You write different types of episodes based on how many characters it’s focused on, do you find it difficult to change gears to write an episode that’s focused on one character versus one that is focused on multiple characters?
I don’t know if I find it hard to change gears, but it’s sometimes challenging when you have the main six to make sure that everybody is represented. If they’re all there you don’t just want them doing nothing, you want’ to give them something otherwise why have them all there? That’s the challenge, you want to make sure that they have a goal of some sort, even if it’s a simple goal.
In season one you wrote ‘Applebuck Season’ which was an episode that the lesson is based on Applejack coming to grips with her pride and then in season two you wrote ‘The Last Round Up’ which is another episode where Applejack has a similar type of lesson coming to grips with pride. Having written two similar show lessons did you find ‘The Last Round Up’ easier to write in any way because you had already written a similar lesson?
They are such different episodes and one she didn’t want to ask for help and yes that’s a pride issue whereas in Last Round Up she felt shame and disappointment in her self and that she wasn’t living up to what everypony thought, what everybody was expecting of her.Yes they’re both involved with pride but there’s so many inner-motions, so many versions of how that effects you. It was a different thing, it was a very different version of that and in the last roundup she was so mortified that she didn’t live up to it and didn’t get that money. It felt very different and I knew Applejack so differently because Applebuck Season was the second episode I wrote so that was all very, very new and fresh and I was still kind of getting the feeling for all the characters. By Last Roundup I knew who these characters were.
For a kid’s show there are a number of instances in the scripts where you are dealing with very relatable adult situations such as the competition between Applejack and Rainbow Dash in Fall Weather Friends, two friends who are rivals and trying to beat each other out or even Applejack accepting help from others in ‘Applebuck Season’. Is there a challenge in adapting these situations that are relatable to adults into a way that kids will understand as well?
We always approached it as what would kids—we all experience these things as kids first because we start as humans as children, so all of those things are relatable to everybody, but kids get that, they get that… what were the two examples you gave?
Rainbow Dash and Applejack in Fall Weather Friends.
Well that’s competition with your friend, that happens all the time. We picked out themes that kids could relate to. Adults could relate to them too but it’s what kids can relate to, it’s a human experience even though it’s set in a pony world.
Some of these lessons you write, sometimes maybe kids might not get them immediately, would you say that the lessons are things that kids can grow into rather than having something they get right away or did you expect them to get the lessons when they see them?
We always assume that kids are not dumb, we always assume they are bright and that they’re going to get it. All the kids I know are smart, they get stuff. Kids don’t like to be talked down to so when we write stuff we don’t talk down to the kids. I don’t sit there with the kids watching my episodes and say “Did you get it? Did you get what that lesson is about?” So maybe they don’t get it on the first time they watch but things play a lot and maybe they get it later. If a four year old is watching it, if a six year old is sitting there watching it with her four year old sibling the four year old might not get it the first time but if you watch it enough times the lessons will be learned.
I think in some cases actually there are some situations where the kid will get it before the adult because you are writing for that target audience, I can understand that as well. Now that you know there is a large adult community that has formed around this show, did that knowledge affect your writing process in any way?
Not really, because if we changed it for this particular adult audience, beyond the adult audience of the mothers, it would change what the show is. If we suddenly wrote a different show and it suddenly catered to you guys you’d probably think “What are you doing?” That doesn’t resonate and that’s what I loved about this show, we have to keep it like what Lauren intended, what we all developed as we wrote the season to be true to the characters and be true to this world.