Saturday, April 9, 2016

On The Air: The Powerpuff Girls (2016)

Yeah, like, they're back, man.

The Powerpuff Girls have been revived by Cartoon Network with the blessing of series creator Craig McCracken, who is no longer with the network, having moved his creative tack to Disney some time back.

CN suits, inspired by the ratings success of the 2014 Powerpuff special, "Dance Pantsed", decided to bring the girls back, but there are some subtle changes.

First and foremost, the girls have aged a wee bit. If you are a comic book fan, you'd probably get the idea of characters aging very, very slowly. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that Blossom, Buttercup, & Bubbles are now in the 2nd or 3rd grade, and would be about anywhere from 7-9 years of age. Yes, they look the same, but for a slight growth spurt adding a couple of inches in height apiece. Bearing this in mind, they've also adopted some of the same traits common to young girls in their age group, such as crushing on boy bands. Not quite old enough to be in Taylor Swift's girl squad, you understand.

People are complaining about the cast changes, as CN recast the three leads, rather than bring back the original actresses (Cathy Cavadini, E. G. Daily, & Tara Strong, although the latter has been quite busy with Teen Titans Go! for CN). I think the idea is that CN wanted to remold and reintroduce the girls for a new generation of viewers, as the sisters marked their 20th anniversary not too long ago.

The new series is in the currently popular 15 minute format, so you can still get two episodes per half hour. There are also 4 online shorts that are available On Demand, such as "Air Buttercup".

I wasn't that impressed with "Air Buttercup", but "Escape From Monster Island", the series opener, was a clear representation of the show's new direction. The Narrator (Tom Kenny) is not used in every episode, and I thought he might've been phased out altogether. Kenny also voices the Mayor of Townsville, who calls on the girls as his plane crashes on the island. Concurrently, Blossom & Buttercup are arguing over who should accompany Bubbles to a boy band concert after Bubbles won a radio contest.

The problem with that particular subplot is that in normal circumstances, children under 18 aren't eligible to be radio contest winners unless there are certain conditions that waive the usual regulations. I've never known a 9 year old to win any contest on the radio. The parents, yeah, but where was Professor Utonium?

It's this kind of writing, which insults the viewer's intelligence, that CN prefers to employ, the attitude being, it doesn't matter to us, the kids'll watch it 2 or 3 dozen times anyway. Not a good attitude to take.

Nice idea to let the girls grow up a tad, but, as per normal, the CN folks need to find better writers.

Rating: C-.


Steven Dolce said...

Good thing it's not like TTG.

Silverstar said...

I never thought it was going to be like TTGO!; not the same production team, writers or staff.

The most puzzling thing about the new PPG, for me anyway, concerns the Girls' school and classmates: some of them appear to be fellow elementary students, while others look more like preteens. Perhaps it's an elementary/middle school and our heroines are in a mixed class.

I personality don't mind the alterations to the story structure, as the nonstop formula of "The City of Townsville...And so the day is saved" formula, was, IMO, getting a little old, though hiccups like the plot hole in said radio contest, do indeed need to be worked on.

We've given our detailed thoughts about this reboot on Twinsanity!

Goldstar said...

I saw the first 5 episodes of the Powerpuff Girls reboot this past week, and while I enjoyed them more than I did "Dance Pants Revolution", I'll concede that the reboot wasn't perfect. A viewer compared this shows' humor to that of "Teen Titans GO!", but I didn't see it us such. No, the new PPG isn't perfect, but it's not the worst thing ever.

There was a big furor over the Girls having new voice actors, with fans of the original series threatening to boycott the new series before it had even aired. It's really not a big deal. At all. Tara Strong even wished the new VAs good luck on the show. If it's not an issue to her, I don't see why it's an issue to the old-school viewers. having the original VAs alone doesn't guarantee that the show will be good. It should only matter if the writing is strong.

And yeah, the plot of the PPGs winning a radio contest to attend a boy band concert was a tad implausible, given their age, but it was no more implausible than two 8 year old kids walking across the countryside so that one of them can meet a girl whom he saw on TV in a crowd during a baseball game for a few seconds and has now fallen deeply in love with her, which was the plot of the CBS special "Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown".

Goldstar said...

Also, I like the shows' new theme song, "Who's Got the Power?".

hobbyfan said...

@Silverstar: Read your review, and that was the inspiration for going On Demand. The old format wore out its welcome rather quickly, in the original series. After the first few episodes of that series, I was, like, yeah, we get it. Change the record!!

@Goldstar: Haven't seen "Someday, You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown", and I suspect the writers used that as an excuse to justify the concert as a subplot, even though "Someday" was a lifetime ago.

@Steven: We can all thank God that it isn't like Teen Titans GO!. Bad enough that CN has brainwashed enough kids with that garbage.