Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Little Pony vs. Monster High: Capturing the Key Demographic

So in the last post I made about the internet, I mentioned what I like to call “the id of the internet” 4chan. It’s the source of everything funny, amazing, and utterly depraved about the internet. One of their more recent obsessions is the new “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” cartoon. It’s easy to understand why. It’s a crazy, neon spectacle full of great, terrible puns and dialogue. Plus it’s meant for little girls and the internet loves subverting things that are supposed to be innocent. It should come as no surprise that one of the biggest demographics for MLP:FIM is males age 18-34, or the bronies.

meet derpy hooves

What’s surprising is how cool the creators of the series seem to be with this phenomenon. It’s headed up by Lauren Faust, wife of Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken, and a lot of the talent came from 90’s Cartoon Network shows. Some animation buffs are bummed out that such talented people are now making essentially a 80’s style glorified toy commercial but if they can make something cool out of it and make My Little Pony of all things relevant in the year 2011 I say let them.

Now I do know some men that enjoy MLP:FIM completely on its own merits, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of its appreciation is at least partially ironic, especially if 4chan is involved (there were once so many pony threads that bans started happening).  I’ve seen two episodes and was legitimately intrigued for a while but when the supposed main villain of the series was defeated in the second episodes my enjoyment quickly turned back to ironic. But I’m here to say that there is another girl-oriented cartoon that also deserves some ironic male appreciation.

Monster High may not have the name brand recognition of Hasbro’s My Little Pony but it’s going after the same audience. The series is about teenage versions of classic movie monsterz with great names like Draculaura, Blue Lagoona, and my favorite Jewish monster, Frankie Stein. Each episode is only about three minutes long including the theme song which is seems a little slight compared to MLP:FIM’s full thirty minute episodes. However, it leads to plots hilarious in how simple, vapid and straightforward they are.

Draculaura: “Oh no I have a pimple”

Clawdeen Wolf: “Derp monster pun joke derp. Here’s some cream”

Draculaura: “Yay no more pimple.”

Roll credits

They're even 30-second "teasers" that are like half the length of the episodes themselves. Why?

However, by far the best part of Monster High is the constant conflict between the characters having to sort of look and act like the monster’s they are based on while still functioning as basically Barbie dolls for emo girls. Examples of this include Clawdeen Wolf not actually transforming during full moons and Draculaura being a vegetarian. But the best example is one Ghoulia Yelps (daughter of “The zombies”, like as a collective group?). She’s a zombie so of course she is slow and constantly groans instead of speaking. But since she still has to be like sort of attractive to work as a doll someone would buy instead of a reanimated corpse, she comes off more as someone mentally challenged. It’s actually really discomforting at times. But usually it’s just hilarious.

Sometimes when I have an idea for an article, especially one due soon, sentences just start forming and I hope I have the opportunity to quickly get them down. That’s been the case with me and my thoughts on Monster High for a while now. Hopefully this will convert some of the bronies or at least encourage them to watch another show that they probably shouldn’t be watching because it’s creepy. Plus the internet needs a new obsession that TV hasn’t gotten its hands on yet. Charlie Sheen and Rebecca Black are done.  Monster High is an untapped irony goldmine.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who enjoys "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" unironically, I must say that you have a point. As you said, my satisfaction is derived not only from the fact that I find it an entertaining diversion but also from the fact that Lauren Faust, who's worked on both Powerpuff Girls AND Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, is the head developer. It's very satisfying. That said, I think you're right in saying that since its base of popularity is in 4chan, their enjoyment may be drawn from irony, crudeness, or even perversion (all things that 4chan tends to do). Of course, if they hadn't discovered it, I probably wouldn't have discovered it either. It's the Circle of The Internet.

    I would like to check out Monster High, though. Purely ironically, however; I don't know what more value I can read into it, especially since the media portrayal of a teenage girl is something that makes me twitch (and then I was like, nuh-uh, but then SHE was like, uh-huh, and I was like, no way, and then SHE was like, WAY!).

    Another good, thought-provoking post.