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Tara Strong, Meghan McCarthy, And A Room Full Of Bronies At The Festival Of Books

Eric Parra |
April 26, 2012 | 12:02 p.m. PDT

Staff Columnist

Hasbro's "My Little Pony"
Hasbro's "My Little Pony"
If you were at the Festival of Books on Sunday morning over by the USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, chances are you may have seen a rather large line of teenaged to grown men (along with the occasional female) forming for nearly an hour. And of course there would be, what with a ginormous replica of Thor’s Hammer and “The Stan Lee Story” playing inside. 

What’s that? Oh, right, they weren’t waiting to see something nerdy like the auto-biography of a comic-book legend. They were waiting to see an episode of Hasbro’s “My Little Pony” and meet prolific voice actress, Tara Strong, and show writer Meghan McCarthy.

And there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. In case you were unaware (assuming you don’t browse the internet frequently enough) the latest rendition of “My Little Pony” has become something of a phenomena across the world, and these dedicated fans are a huge part of what makes the series as strong as it is. They’re referred to (by themselves, crew members, and official staff) as “bronies” and if you’d like to understand a bit more about them, there’s actually a generous article already written on who they are and what they’re all about. Trust me, they’re just as loyal and dedicated fans as any other, and the show they choose to enjoy is honestly as good, if not better than some other shows on network television. 

Back to the event at the Festival of Books, TV network: The Hub, sponsored a screening of a book related episode, “Read it and Weep,” where one of the ponies (Rainbow Dash) realizes the joys of reading through a very Indiana Jones-esque novel. 

The episode was cute and quirky, add a tad bit of suspense, some light humor, a dash of pop culture references, and overall an entertaining experience. 

Tara Strong (known for over 321 show credits, including the voice of Timmy Turner  from Fairly Oddparents, Raven from Teen Titans, and oh so many more) and Meghan McCarthy (having written for Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and a few others) stayed until after the screening to answer many an excited fans’ questions. 

One of the key questions, for fans and newcomers alike, is how much effort goes into a show intended for younger audiences, yet appeals to a much wider demographic.  McCarthy and Strong both answered that they had no intention for the show to catch on as much as it did, but it was “a very welcome surprise.”

McCarthy added, “I don’t think about whether I’m telling a story to kids or adults, but whether I’m telling a good story or not. Kids can tell if a story is good or not, and if they’re not interested, they won’t listen. Kids are usually the harshest critics.”

Strong (voice of Twilight) agreed that lessons are very helpful for everyday life, and often times she learns something right alongsideher character, proving that they are applicable to anyone.

Upon learning of their new popularity, mostly stirred by the internet, the show began adding more pop culture references that likely flew over the heads of most children. Nothing too big or mentally scarring (unlike Adventure Time, a kid show on the surface with a barrage mature subtext) but something good and fun that can be amusing to children and enjoyed by adults, presumably parents, but you get what you get.

“Most shows focus on cynicism with their characters and problems, so we try to bring out the positivism in situations,” McCarthy told fans.  Regardless of the situation the ponies face (in this case whether reading is for “eggheads” or everyone) the show handles things in a light hearted manner that is meant for audiences to feel good at the end.

Of course, McCarthy herself did not write that particular episode, and is in fact recognized by the fans for having her characters go a tad bit maniacal. If you’ve seen “Foster’s Home[…]” and remember a character named Berry, then you’ll recognize her style right away.

You can catch "My Little Pony" on The Hub with new episodes being aired on Saturday at 1:00 P.M Eastern and 10:00 A.M Pacific. 

For complete coverage of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, click here 

Reach columnist Eric Parra here or follow him on Twitter.



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