Monday, March 8, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 11: The Powerpuff Girls

Welcome My Students. Today's lesson is all about The One and Only Powerpuff Girls.

Sugar,Spice,and Everything Nice! These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect History Lesson.But Stefan The Historian added an extra ingredient to the concoction...Chemical X *Big Boom* Thus the Powerpuff History Lesson was born.

LOL! Enough Sillieness,Let's get on with the lesson. Actually,This lesson was on my list of Lessons I made when I started this Blog. Anyway,Let's start with the basic primise.

The Powerpuff Girls revolves around the adventures of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. Professor Utonium wanted to make "the perfect little girl" by using "sugar,spice,and everything nice."

However,the accidental addition of Chemical X into the mixture created three girls instead,each having superpowers but whose individual personality was dominated by one of the ingredients ("sugar" for Bubbles, "spice" for Buttercup, and "everything nice" for Blossom).

The plot of a typical episode is some humorous variation of standard superhero and Bishoujo(pretty girl)fare, with the girls using their powers to defend their town from villains and giant monsters.

In addition, the girls also have to deal with normal issues young children face, such as bed wetting or dependence on a security blanket. Episodes often contain more or less hidden references to older (circa 1950s to 1980s) pop culture.

The show mainly takes place in the fictional city of Townsville, USA. Townsville is depicted as a major American city, with a cityscape consisting of several major skyscrapers. The physical location of Townsville has never been determined. Cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Paris, London, and Tokyo have been shown throughout the series.

The show has a highly stylized, minimalistic visual look, reminiscent of Hanna-Barbera's previous limited animation including The Smurfs, Yogi Bear, and The Flintstones.

In his review of The Powerpuff Girls Movie, movie critic Bob Longino of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that "the intricate drawings emanate 1950s futuristic pizazz like a David Hockney scenescape", and that "The Powerpuff Girls is one of the few American creations that is both gleeful pop culture and exquisite high art".

The original 79 episodes were hand-drawn and produced at Rough Draft Studios in South Korea,However for the 2009 special episode The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!! was animated with Adobe Flash at Cartoon Network Studios.

No Wonder the artwork wasn't that good... Anyway,The show's animation director was Genndy Tartakovsky. Yes that's the same dude who worked on Dexter's Laboratory and later,Samurai Jack. Tartakovsky also directed many PPG episodes himself.

James L. Venable composed the opening theme of the series and Scottish band Bis performed the ending theme song, as played during the credits. The opening theme is based around something called the Amen Break sample.

The show has come under criticism for its rather excessive violence (including images of characters gushing blood from their mouths when hit). Craig McCracken, a student of California Institute of the Arts at the time,created The Whoopass Girls in 1992 in his short film The Whoopass Stew! A Sticky Situation.

Yes,you read correctly. The Powerpuff Girls were Originally known as the Woopass Girls. I'm kinda glad they changed it. Anyway,Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation selected the short in 1994.

Later,McCracken submitted his work to Cartoon Network's What A Cartoon! Show. It's also worth noting that before His work was approved,The Network had McCracken change the "Woopass Girls" name.

Anyway,The episode was produced and aired on Cartoon Network as "The Powerpuff Girls in: Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins". Another interesting thing is that McCracken was also working on Dexter's Laboratory at the same time.

Anyway,Announcer Ernie Anderson,the narrator of the pilot episode, died in 1997 before the show became a series.

"Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins" first aired in 1995, followed by a second short, "Crime 101", a year later.

The Powerpuff Girls TV debut in 1998 was the highest rated premiere in Cartoon Network history. The series scored high ratings each week for the network. The key demographics ranged from young children to adults.

In October 2000, Cartoon Network credited the Powerpuff Girls for its Friday night prime time ratings win among cable networks. By 2001,merchandise sales based on The Franchise was booming. Everything from T-shirts,toys,and video games to lunchboxes and dishware.

The Powerpuff Girls had become as popular as G.I. Joe. Though,nowhere near as popular as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Concerning the Powerpuff Girls success, Craig McCracken has stated, "I thought it would get on Cartoon Network and college kids would watch it and there would be a few random T-shirts out there in the rave scene or in record shops. But I had no idea that it would take off to this extent."

In April 2005, plans for an Japanese anime version,Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z were announced,and the series premiered in Japan the following year with 52 half-hour episodes.

The series deviated considerably from its American predecessor in terms of style, storyline, and characterization. The Anime itself was a Sailor Moon clone.

In August 2008, McCracken revealed at that year's Comic Con, that he was working with Cartoon Network on a new half-hour Powerpuff Girls special to celebrate the series' 10th-year anniversary. The special aired on January 19, 2009 on Cartoon Network.

As depicted in the opening sequence of each episode, the Powerpuff Girls were created by Professor Utonium in an attempt to create the "perfect little girl" using a mixture of sugar, spice, and everything nice.

However, he accidentally spilled a mysterious substance called "Chemical X" into the mixture, granting the girls superpowers commonly including flight, super strength, super speed, limited invulnerability, x-ray vision, super senses, heat vision, and energy projection.

The three girls all have oval-shaped heads, abnormally large eyes, stubby arms and legs, and lacking noses, ears, fingers, and flat feet with toes. They wear dresses that match the colors of their eyes, as well as white pantyhose and black Mary Janes.

The closing theme to the cartoon, performed by Bis, includes the lyrics Blossom, commander and the leader; Bubbles, she is the joy and the laughter; Buttercup, she's the toughest fighter. This offers a nutshell description of the three Powerpuff girls' personalities.

A total of 79 half-hour broadcasts have been made, one of which has never been shown on TV and one which aired during the 10th Anniversary special. Most broadcasts consist of two episodes, while others contain a single episode that spans the entire half hour.

The show spanned six seasons. And lasted from 1998-2005. In addition, a self-titled feature film was made and aired in 2002. An hour-long Christmas special was also made,aired,and released on DVD in 2003. One episode in production, "Deja View," was never finished. A special titled The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!! aired during the 10th Anniversary special on Cartoon Network in 2009.

The show has been nominated for an Emmy 5 times in 1999,2000,2001,2004,& 2005 for "Outstanding Achievement in Animation". In 1999 the show was nominated for the award for episode "Bubblevicious" & "The Bare Facts".

In 2000 & 2005 the show also won Emmys The show has also been nominated for the Blimp Award for Favorite Cartoon at the 2001 Kids' Choice Awards.

The Powerpuff Girls are really awesome huh? It's a shame that their Final episode was kinda stupid. Though hearing Mojo Jojo singing "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" was kinda amusing.

Well that's gonna do it for now. If you have any Questions,Comments,or Lesson Suggestions,write to me at Or If you're a blogger,leave me feedback in the comment section of this post.

Class Dismissed!

*The Powerpuff Girls end theme plays*

1 comment:

Stefan said...

I think everyone will agree with me when I say that the Powerpuff girls kick ass.

Though the same can't be said about their Japanese counterparts. Even though I like that show as well.