The Powerpuff Girls (1998 TV series)

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The Powerpuff Girls
PPG 1998 title card.png
Created by Craig McCracken
Network Cartoon Network
The WB
Production company Hanna-Barbera
Cartoon Network Studios
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original release November 18, 1998March 25, 2005
Run time 22 minutes
Narrated by Tom Kenny
Starring Catherine Cavadini
Tara Strong
E.G. Daily
Tom Kane
Tom Kenny
Executive producer(s) Craig McCracken
Producer(s) Craig McCracken
Genndy Tartakovsky
Donna Castricone
Music composed by Thomas Chase
Steve Rucker
James L. Venable
Writer(s) Craig McCracken
Jason Butler Rote
Michael Ryan
Lauren Faust
Director(s) Craig McCracken
Genndy Tartakovsky
Randy Myers
John McIntyre
Collette Sunderman (voices)
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The Powerpuff Girls is an American animated superhero-comedy television series created by Craig McCracken. It was produced first by Hanna-Barbera (seasons 1-4) and then Cartoon Network Studios (seasons 5-6) for Cartoon Network. It ran from 1998 to 2005, airing a total of 78 episodes that spanned six seasons. It is the first series in the Powerpuff Girls franchise, with its huge popularity spawning a 2002 theatrical movie, and three TV specials (two of them post-series).

Professor Utonium was determined to create the perfect little girl, who would be made up of "sugar, spice, and everything nice," but the experiment was contaminated when he accidentally knocked into a vial of Chemical X. What appeared to be a disaster inadvertently created an even better result, as he created three little girls: Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. Born with extraordinary "ultra superpowers," these little girls, dubbed the Powerpuff Girls, have taken the job of defending the city of Townsville.

Production

Development

During Craig McCracken's first year in the character animation program of CalArts,[1] he wanted to make a short film using a wrestler-type character he called "El Fuego." At the same time, he also drew three large-eyed girls, visually inspired by the paintings of Margret Keane,[2] on a small sheet of orange construction paper as a birthday card design for his brother. Intrigued by the girls' "cute" appearance, McCracken ditched El Fuego and made them child superheroes called "The Whoopass Girls". The short, Whoopass Stew! The Whoopass Girls in: A Sticky Situation, was created in 1992, and was later shown at Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation in 1994. McCracken also made other three shorts at that time (all of them starring the three girls) but were never finished.[3]

While working as an art director for 2 Stupid Dogs, McCracken showed his student short to Fred Seibert, the head of Hanna-Barbera at the time. The two negotiated and the short was picked up as a series by Cartoon Network, where it became part of its What a Cartoon! animated shorts showcase. However, Cartoon Network executives believed that no one would make a kids' show with the partial word "ass" in it, so the title was changed to The Powerpuff Girls. The name "Whoopass" was renamed "Powerpuff" by McCracken's suggestion, and the "can of whoopass" (the substance that made the girls) was changed to "Chemical X".[3] McCracken's new short, entitled "The Powerpuff Girls in: Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins", aired as part the network's World Premiere Toon-In on February 20, 1995. It was not popular as another short titled "Dexter's Laboratory"; a pilot of which McCracken and former classmate Genndy Tartakovsky worked together on. "Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins" also received a negative reaction from its test screening, with McCracken claiming that it didn't fare well with an 11 year-old male audience; "They were saying, 'This is stupid, little girls can't be heroes'", he recalled in 1999. They also found the girls' designs to be disturbing, which caused McCracken to panic and attempt to redesign them in a more realistic style.[4] While Dexter's Laboratory was the first one greenlit into a full series, CN executive Mike Lazzo showed interest in The Powerpuff Girls, and insisted McCracken to stay true to his original vision; McCracken stated that the network were "more interested in a negative reaction than a lukewarm reaction."[3] Lazzo allowed him to produce a second short titled "Crime 101", which aired on What a Cartoon! in January 28, 1996.

Following the second short, Cartoon Network picked up The Powerpuff Girls for a regular animated series. McCracken claimed that the show did not go through a large development process, but he was advised to change the name of the three main characters to Pink, Blue and Green, since the network executives found it hard to differentiate them by Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. Instead, he put together a bible for the show, explaining the essential aspects of the characters.[5]

Casting

Music

The main title theme and music were composed by Thomas Chase, Steve Rucker, and James L. Venable. The end credits song was performed by the Scottish indie-pop band Bis.

