“What a piece of work is mare - how noble in reason. How infinite in complexity…”
Everypony is always talking about how wonderful it would be to live in Equestria. While I’m inclined to agree, I suspect my reasoning might differ from other folks. I don’t see it as a world without pain. I see it as a lesson in how joy can triumph over pain.
Take Pinkie Pie. The bounciest pony in the bunch - the one most dedicated to spreading joy to her fellow pony. Laughter is more than just her Element - it’s her lifestyle, philosophy, and mission. Between Party of One, Friend in Deed, and Pinkie Pride, however, we see a certain insecurity - a desperation that suggests that Pinkie not only wants you to Smile, Smile, Smile, she needs you to in order to validate her very existence. The mere title of “Super Duper Party Pony,” for example, is Pinkie’s entire identity, (and her forfeit of it to live up to her promise to Dash is proof not only of her dependence on such labels, but of her profound dedication to the be-smile-ment of the equine race).
Now I am not trying to paint a dark tint to Pinkie Pie. While discussing the pain and insecurity beneath the surface of Pinkie might seem like a bummer, it’s actually that very lack of fluff - the defiance of children’s television stereotypes - the duality of pony that makes the show so compelling in the first place. The brilliance of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is in it’s character development - its explorations of the contradictions within an archetype such as “the clown.” Examining Pinkie Pie’s Ponyacci-esque tendency toward sadness actually illustrates the very beauty of her soul. Every laugh - every smile - every song is a victory march, and one that has potential to inspire us all.
Joy - real joy - comes not from a life free from pain, but from our conquest of that pain. Pinkie Pie rose from a rock farm - gray and dull - and taught her entire family the joy of parties - the meaning of pink!
That’s what My Little Pony celebrates, (whether it’s Fluttershy’s moments of bravery, or Rainbow Dash’s self-actualization beyond the approval of idols such as Daring Do or the Wonderbolts, or Rarity’s rise above the trappings of her own ego) - the little victories that make life worth living.
In the show, we are treated to a series of mostly believable happy endings, not because Equestria is a utopian paradise, but rather because these six beloved characters learn how to conquer their demons. To grow as moral beings - to experience the joy of coming together in support of one another. To know the magic of friendship.
That magic is something we can learn to incorporate into our everyday lives, even if the colors we see when we look out the window don’t always seem quite as bright as they do in Equestria.