A new club — the MU Brony Club — officially joined campus this semester as a fan group for the television show "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic."
It is associated with a national fandom that others partake in. The club is comprised of adults both on and off the campus who watch the show for a variety of reasons.
President Brady Gall said though some people might watch it ironically, most people in the club actually enjoy the show.
Gall is a graduate student working on completing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. He said he became interested in the show about a year ago after seeing pictures of ponies on different online forums. He thought it was a joke at first.
“I thought it was a show for little girls,” Gall said. “I thought ‘OK, this is girly, but I want to see what’s next.’”
Gall started the club this semester as a social organization designed to bring people with the same interests closer together. He posted fliers and said he was surprised at the turnout to the first event. About 35 people attended. The group now has 25 members, Gall said.
Though Gall hasn’t received any backlash personally, he said people on the Internet can often be very negative about the club.
“People think we have developing problems,” Gall said. “They think we’re creepy (or that) we have psychological issues. That’s not the case. We like a show. We’re aware that it might seem odd.”
Vice President Kyle Buck said he became interested in the show through the music it features. Buck is involved in Marching Mizzou and Mini Mizzou and hopes to become involved in the University Band. After hearing some of the music, Buck said he became interested in the show itself. He’s very interested in the fan art that others create as well.
Christopher Harris, the club’s webmaster, said he tried to create the club last year and helped Gall found it this year.
“I really like the fandom,” Harris said. “It’s an entertaining distraction from college life that is really stressful.”
Harris said he is the one to set up or oversee the technology for the different events. Harris became interested in the show in the summer of 2011.
“Compared to other children’s shows, (My Little Pony) is more in-depth with detail,” Harris said. “It’s not like 'Dora the Explorer.'”
Harris said he doesn’t receive many negative comments, though the ones he hears about are usually confusion about the interest. He said people on campus are generally accepting.
Harris wears a variety of My Little Pony buttons with pictures of characters, such as Applejack and Rainbow Dash. He said he owns about 10 T-shirts related to the show and is not shy about wearing them in public.
“I usually wear them to get asked,” Harris said. “I like to introduce people to the show.”
The club has had several events, including a Halloween party. It was called "Nightmare Night," which was a reference to the show, Gall said. Both Harris and Buck were DJs at the event. The club has also hosted game nights and watch parties. Gall said they have plans for a "Hearth-warming Eve" holiday party on Saturday, as well.
Additionally, Gall said the club would like to host a toy drive for Toys for Tots. According to its website, “The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”
Gall said he plans to put up more fliers for next semester in hopes to bring in more members to the club.