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Controversial Little Pony

As the sun rose on a Saturday morning, kids across the 1970s woke up with a purpose that charged them out of bed quicker than any school day.  This was their day, the time when the teevee had nothing but cartoons on.  Yet they were often crudely animated and jerky, with stupid plots and wooden dialogue.  As exciting as Saturday morning was to kids, cartoons were clearly thrown on the screen without a lot of thought.

Regulations changed in 1982 and pitching of products broke the fourth wall of screen – making cartoons much more valuable.  Hasbro’s “My Little Pony” was a pioneer, subsidizing a cartoon show around toys to sell.  When social media became a big part of kids’ lives in 2010, they broke more new ground with the fourth generation of “My Little Pony” by integrating social media fandom into the show itself.

It was a brilliant move that made a phenom out of a 30 year old show.   What could possibly go wrong?  Like everything else, when things are laid bare in social media any potential controversy in life and values can intervene.  And that gets us to Derpy, the little pony that messed everything up.

The new generation of “My Little Pony” was designed by Lauren Faust and team to be much more than a little kids’ show.  Dialogue was carefully constructed to be as “real” as possible, and the lead characters were classic high school personality archetypes.
It is the bit hit of Hasbro’s new teevee channel, The Hub, which launched in 2010.  It is a channel built entirely around products like “My Little Pony”.  Nothing they have launched so far matches the success of this show.

By creating an appeal that spanned many ages, fandom sprang up in social media, breaking down what was left of the fourth wall.  The fans, known as “Bronies” (Brothers in Ponydom), chat about every detail on the show, no matter how trivial.  Episodes have been shared in their entirety on YouTube without interference from The Hub.  Any lawyer could argue that they have surrendered their copyrights in the process of making this phenomenon.

Social media fandom made “My Little Pony” as the Bronies literally took it over.  One pony caught everyone’s attention.  Her shyly bent head and crossed eyes depicted her as vulnerable and … different.  This pony that appeared only in the background won the nickname Derpy in the fan world, and shirts and other items depicting her quickly became best-sellers.  The staff of the show internally accepted the name Derpy and decided to finally give her a bigger role in a plot.  The Bronies were elated as the show crossed a new frontier of interaction.

That’s when everything went wrong.

Details are hard to come by, but apparently The Hub received complaints about the name Derpy and the characterization as a klutz with a dimwitted voice.  Some said that Derpy was clearly depicted as mentally challenged, often using less kind words.  The “official” episode on iTunes then disappeared briefly, causing great anxiety among fans.  Some claim they were told it was only a glitch and would be restored.  When the episode came back, it was clearly modified to a more “normal” voice and the name Derpy removed.

Clearly, the controversy spooked Hasbro and quick action was taken.  But the fans, once elated by their influence over the creative process, were suddenly slapped down.  They are not taking it well.  Of all the nasty words spoken over a social media mis-step by a company, none are as devastating as this fan-made video of Derpy.  This show, to bridge teevee and social media from the start, crossed another frontier in integration – unintentionally, and about as gracefully as Derpy herself.

There are many stories embedded in the “My Little Pony” saga that are worthy of a great deal of analysis.  This has always been an experiment, sacrificing potential syndication and ad revenue to leverage social media, create an interactive experience, and thus sell more stuff.  But the lack of control over the product eventually caused a problem.  It was handled badly, too, and now there is damage to be mended.

The experiment of “My Little Pony” goes far beyond what anyone else has done integrating teevee with social media and is very much worth watching as they work their way through this first big controversy.  This is no longer a simple Saturday morning time-filler, this is big business with a lot of money and energy behind it.

“My Little Pony” Generation 4 will almost certainly stand as a revolution in entertainment.  Entertainment has come a long way in 30 years, but like any advance there is always a glitch.  The resolution of the “Derpy Controversy” may well be a lesson taught for many years to come.

