Disclaimer: Characters from The Big Bang Theory are property of… someone. Perhaps Warner Brothers. Who knows. My Little Pony elements are property of Hasbro. Song lyrics written by… somebody, not me, that's what matters. Real people whose names are mentioned did not give permission for the use of their names, and that's why that's all you're gonna see, their names. They won't technically be in the story, both out of my personal respect and for legal reasons. Enough of that, then. Let's begin!
The BronyCon Reevaluation
by Supa Supa Bad Truly Mad Moves
Penny lounged around in her apartment, slouching in her chair and with her feet on her coffee table, clad in cowboy boots decorated with a symbol of three bright red apples. Her blond hair was tied back in a ponytail, and she wore a cowboy hat, a white-and-green button-down shirt, and an apple-shaped belt buckle.
She took a swig from a large glass bottle, and waited for the effect of the drink to wash over her. "Eeeeyup," she remarked.
Amy burst into the apartment. Her hair was long and purple with bangs covering her forehead, and she wore a little bowtie over a baggy blue shirt and a skirt decorated with a magenta six-pointed star. "Hey bestie!" she squealed.
"Amy!" Penny said in delight. "We were expecting you a half an hour ago. What kept you?"
"Well, I decided that driving would deprive people of the pleasure of seeing my perfectly-executed Twilight Sparkle costume," Amy said matter-of-factly. "So I took the bus. People moved away from me when I got on, but they definitely looked at me."
Penny lifted her bottle in a toast.
"I can't believe I'm actually going to a My Little Pony convention with a huge group of friends!" Amy said, dancing in place. "That's been a lifelong dream of mine… and that was back when the conventions sucked because the cartoon sucked. And now I'm an adult with a healthy and thriving social circle, what should arise from the gloom but a My Little Pony cartoon that we all enjoy and a huge convention right here in our hometown! It's like I'm living a fantasy, and you're letting me be the main character!"
"Aw, sweetie," said Penny, standing up and hugging her. "We're not 'letting' you be Twilight. You're Twilight because being Twilight fits you perfectly."
"Thanks, bestie," Amy squeaked, her lip trembling.
"Amy?" Penny said in concern.
"It's nothing," Amy said hurriedly. "So, what's that you're drinking?"
Penny checked the label of the bottle, and raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Um… applejack," she said. "How 'bout that?"
Bernadette emerged from Penny's bedroom. Her hair was pink and poofy, and she wore a dainty little dress covered in ribbons and balloons. She skipped and jumped around the apartment, singing, "Who's the super-duperest party pony of them all?"
"Ah, Bernadette, you look great!" Penny laughed.
"Yeah, you even got the voice perfect," Amy observed. "How are you doing that?"
Bernadette blinked. "I'm not doing a voice," she said blankly.
There was an awkward silence, which Penny broke by clearing her throat and rubbing her hands together. "Well, if we're all ready, we'd better head across the hall and see how they're doing."
In Leonard and Sheldon's apartment, Howard laced up his tennis shoes over knee-length rainbow-colored socks. Above, he wore black bike shorts and a white t-shirt with a blue jacket over it and a magenta dickey underneath. His wig, like his socks, was long and all the colors of the rainbow. Raj paced the floor, wearing green-and-white shoes over pink socks, a green skirt decorated with pink butterflies, a white tank top, and a pale pink wig that cascaded beyond his waist, decorated with a huge butterfly.
The three women entered the apartment. At the sight of Raj and Howard, Penny laughed out loud with glee.
"Oh, that is so cute and perfect!" she chuckled. "Raj is Fluttershy because he's shy and quiet, and Howard is Rainbow Dash because… I assume because he's… fast?"
Howard glared as the others shared a laugh at that.
"Yes," Raj agreed. "He can leave his woman twenty percent less satisfied in ten seconds flat."
Howard scowled. "The 'twenty percent' meme is dead, Raj!" he retorted. "Stop trying to bring it back!"
"Dude, don't snap at me," Raj pouted. "I was just teasing you, same as I always do."
