I was driving around on some errands today when I pulled up behind another car at a red light and saw this strange bumper sticker which read: “My other ride is 20% cooler,” and had a picture of what appeared to be some sort of rainbow-colored cartoon horse. It struck me as odd, because why the arbitrary number of 20%, and why a rainbow-colored horse?
A quick Google search for “my other ride is 20% cooler” led me to discover that this rainbow-colored horse is a character named “Rainbow Dash” from a children’s show called “My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic.” The reference to “20%” is that it’s a catchphrase that this character uses in the show. From what I’ve gathered so far, it’s a cartoon series created by Hasbro to go along with (and provide a vehicle for) selling cute little “pony” toys, aimed at an audience of young girls. But here’s what threw me for a loop: it seems there is an extensive audience of men who love this cartoon, and call themselves “Bronys,” as in “bro + pony.” It seems to be an internet-based craze, with people re-mixing My Little Pony videos and creating their own alternative images and videos, which then go on to become internet memes. I can’t really read the small text on this link, but it seems it’s an obsession for a lot of people, as you will see by this extensive (and only one of many) “Brony Analysis.”
So with this information in hand, I have to admit my curiosity was getting the best of me – and I watched an episode, to try to see if I could understand this bizarre situation. Sure enough, the show follows the example of The Simpsons, in that while being a cartoon for kids, there were humorous references that only adults would get. For example, in the episode I saw, there was a mule whose character was based on (and talked like) Julia Childs, and another horse who reenacted scenes from James Bond movies, and the “mystery” of the story took place on a train, like an old Agatha Christie story. The animation was decently interesting, and maybe the frilly frou-frou fantasy of unicorns and rainbows was so over the top that it’s almost somewhat surreal. So I kind of understand how it might hold some appeal, but I just don’t understand how one could reach the level of obsession over it … go figure.