Addendum:  Dear Bronies – welcome to Barataria!  I am a professional writer who is always looking for work (hint!) so if you like what you see please look around.  The comments are what make Barataria a place where people and ideas connect in new ways with curiousity, respect, joy, and when we can swing it a bit of love.  Much of what you see here is on politics and the economy, or how people connect in other ways.  Read the comments and follow the links if you want to know more on a topic!  How Bronies have connected and formed a community is a very natural fit, if you read the rest of this the way I intend.  And thank you for being here!

34 thoughts on “Controversial Little Pony

  1. OK, I’ll ask – this is one of those things with your kids, right? Hardly seems up to the usual things you write about. It is interesting though.

    • Yes, it is. My teenage daughter is a “Bronie” and introduced me to this. It is a well written show, and it is very much a new approach to television as we know it. The merchandising is clearly worth more to them than the traditional revenues, or at least they are trying the experiment out.

    • This is a detail I had to leave out of the original post for the sake of Unity. I’ll discuss it here.
      The term “Derpy” means “awkward or embarrassing”. It does not necessarily mean mentally challenged. But it was taken that way by some people, apparently.
      Protecting people like this has a long history and is far from new or “PC”. 200 years ago the term “chretien” was used for mentally challenged people in France, arguing that they were “Christians” like anyone else – this became “cretin” in English. When that was used offensively, it was suggested 100 years ago that the word “moron” be used, after a French pantomime clown. That also became offensive, and so by the 1950s “retarded” took over. Now that is offensive as well, so “mentally challenged” is the correct term.
      What matters is that there is a long history of protecting people who are not like others, creating the need to change the language away from terms that have become offensive over time.
      I do not think this is the central issue here – giving this show over to fans was bound to find its way to a controversial subject eventually. What matters is how it is handled (so far, rather badly) and what that means to the interaction that has made the phenom so far. “My Little Pony” is a huge experiment that could well redefine teevee as we know it.
      There is a lot more to be said about Hasbro creating its own cable channel in the first place, along with the YouTube use of their work. This is a fascinating and deep subject that was bound to hit social boundaries.

  2. Like a vast majority of the fans, I love Derpy. She’s been depicted many ways in both the fan made content, and on the show. She is a completely unique, well meaning, beautiful, happy pony, with a heart of gold. What Hasbro did here was to completely strip her of her personality, and everything that made her different. But what’s wrong with being different? Why is her silly voice, crossed eyes, and clumsy nature something that needs to be covered up, as if she’s a mistake or embarrassment? One of the lessons that this show has taught us is to never to judge a book by its cover. Real friends don’t care about your outward appearence. My support of Derpy isn’t limited to a sense of protection. Derpy was a gift to us by the show’s creators. The moment she spoke, half a million jaws hit the floor. You could probably hear a pin drop across the brony community. That silence was followed by indescribable jubilation. We love our gift, and will be eternally grateful. Some of the more passionate fans probably imagine what it would be like to be able to visit Equestria, but we know that it isn’t real. How ever at that moment when she spoke, it was like our collective will, which has been reaching out this whole time towards that magical world, finally made contact. Something we created, gave a name to, a personality, a family, a job, and a life, was IN the show! Rainbow Dash spoke to her!

    It’s a real shame this happened. The amount of those who don’t like Derpy are microscopic compared to those who love her. They’ve ruined something wonderful for 99% of the community. But as heart broken as I am for Derpy, I feel just as bad for the My Little Pony staff. They’ve spent the past 3 years cranking out 5 star programming, and now they have to deal with executive meddling, and a hoard of outraged and saddened bronies. They don’t need this distraction. They’ve given us so much, and they deserve better than this. I can only hope this situation can be resolved, both for Derpy’s sake, and that of Jayson’s team at DHX.

    • Thank you! I was very much hoping some of the fans would chime in here, because you are very much the real story here.
      I think you are very right – the story was accepting Derpy for who she is, regardless of any supposed “defects”. Bronies are kids (mainly kids, at least!) who are very much rejecting the hate and fear that defines so much of our society these days – and that is one other part of this whole experience that I simply had to leave out in the name of a good introductory story.
      There is a lot to say on this topic, and I find it terrible that it was handled so badly. What started out as a new way to sell stuff is now a cultural phenom that challenges the Way Things Are(tm). This was, and is, a teaching moment that might redefine a lot more than the interaction between teevee and social media. Breaking down the fourth wall forever could bring people together in ways that they have never come together before.
      Thank you, again. You guys are great, and I appreciate your loving and upbeat attitude. It’s a great antidote to the hate that is far too common in this world!

