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Pony Merks

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Pony Merks is Steve's History associate and TA at UCI.


Often, Pony and Steve are portrayed as a possible couple. One example occurs in "Prom Face/Off", when they're suggested by Frank to date each other. However, they instead try to see who can get a date first; these attempts proves futile, so they end their wager, Pony admitting she and Steve were each other's dates. A second and more notable example occurs in "China-Man Begins", when many people around town assume Steve and Pony are a couple despite the alleged couple's numerous attempts to prove otherwise. When their final one initially works, a slip of Steve's tongue negates this, and any further thing he and Pony say only further reinforces the townspeople's beliefs. Later, in "Charlize", Steve is claimed to have "dibs" on Pony, meaning there's at least some sort of spark between the two, though they've yet to acknowledge it. She is then shown, in "Life Coaches", to still think about the death of her husband, Johnny, taking her feelings out when she speaks negatively of Steve to the therapist he "advises" her to see. Later, though, it's revealed that that "advice" was Steve's cover-up for his real advice—that Pony leave the town for a more beneficial life—so she won't leave him. In spite of these events, Pony stays in China.

Despite being portrayed as the voice of reason, Pony has been shown to resort to corruption for personal gain. In "Secret Society", after Steve becomes a tenured professor, Pony desires to be one as well. Witnessing the Dean's infatuation for elderly women and subsequently saving his life, she blackmails him, threatening to tell his wife about his infidelity if he does not give her tenure. When Steve's recklessness jeopardizes his tenure as well as Pony's, she goes to great lengths to protect her corrupt tenure simply for the material gain tenured professors enjoy. Later, in "Is College Worth It?", the Dean raises tuition fees, forcing Pony to find a way to remain in school. After a failed attempt to enroll in a Mexican university, she hears about the Dean's reward for the capture of Kevin Costner, then searches for him. Afterward, she captures him and takes him to the school, where he is hanged, giving her the reward and thus another year at UCI.

In addition, Pony can be ill-tempered and break out in rage. In "A Gentleman's Bet", she loses patience with Baby Cakes when his commentary and questions cause the think tank to remain trapped in the truck much longer than need be. When she reaches her breaking point, she furiously attacks the man-child, causing the truck to roll violently around campus and kill anyone in its path. Even after it stops, she continues attacking Baby Cakes until their fight is broken up. Furthermore, she has a tendency to gossip, claiming she can't be excluded from "the secret loop." As a result, at least one person does not trust her with his secrets, causing Pony to go to great, though ultimately fruitless, attempts to learn his secret directly, despite already knowing it after Steve tells her. This is because she's suspicious that Matt doesn't trust her, and hearing it directly from Matt will negate this suspicion.

Pony is thought to be the most knowledgeable about history of the history professors. She brings this up occasionally, such as in "Secret Society". In addition, it's shown that Pony is quite capable of teaching a class by herself after given tenure, though this never happens again once it's revoked. Another sign of her self-sufficiency shows up in "Charlize" when she trains herself to hunt and fend for herself after most people on Earth die. However, Steve doesn't realize this and mocks her for her apparent neediness in the same episode.

Pony carries some resentment for her parents. In "Is College Worth It?", she refuses to visit her mother, and six episodes later, she refuses to follow her mother's will, such as converting to Christianity and abstaining from drinking alcohol. Later, in "Parent's Day" her fear of the eponymous celebration becoming an extravagant Mexican picnic comes true courtesy of her parents, and she initially dislikes this. However, as her parents patiently explain to her that all of her many relatives made time to visit her, she finally comes to good terms with them, learning to appreciate the extravaganza.


  • In "Dean vs. Mayor", Pony is shown to have a brother who works as a doctor.
  • Pony's spirit animal is the Horse, as seen in "Secret Society".
  • In "Chinese New Year", she is also a student, thus making her a student-teacher. It is later revealed in "The Perfect Lecture" that she is a senior.
  • Revealed in "Surfer God" is that she is 22 years old. Brad Neely's Twitter confirms this.[1]
  • Also in "Surfer God", Pony asks God to be her boyfriend, but he impregnates her in a fashion symbolic of the immaculate conception. When God deems the earth unfit for "the next level," he makes her child a stillborn.
  • Pony's appearance becomes messy if she does not do anything about it for long enough, as seen in "A Gentleman's Bet".
  • As revealed in "Life Coaches", just after high school, Pony had married a man, Johnny Merks, who then died shortly afterward. These events resulted in regret for her marrying so young, relief when Johnny died, and sadness because a part of Pony truly missed him.

Episode AppearancesEdit

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