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Why people hated Alicorn Twilight


Sepul-Coloratura

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It's 5 years since Twilight became an alicorn. The time Twilight being an Alicorn in the show is longer than when she wasn't. It might be way too late to bring it up again and analyze, but this might be a good time to do it because no rabid fan who would dumb things down would still be around by now.

I also don't like the 'haters gonna hate' or 'they are stupid, they would hate anything' kind of attitude. It might be good for our mental health, it would be easy for someone to think that way, but it won't actually explain anything and won't get us anywhere. I don't like the stwaman argument. And of course I am aware of lots of people hates or likes something for stupid reasons. I just want to analyze stuff. I believe any open discussion would bring us to a better state.

 

The most obvious reason why people hated Alicorn Twilight I think is because it was a decision made based on marketing, not by prioritizing the storytelling. Hasbro toy department had a pressure to make a pink princess toy (we all know the infamous pink Celestia and how Luna was treated because she was too dark for kids) and for them, the fact that the princesses didn't appeared that much on the show, and the main protagonist was not a princess was a problem requiring an improvement.

To delve into it deeper, it's also about the female princess fantasy. There is nothing wrong about it, it has been working well long enough among human history and it still will be, but the show was about 'there are lots of ways to be a girl'. And lots of the adult fan base was into the show because the show had good story, surpassing expectations by being more than a cliched girly cartoon. Fulfilling the princess fantasy was exactly like being a cliched girly cartoon for them. And also, prioritizing anything but story would definitely turn them off. We can also see, even how good the season 3 finale was, how rushed it is.

Equestrai Girls didn't help it either. It showed how the studio could be a total disaster and incapable of writing a good story and putting wings made the whole matter look worse. The reason behind Equestria Girl's premise was also marketing and to fulfill the female magical girl transformation fantasy. Again, there is nothing wrong about it, but making a good story should come first, and checking if it fits is also required.

The other aspect of the argument is 'Twilight was a good character because of being a smart pony who is good at using knowledge and wits to solve problems'. And 'being a princess can obscure the nature of her'. Thankfully it turned out that season 4~7 were very well made seasons, but actually the show being good had less something to do with Twilight being an Alicorn princess. If she wasn't an Alicorn princess, it would still be great. It's more like the show being good 'despite of' her being an Alicorn princess.

"The show is expanding" : Well, the show is being a more big scaled story, but I don't think it fits the show being that way. The show is most efficient at itty-bitty everyday Ponyville stuff. We got to see Dragonball Z stuff at season 4 finale, but it was too much of a fan service. (btw that's also fulfilling the male badass fantasy.) Now it got too big, it can't shrink down anymore. That's a risk of any stories expanding. Season 7 finale got so ridiculous, reviving all the legend pillars of Equestria like Naruto and making up a cliched villain to fight an epic battle, all 14 ponies gathering around for the fate of Equestria.

Of course back then they wouldn't have known anything about these, but their concern kind of came true on some points. And it's true that we got more of the princess side of Twilight (as a device for expanding the surrounding) instead of the side of Twilight we knew and fell in love with in the first place (as a character itself). It wasn't 100% bullshit what some of them said. In season 1~2, if someone asked who that purple pony is, that would be answered by like "She is the main character in the show, likes books, good at magic." After season 3, the same question would be answered by something like "She is one of the four Alicorn princesses, who protects the nation." Making the protagonist famous and the special one and a celebrity is a big risk at storytelling. You can never go back, and later on, you might not know what to do with all of that.

"She is still the same pony" : Well, it is and it isn't. Of course someone could say she is the same pony just sprouted wings and got promoted, but everything about someone represents a certain character. Being purple, being a bookworm, being a female, having straight long hair, living in a library, sometimes freaking out, everything. Pinkie Pie won't be 'Pinkie Pie' if she wasn't pink, and it's not just about her name, but also about her nature and what she represents. Twilight is changed. And it is something more than just wings and being a princess. It changes her character design, it changes her status, it changes her mindset, it changes what she has to face, and most importantly, it changes the premise of the show.

People get concerned when they see something familiar turns different. The reason for watching MLP might be something about seeing the familiar, unlike the unsettling reality, and get relaxed, seeing the peaceful (or being cute-dangerous) environment of Ponyville. I just think if they could be a little more open minded, and see how the show goes, it could have been easier for them to swallow it.

 

What are your thoughts about it? Let me know what you think.

Edited by Sepul-Coloratura
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Well people are going to hate any  character  no matter what that their  opinion but there are some bronies who took the hate too far over alicorn  twilight  why because they wouldn't shut up about it and only care about unicorn twilight  and  that why people hate bronies because of these immature bronies who like complain a lot  to be honest is like they own the show but they don't 

 

 

 

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(edited)
48 minutes ago, Spitfire is best said:

Well people are going to hate any  character  no matter what that their  opinion but there are some bronies who took the hate too far over alicorn  twilight  why because they wouldn't shut up about it and only care about unicorn twilight  and  that why people hate bronies because of these immature bronies who like complain a lot  to be honest is like they own the show but they don't 

 

 

 

I appreciate your honest opinion, and I know what you mean. But with all due respect, I just specifically mentioned how those kind of point of view won't get us anywhere. And those extreme fanatical bronies are already out of topic. We should discuss about better things by now.