      • Really good article, but I’d like to point out just one thing. The Brony community is actually made up of mostly 18+ male adults, though it might be different now that FiM has hit the mainstream, with merchandise being sold at Hot Topic and such.

        As for the story at hand, I was heart broken by how Hasbro has handled the whole thing. I know it’s kind of stupid to be heartbroken by a cartoon, but I couldn’t help it. When Derpy spoke I was beyond ecstatic. There was so much rejoicing in the communities and everyone was so happy. Then the episodes were taken down and altered because some uptight PC people decided it was offensive. The video you linked from Youtube “Save Derpy” actually made me cry a bit. I realize that Hasbro has backers and advertising to worry about, but it just feels like a giant slap to the face.

        Anyways, that’s my two cents on the matter.

      • I think I’ve been corrected (and very politely, too!) – Bronies, or fans of the show, are not just kids by any stretch. And why people love the show is inspiring in itself. More on this later on in the comments, but thank you for correcting me. I hate being wrong enough to get myself over to the right side as quickly as possible. 🙂

  3. You find the strangest things to write about. I would love to hear more from the “Bronies” like EquestriaGuy. This sounds like it is much more than a show but it still is part of a big corporate conglomerate that has to make money to produce it. I guess there had to be conflict someday as you say. But this is very interesting even if it is pretty out there.

    • MLP:FiM is owned by Hasbro, but it’s creator, Lauren Faust put together a dream team of animators, voice actors, song writers, and story writers, to create an absolute masterpiece of animation. This show is nothing like you’d expect. The best thing is, the world and characters that have been created are so complete, and the meaning to each story is so deep, that it connects to people on different levels. Some people watch the show simply because they find it incredibly entertaining, but still others find the show to be a comfort, or an inspiration, or an uplifting experience. To me, the show just oozes warmth, joy, and happiness, and the serenity of the world of Equestria fills me with contentment. Derpy as a character in this complete and vivid universe, feels just as real to me as anyone I might encounter in the real world. This is why it’s so devastating to see her lobotomized. She’s been “fixed”, as if there was something wrong with her to begin with.

      If I could speak for a large majority of bronies for a moment. All we want is for things to be the way they were on January 21st, when Derpy first spoke. We want our beloved cross eyed Pegasus back. All this drama, all this headache for Jayson’s crew, and the guys who read the emails at Hasbro, and DHX, all of this needs to go away.

      • That does sound very sweet. I have heard of this show before but never watched it and wondered what the appeal was. It does sound like a good break from the blood and gore of CSI shows that are so common. I never knew why people watch that stuff in the first place.
        Thanks for talking about it, I can see the appeal.

      • This is great! Maybe we can spread a little more joy in the world through this controversy. Something good should come of everything, right?
        The only thing I’d add is that “My Little Pony” feels like SciFi or Fantasy sometimes, in that it uses an alternative (and complete) world to deal with issues that are harder to deal with in real life. That’s why the big punt on Derpy seems so strange – this was obviously another teaching moment, but it was apparently too much for the higher-ups.
        Fandom clearly has a lot of cross-over with SciFi for his reason. There are times when I think about what Star Trek meant to my generation – that we would somehow survive this era and go on to be a peaceful people – and realize that while the lessons in “My Little Pony” are much simpler they resonate even stronger. And then there are all the fan written stories (fan-fic) that mark a SciFi series, too.

        Another thing I didn’t mention – The Hub is a joint venture of the Discovery Channel’s parent and Hasbro, and they are re-evaluating it right now. “My Little Pony” is their only big hit, and as you can see it came at some hefty cost (ie, potential loss of copyrights). They are probably very controversy-adverse right now and came down on the staff with a big hammer.

