‘My Little Pony’ draws manly audience

Nathaniel Curtis, Managing Editor

When television producers write a program for a show, they hope for a large fan base to develop. The fan base that developed for the television show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” however, was not what the writers expected. The vast majority of the show’s viewers have turned out to be adult men and young teenage boys.

“The show is just interesting in general,” freshman Lucas Issitt said. “There are things in the show that a lot of people don’t get, like references to Star Trek. I’ve been watching the show since at least 2010. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t collect any figurines or anything like that, I just like the show.”

The male fans of the show have been dubbed as “bronies,”  a joining of the words “bro” and “pony.” Bronies enjoy the show because of clever writing and moralistic topics.

“I think people like it because it’s colorful,” eighth-grader Nicholas S. said. “I’ve watched a few full episodes, but then I realized I like anime more. Maybe it’s because I don’t think friendship is really magic.”

Fans often enjoy the same aspects of the show and make references to specific characters and actions. For instance, a fist-bump for bronies is called a “brohoof” and one of the most popular ponies is named “Rainbow Dash.”

“I like Fluttershy the best, all the others aren’t quite as awesome,” Issitt said. Nicholas S. agrees with Issitt, saying that Rainbow Dash, the most famous pony, is too mainstream.

Bronies became popular with the show’s release in October, 2010. The fanbase spread to the point where there are now specific conventions, called BronyCon, for these pony fanatics. The first BronyCon was held in Manhattan on June 25 of 2011 and involved 100 fans. By July of 2012, BronyCon grew to the size of 4,000 attendees.

“There’s a BronyCon?” Nicholas S. said. “That’s dedication. I don’t think I care enough to ever go to one.”

The question many may have regarding bronies is regarding why so many boys like the show. While some bronies such as Issitt enjoy the writing, there are also other reasons males are so attached to the show.

“Ninety percent of bronies say they like the show to mess with people,” eighth-grader Luke S. said. “I’m mostly a brony because of all of the internet jokes, but I watch the show sometimes. I don’t like it that adults like the show, that’s creepy.”

Adults who watch the show often do it because it is simple and makes them feel good, according to psychology teacher Jim Pustay.

“Both adults and kids tend to like things plain and simple,” he said. “The show is colorful and easy to follow, so it is understood that it would get a few boys thrown in there. Boys tend to mature slower than girls anyway, so the fact that it is popular with boys doesn’t surprise me.”

Some adults, however, have reportedly used the show as a way to stalk young boys, much like Internet predators of Facebook and in chat rooms.

“The fact that old guys act like they enjoy the show to get at little kids freaks me out,” junior Steven Thomas said. “It’s weird, like, really really creepy. Those people should be removed from the gene pool.”

Although some fans may be seen as radical — or even creepy, it doesn’t change the fact that the show has had an explosion of success from the bronies.

“It’s a cool show,” Issitt said. “I don’t really care what people think about me because I watch it. I’m a brony and that doesn’t bother me in the least.”