While reading with Tara, I have acquired a “taste” for My Little Pony, and this has largely been due to all the references found within it.
These are not for kids at all or even (come to think of it) for most adults, but rather for a vague yet specific nerdy subculture.
I came across an extremely specific one recently, where Cosmos (a … well, cosmic villain) utters something while being defeated.
I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that this is something uttered in a specific Star Trek episode. The classic Star Trek (“Wolf in the fold”, 1967)
This is not a generic Star Trek reference (I can share an example of that later). No, if you had watched every episode of the classic Star Trek but this one, you wouldn’t get it.
I have, for better or worse, watched (along with my brother for most of them) and re-watched these episodes about twenty years ago, and it triggered a vague recollection.
The writers clearly enjoy themselves with these series, and I don’t think they’d find similar luck anywhere else. I don’t know, really, where else you’d find a mix of bizarre out-of-the-blue references in the middle of a completely unrelated for-kids-no-really storyline.
I realized, after writing my earlier post, that merely talking about this doesn’t quite convey my point, so (as I read through these with my daughter) I’ll take a few pics when I remember, of these … I don’t even know what to call them: easter eggs? anomalous pop-culture references? … and share them here.
I’ll confess I had no impression about “My little pony” (I’ll abbreviate as “MLP” to save keystrokes) until about a year ago, when I first sat down with my daughter and watched the first episode1 of “MLP: Friendship is Magic”.
My first observation was: “whew, this isn’t as dumb as the other toddler shows she watches; sure, this is approved”.
My second observation was: “wow, this is chock full of a whole cast of female characters” (blowing past the Bechdel test2)
My third observation was: “wait a minute, this is way smarter for any other show that she watches”
The first two were the reason MLP is a big thing right now at our home (figurines, the shows, the movies, even the books3), but it’s this third fact that’s most intriguing.
There are (especially as you get into the later seasons) all kinds of pop-culture references, sometimes really oblique or deep ones, and I sit and wonder, “who is this for?”.
Is it for adults who occasionally watch along? I buy that for a Pixar movie, where we’re essentially in the same seat together for a whole two hours, but … here? It’s a mystery to me.
Anyway, In the end … yes, I’m a total Lauren Faust4 fanboy now, which means “DC Super Hero Girls”5 is approved 6 too 🙂