Elli is addicted to My Little Pony. She watches episodes any time she can and seems completely satisfied, after viewing every show ever made, to start again at the beginning and watch them through again. There is a lot to like in these videos; they are about a group of friends that have disagreements and difficulties that they work through in realistic ways. Well, realistic ways emotionally... they are a bunch of flying magical talking ponies so strict realism is not always observed. I generally like the messages they send about tolerance, being a good sport, helping people, etc. but there are a few things about the show that I find really disquieting.
First off, there is a huge emphasis placed on the wonders of hereditary monarchy and the inherent superiority of those in power. The big boss is Princess Celestia and she is shockingly wise, unflappably self controlled, and universally loved. Normal ponies get to have wings, a magic horn, or nothing at all but Princess Celestia has both wings and a magic horn (more powerful than anyone else in the world, naturally) and is also twice as big as anybody else and incomparably beautiful. Of course everybody in the world bows and scrapes around her and gasps in awe that she would deign to grace them with her presence. It is all very icky, especially when you consider that obeisance to authority figures seems to be given a higher priority than any other behaviour. I just don't like the idea that we should teach kids that the folks in charge are inherently better than they are and that the masses of humanity exist only to obey.
Secondly but on a related note is the emphasis on faith. I have no respect for faith being placed on a pedestal and would rather see it as a vice than a virtue. Optimism and hope are fine and necessary things and they should not be confused with a certain belief in that which is obviously false, which is indeed what faith is. A recent episode saw a life lesson imparted that can be summarized as "When people say things that are obviously wrong you should just believe them anyway because science doesn't tell you the truth, faith does." Because, of course, believing what anybody says is what a nice person should do! Unfortunately they utterly failed to deliver the correct lesson which is that we should let people think whatever damn fool thing they want but that does not extend to letting them harm others on the basis of their damn fool beliefs.
In practical terms I can't imagine that watching this stuff has any serious impact on children long term. I watched endless reruns of He Man and Thundercats and other garbage when I was young and I though I could tear them apart now I doubt they did any real harm. Still, I am going to continue to cringe when I see another animated pony say "Oh no, we better not let Princess Celestia see the mess us normal ponies made of things. She is obviously perfect and not sullied and debased like all of us who were stupid enough to be born commoners."
Picture from: http://www.avclub.com/articles/my-little-pony-friendship-is-magic,55168/