Western Animation: My Little Pony 'n Friends aka: My Little Pony And Friends
"My Little Pony...My Little Pony What will today's adventure be? My Little PonyÖMy Little Pony Will there be exciting sights to see? Where will you wander? Hither and yonder Letting your heart be your guide My Little Pony...My Little Pony Iíll be there right by your side Iíll be there right by your side" —The opening theme song for the series.
My Little Pony and Friends is an animated TV series that was released by Claster Television, Inc. and produced by Marvel Productions and Sunbow Entertainment, in the year 1986 and ran until 1987. It was based on the toyline of the same name. This came out a few months after The Movie. This series ran for two seasons. It was an Animated Anthology, featuring quarter hour shorts. The first half of the show would have an episode of ponies, and then the second half would feature an episode of their Friends: "Glo Friends", "Moondreamers", and "The Potato Head Kids". Yes, the series was very Merchandise-Driven. As the result, the pony episodes often ran as television serials, as did the other shorts.
My Little Pony
This early incarnation of My Little Pony was set in a world called Ponyland. Though its continuity was... lax, all of the stories take place within it. The basic framing structure of the show was that the ponies are magical creatures living idyllically in Dream Valley, part of Ponyland (or Ponyland, part of Dream Valley - no two writers agreed on this point). Originally, the ponies resided in Dream Castle during the Half-Hour TV Specials, but after The Movie (and the creation of that playset) they moved into Paradise Estate. In fact, Dream Castle is never seem at all during the course of the series.Ponyland is a Magical Land "on the other side of the rainbow". The rainbow is basically hinted to be a doorway between the human dimension and theirs'. Ponyland is populated by Bushwoolies, Sea and Flutter ponies, Grundles, bee-people, talking pigs, giant terriers, bird-dog hybrids, zebra-people, evil storm clouds, elves, bigfoot-like people who build forests, and monster weeds, among other, weirder things. The ponies are assisted in their adventures by a teen named Megan; her siblings Molly and Danny; Spike the Baby Dragon; and the Moochic, a scatter-brained gnome wizard with mushroom motif, and his Beleaguered Assistant, Habit the Rabbit.Being a fantasy-esque weekday afternoon cartoon, the episode plots were adventures, normally focused on a Victim of the Week requiring the ponies' help to defeat some Big Bad. The weirdness — and the overt scariness of some of the villains — kept the show from being as dangerously cute as one might naturally assume.Some episodes did not involve sugar apocalypses, though, and rather focused on more mundane plots (relatively speaking), such as using one's imagination to have fun, scavenger hunts, taking care of a giant dog, dealing with bullies, and mending friendships after a feud once escalated to ice cream warfare.The episodes focused on My Little Pony ran for 65 episodes in total. There were 16 multipart serials, each 2-4 parts long with the sole exception of the Ten part pilot, and 9 stand alone episodes, as well as two 2-part serials adapting the My Little Pony TV Specials.As mentioned above, show continuity was not the strongest point. The show officially follows on as a sequel to My Little Pony The Movie (as the ten-part pilot makes clear, since it's about the witches Hidea, Reeka, and Draggle wanting revenge for the foiling of the Smooze), and both of the My Little Pony TV Specials obviously take place before the movie, but were serialized as the last episodes of the first and second seasons, respectively. Not helping matters is that most official DVD releases tend to be simple conversions of the original grab-bag episode-featuring VHSs, further jumbling the 27 storylines.
The premise of the Glo Friends is that they are community of small, glow-in-the-dark insects that live in Glo Land, a magical kingdom located in the middle of a forest. Their homes are built near the Glo Pond, from where they harvest a substance known as Moondrops. These Moondrops literally drip down from the moon and the Glo Friends collect them and take them back to Glo Ponds in plastic bags. These buckets are then emptied into the lake. Apparently, Glo Pond is an artificial body of water built and maintained by the Friends, themselves. Anyway, these Moondrops are what sustains them and enables their ability to glow in the dark.At one point, the pond springs a leak and the Glo Friends have trouble finding replacement Moondrops to refill the pond. If they fail, they will cease to glow in the dark. Why is it important that the Glo Friends glow? Because it's in their name?The Glo Friends live a peaceful existence, and is continually threatened by Starnose, the leader of the Moligans. They are a group of mole-like monsters that wish to abuse the Glo Friends' ability to light up the night. The Moligans were banished from the kingdom of Moleslavia by King Mole for several crimes which include mob action, robbery, looting, cheating, and unlawful digging. The Moligans have been living underground and planning revenge against King Mole ever since their banishment. They are short-sighted, so they were unsuccessful in their attempts to harvest gold from some nearby mines. As such, the Moligans have attempted to enslave the Glo Friends to power their lanterns, allowing them to see in the darkness of the mines, harvest the gold and then buy out the kingdom of Molslavia. Apparently these guys have never heard of oil lamps before.Glo Friends ran for 26 episodes, and had 3 serials. Only 10 of those were stand alone episodes, with Ten Episode Pilot and 2 other serials.
