At this year's upfronts, cable's Cartoon Network revealed that the Powerpuff Girls will be protecting Townsville once again in 2016. Will this help balance Paul's Dini's accusations about the network not needing girl audiences in 2013?
Are you ready for Buttercup, Blossom, and Bubbles to land in Townville again? "The Powerpuff Girls" are coming back to Cartoon Network in order to fight crime, do chores, and go to school all before bedtime in 2016.
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In Craig McCracken’s original series, Professor Utonium set out “to create the perfect little girls” by adding sugar, spice and everything nice but accidentally spilled Chemical X into the compound. And the trio of superheroines each embodied an ingredient. Confident Blossom embodied everything nice, while shy Bubbles represented sugary, sweet kindness. On the other hand, tomboy Buttercup became the spice with a fighting spirit and permanent frown.
Each share Chemical X properties, which include heat vision, super strength, flight, and a general case of kicking butt against villains. But only Blossom and Bubbles had special superpowers. Blossom was able to freeze items with her breath and Bubbles had the power to create supersonic waves with her voice. Poor Buttercup could only curl her tongue. But even in the middle of disagreements, the sisters shared the workload and helped to fight crime together.
All three girls had distinctive voices. Cathy Cavadini (“Doc McStuffins”) brought Blossom to life, Bubbles high pitched, excited voice belonged to Tara Strong (“Teen Titans Go!”), while Buttercup’s voice actor was E.G. Daily (“Rugrats”).
And they had distinctive colors/designs as well.
The basic body art was similar to one another, but the girls stood apart from one another in other ways. Leader-of-the-trio Blossom’s pink dress matches her eyes while her long red hair is pulled back into a bow. Sweet Blossom’s blue eyes match the blue dress while her blonde hair is in high pigtails. Rebellious Buttercup’s green eyes and dress color combination are enhanced by the short black, bob.
Will the current Powerpuff Girls look the same? Or will they be like the CGI animation in 2014’s “The Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed.”
“Adventure Time”'s Nick Jennings will be executive producing the relaunch in 2016. And Jenning's Emmy and BAFTA awards solidify a strong leader in the reboot. The original series debuted to critical acclaim in 1998. "Powerpuff Girls" secured a win with two out of five Emmy nominations, won two Annie Awards, and multiple animation honors in the 78-episode, six season run. However, various shorts and specials have produced and released since the 2005 finale.
Lauren Faust, creator of the "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", also worked on McCracken’s project. Looking at the MLP television series, there are similarities between Fluttershy and Bubbles, a clear showing of Faust’s love for doing the unexpected with well-developed female characters. Pro-girl messaging and feminism are strong influences in Faust’s era of “MLP,” especially when the characters defy all expectations.
If produced correctly, rebranding and extending the brand may bring the fans of old into the new fold. Millennials enjoy and absorb nostalgia-based products. For many, “The Powerpuff Girls” represents a more diverse Cartoon Network willing to experiment with gender expression. The success of “Steven Universe” and “Adventure Time” may push the network to reexamine the need to exclude female audiences.
“Whether in short or long form there are no walls for how Cartoon Network can be consumed,” said Christina Miller, President and General Manager, Cartoon Network/Boomerang/Adult Swim, while discussing about the progression Cartoon Network since “The Powerpuff Girls” at the network’s latest upfronts.
“Digital, mobile and TV have all come together for this new generation of kids, who are very comfortable with the sheer volume of choice; and when you deliver compelling original content and innovative ways of experiencing it, they will find it, engage with it, and share it on every platform.”
In a 2013 interview with director Kevin Smith, writer/producer Paul Dini took the network to task over the lack of female representation and exploration. Working on “Tower Prep” at the time, he said laid out how the cartoon company looked at product merchandising over loyal viewers.
“But, the Cartoon Network was saying, ‘Fuck no, we want the boys’ action, it’s boys’ action, this goofy boy humor we’ve gotta get that in there. And we can’t—’ and I’d say, but look at the numbers, we’ve got parents watching, with the families, and then when you break it down—’Yeah, but the—so many—we’ve got too many girls. We need more boys.’”
While Faust is not attached to the current project, her influence is undeniable with the success of “My Little Pony” and the need to market towards girls. But will the toys be action figures or dolls?
And Dini’s accusations leveled at Turner Broadcasting System incited a lot of frustration on audience demographics and the numbers support Dini’s claims about gender inequality on screen. Last fall, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media released a statement for UN Women focusing on female character study in media.
The actress and advocate plainly stated the problems with current media. “The fact is – women are seriously under-represented across nearly all sectors of society around the globe, not just on-screen, but for the most part we’re simply not aware of the extent. And media images exert a powerful influence in creating and perpetuating our unconscious biases.”
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka agreed. “With their powerful influence on shaping the perceptions of large audiences, the media are key players for the gender equality agenda. With influence comes responsibility. The industry cannot afford to wait another 20 years to make the right decisions.”
The Powerpuff Girls broke all gender norms and created a world where little girls could fight crime and still play hopscotch. Limitations didn’t exist as long as the girls were able to think up workable solutions. The nostalgia isn’t just from the show about cute little girls, but the idea of teaching little girls to be confident enough to push against cultural norms and not let gender limit potential.
Look like bedtime'll never be the same.