#82) How long do you think "Friendship is Magic" will last for? What is a good amount of seasons? Honestly, I want it to go on until at least Season 8.
Answer: Season 8 is a stretch. This is really a two-part question. The first part is about how long I realistically think that the show will last, based on speculation and circumstantial evidence. The second is about how long I personally believe the show should last, which is a different matter altogether.
To engage with the first part, we know that the show at least has in front of it another 13 episodes. After that, more might be made, or the show may maintain its success based on repeats. I can't predict when the show will end exactly, but it's pretty much a given that when Hasbro update the toy-line again, the show will be replaced. It's impossible to talk about "Friendship is Magic" without discussing it directly in parallel to the toys, as they both run off of each other and help to sustain one another. There's no set time that a particular generation of the product can last; I imagine that Hasbro update their range based on demand. With "Friendship is Magic", they may well adopt a 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' approach for a few more years.
This is quite possible, considering that they're marketing to a wide audience and My Little Pony is both running its objectively best show so far and the toys are selling pretty well. Hasbro's financial reports seem to be positive, with My Little Pony way up there as one of their most profitable intellectual properties, and the show is reporting high ratings for the Hub. I believe the Royal Wedding episodes broke new audience records on the network. Add on top of that the copious amounts of merchandise marketed at kids dolls; bubble blowers; colouring books; bedsheets etc. and the merchandise now being aimed at older audiences comics; DVD boxsets; more expensive dolls and it's easy to see that Hasbro are being remarkably industrious on their end.
Whether this is because they want to get as much out of the franchise as possible before the inevitable reboot, or because they've finally 'found their groove' with My Little Pony as a brand remains to be seen. They might keep this generation going for many more years if it continues to turn a solid profit and maintains an active fan-base, the real question is: why not? It's hard to predict when the show will end, but there's a good amount of logical evidence profits and marketing strategies, mainly - to suggest that Hasbro will keep it going for a while yet. It doesn't seem to be slowing down, at any rate.
Now, onto the more contentious point: how long do I think it should go on for? Plenty of animated shows are still entertaining after many series "South Park" and "Futurama", for example. However, both of those shows feel as if they've had their heyday, and that anything that comes from now on will be good without living up to when the shows were at their peak. I imagine the same will be the case for "Friendship is Magic". Even if the show did make it to Season 8 which I highly doubt it would the episodes would likely start to feel less nuanced. It's possible to have too much of a good thing, and I imagine an over-saturation of ponies would be no different.
That said, a diverse group of changing writers could keep things interesting between seasons, and the characters are interesting enough and the world rich enough to justify a whole bunch of episodes. If the show ended with Season 3, I'd consider it to be a pretty solid run for a show that was cancelled slightly prematurely. Remember that "Friendship is Magic" started airing in 2010 for it to finish in 2012/2013 wouldn't make such a successful show very long-lived.
I think at Season 4/5 I'd be happy to say goodbye to the show. I don't think it should go on for much longer, given that the subject matter could grow stale. However, for now, I'm happy to say that the show still seems to have plenty of life left in it, and it's reasonable to assume that more ponies will be on the way after this upcoming season. If not, it's not the end of the world, though good things can quite often come in small doses.
#83) Why don't Hasbro release "Friendship is Magic" plushies that are as nice as the fandom plushies? The official ones suck and there's no excuse for it.
Answer: This is a common complaint I seem to see a lot among dissenters. To me, the answer is obvious, but I guess some people just need that extra push. Plushies the best in the fandom are usually quite expensive, but with good reason: they take a while to make; the materials cost money; the people making them need to be able to financially justify the labour; people are willing to pay for them (supply and demand); and some of them are of a really high quality. That's why some plushie-makers charge anything from $250 upwards for great plushies. Some go for thousands on eBay, but as far as I've seen, not many plushie-makers charge that on commission that's overzealous bronies ramping up prices in an auction, rather than a set price.