      • I have seen this show with my niece and I like it too. I have never stopped to watch it myself but I can vouch for the good feelings in it. It is very positive and upbeat and everyone gets along. It did make me wish more people were like the ponies!

  4. We’re living in a world where everyone has a voice…and it’s instant. The idea that Derpy is mentally challenged is ridiculous. No TV show producer in their right mind would do something so un-PC-like. But it’s hard not to back down to the criticism.

    I’m going to explore this further because, you’re right, it’s definitely up my alley and something I’d write about on Spin Sucks. I wish companies would figure out why they’re doing something and stick with it, even amidst the criticism. Who was the baseball player who said he didn’t care if the fans loved him or hated him, as long as they knew his name when he came up to plate? Word.

  5. Thanks, Gini. There is considerable evidence (well, gossip) that the team had a plan in place but were over-ruled by upper management at the channel. There is probably a lot more to this story that won’t come out for a bit. Also, the fan pages are … well, a bit dense with stuff and really hard to wade through (this is a show with a lot of teen appeal!) so finding good info is especially hard. But the story of “My Little Pony” was very interesting even before this controversy because I can’t think of any other show that has turned itself over so completely to the fans. The potential abrogation of copyrights alone is a fascinating topic, worthy of lengthy interviews with the staff to find out how they got to that point!

  6. Very well written article about the situation. I was one of those who was very hesitant to watch the show, then I decided to see what the fuss was about. Now I’m a full time Brony.

    Honestly the only thing that really bugs me about all this is that some people are just so oversensitive that they don’t get the joke. Derpy was not meant to be insulting to anybody, and if anything she was a shout out to the bronies, and nothing more.

    It’s truly a very regrettable situation. And I’m sure the folks who work on the show (and have actively acknowledged their love and support of the brony community) are just as disappointed as we are that something that was meant to be an innocent nod to a great fandom turned into a big mess.

    • Thank you! I do have to confess that I love the show, too, because it is a great antidote to the hate and selfishness that seems to define our world. The story of the show and its interaction is very unique and needs to be told – in a lot more than the 800 words I give to an essay here. You fans are a big part of the story.

  7. The above comments summise how I, a 28 year old medical student, feel about the Derpy Controversy. I love the show. My fiance, a 27 year old who is also med student, loves the show. It brings me back to the cartoons of my childhood where i was excited about waking up Satuday morning at 6am. I try to avoid the internet on friday for fear of spoilers. I cannot fully express how tickled I was when Derpy was not only named, but given a voice. When I first herd (pony pun) that there were people who were “offended” by the scene, I simply brushed it off. Not giving them the second thought . One artist in-particular (no names but everyone in the community knows who) made her oppinion very well known. Although i dont think one person could change the course of a major coproation, it is blind arrogance to think that, as a high profile person in the artistic community, that your oppinion does not influence your followers.
    The Stalinistic alteration of Derpy saddens me. The community major, has made our dissatisfied voices very vocal and can only hope that Hasbro listens. Derpy lives on in all our brony hearts and on tumblr

    • Wow, thank you! The Bronies I know are all kids, so I suppose my opinion was simply wrong. I can see why adults like the show, since I do as well. Good animation is simply good – take Miyazaki, for example! It does tie us back to a time when anything was possible and a simple sunrise was a reason for excitement. That joy should be part of everyone’s life.
      As for Derpy, well, it was inevitable that something controversial in life would bleed over to the show in an uncontrollable way. Look at how terribly they are handled in our politics (the art and science of human interaction as well as the operating system of a Democratic-Republic). What would the controlling interest, in this case Hasbro, do? They reacted as any … well, reactionary would. There are huge lessons in here, beyond the difficult subject of mentally challenged and/or simply different people.
      You guys are great, keep it up! It’s more than a show, it’s a community of love and joy and connection to the world that was and always is possible.

      • “It does tie us back to a time when anything was possible and a simple sunrise was a reason for excitement. That joy should be part of everyone’s life.”
        You always make me tear up, even with the most different and difficult subjects!

