My Debate on "Derpy"
Reasons why "Derpy Hooves" should not be the character's official name
- It is unimaginative and ill-conceived. "Derp" has become a popular internet term for anything with crossed eyes or the like. "Hooves" was most likely added as a surname to indicate that this character was, in fact, a pony. In other words, it was made to distinguish this character from other "derpy" characters on the internet. Both of these factors add up to a quick, barely-thought-out name.
- The word "derp" has its origins from material directed at a mature target audience. It was first uttered in the 1998 film BASEketball, by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and then the word was carried over into South Park itself. Both screens have been rated as unsuitable for young audiences. Afterward, the word went on to become an internet meme.
- The word "derp" has an inconsistent connotation, ranging from playful to offensive. There have been many public cries that the name "Derpy Hooves" is ableist, suggesting that the character is mentally challenged or disabled. Indeed, this has been the major source of controversy over the name. More on this in point 5 of Ditzy Doo's section.
- It does not fit in with the universe of My Little Pony. When compared to official names such as "Twilight Sparkle", "Pinkie Pie", "Moondancer", "Sweetberry", etc., "Derpy Hooves" simply does not match up.
- It was created by the fans. Now, if the name was actually decent, this would not be such a big deal. It might even earn praise for the fan base and encourage them to come up with more names to be used in the show. But sadly, the name is not decent, and goes to show how uncreative and inappropriate the "bronies" can be. So this only serves as another mark against the name, and a mark against the fan base itself.
- If I may elaborate on this point, the name originated on a 4chan board, a site commonly known for its... let's call it "pervasive internet knowledge". It should come as no surprise that internet memes such as "derp" are common knowledge to its users, whom I believe are typically mature males. I should also explain that the members came up with the name soon after the first episode of the show was aired, which would not have given them a lot of time to become familiar with the "spirit" of the show, especially since the majority of "bronies" out there were introduced to the My Little Pony franchise through Friendship Is Magic and have openly stated their distaste for all other generations of the franchise.
- There was no logical reason to count the name as official other than to cater to the fan base, and the fan base had no better reason to push for the name becoming official other than the fact that they liked the name. Logic seemed to be out of the picture. If I am incorrect in assuming this, then I would like someone to give me a better reason as to why they wanted the name to become official.
Reasons why "Ditzy Doo" should be the character's official name
- It was conceived by the writers for the show long before "Derpy Hooves" was conceived by the fans. This automatically makes it a more appropriate choice since it was not only the crew that came up with the name, but it had been in production longer. See point 4 for more details.
- It coincidentally matches up with one of the names that the crew called the character before "Derpy Hooves" became widespread. Regarding Kreoss's journal entry on DeviantArt, he explained that he and the crew gave the character names such as "Stoneface", "Bubblehead" or "Bubbles", and "Ditzy". The last name on the list is the obvious match-up; therefore, naming the character "Ditzy Doo" would not have been that much of a stretch.
- Lauren Faust herself explained that she might assign the name "Ditzy Doo" to the character if there was such a need for it. What stopped her? Other than the fact that there was no instance in season one--when Faust was working as the executive producer and not the consulting manager--where the character needed to be named, she "would not want to step on everyone's Derpy love."
- A personal note: Excuse me, but who here was running the show? You, or the fans? I understand that Mrs. Faust likes and respects the fan base, and that we all appreciate how the crew gives nods to us in the show, but when it gets to the point where it starts overriding actual canon material already stated in the show, that's where lines start getting crossed. I know, I know... The character was never actually named "Ditzy Doo" onscreen, but now that she's been officially named "Derpy", who exactly is going to receive the name "Ditzy Doo"?
- Another note: You know, it saddens me to think that if Mrs. Faust had been a little more assertive in saying "this is pony is Ditzy Doo" back when the issue first popped up, it might have saved a lot of the backlash that's coming out now. This was back before the episode which mentioned the name "Ditzy Doo"--"Winter Wrap Up"--even aired, so at that time the fan base was still relatively small compared to its size today--and along with it the fan base that had garnered around "Derpy Hooves". Instead of giving the fan base something official to chew on, the issue was left to their discretion, and the situation just got bigger and bigger. Some fans sided with "Ditzy Doo", most stayed with "Derpy Hooves"... It was a sad state of affairs. If only--dare I say it? If only Lauren Faust hadn't feared the fans' response like she did, then we might have Ditzy Doo today and everyone would have had plenty of time to let it sink in before the name was announced on the show--both in "Winter Wrap Up" and "The Last Roundup".
- It fits in with the cast of character names. This goes hand-in-hand with point 1; the fact that it was created by the crew members of the show. Since they are more familiar with the show's theme and direction, it would make sense that they know what is best for it and thus devise more suitable names for the characters, in keeping with the spirit of the franchise.
- There is a narrower connotation range for the word "ditzy". It started off in the 1970s as a slang word for scatterbrained, silly, or stupid, while the word "derp" is generally used as a response to something scatterbrained, silly, or stupid. However, "derp" has gone on to obtain various other affiliations, such as crossed eyes and through that, the unfortunate perception of being directed toward the disabled or the mentally challenged. "Ditzy" has more or less retained its connotation since the time it was conceived, and while being potentially no less offensive than "Derpy", it at least holds no undertones of disabilities or mental retardation to my knowledge.
- It is a lot more gender-specific. Now, I realize that this is a bit of an off point, but another controversy surrounding the character when she spoke in "The Last Roundup" was her masculine voice. According to this post on Equestria Daily, Tabitha St. Germain--the one who did the voice of the character--thought that the character was male, and was never told otherwise. I realize that the majority of the blame here rests with whoever assigned her the role and directed her, but if the character's name had been "Ditzy", this confusion and the controversy that followed might have been averted. It is true that the name "Derpy" does not refer specifically to one gender or another, while the word "ditzy" refers especially to females. If "Ditzy Doo" had been the character's name, we may have a more feminine voice for her on our hands.
A question I'm sure the developers would like to ask us:
(That is, "us" and "we" referring to the fans who do not want the character named "Derpy".)
"If you're so opposed to the name "Derpy", why didn't you speak out against it when it first appeared? Why wait until now, now that we've used the name in the show?"
If I were to answer based on my own opinion, it would be because we never thought the name would actually make it onto the show. It was just a fun fan-made name for people to use over the internet. Sure, it was unfitting with the show, but that didn't matter since it wasn't on the show. The fans were welcome to call her whatever they wanted as far as we were concerned; we just ignored what we didn't like. I'm willing to bet that even the person who first came up with "Derpy Hooves" on that 4chan board never expected it to be taken seriously as a candidate for the character's official name.
Obviously, we were all wrong.
Now, don't get me wrong; I appreciate all of the work that the developers have put into the show, more so when it's their own work. I'm not saying that all fan work is bad; it's just that a good portion of it is not anything I would call suitable for the show itself. And on this note, the name "Derpy" is actually one of the milder things out there. You've been warned, development team.
And just so we're all clear, I would like for the character to remain in the show, and I would still like for the crew to continue including nods to the fans in the show, but I want to be assured that the team will exercise good judgment on what it decides to use--and how it uses it.