The Moondreamers are a group of celestial people led by Crystall Starr, the designer of the stars. They operate out of their HQ in Starry Up, which appears to be a fortress floating out in the emptiness of space and has many, many highways made of Applied Phlebotinum that converge there. Crystal Dragon Jesus only knows where they all lead. Whimzee is another important figure among the Moondreamers, as she uses her imagination to create dreams for Dreamcasting. So naturally, she's having problems getting this done. She once accidentally brings her dream, a dreamkin, into reality where it wreaks havoc in Starry Up despite its adorable appearance. On another occasion, she actually loses her imagination and needs to go on a journey to find it, engaging in a duel with the supposed queen of imagination and is nearly killed for her trouble. The jobs of the other Moondreamers are to help Whimzee create these pleasant dreams and then deliver them to Earth's children.Each of the others Moondreamers also fulfills the rule in literally running the known universe manually. The Moondreamers themselves seem to come in two varieties: Christmas Elves and Fully Dressed Cartoon Animals.The Big Bad of the series is Queen Scowlene, who torments the everyone with her nightmare crystals, because she herself can't get any sleep.The story begins with two tagalong kids, Blinky and Bitsy, traversing one of the space highways to Starry Up to become Moondreamers. After a bit of trouble getting in, the two accidentally unleash Sealed Evil in a Can Queen Scowlene while tagging along to watch how they make dreams. Nice job breaking itkids.Moondreamers ran for 16 episodes with 2 serials.
The Potato Head Kids
In this series, Mr. Potato Head plays the role of The Mentor to the Kids of the title. Mrs. Potato Head also made an appearance. These segments tended to focus more on mundane Slice of Life stories rather than fantasy-adventure like the other three did.It ran for 23 episodes with no mutlipart episodes. I can't imagine why. This was the least popular segment of the show, but it has its fans.
My Little Pony And Friends provides examples of:
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An Aesop: once per episode on all these shows. Check the folders of the individual shows for specific details.
Crap Saccharine World: All of them except for The Potato Head Kids. While My Little Ponies is the most infamous for this, all the shows were full of horrible monsters right next to the cuddly protagonists. Like a D&D monster manual covered with Lisa Frank stickers.
The Eighties: Perhaps a no-brainer, but in truth you will be hard pressed to find a more 80s show than this.
Stock Footage: This show was notoriously guilty of reusing animation footage.
Syndication: How this series was aired. All four segments aired in it's First-run syndication. However, during it's Second-run syndication on the Disney Channel in the 90s, only Pony segments were reaired.
Title Theme Tune: The main show had one that encompassed all the properties showcased, and each show had their own specific theme tune that played as well. So this show sported no less than five theme songs over the course of just one 65 episode season.
Two Shorts: First My Little Pony, and then one of three others shows.
The World Is Always Doomed: See Recycled Script for more details. The writers were absolutely in love with this scenario. They used and abused it in as many as episodes all across the board as they could get away with. The only aversion to this the show ever had was in the Potato Head Kids segment, which was more based in Slice of Life than in fantasy-adventure.
My Little Pony
'80s Hair: Both here and in the movie above for two female humans, and here for one male pony. Draggle's hair is this with some late '70s in her hair as well. To a lesser extent, Megan's little sister Molly also has '80s hair. Nightshade is a pony with an afro.
Adaptational Attractiveness: Often played straight in that the cartoon looked better than the source toys. Averted when compared to the original pilot, which had much sharper animation and the series simplified it (and often went Off Model).
Angry Mob Song: "We're Gonna Make You Sorry" from Part Two of "Bright Lights".
