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Author Topic: My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending  (Read 1285 times)

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My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending
« on: October 14, 2019, 03:50:28 PM »
Note: I am both early and late in doing this, as, believe it or not, I only started watching Season 9 on Friday, and who knows when I will actually end up watching the finale (but I will make sure that it's this year – it will be fitting that I see the end of my favorite show in the last year of my favorite decade.)

Well, here we are ponyfriends – My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, has reached its final episode.  Although my relationship with the show has not always been perfect, FiM has meant a lot to me since 2011, and will always hold a very special place in my heart no matter what happens.

The first episode I ever watched was “Show Stoppers”, and I loved it pretty much instantly, but believe it or not, I didn't realise that it was a real television series at the time, for I watched it on YouTube, and assumed it was some kind of fanmade My Little Pony series, but after some investigating, I found that it was actually a real show.  I initially felt that this would have to be another show that I would have to love in secret (I already loved shows aimed at girls by this point, but was not really confident to admit it), but of course, I soon discovered that it had a big following, which was (at times) one of the best things I could have discovered – I now no longer have any desire to hide what I like, regardless of whether it has a big following.

When I first started watching the show in full, I soon realised that I was dealing with something that was beautifully written, and didn't talk down to it's audience – it felt to me like I had already grown up with the show, since seasons 1 and 2 had a similar quality and writing style to shows that I could picture watching as a child (this could be because it was close, in places, to the previous generations, but I wouldn't know this yet) and the characters had so much personality and character that it felt like I could really know them, and be friends with them, if they were real.  The show was so well written, that I didn't care if the storylines had been done before, and although the morals were outright stated at the end of each episode, it never felt like they were beating me over the head with them, and as I would later discover, they always fitted in to the episode, and didn't feel thrown in at the last minute.

I have a lot to thank the show for; for one thing it inspired me to create a fanseries, based ultimately on an alternative future for FiM (I came up with the idea during season 2 at the latest), the show motivated me to check out the earlier generations of My Little Pony, which I end up loving in their own way (I had actually watched and loved some of the first G1 episode as a kid, but forgotten it), and found them to be very similar to G4 in places.  Most importantly of all, MLP led me to one of the best friendships I've ever had.

Seasons 1 and 2 are definitely the most perfect seasons for me, with season 2 being the first, in my opinion, in my opinion, to produce an actual bad episode, in the form of “Putting Your Hoof Down” (my apologies to those who liked/loved that episode), but while I felt that some of the cracks were starting to show in season 3 and especially season 4, they too are very enjoyable seasons, and I definitely appreciate them more now that I know what was coming up.

The show's portrayal of friendship was beautifully done – the characters had a lot of chemistry with each other, and it felt like their friendship was genuine, leading to some very heart-warming moments, as well as well written moments where the friendship strengthened and overcome what it faced.  Again, this is likely because I was watching the wrong things, but with many (not all) shows I watched before FiM, friendship seemed to be a kind of joke – something to not really be talked about, and for characters to be comically shut up if they do so, lest the show becomes too sappy.  Such shows aren't bad, per say, but it had gotten a bit old for me at the time – Friendship is Magic was definitely not the first show to portray friendship in such a cute way, but it was definitely one of the best examples in my opinion.

Various flaws would become more obvious in season 5 onwards (though were present at times in season 4), I am sorry to say.  In the previous seasons, comedy definitely existed, but it was included naturally, felt like part of the episode, and at no point looked like it had been thrown in without thought – the later seasons however had the tendency to try too hard to make us laugh, in my opinion, and at times seemed to be building the whole episode around the joke or humorous situation, some of which seemed out of place in this show for me. 

The show would also have a tendency to give the characters freaky faces at random times, which were never needed before, and did very little other than take me out of the scene, and at times make serious scenes look less serious.

Another flaw, that sadly crept in during season four was that the show felt really “diluted” at times, like it was afraid to show the characters in danger – I am aware that the main target audience is seven year old girls, but previous seasons and generations had more guts.  This whole thing seemed kind inconsistent though, so it may have just been how I saw it, or it may have depended on the writer at hand.

