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Released for TV in the early nineties, My Little Pony Tales is the second TV series based on the toyline, My Little Pony, by Hasbro. Unlike the previous incarnation like My Little Pony 'n' Friends, which was a fantasy/adventure series, this was decided to give the ponies a Slice of Life angle, and removed most of the fantasy elements. As the result, the only breed of pony in this series are Earth Ponies. You milage will vary on whether this was a good thing or not. The show was set in a town named Ponyville which is somewhere in Ponyland. The name of the town would later be used in G3/G3.5 and Friendship is Magic.
The show centered on seven pony girls named Starlight, Sweetheart, Melody, Brighteyes, Patch, Clover, and Bonbon. However, the show is notable for averted the Lady Land rule that My Little Pony normally prescribes to by introducing three male ponies: Ace, Teddy, and Lancer. The show focused on their daily lives and how they dealt with things like stage fright, dating, personal responsibility, the environment, pets, cultural differences, school, trust, bullies, and other things normal kids deal with. This was the first of three attempts to make a Slice of Life style My Little Pony show. The producers did this to try to reach their core demographic, girls, who watched the original series but would be old enough by then to worry about any of the above issues the show tackled. Depending on who you ask, it may or may not have been a good idea.
The series was met with mixed responses from it's viewers and only lasted a single season as the result. Some see that as a good thing. Others think it was Too Good to Last. Your milage WILL vary. Much like it's predecessor, My Little Pony and Friends, the series was comprised of quarter hour shorts, but unlike before, shared it's running time with no other properties. The series ran for twenty-six episodes told over the course of thirteen airings in 1992.
My Little Pony Tales contains examples of:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Sweetheart and Teddy (although in Teddy's case it's more like Jerkass Facade). And later, Starlight and Ace.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Starlight has a crush on Ace, who's far more interested in Melody, who's more interested in herself. Averted with Sweetheart/Teddy and Bright Eyes/Lancer, however.
- An Aesop: One per episode, many of them pertaining to friendship, not unlike a later incarnation of the franchise. So, Not So Different? Also, a good chunk of them dealt with real life...ish, subjects that many kids deal with.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: The most well-known in the series. Characters are periodically changing from moving like horses to being barely below Funny Animal's.
- In "Birds of a Feather", Bon Bon runs out of food and complains that they'll starve to death. In a forest full of grass. Their solution? To go fishing.
- Artistic License Geography: Ponyville has a tropical island called "Tropical Island" that somehow qualifies as "foreign" despite being close enough to be seen from a hot air balloon over Ponyville. Long shots of the planet show it's identical to Earth, placing Ponyville in the suburban United States, meaning Tropical Island isn't actually in the tropics. They don't even have the benefit of saying it's magic, as there are no unicorns or anything even remotely supernatural in this generation (with one exception -- see How Unscientific below).
- Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Subverted in "Roll Around The Clocks": Melody leads the other girls in giving Bright Eyes an Unnecessary Makeover while Lancer is given a similar overhaul by the boys. Both makeovers wind up backfiring, as they reject each other's new looks and attitudes. It's only when they start dressing and acting normally again that they quietly get together, much to Melody and Ace's confusion.
- Big Eater: Bon-Bon, which maybe could explain her shifting model and shifting weight between episodes.
- Blackmail: Done to Ace and Lancer in "Shop Talk" when the girls lure them into doing something embarrassing to entertain some baby ponies they're babysitting, then take pictures and threaten to expose them unless they stop teasing Teddy.
- Teddy also threatens to show "Bon-Bon's Diary" to Ms. Hackney unless she buys him concert tickets.
- Born Unlucky: The poor, poor, Clover. Her own unsecurity, gullible nature and rampant superstition only makes it worse.
- Born Lucky: Clover again. Despite her bad luck, things always work out for her... in the end.
- Can't Get Away With Nothing: In "Bon-Bon's Diary", she cheats on a math test and is racked by guilt afterward. Doesn't help that she wrote about it in her diary, which Teddy finds and Blackmails her with.
- Cat Scare: Seen in "Slumber Party" when the girls investigate a noise in the attic.
- Changeling Fantasy: "Princess Problems" turns it on its head, as Patch is horrified at the thought she might be a princess and have to leave her friends and adoptive family behind. Played straight when she realizes fellow orphan Rosy is the real lost princess.
- Clingy MacGuffin: The unlucky white teapot in "Out of Luck". Clover just can't seem to get rid of it, no matter what she does...
- Cloudcuckoolander: Patch has her moments.
- Covers Always Lie: The DVD releases of the show in Australia has cover art of G2 ponies.
- Crazy Prepared: miss Hackney has her every lesson recorded on tape just in case she ever got sick. As evidenced in "An Apple For Starlight", the player with a tape is always in the drawer of her desk, ready to use.
- Edutainment Show: It was one of the first slice of life type show to enter the market back when the market lacked shows of said genre. And in hindsight, it was Too Good to Last.
- Fantastic Racism: Apparently, mainland ponies believe that tropical ponies practice cannibalism and make pony sacrifices to the volcano.
- Feather Fingers: My gosh, the confusion here rivals Cars. How the heck are animals with hooves supposed to use guitars and ice-cream scoops anyway?
- Five-Man Band
- Furry Confusion: Like Woah. See Feather Fingers.
- The most outstanding example had to be royal carriage being pulled by horses. In a world of sentient ponies. Of course one could assume that in this world draft horses are to ponies what chimpanzees are to humans, but still...
- Garage Band: Rockin' Beats.
- Genre Shift: From fantasy to slice of life. Fans tuned in hoping to see ponies and Megan fighting evil. They got something along the lines of Arthur instead.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The animators seemed to be rather fond of Bon-Bon's rear. She also got Bedroom Eyes and even breasts on a few episodes.
- One Imagine Spot featured Bon-Bon as a cover girl for a magazine. She's wearing a onepiece bathing suit that resalts her breasts and next to her, two young mares (dressed as nurses) are hugging while they stare deep into each other's eyes. Wow. Considering the scene is about modeling I'm guessing Bon-Bon understand what 'adult' models do.
- Gossipy Hens: Melody and Starlight in "Shop Talk", kicking off that episode's plot when Sweetheart won't participate.
- Green Aesop: "Who's Responsible", and to a lesser extend "Birds of a Feather".
- Happily Adopted: Patch.
- How Unscientific: The episode "Up, Up, and Away" features a UFO and... unicorns.
- Hollywood Pudgy: Bon-Bon tends to be drawn this way, and many of her spotlight episodes have her worrying about her body image.
- Human-Focused Adaptation: Rare example of an inversion -- this and all series that followed were completely human-free.
- "I Want" Song: "The Best Dream", Bon-Bon's song in "The Masquerade" about her dream of becoming a model.
- Invisible Anatomy: The Ponies can hold objects, grip on things, press buttons, play musical instruments, hold small pencils and operate precision machines, using just their hooves.
- Jerkass: Everyone took turns to be this against each other, but Melody, Patch, Ace and Teddy were the biggest offenders of all.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Teddy.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: See No Export for You below. Want it on DVD? Be prepared to spend money on importing the four volumes from Australia and a region-free DVD player.
- Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Used at the end of the episode "Just for Kicks"
- Locked in a Room: Lancer engineers this to force his quarreling friends to reconcile in "Happy Birthday Sweetheart". His version involves stranding the lot of them on his father's private yacht.
- Morality Pet: Sweetheart serves as this for Teddy, as she's typically the one who sets him back on the straight and narrow.
- No Export for You: None of the toys based on this series were available in the USA.
- The series never got a DVD release in the US.
- Off-Model: Boy, the animators cut a lot of corners when making this series (This is AKOM we're talking about after all). For example, when the ponies are facing to the camera, they become something hideous.
- Bon-Bon's weight shifted among episodes as if the animators couldn't decide if she was pudgy, fat or a complete porker.
- Playing Sick: Bon-Bon does this in "Too Sick to Notice" after one of her younger brothers catches the flu and the rest of the family dotes on him to the point she feels ignored.
- Powerpuff Girl Hands: See Invisible Anatomy.
- Product Placement: There is one episode where two ponies are revealed to be drinking Coca Cola, as they clearly state that they are "Cokes".
- That Reminds Me of a Song: Once an Episode!
- The Prankster: Patch and Teddy. Both have taken it too far, to the point where Patch sabotaged Bright Eye's class project and caused its failure while Teddy got the girls disqualified from a swim meet.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: In "Send in the Clown", they put on The Nutcracker. The actual Tchaikovsky ballet. Is it possible for a show about talking ponies to be on the Sliding Scale of Like Reality Unless Noted?
- Relationship Upgrade: Bright Eyes and Lancer became an Official Couple after "Roll Around the Clocks".
- Schizo-Tech: Ponies have desktop computers and... steam trains. Also, the cars on the streets range from pre-war vans to modern convertibles.
- Seven Deadly Sins:
- Starlight: Lust
- Sweetheart: Envy
- Melody: Pride
- Bright Eyes: Wrath
- Patch: Greed
- Clover: Sloth
- Bon-Bon: Gluttony
- Ship Tease: Teddy and Bon Bon in "Bon Bon's Diary".
- Slice of Life: The basic style of the show.
- Take a Third Option: "Happy Birthday Sweetheart" sees the other girls telling Sweetheart she has to choose between them or Teddy: either uninvite him from her upcoming party, or none of them will come. Sweetheart responds by tearfully canceling the party.
- When Clover wins two concert tickets in "And the Winner is...", instead of picking one of her friends to go with her, she decides to hold another lotto with both tickets up for grabs. Melody and Clover win, but wind up pawning them off for pizza money and watching the concert on TV with the rest of the girls.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The only way to tell a background pony's gender is by its single clothing accessory or by the length of its mane. And sometimes, not even then. Teddy's farming cousins with the pink coats and long, curly rainbow-colored manes? Half of them are men. And the father looks identical to the mother, but that's a different trope entirely....
- The Kiddie Ride: This Youtube video's description says it all. For those unable to see the video tho: The rides were made in the early 90s and were modelled after My Little Pony Tales characters. They were licensed, but frequently mismatched the color of the ponies with their symbols. The company that made the ride was subsequently bought over by Jolly Roger.
- Theme Tune Roll Call: Well, for the core female ponies anyway.
Starlight, Sweetheart, Melody, Bright-Eyes, Patch and Clover/Bon-Bon's baking cookies, girls, hurry up on over!
- Through His Stomach: Referenced by Bon-Bon's line in the song "Play It Cool":
Bon-Bon: Want to catch a boy's eye? / Bake a chocolate cream pie!
- Twice Shy: Bright Eyes and Lancer, until their Relationship Upgrade in "Roll Around the Clocks".
- What the Hell, Hero?: Lancer calls out Teddy and the rest of Sweetheart's friends when their feuding leads to her miserably cancelling her own birthday party.
- Winged Unicorn: "Up, Up and Away" features the four Glow 'n Show Ponies with wings, despite only Starglow being a pegasus in the toy line. Dazzleglow, a unicorn in the toy line, has both wings and a horn here.
- With Us or Against Us: Sweetheart found herself torn between Teddy and her friends several times, with the girls demanding she choose them over him or lose their friendship.