Thursday, October 25, 2012
Shout! Shout! Let it all out....
These are the things I can do without....
A while back Shout! Factory (the company behind the current My Little Pony DVDs) announced that they were producing an amazon exclusive MLP:FiM season one box set. The pony community showed their support with their collective wallet by heading over to amazon.com and pre-ordering the set. We fans had been saying for quite some time that we would purchase and support a DVD release and many people followed though, so much so that the set hit the #3 spot on amazon's top-ranking DVDs. Everything was good in the land of ponies and we were thrilled to find out that not only were we getting a box set, we were getting a box set with commentary and bonus material.
Now, I try to keep in mind that extras are just that - extra, a bonus or as they say "icing on the cake". Actually, let's run with that metaphor for a moment. As consumers we have grown accustomed to certain things. We have come to expect DVDs to have a certain number of features, like subtitles/closed captioning options, visually appealing and easy to navigate menus, and extra content/bonus material. I am probably not alone in saying I'd prefer my cake with icing, and in fact have come to expect it. The problem with the content of the box set bonus material is not so much what there is, as what isn't included.
Lauren Faust, the creator of MLP:FiM universe and director for the first season of the show and created the "bible" of sketches, designs, and guidelines for the show that help Equestria and its inhabitants feel organic and complimentary. (An example is pictured above.) It seems like the logical person to go to for season one commentary would be Lauren Faust, yet she is remarkably absent from the project and unhappy about the situation. Earlier this week she posted on Twitter,
"I'd say I'm excited about the MLP:FiM season 1 dvd except I wish so badly that I could have been included in the commentary."
At this point we do not know why Lauren is not included in the set. The Shout! Factory producer in charge of the release briefly vented his own frustration as well (his tweets were later deleted) saying,
"Great. Now I'm being blamed for not including something that should've been a no-brainer on an upcoming set. It was always on my list gang."
"Not everything can be included, no matter how hard we producers want them"
I hope this is not the case, but it very much sounds to me like Lauren was never contacted to be included in this production. This is a disappointment to not only her and fans in general (the pony community itself is very fond of Lauren) but I feel especially disappointing to the female pony fans like me. I don't understand how Lauren was not the top priority when it comes to the commentary and frankly it concerns me that the powers that be in charge of pony seem to be mostly male and just a little out of touch with both the male and female pony fans.
This issue has already been labeled "drama" with fans responding in a range of emotions, not all of them desirable. I personally do not advocate hate mail or harassing people who are investing in the MLP franchise. But I do think we should have to option to criticize, preferably if those doing the criticizing are doing so in a manner that is calm and for the purpose of discussing an underlying concern, not just for creating drama.
That being said I think it is fair to criticize Shout! Factory for their lack of communication considering the upcoming release. I understand that we can't get "everything" but it is my firm belief that 1. Faust should have been a top priority. 2. The fan community can only accept what we are told, and thus far we still do not know why Lauren was not included and 3. this needs to come before we see information that is little more than a complaint about customers' desires as opposed to information.