As someone who never grew out of cartoons and anime, finding a really good animated show that isn’t too cheesy can be sometimes hard to find, especially when that particular show is really aimed at a very young demographic. However, sometimes, there are brilliant exceptions to the rule that not only kids can enjoy and learn from, but adults as well. “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” has definitely been that exception to the rule, so much so that it has gained a massive fandom, spanning from young kids, to adults alike. Aside from this, I do believe that watching this show also has an audience with high functioning autistics like myself, as it has helped me learn and process different friendship and life lessons more easily, and it has also imparted some important lessons that I can apply when I socialize with others.
For the past few weeks, I have been doing in depth reviews of the past seven seasons of a show that has become a special interest of mine, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, on my entertainment and reviews site which you can find over here. There, you’ll find an in depth analysis of each season based on the stories, lessons shared, animation, music, and character development. However, I decided to talk a little bit about it over here due to the fact, as mentioned earlier, that it has helped me process life lessons, and has taught me some socialization skills as well.
“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” was developed for television for Hasbro by Lauren Faust, and debuted in 2010. Since then, aside from an unexpected and massive following, it now has seven seasons under its belt, a full length feature 2D animated film, spin-off comics, books, and a spin-off franchise. Of course, one should remember that the show is actually a reboot of the old tv show, and is definitely a reboot that was done right.
The show mainly centers around a group of six friends who live in a magical land called Equestria. The main group or the Mane Six consist of two earth ponies named Pinkie Pie (Andrea Libman) and Applejack (Ashleigh Ball); two pegasi named Fluttershy (Libman) and Rainbow Dash (Ball); and two unicorns named Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain). The show also focuses on Twilight’s baby dragon, Spike (Cathy Weseluck); and three little fillies, of which two are the younger sisters of Applejack and Rarity. Together, they learn life lessons, and occasionally have an odd adventure or two in which they save the day, in a mixture of slice of life stories and epic grand adventures.
Aside from the likable and relatable characters, great songs and music, good stories, and great animation, I ended up discovering that I was learning life lessons in a way that was easier for me to process. It gave me a chance to be the third party looking in at situations I could relate to, and draw lessons from what they learned throughout the episode. Also, if there are particular lessons that I know I have to take note of more than the others, I end up really taking it to heart, and I also remember that particular episode so I can come back to it whenever I need to process a particular thing that happened that is similar to the episode, or I watch it when I feel that I need to remind myself about that particular lesson.
I do love all of the Mane Six in varying degrees, but the ones I can most relate to are Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie.
I must admit that I do believe that Aspies in general might relate strongly to characters like Twilight, and the show is actually rife with them. These characters are all highly intelligent, have a special interest in studying and being highly skilled in magic, and are not that great when it comes to socializing with other ponies. However, all of them, in the end, in one way or another, were pushed in the right way to spend more time with others and socialize. We are also given a glimpse as to what would happen as well if we decided to shun being social altogether, and teaches us that having friends around us, even though they may be few, makes us a better and more well-rounded person.
I also learned a lot from Twilight’s own quirks and faults which are quite similar to mine. These include obsessively worrying about how much control I have over things such as the future, catastrophizing things and having epic freak outs. Episodes such as “Lesson Zero” and “It’s About Time”, as well as the fact that she has a breathing technique she uses to allow herself to calm down before making decisions, gave me some great reminders on how to deal with situations like that.
Pinkie Pie is another character that I relate to in many ways. Aside from us both being extroverts, Pinkie is a pony who goes overboard at times with her emotions, who says things when she really means something else, and she also misses social cues. However, she is getting better at it, I believe; and I do appreciate the fact that her friends can keep her in check, and remind her that she is invading their personal space or that what she’s saying isn’t communicating what she wants to truly say.
I also love the fact that the character of Fluttershy allows us to be okay with the little victories and baby steps we go through towards improving ourselves, and why it is okay to not have a huge transformation overnight.
I find it quite interesting that this show can cater to those on the spectrum, without having to have any of its characters be blatantly labelled as such, something that is becoming more and more common in media today.
In the end, I do believe that “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” teaches kids, adults, and even those on the spectrum friendship and life lessons that allow one to be better, and well-rounded people. However, in the case of those on the spectrum, their lessons help us improve our social skills, and it also allows us to process life lessons in a manner that is easier for us to process. Because of this, I do believe that this show is definitely exceptional, and is a children’s show that many animators and story tellers in that particular niche should look at as a model.
Has “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” taught you any life lessons or helped you improve your socialization skills? Do you think that anyone in this show is on the spectrum? What other shows do you think are also great for those on the spectrum? Sound off in the comments below!