I’m twenty-two years old. As such I don’t assume I’m entitled to a very large portion of nostalgia yet- those waves of wistfulness that I DO experience usually involve Super Mario World, Disney films, and of course, childhood toys. It’s the latter that I would like to discuss today, in particular a very strange thing that seems to have happened to one of my favorite childhood toys, My Little Pony. I am not prone to hyperbole, but I will warn you that the phrases “towheaded abomination” and “put it out of its misery” both make early appearances. Now without further ado, please look at Exhibit A: a precious little chunk of plastic that, viewed through the soft diffusion filter of my childhood memories, was perfect in every way.
What you see is the adorable childhood toy My Little Pony: bright, cheerful looking ponies which were stylized enough to be fun (pretty designs on the flank, brightly colored mane and tail) but also still looked like, you know, horses. But at some point some executives decided that this made too much sense. I like to picture the meeting as having gone something like this:
Executive 1: Taking a sip of a latte and wiping his mouth with a hundred-dollar bill. “Gentlemen… we need to redesign the My Little Pony for a new generation.”
Executive 2: “I’m thinking we enlarge the eyes to the size of ostrich eggs, shorten the nose until it’s virtually nonexistent, and lengthen the ears until it resembles a frightened nocturnal marsupial.”
Executive 1: “Get this man a raise!”
Now please drag your eyes reluctantly down to Exhibit B:
What is this towheaded abomination? Why are the ears so big? Were the colorful little ponies not cute enough before? This is no longer cute; it’s weird. There is nothing remotely equine about the shape of this toy! If it could make any noise at all with its pink vinyl throat it would be crying in agony for someone to put it out of its misery. I would. With fire. It’s entered into some kind of pseudo-Uncanny Valley by crossing the line from “just cute enough” to “WAY too cute.” If the original My Little Pony is a Barbie, the new version is a Bratz doll. And no self-respecting parent would let their little kid play with a Bratz doll.
And of course… along with the new toy line came the new show- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Unless your head has been planted firmly beneath a rock, you are aware of the Internet phenomenon spawned by this new show.
Here is the original show:
Magic. Just magic. And charming and beautiful I WANT A PONY OF MY OWN.
And the new show:
I…I do not want one of these. I haven’t brought myself to watch the show yet (although you can bet your curly purple mane I will), but I am imagining that their voices lean less towards “majestic” and more towards “helium.” Please ponies, prove me wrong. I am extremely curious about the new show because it inexplicably has an enormous male fan base (yes, you read that right). As you may have picked up on a teensy-weensy bit, I fear that my opinion will be tainted by my nostalgic adoration for the original show.
I am not going to trash the show itself yet, but again I ask: why the redesign? At the very least, Hasbro, could you not also continue the original line of Ponies, or resurrect them in some way that will also satisfy the original fans? Because I’m telling you right now, if you did, I would buy them. For my future daughter, of course. Ahem.
The only thing Hasbro still sells that looks like the original is this Decorate Your Own Pony toy, which I admit I would kill for. THE POSSIBILITIES.
These? Well… I can make no such promises. This is not a My Little Pony; this is a My Little Bush Baby.