Among the many animators who opposed the Ren & Stimpy reboot was Lauren Faust. (She expressed her help with one of many sufferer’s of Kricfalusi’s actions, and handed alongside a petition towards the reboot of the present.) Her settlement with the opposition is especially fascinating, given her personal historical past with the complete spectrum of the issues of the shifting, dynamic roles of gatekeepers. Faust was the inventive thoughts behind the 2010 reboot of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, itself a present brimming with controversy and awash with poisonous gatekeepers. There’s quite a bit to clarify right here to completely perceive the context of this, however I’ll preserve it as temporary as attainable. My Little Pony on the time was considered one of a handful of exhibits to debut on the now-defunct The Hub, a Hasbro-run community the place toy-based cartoons had been all the time going to be a part of the general technique. Nothing about that’s shocking.
Upon the announcement of that reboot, nevertheless, Amid Amidi, the creator and editor of Cartoon Brew, wrote a lengthy criticism of the news and how it represented the death of creator-driven animation. On the time, Cartoon Brew was the premier and most well-known location for animation information and tales; many trade vets and followers mingled within the feedback sections for years. It additionally had a deeply damaging fame, significantly Amidi himself, who was identified to be pretty hostile in direction of most fashionable corporate-driven cartoons (he did champion indie animation quite a bit, however it was surprisingly pick-and-choose, and he was additionally notoriously an enormous John Kricfalusi fan). In Amidi’s perspective, My Little Pony was the antithesis of an period that propelled unique, creator-driven (and, it needs to be famous, all-male) cartoons to the forefront. Arguably beginning with Kricfalusi, it contains exhibits like Rocko’s Trendy Life by Joe Murray, Dexter’s Laboratory by Genndy Tartakovsky, The Powerpuff Women by Craig McCraken, and even Family Guy by Seth MacFarlane. (Satirically, Amidi additionally criticized that individual period’s burgeoning reliance on rebooting animated properties and tv exhibits based mostly on movie properties.)
Amidi’s article created lots of pushback, as evident within the remark part of that very same article, but additionally from burgeoning corners of the Web that mainstream information shops had not but caught as much as. Primarily, there was the one underground on-line spot that skirted guidelines and protocols to debate cartoons of all levels with a sure equality: 4chan, particularly, its /co/ part, devoted to cartoons and comics. /co/ found Amidi’s article and in addition revolted for maybe an sudden motive. My Little Pony’s sudden surge in recognition and enchantment arguably got here from the denizens of /co/ watching and selling the present to spite Amidi. It was the primary all-out “assault” towards Amidi as gatekeeper himself, rebelling towards his thesis and propping up a “corporate-driven” present. Gatekeepers aren’t simply the individuals who have company energy; they’re anybody who wields entry and affect totally on private wants, needs, and whims, and never on the expertise, worth, and enter of others.
Over time although, the parameters of gatekeeping in animation shifted, courting in its personal methods figures that vied for the mantle. Faust left the show after the first season, and whereas tales abound over why, it’s typically attributed to Faust and The Hub execs having “inventive variations” – probably the most loaded time period in entertaithemodernhealthcarent historical past. The present would proceed on for eight extra seasons, lots of which had been coupled with pockets of controversy, from wonky storylines, awkward characterizations, “ships,” and one explicit second through which a background character spoke for the first time with a… questionable voice.
All of this, although, had been simply moments that exemplified a deep concern over the present’s social-media fanbase and its relationship to the present, its solid, and its crew. It in all probability was the primary time all these sides had been so intertwined, through which the exhibits crew, the followers, and the Hub itself vied for a kind of management, a “gatekeeping,” of the present’s fame and path. My Little Pony, regardless of Faust’s imaginative and prescient to enchantment to a broad swath of the viewers, was a present constructed to enchantment to the demographic of younger women, however that fanbase’s most vocal and energetic members were mostly reactionary men.