Episodes

Title Original air date
0x01 February 20, 1995
0x02 January 28, 1996
1x01 November 18, 1998
1x02 November 25, 1998
1x03 December 2, 1998
1x04 December 9, 1998
1x05 December 16, 1998
1x06 December 23, 1998
1x07 January 6, 1999
1x08 January 13, 1999
1x09 January 20, 1999
1x10 January 27, 1999
1x11 February 3, 1999
1x12 April 7, 1999
1x13 May 27, 1999
2x01 June 25, 1999
2x02 August 6, 1999
2x03 August 20, 1999
2x04 September 10, 1999
2x05 September 24, 1999
2x06 October 8, 1999
2x07 November 26, 1999
2x08 February 13, 2000
2x09 March 17, 2000
2x10 April 28, 2000
2x11 May 26, 2000
2x12 June 2, 2000
2x13 June 30, 2000
3x01 July 28, 2000
3x02 August 18, 2000
3x03 September 8, 2000
3x04 September 15, 2000
3x05 September 22, 2000
3x06 October 6, 2000
3x07 October 20, 2000
3x08 November 10, 2000
3x09 December 1, 2000
3x10 January 5, 2001
3x11 February 9, 2001
3x12 February 9, 2001
3x13 April 3, 2001
4x01 April 20, 2001
4x02 May 4, 2001
4x03 June 21, 2002
4x04 June 8, 2002 (Kids' WB)
August 8, 2002 (Cartoon Network)
4x05 June 15, 2002 (Kids' WB)
July 26, 2002 (Cartoon Network)
4x06 June 22, 2002 (Kids' WB)
August 9, 2002 (Cartoon Network)
4x07 June 29, 2002 (Kids' WB)
July 19, 2002 (Cartoon Network)
4x08 July 5, 2002
4x09 June 28, 2002
4x10 July 12, 2002
4x11 December 6, 2002
4x12 December 13, 2002
5x01 September 5, 2003
5x02 September 12, 2003
5x03 September 19, 2003
5x04 September 26, 2003
5x05 November 6, 2003
5x06 January 20, 2009
5x07 November 13, 2003
5x08 November 25, 2003
5x09 January 9, 2004
5x10 January 16, 2004
5x11 April 2, 2004
5x12 April 9, 2004
6x01 April 16, 2004
6x02 April 23, 2004
6x03 April 30, 2004
6x04 May 7, 2004
6x05 May 14, 2004
6x06 June 25, 2004
6x07 July 2, 2004
6x08 July 9, 2004
6x09 July 16, 2004
6x10 July 23, 2004
6x11 July 30, 2004
6x12 August 20, 2004
6x13 August 27, 2004
6x14 March 25, 2005
6x15 March 25, 2005

Specials

Title Number Original air date
"Twas the Fight Before Christmas" 1 December 12, 2003
"The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!!" 2 January 19, 2009
"Dance Pantsed" 3 January 20, 2014

Cast

Legacy

An anime adaptation known as Powerpuff Girls Z was produced by Cartoon Network Japan and Aniplex, and animated by Toei Animation. It aired in Japan on TV Tokyo in 2006-07, while an English Dub (in association with Ocean Productions in Canada) aired on Cartoon Network in the Philippines, and Boomerang in Australia and New Zealand in 2008.

Between 2016 to 2019, a reboot of The Powerpuff Girls aired on Cartoon Network. This series took on a new art style, while also having a completely different cast and tone. Unlike the original show, it was met with mixed to negative reviews from critics.

In 2020, a live-action TV series was announced in the works for The CW. The pilot was picked up to be filmed for the 2021-22 season, but was put on hold to be reworked, before being cancelled altogether in 2023.

In 2022, it was announced that Craig McCracken would be on board for a reboot for The Powerpuff Girls, in association with Hanna Barbera Studios Europe.[6]

