The story behind the ‘My Little Pony’ and ‘Regular Show’ fan-made cartoon romance that’s going viral on TikTok

Left: twilight sparkle from my little pony friendship is magic looking forlorn; right: mordecai from regular show also looking forlorn
‘MordeTwi,’ a fan pairing between Twilight Sparkle from ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ and Mordecai from ‘Regular Show’ has been blowing up on TikTok. Discovery/Cartoon Network Studios
  • A pairing between two cartoon characters from different series has been blowing up on TikTok.
  • The pairing is “MordeTwi:” Twilight Sparkle from “My Little Pony” and Mordecai from “Regular Show.”
  • The meme, which started in 2011, is linked to B.o.B and Hayley Williams’ song “Airplanes.”
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On Tuesday evening, Hayley Williams quote-tweeted an animation of two characters from the cartoons “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” and “Regular Show,” emotionally singing “Airplanes,” the 2010 B.o.B. song that featured Williams herself on the chorus. If that sentence has left you feeling a bit out of the loop, you’re not alone.

“i [sic] don’t get it guys,” Williams tweeted, amassing over 100,000 likes.

The video, which was originally uploaded on Twitter in April by user @pixel_chikki and has over a million views, plays into a piece of internet history that’s over a decade old and traces back to the art-sharing website DeviantArt, which has long been a hub for fandom content.

The characters in question are Twilight Sparkle, the protagonist of the popular cartoon series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” and Mordecai, one of the main characters from “Regular Show,” the Cartoon Network series that ran from 2009 until 2017. Together, they’re “MordeTwi” – the portmanteau for a romantic pairing between the two that’s been circulating online for years.

Now, MordeTwi has reached TikTok in full force. The #mordetwi hashtag has over 166 million views on the platform, and for many, has become impossible to evade, from art to absurd cosplay to fan edits.

‘MordeTwi’ was created on DeviantArt in 2011

“MordeTwi” began a decade ago with a multi-fandom crossover fanfiction called “Earthworm Zim” that now 28-year-old Abigail Manares, a licensed vocational nurse who also takes art commissions and sells fan art stickers, self-published on DeviantArt while in high school under the name Cartuneslover16. In the fic’s fourteenth chapter, Mordecai comforts Twilight Sparkle after her heart was broken. Thus, MordeTwi was born.

One piece of fan art depicting Twilight Sparkle and Mordecai facing away from each other with tears streaming down their face has become the meme face of the pairing. Posted in 2012 by DeviantArt user bluedog444, the image bears the lyrics from William’s verse on “Airplanes” – “Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky like shooting stars / I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now” – as on-screen text.

Bluedog444, now 18-year-old Joey, told Insider that he had stumbled across MordeTwi on DeviantArt as a child, and simply “wanted the people in the MordeTwi [DeviantArt] group to think I was cool so I drew it.”

And in 2021, parodies of that piece of fan art, and the pairing itself, exploded on TikTok.

TikTok has been churning out infinite MordeTwi memes

It’s not immediately clear when or how MordeTwi crossed over to TikTok, but Google Search interest in the term “MordeTwi” began to pick up in mid-July in tandem with a growing wave of TikTok memes. Many explicitly reference bluedog444’s fanart and are set to “Airplanes.”

@asphodeii No one did the anime meme reference yet sooo ##mordetwi ##mordetwiforever also sorry this looks like trash (IB kumaknife)

♬ Airplanes – B.o.B feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore

@justaclownman yes consequences is spelled wrong i have th missing e tattooed elsewhere ##mordetwi

♬ original sound – keavo beavo

It’s also sparked plenty of complaints from people who can’t look at the bisexual pride flag (which is pink, purple, and blue), log into Roblox, or even perceive their own hair, without thinking of Twilight Sparkle and Mordecai.

Joey, the creator of the “Airplanes” fan art associated with the trend, is now selling commissions to draw favorite characters in the MordeTwi format.

“It feels surreal and awestriking,” he told Insider. “I’m flattered that my art has touched so many people.”

Manares, the creator of the pairing, told Insider that since she publicly claimed the creatorship of MordeTwi on TikTok, she’s gotten plenty of comments from people joking that she owes them money for therapy or that she brought about the downfall of society. The TikTok resurgence, however, has also been validating, she said.

“If I was still a senior in high school, I would have had a breakdown and be too afraid to look at my [DeviantArt]. Today, I am willing to accept criticism,” she told Insider. “I do smile that this one ship I created for a fanfic has opened a whole community on my favorite app.”

Read more stories from Insider’s digital culture team here.