(NOTE: This opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of DerpySquad, Spazz, Marimo, or Sprocket.)
When asked about potential challenges in marketing MLP as it is “limited” to the girls’ aisle at NYC Toy Fair 2016, Hasbro Brands President John Frascotti had this response:
“It’s all about “Friendship is Magic”, said Frascotti. “As we look at expanding that across audiences, what we find is that the brand has a credible authenticity. Last year in out licenses which we now call Consumer Products, [MLP] was one of our fastest growing opportunities in all types of aisles from apparel to consumables. As we look to expanding to Preschool and “Guardians of Harmony,” I don’t think we should think about Pony as being ‘limited’ to the girls’ aisle. In fact, we look at viewership in the United States, over 30% of viewership is actually boys.
“So the brand is evolving into an all-inclusive gender brand. And while it traditionally started as a girls’ brand, it really has the legs to go just about anywhere.”
On Tuesday, Friendship is Magic Supervising Director “Big” Jim Miller tweeted an open letter after a tweet about the show being “for little girls”. Some interpreted the tweet as an admission of a “lack of effort” in what they believe to be a lackluster season in Season Six. My Season Six Review will come after “To Where and Back Again” airs on October 22nd in the US, but looking back at the grades I have given Season Six episodes, I have give three episodes an A+ (“Gauntlet of Fire”, “A Hearth’s Warming Tale”, and “The Times They Are A Changeling”). An additional 10 episodes were graded A or A- (so far). Compare that to a total of 12 episodes receiving A+, A, or A- in Season Five. Admittedly, I’m not the harshest reviewer of episodes, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
I feel all of this is less an issue of the show being “for little girls” than “fans” who feel entitled and feel the show should cater to them exclusively. If these “fans” bothered to recall the moral to “Stranger Than Fan Fiction”, they would realize that different people can like the show for different reasons. Indeed, the target demographic for the show is girls aged 6-12 and still is today and there are simply some things that the show will not be allowed to do unlike shows such as Steven Universe or Star vs. the Forces of Evil. It is a testament that many people outside that demographic enjoy the show, inspired by the show, and even felt their lives were saved by the show. All of that perhaps led to Hasbro declaring MLP an “all-inclusive brand” earlier this year.
For “fans” and “analysts” who feel the need to nitpick anything and everything on the show and go ballistic when it smashes their precious head canon, it really does come of as entitlement or being incapable of getting off their high horse (or really a certain other ungulate that I shall refrain from using on here) because the show is not Ben-Hur or Batman: The Animated Series. It’s insulting.
It is especially insulting to believe that just because some TV shows have females are the main characters and is set in a universe that is predominately female and the primary target audience is female—they are automatically inferior to shows where a male is the central character and most if not all the females on the show are one-note. I’ve gone on record saying this show is one of the best of this decade—if not the best this decade.
On a side note, I’ve repeatedly spoken out against harassing show staff whether it is concerning this show or others. Frankly, I feel more people in the Pony Media and prominent members in the fandom should do the same. It’s far too easy to say “just ignore the trolls.” Sadly, some people continue to act like jerks go out of their way to be jerks towards show staff or the “horse famous” in the fandom. Conversely, everyone has their own way of dealing with this garbage. Unfortunately, there are times where ignoring them is simply not an option and that additional steps need to be taken root out such misbehavior.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a show whose target audience is girls aged 6-12 that so happens to have a massive following outside that demographic. Girls deserve quality entertainment like “Big Jim” said and I still feel they and those who aren’t girls aged 6-12 are getting it through this show. To suggest that because the show is targeted towards the target audience in question somehow automatically makes it inferior, is an insult and is ridiculous.
PS: Below is the full text of Big Jim’s note: