Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)
List item #10 from 53 Things Only 80s Girls Can Understand
Snagging each new My Lil’ Pony that came out (and filling up your Paradise Estate with them).
Did you really think that I’d go through this whole list without mentioning My Little Pony? C’mon! I know that over the years My Little Pony has gained a few inches and lost a few pounds, but a horse is a horse, especially when she has butterflies tattooed on her hindquarters and flowing, purple hair to die for.
My Little Pony became almost as ubiquitous as Barbie in households back in the day. I’m sure they need no introduction, but My Little Pony, the toy line, started in the early years of the 1980s. First came the colorful, plastic horses with the colorful names.
Then came the cartoon.
Then came the movie.
Cause that’s the order of things. Always.
We all know that little girls l-o-v-e horses. Like, that’s just a notion accepted as fact. I did have a friend in grade school who was completely obsessed with them. From posters to books to figurines, her room was filled with anything and everything that had to do with horses, ever. It was at her house that I was introduced to My Little Pony. She had several of them, and after playing with them, by golly, I wanted several of them too. They just had that calling card of cute and necessary that simply called out to little females of all varieties. Even if you didn’t know they existed, you still had to have them anyway!
I eventually ended up with a handful (maybe two handfuls, cause they were big little toys) of My Little Ponies. The one that sticks out in my mind as a favorite was Applejack, and that was because of her bright yellow hair and her shy stance. As for the others…lord only knows. Looking at pictures of them now doesn’t really churn up many memories other then, “Yes, I had them.” But beyond them just being my in toy chest, the fondest thong I remember about My Little Pony was taking them to school.
My folks, and my mom especially, were really against us taking toys to school. In grade school, lots of kids brought all sorts of things to play with; so long as you didn’t get caught trying to transform you Gobot during test time, they were fun to have a recess. For whatever reason, My Little Pony didn’t seem to draw my parents’ ire. So my friends (with less strict parents) and I would bring the little gals to school and play with them during recess. And we had all sorts of adventures, many of which involved annoying the boys while they played with their ugly robots and He-Men. (Shenanigans! I liked He-Man a lot actually. At home, he rode Applejack after we broke Cringer/Battle Cat. A lot of toys rode Applejack. Maybe that wasn’t a “shy” look on her face, hmmm…?)
The My Little Pony phenomenon only lasted as couple of years in my house. By the end of grade school, I had moved on to sticker collecting and craft stuff. My small collection of My Little Ponies was handed down to my sister, though I held onto my little Applejack for a couple of years longer. She sat on one of my bookshelves – worn and smudged from all her adventuring, except for her long, yellow tail and mane that I strived to keep pristine. Those friends with whom I played My Little Pony in grade school, I didn’t see them much once we hit junior high, and I became more than a little down about that. I guess Applejack reminded me of the “good ol’ days,” maybe.
It’s nice if a little strange to witness the (extreme) fandom that’s developed around My Little Pony in its current cycle. (For more on that, check out this great series on “Bronies” from 1001-up.) I’m happy that Applejack still exists in this world and that she and her cohorts are working hard to bring people together. (Friendship is magic after all.) I had thought at some point that the trend might catch on with my niece, but it never really did. Then again, she was never really into horses. Today, I prefer the real ones myself.