Why grown men are obsessed with My Little Pony

Ladies, do you have any idea what guys are doing behind closed doors? They're watching My Little Pony, like obsessively. Wired.com has picked up on a surprising, if kind of adorable, new trend in guy fandom: BRONIES. Bronies are guys infatuated with the new cartoon adventures of "My Little Ponies."

The series us girls of the '80s knew and loved, has recently gotten a makeover for the HUB network. It's a little more gender-neutral and zippier in both animation and writing (less pastels, more pop culture references). Due to a total eclipse of pop culture and daytime down-and-out-ness adult male fans are flocking to the show in record numbers.

The proof is in the schmorgasboard of pony fan-sites, viral memes and YouTube mash-ups featuring video from recent episodes mixed with audio from unlikely sources. (See below, for the MLP-version of The Shining). Although there is an irony to the tributes, we know from Star Wars that's just how guys show undying love for a brand. They splice it, dice it and repurpose it all over the internet.

Wired found self-professed Bronies around the country ranging in age from teens to mid '30s. Part of the devotion is derived from community it's inspired. But the show itself may unconsciously lasso the adult male brain, just as the original '80s MLP cartoon did with little girls. "It's the perfect storm of '80s nostalgia and cultural irony," explains a 32-year-old Bronie to Wired. "[It] hooks into the male geek's reptilian hindbrain."

Hindbrain or no, the Bronie movement has an almost rebellious quality to it. Today kids have more freedom to play with toys they like rather than toys they're supposed to like. But adult males in their '20s and '30s narrowly missed out on the gender-bending toy revolution. The Bronie movement offers a chance to openly identify with characters they had to covet in secret growing up. Now they're getting a second chance to let their inner pony sparkle. Any to them we say, welcome to Ponyville!

Related links:
Should boys play with Barbies? The gender-specific toy debate
10 worst toy makeovers
10 awesome tributes to My Little Pony