5 hours ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

I also don't like the 'haters gonna hate' or 'they are stupid, they would hate anything' kind of attitude. It might be good for our mental health, it would be easy for someone to think that way, but it won't actually explain anything and wont get us anywhere. I don't like the stwaman argument. And of course I am aware of lots of people hates or likes something for stupid reasons. I just want to analyze stuff. I believe any open discussion would bring us to a better state.

 

Edited by Sepul-Coloratura
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You did such a thorough job analyzing this thing, that there's really not much to be added to the list :-P I don't hate alicorn Twilight, but I kinda understand why some people dislike her...

As you said she isn't the same awkward and geeky character anymore. Big part of her original charm was that she wasn't the typical protagonist but more like a nerd, loner and weirdo (in a good way of course ^_^) and that she wasn't as "overpowered" when compared to rest of the mane six as she may be today. When FiM began, there wasn't just one main character, but six unique and interesting protagonists which got almost equal amount of screen-time. If you didn't like Twilight, there was still other ponies you to choose from. (For example, if one would happen to hate Pikatchu, the Pokemon anime would be pretty much ruined from that person.) FiM wasn't equal as the purple book horse.

This status quo was, quite shoddly, broken when Twilight all of a sudden and out of the blue got her wings. For a moment cartoon had changed to "A Twilight Sparkle Show, an unexpected alicorn adventure!". Change of her character was maybe little too rushed and it temporarely took the spotlight out from the rest of the ponies. Some "haters" maybe just got bored of her

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I hated it for being an unnecessary change that didn't have an immediate big impact. Wings and one of the highest titles? That's great and all, but now you've been given all of this responsibility with little recognition from the public. This was an issue before when she and her friends had saved Equestria multiple times as well, and they recieved little praise. Twilight seems to have also changed her focus. When's the last time she tinkered with an idea or device? She's a pony of science afterall. It's good that she's learned friendship and is passing her lessons on to others, but it's like she's slowly giving herself up to her assigned role. Non princess twilight gave looks of disapproval more often and would occasionally be sarcastic. She didn't go about every task diplomatically. Still love her as a character but I'd like to see her act more casually and not spend so much time trying to live up to expectations. She's not a normal princess, she's strong and independent. Allow her to carve out her own path.

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I didn't hate her. I thought it was a big step forward and something worth celebrating. 

I think it would've been a pleasant surprise.... if it wasn't leaked a few months prior. Possibly intentionally. 

See this?

Image result for princess twilight sparkle vector

This was the image that was leaked. And none of us bought it. That garish dress. That stiff pose and blank expression. Everypony thought this was just an elaborate fan creation. The community has come very close to show levels of realism in their art. 

But the then episode aired. Or was also leaked, and fans worst fears came true. Instead of Twi's ascension being seen as a triumphant moment, it was taken more cynically, seen as a nonsensical change to sell toys. 

There was also one thing to consider at the time. there was also the rumor that S3 was the end. All pf this would've finished with Magical Mystery Cure. And few would've been happy that 4 years of build lead to that being the end. M.A. Larson himself confirmed that when he wrote the episode, he was told that it would be the end. Had he known the show would go on, he wouldn't have made the call to make Twi a princess. 

So in hindsight, it is a very odd and sudden change. Yes, we've all acclimated. Twi has changed in some ways, but has remained the same unicorn bookworm we all know and love. But there's no denying that with this, combined wit the left turn that was Equestria girls and it's lukewarm reception, plus the MLP droughts (9 months between S3-S4 and 11 months between S4-S5) and you have a tumultuous period of change, confusion and uncertainty in our fandom's history.

And it all started with a pair of wings.  

 

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I never had any real issues with Alicorn Twilight. I always knew the decision to make her an alicorn was more about selling toys than anything, but I've always honestly found it kind of cool to see Twilight be more powerful and having to face the responsibility of being a ruler. Her just dicking around in Ponyville and writing letters to Celestia was going to grow stale eventually anyways. :maud:

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(edited)
1 hour ago, Denim&Venom said:

This was the image that was leaked. And none of us bought it. That garish dress. That stiff pose and blank expression. Everypony thought this was just an elaborate fan creation. The community has come very close to show levels of realism in their art. 

But the then episode aired. Or was also leaked, and fans worst fears came true. Instead of Twi's ascension being seen as a triumphant moment, it was taken more cynically, seen as a nonsensical change to sell toys. 

I don't even know how Hasbro manages to get every single thing they make leaked. As if they hired the royal guards from the show to secure their studio.

