brings us to season 2. You see, the powers that be over at the Hasbro labs were well aware of this incidental market of older gentlemen that greatly overshadowed the original target market. In season 1, there were small “nods” to this internet group deemed “bronies”. Subtle as it was, the show progressed as usual with the original target locked in their sights.
However, season 2 happened and everything changed. Lauren Faust left for whatever reason and there is an absolutely noticeable shift in the writing and production of the series. Obviously, some brass at the top of the food chain caught wind of this new, larger, wealthier market and decided to try catering to them specifically. In other words, they changed their target market! This is bad. This is very bad. 4 episodes in, and we’ve seen something like 2-3 DOZEN meme references! They are loading every episode with as many nods to the “bronie” community as they can. Not only that, I am completely sure they purposefully created “exploitables” (or templates for memes).
Now, you might say “what’s the big problem?” and that’s perfectly fine, I may just be over reacting, but bad things tend to happen when you shift your focus to cater to only one group. Not only that, but I fear that the shift from “somewhat self aware kids’ show” to “a self parody that fires off popular memes like a machine gun” may have a negative effect on the “bronie” community. Meaning, it’s veering away from the very things that made it a popular show in the first place. I think they’re trying to hit too many of the bulletpoints on the ol meme list and show they’re pro-bronie while sacrificing the integrity of the show. Not only that, I’ve noticed the production value has gone down a bit… some of the animation is a bit less polished and even just bad at times. Maybe they’re trying to cut corners with the budget or hired on some noobies, but to me at least, it’s very apparent.
HOWEVER, do I think this is the end for the series? Well, no… I think it could withstand a pretty heavy hit like this for a short time, but I don’t see it lasting as such for a few more seasons. Something will have to give. I think if they don’t start to tone back the “fan service” (hmm, might be using that term wrong) then the show will just be an oversaturated extension of 4chan and drive away many of the fans that liked the show as it was before. That’s not to say I’m going to stop watching and hoping for change, but you know how it is… the first few times they gave us secondary market peoples a bone, it was funny… but do that joke too often, then all you’re doing is eroding that 4th wall and watering down your product.
Ps… extra points if you can name all the memes in this. >)