In popular culture

WARNING: The following section contains content that may be seen as mature or offensive to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.
Main article: List of pop culture references to Powerpuff Girls
  • In the Moesha episode "The Player," Dorian teasingly asks Myles if he wants to watch The Powerpuff Girls after Myles wants to watch something different than horror movies. Myles wants to know what's wrong with cartoons and admits that "Buttercup is fine."
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Body," a pink shirt with the three Powerpuff Girls is seen inside of Willow's closet, while she panics over what clothes to wear to her mother's funeral.
  • In The King of Queens episode "Ticker Treat," Doug asks which Powerpuff Girl Kirby is dressed on Halloween, which was Blossom.
  • In the ER episode "Next of Kin," an abandoned baby is checked over at the hospital. Carter finds the umbilical cord clamped down with a Powerpuff Girls barrette, which he calls "Powderpuff Girls," but Susan corrects him.
  • In the Everwood episode "Extra Ordinary," Amy watches the episode "Mommy Fearest" in her room before her father interrupts, specifically the scene where the girls are shopping at Malph's and the girls each have their own favorite snack they want Professor Utonium to buy.
  • In the Christmas film Elf, one of the toys that Michael mentions in Santa's list is a Powerpuff Girls playset.
  • In the Degrassi: The Next Generation episode "Bark at the Moon," one of the questions to test out the true love test is one's favorite superhero, with Manny sheepishly asks Chester if Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls counts, to which he responds doesn't.
  • In the Veronica Mars episode "Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough," Veronica talks to Weevil's young niece Ophelia who carries a Powerpuff Girls backpack, which she wants to check if it has the stolen senior trip money. In a twist, it turns out Weevil did hide it in the backpack, but then had Ophelia hide it in the ball pit because he knew Veronica would come looking for him.
  • In the American Dad! episode "The Longest Distance Relationship," Jeff and Sinbad travel through a wormhole to get back to Earth, which temporarily shapeshifts them into different stylized versions of themselves, which includes Jeff and Sinbad as a Powepuff Girl and Professor Utonium, respectively.
  • In Fox's late night animation programming block Animation Domination High-Def, there was a sketch called "HBO's Powerpuff Girls," in which the Powerpuff Girls were depicted like the characters from HBO's Girls. When creating the girls, the Professor adds a dose of narcissism. They are now in their 20s and live in New York City. Even though they try to fight monsters still, they spend more time smoking, binge eating, and dating.
  • In the Netflix series Kid Cosmic, the Planet Protection Group is a direct reference to the Powerpuff Girls, as they share the same acronym and the same voice actresses in the series; both shows are created by Craig McCracken.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

  • One of the locations of the series is named the "Powerpuff Mall," and uses the same building as the mall in "Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins," until it was later renovated in the episode "Last Dance for Napkin Lad."
  • "Universal Remonster:" Oglethorpe creates several T-shirts featuring a Powerpuff Girl, who resembles Blossom with a hot pink mohawk. When his friend Emory pointed this out, Oglethorpe denied that it was a Powerpuff Girl, claiming that "they're not getting sued".
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters: In a flashback sequence, Meatwad's parachute has pictures of the Powerpuff Girls on it, with Bubbles decorated on the top.
  • "Eggball:" While the Aqua Teens land on Death Island to capture a rare animal, Meatwad uses the same Powerpuff Girls parachute as the one in the movie.

Baby Looney Tunes

  • "Baby-Gate:" Lola plays a computer game called Pizza Power Challenge, in which she has to control three Powerpuff Girls-looking characters and defeat a pizza monster, but loses because she can't concentrate while Melissa and Petunia are trying to help.
  • "A Mid-Autumn's Night Scream:" Lola, Melissa, and Petunia want to go as the Super Sunshine Girls on Halloween, but Granny left it too late to buy their costumes which are all sold out. Lola shows the boys a TV magazine with the Super Sunshine Girls on the front cover, who resemble real girls dressed like the Powerpuff Girls, instead of the super deformed-like Powerpuff Girls.

Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends

  • Craig McCracken's next series for Cartoon Network was Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, which included some references to The Powerpuff Girls. For instance, the teenage caretaker Frankie Foster wears a t-shirt with silhouettes of Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttercup in their trademark colors.
  • House of Blues (part one in syndication): Wilt shows Bloo and Mac an imaginary friend resembling Mojo Jojo, who was created by a lazy kid who watched TV. In the end credits, Bloo is watching TV at night, with the opening theme song playing off screen, ending with Tom Kenny as the Narrator, saying, "The city of Townsville," before being cut off.
  • "Nightmare on Wilson Way:" In the present, Frankie and One Eye Cy dress as Blossom on Halloween, much to the dismay of One Eye Cy, who dishearteningly has to change his costume to Bubbles. In a past Halloween, Bloo had dressed as Mojo.

Gilmore Girls

  • "Run Away Little Boy:" When Lorelai talks to Rory about doing some retail therapy and finally buying some Powerpuff Girls shot glasses.
  • "Teach Me Tonight:" Rory has a Powerpuff Girls shot glass when she is recuperating in bed from her car accident. Only Buttercup is visible.
  • "Lorelai Out of Water:" Lorelai mentions writing a message on a Powerpuff Girls postcard.
  • "Haunted Leg" and "One's Got Class and the Other One Dyes:" Lorelai and Rory eat from a Rice Krispies cereal box that features the Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, and Dexter.

Evil Con Carne

  • "Ultimate Evil:" The Powerpuff Girls make a cameo in this episode when General Skarr forces Boskov to watch their show.
  • "Hector King of the Britons:" The Lady of the Lake asked Hector to impersonate a fight between Huckleberry Hound and Mojo Jojo. Hector also mentions the Powerpuff Girls while impersonating Mojo.

