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. ;)
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