In Too Deep: What Does Watchmen And My Little Pony Have In Common?
Hello and welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
Well, I never thought I’d be writing this here blog. A common connection between Watchmen and My Little Pony? Whatever could it be? Or has the writer of these here blogs finally gone off the deep end and made the unconnectable connection. Well dear readers, the truth is they do in fact share something in common? What is that thing? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading.
Watchmen is famous, amongst other things, for deconstructing the superhero genre. Now to a modern day audience that seems pretty standard, constructing what it means to be a superhero. It seems like the very ‘in’ thing to do. But that’s one of the reasons why someone who’s never read comics in their life shouldn’t start with Watchmen. Because in order to understand Watchmen, you first need to understand the Golden, Silver and Bronze Age of comics that came before it. The story of Watchmen starts in the Golden Age, when superheroes first came to power and fought off bad guys whilst working for the Government. The current story found within Watchmen is grounded in the Bronze Age, where everything is more realistic and complex. But the biggest part comes from the ending. Now if you haven’t read Watchmen go read it now, because I’m going to spoil the end.
Read it? Right it ends with the superhero Ozymandias attacking New York city with a giant squid creature designed by several artists in the comic book business (I think. Been a while since I read the story). Now I’m gonna side-track here and say I agree with the film’s changing of this ending, because this makes no god-damn sense. The giant blue God appearing to attack everyone simplifies it and makes sense. But faking an alien invasion with a giant monster that sends out a psychic wave that kills everyone? That’s ridiculously silly.
And that’s the point. Alan Moore takes a Silver Age concept (an alien invasion, as well as mind control and whatnot) and make it darker and sinister. The alien at the end of Watchmen is the death of the Silver Age. It shows that the silliness isn’t silly, but frightful when done correctly. And that’s the secret to Watchmen. It deconstructs various tropes having to do with Superhero comics by going â€œso what if this happened in the real worldâ€. A being having the powers of a Superman is deconstructed into being apathetic about the world in general. A vigilante like Batman is deconstructed into a violent psychopath that is a menace to society. All of Watchmen is a deconstruction of the usual superhero tropes, making it an interesting novel (and of course completely meaningless if you didn’t know the tropes being deconstructed in the first place). So what does this have to do with My Little Pony?
When I was a young boy I had a very firm rule in my head: TV should show only boy cartoons or boy/girl cartoons and not cartoons aimed at girls specifically. Why? Well in my naivety it made perfect sense: Girls are allowed to watch guy cartoons like Action Man, but no boy is allowed to watch a girls cartoon like Bratz. That’s just not how the world works. Obviously I’ve changed views as I’ve matured, but that was how I saw it in my head. Girl programming was inferior cos it was unacceptable for boys to watch girls cartoons. But funnily enough this shows the symptom of a greater problem.
The Girl Show Ghetto is the idea that, to quote TV Tropes, â€œWomen’s entertainment is shitty and uninteresting, thus should only be enjoyed by women.â€ Now this is offensive, yes, but has a grain of truth in it. Namely that young boys don’t watch girl shows because they’re seen as inferior. It’s the reason why no girl show was ever taken seriously. Until one show came out of nowhere and deconstructed the tropes associated with the genre. Have a show that aren’t just caricatures (the snooty stuck up rich bitch), but flesh them out to make them more interesting characters (giving them the Element aka the Virtue of Generosity). Have an Aesop at the end of episodes that are applicable to any age, rather then the target audience. Make stories that are interesting to watch. Basically take apart everything that girl shows tend to have and rebuild it into something that is good. In other words make My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
And there in lies the connection between these two things. Remember back when Watchmen first came out, comic books were still being regarded as for children. Funny books, that’s what they were called. Alan Moore deconstructed that and helped pave the way into accepting comic books as an acceptable form of art. My Little Pony is doing the same, except with girl cartoons. Taking the same tropes that are a hindrance to the medium and making them a strength. So perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I like My Little Pony. Because it’s the start of a new revolution that ends with a better appreciation for things that were once thought of as crap.
So there you have it. The connection between Watchmen and My Little Pony. Bet you never thought that I’d make something that bizarre work, did ya? Anyway if you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.