“Hot in Cleveland” takes on Bronies

Joy is unimpressed with Sean's My Little Pony costume in "Hot in Cleveland"

This week’s episode of “Hot in Cleveland” featured a rare prime time portrayal of a Brony! It basically boiled down to an adult in a fur suit played for laughs but what can you expect from this show? The episode in question is season 4 episode 6 “Cleveland Fantasy Con” with an air date of January 2nd.

I had never seen an episode of TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland” before today so you’ll forgive me if I’m not totally on board with the formula of old ladies making sex jokes and us finding it funny because … they’re old? I must say it’s refreshing to see a bit of a role reversal with older women being in relationships with relatively younger men but that didn’t make the bad jokes any funnier. Don’t tell the live studio audience about that though because the laughs that ensued after the most bland comments were enough to make the Big Bang Theory’s audience sound like guests at a funeral.

Now I understand the irony of a grown man who watches a show for little girls criticizing a show for old ladies so let’s just look at the episode in question. You can watch the episode on Amazon Instant Video using the links below or if you’re American you can watch it on the TV Land web site.

The crux of this week’s episode centered around an event called “Cleveland Fantasy-Con” which is a generic fan convention in this fictional world where you apparently can’t get in without a costume. Right out the show is setting the bar with unrealistic expectations. Now I’ve been to my share of conventions, I hit a few a year, and while costuming is common it’s still far from the norm even at the geekiest convention. Anime conventions are usually the most costumed events and you’d be lucky for find even half the people at one of those in costume. The idea of a convention that won’t grant admission without a costume is a bit of a parody, which seems to be what this show was going for. Ultimately this just seems like a flimsy excuse to show the costume department’s prowess in making costumes for all the old ladies in this show.

Sean as Prince Silver Saddle in "Hot in Cleveland"

A typical skeptic convention

Enter the Brony! One of the show’s main characters Joy is in an elevator and in comes a man in a giant fur suit who hugs her, seemingly trying to accost her! I guess this convention has a skeptic track. It turns out the inappropriate advance is somewhat warranted as it’s Joy’s boyfriend of the week Sean who it seems is a Brony! Joy is dressed up as a typical princess expecting Sean to be a prince. He’s actually dressed Prince Silver Saddle, the strongest Pony in all of Equestria! Now Princes Silver Saddle is not a real character but he could easily have been Prince Shining Armor in this case. Sean goes on to mentions that he’s a fan of Friendship is Magic and part of a community called Bronies. Joy of course questions this asking if it’s the cartoon for little girls. Sean insists it’s for people of all ages. But isn’t it?

Sean as Prince Silver Saddle in "Hot in Cleveland"

Sean defends his choice to cosplay in a fur suits saying that it’s no different than a guy wearing a dog’s mask to a Brown’s game (the Cleveland Browns being from the city this show takes place in). I’ve certainly heard geeks make similar arguments! Sounds like someone’s done their homework on geeks, though naturally they’re not attempting to paint Bronies in a good light at all.

Brony Seans asks Joy if she wants to go to Paris with him… for an international Brony convention next month! Well I’m not aware of any big cons in Paris but such conventions are certainly not unheard of in North America.

Brony Sean gets dumped by joy in "Hot in Cleveland"

Bronies get dumped

Bronies are not portrayed flatteringly in this show. They’re mocked and the butt of jokes, but there isn’t really anything factually incorrect about the way they’re shown, this is just a chance to poke fun at a geeky guy. This seems to be par for the course for this show that also made fun of Star Trek geeks in the episode. Someone on the writing team seems to know enough about Bronies to be able to make things somewhat believable.

Ultimately as a cat lover I felt more offended by the subplot which had Heather Locklear (still working?) being mocked for loving her cat in what seemed like a perfectly normal reaction to losing a pet. This show doesn’t seem to be taking any kind of personal grudge against Bronies, this seems to just be how they like to roll and honestly the reaction the old ladies of this show had to this Brony isn’t completely unlike how the average person will react to being told by a grown man that they’re into My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

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