When I’m not constantly talking about video games and consoles, I’m constantly talking about cartoons and other animated productions. For my first cartoon review, I figured it would be appropriate enough for me to tackle the supposed reboot of a beloved cartoon series that I was a fan of since its original run on Cartoon Network. That cartoon series is The Powerpuff Girls.
Wait a minute? Isn’t this just some girly-girly show aimed at small children? Nope. What makes Powerpuff Girls special is how it goes against that kind of expectation. It gives us a plausible balance of bold cartoon action and comedy, and provides an appealing cast of characters to boot.
Powerpuff Girls stories are simple and episodic but all of the characters convey unique personalities to the point where you wouldn’t mind seeing the cute superpowered girls having to share the spotlight every now and then. They can range from the silly, dim-witted mayor to the villainous, yet isolated Mojo Jojo.
Not to mention, the writing never usually tries to cater to a particular group of people or anything. The writers pretty much wrote the show for themselves. They didn’t even care about how successful the show would become; it didn’t occur to them that it would be the hit it is. Of course, the creative team would still do the best they can to provide quality entertainment with what there is to work with here.
So with all this in mind, what does the “reboot” of The Powerpuff Girls do? Well…………………..
It throws every one of these conceptions out the freaking window!
Cartoon Network only “rebooted” it just for the sake of merchandising and series creator Craig McCracken couldn’t be involved with this due to his contract with Disney. If those facts weren’t enough to show signs of things to come, perhaps you would like to see what the results have been since its debut.
Are you dead inside yet?
For whatever reason, the team behind this “reboot” opted to include all sorts of cases that lead to writing suicide. The worst aspect of it, obviously, is its clumsy implementation of what’s supposedly popular today. They clearly don’t care how it’s shoved into the writing; not only are the memes incredibly facepalm-worthy, but any self-respecting individual could see just how wrong it is to have six-year-old girls twerking. Oh, but despite allowing that scene to exist, the writers thought Ms. Bellum (a recurring character from the original show that, despite her gag with her face, is a thoroughly capable intelligent woman that is treated with other characters’ respect) is too sexy to be in the reboot, so an episode was created to kick her out.
The folks at Cartoon Network are obviously trying to use the show as a tool to place emphasis on “girl power”, trying to reduce anything “offensive” as a result. It’s already a bad idea since the original show wasn’t made to exclude any portion of its audience. Yet, the execution from the new mentality is one of the most confusing I’ve ever seen. They’re seemingly too afraid to let kids know women have boobs, not knowing that children can easily see that their own mothers have them. There’s nothing sacred about displaying normal feminine features.
As for males, they demonstrate the complete opposite idea by showing an elderly man in his underwear in front of six-year-old girls. Because there’s nothing hypocritical about that whatsoever, am I right?
I know, this review essentially became a frequent stabbing at the Cartoon Network equivalent of Swiss cheese. It’s unfathomable how many holes there are to the logic being shown. You want to know what the worst thing about the idea of the “reboot”, though? For a show called “The Powerpuff Girls“, and for a concept that features superpowered girls beating up bad guys and such, they sure don’t act like Powerpuff Girls. In fact, at least two of the three girls would be in trouble. A lot. Buttercup is basically the favorite of the trio. There are whole episode plots that would center around her, and she would sometimes have to save her sisters from whatever dumb thing is written in the script.
Now, just how is the writing exactly? I mean, we now know it’s littered with memes and female pandering. Well, each episode is its own little story, which is one thing it has in common with the original show. However, they are more often than not about slice of life plots, even if there is a monster that eventually comes in to make things a bit more exciting. The plots can range from Buttercup trying to mellow down with professional help (a recycled idea from the old show, anyway) to the girls having a G-rated hangover.
For some random reason, there are also plots that toss in a new character. Apparently, a show featuring superpowered six-year-old girls isn’t interesting enough to just have them as the main stars. One episode centered around a horse trying to be a unicorn so Bubbles would openly accept him as a friend. Another throws in a princess that keeps trying to nearly kill herself so the man of her dreams can come to save her (Nope, nothing hypocritical here).
At this point, one may wonder “Hey, are there going to be any bad guys for the girls to beat up?”
The answer is yes and no. Bad guys do appear in the show, but the action is nowhere as hectic as it gets in the original show. This is because the executives don’t want the animators to show them beating anything up. You know, one of the very things the series is known for. So whenever there is a bad guy, they try to loop around the issue by either toning down the violence or looping around the idea of direct physical contact between the heroes and baddies.
The grand majority of the villains that the girls face are exclusive to the “reboot”. That isn’t to say the old villains make new appearances, though. The first time recurring villain Mojo Jojo appears in the “reboot”, it’s during the G-rated hangover episode, and the girls find him dressed in drag. With the exception of maybe one or two times, all of his appearances in the “reboot” are brief and show him expressing satisfactions in cross-dressing.
To be fair, there are two villains that are actually commendable to an extent. Princess Morbucks, the whiny spoiled rich child wanting to be a Powerpuff Girl from the original show, has an episode in this new show. She’s more of a sassy rich type with a much more controlled voice who almost wins after ordering a monster (via a bad guy equivalent of the Uber app – easily my favorite joke in this “reboot”) to beat the PPG. HIM, the confident, mystifying, satanic demon from the original show is back as well, and shockingly his act in another episode lives up to his old tricks.
It’s just too bad no one can settle on consistency for anything in the show. Professor Utonium has a 3000-year-old chest that unleashes ghosts (that are somehow able to take selfies), but only one episode ever pays attention to that, for example. Then there’s sudden one-time characteristics like Bubbles being an app game designer. All three girls will forever be obnoxious, nevertheless. Blossom’s obsessed with cleanliness and good grades, Buttercup’s a brat that could care less about anything proper, and Bubbles is a meme-loving tot that is slightly more girlish than her sisters. All of them are flanderized to death and are prone to unleashing a few seconds of screen-filled anger for a desperate attempt to make somebody in the audience laugh.
There are too many times where there’s some random imagery onscreen for cheap laughs. No real thought or setup is prepared for the moment. It just happens and we are supposed to accept it and laugh as if we’re toddlers glancing at jangling keys. Yet, the “reboot” makes allusions to the old show that fans of the original series would be the only people to understand. Mojo Jojo already serves as an example of such, but another character that regularly appeared in the old show, the narrator, hardly ever has a line to say in the “reboot”. One episode literally has him say a single line. They also like to do a couple twists on the original show’s “Once again the day is saved” sequence, but said sequence also hardly ever makes an appearance in the “reboot” anyway.
Also, if this is a reboot, why does it keep trying to piggyback on the original show? Heck, why couldn’t the new Powerpuff Girls retain any of the good things the original show embraced?
To think there’s going to be a second season…