Happy Birthday Derpy Hooves!
On this day two years ago some random YouTubers took notice to a blonde haired, grey eye pegasus in the background of Twilight’s Welcoming Party. Unlike the rest of the guests for a split second she stood with scrunched up face while making goofy eyes. A community member by the name of Doc Foreigner would take notice of this, and kick up a discussion about this odd background character on 4chan’s My Little Pony General thread. Within the thread he would also ironically name her with the quote of “And so the legend of Derpy Hooves was born”. Of course Doc had no clue what would become of this, and very quickly this random background character was pulled from the shadows and made into a fan character. Quickly fan art and short stories were produced about her, such as “Bright Eyes” written by another /co/ local by the name of Manefag, that depicted her simply as the mailmare of Ponyville. From that point she would slowly evolve to the point of being this community’s mascot in many people’s eyes.
Of course as Studio B (DHX) took notice to the community forming around the show, they took note of the love behind this one particular fan character. She wasn’t alone, as quickly as she stepped from the shadows the other background characters of the fandom would be created, Lyra and BonBon, Colgate, Berry Punch, Octavia and DJ Pon3. Due to the love of this background pony, the crew of DHX would actually plan her appearances during Season 2, becoming almost a game of Where’s Derpy, sometimes really obvious, and sometimes hiding in Fluttershy’s Chicken Shack only to peek out while she and RD sang about pets.
Then came The Last Roundup, in which she was made cannon by the crew, having an opening scene between herself and Rainbow Dash in which Rainbow Dash called her by the name Derpy, and she actually spoke. The majority of the community celebrated, though unfortunately not everyone agree’d with how she was portrayed. The word “derp” on the internet, a word created by Matt and Tray of South Park had become somewhat a slang term towards mentally disabled people. Though the word itself on South Park wasn’t a degrading term towards mentally disabled people, the culture of the internet had slowly forged it to be so. Thus many individuals inside and outside of the community considered this scene to be offensive, and informed Hasbro.
The scene itself was written by Amy Keating Rogers and had zero intention on being offensive in any way, shape or form. Miss Rogers herself has a son name Soren (for whom the Wonderbolt character was named after) who suffers from a debilitating form of epilepsy that has caused him to have seve global development delays, a mental handicap. She would explain that she had thought Derpy to be a male character in the eyes of the fanbase, and thus wrote her as being clumsy, such as young boys can be.
Despite these facts and with the complaints to Hasbro about the character, the company would decide to remove this scene from the episode. The first sign of this movement came from WeLoveFine where an employee leaked information that Hasbro was pressuring their company to pull their Derpy merchandise. This information would be published here on the site containing her name and spread like a wildfire over the community. People became outraged, more so when late in the evening her name began to disappear from the merchandise, though this change on WeLoveFine’s website would quickly revert back the next day. Despite this the outrage would continue and many would point fingers and blame several individuals who had voiced their opinion and displeasure about the character. By the end of February the episode which had been pulled from the iTunes library would re-appear, and be edited. During this time a campaign simply known as “Save Derpy” would be started, with a petition that reached over 30,000 signatures for Derpy not to be censored from the show. All of this was a very dark time for this community, in both the reaction of many and the cold shoulder Hasbro gave everyone.
Despite this, it should be said that Derpy was saved. Many wait to see if she’ll appear in Season 3 as many rumors claimed there would be no trace of her, but with recent merchandise such as the SDCC Derpy figure, the vinyl figure dubbed “Bubbles”, trading cards from Enterplay, her appearance in the upcoming IDW comics and so forth, she is very much alive.
As for the name, its your choice what to call her. That was one of the best qualities of this fan character, the fact she did not have a set personality. Indeed some people want her to be a very mentally disabled pony who dates a fork, but most only see her as possibly clumsy due to her vision problems, and even to the point of a loving mother. Despite all that has happened, she is still loved by many.
Happy Birthday Random Grey Pegasus with the funny eyes.
- The Origins of Derpy Hooves - An article written last year for her first birthday, explaining her history. Unfortunately its somewhat out of date as it wasn’t updated after she was made cannon.
- Derpygate - About the reaction that took place when she was made cannon, also somewhat out of date as it was written March 1st.