As My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the long-running animated series based on the popular Hasbro toy property, works its way toward the end of its long run on cable TV, series star Tara Strong is looking forward to this weekend's "Rainbow Roadtrip" special, which will air over an hour and a half on Discovery Family and serve as the latest in a long line of special episodes that both enrich the show's mythology and also serve as stand-alone movies that can be released to streaming services or on DVD to support the series.
In the special, which airs this weekend, Rainbow Dash is invited to be the guest of honor at Hope Hollow's Rainbow Festival -- but the Mane Six arrive to find that not only was the festival cancelled years ago, the town is wrapped in mysterious magic. The series has amassed a large and diverse fan base, inspired in part by the fact that it so often reforms, rather than punishing, its villains and includes themes that are aspirational for the children in its target demographic but also uplifting for the older viewers who have famously joined the audience along the way.
“I love so much that this show has brought people together from all over the world — that this show tackles bullying and all sorts of struggles that people literally all over the world have, regardless of age, gender, color of their skin, religious background. It’s one of these shows that there’s no category of human that wouldn’t find something endearing about the show. Even when people are very depressed, suicidal, this show gives people hope. I hear at shows all the time from people who say that this show changed their lives, or saved their lives, and that’s beautiful and I'm so proud to be part of it.”
That theme of inclusivity goes beyond the implicit and becomes explicit this season, with the introduction of Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty, the show's first overtly lesbian couple, in a recent episode. Strong was excited to hear that the show could be part of a growing movement (also recently seen on Arthur) to demystify and normalize LGBTQ+ relationships in children's television.
“I love it so much,” Strong said. “Anytime you’re giving children an outlet to see, you’re not damaged, you’re not broken, you are accepted, you are loved, you are good regardless of whether you fit into predetermined societal norms — I love the fact that we’re empowering little girls and inspiring the people who are watching….I can’t say enough about how proud I am to be a part of a show that is all about compassion and acceptance.”
While this season is the end of the road for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in its current form, the massively popular animated series (which has spawned specials, theatrical films, and a never-ending pile of toy sales for Hasbro) is likely not gone-gone, according to Strong.
“Obviously it’s at an end, but I don’t know that it’s gone forever,” Strong told ComicBook.com. “They’ll probably be back; I’m sure there will be movies and other things. I really doubt that Twilight Sparkle is gone. It won’t be like it was before, but sadly that’s the nature of the business. The show is ending, and at least it’s going out on a high note, and everybody loves the show and will miss it.”
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will air its "Rainbow Roadtrip" special on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. ET/PT on Discovery Family.