Howard sighed. "You're right, I'm sorry."
Raj beamed. "I think somepony needs to write a letter to Princess Celestia."
"You know, Raj," Howard sneered, "there's such a thing as TAKING THE BRONY THING TOO FAR!" After that explosion of anger, he stalked away into the kitchen.
Leonard crept out of his room as stealthily as he could, clearly trying not to be seen despite walking around out in the open. His royal purple hair was elaborately coiffed, he wore a sparkly white-blue top, periwinkle skirt, and purple high heels, and his hair and outfit were decorated all over with powder blue diamonds.
When all eyes turned to him, he raised a stern finger, his multiple gold bracelets clanking together. "Not… one… word," he enunciated.
"Aw, honey," Penny said sympathetically, walking over to him a hug. "How did you end up as Rarity?" she whispered to him. "What do you imagine that you have in common with her?"
"You wanna know how I ended up dressed as Rarity?" Leonard said bitterly. "By default, that's how. I was the only one left, Rarity was the only one left. That's what we have in common."
"Well, it's still very big of you to accept that," Penny said sweetly, running her fingers through his wig.
Leonard sighed. "I only agreed to go last because I assumed Bernadette would pick Rarity, and I would end up as… anyone else."
"Anypony else," Raj supplied.
"Oh yeah," Penny said thoughtfully. "Bernadette, why didn't you pick Rarity? I thought you liked her."
"Because I'm Pinkie Pie," Bernadette spat. "You got a problem with that?"
"No, no, that's… no," Leonard said hastily.
With the six of them gathered together, all eyes turned to Sheldon. He was sitting in his spot, dressed in his usual clothes, typing away at his laptop and utterly ignoring all of them.
"You know, Sheldon," Leonard said gently, "it's not too late to come with us. We could use a Spike."
"That's quite all right," said Sheldon, still typing and not looking up. "To enjoy a My Little Pony convention, one must first have an interest in My Little Pony, and I have no such interest."
"Oh, come on," Penny pressed, sitting down next to him. "You know, it's not just a show for little girls."
Sheldon looked up and stared at her as if she had just said something profoundly stupid. "Who said it was for little girls?" he said blankly. "From the data I've gathered from all of you, I see no evidence that the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom contains any little girls at all. If it was a show for little girls, would I be looking at a group of gender-equal adults, seemingly itchin' and rarin' to go off to a convention for it?"
"Well, I'm glad you've picked that up," said Howard. "Glad you're looking at things logically."
"I look at everything logically, Howard," said Sheldon, returning his attention to his computer. "Unlike some other people."
Howard glared. "I'm done," he announced. "Anyone else?"
"Anypony—" Raj began.
"Oh, just shut up," Howard whispered harshly.
"Sheldon, I thought you loved conventions," said Penny, leaning toward him with a doting expression and tousling his hair. "What's holding you back, sugarcube?"
"I like conventions for things that actually matter, like science, technology, and upcoming movies based on comic books," said Sheldon.
"My Little Pony does so matter," Penny objected.
"Yes, Sheldon," Amy agreed, sitting on the arm of the couch to loom over Sheldon. "Its cultural relevance cannot be overstated. Did you know that in the remarkably short amount of time the series has been around, it has produced more fan-made artwork and merchandise than Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who combined?"
Sheldon blinked at her disdainfully. "Am I supposed to believe that?"
"I hope so, Sheldon."
"It's the truth."
"It is impossible," he insisted. "I'm insulted that you think I could believe something so preposterous. I'm going to ignore you now."
Howard shrugged. "Works for me! Let's go so we can beat the traffic."
"No, come on!" Penny declared, standing up forcefully and gesturing to the empty seat. "Raj, use the Stare on him until he agrees to go."
Raj nodded and sat down on the couch, leaning in close to Sheldon and leering at him with a creepy, wide-eyed stare.
Sheldon studiously ignored Raj, but started to tense up as he came closer and closer. Sheldon glanced at Raj in confusion. "What on earth are you doing?" he said uneasily.
