45 Things I Noticed During Fiesta Equestria 2015

#42 Hope you got  your badge back!
#8/41-Hope you got your button back!

This past weekend was my first-ever My Little Pony con (bronycon?) Fiesta Equestria!  By now you have probably heard about ‘Bronies,’ or adults that like the show. If not, would you like to know more?

  1. BEFORE THE CON : As much as I don’t like to ding a show before it starts, they seem to be a bit unorganized based on their website/schedule issues
  2. No, brony friends, just because I have apples at the dinner table doesn’t mean I’m razzing you
  3. Minor drama even before the show started, oy
  4. FRIDAY : The closer I get to Houston the worse the drivers seem to get
  5. My GPS was set to ignore toll roads. I forgot I have a TXTag now /facehoof
  6. DQ down the road from the hotel? AW YEAH
  7. The hotel seems to have good WiFi, w00t
  8. A press pass! I feel special
  9. I liked the little Canterlot Times newspaper thingie
  10. Except for my badge, I have no pony stuff.  I’m always the weirdo at these things
  11. If your job is to check badges, it might help to take off your sunglasses, dude
  12. Note to self: You don’t like heights, stay out of the clear elevators
  13. Furry 101 went well, had a good crowd out!
  14. Maybe a little too well, I blasted through my material in 30 min
  15. I kinda don’t want to go anywhere and lose my AWESOMELY CLOSE PARKING SPOT
  16. It’s a little strange how formal dances have become a thing at cons now.
  17. Thing I said in the elevator: “Yes, I’m here for the cartoon thing”
  18. SATURDAY : The day to day schedule thing isn’t that great if you’re a panelist.
  19. HOUSTON HAS WAFFLE HOUSE YES
  20. There’s a charity? Need to work on that advertising, guys!
  21. Sombrero covered with foil; what Mexican conspiracy theorists wear.
  22. Except for the whole ‘dudes carrying plush ponies’ thing this isn’t THAT weird.
  23. Thing I forgot: Writing panel handouts. Thank you business center!
  24. It wasn’t into today that I realized I should probably turn off my YOU’VE GOT *ING MAIL message sound. Oops
  25. A friend was all GET ME SOMETHING WITH THIS PONY ON IT, and I had to look up what she looked like.
  26. I have to say, the hotel is in a really good spot, plenty of places to eat around and even some within walking distance.
  27. Wore my red Wreck-It Ralph short on Saturday and realized if I let my hair grow out I’ll kinda look like the Steven Universe kid. YAY LAZY COSPLAY IDEA
  28. Not sure how I feel about the whole ‘paid lesson panel’ thing :/
  29. Saw another panelist who stood still in front of the audience and droned on and on.  Yeah, I think I’m Doing It Right
  30. Selling is always a crapshoot, Thom Zahler didn’t have any copies of Love and Capes on him, guess I’ll check it out online! Long Distance was very charming, be interesting to see where it goes.
  31. I am a mite disappointed in the hotel, the early check in thingie in their app didn’t work and I put my ‘do not clean’ sign up at night and they did it anyway.
  32. Someone I may or may not have known in college recognized me. Whoa.
  33. E-book panel went well, too, I think I’m getting the hang of this!
  34. Question during panel: “Was DashCon or Sonic Con worse?” Me: “SonicCon…At least people went to DashCon.”
  35. Apparently my OC “Big Words” made everyone think of George W Bush…D’OH
  36. One elevator broke down, wasn’t too big of a deal, though

    #41-Not Pictured: Fun
    #42-Not Pictured: FUN
  37. Got a letter from a Derpy cosplayer addressed to ‘Someone Special’. ITS SO CUTE I DON’T WANT TO OPEN IT
  38. A musician got their tail in a knot because there were DJs in a musician panel.  Oy.
  39. No conbooks, a bit odd considering all the art/fiction this fandom produces.
  40. If the point of the speakers in the flowers were to annoy the bleep put of me, Fission Mucking Accomplished, hotel.
  41. SUNDAY : Found a button on Friday and turned it in to lost and found on Sunday, I didn’t want it to become my “tell tale tie”
  42. I didn’t think AJ was going to remember the ‘No Fun Zone” thing he mentioned in our podcast, but there it was!
  43. Note to self: Always take pictures of cosplayers because likely YOU WILL NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN even if it is a small con.
  44. I didn’t want to leave early Sunday, but life had other plans. Stupid life.
  45. Almost made it all the way home on the same tank of gas, thank you Honda CR-V!
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My Little Observation

Fluttershy: Seducer of the Innocent
Fluttershy: Seducer of the Innocent

Artwork courtesy of Chris Holm: check out his (mostly non-pony) art at DeviantArt or follow him on Facebook

I had a…shall we say, interesting conversation with some coworkers about the whole ‘brony’ phenomena at work the other day.  I started reading up on the subject upon learning that some of my friends had apparently ‘joined the herd.’

