I was recently asked by the worship team I am blessed to be a part of what draws me to the show My Little Pony (G4). I have to admit that I didn’t do a very good job explaining myself. I really don’t fit into the intended demographic for the show (I’m 29 and have a pretty full beard currently) so they were genuinely curious. Of course, there are so many fun and enjoyable things about MLP that I was caught like a deer in the headlights when they asked “Do you really like My Little Pony?”.
So, in honor of MLP season 4. (Which premieres this morning at 10am on The Hub for everyone lucky enough to have that channel) I have decided to write what I anticipate will be my only article ever that has anything to do with My Little Pony.
I’m going to attempt to keep this quick and just focus on one relationship in the show. I can’t promise it will be 10 seconds flat, but I’ll do my best. My Little Pony, unsurprisingly enough, is about ponies. They talk, they sing, they dance, and do all sorts of other things that anthropomorphic ponies would be expected to do. There are different kinds of ponies. Pegasus ponies fly, unicorns are able to use magic, and regular old earth ponies that are just plain hard working.
Each pony has a unique “cutie mark” which is basically a tattoo that magically appears when you figure out who you are. The cutie marks design reflects the inner strengths of the pony in question. Ponies are not born with their cutie marks, and must find out who they are, before the cutie mark appears. The practical upshot of all of this is that a younger pony is likely to not have their cutie mark yet. These ponies are often teasingly called “blank flanks” by their more “mature” peers. (As if anyone resorting to name calling could actually be called more “mature”.)
In the show, 3 cutie-less ponies band together into a club dedicated to finding out who they are. The “Cutie Mark Crusaders” (CMC’s) are constantly and relentlessly pursuing their cutie marks through all sorts of hilarious hi-jinks. One of these CMC’s is named Scootaloo.
Scootaloo is a pegasus pony and the only CMC who hasn’t had a family member introduced in the show. She is also the only pegasus pony her age who can not fly. Scootaloo idolizes an older pegasus pony, the tomboyish and athletic Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash is easily 20% cooler than all of the other flying ponies, and has incredible flying abilities to match her insane amount of bravado. It is in the relationship between these two ponies that I find the greatness of MLP.
Sometimes I feel a lot like Scootaloo. She doesn’t know who she is yet, and I’d be lying if I told you I knew enough about myself to understand what my cutie mark would be if our roles were reversed. I know some things about myself, but each day I wake up wondering if today is the day that I will finally “get” the reason God put me on the earth. I know I have gifts in certain areas, but I don’t see how all of these seemingly unrelated things that I do well, will someday click together in a new way, making me uniquely me. I am good at many things, but I am not the best at anything, and that grates at me. I want one moment of lightning bolt clarity that strikes me and says “this is you”. So like Scootaloo, I continue the search.
I also identify with Scootaloos brokenness. She is a pegasus pony that can’t fly. Her wings work to propel her around the ground on her scooter, but try as she might, she literally can not fly to save her life. Sometimes she will hit a ramp and sail through the air, her little wings frantically buzzing, as her upward travel becomes a parabola ending in a heap of fur and feathers on the ground. Sometimes I hit a good week and I’m living a clean life, connecting with God and those around me in remarkable new ways, and then before the high can wear off, I’m back on the ground, dirty, disconnected, broken. A Christian who isn’t like Christ, a pegasus pony that can’t fly.
Rainbow Dash is Scootaloo’s role model. Everything that Rainbow Dash is, Scootaloo wants to be. To be fair, Rainbow Dash has a bit of a hyper-inflated ego. As far as Scootaloo is concerned however, being someone that Rainbow Dash would willingly take under her wing is the ultimate goal. For Rainbow Dash to accept Scootaloo as she is, would mean the world to Scootaloo. It would validate her existence and give meaning to the pain she has endured so far. “So what if my wings don’t work? Rainbow Dash thinks I’m alright!”
So when in season 3 episode 6 “Sleepless in Ponyville” Dash rescues Scootaloo from a nightmare induced near death disaster, Scootaloo thinks she has lost it all. Scootaloo isn’t even brave enough to not have bad dreams at night! How could the bravest pony around possibly want to hang out with her?
Dash stares Scootaloo down, her eyes demanding an explanation for the situation, as Scootaloo cowers in abject misery at the loss of her “cool” status with her hero. Scootaloo stammers out an explanation, and in a moment that draws tears to my eyes, Dash puts out her wing and pulls Scootaloo close. In one moment, Dash willingly becomes Scootaloos defender and adoptive sister. The episode ends with Rainbow Dash holding up Scootaloo, who in her best Superman pose is zipping across the sky with someone who finds value in her. Someone who is willing to support her in her weakness. Friends, should not the body of Christ be like this?
In this one relationship between 2 fictional cartoon ponies, I find beauty that I don’t find in most “grown up” television. Conveniently packaged in a 22 minute episode filled with humor, music, and relationships. That is what MLP is all about to me. Relationships. So if you are ever bored, give me a call (Don’t actually call…text or Facebook please), and I’ll let you know when the local “herd” is getting together to watch the next episode of MLP. We will introduce you to Catalyst theory, Starswirl the Bearded, Alicorns, and the Crystal Empire and we can start an odd relationship together. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be carrying me someday. Maybe you’ll be the one being carried. Friendship is Magic after all…
Also…I like the bright colors.