"You know… the Stare," Raj said menacingly.
"St-stop that!" Sheldon squealed. "It's uncomfortable and you're very close to me. I can feel your breath and your body heat. Stop it!"
"Nicely done," Bernadette commented to Penny.
"Yeah, Sheldon came with a manual," Penny said smugly. "Leonard lent it to me."
"What is happening?" Sheldon demanded shrilly.
"We're torturing you, Sheldon," Penny taunted. "Come to the My Little Pony convention with us."
Raj leaned in even closer, and Sheldon tossed his laptop aside and scrambled to his feet, breathing heavily.
"I'm sorry!" he shouted. "But as genuinely terrifying as Koothrappali's stare may be, I don't want to go to your convention and you can't make me!"
"Dude, what is your problem?" Raj whined, standing up.
"Well, your spooky unblinking stare is obviously the reason your attempts at procuring a mate have been—"
"Not with my stare!" Raj snapped, looking wounded. "With My Little Pony."
Sheldon looked around at the group, seeing clearly that they were expecting an answer.
"Look," he said calmly, "when it comes to television series, animated or otherwise, I've never been fond of the sub-genre that depicts groups of friends going on shenanigan-fueled slice-of-life adventures that explore their various quirks and develop the group's dynamic."
"Yeah, those suck," Penny said dryly. "Nobody watches those."
"Stop it, Raj," Penny muttered, punching him lightly.
"I prefer something that gives me a new universe to explore as the mechanics of the world are slowly revealed to the audience piece by piece by way of world-building," Sheldon concluded.
"Sheldon," Penny exclaimed. "My Little Pony has tons of world-building. Are you kidding me? Sometimes I can't even follow the way the world works."
"Well, while stories that have actual quality and substance do tend to be stories you can't follow, that's hardly a recommendation," said Sheldon. "I can't imagine that your community-college education has granted you the ability to follow any plot apart from the singular story used time after time in the ten to twenty identical romantic comedies you force me to watch per year."
Penny's lip thinned, and she turned to the others. "Okay, I'm done, let's go."
"Thank you!" Howard shouted, raising his eyes and hands to the heavens.
Amy frowned deeply. "Sheldon, how can you make the claim that Friendship Is Magic doesn't have any world-building? It's almost as if you've never even… wait a minute…"
"Sheldon, just come to the convention with us," Leonard begged. "Are you really going to turn down the possibility that you might get to meet John de Lancie?"
Sheldon stared at Leonard incredulously. "Why on earth would John de Lancie be at a My Little Pony convention?"
"What? Come on, because he…" He eyed Sheldon curiously. "Hold on. You don't know. You actually don't know the answer to that question."
"I never ask questions I already know the answers to," Sheldon said proudly.
"Yeah, yeah, we know who you are, shut up and give me a minute to let this sink in," Leonard muttered, scratching his chin and looking Sheldon over.
"Do you all realize what this means?" said Amy. "What all of this adds up to?"
"Oh my God…" Bernadette gasped. "He's never even watched the show! Not a single episode!"
"Holy crap!" Raj exclaimed, his jaw hanging open. "That's why he doesn't want to come; he's never even seen it!"
Sheldon looked around at their disbelieving faces. His eyes twitched as he tried to deny it. "That's pre… prepos… preposterous," he stammered.
"Sheldon… honey…" Amy said gently, standing up and putting her hands on Sheldon's shoulders. "You know you can't judge things before you've gotten to know them."
"Yes I can," Sheldon squeaked, still twitching. "I do it all the time."
Leonard smirked and walked over to his desk. "Look…" he said calmly. "We need to get going right now." He opened his laptop. "I have the entire series on my iTunes. If you binge-watch… which you will… you can have the whole thing finished in less than three days. Once you're done with that, please feel free to join us at the convention." He smiled pleasantly at Sheldon. "Come on, guys, let's get going."
The six of them trailed out of the apartment and started down the three flights of stairs. "Who's John de Lancie again?" Penny wondered.