      • Welcome to the herd. Here is your love and your tolerance.
        I will tell ou you need to watch al least through episode 4 to decide if this fandom is for you. If you can stick with it, it becomes incredible. For example: go to youtube and search for the sone smile smile smile. That is the calibre of atrtists you are dealing with. Yes there are episodes which are not as great, but you will swear outloud saying “Why aren’t more people watching this!”
        For an in depth history of MLP and the fandom itself, search for the ballad of the brony. Its an hour long so get some popcorn. Finally do not stop with the show. There is such a subculture of songwriters animators, sculptors, clothes designers, and like myself people who want to draw (http://askscrewloose.tumblr.com) because this show has inspired them to get creative take chances and get MESSY.

  8. I still have no idea why Derpy became so controversial in the first place. There are so many other characters in cartoons that could be interpreted as being mentally disabled. Take Patrick from Spongebob, for example. We never hear anything about him, in fact, he seems to be the most loved character from the show. Sometimes I even wonder if it was just plain anti-brony internet trolls that complained to Hasbro, to ruin our fun.
    Why anyone has a problem with the brony community, I will never understand. I can see how we might get annoying on occasion, what with us tending to gather in popular websites such as Reddit and 4chan (4chan being the birthplace of the bronies), but there are so many upsides to the community. The show is amazing, the artists actually listen to the fans (We will forever be grateful for the Derpy scene, even if it gets modified.), and we’re less of a community, we border on being a family.
    Hasbro, I hope we’re not pressuring you too bad. Because if we are, I apologize on behalf of the community.

  9. Hi there. I’m a 26-year-old Brony. Like everyone who has commented here I love the show. I love the community behind the show. I love the way Lauren Faust and the creative team interact with the fans.

    It’s because of this that I want to try and explain why some of my other fellow bronies may have found the character offensive:

    Let’s start with the name: Derpy. Yes it means ‘awkward or embarrassing’ but over a great deal of the internet (and the majority of bronies spend quite a lot of time on the net, given the brony community began on 4chan) it DOES mean ‘mentally challenged’. It is frequently used in that context. And the people who named Derpy? The bronies who gave that pony that name on 4chan, they almost certainly knew this.

    Now Lauren Faust, Hasbro and parts of the brony community may well not have known this, and it’s understandable, seeing as you’ve never heard the word before, to assume there’s no harm in it. But for some people there is, because it has that meaning attached to it as well.

    Now let’s look at Derpy’s portrayal: Derpy is clumsy. Destructive. Stupid. She has a bit of a funny/weird voice. She has cross-eyes. Sure she’s willing and tries to help, but she always ends up messing it up. Rainbow Dash even makes fun of her and expresses a desire to ostracise her because of her destructive/stupid nature. For a lot of people I know, this came across as a negative portrayal of someone who is mentally challenged (or to put it in an even less offensive way ‘non-neurotypical’) because these are often the attributes that have been ascribed to them in the past both in life and on television/film.

    And simply not enough time was given to her character for her differences, for her potential, for her ‘heart of gold’ to shine through. That heartwarming message that is present in every episode of MLP? That moment that shows you the character is a person and deserves respect and has something to offer? Derpy didn’t seem to get one.

    And as the overall portrayal of Derpy was comic, and as the character didn’t get any kind of character arc, development or emotional journey that all the other characters did, for some people Derpy just came across as a joke at the expense of non-neurotypical/mentally challenged people.

    And I don’t think Hasbro or Lauren Faust intended it to be. And I understand that many bronies feel differently. But for some people Derpy was offensive.

    So I don’t love Derpy. I fully understand why people would have complained about the character. I myself find Derpy offensive. While I’m sad that so many of my fellow bronies have clearly lost a beloved character, and I agree the situation has been handled badly and at the very least Hasbro should’ve been more clear about what they were doing, I am glad Derpy is gone.

    And I think Lauren Faust and her team, and Hasbro, will learn from this. I think they’ll bring in other opportunities for the fans to have their say in the. Other fan jokes will be given their nod in future episodes. You’ll have other Derpy’s, they just won’t be called Derpy cos that name hurt people.

