Friday, December 14, 2012

In Defense of Derpy, Bronies, and My Little Pony

For those of you who don't know, I am a Brony; in other words, I am a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  I could make a number of blog posts about that show, and why I like it.  Hell, I'm probably thinking about doing mini-reviews of each episode sometime soon, when I get the time.  But for now, I want to talk about something specific about the show.

For some context, here's a brief, "Cliffnotes" version of what went down: there's a character in the show, a Pegasus pony with a gray coat, gold eyes, blonde mane and tail, with Bubbles for her "Cutie Mark".  She gained wide-spread recognition in the show for having cross-eyes in the very first appearance in the first episode of the series.  Since then, the people making the show took note of how popular among the fandom she was, and in subsequent episodes, was featured more prominently, particularly during season 2, where the team making the show made it a point to give this character, who the fandom affectionately called "Derpy Hooves", specific scenes for the fans to pick up on.  This all culminated in the episode "The Last Roundup", wherein she was given her very first speaking role, and was actually called "Derpy" within the show.  The fandom rejoiced at this...  until the episode was taken down on iTunes, and eventually, the scene was edited, so that Derpy had a less goofy-sounding voice, her eyes were slightly fixed, and any references to the name "Derpy" were completely removed.  Apparently, a small group of people took offense to this character, probably one they had not noticed until she was thrust into the spotlight like this, thinking she was something of a stereotype of how retarded people acted.  Now, I could easily talk about how this argument doesn't make sense, and I feel the only reason people were offended is because they, themselves, think this is how retarded people acted, but no, what I want to talk about is the backlash from the actual fans of the show in regards of this, and how Hasbro and The Hub (the TV channel in which this show airs) responded.

See, I go to this forum, known as Equestria Forums, and they have topics about MLP and related issues, among them is how some people have noticed that in season 3 of the show, Derpy's role has diminished, to the point where she's VERY hidden in the background, and a point has been made to make sure one can't tell her apart from the other ponies, particulary in regards of her eyes.  You can check this topic out for yourself here:

Has Derpy been "killed off"?

There is a lot to be said about how cruely some Bronies treated others for finding Derpy offensive, or even not completely loving it.  To Bronies, Derpy was more than just a background character, she was a representation of how much the show loves it's fandom.  And by giving her a speaking role, it was just another way of the creators of the show showing their appreciation for the Bronies.  Unfortunately, I think the problem was the way they went about putting Derpy in that scene.  I also don't blame Hasbro or The Hub for doing what they did, for the most part.  They are a company, and they have and image to maintain, and even if the people who view it negatively are in the minority, they have to be taken into consideration.

Still, the biggest issue I have with this is how Derpy is at the center of all of this, and how much hate and scorn is given to her because of all this.  In fact, I made a post on that topic I linked earlier, and I want to post it here, just so everyone can know my exact views on this whole thing.

"That's just sad.  No really, that's just sad, that you see Derpy as a representation of what's bad about the community, because she's supposed to be the exact opposite.  In fact, yeah, she was supposed to be a background pony, and maybe that's where she should have stayed, but LIKE I JUST SAID, associating her specifically with the worst of the fandom is really unfair and, like I JUST said, is akin to people hating the show because of how certain fans act.

I WANT Derpy to appear more, and be more prominent.  At the very least, she should be as easily spottable as, way, Lyra and Bon Bon were in Magic Duel.  It's not like most of us ask for much, Derpy speaking was just a special gift that nobody really expected, and it was turned into a horrible mess but idiots, and now BECAUSE of that, people are treating Derpy like she's the cause of the problem.

AND YES, I GET THAT SHE'S A FICTIONAL CHARACTER!  SHUT UP, I'M MAKING A POINT!  My point is, fictional or not, associating this poor pony who never really had a problem or picked a fight with anyone is now being strung up on a display, as a means to show use just how radical Bronies can be.  She never asked for this!  Hell, Amy Keating Rogers, Tabitha St. Germain, nor ANYONE actually working on the show asked for, or even expecting this kind of a reaction.  Then again, those same people were not on the same level, and therefore, were ill-prepared to give Derpy her proper debut, which is why most of this happened to begin with.

So yeah, it's unfortunate, and people said a lot of said a lot of things they shouldn't, but for Celestia's sake: LEAVE DERPY ALONE!  SHE'S A PONY!!!  A fictional pony, and therefore shouldn't be held higher than an actual human being who's getting abuse from overly-obsessive fans, but still!

P.S. I should probably note that I wasn't even that big of a Derpy fan, I just find her expression adorable.  Like, she just comes of as a really simplistic character, much like Pinkie Pie; whenever she's said, you're sad, and whenever she's happy, you're happy...  most of the time.  Not to mention, I was one of those people who didn't really like Derpy's original voice, it sounded too masculine for my tastes, and I felt the voice change, while it came off as kind of generic and almost emotionless, was slightly an improvement.  And, once again, while I'm not about to argue that a fictional character shouldn't get more respect and love than, say, an actual flesh-and-blood person, but I still feel compelled to stick up for her all the same, in very much the same reason I defend Bronies and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as a whole, and ironically, it's also why I ultimately think the censorship of Derpy was wrong: because despite being less than perfect, despite having very obvious problems, despite occasionally bringing out the worst in some people, these things are still worth defending, because dammit, nothing is perfect!  Nothing can be absolutely flawless, and you can't just hide away the bad things and pretend they don't exist.  It's only by accepting that there are problems, confronting them, and learning to deal with them that we, as a society, and as a species, learn to grow, mature, and learn, and hopefully, in doing so, we'll know how to better handle situations like this, should they ever arise again."

Despite having gone a little overboard here and there, I hope people get what I'm trying to get at.  There really can be a lot said about Derpy and how she's handled.  Hell, in doing so, we can uproot some deeper issues society as a a whole has.  I just don't like the idea that she's being used in a negative fashion because that wasn't her intended purpose was at all...  Hell, maybe she didn't even HAVE a purpose, but what I do know is this: a show about colorful ponies who learn about the magic of friendship should NOT be, in any way, used to justify hating someone, or using it as a representation of what's wrong with people.  ESPECIALLY not a pony who just so happens to have googly eyes.

Thank you, and good night.

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