Maybe I don’t watch enough TV because I have to wonder what took a series this long to mock the brony phenomenon—the male adoption and strange sexualization of My Little Pony. Well, the wait was worth it because Bob’s Burgers damn near excoriated it.
In place of My Little Pony in the universe of this show are the Equestranauts, a sort of hybrid of the cute ponies and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. (I think…) And, of course, Tina is a huge fan. Enough of an enthusiast that she goes to a convention for fellow lovers of animated magical horses with superpowers. But what she doesn’t find out until too late is that the universe of the show has been taken over by a bunch of sexually confused men, or Equesticles as they are known. (Brace yourself … horse puns abound.)
She does her level best to blend in and finds herself hanging with a group of gents led by the alpha horse, Bronconious (brilliantly voiced by Paul F. Tompkins). He uses his influence and powers of persuasion to coax Tina’s toy horse, Chariot, away from her, with the knowledge that it is a rare and valuable version with a particular manufacturing defect: camel toe.
To retrieve her Chariot, poor Bob has to get a crash course in the Equestranaut multiverse (Tina: “What’s the capital of Horse Valley?” Bob: “Well, some would say Horsetradam because it’s the largest municipality, but it’s really Salt Lick City.”), and then infiltrate the group wearing a large horse costume.
It only gets funnier from there, stopping an icky-looking party at a hotel that includes men riding other equesticles around the room and tattoos, and Bronconious finally revealing that he collects all these rare toys in order to “merge mouths” with them and suck out their life force. Absolutely nothing this season has made me laugh harder than Bronconious insisting he’s getting younger by the second while loudly smooching a toy horse.
As with any great episode of Bob’s Burgers there are far too many little details and hilarious throwaway lines to be recounted here. And so many people involved deserve some credit for making this work so well, from the voice cast (comedian Ron Funches and Kurt Braunohler are used sparingly but well as fellow equesticles) and Dan Mintz—better known as the voice of Tina—who scripted it. I can only hope they get loads of angry comments and letters from bronies who can’t take a joke. Hell, I hope I do. That could end up being funnier than the show that inspired their outrage.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.