Edited by Sepul-Coloratura
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1 minute ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

I don't even know how Hasbro manages to get every single thing they made leaked. As if they hired the royal guards from the show to secure their studio.

Again, this one might have been on purpose, just to generate some buzz about the latest episode, and by extension, new toys. 

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1 hour ago, CloudMistDragon said:

I never had any real issues with Alicorn Twilight. I always knew the decision to make her an alicorn was more about selling toys than anything, but I've always honestly found it kind of cool to see Twilight be more powerful and having to face the responsibility of being a ruler. Her just dicking around in Ponyville and writing letters to Celestia was going to grow stale eventually anyways. :maud:

Yeah, in some point the show had to progress. But like how Rarity became a celebrated designer and how Sweetie Belle became more mature, how Rainbow Dash gradually became a Wonderbolt member, it would have been better if the show showed her progression towards becoming a princess.

Just now, Denim&Venom said:

 Again, this one might have been on purpose, just to generate some buzz about the latest episode, and by extension, new toys. 

That's the worst marketing plan I ever heard. They don't seem to have a sense of what spoilers are.

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18 hours ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

If she wasn't an Alicorn princess, it would still be great. It's more like the show being good 'despite of' her being an Alicorn princess.

I think this hits the nail on the head for my thoughts on Alicorn Twilight.

I do like seasons 4, 6 and 8 to a lesser extent, but it's not because of Twilight. Compared to seasons 1-3 where Twilight was often a highlight of the episode, 4-6 have Twilight either blend into the background or just be an incredibly uninteresting protagonist.

Instead of having multiple interests and feeling like a real person, Twilight's only character traits in seasons 5 onward (when used as the protagonist) are neurotic and obsessive. Sometimes the show can give hints at a more nuanced character like in "No Second Prances" and "Once Upon a Zeppelin", but most episodes with Twilight fall into two categories of her being neurotic for comedy or her driving the conflict from her obsessiveness. It's not even that she's obsessive in interesting ways. It all plays out in very similar ways.

Season 4 wasn't as devoted to making Twilight either full neurotic or full obsessive. Instead, she was really bland, most notably in the finale.

It's a shame what happened to Twilight. She went from one of my favorite characters to a character that I mostly end up ignoring and tuning out to pay more attention to the actually interesting characters.

A lot of people completely hand wave away arguments against Alicorn Twilight as not being able to accept change. This really annoys me because it doesn't acknowledge that change is only good if it's taken advantage of to improve the show in some way. Fluttershy getting more assertive was a good change because the writers used this change to make Fluttershy less stagnant and by giving her more interesting story opportunities. Twilight becoming an Alicorn was a bad change because the writers ignored potentially interesting stories with Twilight being caught up in the world of foreign affairs and politics, acted like nothing changed, and made Twilight a worse character.

Edited by bigbertha
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1 minute ago, bigbertha said:

A lot of people completely hand wave away arguments against Alicorn Twilight as not being able to accept change. This really annoys me because it doesn't acknowledge that change is not always a good thing. Fluttershy getting more assertive was a good change because the writers used this change to make Fluttershy less stagnant and by giving her more interesting story opportunities. Twilight becoming an Alicorn was a bad change because the writers ignored potentially interesting stories with Twilight being caught up in the world of foreign affairs and politics and instead acted like nothing changed and made Twilight more boring.

I agree. The first thing writers should think about is how to make an interesting story.

What do you think about how Rainbow Dash and the CMC's position changed during the show?

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I started watching after season 7. So I missed the whole Twilight alicorn controversy. I think that people hated it because it came out of nowhere. No build up or foreshadowing except for Luna showing Celestia the Starswirl book at the end of the Crystal Empire two-parter. Fans were already used to the friendship reports but I don’t know if they were ready for a change from it. But I think most of all was how Hasbro handled the entire thing. From the heavy marketing of the episode which ruined the surprise to it reaking of being just about selling toys and not the story. Some other fans just miss unicorn Twilight. In the end, there are many reasons why this decision is hated.

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1 hour ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

What do you think about how Rainbow Dash and the CMC's position changed during the show?

I don't think they've had big changes over the course of the show. Sure, their careers have changed, but their personalities have stayed relatively the same compared to Twilight and Fluttershy.

 I will say that the CMC have gotten more interesting, though I still think their episode have always been hit or miss even since season 1. 

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Was the toy line really what the point was to Alicorn Twilight? I really wonder how much they were expecting to sell just from ONE episode, especially if it was going to be the last.

Really I never had a problem with it either. Granted, I got all of the show shoveled into me in less than a year, so maybe it doesn't hit me the same way as it would if I'd been watching it in spurts, with long breaks between seasons filled with headCANONs and fan comics. In my mind it makes sense though that it happened, and I got pretty teary-eyed watching it. Also, I'm a bit of a sucker for wings, so Twilight just ended up looking even cuter to me :P I didn't see it as hurting her character at all. I'm definitely in the "she's still Twilight" camp as far as that's concerned. It also presented some interesting new challenges for her to overcome. There's really nothing "stereotypical Disney" about Twilight as a Princess. Even with the whole "Friendship Knights of the Round Table" thing going on, being a Princess in MLP is definitely a lot different from the usual fairytale tropes. It's not an easy life for any of them by any stretch.

