||My Little Pony:
Seahorses who sing, Sasquatches who kidnap.
A week ago I was introduced to the My Little Pony cartoon series, and I've gotta say, the experience was a pleasant shock. When I was young, in our little school social circles, it was considered very lame for the boys to watch the girly shows - so much so that, out of fear, you'd sooner gnaw off your arm than sit through an episode of Care Bears. It was certainly taboo to even talk about the girly toons - to put it comparatively, when I was young, my social status would be in better standing if I walked into school with a swastika drawn on my forehead and mutilated body parts from a lamb taped to my chest than if I brought up how, secretly, I lusted after Frosta from Princess of Power.
As it turns out, I missed out on some really great cartoons. My Little Pony is far from what I was expecting, I had no idea how violent and borderline masochistic the villains got. Look at it this way - on He-Man, we had Skeletor, right? Well what truly evil things does Skeletor actually do? He wants to get into Greyskull at any cost, so the most we can really lump on him is a breaking and entering charge. Now look at My Little Pony. The lead villain is some gigantic half-goat creature who enslaves and caresses little ponies, keeps them in bags, and uses magic to turn them into dragon slaves. He also manages to threaten murder at a rate of once per every 3-4 statements.
So while I thought My Little Pony was all about these little horses who wandered around a field of rainbows utilizing baby talk and having climactic action scenes involving 'The Search for a Hairbrush' or 'Apple Jack's Lost Diary,' I couldn't have been more off. This is a purely decadent and ominous land where demons come flying out of the sky and ponies fight for their lives. It's evil stuff, not icky fluff. Today we're gonna review what I *think* was the first episode. I'm not totally sure, I'm not interested enough to check on it. I can tell you that it features the voice talents of Sandy Duncan and Tony Randall, a voice-over dream team that wouldn't be matched till a decade later when Nickelodeon managed to get Dauber from Coach to voice the starfish on Spongebob.
One last thing - you should try to maintain an overt sense of negativity while reading this one...if you end up liking the episode because of this review, you're gonna have to pay in the realm of 60-70 bucks to get your hands on the video. Besides, people who'd actually spend 60-70 bucks on this video are likely crazy people, and in my happy little fantasy world, only sane people read X-E. I apologize for the unnecessary warning! Read on, my deliciously mentally stable friends! Read on!
The opening credits and intro scene feature what you'd expect from an episode of MLP - a bunch of ponies running around gaily, showing off their superpowers and licking each other's faces. I thought before seeing the show that all the ponies were female, but I had no idea there were so many lesbians in the bunch. Hence all the bits about rainbows. Strangely, not all of the ponies seem to have a super power. While some can teleport and others can fly, there's a few poor souls in the bunch who can't do anything otherworldly. These are the Loser Ponies, much like the many nameless faceless Smurfs who don't wear glasses, cook, or plant seeds. These Loser Ponies are just there to give the better-suited ones a sense of community and to make the special Pony picnic parties seem more like a grand gala event.
Aside from their powers and pretty colors, the one thing I've noticed that separates the ponies is their ability to speak. While some are able to break into a six-verse song at the drop of a hat, others obviously ride the Pony Short Bus and can't make it through five words in less than twenty seconds. I guess the ponies without super powers found that they could still nail some extra camera time if they acted like completely dimwitted retards. Don't laugh - it worked for Betty White, Suzanne Somers, Perry Saturn, and head of justice Dancin' John Ashcroft.
It doesn't take long for trouble to arrive. After we get a chance to meet some of the ponies and learn their nuances and gain a vested interest in buying the toys, evil rears it's ugly head in the form of some giant sasquatch creature who we'll call Hank. Hank is seconded by a bunch of equally gross monsters who all ride dragons in the sky - and they're here to kidnap our friendly horse babies. From the look of their reactions, this type of thing happens often so I'm surprised they were able to play so freely in an open field. I mean, if I thought there was a chance some Hellspawn was gonna fly down from the sky and shoot fire at me every time I played kickball, I'd probably opt to stay inside watching television. With this, I surmise that the ponies aren't just cute, they're cute and optimistic.
Hank the Evil Sasquatch makes good on his threats, taking off with a handful of the ponies, much to the chagrin of all the nameless horses who now have even more reasons to believe they aren't important. They're not even good enough to get kidnapped by the giant flying monkey men. Methinks come prom night they'll be sitting in a musky den watching St. Elmo's Fire with Martha Dumptruck. Loser Ponies get no play.