For the uninitiated, ‘bronies’ are male fans of the ‘My Little Pony Friendship is Magic’ animated TV series that are in their 20s and 30s.  While the show’s target audience is young girls, it is supposedly of such high quality that boatloads of grown men have become enamored with it.  The MLP fans’ obsession with the show and its characters has gotten to the point where they could easily be confused with Trekkies or Whovians or whatever it is extreme Star Wars fans are called.  Thus, we have the “bronies.”

As I talked about the bronies with my cube-neighbors (all guys, BTW) the reactions I received were all different: one coworker was amused, another found it to be mildly disturbing, and a third was all SERIOUSLY, DUDE?  Yeah, seriously, dude…there is no way anyone could make this up.

A quick disclaimer before I go any further:  This is about the fans of the show; I have never actually seen an entire episode of  it.  I have viewed some of the mashups and clips on YouTube, but I’m flying blind as far as the actual show itself is concerned.  Thus, I can’t comment on whether it is worthy of all the attention, but I can’t say that I am not surprised at the attention it is getting, either.  The show was developed by Lauren Faust, who has worked on some good ‘toons like Dexter’s Labratory and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.  Mrs. Faust was asked to ‘reboot’ MLP and took the opportunity to create a ‘girl’s show’ with more in-depth characters and settings.

I’m fairly indifferent toward the bronies myself.  If someone enjoys watching MLP, then good for them.  Whether it is reality TV, disco, or a cutesy kid’s show, people like what they like.  I don’t really plan on watching it anytime soon, but then again, I don’t watch much television these days.  The more obsessive fans (you know, like the ones we have in ANY fandom) make me do a Mr. Spock eyebrow raise, but for the most part, they’re harmless.

As a fan of animation, I find it encouraging whenever any animated work manages to capture a following so far outside of its intended audience.  Kids are smarter than we think, and media made for them does not necessarily have to be dumbed down.  As someone who enjoys animation, I know it can be something that isn’t easy to share with others, but watching a cartoon for girls and owning up to it?  On the internet? That takes some stones.

But the question remains: just why are these guys so attached to this show?  Is it out of a sense of irony? It is out of a need to hop onto the latest internet meme?  Or maybe, just maybe, could the show really be that good? All those factors are probably part of it, but I think that there may be something else going on too; something that didn’t occur to me until I attended a My Little Pony panel at Ikkicon VI this past New Year’s Eve weekend.

I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect at the panel.  One friend even went as far as to tell me a horror story about a bad experience she’d had at an MLP panel, but I went nonetheless.  What I ended up seeing was pretty much the same thing I see at every fan panel: a bunch of folks getting together to share their love and appreciation towards a work of fiction.  The panel could have easily been about Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, or yes, even Twilight.

I noticed there was something different about the MLP panel, though.  Everybody (everypony?) seemed to be happy. There was a genuine air of happiness that I wasn’t used to experiencing at a fan convention, where things can (and often do) devolve into shouting matches regarding who the better Captain, Jedi, Sith, Doctor, or vampire is.

I started thinking that just maybe adults like the show because it is good.  Now, when I say ‘good’ I don’t mean ‘good’ in terms of quality, but ‘good’ in that it is a positive show.  There is so much cynicism and negativity in our entertainment today that just maybe these guys have had enough of it.

Maybe they want something more than so-called “reality TV” and the big egos it produces.  Maybe they want to go back to a time before television smashed through the fourth wall and is now unable to tell its audience a story without winking its eyes and nudging us with its elbow.  Maybe, just maybe, these bronies want to spend twenty-something minutes in a place where three’s company, or where everybody knows your name, or where loving parents have everything figured out by the time the credits roll.

But the apartment is no longer there, the bar closed down years ago, and the happy TV families have all moved away.

And so they spend those twenty-odd minutes in Equestria.