In fact, that is another thing that I need to acknowledge – the show seemed to change more and more, the less original writers remained (which is another reason season 4 may have been better than I gave it credit for being at the time, as it still had a decent amount of original writers.)  Whereas, it felt like the new writers had a different direction in mind for the show, and hence, the show really didn't seem to know what it was at times – even the friendship seemed all over the place, and didn't really develop at times, and even went backwards depending on the episode.

The morals also suffered in the later seasons in my opinion, and I feel that it may have been a better idea to drop the morals, or at least make them not an every episode thing, during season 5 at the latest, as now the morals did seem added on at the last minute, and often seemed disconnected to the episode, even if the episode itself was good (this would at times lead to the moral being hard to even understand, or forgotten about by me or other viewers.)  The characters also tended to learn morals that they really should know by now, and would at times suffer from breaks in their character to make the episodes actually work – it felt like other cheats were made for the episodes to work as well, but that's another story.

It is also worth noting that season 5 onwards, I actually forget what episode was in which season at times.

I think that's enough negativity for the time being though, so let's get back to the positivity;

Although the later seasons paled in comparison to the earlier ones for me, they were not all bad, as some of them I loved, and they are still nostalgic to me in their own way – and I am sure that season 9 will be part of my 2019 nostalgia (it may already be starting to be so.)

Aside from a few bad moments (one of which, my friend warned me about) the movie was awesome in my opinion, and a big part of my 2017 Nostalgia.

While I didn't like every direction the show took, it was interesting to see what happened to various characters – I never really hated Diamond Tiara for example, but I never expected to actually care about her, yet she was shown to be sympathetic and likeable in the end, and I adore her now (it seems pretty wasted that she has done next to nothing since that episode, as far as I can see.)

Although I still feel that the “School of Friendship” was a silly idea (how do the Mane Six have any free time?)  I did end up liking the Student Six, and am happy they exist as characters.  I do however feel that maybe it would have been better if the show had simply introduced the school (with other characters being made teachers, and the Mane Six simply creating/funding it or something, and occasionally helping out) and the Student Six at the beginning of season 8, and then just done a spin off series for them to run along side FiM, with characters from each show occasionally appearing in the other.

I have every faith, that while the show itself has ended (though season 10 will be produced in comic form), it will not really “die” - its fans, be they bronies/pegaisters or ponyfans will no doubt continue to love, watch and discuss the show, as well as create things for it.  As alluded to earlier, my friend and I have had a big pony project in the works for several years, and one day it will be produced, regardless of what the current generation is at the time.  The project, which can't be revealed in great detail at this stage, will ultimately be an Alternative Future to Friendship is Magic, focusing on new characters with the FiM cast making appearances – in addition to being a “sequel” to G4, the fanseries will honor generations 1 to 3.5 as well (and who knows if the later generations will inspire something?) so ponyfans of all types should get a few nostalgia trips while watching the project, and even see many familiar faces...

The project will also not be restricted by canon, so while we will follow on from some things that the show established for us, there will be certain things will be different to what the end result of Friendship is Magic was (basically, the show doesn't literally pick up with the G4 finale leaves off – it is its own storyline and forms its own timeline with FiM.)

All that is left to say, is that I will continue watching season 9 to the end (I am somewhat aware of what happens in the finale though, but not completely) and will continue to love this show for many years, and I will definitely check out Generation 5 (I can honestly say, I have yet to see a bad generation in my opinion) and offer an epic hoof-bump in honor of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic!

Epic /)!

I will confess to being a brony, but I assure you that the things you may not like about them do not apply to me, I mostly keep the fandom name due to nostaligia, but I do genuinely love MLP as a whole, not just FIM, and not just the popularity of FIM - I genuinely love the show (and all the others)

Offline LadyMoondancer

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Re: My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2019, 04:23:26 PM »
Even though FIM isn't my fave generation, I really did love it (especially the show).  I remember being blown away by the premiere of it--which I saw because I specifically got a cable package that included The Hub so I could watch it, LOL.