 

Edited by bornAgainEquestrian
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9 hours ago, Denim&Venom said:

M.A. Larson himself confirmed that when he wrote the episode, he was told that it would be the end. Had he known the show would go on, he wouldn't have made the call to make Twi a princess. 

Strange how much the world building and progression of MLP is affected by business decisions. In a sense it's literally reshaped continents.

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Denim is absolutely correct about the tumultuous nature of the fandom circa 2013. I remember Faust's departure and the Cadance/Shining Armor controversy (if one remembers the huge mass of complaints on "A Canterlot Wedding", at the time the show's most controversial episode) in 2012 being the beginnings of the rumblings, but the short nature of S3 (I recall one post from the time noting that Magic Duel and Wonderbolts Academy were the 'only' interesting premises of the season), alicorn Twilight emerging at the end of the already-controversial season and the first appearance of Equestria Girls - that was pretty much the trifecta that killed the fandom's initial memetic status and fizzled out the brony 'craze' (it presumably also didn't help that Gravity Falls and Steven Universe, both immensely popular shows themselves, premiered around this period, thus stealing some of FiM's thunder as the 'latest animated craze'). 

And then we had the Great Pony Drought of '13. And then S4, which I recall garnering mass controversy as well (episodes such as "Daring Don't" were among the most notable cases, and ended the 'Digibrony fad' of 2013 (I still have little idea how that passed over as it did)). The dust didn't settle until around the midpoint of S5, yet by that point the 'bronies' had become more 'the fandom' than the huge enveloping craze of the 2011-12 period. 

As for the topic itself, I wrote this piece describing my views before the S7 premiere (S7 and 8 have improved Twilight's characterization by a decent margin, albeit she nonetheless is far from her pre-S4 golden era):

Quote

Twilight being a princess is a difficult topic for me to grip mainly due to the controversy surrounding it and the fact that on purely a conceptual level, it was actually an interesting idea. Twilight is not generally the type of character one would select to ascend to basically deity status (the show has never really been all that clear on a number of concepts regarding alicorns though - is Twilight now immortal or not? Is there actually any proof for either side of the argument?) on a surface level. Remember that this is not the Core 7 of G3, this is Friendship is Magic - each character has their own respective set of nuances and hidden depths - the fact that Twilight's high level of responsibility and abilities regarding magic happen to coincide with qualities displayed in alicorns of Equestria  is one of these nuances (or a neat detail on the writers' parts). Even considering this though, ascending to alicornhood would have made a highly interesting character arc for Twilight - how will this impact her life? Would she have to choose between friends or royal responsibilities (the likes of which may involve Equestria's fate)? Would she need to move to Canterlot?

 

Sadly, while Lauren Faust seemed to be implying that that would be the direction she would have taken had she still been helming the show (considering her respective ideas for Dashie and Rarity's futures), the current team of writers have floundered regarding Twilight's status. Rather than biting the bullet and allowing for a change in the status quo to tactfully occur (I'm not asking for Twilight to be excluded from the Mane Six and taken to permanently reside in Canterlot, but I am asking that the writers acknowledge her role and how it would alter the show in necessary aspects - they don't need to bring up the fact that 'she's a princess' every episode, but they needed to ensure that they handled the ascension with the respect it deserved), they seem to have taken the simpler route and not really done anything. When Faust designed the show, she set up all the characters to fit comfortably and naturally into their roles in society and to play off each other's weaknesses perfectly (this being one of the reasons the initial two seasons of the show worked so well) - Twilight's ascension was a wrench in the machinery, and it was almost as if the writing team had no idea how to handle this (possibly out of respect for Faust?) and so simply left it in there and attempted to ignore the wrench unless it was absolutely necessary (Season 4 was the worst case of this, where, while possibly intentional, they only truly brought up Twilight's status when it was unavoidable such as in the season premiere and finale and played the rest of the show as if nothing had happened regarding Twilight the majority of episodes otherwise). While I acknowledge the Season 4 finale did reference this issue by having Twilight be concerned about it and subsequently granting her the title of 'Princess of Friendship', we still, as audience members, were not actually allowed to see what she even does - this is not made any better by episodes such as 'The Hooffields and the McColts', where Twilight comes off as having no business being Princess of Friendship, and episodes such as 'No Second Prances' where Twilight's role in the story not only seemed out of character for her (she was a superior friend in the first season compared to that episode) but forced merely so some form of conflict can be shoehorned into the episode (didn't Trixie apologize to Twilight after Magic Duel, something 'No Second Prances' does not seem to really reference?). In general, the issue of Twilight's ascension amounting to virtually squat has been most prolific in the most recent season - Josh Haber's basic style of storytelling really does not befit characters with roles such as Twilight (at least with her status situation).

