This may surprise you, but as a boy child growing up in the 1980s, I did not see a lot of My Little Pony. This was the heyday of Clearly Defined Gender Roles, and as was decreed there were Boy Shows (and Toys) and Girl Shows (and Toys). Most of the shows were Boy Shows—Transformers, GoBots, G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe, Thundercats (Cheetarah was female, yes, but served only to attract the prepubescent male gaze). There were precious few shows that seemed directed at girls, or, at the very least, not to very broad societal archetypes of gender. As such, as said, I did not see a lot of My Little Pony because I was too busy getting indoctrinated into the propaganda of war cartoons.
I agreed to take on this assignment because I knew my wife would enjoy revisiting a cartoon she watched when she was a kid, or, as it turns out, seeing the cartoon version of one of her best-loved childhood toy lines, only to discover that she had never seen the original My Little Pony cartoon series either. So not only were there very few, ugh, “girl” shows in the ’80s, they didn’t even get very good distribution.
These are double shames, for My Little Pony is kind of awesome, in its own way. Yes, it is campy and the animation is commensurate with that of a cartoon series that had to pump out 65 episodes on a small budget in a few months before CG cheapened the endeavor, but there’s a lot of great stuff in here. If you never saw MLP, because you were a boy, or just a girl who resisted syndicated television, has a lot to offer. This week, Shout! Factory’s Shout! Kids and Hasbro Studios unveils My Little Pony: The Complete Series. Somehow, they packed the entire run of the original flavor MLP onto four discs of pretty, pretty pink sparkle magic, and it’s all pretty fun and ridiculous.
You are aware, that this is a TV series about magical ponies? I mean, yeah, yeah, the true magic is in friendship, but that’s not what I’m talking about. These ponies are made of magic and do things like talk, fight witches, have star tattoos, hang out on rainbows, fly around, and talk to magical gnome-like creatures, dragons, something called “grundles,” and occasionally, the boring old human nonmagical child. Every episode moves incredibly fast, and packs in a lot of pony mythology and horse puns in equal measure. Parents and kids alike will probably like it, regardless of gender, because unicorns and things that are similar to unicorns, are the best.
That said, I am not a Brony.