|The Powerpuff Girls|
|Created by||Craig McCracken|
|Written by|| Craig McCracken|
Jason Butler Rote
Amy Keating Rogers
|Starring|| Cathy Cavadini|
Roger L. Jackson
|Country of Origin||United States|
|No. of Seasons||6|
|No. of Episodes||78 (136 segments) (List of Episodes)|
|Executive Producer(s)||Craig McCracken|
|Running Time||22 minutes (approx.)|
|Composer(s)||James L. Venable|
|Production Company(s)|| Hanna-Barbera Studios|
Cartoon Network Studios
|Original Channel||Cartoon Network|
|Original Run||November 18, 1998 – March 25, 2005|
McCracken originally developed the show in 1992 as a cartoon short entitled Whoopass Stew! while in his second year at CalArts. Following a name change, Cartoon Network featured the first Powerpuff Girls pilots in its animation showcase program World Premiere Toons in 1995 and 1996. The series made its official debut as a Cartoon Cartoon on November 18, 1998, with the final episode airing on March 25, 2005. A total of 78 episodes were aired in addition to two shorts, a Christmas special, a feature film, and a tenth anniversary special. Additionally, the series has been nominated for six Emmy Awards, nine Annie Awards, and a Kids' Choice Award during its run. Spin-off media include an anime, three CD soundtracks, a home video collection, and a series of video games, as well as various licensed merchandise.
The Powerpuff Girls revolves around the adventures of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. Each of the girls has a color: Blossom is pink, Bubbles is blue and Buttercup is green. 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 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 pop culture (especially noticeable in the episode "Meet the Beat Alls," having been an homage to the Beatles). The cartoon always tries to keep different ideas within each episode with some small tributes and parodies thrown in.
The setting of the show is mainly the city of Townsville, USA. Townsville is depicted as a major American city, with a cityscape consisting of several major skyscrapers.
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 girls" 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 the "perfect little girl", three girls (each possessing one of the above elements dominating her personality), and granting all three superpowers including flight, super strength, super speed, near invulnerability, x-ray vision, super senses, heat vision, and energy projection. In the original plot, the accidental substance was a can of "Whoopass", 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 4 toes (McCracken preferred them to look more symbolic of actual girls rather than going for a realistic look, meaning fewer details were added). They wear dresses that match the colors of their eyes with black stripes, as well as white stockings and black Mary Janes. They do not have secret identities. The closing theme to the cartoon offers a nutshell description of the three Powerpuff Girls' personalities: Blossom, commander and the leader. Bubbles, she is the joy and the laughter. Buttercup, 'cause she's the toughest fighter.
Blossom (voiced by Cathy Cavadini) — Blossom is the tactician and self-proclaimed leader of the Powerpuff Girls. Her personality ingredient is "everything nice", her signature color is pink, and she has orange hair with a red bow. She was named for having spoken freely and honestly to the Professor shortly after her creation as shown in the Powerpuff Girls Movie. She is often seen as the most level-headed, and composed member of the group and also strong and determined. Her unique power is freezing objects with her breath as seen in the episode "Ice Sore".
Bubbles (voiced by Tara Strong in the series and by Kath Soucie in the What-a-Cartoon! episodes) — Bubbles is the cute and sensitive one. Her personality ingredient is sugar, her signature color is blue, and she has yellow hair in two pigtails. Bubbles is seen as kind and very sweet but she is also capable of extreme rage and can fight monsters just as well as her sisters can. Her best friend is a stuffed octopus doll she calls "Octi", and she also loves animals. She exhibits the ability to both understand foreign languages such as Spanish, and communicate with various animals (squirrels, cats, monsters), and her unique power is emitting supersonic waves with her voice.
Buttercup (voiced by E.G. Daily) — Buttercup is the toughest of the three. Her personality ingredient is spice, her signature color is green, and she has black hair in a flip. She is a tomboy, who loves to get dirty, fights hard, and plays rough, she does not plan and is all action. Buttercup is the only Powerpuff Girl without a unique super power (aside from being able to curl her tongue as shown in the episode "Nuthin' Special"). McCracken originally wanted to name the character "Bud" until a friend suggested the name Buttercup.
During Craig McCracken's first year in the character animation program of CalArts, he created a series of short cartoons based on a character called No Neck Joe. In June 1991 he created a drawing of three girls on a small sheet of orange construction paper as a birthday card design for his brother. The following year he included the three girls as the main characters of his short film Whoopass Stew! "The Whoopass Girls in: A Sticky Situation". Initially McCracken wanted to animate four Whoopass Girls shorts, but only one came to be. McCracken's shorts were selected to be shown at Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation in 1994. While working on 2 Stupid Dogs in 1993, McCracken's Whoopass Girls short was picked up for a series by Cartoon Network; however, the name Whoopass had to be dropped for the channel to include it as part of its new What a Cartoon! animated shorts showcase. The Whoopass Girls then became The Powerpuff Girls, and the "can of whoop ass" was renamed "Chemical X". 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. The short initially did not do well with test audiences, and the network instead greenlit Dexter's Laboratory, a project McCracken and former classmate Genndy Tartakovsky (who also directed many episodes of Powerpuff Girls) worked on together. Cartoon Network executive Mike Lazzo allowed McCracken to produce a new Powerpuff Girls short titled "Crime 101", which aired on What a Cartoon! in early 1996. Announcer Ernie Anderson, the narrator of the pilot episodes, died of cancer in 1997, and he was replaced by Tom Kenny for the remainder of the series.
The Powerpuff Girls series made its debut on November 18, 1998, and was the highest rated premiere in Cartoon Network's history at the time. The series consistently scored the highest rating each week for the network across a wide range of demographics—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 the end of 2000, merchandising based on The Powerpuff Girls encompassed a whole variety of products, including T-shirts, toys, video games, lunchboxes, and dishware. 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." Following the series' fourth season, McCracken left The Powerpuff Girls to focus on his new animated series, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, leaving Chris Savino to take his place. The show's last original run episode was on March 25, 2005. Cartoon Network offered to give McCracken and Savino a seventh season of The Powerpuff Girls, but they believed the series had run its course.
All of the original episodes were hand-drawn and produced at Rough Draft Studios in South Korea, except the What a Cartoon! shorts, with the first one being animated at Animal House in Japan and the second being animated at Fil Cartoons in the Philippines. 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 uses a sped-up drum break sample of "Funky Drummer" performed by Clyde Stubblefield.
The Powerpuff Girls has a total of 78 episodes spread over 6 seasons that were produced from November 1998 to March 2005. Each half-hour episode contains 2 seperate powerpuff girls segments. One episode ("See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey") was produced during season 5 but was pulled by sensors and never aired on Cartoon Network.