    • Thank you for the alternative viewpoint. I knew there had to be a few.
      As I said before, people who are a bit different in this way have been “protected” for centuries. The words that were used to describe them have had to be revisited every generation or so because they became hurtful. People like that never do well when singled out, either in language or in pointed fingers or in stares – or even glances away from them.
      This simply had to happen with “My Little Pony” someday. It had to. Life always comes at us with difficult and embarrassing things that we as individuals are just not sure how to deal with – and as a society or group usually fall down even harder.
      It’s not people or ponies like Derpy that are the problem, it’s “the normals”. We’re the ones who can’t deal with it properly.
      Now, I’m very much not a Rainbow Dash fan. OK, I really dislike the character (I’m a Rarity guy, I admit). But her response to Derpy’s problems was completely typical. It was natural and the kind of situation that people find themselves in all the time. The whole episode was a learning experience.
      And they punted on it. That was the real shame.
      The Herd will get through this. Hasbro will get over it. Lauren Faust and team will think their way through and come up with something that they should have in the first place. It will be better.
      It’s a lot like life. But for now, it was handled very badly – just as it usually is in real life. We’ll see how it goes from here!
      Thank you again, I do appreciate your heartfelt statements. If you think it was hurtful, it was. That has to be recognized.

    • I respectfully disagree with your definition of Derp. 5 minutes of research will show you that it is an invented word similar to “Duh” used to mean “A klutzy mistake, a joke you see coming from a mile away” Derpy, then, would mean klutzy; not handicapped, just uncoordinated. Tabitha St. Germain said of the original voice that she viewed Derpy as male, not having seen any pictures, and imitated her neighbour’s son who “Had grown a foot in a year” and “talked as slow as a tree.” Having shown the scene to an uninformed viewer, he, too saw Derpy as being a well-meaning klutz. I would also put forward this blog http://firestorm-can.deviantart.com/journal/To-Derp-is-to-Love-To-Love-is-to-Tolerate-287553810 from an individual with Asperger’s Syndrome, and his feelings on Derpy, to show how it is viewed by the very people it is supposedly offensive to. Please, before getting so up in arms, take a moment to think, and research your arguments. If humanity would just stop to do that instead of being so reactive, this would be a far happier world to live in.

      • I am terribly sorry to disagree but:

        1. Derp, while its original definition may have just meant klutzy, has changed through use over the internet. It is often used to excuse stupid, not just clumsy behaviour, and often used as ‘herp derp derpy derp.’ implying the person being described as to be so stupid as to be incapable of coherent speech. This is a way I personally have seen it used many times. Words and their usage change, some for the better, some for the worse. I’d argue this one is for the worse.

        2. While the intent may have been to show Derpy as klutzy and awkward, what was accidentally done was to show a character who, to many people, represented someone with a neurological condition. Not intended, sure, but still valid and offensive to some people.

        3. That particular deviant art post is the position of one person. They do not and cannot speak for the entire disabled community, there are several people I know both online and in person (including one of my ex-partners) who live with neurological conditions and find Derpy offensive.

        4. I think humanity would be a far happier place if people would recognise when others are hurt and offended, instead of just dismissing them as reactive or overly sensitive. I find it really depressing that the majority of coverage about the Derpy issue within the brony community has been: ‘why are you complaining? It’s just not offensive. You’re ruining our fun. Stop it. No-one likes you!’ (I have seen several bloggers use exactly those words) For a community that prizes love, understanding and tolerance, we seem to have fallen down pretty hard here.

        Finally, many thanks to Erik and Barataria for their respectful and understanding response. It is rare to have someone recognise that if people have been hurt (especially by something others enjoy) that that is valid and needs to be addressed. You rock.

      • On that same line of reasoning, any way to describe someone as different in any way may be used in a manner so as to be offensive. What must be taken in to account is the intent and setting of the comment as well. A children’s TV show isn’t going to be as mocking as an internet forum. Amy Keating Rogers, the author of this particular episode, has a “non-neurotypical” son, and was not offended. I am “non-neurotypical” and I saw Derpy as a very relatable character for everyone, What I suppose your viewpoint really boils down to is how much of your own prejudice you wish to project on to the scene, Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is everything.

