The long, dark night of the Ponies
We know we don’t want to drive in this condition, so we walk out into our yard, then into our neighbor’s yard, then across and down some streets, past a field we think we know, to the edge of town, past more fields we know we don’t know, and as we sort of begin to sober up a little bit, we end up in a clearing in the woods, where we collapse to look at the sky.
And right then, it starts to rain. We find ourselves laughing. And that’s when it hits us.
It doesn’t matter.
None of this matters.
This movie is going to be absurd. All movies like this are absurd. The Care Bears fought an evil green sexy face in a magic spellbook at a summer camp or something in their movie. The Cabbage Patch Kids were kidnapped and forced into slavery in a coal mine in their Christmas special.
Why fight it? We are reminded of one of our favorite passages in the Tao Te Ching:
The best of man is like water,
Which benefits all things, and does not contend with them,
Which flows in places that others disdain,
Where it is in harmony with the Way.
So the sage:
Lives within nature,
Thinks within the deep,
Gives within impartiality,
Speaks within trust,
Governs within order,
Crafts within ability,
Acts within opportunity.
He does not contend, and none contend against him.
EUREKA! That’s it!
We rush homeward, following the road signs that point first toward towns we know, then our town, then the Hospital that is on a major street off our street, then the Hidden Drive signs that we never slow down when we pass them on our way home from work every day even though we should, then the Yield sign we always stop at for a solid minute – we stop for a minute – and then we’re home at our, well, what is it, late 1985? Early 1986? Let’s just say we start scratching away with our goosefeather quill pen. That’s what people wrote with back then, right?
The My Little Ponies can’t fight, so it does not matter what sort of active enemy we put up against them. The My Little Ponies are judo-throwing every potential villain we throw against them, using their own strength against them, rendering them useless for the purpose of our plotting.
What if, instead of a villain who tried to fight the ponies, we had a villain who was like the water! Who does not contend, and none contend against him!
Hahaha! We think for a moment of the mature way to write this – a journey of self-discovery, where the ponies learn the depths and possibilities of their own passivity, how accepting the world as it is is part of enlightenment.
And we laugh madly! No, no, no. That’s not what we mean by like the water!
Our villain will be an omnipotent flood of malice that destroys the entire Earth! AND ALL THE PONIES WITH IT!
If the ponies cannot fight any enemy we throw at them, we will throw them an enemy that no one could fight. That way, the fact that they are useless will not be uncomfortable or implausible – it will be the essential fact of their situation.
We have arrived at our main plot by using our restrictions to compel us. The My Little Ponies are powerless against any enemy, so our movie is going to explore the full breadth and depth of that powerlessness. They will find their home destroyed and thousands, nay, millions of woodland creatures downed and suffocated.
They will be driven as refugees on a Mosaic journey through the wilderness, in a useless, futile pilgrimage toward hope that they dare not dream exists. They meet the Grundle King, apparently (How the Hell did that get in there? We try to remember, but we must have blacked out. Oh well, it’s fine, it doesn’t matter.). And what do they find at the end?
Why, they find the Flutter Ponies, of course. The g-d, butterfly-winged little Flutter Ponies.
“Mom, I face the quintessential existential crisis and interminable angst at the futility of existence. All that lives must perish. BUY ME THAT.”
We pat ourselves on the back. We are geniuses.
lol i am one of those people who saw it on video! in the times before there were dvds :)
I’m pretty sure I sat through this one. Or maybe my mother took my daughter and I got to stay home. My daughter was 5 at the time and a fierce collector of these ponies, so of course she had to see the movie. I do know I sat through a Care Bears movie and something called “Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night” which even my daughter at 6 was able to poke fun at. I think that pretty much ended that phase of bad animated movie viewing. The ’80s!
ADULT ME: Well done, Pete! This was a cleverly-conceived, epically-executed article. Most importantly, it made me laugh.
KID ME: Oooh do one on Care Bears!!! Or Rainbow Brite! WEEEEEE I want CANDY
You really brought your A game on this one, Pete. I think it speaks to the quality of your post that it has me – inconceivably – curious as to how the plot of the MLP movie is resolved.
Is it sadder that I can basically answer Stokes’s question myself, or that I was able to sing along with the musical clips? That’s how often I made my parents and grandparents rent it for me. But they never hunkered down an bought it. Why not, I have no idea.
This thrilled me inside… Mostly because I not only saw this movie I OWNED it… And watched it obsessively. Bravo sir.
I wonder if they’ve released this on dvd yet…
I watched it on VHS a lot when I was a kid. Not as much as I did the Transformers Movie which I saw actually saw in the theaters. Great job, Fenzel. More 80s cartoons articles please!
perfect. so perfect it was copied over to another great moment of my childhood
1995’s MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS THE MOVIE
the grundle king did some experimenting in college and came back alive and kicking as Ivan ooze.
dont even pretend like its not possible
Oh I LOVE this movie! I believe they DID re-release it recently on dvd, along with a lot of the episodes from the tv series. The artwork on the covers is different, not the original style ponies, but the actual videos are the same as the 80’s. Fabulous stuff to watch when you need to be cheered up!
Great heroes are often defined by their villains. Luke Skywalker had Darth Vader. He-Man had Skeletor. U.S. Grant had Robert E. Lee.
and G. W. B. had O. B. L.
Imagine having this on your resume as a writer, director or animator. Low mumble: “yeah, and I worked on My Little Pony…” All those bright colors must eventually drive an animator insane.
Calling John von Neumann “An Evil Nazi Scientist” is pretty much defamation of character and detracts from an otherwise interesting article. He was a Hungarian Jew born in Budapest and his family moved to the United States in 1930, three years before the Nazis came to power in Germany. During WWII he was one of the major players in the development of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos New Mexico.
Yes, my apologies. I confused John Von Neumann with Werner Von Braun. That’s entirely unacceptable, and I apologize to Von Neumann and his family.
“…how often I made my parents and grandparents rent it for me. But they never hunkered down an bought it. Why not, I have no idea.”
Likely because they knew that if you had to nag them into renting it, it would be around for a couple days and then it would be weeks again before you got annoying enough that they’d do it again to Shut You The Hell Up.
But if they *bought* it for you – three (or more) times a day, seven days a week, till they killed either the VCR, you, or themselves…
Oh, you are too hard on it. And you seem to be of the male persuasion as well. Being born in 1980, I was on this like jam on bread. I had no idea though that it was ever in a theater, so I’d assume the marketing for it was not good. Once it was on VHS though, it was worn out by me. I even remember the Flutter Ponies sequel – and Flutter Ponies were a gold standard in our Kindergarden class. Sure, part of my love is nostalgia, and it definitely didn’t have a well thought out plot or characters, but you had to be a little girl in the ’80s to understand. That said, I’d still watch that any day over the modern animated movies coming out that are geared toward girls.
Fairportfan: So would that also be why they never bought _Gettysburg_ for me, too? I mean, I had them rent it so often that the video store gave it to us because the tapes got so worn down…
Yeah, I was/am *that* nerdy and at *that* early of an age.
Can you do one on Gem and the Holograms?