Robot Chicken

Main article: Robot Chicken
  • "Celebrity Rocket:" During a three-second channel flip, Professor Utonium (voiced by Abe Benrubi), who's spiraled on the floor of his lab, comments to the Powerpuff Girls, "All thanks to stem cell research," with the girls (voiced by Seth Green) either cheekily or sinisterly replying, "Uh huh."
  • "I Love Her:" In the segment "Perfect Little Girls Who Flip The F&%$ Out," while creating the Powerpuff Girls, Professor Utonium adds cocaine to the recipe, causing the girls to go crazy and ravage the town.
  • "May Cause a Squeakquel:" Mojo Jojo is thrown into jail when the Powerpuff Girls realize that the town's judicial system is unfair and doesn't rehabilitate its criminals, so they break into the mayor's office and beat him up.

Sugar and Toys

Main article: Sugar and Toys
  • "It's Hard to Raise Yourself These Days:" Mojo (called Mad Monkey) takes part in a rap showdown with other knock-off cartoon characters in a segment called "Cartoon Cypher." During one of his take-downs, he tears off the head of a Buttercup doll.
  • "Verified:" Mad Monkey goes to a court-mandated therapy group for villains trying to reform. The class is headed by a Mr. Rogers parody, who ends up getting vaporized by Mad Monkey, who can't help his evil urges.
  • "Thirst Day Was the Worst Day:" In two Las Powderpoof Girlz segments, in which the girls are Latinas, they search for other missing Latinas. They discover that Ariana Grande has kidnapped other famous Latina celebrities and hooked them up to their booty machine to drain their buttocks to make her more Latina.
  • "Rebooty Call:" Mad Monkey is in another villains therapy, listening to the problems of Gargamel, Skeletor, and Tom Cat. The Powerpoofs also appear in a segment called "Puerto Rico, We're Not Your Sidepiece," which acts as a PSA on how to treat Puerto Rico better, instead of just a vacation getaway, which is destroying the land.
  • "Revenge of the Nerfs:" In another two Las Powderpoof Girlz segments, the Powderpoofs find out that every liquid in the city has been replaced with hot Cheeto sauce, which OAC gets addicted to. They find out it is due to the blue-skinned Flavorless Gang, a parody of the green-skinned Gangreen Gang, who want to dry the Earth of its spices leaving the planet bland of flavour. They are backed by Mayor DeBlah, who they literally have in the palm of their hands, and who is as scatterbrained as his template.

Mad

Main article: Mad
  • "WWe Bought a ZOO/2 Broke Powerpuff Girls:" During "2 Broke Powerpuff Girls," Bubbles and Buttercup are left broke and jobless in their apartment after being fired from their job as waitresses. They turn to Blossom for help and she employs them to work for her company which owns a restaurant, leaving them at square one again. Tara Strong reprises Bubbles for this skit.
  • "Taking Nemo/Once Upon a Toon:" During "Once Upon a Toon," Samurai Jack trims a bush in the shape of the Powerpuff Girls.

In other languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese パワーパフガールズ (Pawapaffu Garusu) Powerpuff Girls
Spanish Las Chicas Superpoderosas The Superpoderosas Girls (lit. The Super Powerful Girls)
French Les Supers Nanas The Super Babes (lit.)
German Powerpuff Girls
Swedish Powerpuffpinglorna Powerpuff Girls (lit. Powerpuff Chicks)
Finnish Tehotytöt Power Girls (lit.)
Danish Powerpuff Pigerne Powerpuff Girls
Italian Le Superchicche The Super Goodies (lit.)
Korean 파워퍼프걸 (Pawopeopeugeol) Powerpuff Girls

References

  1. ^ Wineman, Daniel (November 15, 1998). "SIGNOFF; Never Underestimate the Power of a Puff". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  2. ^ Townsend, Emru (Summer 1995). "Craig McCracken on Stupid Dogs and Powerful Girls". Frames per Second Magazine (6). Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c The Powerpuff Girls: Who, What, Where, How, Why... Who Cares? (DVD bonus feature). Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. 2009.
  4. ^ Lucas, Michael P. (February 28, 1999). "Power to the (Little) People". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  5. ^ Craig McCracken's Oral History of The Powerpuff Girls. CBC Radio. April 17, 2018. Event occurs at 4:46-5:24. Archived from the original on December 23, 2021.
  6. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (18 July 2022). "Original creator Craig McCracken is on board to reboot his hit series 'The Powerpuff Girls' and 'Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends' TELEVISIONWORLDWIDE Hanna-Barbera Studios Rebooting Craig McCracken Classics 'The Powerpuff Girls' & 'Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends'". Animaton Magazine.