The Last Estate

Mareholland Drive – The Last Estate

Mareholland Drive

A My Little Pony/Mulholland Drive Retrospective

A dark-haired pony is the sole survivor of a car crash on Mareholland Drive, a winding road high in the Las Pegasus Hills. She makes her way down into Las Pegasus and sneaks into a stable. Later that morning, an aspiring Pegasus actress named Buttercup Dazzleflash arrives at the stable, which is normally occupied by her Aunt Reins. Buttercup is startled to find the pony, who has amnesia and calls herself “Rainbow” after seeing a poster for the film  ‘Gallop’ starring Rainbow Haymouth. To help the pony remember her identity, Buttercup looks in Rainbow’s purse, where she finds a large amount of money and an unusual blue carrot.

Mulholland Drive and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic recently celebrated 21 and 12 year anniversaries respectively. One is a work of staggering genius by someone who has consistently made genre defying art for decades and the other is David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. To say both of these things are important to me is understating the impact both had on my life. Mulholland Drive taught me what movies could be if you decided most of it should just be a weird dream. My Little Pony: FiM taught me it was OK to be a horrendous fucking weirdo. In fact, everything was OK if you had friends to share your problems with.

At a diner called Whinny’s, a pony tells another about a nightmare in which they dreamt of encountering a horrific Centaur behind the diner. When they investigate, the Centaur appears, causing the pony who had the nightmare to collapse in fright. Elsewhere, director Apple Kisser has his film commandeered by pony mobsters, who insist he cast an unknown Unicorn actress named Canter Riddle as the lead. Apple refuses and returns home to find his wife Lintzer cheating on him with a Stallion. When the pony mobsters withdraw his line of credit, Apple arranges to meet a mysterious cowboy, who cryptically urges him to cast Canter for his own good. The cowboy then mounts and rides Apple while the band Mercury Rev play backwards. The scene is Discordant and alarming. If you are wondering why Discordant is capitalized, it’s because one of the antagonists in My Little Pony: FiM is called Discord. Meanwhile, a bungling hitpony attempts to steal a book full of phone numbers and leaves three ponies dead

I first saw Mulholland Drive on late-night television about a decade ago, believing it to be the Nick Nolte crime drama Mulholland Falls. While this was not my first Lynch (I had seen Eraserhead a decade before that and loved Twin Peaks), this was the one. This was when it all clicked. When I stopped trying to make it make sense. Lynch makes films the same way an artist paints a canvas. It’s an experience while you watch it. It isn’t meant to make sense, because life doesn’t make sense. This is the joy of Lynch films. You let them wash over you. You feel things (the jumpscare behind Winkie’s is rightly cited as one of the most alarming moments in cinema).

When you watch My Little Pony: FiM you feel things too. You feel like it’s OK to have made a mistake, because your friends will help you out. But here’s what you have to do. You have to talk to them. You have to explain. You need to communicate what your problem is. Then Pinkie Pie will sing a song and everything will be fine. They can help you. Just ask. And beyond that, you will find that people share your burdens. You aren’t alone. You aren’t the only one that prefers watching cartoons well into his twenties. You aren’t the only one that can’t decide what you should be doing, or being. You aren’t the only one who wants to travel to Los Angeles, live with your Aunt and try to make it big. You have a beautiful smile. You have nice firm tits. Go for it. Sure you might meet someone with temporary amnesia, but fuck it. Just eat her pussy.

David Lynch is, to my knowledge, not a Brony. But there are elements to his film-making that harmonize with My Little Pony. He does things his own way. He doesn’t doubt. He loves his friends. He sings such beautiful songs. He’s constantly plagued by a mischievous Dragon played by John de Lancie.

While trying to learn more about Rainbow’s accident, Buttercup and Rainbow go to Whinny’s and are served by a waitress named Daintyhoof, which causes Rainbow to remember the name “Daintyhoof Starburst”. They find Daintyhoof Starburst in the phone book and call her, but she does not answer due to having hooves and not being able to pick up the phone. Buttercup goes to an audition, where her performance is highly praised. A casting agent takes her to a soundstage where a film called
The Shimmer Night Story, directed by Apple, is being cast. When Canterloop Rider auditions, Apple capitulates to casting her. Buttercup locks eyes with Apple, but she gallops off before she can meet him, saying she is late to meet a friend. Buttercup and Rainbow go to Daintyhoof Starburst’s stable, where a neighbor answers the door and tells them she has switched stables with Daintyhoof. They go to the neighbor’s stable and break in when no one answers the door. In the bedroom, they find the body of a pony who has been dead for several days. Terrified, they return to Buttercup’s stable, where Rainbow disguises herself with a blonde wig. She and Buttercup have sex that night. It’s fucking sweet dude.

A Brony is defined as
a man who is a fan of the My Little Pony television program and range of toys. It’s a Trekkie but for ponies not Vulcans. It’s a fan. I am a member of this fandom but I do not class myself as a Brony. I think that there is a divide between fans and people who love the show. I love the show. I am unapologetic. I have seen each episode countless times. I am being genuine when I say it’s an important part of my life. These little ponies have done more for me than most. I don’t have the toys. I wear the clothes but that’s because pink pony shirts are fucking lit and if you don’t agree you are wrong. But I don’t class myself as a Brony. A Brony is a super-fan. I also love Star Trek but I am not a Trekkie.

