rcking: (grin)
[personal profile] rcking
The panel blurb was: "Join us as we examine how strong characterization and storytelling have enabled a TV show for little girls to become an internet sensation and a fully fledged fandom." Big thanks to Treads Lightly for his AV support and valuable contributions.



We started with the genesis of the latest generation of MLP including background on Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I gave a brief world overview for the people who were not already familiar with the MLP FiM universe. Besides the basics, I couldn't resist pointing out it was a world with "routine telekinesis" and at least three kinds of magic (unicorn, zebra, and Pinkie!)

Next we touched on the rich character diversity. I compared it to Elfquest for character development and showed the somewhat whimsical pony version of the Meyers Briggs type indicator diagram.

Then we discussed their storytelling structure and one of our attendees produced a breakdown of one of the scripts showing it as a three act play. (after the main discussion, a small "screenwriting" interest huddle formed).
This included the "surprise" morals on several episodes which give rather advanced lessons in friendship (for example how "Griffon the Brushoff" warns about the danger of Geek Social Fallacy #4 "Friendship is transitive.")

Next up we talked about the broad spectrum of comedy (slapstick, situational, observational and "self aware" bits) and we had video clips of each catagory. This also included spotting several "Celebrity ponies" sprinkled into the episodes.

Then we viewed and discussed some of the musical numbers and contrasted them against the Broadway numbers to which they were homages. (Art of the Dress == Putting it together, Flim Flam Brothers == Trouble in River City, etc.)

There are many Science Fiction references and salutes in MLP and we viewed some of the most prominent, including the "Star Wars Ending" and time traveling "Metal Gear Solid" Twilight Sparkle.

At that point we switched to a quick discussion of the feminist elements of the show. Fortunately one of our attendees was very knowledgeable on this (apparently WisCon is going to have an MLP panel next year) and she pointed out some interesting items including the observation that the "waiting for Cutie Marks" of young ponies is very similar to girls going through puberty and getting their first period.

Next we turned to the last magical element of the show - the fandom itself - and played a few of the best fandom creations including the recent Dr. Whooves and Derpy video. Treads Lightly gave us an overview of the fanfic "Fallout Equestria" and presented a slideshow of related art.

Finally we switched to open discussion and several folks discussed their personal viewpoints.


We were not quite standing room only, but we held our audience for 2 hours.

I hope I didn't over "Twilight Sparkle" the whole thing. ;)

Date: 2012-06-04 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] porsupah.livejournal.com
Two hours! Mind, I suppose there isn't any shortage of source material to draw on, just counting a selected few musical numbers, let alone all the other topics addressed.

Any idea how many people were either new to the show, or otherwise only passingly aware of it beforehand?

Date: 2012-06-04 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildfox34.livejournal.com
Sounds like it was an interesting panel. I wouldn't call myself a Brony, but still do watch the show and have seen every episode. I personally like how they took an 80's cartoon, modernized it some, and gave each one personalities that can clash on occasion, and threw in some slap stick in here and there. It's what got me hooked into watching it.

Date: 2012-06-04 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] schnee.livejournal.com
That sounds like a fascinating panel!

Hah, yeah, three kinds of magic indeed! Noone can deny that Pinkie's a rather... unique pony. ^^

Regarding homages, references and salutes, do you know if there's an effort to compile a list of these, perhaps akin to snpp.com's episode capsules for The Simpsons? I'm probably missing many of them, if not most.

Interesting that you'd mention "Putting it together", though. I'm not familiar with that number, but I could've sworn that line actually appeared in "Art of the Dress" — the MLP wiki disagrees, though.

Getting your cutie mark is obviously a coming-of-age thing, and might well be the pony version of puberty: leaving childhood behind and becoming an adult, and finding your place in the tribe. Did that attendee elaborate on what the connection to getting one's first period would be, though? Short of that being a sign of puberty and (physical) maturation itself, I'm not really sure I see any connection to a pony receiving their cutie mark — doubly so since it's not specific to fillies. So if they had a compelling/convincing argument, I'd be interested in hearing it.

Date: 2012-06-05 07:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] schnee.livejournal.com
Ah, yes, those are good points. (Although they might equally refer to boys' pubertal voice break.)

Date: 2012-06-05 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cal-foxx.livejournal.com
My Little GlueFactory: Love Is Adhesive.

Date: 2012-06-05 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cal-foxx.livejournal.com
Hmm, sounds interesting. Where's this at then?

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