I am still amazed that Hasbro greenlit it, since the last thing we'd seen from them before G4 was the most godawful pony media in existence, the Newborn Cuties webisodes.  ("My scawf!")  Also just previous Hasbro was sending around internal memos insisting "Ponies aren't PONIES, they don't do ANY horse things.  They are six year old girls.  They do not do ANYTHING that six year old girls don't do."  I still get angry thinking about how dumb and condescending that was.  No one would say something like that about a boys toyline.

Anyway, I don't know what stars aligned to make Hasbro change their minds, but I'm sooo glad they did.  The majority of MLP FIM episodes were really good, and even the ones that weren't good were usually "okay".  (It had a couple stinkers, but what show doesn't, lol.)

Also:  the music.  Consistently great songs.

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Offline OleGrayMane

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Re: My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2019, 05:14:00 PM »
(\ back at ya

Offline Bright_Glow

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Re: My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2019, 07:09:32 PM »
I have to agree with the facts the later seasons lost from their quality. I see some missed opportunities too like Babs Seed as an underrated background character. I mean she only visited Ponyville twice and she founded the Cutie Mark Crusaders' Manehatten group and we haven't heard any more from them other than Babs Seed was out from it after she earned her own cutie mark. Unfortunately, the comics don't give as much clue either about Babs Seed's life and her fellow crusaders. Personally, I would like to see the Manehatten CMC in a town vs country context.

I believe Moondancer is another missed opportunity. Her name came up in the very beginning of the show than we had to wait seasons until the Amended Fences episode came out to see Twilight Sparkle catching up with her old classmates and apologise to Moondancer to not show up on her party and forgot about her., and there were ... nothing much again while her picture was on the edge of Twilight Sparkle's mirror. The same thing was with Babs Seed in Apple Bloom's case.
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Offline Al-1701

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Re: My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2019, 12:56:31 AM »
I've said it before and I'll say it hear.  I think, as a total body of work, history will not be kind to Friendship is Magic.  It started with a lot of promise, but sadly the bulk of the series seemed more interested in placating bronies than its target audience.  It hurt its storytelling, characterization, humor, and the morals it put forward.  There were several questionable decisions they doubled down on like Daring Do being real.  The revolving door of writing talent certainly didn't help.  It was also just on for too long as everything seemed stale, especially as the only MLP property with nothing else to draw a fresh perspective from (I'm not counting Equestria Girls since it's the same characters only human and barely any interaction between the two worlds).

And beyond the series and related media, this generation was when Hasbro seemed to decide its flagship brand for girls is disposable.  It was treated like something that will only have a child's attention for a couple years and low and behold that's exactly what happened.

I'm afraid Friendship is Magic has eaten My Little Pony from the inside out since we're just going to get the six same characters in the next generation.  Still think this has Transformers Generation 2 written all over it.
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Offline AvianWing

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Re: My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2019, 07:20:14 AM »
I do remember around when FiM first came out, I was in middle school then (wow, that was a long time ago), and discovered the show's existence via some weird YouTube videos (that's another topic for another day). Later discovered the "brony" audience, and I remember when they were everywhere, some of my close friends were bronies in fact. I caved eventually and watched a few full episodes of the show. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, but I tried not to get invested in it because I really didn't want to be a brony at the time (out of fear of being made fun of, mostly), despite very secretly liking MLP as a whole. Over the next few years I did still look at MLP fanart and such, though.

I Just began rediscovering MLP within the past year and found out that FiM was on its last season. I watched some older episodes, and for the most part really enjoyed it. I really liked the episodes I saw from seasons 1-2, as they had this sort of innocence to them that the later season's don't seem to. I can't say I'm a fan of the direction that the show began to take in its later seasons, nor am I much a fan of the more... "toxic" brony crowd, but for the most part, I am sad to see it go, even if it does feel as if the show ran its course a few seasons back.

