Friendship is Misrepresented

Although I will definitely say that I’m less likely to flee the room when a kid has demanded the “reward” of the latest My Little Pony animated series than if they win out on a decision to inflict Phineas and Ferb on my airwaves… It still bothers me.

Not just because I grew up on “G1”, when the ponies actually looked like ponies and not anime girls, or because the insertion of the word “pony” into the language is patently annoying. I do place a lot of importance on anatomy, and I have to admit that now I really get why the Peculiar Purple Pie-Man (of Porcupine Peak) hated berry talk.

No, what bothers me is that just like most recent-ish shows that incorporate friendship as a core value, this show has incredibly crappy friends.

I haven’t sat in on a single episode wherein the message about being a friend was not thoroughly soaked with instances of poor treatment of friends. In one, a character was overworking herself at her job and failing to meet her friends’ expectations. Only one of her friends even noticed that something was wrong, and even that one saw the overtired character as being at fault. The reaction is not to be concerned, but to be irritated.

Is it helpful to yell at someone who has trouble accepting help? Is it being a good friend to keep it to yourself rather than telling your other friends so that they can, at the very least, rescind their requests for favours that are causing their stubborn friend extra stress?

Selfishness is such a strong concept in every kids’ show I’ve seen in the past few years, this really shouldn’t surprise me. But it’s still disappointing. A lot of adults like this show. Why does no one see the unfortunate implications?

I understand character flaws. Sometimes people don’t get along. But each lesson is intended to clearly set up in each episode. Unless it isn’t. Often it gets cloudy. Or they pick a misty issue and try to make it black and white.

Such as when a old friend shows up and clearly wishes to spend time alone with the friend with whom she is reconnecting. A newer friend (on the main cast, btw), tries to tag along, when she was not invited, and initially told politely that they wanted to spend time together and not with her.

When she continues to tag along and is told in plain words that she is not wanted, because the one telling her this is rude, the rest of the episode is dedicated to saying that character is a villain.

Upon losing her composure and getting upset at a party where she is in the spotlight, a stranger, and has been continually pranked (seriously, is placing pranks at a welcoming party anything but mean? I don’t care if they’re intended for random people and not the guest) She already felt threatened by someone she views as a new friend who won’t leave their mutual friend alone.

Maybe I’m just alien or something. But I didn’t see it as a villain unmasked and teaching us a lesson about valuing “coolness” over friendship. That seemed thrown in to make sure that no one sympathised with the put-upon outsider.

I guess it all just boils down to Bad Writing and Don’t Mess with the Main Cast (within that, Don’t Mess With the Popular Colleague).


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