Also see The Powerpuff Girls (disambiguation)
The Powerpuff Girls is an American animated television series about three kindergarten-aged girls who have superpowers. Created by animator Craig McCracken, the program was produced by Hanna–Barbera until 2001 when Cartoon Network Studios took over production for Cartoon Network. The show has been nominated for an Emmy Award five times, in the category Outstanding Achievement in Animation.
The Powerpuff Girls revolves around the adventures of Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles. Each of the girls has a color; Bubbles is blue, Buttercup is green and Blossom is pink. The plot of a typical episode is some humorous variation of standard superhero and tokusatsu 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 sibling rivalries, loose teeth, personal hygiene, going to school, 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 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. While a number of episodes (such as in the episode "Catastrophe," which starts with a monster near an Interstate 405 sign, and "Knock It Off," where the Professor mentions "the 101, the 210, and Harbor Freeway") appear to depict Los Angeles, cities like New York City, Seattle, Paris, London, and Tokyo also have been shown throughout the series. Also in an episode a "spit wad" went through a baseball stadium and when it came out it was wearing New York Yankees apparel. There is also a real city in Queensland, Australia called Townsville, as well as a small town in North Carolina.
The show has a highly stylized, minimalistic visual look, reminiscent of Hanna-Barbera's previous limited animation including The Huckleberry Hound Show, 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 show 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, but the 2009 special episode The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!! was animated with Adobe Flash at Cartoon Network Studios. The show's animation director was Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack), who also directed many 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 on the Clyde Stubblefield performed Funky drummer drum break sample.
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" (shown in respective fields of baby blue, light green, and pink). However, he accidentally spilled a mysterious substance called "Chemical X" into the mixture, creating instead of one "perfect little girl" three girls (each possessing one of the above elements dominating her personality), and granting all three magical powers commonly including flight, super strength, super speed, near invulnerability, x-ray vision, super senses, heat vision, and energy projection. In the original pilot, the accidental substance was a can of "Whoop Ass" which was replaced by "Chemical X" in the aired version.
The three girls all have oval-shaped heads, abnormally large eyes (inspired by Margaret Keane's art), stubby arms and legs, and lack noses, ears, fingers, necks, and flat feet with toes. They wear dresses with black stripes that match the colors of their eyes, as well as white pantyhose and black Mary Janes. The closing theme to the cartoon offers a nutshell description of the three Powerpuff girls' personalities. Performed by Bis, it includes the lyrics
- Blossom, commander and the leader;
- Bubbles, she is the joy and the laughter;
- Buttercup, she is the toughest fighter.
Blossom (voiced by Cathy Cavadini) is "the smart one" and the self-proclaimed "Commander and the Leader" of the Powerpuff Girls. Her personality is "everything nice," her signature color is pink, and she has long red hair with a red bow. She was named for having spoken freely and honestly to the Professor shortly after her creation. She is often seen as the most mature, level-headed, and composed member of the group; although she can at times be fussy, overbearing, petty, and too analytical. She tends to "parent" Bubbles and Buttercup, and often tries to play peacemaker between the two if they fight (though she is very quick to argue with Buttercup). In the episode "Ice Sore," she showed the magical ability to blow ice. However, even though Blossom said her ice breath was "all used up", she has been seen using it frequently in later episodes.
Bubbles (voiced by Tara Strong in the series and by Kath Soucie in the What a Cartoon! episodes) is "the cute one," "The Joy and the Laughter." Her personality is "sugar," her signature color is baby blue, and she has short blond hair in two pigtails. She was named for her cute and bubbly personality. She tends to act like the baby of the group, despite being the same age, but sometimes she can get extremly mad. Her best friend is a stuffed octopus doll she calls "Octi". She exhibits the magical ability to both understand foreign languages (Spanish, Japanese) and communicate with various animals (squirrels, cats, monsters). She will always stand up for (and cuddle with) animals except cockroaches which she (along with her sisters) finds "icky". She displays and is defined by innocence, playfulness, and a gentle demeanor, having a tendency to be naïve, ditzy, submissive, shy, and sensitive.
Buttercup (voiced by Elizabeth Daily) is "The Toughest Fighter." Her personality is "spice," her signature color is light green, and she has short black hair in a flip. She was named because "Buttercup" begins with the letter "B" like her sisters, much to her chagrin. She is the tomboy in the group, and she has a very short temper. Sometimes her aggression gets the better of her, making her reckless and stubborn. She possesses a mean and somewhat vindictive streak not shared by her sisters. She has, however shown a softer side in several episodes. For example, in the episode "Cover Up", she had a soft green blanket that she was obsessed with that she would hug that gave her the confidence to be a better fighter, and she is quite protective over her sisters, as shown in "Buttercrush". Buttercup hates baths and loves getting dirty. She is the only Powerpuff Girl without a unique magical power (aside from curling her tongue).
A total of 79 half-hour broadcasts have been made, one of which has never been shown in the USA and one which aired during the 10th Anniversary special in 2009. Most broadcasts consist of two episodes, while others contain a single episode that spans the entire half hour. The show spanned six seasons. In addition, a self-titled feature film was released in 2002, and an hour-long Christmas special was 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 on January 19, 2009 (although it aired before in Europe and Asia).
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