I do hope that G5 has an identity of its own instead of riding off of the popularity of G4. I hope for it to be a bit more like G3, but I don't really see that happening. Either way, FiM was a fun ride, despite my limited investment and the gripes I had with it. Really does feel like the end of an era.

I've said it before and I'll say it hear.  I think, as a total body of work, history will not be kind to Friendship is Magic.

You may be right. The show was primarily known, at least to the general public, for the bronies, which didn't exactly have the best public image. But it's also because the brony crowd was/is so popular that I'm worried for G5. I'll remain cautiously optimistic.

Offline Zapper

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Re: My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2019, 02:07:59 PM »
Looking back on FiM will always leave a sting in my case. I remember how it all started. Cartoon fans weren't pleased with the new season offerings and latched onto FiM. Soon it was all over a certain messed up website and the rest is history.

I wish it never had the secondary audience.

Looking at it unbiased is impossible for me. Some people see a cartoon for girls, I see all the drama and changes to please a secondary adult audience. I like to think of how FiM could have looked like if they never acknowledged said audience. If they never gave into the pressure on the internet and just tried to tell good stories with a more cohesive team of writers, more original takes and backstory instead of tiptoeing around fanon interpretations and cherrypicking what to use from fans input and what to leave out.

The first season is the one I can watch without thinking of the people that rhyme with brownies :lol: Sadly it has one of the worst episodes, so not even S1 is a hit for me.

All in all, I am happy to have watched it and saw different characters being introduced because I never liked all protagonists equally. Had all these 9 seasons always centered on the Six I would have never picked it up again after my break. Thankfully when I came back to the show, Starlight had been introduced :P

If you compare FiM to cartoons that came out about the same time it is holding up ok but I hope we can one day move away from praising it as this edgy gamechanger.
FiM did not magically allow boys to get pink glitter unicorns for their birthdays, it didn't do squat in changing how female characters are received. It accidentally gained fame for being a girl franchise grown men watched for "the plot" and that's nothing new if you see how hard men go for all that moe anime stuff where 18 year olds are drawn to resemble kids with 80% eye to face ratio :P

I am happy the show came out right when I was getting back into MLP, tho. It meant there was something new happening in the fandom and maybe without this pony renaissance I wouldn't have decided to collect them again.
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Offline LadyMoondancer

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Re: My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2019, 05:14:17 PM »
I wanted to add that in general I don't like the idea of winged unicorns / alicorns in My Little Pony, I never have.  It comes up frequently in conversations because people are frequently like, "Man, wouldn't it have been great if G1 had winged unicorns?" and my reaction was always "NO."

But FIM changed that because I absolutely love Princess Celestia and Princess Luna.  I love their designs.  I love their personalities.  I love the lore about them raising the sun and the moon.  (I don't like that they introduced other alicorns, but believe me the fact that I warmed up to ANY My Little Pony alicorns is impressive.)
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Offline TJgamer

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Re: My thoughts on FiM - in honor of it ending
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 08:32:51 AM »
Ah, I still remember that day back in early 2011 when I curiously watched the pilot episode on my iPod Touch. I was hooked almost immediately and told myself that I'd watch the rest of the show. For better or worse, I have succeeded.

Even to this day I still think this was a good show through and through. Even after its initial charm and passion had gone, there were some gems here and there, and most of the episodes I would consider at least above average.

That being said, this show really was lightning in a bottle.
It started when social media had gone into full swing, so it was easy to spread the word and love around.
The year of 2010 was sort of a start for the "cartoon renaissance", and I'd say FiM was part of that resurgence.
Also note that what came before this was G3.5, specifically the Newborn Cuties. So really, anything with a decent story, characters, and world looks amazing in comparison.

But despite all that, it still makes me happy to see FiM having impacted so many people in such a positive way, including me. I'm not sure if I would have ever joined the Arena if it weren't for this show.
And sadly, I don't know if MLP will ever hit that high ever again. I have hopes for G5 but, even if it is good, I doubt it will relive the phenomena that G4 did. Most people by now have accepted that there are many adults that are into this sort of thing. It's no longer shocking or a novelty.
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