  10. Before I go into my thoughts about Derpy, I think it’s appropriate to say that everyone should at least tip their hats to Hasbro, Lauren Faust and co., and The Hub for truly revolutionizing the way TV is watched. I’m completely thrilled to see how the community of Bronies (myself included) are being included in the creative process. Hasbro has been extraordinarily successful in making MLP becoming less of a ‘corporate’ show and more of an interactive story. It reminds me a lot of my favorite childhood Choose Your Own Adventure storybooks, which is comforting and adds a sweet charm to the show. Even before the embracing of Bronies, the show was still ground-breaking with well-developed and meaningful plots, genuinely entertaining characters, and fantastic animation.

    Now, it’s not a total shocker that there are bumps in the road. I’m sure we all thought it was too good to be true. A lot of what Hasbro has done with MLP has worked so incredibly well, and I think a lot of people were anticipating (though not hoping for) some sort of slip up. It’s also fair to say that when a majority of your fan base are 18-25 year old guys, of course there are going to be some things to be found inappropriate. I have faith in Hasbro that Derpy was not intended to be offensive or derogatory.

    Personally, I thought Derpy was great. Derpy reminds me of this cute, loveable, obviously cross-eyed, puppy(http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_lottjsJhAL1qiu38po1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ6IHWSU3BX3X7X3Q&Expires=1330581929&Signature=RkRlUUCjHzl2U7T%2BhIXcjN%2Bz9fk%3D). Granted, maybe Derpy wasn’t the most thought out name, but now that is her name. And those of us who love her, love her name as well. Derpy represents that shy feeling we all get inside when we accidentally trip up the stairs, when we slip on wet floors, or when we realize we’ve said something silly. She’s there to remind us all, whether mentally or physically challenged, that it’s okay to be different and that we should all appreciate each other for what makes us unique. I think Derpy is a good role model because she’s aware of her ‘disability’ and still loves herself. I think there’s a good lesson of self confidence and acceptance to be taught from Derpy.

  11. The Biggest thing that upsets me here is that this conveys a message of intolerance. Lets think for a second, what could possibly be going through their minds? “I am doing right by my child/ friend by having them take this character off the television!” When we all know that derby is depicting a clumsy little pony with “derpy eyes”. Many of these angry emails were sent by parents and friends of mentally handicapped persons, and it seems they never asked or cared to ask the opinions of their friends or children. This change conveys to many mentally handicapped (as well as people who have derpy’s eyes which is a disorder) that they are not accepted by the pubic. Whereas in “the secret life of the american teenager” they have a young man with downs syndrome who is essentially used as a meat puppet and a scapegoat, I am more offended by that for my friends, than derpy could ever offend me.

    In short I just find that this change shows the mentally handicapped, whom we constantly try to help feel accepted that, they way they are is wrong, and when they are depicted, it’s wrong.

    they are not preaching acceptance, they are preaching intolerance and you know what? That”s not what MLP is about.

    • What I think is the biggest mistake here is how it was handled. If they are sure they made a mistake, going back and “erasing” it does say what you fear, I would argue. And that is wrong.
      This is an important social issue that everyone encounters eventually. It is worth an episode to clarify what to do about it – with patience, tolerance, and love. Very few of us get this “right” the first time we encounter it, but with practice and good examples we can all learn. It’s all about being a truly good person, which is what I thought the show was about as well.

  12. Pingback: #don’tsavederpy | James Webster: performance poetry, reviews, videos, text poetry and musings

    • Thank you! A good piece with a lot of detail. For the record, my “save Derpy” opinion is based entirely on the notion that once the episode was put out there it should not be changed – even if a big mistake was made. That makes it harder to deal with the issue, but it will be more fulfilling in the end. In a big family, like the Bronies, you can never erase what you said that was hurtful but you can apologize and make it better. If the community is really what counts to MLP (and it should be!) they have to understand this, IMHO.

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