You're gone now, so the chances of you reading this are slim to none, but nonetheless, here it is:
>Why do you think this show resonated with so many people this way?
>Do you think MLP is a legitimately good cartoon, or is it just that it's better than you expected a show about pink ponies would be? How does it really hold up to other television animation?
Right, so I've thought a lot about this (both of these), and given many monologues to my friends about why the show's so great in an attempt to convince them to watch it. So here's basically what I'll say:
I do honestly think the show is fantastic. I'm not sure how it holds up against other animated kids shows, as I don't watch much of that besides this show, but it holds up against other, more mature things that I watch.
It has very good characterization, writing, jokes, voice acting, animation, music and the rest. Obviously I love all that. But the biggest reason I probably love it is the overwhelming joyfulness I feel when watching it. The show makes me feel uncomfortable amounts of joy. Even to the point, sometimes, of becoming crushingly depressed afterwards, almost like a crash after having too much caffeine. Maybe that doesn't sound pleasant, but it mostly is. Every time I think about the show, in fact, I'm flooded with the feelings of happiness and I think about the show more than I don't think about it. That's not hyperbole.
I don't really know why this show is the one that makes me feel more happy than anything else. There are other shows that are fantastic and I love but there's just no show that gets to me and makes me as blissfully happy like this one does.
I don't think I can analyze the reason for all this too well, but I'll try: I think it might be because of how genuine the show is. Other stories I might see about love and friendship will seem sappy and fake, but this one seems incredibly genuine. It doesn't seem like the messages and good vibes are being manufactured, they seem natural. It just seems like the nature of the show. Maybe it's just because the messages of the show don't come at the expense of the quality. I think it's probably hard to tell good, genuine stories that seem natural about the day being saved by love and friendship because it's just not how it works in real life. Love isn't found everywhere and in everything, so how can you tell a convincing story about a world where it is? Well, I'm not sure how, but MLP does just that very frequently. One thing it's entirely consistent in is it's lack of cynicism.
I think KCaFO is a good example of all this: Discord, a villain, is brought back for a whole episode just to be shown love and what it's like to feel friendship. By the end of the episode he's agreed to use his powers for good, not because they're forcing him, no, it's entirely of his own free will. He's doing it because he feels actual affection towards the ponies and he knows that he can let his new friends down but that's the exact opposite of what he wants to do. It's entirely consistent with the world that's been created. He was a villain, yes, but he was taught what it's like to be loved and cared for and in turn love and care for others. He still had good in him. Again, this is not something that would work in real life, or even a terribly original plot-line, but when watching it in the context of this particular show and the world that's been created within it, it hardly feels unrealistic, forced or cliché. It just seems like what should happen based on what we know of that world.
I know you weren't on board for that episode, but my point is that she show's stayed very consistent in it's message throughout he whole series.
I don't really have a good way to wrap this all up, but it's my thoughts on the whole thing (again, that you'll probably never read) and I don't know if anyone else agrees with me, but for what it's worth, that's how I feel.