Turns out, Hank the Sasquatch (shown above with his naive nasally friend, Spike) is actually a mere henchmen - believe it or not, there's someone more huge and menacing than Hank. We don't get to see what he looks like quite yet, but he's definitely a badass: his plot involves kidnapping four ponies so he can turn them into giant dragons to fly his evil chariot. Course, we've already established in previous scenes that he owns no less than six hundred dragons already, so I can only guess that pony-inspired dragons give the chariot a much needed horsepower boost. Or maybe the writers just overlooked it. Either way, he's got more bass in his voice than Quincy Jones and it goes a long way in the fear department. I haven't slept with the lights off in over a week, and if any winged fluorescent ponies come up to me asking for directions, I pretend to only speak Spanish.
Firefly, the pony who flies and makes weird noises with her posterior that can only be described as smoldering flatulence, ends up on Earth after taking off to find her lost friends. Now I'm not sure how fast Firefly can move, but it ain't light speed. She's bouncing from planet to planet here as if she secretly stashed Scotty and a transport beam module in major cities throughout the galaxy. I think there's something missing here. They're keeping something from us. Maybe the Ponies really live on Earth too - they just told the writers to say they were from a faraway land so we wouldn't look down on their Detroit heritage.
She meets up with an Earthling named Meagan, and they immediately hit it off. In fact, they hit it off so well that in the two minutes they have to establish rapport, they manage to create a psychic bond so strong that they can take turns delivering verses on a hot new friendship song. Meagan is the girl all other little femmes wanted to be as a kid: she got to hang with the ponies. I know it's true, and it works for boys too. When I was young, I faked an interest in the construction biz and started keeping a daily diary so I could be more like Spike - he got to hang out with Sunstreaker and Bumblebee, why not me too?
Meagan hitches a ride on Firefly back to Ponyland, altogether forgetting that she can't breathe in space, but it's okay, the writers forgot that one too. I love being critical of plot oversights in shows meant for four-year-olds. Worst. Episode. Ever. When they get back to Ponyland, everyone's mighty impressed with Firefly's find. Fresh meat for the Lesbian Pony Express. I'm not making this up, the friggin' things were practically licking their chops when Meagan showed up. So either they wanna make some finger babies, or they're omnivores who occasionally stray towards human flesh for sustenance.
Course, Hank shows up and steals more ponies, because these stupid horses refuse to learn their lesson and stay the fuck inside - christ, I know fresh air is great and all, but seriously, how many times do giant beezelbubs have to snatch up ponies before they start seeing the merits in a bit of shelter? I was so confused by it that I went on Google to look up a horse's memory capacity, but all I ended up with were a few links to information about Trojan Horse viruses and one to the stupid goatsex picture. The point is, I don't care if Satan himself flies down from the hellish heavens to rip their eyeballs out, those ponies deserve whatever they get -- they should know better by now.
After a lot of really creepy scenes featuring him petting and molested sealed bags of shaking kidnapped ponies, we finally get our chance to meet the main villain, who we'll call 'Monsterman' for simplicity's sake. Monsterman appears to be half goat, half horse, but all evil. This scene features him playing doctor with a bunch of stolen ponies harnessed by the neck, and I swear, you can cut the sexual tension with a knife. Monsterman is torn - he doesn't know if he wants to turn these pretty young things into dragons, or form a harem. If that goodytwoshoe bitch Sandy Duncan wasn't on the team, the plot might've been a lot more interesting.
Monsterman wields a majorly sinister weapon: The Power of Darkness. It's a little hemp pouch that spews out black wind and basically lets the big dumb ape do whatever he wants. If the ponies are to stand any chance against this level of malevolence, they'll need a little weapon of their own. And having silky hair is NOT a weapon in games of war and conquest. It's just NOT.
Meagan and her pony du jour somehow end up underwater, and a bunch of My Little Pony SEAHORSES shine a spotlight on them and break out into a song and dance number that has to been seen to be believed. This is not light stuff - this was a total spectacle full of sea-ridden disco lights and a whole lotta shoop shoop beboopin' by the Seaponies. It was a total acid trip of a cartoon sequence and, even after five or six viewings, I still have absolutely no clue what we're supposed to take from it aside from the potent knowledge that Seaponies are excellent dancers.
