Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash are just a few of the phrases that would be at home on bottles of nail polish. In reality, they represent a few of the main characters on the animated children’s television show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” but much of the show’s fanbase seem to lack an interest in glittery cosmetics.
Adult males make up a considerable contingent of “Friendship” viewers and refer to themselves as “bronies,” though female fans exist as well and sometimes prefer the term “pegasisters.”
The Knox College Bronies and Pegasisters are an unofficial club hoping to find a faculty adviser in the near future. Freshman and pseudo-president Elliot Witt got into “Friendship” before coming to Knox and sought out other bronies on the Knox Class of 2016’s Facebook page.
Witt watched the first season’s worth of episodes in one weekend.
“After that, it slowly consumed my entire life,” Witt said.
Soon after arriving on campus, Witt corralled a few other bronies into watching episodes of the show on Saturday evenings, and an unofficial group was born. Freshman Dylan Walthers declared himself a brony after seeing 10 episodes and claims to remember the exact moment of his conversion.
By gaining official club status, Witt and the rest of the herd would receive funding for future events like “My Little Pony” trivia nights with prizes and dance parties with nothing but “Pony”-themed music.
“I would just like to expand the presence of the club, get more members,” Witt said. “Spread the friendship, spread the magic.”
Meetings typically involve watching a new episode if one has been released. Additionally, members pull up their favorite fanmade “Pony” videos or songs on YouTube to share with the group.
Bronies are extremely prolific in terms of art, music, stories and original animations based on characters and plotlines from the show. Junior Jarrett Thorsted is a minor celebrity among his fellow bronies, having posted a “Star Trek” / “Pony” crossover video that has reached over 30,000 YouTube views. Thorsted also penned a 50,000-word fanfiction that caught the attention of the editors behind “Fallout: Equestria,” the community’s most widely known fanfic.
“We met over Skype and Google Docs and stuff like that,” Thorsted said of collaborating with his editors, none of whom he has met in person. “After about six months of editing it … I just posted it and it got a lot of attention.”
“Friendship” is considered part of the fourth generation of “My Little Pony” series, others having come and gone throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. Members agreed that past incarnations had more stereotypically feminine conflicts, which Thorsted summarized as, “What am I gonna do for this tea party?”
Freshman Matt Sugai endorsed the current show’s writing strengths, while Witt spoke of its use of action.
“At the end of season two … there’s this one sequence where the main six characters just literally beat the bejeezus out of like a thousand changelings,” Witt said. “It’s an awesome fight scene.”
Despite the stereotypes that are associated with bronies, Sugai maintains that the term “brony” can encompass just about any type of person.
“Bronies come from all walks of life,” Sugai said.
Witt noted his own interest in sports and Sugai’s in professional wrestling as examples of other hobbies embedded within brony culture.
“It’s therapeutic for a lot of people, and it’s just a lot of fun for… other[s],” said Witt.
The Knox College Bronies and Pegasisters meet from 7 to 9 p.m. every Saturday in room A207 of the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center.