"Guy who plays Discord," said Leonard. "He was also Q on Star Trek, remember?"
"Oh," Penny said blankly. "Wait, I thought the guy who played Q was the voice of Puck on Gargoyles, and some other guy was the voice of Discord."
"No, you're thinking of Brent Spiner," said Leonard. "He was Puck and Mr. Data. But hey, you noticed the connection between Star Trek and Gargoyles! Good for you."
"I pick up a few things," said Penny. "I don't want to, and it's unfortunate… but I do."
At the convention center, Stuart approached Raj and Howard, looking at his phone. Stuart was encased in a full-bodied purple-and-green dragon costume, complete with detailed belly scales, oversized hands and feet, a long puffy tail, and a crest of dark green scales atop his head. Only his face was uncovered.
"Bad news, guys," he said. "I just got a text from Wil. He thought he could reconnect with de Lancie and, after some obligatory reminiscing about old times, convince him to hook us up with good seats at the panel discussion, but… apparently de Lancie is claiming to have no idea who Wil actually is."
"Ouch," Raj said grimly.
"Burned by fellow cast member, that's gotta hurt," Howard muttered.
"Well, hey, it was a long shot," said Stuart. "It's not like this is something minor like a Star Trek convention; this is My Little Pony. We're talking serious business and major prestige; I was surprised that he even offered."
"You're right," said Raj. "The magic of friendship teaches us that we should be thankful to our friend for trying his best."
"…Eeeeeyeah," Stuart said uncertainly. His phone beeped again, and he looked it over.
"So what's going on at the panel right now?" said Howard.
"Wil says that de Lancie and Yankovic are coming on early," Stuart reported. "They're saying they put this event together specifically to… huh… endorse some guy's fanfic."
"Ugh, what attention whore put them up to that?" Howard sneered. "You know nobody's ever gonna read that story now. These people didn't come here to get spammed."
"Evidently," said Stuart, "it's called Romance and the Fate of Equestria." His phone beeped again. "It's still in progress, approaching its two-year anniversary," he kept reading. "It's recently reached the 200,000-word milestone, but it 'tragically' has only some 230 reviews…" The phone beeped as yet another message came in. "And now Yankovic wants to make it perfectly clear that the author is making them say all those things…"
"Pfft, of course he is," Howard chuckled. "'Tragically'. What a loser."
"Isn't that the same story that Drawponies endorsed earlier this year?" Raj said thoughtfully.
"Yeah," said Stuart. "Apparently, some fanfic authors will stop at nothing. Those guys are so pathetic and desperate." He looked down at his feet, shifting nervously.
A few feet away, something in the sea of convention-goers caught Penny's eye. "Oh… my God," she breathed.
"Is that Sheldon?" Bernadette said eagerly.
"Where?" Amy demanded gleefully. "I knew he'd come! I knew it!"
"Oh my God!" Leonard exclaimed, a smile forming on his lips.
The seven costumed friends gathered together and pushed through the crowd to meet up with Sheldon. He was wearing a zipped-up brown leather jacket with a furry collar. He wore two mismatched gloves: the left one was skintight and patterned with yellow scales, the right bulky and furry. His pants were rust-red and appeared to be snakeskin; one of his shoes was green alligator hide, the other a black boot with gray fur trim. On his back, he sported a pair of mismatched blue wings, one feathery and one leathery.
Sheldon's eyebrows were white and bushy, and he had a long white beard. A deer antler and goat horn rose out of his hair. One of his two front teeth had a long curving fang set over it, and his eyes were a piercing ruby red.
"Look who finally decided to show up," Leonard laughed. "That is a killer Discord costume."
"Of course it is," said Sheldon. "I made it myself with the materials at hand, considering the short notice you gave me."
"So… did you watch the entire series?" Leonard said smugly.
"I did indeed," he replied. "But I have no interest in discussing it. I'm just here for Mr. de Lancie. Where is he?"
"Oh, he's around here somewhere."
"Very well," said Sheldon. "I will simply stay with you until such a time as we can discern Mr. de Lancie's exact location."