Anthropomorphic Shift: It's more subtle than in Tales, but compared to the Pilot the Ponies act less like Ponies. They sleep in beds, sometimes walk on two legs, don't move as much like horses, don't have animal behaviors like licking each other, etc
Always Close: As one troper said about "The End of Flutter Valley", "For the love of Pete, it's 'almost sunset' for five hours."
Prince Charming (a human), flirts with human and Pony alike (bringing a new level to Furry Confusion) — and Heart Throb reciprocates... But keep in mind that Prince Charming was THE Prince Charming from the books, and he was only acting in character, while Heart Throb was a hopeless romantic living her lifelong dream. After a while, both of them realize that the situation is awkward and politely call it quits.
Big Eater: Reeka returns, and there is also Queen Bumble.
Broken Aesop: Partially, in the episode "The Fugitive Flowers"; while there is enough weight on the stated "don't judge a book by its cover" aesop that it works, one can't deny the Fridge Logic that the Crabnasties really did not do themselves any favors in that episode. Looking ugly is one thing; deliberately ripping a swathe of destruction through Dream Valley and ignoring any attempts to communicate with you is quite another. If the Crabnasties had apologised for their destructive search and explained their reasons, the Ponies might not have been so quick to assume Beauty Equals Goodness upon meeting the Flories. Though, the episode also has an Accidental Aesop — Poor Communication Kills. As stated above, while the ponies were at fault for presuming "pretty flories = good and ugly crabnasties = bad", the crabnasties were also at fault for not trying to communicate with the ponies.
Having the word "nasties" in their name doesn't really help them either.
Cliff Hanger: Pretty much every episode with a plot that can't be resolved in just over ten minutes. This must have been a pain for the writers; at exact intervals of only about ten minutes, there had to be something to make a dramatic to be continued moment, even in stories that were as long as the actual theatrical film.
Crapsack World: What Ponyland used to be before the ponies came along. Its mentioned by the witches of Gloom Mountain that evil used to reign supreme, and we even meet a few of those ancient evils: most notably Grogar and Squirk.
Darkest Hour: 3/4ths into "The Return of Tambelon", the heroes' multiple plans have all failed spectacularly, they have all been captured by Grogar's forces, and he's started a ritual to banish them to the Realm of Darkness.
Part 8 of the End of Flutter Valley has everyone captured and Honeysuckle apparently dead.
Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Wind Whistler suffers from this when the other ponies accuse her of being unfeeling for her usual stoicism during the episode Crunch, the Rock Dog when she favors strategy and logic over acting rashly in light of the titular villain turning everything he touches into stone.
Easily Forgiven: The protagonists never held a grudge against the genuinely repentant.
Eye Scream: The Twinkle-Eyed Ponies were a group of Unicorns and Earth Ponies with gems for eyes. They looked cute and beautiful, until an official comic explained that they used to live as slaves underground, mining for gems for the evil Jewel Wizard. The long, long exposure to darkness ruined their eyes, leaving them blind and helpless, but after they got rescued by Applejack, an explosion stuck magic gems on their eye-sockets, which accidentally restored their vision. Yeah, not so cute anymore, eh?
For Science!: The Gizmonks from "The Great Rainbow Caper". Even they don't know what some of their inventions do.
Furry Confusion: Zeb in "Bright Lights" is a pretty jarring presence, given that he's the only fully-anthro, fully-clothed biped among the equine characters. Though we will admit, he's also the only zebra we ever see on the show.
Genre Blindness: If there's such a thing as Dangerously Genre Blind, the ponies fall under this.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Woe is Me" is a 2-part story that featured a very unlucky goblin named Woebegone, who caused disasters wherever he stopped by. The first episode ends with Woebegone causing a chain of disasters which culminates with him releasing what may or not may be a river of liquid poo that quickly forms a small lake. And a baby pony almost dies drowned on it.
In "The End of Flutter Valley," one of the spells Draggle reads while searching for "landslide" is "landmine".
Giant Enemy Crab: The Crabnasties, who are huge, ugly crab-creatures introduced smashing and tearing their way through the forests of Dream Valley, apparently to persecute cute sapient flower-critters called Flories. Subverted in that the Crabnasties are actually good guys; they're out to stop the Flories because they drain the life from the soil and create barren wastelands when left to themselves.
Loads and Loads of Races: Between humans, five different pony species, grundles, bushwoolies, and others, the TV specials and movie had already started this trend. The cartoon kept it up - every other episode, the protagonists encountered members of a previously unmentioned race.