The Bob’s Burgers episode ‘The Equestranauts’ portrays Bronies (or Equesticles – so called because they have testicles) perfectly. It’s a bunch of men having a good, innocent time. Well, most of them are just having a good, innocent time.  There’s always a certain amount of sexual undercurrent when you talk about Bronies. It’s automatically assumed that they want to fuck the ponies. I wrote an entire
book about four boys who wanted to fuck the ponies. So I am complicit. And I apologize. Because while most of them do want to fuck the ponies, a few don’t. I don’t. I have scrolled through a staggering amount of masturbatory topics in my life but I’m comfortable in saying that, as of today, I have never thought about cartoon ponies when I ‘did it’. If I had to pick, I’d go with Rainbow Dash. She seems like she could show you a really good time.

I love the show for many of the reasons that Bronies do. The music is great. The animation is gorgeous. The characters are great. My Little Pony is, wrongly in my opinion, seen as a little girls show.

It was; the 80s version (or G3 as those in the know call it) was definitely aimed at girls. As was all the marketing. But G4 (Friendship is Magic) was created and marketed just as a cartoon. Lauren Faust did Powerpuff Girls as well as loads of other cool shows, so when she took over it was with the aim of making something that, gender aside, would appeal to cartoon fans. An episode is 20 minutes long and other than a couple of season ending episodes the general level of tension doesn’t really lift above one. Life is tense. Life is hard. But ponies? Lovely. Simple. Stress-free. Sexy? No! Kinda? 

Mulholland Drive is not simple. But it is Lynch at his most accessible. When I bought the DVD it came with
this leaflet inside – it showed 10 rules for following the film. I didn’t have it the first time round, but on the second viewing I looked at this and it really helped. You don’t need a leaflet to understand ponies. You don’t really need to watch more than a minute of each episode to understand what’s going to happen. It’s a spa day. It’s a long, hot bath. You’ve worked so hard. Crack open a cold pony with the bros.

But don’t worry if you don’t have bros. Because here’s the real key to being a pony – you don’t need to worry about what other people will think. You can just enjoy the things that you want to enjoy, and everyone else can, honestly, go fuck themselves. All the people who try to tell you what you should like and what makes you weird? Fuck them. We are ten years off a slow, fiery death due to capitalism and plastic straws. Who gives a fuck if people think you are a sexual pervert for liking a cartoon about bright pink ponies. Job said
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart”.

At 2 a.m Rainbow wakes suddenly, insisting they go right away to a pony cabaret theater called Club Stallion. There, the emcee explains in different languages that everything is an illusion; Rebekah Del Roping
comes on stage and begins singing the Roy Palomino song “Trotting” in Spanish, then collapses, unconscious, while her vocals continue in playback. Buttercup finds a blue saddle in her purse that matches Rainbow’s carrot. Upon returning to the stable, Rainbow retrieves the carrot and finds that Buttercup has disappeared. Rainbow unlocks the box, and it falls to the floor. A strange old pony enters the room to find nobody.

Mulholland Drive is about failure, lust, betrayal and rage. It’s not a standard, one plot movie. It’s undeniably Diane’s movie, but it isn’t
just hers. It belongs to every character who lives in the world Lynch has created. There’s agony in Mulholland Drive. There is the pain of losing things. Adam loses his beloved film project. Diane loses her lover. Camilla and Betty lose each other. This sense of loss permeates the whole film. Lynch works so well here because he knows how to make things that should be otherworldly seem extremely human. The lesbian sex scenes are done beautifully. The scene in Club Silencio where Camilla and Betty slowly come to realize that their world is a dream is beautiful. The tears that slowly form. Holding each other. The beautiful music. Even the aggressive fingering that Diane does when she is coming to terms with her humiliation at the hands of Adam and Camilla. This is Lynch at his most human. His style and form can often come across as alien. His film Lost Highway commits such an astonishing U-Turn halfway through that it’s nearly impossible to comprehend. Inland Empire is 3 hours of hand-held discordance. Eraserhead is Eraserhead.

Daintyhoof Starburst wakes up in her bed in the same stable Buttercup and Rainbow investigated, where her neighbor informs her that two police ponies have been looking for her. She looks exactly like Buttercup, but is a struggling pony actress driven into a deep depression by her failed affair with Canterloop Rider, who is a successful Alicorn actress and looks exactly like Rainbow. At Canterloop’s invitation, Daintyhoof attends a party at Apple’s house on Mareholland Drive. At dinner, Daintyhoof states she came to Applewood from Canterlot when her Aunt Reins died and left her some money, and she met Canterloop at an audition for
The Shimmer Night Story. Another pony who looks like the previous “Canterloop Rider” kisses Canterloop, and they turn and smile at Daintyhoof. Apple and Canterloop prepare to make their marriage announcement, but they devolve into laughter and kiss while Daintyhoof watches, crying. Later, Daintyhoof meets the hitpony at Whinny’s, to hire him to kill Canterloop. He tells her she will find a blue carrot when the job is completed. The Centaur from the pony’s dream is revealed to have the matching blue box. In her stable, Daintyhoof looks at the blue carrot on her coffee table, when someone unceasingly knocks the door. Distraught, she is terrorized by hallucinations and runs screaming to her hay bale, where she shoots herself. A pony at the theater trots onto the stage, takes a massive shit and whispers, “Friendship is Magic“.

Ultimately, one of the most enjoyable parts of consuming media, for me at least, is knowing other people are consuming it with me. It’s knowing that this show, this film, this book – whatever it may be – is causing similar emotional responses in those people. That’s what the best media does. It unites us: either in our dislike of it (see –
Rings of Power) or our love of it. It knits a silken web of humanity, each with their own hopes and dreams, each with their own desires, flaws, friendships. Each person letting the power of friendship wash over them, eager for the credits to roll so that they can go on Reddit and complain about the continuity. 

Stuart Buck

Stuart Buck runs the Bear Creek Gazette and enjoys quantum physics, dogs and sitting.