Leonard squinted at Sheldon. "Are you wearing colored contact lenses?"
"Well, I considered it," said Sheldon, "but decided that turning my irises red would be better achieved by becoming a newborn vampire from The Twilight Saga, so that's what I did." He looked around at them expectantly. "Was that the proper application of sarcasm? I've been working on that one all night."
"Surprisingly, the sarcasm was well done," said Howard. "The timeliness of the cultural reference, less so."
"Look at you," Leonard marveled. "Putting stuff in your eyeballs, rubber in your teeth, glue all over your face. Plus, the whole thing is asymmetrical. You hate it when your arms don't weigh exactly the same! Sheldon, I am impressed. You must be in immense physical discomfort right now."
"Oh, I am, it's unbearable," Sheldon said cheerfully. "But it was entirely necessary if I was going to show up at this convention in a Discord costume of comparable quality to what the rest of you were wearing. And before any of you embarrass yourselves by saying something absurd, like that I could have come as a character other than Discord, please… don't embarrass yourself by saying something so absurd."
"I'm just glad you decided not to be Spike," Stuart said weakly. "'Cause you just know that if these guys had another Spike, they'd kick me to the curb faster than you can say 'Applejack is a background character'…"
"Aw, sweetie," Penny said tenderly, rubbing Stuart's rubber-encased head. "We'd never kick you to the curb."
As she withdrew her hand, Stuart muttered, "I suddenly ship Spike and Applejack. That's… not normal."
"So, come on, tell us what you thought of the show," Leonard needled Sheldon.
"Nothing in particular," he said hastily. "Obviously, there is a reason I chose not to watch it, as all of my decisions are well-founded and prudent to my lifestyle, therefore, as expected, my feelings toward the show remain largely neutral. As I said, I came here for de Lancie." His eye twitched. "Though I suppose if I must wait for him, as long as I'm here, it wouldn't kill me to learn all the things about the show that I so desperately wish to know. Perhaps some of you can provide answers to my many completely disinterested and noncommittal inquiries."
Leonard grinned. "What's on your mind, Sheldon?"
"Well… is Nicole Oliver here?"
"Yeah, she's over there signing autographs," said Leonard, gesturing vaguely toward a booth. "Why?"
Sheldon nodded solemnly as he explained his intent. "I want to ask her why she made the mind-boggling decision to vocally portray Princess Celestia as a warm, benevolent, motherly figure, despite the fact that her dialogue as written and other characters' responses to her clearly indicate that the character is meant to be played as sadistic, manipulative, tyrannical, and sociopathic." He started marching purposefully toward the booth Leonard had indicated.
A clamor of voices cried out for him to stop, but Leonard held up a hand. "No… let him do it," he said seriously.
"Let him do it?" said Raj, aghast. "Leonard, where have you been? Every time someone shares that absurd interpretation of the glorious, kind-hearted, and gorgeous Princess Celestia, Nicole Oliver messes them up."
"The actress who plays Celestia messes people up?" Bernadette said in confusion.
"Yeah, it never ends well for those poor saps," Howard said gravely. "It's why the fandom can't have nice things."
"Exactly," said Leonard. "That's why we should let him go. I have surprisingly few regrets about Sheldon, but most prominent among them is that I wasn't quick enough of my feet to be recording it when he got punched by Bill Gates, and that I wasn't there when he got nerve-pinched by Leonard Nimoy." He whipped out his phone. "I am not going to miss him getting brohoofed in the jaw by Nicole Oliver."
There was a brief period of silence and contemplation from the group.
"…I wanna see that happen," said Howard.
"Yeah, let's see that," Penny agreed.
They all gathered around Leonard as he recorded Sheldon, waiting in line for the booth.
"Are you quite sure this kind of thing has happened before?" Amy wondered. "Voice actors like Nicole Oliver do so many jobs, I doubt that prior to this convention she had any idea what show people were talking about when they asked questions about Princess Celestia."
"No!" Raj gaped. "That can't be. If she didn't know who Princess Celestia was, how could she imbue her voice with such genuine passion and love?"
