A Mare Pair: “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” to Include Same-Sex Couple

Pre-mare-ing this weekend.

Children’s cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is introducing a same-sex couple in an episode airing this coming weekend. That’s reason to celebrate—even as it comes halfway through the show’s final season, following a long tradition of many children’s shows only including queer characters right before they end.

My Little Pony

Photo credit: Austin & Zak under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

In “The Last Crusade,” an episode written by Nicole Dubuc, young pegasus Scootaloo’s long-absent parents finally appear, reports Taimur Dar at ComicsBeat. Earlier in the episode, though, Scootaloo and her friends meet with Scootaloo’s current caretakers, Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty, whom Writer/Producer Michael Vogel confirmed (in a 2017 tweet) are a couple. Vogel had this to say about the couple and the show’s fictional land of Equestria when the ComicsBeat coverage came out yesterday:

Alas, the show will be ending later this year. Many other children’s shows, too, have only included queer characters right before their finales. As I wrote last year in a longer piece for Xfinity on LGBTQ children’s media, Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra showed the female protagonist having a romantic relationship with a man at one point in the series, but in the last scene of the last episode (2014), she and her female best friend gaze into each others’ eyes, and the show’s creators later confirmed their newfound romance. Similarly, Disney XD’s Gravity Falls revealed in the last episode (2016) that characters Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland were a couple. And Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie guest-starred a two-mom family three weeks before its last episode in 2014. Things weren’t too different on the big screen. In 2012, ParaNorman gave us the first gay character in an animated film—but again, we don’t learn he’s gay until right before the end. The point may have been that his gayness didn’t matter as much as the rest of his character, and that’s valid—but it felt a bit like it was played for the surprise factor. Disney took the same approach to its 2014 live-action feature film Beauty and the Beast, which director Bill Condon said would have an “exclusively gay moment.” It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, though, when villain LeFou dances with a man for a couple of seconds near the end of the film.

Still, Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins and PBS Kids’ Arthur, for very young children, as well as the Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe and Nickelodeon’s The Loud House, for slightly older kids, have shown queer characters and each look set to be around for more seasons. And Hulu has just announced the first children’s series to center on a family with same-sex parents. Yes, some folks are still objecting to such inclusion—but I do sense that things may really be shifting.

“The Last Crusade” will air this Saturday on Discovery Family but has already aired overseas.

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2 Comments

  1. Sadly, it seems this writter didn’t even took the propper time to research the info about this show or episode before posting this artible.

    First off, this is not the first LGBT couple to appear in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. There have been some lesbian couples in previous seasons, like fan-favourites background ponies Lyra and Bon Bon, and even in the spin-off series Equestria Girls, there is an (implied, but confirmed on Twitter by show director Katty Hadley) lesbian relationship between Applejack and Rarity.

    Second, while it’s true that FiM took his time to show both aunts and parents of Scootaloo, it should be noticed this show relies more on showing other kind of affective relationships, mostly between friends, and not so much about romantic couples, so it’s justified than a secondary character gets to see their aunts on season 9 (when some co-protagonists’ parents, like the ones of Rainbow Dash or Applejack, didn’t even seemed to appear until season 7).

    Thirdly, while it’s really amazing and great the level of normalization that LGBT representation has achieved on animation this last decade, it needs to be settled down that Aunt Holiday and Aunt Lofty are characters never mentioned before on the show (except for a 2017 book and “Ponyville Mysteries – Issue #4” comic), that are not the main focus of the episode (but under-appreciated Scootaloo and ther negglecting parents), and that they’ll never appear again in any new episode. So that means the real impact of these two on the show and/or the audience is practically null.

    And finally… that thumbnail image isn’t even from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Those are just generic G1 (1980s) pony toys that doesn’t illustrate how these characters look on the show (or even.on current-year toyline).

  2. Thank you for writing–but I did research the relationship of Lyra and Bon Bon, and to the best of my knowledge, based on various MLP fan sites like this one and this one, their romantic relationship is a ship (i.e., imagined by fans) but not canon. Equestria Girls may or may not have had a confirmed relationship–I can’t find Hadley’s tweet that you mention, but don’t deny that it may exist. That’s in a spin-off, though, regardless–nothing I said contradicts the existence of an Applejack-Rarity romantic relationship in that show.

    I understand that the delay in showing the aunts may be justified–but looking systemically at all of the children’s shows that have depicted same-sex relationships, there is a pattern of delaying them until near the end of the show’s run. You say, “the real impact of these two on the show and/or the audience is practically null”–and that’s exactly my point.

    Yes, the image is not actually from FiM. Such images are subject to copyright and I could not have shown one without permission.

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