The Powerpuff Girls

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“Pre-school superheroines kick serious tongue-in-cheek butt.”

This sprang virtually fully-formed from the twisted mind of McCracken back in 1992, as a student film: even then, he intended it as a series, with most the characters, both heroines and villains, already present. The main change was to the title, the Cartoon Network balking at presenting a show called The Whoop-Ass Girls, and so the “can of whoop-ass” which was originally part of their make-up, was replaced by Chemical X.

The heroines number three: Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, attendees at Pokey Oaks Kindergarten who just happen to have amazing superpowers – flying, laser-eye beams, incredible strength, you know the sort of thing. Each episode sees them take on a monster which threatens to destroy their home city of Townsville, or a diabolical plot by the likes of Mojo Jojo, super-intelligent simian who is perhaps their most common foe. There’s never any doubt over the outcome; the PPGs will win, and (no matter what the title says) there will be large quantities of animated whoop-ass.

Yet despite this predictability in the plot, the series continues to amaze and delight, with great characters on both sides of the law, fantastic imagination, and fabulous lines like, “The Bubbles you know is dead – I’m HARDCORE now…”. Plus there’s a whole series of riffs on pop-culture – what cartoon show would do a shot-for-shot remake of a scene from The Big Lebowski…just because? It also manages to be moral without being overly preachy, and has retained its sense of the absurd throughout. If there’s a weakness, it’s the same as any episodic show: some eps work better than others, and there are certainly dull moments. But when on-form – which is more often than not – there isn’t a more enjoyable 22 minutes of television to be seen.

Creator: Craig McCracken
Star: Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong, E.G.Daily, Roger L. Jackson

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