Raj got a few stares for that statement, and Penny cleared her throat to break the silence.
"So," she said suspiciously to Amy, "are you saying that people who do cartoon voice-overs have so many acting jobs they can't even keep track of them all?"
"Absolutely," said Amy. "There are a multitude of cartoons and video games that need voice acting, and only so many people in that line of work. You often have to play them a video clip of their work for them to have any idea what you're talking about."
"Lucky bastards…" Penny growled.
Leonard raised an eyebrow at her, his phone still trained on Sheldon. "You wanna be a voice actor?"
"Oh, God no," Penny chuckled. "I'm a real actress. That would be so beneath me."
Leonard rolled his eyes. "Okay…" he muttered. He kept watching as Sheldon made progress coming down the line.
"Look at this, bestie," Amy sighed wistfully, looking around. "Themed costumes. Engaging conversation. What more could a girl like me ask for?"
Penny turned to her in surprise. "Amy, are you okay? Aw, you're getting all emotional."
Amy shook her head in denial as tears welled up in her eyes. She took a few deep, calming breaths, and to everyone's surprise, started singing through her sobs. "I used to wonder what friendship could be," she wailed. "Until you all shared its magic with me…"
Bernadette pouted in sympathy and elbowed Howard.
"What?" Howard demanded.
"Howie!" Bernadette snapped, stomping on his foot.
"Ow!" he exclaimed. "Bernie, what's wrong? What'd I do?"
She glared at him meaningfully, gesturing to his Rainbow Dash costume.
"Oh, right," he said reluctantly. "Big adventure…"
"Tons of fun," Bernadette chirped.
"Um… uh… a beautiful heart," Leonard mumbled absently, his eyes still firmly on Sheldon.
Penny wrapped an arm around Amy and kissed the top of her head. "Faith full and strong," she muttered into Amy's hair.
"Sharing kindness," Raj sang.
"It's an easy feat," Amy choked out. "And magic makes it all complete…"
"Ooh, wait, wait!" Leonard said frantically. "I think he's asking her…"
Sheldon had reached the front of the line, and was now at the booth, apparently having just started up a conversation with the woman sitting behind it.
"I would have thrown in," Stuart muttered to Amy apologetically. "But as is par for the course, I'm dressed as the one major character who's never had a real song…"
"Shh, shh!" Leonard hissed. Stuart sighed and slumped.
The woman behind the booth got to her feet, made a fist, pulled her arm back as far as it would go, and slugged Sheldon in the jaw. His rubber fang went sailing an incredible distance through the air, nearly hitting Leonard's camera-phone before clattering down at his feet.
"Oh!" Leonard roared triumphantly. "Yeah! She did it! She punched him!"
"Oh my God, she actually did it," Penny guffawed. "That was so great!"
Amy sniffled, and the others quickly silenced their laughter and waited for her to finish.
"Do you know you're all my very best friends…"
So, hey, if anyone knows where the "Applejack is a background character" joke came from and what the hell it means, please tell me, because I hear it all the time and I don't get it. I'm quite confuzzled.
Let's talk about the fanfic the guys discuss, Romance and the Fate of Equestria. That's my story; all the stats Stuart gives on it are pretty much accurate. Drawponies—yes, the Drawponies—really did endorse it a few months ago. I was really excited about that, but as it turns out, traffic to it did not increase at all. That was kind of a big blow to my self-esteem, but it eventually spawned an inside joke with my friends about how de Lancie and Yankovic could call a press conference whose sole purpose was for the two of them to join forces and tell people to read my fanfic, and not a single person would because they'd all be too turned-off by the shameless plug. Actually, it wasn't so much a joke as a genuine lamentation, but like all angst and tragedy, it eventually morphed into comedy. I hope the dialogue in this story shows that I am self-aware enough to realize what people must think of my many, many attempts at gaining publicity.
But hey, maybe you could read it and tell me what you think.
(What? I'm self-aware, but I'm not that self-aware…)