They free Meagan and Yellowpony from the dangers of the water, and send them on their way. Plans are made for them to meet up later when the final battle with Monsterman takes place, but even when they're talking about that and the kidnapped ponies, these fish are all smiles and are still dancing. Nothing phases them. It's like somebody poured a reservoir full of absinthe into Pony Lake, and all these poor seahorses are doomed to an eternal drunken stupor where they've gotta groove to the music and confuse everyone they come into contact with.
Meagan meets up with some weird wizard troll in the forest who hands her the only thing that may defeat Monsterman: The Rainbow of Light. Mmm hmm. If you thought the previous scene was confusing, try this: a two-foot gnome voiced by Tony Randall who trips through mushrooms, on mushrooms, and through his words for a solid three minutes while a cartoon bunny zips on and off the screen. In times like these I really wish my stereotyped theory on what this show would be like was true: it'd be much easier to digest this show if all the ponies did were comb each other's hair and bake mudpies. So far we've got a sasquatch, a devil, lesbian ponies, Tony Randall, Sandy Duncan, and a performance by the Seahorse Gold Dancers. What's next, a cutaway to a pony dressed in a suit updating us about horse politics? I feel bad for all the little girls who blew a fuse in their brain trying to make sense of all this. Personally, I keep doing the exercises in my third grade phonics textbook just so I can feel smart again. This shit's just flying right over my head.
Coming into the home stretch, the forces of good and evil begin rallying their troops. In the pony's case, that means more appearances by the bebopin' trollopin' never stoppin' Seaponies. In Monsterman's case, it's just another excuse to make idle threats about decapitation and an all-encompassing darkness that will ruin us all. The guy's such a freakin' ham. Stop talking about it and just do it, you cretin. If I had a dollar for every cartoon villain who spent twenty-five minutes telling us what he was going to do and two minutes failing miserably at it, I could skip the Personal Power II CD set and just outright buy Tony Robbins himself. With all the Monstermans and Skeletors and Mumm-Ras and Hordaks of the world, evil has a new credo: talk till everyone gets so tired of your voice that they'll agree that you have insurmountable power just so you'll shut up.
In the final battle, Hank the Sasquatch casually changes allegiances and sides with the ponies against his cruel master. Monsterman isn't too happy about it, but then again, he's not happy about much else anyway. The ponies trust Hank completely and totally despite the fact that he spent the rest of the episode aiding and abetting in their doom. I told you, they're optimistic little horsies. Of course, Monsterman has the Power of Darkness on his side, so even with a sasquatch on theirs, the ponies aren't exactly the odds-on favorite over in Vegas. But wait - remember, Tony Randall gave them the Rainbow of Light! Convenient!
Indeed, the Rainbow of Light trashes everything evil in sight, sending Monsterman spiraling out into the sky and returning all the dragons to the original forms - some of them were ponies, while others were just butterflies. Now I ask you: if he could turn butterflies into those much-needed dragons, why'd he bother trying to capture super-intelligent ponies who have strength in numbers and camaraderie on their side? BECAUSE HE'S A BIG STUPID IDIOT, THAT'S WHY.
Long live the Alliance, the ponies succeed in staying alive. For now. Oh, and Hank? Turns out he wasn't a sasquatch after all. Monsterman turned him into that when he took over his kingdom. Yes, Hank the Sasquatch is really a prince...
Prince Vincent Schiavelli, the guy who screams 'Get off my train!!!' in Ghost! What an unexpected, but completely welcome, turn of events this was. Of course, the goony bastard is all 'I not supposed to be here!' and 'They pushed me!' when asked what it felt like to be stuck in the body of a yeti, but we'll take any happy ending we can to get this thing over with.
All is back to normal in Ponyland, and now, they've got Vincent Schiavelli to act as a sort of good-natured governing influence in case any more devils from hell try to kidnap them. I'd say they broke pretty even on this deal, aye? The End.
Overall: Seriously, not bad at all. I guess a lot of the guys who read this site are like-minded and sometimes look to check out old school toons - don't pass up on the girly ones just because the video box has puffy rainbow lettering. In the case of My Little Pony, you're really missing out. This was a lot more dramatic than an episode of Bravestarr, that's for sure.
Only on UGO: I had a chance to check out the new movie Clockstoppers, and interview the stars for our gracious landlords over at UGO. To see what I thought, click here to check out the feature. Cameo appearances by Grubby and a Stormtrooper.