Love is always in the air in Equestria, the neigh-borly realm that’s home to My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic‘s four-legged stars. But on Saturday, April 21, this animated world will celebrate a particularly momentous occasion: Winged unicorn Princess Cadance and Shining Armor, a dapper colt, are tying the knot (reins?). And we’ve got a first look at the pony-focused announcement that’ll appear in The New York Times‘ wedding section this Sunday. That’s right: The paper of record is running a notice (full disclosure: it’s really an ad) about two cartoon horses getting hitched.
Naturally, the invitations request bridle attire.
Confused? Here’s the hoof, the whole hoof, and nothing but the hoof: Friendship is Magic premiered in fall 2010 on The Hub, a children’s network formerly known as Discovery Kids. The series’ goofy good cheer, striking design, and awesome horse puns quickly attracted an adult fan base; the show has especially resonated with men in their teens and 20s, who call themselves “bronies.” (Their female counterparts are known as pegasisters. Seriously.)
Though the show’s creators were understandably surprised when they discovered brony fan sites, they’ve since embraced their grown-up viewers. “We’re just trying to tell really great stories, and I think that’s why we got the adult fan base that we did,” showrunner Meghan McCarthy tells EW. While it’d be easy to indulge that adult audience with rapid-fire references and sarcastic dialogue, McCarthy and her team resist the urge: “Some pop culture-y things are thrown in, but we don’t want to do anything that’s too ‘wink wink.’ It detracts from the story that we’re trying to tell,” she says.
This New York Times announcement celebrates the show’s appealing sincerity. The spot’s placement and content also acknowledge Friendship Is Magic‘s status as something more than a kid’s show. “We want to justify something big and crazy and exciting,” McCarthy explains, noting that the two-part wedding episode has an “epic fantasy element.” Having seen it myself, I can concur; the hour-long special is ambitious, absorbing, and thoroughly entertaining, even to those who stopped playing with My Little Ponies back in the mid-’80s. (Or, you know, never played with them at all.)
Take a peek at the announcement below, then tell us: Did you know about the “brony” phenomenon? And if not, are you suddenly feeling the urge to see these horses?