Pillbox

‘Bronies’ form unofficial club

Credit: Shannon Gallagher/ and Adelaide Cole/Art Editor Credit: Shannon Gallagher/ and Adelaide Cole/Art Editor Carnegie Mellon bronies draw My Little Ponies in chalk around campus. (credit: Courtesy of CMU Bronies) Carnegie Mellon bronies draw My Little Ponies in chalk around campus. (credit: Courtesy of CMU Bronies)

The My Little Pony series has taken on a surprising fan base, now appealing to fans of all ages, including college students. These older fans of the show, or “bronies” as they are commonly known, are everywhere and they’re on the verge of starting their own club here at Carnegie Mellon.

The My Little Pony toy line has been an important property for Hasbro since the early ’80s. Even those who did not purchase the plastic horses or the overpriced play sets can likely recall the extensive advertisements and the infectious jingle. A cornerstone of that marketing campaign was the cartoon series. The latest iteration of toys was given an accompanying television series in 2010 called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which was helmed by Lauren Faust. Faust told Wired that she created the show to have appeal far beyond the targeted audience Hasbro called her in for.

Edward Garbade, a first-year computer science major and the main organizer of brony events on campus, announced their unofficial club last Saturday. This news was met by cheers from fellow bronies, who had just finished watching a Friendship is Magic episode that ended with the moral that people should be proud of their accomplishments, even if they didn’t do as well as they’d hoped.

The bronies in the audience genuinely care about the show — one latecomer screamed and cursed in surprise at a minor character speaking for the first time. “It’s just a really, really, really good show,” Garbade said about the group’s general enthusiasm towards Friendship is Magic. “As weird as it seems, watching a show about pastel-colored horses is very entertaining.”

The show has become a respectable series, unlike earlier versions of the show that were often considered low-quality, long-form commercials. “They used to be just huge marketing schemes,” said Michael McGinnis, a junior statistics major.

Jit Nandi, a sophomore decision science and computer science double major, explained that he likes the show because it reminds him of the cartoons from his youth, which were often straightforward comedy that managed to convey important life messages. When asked if he ever felt embarrassed about his passion and attending Friendship is Magic viewings, Nandi said, “I feel like a badass for coming here.”

Fellow students react to the bronies in a relatively neutral manner. “I think ‘bronies,’ as I’ve heard them called, are trying to stay nostalgic by clinging on to new things that remind them of old TV shows like Powerpuff Girls,” said Charlie Grealish, a first-year electrical and computer engineering major.

While Faust, largely credited for the success of My Little Pony, has left the show, the fans remain optimistic. After the meeting had ended and some jokes about the episode were shared, the bronies left to make “snow ponies” and consider plans to continue making chalk drawings of their favorite Equestrian characters.