Lotus-Eater Machine: The witch Somnambula uses this to lure ponies in and steal their youth to make herself young and increase her powers. It starts out as her simply being a Master of Illusion, but as her power increases, she's able to make her illusions real.
Magi Babble: In "Bright Lights," Galaxy theorizes that, since those who have had their shadows stolen become sick and weak, "the loss of their shadows must be an outward sign of some loss of substance."
Master of Illusion: Somnambula starts out as this, but once she's stolen enough youth from her targets, she becomes capable of making them real.
Moral Dissonance: In "The End of Flutter Valley", Inept Mage Draggle is depressed because she can't do evil magic right. The Ponies promise to teach her some good Pony magic if she'll set them free. After seeing some demonstrations via song, Draggle agrees to let them out...and they trap her in a net and wander off.
Fizzy: Gee, what a shame. Bye Draggle, see ya!
Though at least, after the ponies are recaptured and Hydia and Reeka blamed Draggle for her incompetence in a harsh way, the ponies defended her by admitting their fault.
Mythology Gag: TJ received a slight redesign that makes him resemble the first My Pretty Pony.
Oh Crap: Grogar gets one when he hears the ringing of the bell which is the one thing capable of defeating him.
One Steve Limit: Averted. In Flight to Cloud Castle, enter... Twilight! But it's not that Twilight, unless the one from that first special who is the inspiration for that other Twilight you might've heard of somehow lost her horn and gained wings, a whole new color scheme, and a candle cutie mark instead of stars.
Polar Bears and Penguins: In "Baby It's Cold Outside", guess which direction the Ponies go to find the penguin King Charlatan?
The Power of Rock: In a few cases, the obligatory song would be worked in as a plot point.
Rain Dance: Done by Cherries Jubilee and Spike to try to induce a downpour in The Magic Coinsafter Baby Lickity-Split unwittingly made a wish on one the said coins for the rain to stop and never return.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hot-tempered Honeysuckle and sweet, kindly Morning Glory of the Flutter Ponies.
Reality Warper: The Flashstone is essentially capable of making its user one of these to some degree.
Scooby-Doo Hoax: Despite the series being set in a world full of unicorns, dragons, and every kind of monster imaginable, the titular Ghost of Paradise Estate turns out to be merely a shape-shifting bird.
Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Semi-averted. The Big Brother Ponies are very Bishōnen and look just like the girls aside from a different mane style, unshorn fetlocks, and "masculine" Cutie Marks. If anything they look more feminine then the girls, several of them even being pink colored.
The only exception being one of the four episodes comprising the Return of Tambelon arc. An awkward break between scenes suggests a song was planned - but with so much going on, there was no time left for it.
Ironically, "Rescue from Midnight Castle", the episode revision of the first special, actually cuts out the song "A Little Piece of Rainbow" from the special.
This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The Glass Princess did this for Shady. The writers were known to go out of their way to try to justify's Shady's existence. Over the course of the show, she is shown to be clumsy, terrible at sports, not all that bright, not very brave, and more of a place holder on whatever she was in than any actual help. Yet despite the presence of Gusty, Magic Star, and Megan, she's the one who saved the day.
The Ponies themselves! Not once do any of the one-off characters wandering into Dream Valley/Ponyland say anything to the effect of, "Holy crap, Unicorns are real?"
It's been shown that the rest of the world of Dream Valley is just as full of (semi) anthropomorphic animals, bizarre monsters, and magical artifacts. To them, the place is pretty normal. Megan, who's from Earth, was caught off guard the first time she met a talking, flying pony, but she adapted quickly. And she told her siblings about them, so they were prepared when they met the ponies... Though the fact they believed her stories is its own oddity...
It's possible that Danny and Molly believed Megan because she was their older sister who had always tried to be as honest as she could with them so they were prepared to believe the fantastic because she had always been truthful with the mundane.
The Unfavorite: Draggle. While both Draggle and Reeka are disappointments to their mother, Draggle is clearly shown to be the least favorite due to her struggles with magic and her sensitivity. At one point, Hydia exclaims, "There are plenty of other witches! Why did I have to get Draggle?"
Wrong Genre Savvy: See "Genre Blind" above. But one scene that stands out is in "Through the Door", where Paradise (just as a reminder, she is a winged pony from a Magical Land) asks, "Why can't my life be more like a fairy tale?" Um...