 

I really do think the writing team wrote themselves into a corner regarding Twilight's ascension; for one matter, it was done too soon. Twilight's ascension was intended as a sort of character culmination, indicating that Twilight had mastered the art of friendship. However, with six seasons under our belt now, the actual journey to princesshood appears rushed in hindsight (Twilight's journey to alicornhood seems more like a near show-length arc, as opposed to only lasting three out of a potential eight seasons) and the pulling of the plug too soon resulted in Twilight becoming somewhat more bland and passive (most of the time) than before. You can't have a character complete their major development arc in three seasons and then allow them to sit in a semi-limbo for another five seasons - character growth, no matter how many arcs a character progresses through, is a constant sprint to the metaphorical finish line and you can't really afford to stop for long.

 

I acknowledge that Twilight has achieved some character growth recently (what with taking on Starlight Glimmer for a season, excited to see where Twilight graduating her will lead in the impending seventh season) and is still a part of the main cast, but they had such a golden opportunity to shake up the character dynamic in a new, interesting and innovative way past the 65-episode mark, but have not truly taken the opportunity to fulfill this promise.

 

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6 minutes ago, Them's Seeing Ponies said:

Denim is absolutely correct about the tumultuous nature of the fandom circa 2013. I remember Faust's departure and the Cadance/Shining Armor controversy (if one remembers the huge mass of complaints on "A Canterlot Wedding", at the time the show's most controversial episode) in 2012 being the beginnings of the rumblings, but the short nature of S3 (I recall one post from the time noting that Magic Duel and Wonderbolts Academy were the 'only' interesting premises of the season), alicorn Twilight emerging at the end of the already-controversial season and the first appearance of Equestria Girls - that was pretty much the trifecta that killed the fandom's initial memetic status and fizzled out the brony 'craze' (it presumably also didn't help that Gravity Falls and Steven Universe, both immensely popular shows themselves, premiered around this period, thus stealing some of FiM's thunder as the 'latest animated craze'). 

And then we had the Great Pony Drought of '13. And then S4, which I recall garnering mass controversy as well (episodes such as "Daring Don't" were among the most notable cases, and ended the 'Digibrony fad' of 2013 (I still have little idea how that passed over as it did)). The dust didn't settle until around the midpoint of S5, yet by that point the 'bronies' had become more 'the fandom' than the huge enveloping craze of the 2011-12 period.

Are there any exhaustive video analyses of all of this? I'd love to get a chronological history detailing all the highs, lows, controversies, etc. Being just a foal in the fandom, most of what I know is patched together from a dozen random tidbits of conversation.

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36 minutes ago, bornAgainEquestrian said:

Are there any exhaustive video analyses of all of this? I'd love to get a chronological history detailing all the highs, lows, controversies, etc. Being just a foal in the fandom, most of what I know is patched together from a dozen random tidbits of conversation.

I honestly don't know if there are, but the brony fandom's history is definitely a strange and fascinating one, particularly in regards to its transition from widely publicized meme to well-weathered cartoon fandom. My recommendation would be to check Gyropedia (the MLP imageboard wiki) for the origins of the brony fandom (you may be surprised as to how the first bronies arose) and garner together other information (the events from 2011 - onwards) from other sources. As I joined during the summer 2011 boom (the point where Gyropedia ceases coverage of events), I recall that:

  • Faust leaving was the first major rumbling in the fandom when announced around the time season 1 concluded. 
  • "Haters gonna hate" memes (often featuring Pinkie faces from "Swarm of the Century") were everywhere in 2011.
  • The beginning of season 2 was viewed as a flop. This was largely due to Paleo Steino's reviews (he was one of the first of the now-dying breed of brony analysts, and was the first major fandom reviewer to tear apart "The Mysterious Mare Do Well'). 
  • Season 2 itself was viewed by some bronies as a disappointment (I remember one thread detailing "too many 'pointless filler episodes worth skipping' (they cited "It's About Time" as one), lack of collective focus on the mane six ("Baby Cakes" focused almost exclusively on Pinkie, why don't they produce more episodes featuring the mane six together?) and 'blatant marketing' such as the Friendship Express (why was indeed a toy at the time) and Shining Armor/Cadance). THAT promptly changed upon most bronies seeing the S3 synopsis.
  • "Ponyville Confidential" and "A Canterlot Wedding" were among the most hotly contested episodes in the fandom prior to S3, PARTICULARLY the latter (one well-weathered reviewer on a forum back in the day delivered a lengthy epitaph on how the mane six should have stood their ground during the changeling battle and FOUGHT TO THE DEATH. ON A CHILDREN'S SHOW. I am serious here. Some bronies really were that crazy back then).
  • Twilightlicious and Derpy were inescapable in 2012.
  • The reactions to Derpy's appearance in "The Last Roundup" were uproarious.
  • The brony analyst craze hit a peak around 2013. Digibrony in particular was huge for a few months (around the time EQG first premiered) and posed a number of interesting theories on the show's universe before careening completely off the rails and rage-quitting halfway through S4 due to conflicts with his headcanons. He is now an anime reviewer. 
  • S3 was a huge divisive element. It's widely considered one of the worst seasons here now, but woo boy... EVERY SINGLE EPISODE upload/thread was often filled with fans criticizing absurd details and noting a decline from S1 and 2. Some fans eventually began to defend the season (such as the now-controversial Mr Enter in his earliest videos), but a ton of bronies (Chad Rocco and Byter in particular, if you search around, you'll find a decent amount on their cases) were pretty brutal towards it. Sleepless in Ponyville and Wonderbolts Academy were acclaimed as they are now, however.
  • Discord reforming was a pretty major development, but was overshadowed almost immediately by the alicorn Twilight reveal.
  • Denim already summed up alicorn Twilight and the surrounding controversy well, but I should probably add that the initial rumbling of the event occurred in September the previous year, when an alicorn plushie prototype was discovered in the background of a toy fair photograph. The Equestria Daily poll run on "should Twilight become an alicorn?" that week gave the prompt majority response "NO". 
  • Equestria Girls disgusted quite a number of fans back in the day. Amazon reviews of the DVD were spammed with fake synopsis (including one of Rainbow Dash becoming a possessed zombie, believe it or not) and many fans quit (including YTPer MustardBunny, famous for the 'longest MLP YTP ever') upon the sight of it. The actual film went down okay, but the fandom was pretty fractured by that point.
  • Friendship is Witchcraft was a huge fandom staple around 2012, but had largely faded into obscurity by 2014 due to the creators' lack of interest (and their treatment of differing opinions from their own). I assume they were pouring more energy into Kimi Sparkle by this time.
  • The pony drought of 2013 was a desperate time with the fandom hanging with baited breath over whether the show would handle alicorn Twilight well (and also the cooling from the heated EQG controversy). The S4 premiere was hugely anticipated by the fans (note the official Hub ratings for its initial showing) and was mostly well-received, but the following episodes were highly controversial. "Daring Don't" was hugely divisive for defictionalizing Daring Do, "Power Ponies" featured a level of absurdity not familiar to the show prior, "Bats!" featured Flutterbat, etc. Fans were noting the shift from slice-of-life to "Twilight Zone" style-episodes during the earlier days of S4. Of course, "Rarity Takes Manehattan" eventually appeared to becalm the fans. 
  • The Equestria Games arc, in particular "Equestria Games" (for not featuring that much of the titular games themselves) was also divisive.
  • The keys were heavily anticipated through S4 and were the subject of mass speculation, although it eventually became obvious as to which objects the 'keys' were by "Pinkie Pride" (I do recall one fan hypothesizing that Fluttershy's bat fang from the end of "Bats!" was a key for some reason). 
  • If you bashed Merriwether Williams, you were in the general consensus. This was until Scott Sonneborn supplanted this role during S4 with "Somepony to Watch Over Me" and "Trade Ya!". 
  • The S4-S5 hiatus was brutal. Not all returning fans were satisfied with S5 upon its initial showing (even I noted the show's change in tone to a more dialogue-driven style). Tommy Oliver also rage-quit at this point, dismantling the 'brony analyst' craze for the most part.
  • "Slice of Life" (then referred to as 'the 100th episode') was a huge point of anticipation.
  • Season 6 was one of the least-anticipated and dreaded seasons at the time due to the announced departures of M.A Larson (the fandom's favourite for years by that point), Amy Keating Rogers and Natasha Levinger (write of "Make New Friends but Keep Discord").

Ah yes, the brony fandom is indeed an illustrious one.

Edited by Them's Seeing Ponies
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I think the root of the issue is that people don't like when something that they are used to and have invested in changes somehow. Maybe they are afraid of the change as they were comfortable with the old but when something new comes around it introduces new aspects into the mix that they need to get used to before they can feel comfortable again.

It can also relate of feeling like the new isn't the same as the old and because of that they feel that they have lost the old one where they had already invested themselves into.

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10 minutes ago, Them's Seeing Ponies said:

I honestly don't know if there are, but the brony fandom's history is definitely a strange and fascinating one, particularly in regards to its transition from widely publicized meme to well-weathered cartoon fandom. My recommendation would be to check Gyropedia (the MLP imageboard wiki) for the origins of the brony fandom (you may be surprised as to how the first bronies arose) and garner together other information (the events from 2011 - onwards) from other sources. As I joined during the summer 2011 boom (the point where Gyropedia ceases coverage of events), I recall that:

