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Why My Little Pony: Friend is Magic is so appealing: The psychology of a hit show

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Maria Bustillos, writer for The New York Times and The Los Angeles Review of Books has published a lengthy piece, a theory really, on why she thinks that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is such a success psychologically on us Bronies. And it’s damn convincing too!

Bustillos, says it starts all with the creative spark of Lauren Faust and her coming-of-age in a family made up of several brothers and no sisters. Bustillos theorizes that with Faust growing up with only brothers–it formed her love of adventure, action, exploring, and humor. Bustillos further points out similarities between the Mane 6 and other bands of past male-driven characters and their collectives like in Voltron and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for example.

Bustillos suggests that this idea is the central force behind the male interest in the animated series. She takes her idea further by suggesting that this was a key unconscious notion for Faust, while at the time managing to create an empowering concept of girlhood as well through these same central themes in the show.

Bustillos further suggests why Faust left the show after Season 3–and how it may have had to do with Hasbro’s decision to introduce the Equestria Girls into the mix; and how this decision was spurred on by the overwhelming financial success of Mattel’s toy line Monster High; which featured female cartoon characters as” ultra-skinny, status-obsessed, high school girls who are one thousand percent about combing hair and changing clothes. “

Maria Bustillos fascinating feature piece ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Complicated’ further explores the toy marketing strategies and how networks like [the former] Hub don’t produce cartoon series unless they have a toy company partnered up with them in advance. You can read the Bustillos piece over on the Long Reads website and it’s currently available online and available for free for Amazon’s Kindle and the iBook here.

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    EquestriaGuy
    February 2, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Getting pretty sick of this Fox “News” caliber, yellow journalistic, ignorant, bashing of Equestria Girls, by people with agendas and preconceived narratives, who most likely haven’t seen the movies and never will. It is a tragedy when an MLP fan chooses to abandon all facts and opportunities for the same open-mindedness that lead them to discover FiM. EQG is every bit as funny, charming, woman empowering, and goodhearted as FiM.

    • Avatar
      Samuel Poseno
      February 3, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      I didn’t read the entire part about EQGirls. But I think that she was talking about Faust leaving before EQG came out, and the way it sounded, Faust simply did not like the way it was presented. Now both you and I know that EQG was awesome with just as much charm and monsters as FiM, set in an alternate world. I think also the reason Faust left was because of how usually shows won’t happen without a toy lineup. Anyway, that was my take on it.