On Poetry, Prose, and Videogames

JLawrence Kenny

Friday Night Retro: The Powerpuff Girls

on October 8, 2011

Cartoon Network was my deity while growing up. The sheer number of animated television series they had during the 90’s was amazing, and I enjoyed watching nearly all of them. While some of the shows annoyed me to the point where I wanted to punch my TV – like Ed, Edd, n Eddy – the vast majority of these shows were entertaining to watch, and had such personality than more recent television series can’t seem to match. Whether it was merely an explosion of animated talent or that today’s writers adhere to stereotypes, sacrificing quality for ratings, I do not know, but I can certainly thank Cartoon Network for the show The Powerpuff Girls.

And an unknown radioactive chemical. Science works!

The Powerpuff Girls was an incredible show that debuted in 1998 and ran until 2005. It followed the adventures of three girls who live in Townsville, USA, created in a laboratory explosion, who Professor Utonium creates using “sugar, spice, and everything nice” and given superpowers thanks to an accidental infusion of “Chemical X.” Their names are Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. Blossom is the smartest of the three, and the unofficial leader, who also possesses icy breath. Bubbles is the shy, sensitive one, though she will occasionally snap and show extreme anger when her sisters are threatened, and also has the ability to communicate with animals. Buttercup is the tomboy of the group, with a mean temper and the strength to back it up.  The show is basically a spoof on stereotypical superhero shows, and filled with comedic characters and ridiculous plot lines, ranging from the girls defeating a giant monster to opening a pickle jar for the hapless Mayor of Townsville.

I find it quite funny that while supervillains can't beat up three little girls, three little boys can.

One of the more memorable aspects of the series to me was the villains. Following the week’s disposition to comedic villains, Powerpuff Girls was simply full of recurring villains that were both interesting and hilarious. Mojo Jojo used to be the simian assistant of Prof. Utonium before the Powerpuff Girls were created, and harbors intense jealousy toward the girls, as they replaced him. Despite his intelligence, he speaks in an overly repetitive manner, and often oversees fatal flaws in his plans for taking over Townsville, and is constantly being beat to a pulp by the girls. Another character, known only as HIM, is quite the strange character, a mix between a crab, a drag queen, and the devil. He is also probably the scariest and most devious villain in the show, as his plans often consist of psychologically manipulating the girls, turning them against each other or immobilizing them with fear. He comes the closest to succeeding of all the villains, but always manages to be defeated in the end. Last but not least are the Rowdyruff Boys, created by Mojo Jojo using “snips, snails, and puppy dog tails” as well as some foul prison toilet water. They are the polar opposites of the Powerpuff Girls, showcasing the stereotypical boy, and bully the Powerpuff Girls to no end. They actually manage to defeat the girls once, taking over Townsville, until the girls come back and defeat them using kindness rather than violence, causing them to blow up after the girls kiss them. Apparently, cooties actually exist.

They grow up so fast?

The show has been very well-received over the years, and has even spawned two movies and a new series, Powerpuff Girls Z. It’s hard to go into too much more detail about the series without analyzing specific shows, which I can’t really do, because then this post will go on forever. But suffice it to say that the wonderful artwork, combined with very interesting characters and plots made this show so much fun to watch during my childhood. The relationships between the characters were always well thought out, and the stories were never stale, managing to find a happy medium between making fun of stereotyped superhero clichés and original story, along with a wonderful cast of characters, all of whom were entertaining to watch, and easily relatable in some way. And really, that’s just the best way to describe this show; entertaining. Everything about the show was fun, with nary a dull or stupid/annoying moment to be found, and certainly worth the watch. No rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia are required to enjoy this classic show.

Next week: Mario Party

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