  • Faust leaving was the first major rumbling in the fandom when announced around the time season 1 concluded. 
  • "Haters gonna hate" memes (often featuring Pinkie faces from "Swarm of the Century") were everywhere in 2011.
  • The beginning of season 2 was viewed as a flop. This was largely due to Paleo Steino's reviews (he was one of the first of the now-dying breed of brony analysts, and was the first major fandom reviewer to tear apart "The Mysterious Mare Do Well'). 
  • Season 2 itself was viewed by some bronies as a disappointment (I remember one thread detailing "too many 'pointless filler episodes worth skipping' (they cited "It's About Time" as one), lack of collective focus on the mane six ("Baby Cakes" focused almost exclusively on Pinkie, why don't they produce more episodes featuring the mane six together?) and 'blatant marketing' such as the Friendship Express (why was indeed a toy at the time) and Shining Armor/Cadance). THAT promptly changed upon most bronies seeing the S3 synopsis.
  • "Ponyville Confidential" and "A Canterlot Wedding" were among the most hotly contested episodes in the fandom prior to S3, PARTICULARLY the latter (one well-weathered reviewer on a forum back in the day delivered a lengthy epitaph on how the mane six should have stood their ground during the changeling battle and FOUGHT TO THE DEATH. ON A CHILDREN'S SHOW. I am serious here. Some bronies really were that crazy back then).
  • Twilightlicious and Derpy were inescapable in 2012.
  • The brony analyst craze hit a peak around 2013. Digibrony in particular was huge for a few months (around the time EQG first premiered) and posed a number of interesting theories on the show's universe before careening completely off the rails and rage-quitting halfway through S4 due to conflicts with his headcanons. He is now an anime reviewer. 
  • S3 was a huge divisive element. It's widely considered one of the worst seasons here now, but woo boy... EVERY SINGLE EPISODE upload/thread was often filled with fans criticizing absurd details and noting a decline from S1 and 2. Some fans eventually began to defend the season (such as the now-controversial Mr Enter in his earliest videos), but a ton of bronies (Chad Rocco and Byter in particular, if you search around, you'll find a decent amount on their cases) were pretty brutal towards it. Sleepless in Ponyville and Wonderbolts Academy were acclaimed as they are now, however.
  • Discord reforming was a pretty major development, but was overshadowed almost immediately by the alicorn Twilight reveal.
  • Denim already summed up alicorn Twilight and the surrounding controversy well, but I should probably add that the initial rumbling of the event occurred in September the previous year, when an alicorn plushie prototype was discovered in the background of a toy fair photograph. The Equestria Daily poll run on "should Twilight become an alicorn?" that week gave the prompt majority response "NO". 
  • Equestria Girls disgusted quite a number of fans back in the day. Amazon reviews of the DVD were spammed with fake synopsis (including one of Rainbow Dash becoming a possessed zombie, believe it or not) and many fans quit (including YTPer MustardBunny, famous for the 'longest MLP YTP ever') upon the sight of it. The actual film went down okay, but the fandom was pretty fractured by that point.
  • Friendship is Witchcraft was a huge fandom staple around 2012, but had largely faded into obscurity by 2014 due to the creators' lack of interest (and their treatment of differing opinions from their own). I assume they were pouring more energy into Kimi Sparkle by this time.
  • The pony drought of 2013 was a desperate time with the fandom hanging with baited breath over whether the show would handle alicorn Twilight well (and also the cooling from the heated EQG controversy). The S4 premiere was hugely anticipated by the fans (note the official Hub ratings for its initial showing) and was mostly well-received, but the following episodes were highly controversial. "Daring Don't" was hugely divisive for defictionalizing Daring Do, "Power Ponies" featured a level of absurdity not familiar to the show prior, "Bats!" featured Flutterbat, etc. Fans were noting the shift from slice-of-life to "Twilight Zone" style-episodes during the earlier days of S4. Of course, "Rarity Takes Manehattan" eventually appeared to becalm the fans. 
  • The Equestria Games arc, in particular "Equestria Games" (for not featuring that much of the titular games themselves) was also divisive.
  • The keys were heavily anticipated through S4 and were the subject of mass speculation, although it eventually became obvious as to which objects the 'keys' were by "Pinkie Pride" (I do recall one fan hypothesizing that Fluttershy's bat fang from the end of "Bats!" was a key for some reason). 
  • If you bashed Merriwether Williams, you were in the general consensus. This was until Scott Sonneborn supplanted this role during S4 with "Somepony to Watch Over Me" and "Trade Ya!". 
  • The S4-S5 hiatus was brutal. Not all returning fans were satisfied with S5 upon its initial showing (even I noted the show's change in tone to a more dialogue-driven style). Tommy Oliver also rage-quit at this point, dismantling the 'brony analyst' craze for the most part.

Ah yes, the brony fandom is indeed an illustrious one.

Fascinating write up! Although i've been in the fandom since late 2010, I was only a kid then so I barely remember most of this, but reading this was oddly nostalgic. Not sure if it's as notable, but several early episodes of Season 4 were hated by a lot of people. Me and my friend both quit the show for a bit after "Power Ponies" aired, since we both thought it was a waste of potential (I still do, but it's not as bad as I remember). 