The Ace: Glo Bug. The bravest of the Glo Friends and always leading the charge into battle and never one to let innocents get hurt.
Cannot Spit It Out: Glo Bashfulbug. She has an attraction to Glo Bug, but never knows how to say it.
Cliff Hanger: Much like the Pony segments, any conflict that wasn't solved in ten minutes ended with one of these. Though, the Glo Friends cliff hangers actually tended to be less severe than the former's.
Weapon of Choice: Slugger Bug is rarely seen without his trusty baseball bat. This being a child friendly show, though, he was never allowed to go Batter Up on anyone, though. ...It kind of defeats the purpose, actually.
They used their glowing powers to melt a giant Ice cage in the winter(once they were able to circle together, holding hands) in Glo Friends Save Chritmas and they manage to help heal a giant tree and have it bloom flowers again("Love will Light the way!").
Wicked Witch: Blanche. In the orignal Glo Friends Save Chritmas special, she traps Santa and his reindeer in order to stop Christmas from happening.
The Worf Effect: Glo Bug, naturally. Whenever somebody needs to get beaten to show how dangerous the villains are, it's always the resident Bad Butt Glo Bug who takes the beating.
American Accents: While everyone else has standard Midwest accents, Bucky Buckaroo has a Texan one...or Cajun, the voice actor could never seem to settle on one or the other. To his credit, though, it rarely ever seemed to outright slip.
Fantastic Aesop: Remember kids, if you ever come across a manhole cover IN SPACE!, leave it be, or else you'll unleash an evil queen that will trap everyone in everlasting nightmares in which their darkest fears come to life.
Bioluminescence is Cool: For some reason, the Moondreamers glow in the dark. Yet unlike the Glo Friends, they don't seem to need to regularly recharge their batteries. Looks like someone is in need of a recipe exchange.
Chekhov's Gun: Combined with Chekhov's Lecture and Briar Patching in "Whimzee, Come Home!" In that episode, Whimzee thought she'd lost her imagination, so her mentor sent her into the Cave of Imagination, "the ultimate test". Before she goes in, he tells her to remember that "Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten." Just beyond the cave entrance, she falls down to the cave proper down below, and starts walking backwards upon landing. She realizes everything is backwards in that section until she crosses a line. Later, when she and Celeste are fleeing from the cave's nasty resident queen, she remembers her mentor's words and heads back the way they came, crossing over into the backwards section. She begs the queen not to push them down a bottomless black pit. The queen conjures the pit, but when Whimzee jumps down (while holding Celeste's hand), they go up.
Christmas Elves: The Moondreamers that are human in appearance pretty much look like children.
Cool Big Sis: Dream Gazer. She is the eldest and wisest of the Moondreamers and the others often turn her to for wisdom
In Name Only: Crystall Starr is supposed to be the Moondreamer's leader, yet she is never shown ever actually taking command like one would expect.
Improbably Cool Car: While the other Moondreamers drove around on hover bikes, Bucky Buckaroo had a car that could leave the space highways and explore uncharted territories.
Insufferable Genius: Sparky Dreamer is a know-it-all who takes great pride in her intellect and tends to be very strict about rules and regulations.
Then again, she's the one who often has to fix other peoples' messes and the one time she disobeyed the rules and let two dimwits into Starry Up a Sealed Evil in a Can was unleashed. So perhaps her attitude is just a might bit justified.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sparky Dreamer. She's an Insufferable Genius, cranky, and a very strict rule enforcer. On the flipside, she'll never turn down someone in need of help and her reasoning for wanting everyone to follow the rules is pretty justified, since the Moondreamers pretty much run the universe on manual pilot.
The Mentor: Dream Gazer, the eldest and wisest Moondreamer. Also the Sandman, who taught Whimzee how to create dreams.
Nice Job Nudging It Hero: Blinky and Bitsy accidentally nudge a freaking manhole cover, which somehow causes it to come loose, and that's what starts all of the Moondreamers woes from the first episode of the series on.
Theme Naming: Bucky Buckaroo. Go ahead. Guess what his overall appearance, personality, and motif are.
What Does This Button Do?: The tagalong kids ask this about a manhole cover IN SPACE!, which somehow kept Queen Scowlene and her minions out of Starry Up, the Moondreamers' home. Naturally, they somehow manage to accidentally loosen it despite complying to Bucky Buckaroo's order not to open it.