The Smooze: Anatomy of a My Little Pony Villain

The Smooze: Anatomy of a My Little Pony Villain

How do you write a villain for a hero who doesn’t do anything?

flutterannoyamousCleaning it up

We tighten up some of the themes and weave together the plots. The ponies are pretty, so it makes sense for something ugly to be set against the ponies – so we make the witches ugly, even though they really don’t matter. It’ll be a cue to the kids that these are bad guys. We throw in a bunch of parts for humans, because who wants to listen to a bunch of horses talk for an hour and a half. We sure don’t!

But we still have one big problem.

Our movie is supposed to be G-rated, and our Ponies are in the midst of a full-on Global Extinction Event, where all the little bunny rabbits in the forest are killed by a flood of vengeance.

Plus, we only have a couple of songs, and most of them are pretty phoned-in. We laugh to ourselves as we realize the solution. We are truly great writers.

We’ll make the world-killing ooze sing!

A world-killing ooze probably bumps you to a PG – We’d certainly want to guide our kids though a meditation on the inevitability of the death of all things – but a singing world-killing ooze? Heck, let’s give it rockabilly influences. Heck, let’s make it a purple one with googly eyes! They’d never bump that above a G. Not in a million years.

In Tribute to George Arthur Bloom

Of course, this isn’t probably the exact thought process of the mad genius George Arthur Bloom, who wrote the My Little Pony movie. By the time My Little Pony: The Movie rolled around, Bloom had a 20-year career in film and television writing, including stints with Welcome Back Kotter, Chico and the Man, The Incredible Hulk. Bloom was nominated for an Emmy in 1973 for The Julie Andrews Hour (and you wonder how he wrote all those wacky show tunes). But it would be nearly another 20 years before Bloom actually won an Emmy – a Daytime Emmy for a broadband show called Cyberchase.

Most notably, at the time of My Little Pony: The Movie, Bloom had been writing for My Little Pony the TV show and for Transformers for a few years already. He would go on to write for other plastic-toy-inspired cartoons, including Potato Head Kids, Jem and the Holograms, and, one of my personal favorites, Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars!

To imagine the vast leaps of insanity necessary to put together one My Little Pony plot, I have to imagine a borderline vision quest – a journey into the heart of darkness. Yet Bloom pumped out literally dozens of them.

He had a certain special kind of crazy, which I was glad to see put to productive use for society in his writing for The Magic School Bus, because I fear the rest of his genius may be lost in time. And certainly further study is needed to determine exactly how he did what he did.

Although, you know, I do stand by about 80% of my own narrativization. Especially the part about the Grundle King.

18 Comments on “The Smooze: Anatomy of a My Little Pony Villain”

  1. pave #

    lol i am one of those people who saw it on video! in the times before there were dvds :)


  2. Donald Brown #

    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!


  3. mlawski OTI Staff #

    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


  4. stokes #

    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.


  5. Gab #

    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.


  6. Lola Listerine #

    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…


  7. takenoko #

    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!


  8. whenclamsattack #

    perfect. so perfect it was copied over to another great moment of my childhood


    the grundle king did some experimenting in college and came back alive and kicking as Ivan ooze.

    dont even pretend like its not possible


  9. Ponyology #

    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!


  10. Kopakka el Incrópito #

    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.


  11. Gadget Sleuth #

    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.


  12. John Clarke #

    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.


  13. fenzel #


    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.


  14. Fairportfan #

    “…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…


  15. 80sDorkGal #

    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.


  16. Gab #

    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.


  17. 10+ Min Mile #

    Can you do one on Gem and the Holograms?


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