To me, a lot of the stuff was just...yeah. I don't really know how to explain it, but even though I know Alicorn Twilight and Equestria Girls just started to sell toys, it doesn't really bother me. It's a toyetic series, so big changes to the universe exist for marketing purposes first and storytelling purposes second. Maybe I'm just jaded to this stuff by now but I never try to let behind-the-scenes politics get in the way of how I like stuff. I like Alicorn Twilight, but I prefer Unicorn Twilight and I've noticed that my favorite episodes with Alicorn Twilight tend to be ones where it could work just fine if she was still a unicorn. Beyond marketing however, it does help the show get involved with storylines that involve the political nature of Equestria easier, I guess, but few storylines ever really take advantage of it.

What was the Canterlot Wedding controversy over, by the way? When it first aired, most of the people I talked to really liked the episode in-spite of a few fumbles, like Shining having no personality and coming out of nowhere. 

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32 minutes ago, Jordan D said:

 Fascinating write up! Although i've been in the fandom since late 2010, I was only a kid then so I barely remember most of this, but reading this was oddly nostalgic. Not sure if it's as notable, but several early episodes of Season 4 were hated by a lot of people. Me and my friend both quit the show for a bit after "Power Ponies" aired, since we both thought it was a waste of potential (I still do, but it's not as bad as I remember). 

To me, a lot of the stuff was just...yeah. I don't really know how to explain it, but even though I know Alicorn Twilight and Equestria Girls just started to sell toys, it doesn't really bother me. It's a toyetic series, so big changes to the universe exist for marketing purposes first and storytelling purposes second. Maybe I'm just jaded to this stuff by now but I never try to let behind-the-scenes politics get in the way of how I like stuff. I like Alicorn Twilight, but I prefer Unicorn Twilight and I've noticed that my favorite episodes with Alicorn Twilight tend to be ones where it could work just fine if she was still a unicorn. Beyond marketing however, it does help the show get involved with storylines that involve the political nature of Equestria easier, I guess, but few storylines ever really take advantage of it.

What was the Canterlot Wedding controversy over, by the way? When it first aired, most of the people I talked to really liked the episode in-spite of a few fumbles, like Shining having no personality and coming out of nowhere. 

Shining Armor was the main point of the controversy back in the day. At the time, I recall the brony fandom being extremely protective of Faust's philosophy that the show should (allegedly) not 'sell out' and turn into 'a typical girl's show', so having Twilight's brother (whom she had never referenced in the prior 50 episodes and was light on personality for a show which carried its vast popularity on the backs of its main cast's personalities) suddenly appear out of nowhere, introduce a pink alicorn princess as his bride and centre the finale around a royal wedding (a somewhat 'girls' cartoon'-style premise on paper, particularly after the previous season finale had featured the mane six comically crashing a party). It was "Alicorn Twilight syndrome" before alicorn Twilight was a thing - they believed that the show had 'sold out' and was deviated from Faust's vision.

Some also criticized Chrysalis's plot as convoluted (it kind of was, but we got a ton of surprisingly cinematic material from it on a more positive note), which, of course, lead to the comments of the reviewer I described in my recollections. 2012 was definitely the height of the brony craze, and it was a weird intermingling period between the trend-surfers (who eventually moved onwards to Gravity Falls and Steven Universe), the casual watchers, the main fans and the hardcore Faust-devoted fans. One poster on another forum at the time noted that "we're experiencing a cultural milestone now; twenty years from now I'll take my kid into a 2010s restaurant and he'll see pictures of ponies on the wall and ask "Dad, what are those ponies there?" and I'll reply that I was a part of that movement. It's amazing". 

And yes, the earliest run of episodes during S4 was definitely a rough period for the fandom. I recall "Flight to the Finish" as being the sole episode out of the first seven to be generally well-liked without any additional baggage (even the premiere was a fairly divisive episode at the time in several fandom circles), and "Daring Don't" and "Power Ponies" in particular as sparking huge debate over their quality and the absurdity of their content. Alicorn Twilight's neglect during these episodes was also, if I recall correctly, a major sticking point for fans back in the day, who would constantly ask "why aren't [insert characters of the day here] referencing that Twilight's an alicorn?", which further spiralled the first few S4 episodes into controversy. There does not seem to have been any comparable contesting on any batch of episodes produced since that period, however (I assume that most of the more Faust-devoted or heavily critical bronies had dropped out by the latter half of S4, which may have contributed to this).

Edited by Them's Seeing Ponies
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Here’s why I hated Twilight becoming an alicorn:

  1. It came out of nowhere.
  2. The reasons Twilight deserved it are flimsy.
  3. That episode was poorly constructed and irritating.
  4. It seemed Twilight’s friends deserved it equally.
  5. Twilight never asked for it. 
  6. Twilight never expressed much interest in it.
  7. The event itself was overly vague and confusing. 
  8. In total, it did not make sense as the next phase in her story.
  9. The need to make Twilight live up to her title would then make her a much blander character for the next three seasons.
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