You can get a good quality plush in this fandom for a few hundred dollars, which is expensive, but people are often happy to pay it to have a cute plush in return. Plushies can last a lifetime the price might seem high, but over the space of however many years you live, it isn't all that much in the grand scheme of things. Now, as for why Hasbro don't release plushies of the same quality, it seems fairly obvious do you think they'd be able to charge $250+ in a toy shop?
Hasbro are still primarily marketing for little girls. Little girls don't have $250 to spend on a soft toy. Neither do their parents, who could just as easily buy them a teddy bear for $10. Hasbro are focused on turning a profit making plushies of the same quality as the best plushies in the fandom would be a lot more expensive, and thus they'd have to charge more. It's not realistic to expect them to do that. The ultimate aim for toy-makers is to keep prices and material costs as low as possible - while maintaining a decent product - so that they can make the biggest profit. Does that mean that their products still suffer? Arguably, but they'd suffer a lot more if they did release ridiculously expensive toys and couldn't ramp up enough sales to make them viable. Making cheap products means that people can buy cheap products, which is a system that works.
Outside of that, if Hasbro did hypothetically release official plushies of a really high standard and undercut the fandom plushie-makers, it'd be giving the brony plushie-makers less chance of making a decent income off of them. As things stand, the plushies might seem expensive, but a lot of plushie-makers work hard and in return receive a good income from their creative skill. This is one area where it's better that Hasbro don't get involved it allows for the fandom to flourish, and you tend to end up paying for what you get. If you spend hundreds of dollars on a product from a reputable fandom plushie-maker, chances are it'll be a fine plush toy. That kind of transaction keeps the whole brony 'economy' moving, which, during these troubled economic times, is no bad thing.
And, to be honest, apart from the spaghetti hair, those new Hasbro plushies aren't bad.
#84) [Answered by my good friend TurkeySM] So, I'm in a few pony groups on Deviantart because I like seeing some good art now and then. But what really bothers me is the painfully large volume of art that seems to be... Less than adequate? I can get someone's sketches or new efforts, but what I mean are ponies with boobs in bikinis, and other stuff pushing the edge of Rule 34.
Why do people look at this, why do people make it, and why does anyone feature it? Certainly I can't be the only one who doesn't want to see it!
Answer: While I am not particularly well-versed in the sexualized, dark side of the MLP fandom, I can attempt to answer your question with the basic common sense I have.
I can understand your frustration. It's rather annoying to see large-breasted ponies that are poorly drawn with a quality that reflects a poor understanding of human/pony anatomy. As to why people look at or make these kinds of images is a question that requires multiple answers. Some make or view these Rule 34 or Rule 34-esque pictures because they truly elicit sexual pleasure from doing so. It might be a pony/anthro fetish or it might be because the breasts and flanks are attractive regardless of the species, but either way, it's something that particularly stands out in this fandom because the series is aimed at young children.
This leads in to another reason: people simply enjoy perverting and corrupting things that are meant to be pure and innocent. The people who draw or look at these pictures might not be sexually attracted to the ponies at all, they just get a kick out of seeing something so good become something terribly wrong. They might get a kick out of it because they have a dark side to their personality that they are exercising or maybe because they just like to see these images make people such as yourself go "what the heck?!".
Sexualizing and corrupting things is unfortunately a big part of human nature, so these kinds of Rule 34 or Rule 34-ish pictures reach out to the not so noble parts of the human being, making such pictures rather popular. And because they are popular, they're going to be featured. Just as many advertisements these days sell the image and idea of sex, a group can become popular or well known if it's featured or best advertising section contains sexual pony pictures. This refers to general or semi-general pony groups. Groups that specialize in featuring sexualized ponies may exist for the same reasons listed above: catering to a fetish or general lust, providing a shock/corrupting factor, and trying to be popular.
Of course, there might be other, more obscure reasons people indulge in this kind of pony art, and there are also people who enjoy this stuff due to a combination of the aforementioned reasons, but either way, with them around, you're going to see this stuff and kind of behavior on Deviantart and other art sites. You are definitely not the only one who doesn't want to see it--many, many young children come to mind as well--but so long as several parts of the fandom or perhaps all of humanity keep thinking with their loins rather than their heads, perverted pony art will be present in groups and Deviantart in general.