Does anyone else remember the unrivaled awesomeness that was Cartoon Cartoon Fridays? Well congratulations, you’re childhood was fucking amazing. For those where too young to remember or too old for cartoons, in 1999, Cartoon Network created a block of entertainment that was as legendary as Toonami was for basically introducing anime to a large Western audience for the first time. CCF introduced the world to Ed Edd n Eddy, Dexter’s Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, I Am Weasel, Johnny Bravo, and of course, The Powerpuff Girls.
I remember pretending that I didn’t like the Powerpuff Girls, because I was ten, and it was a “girls” show. This was the same for boys pretending they didn’t like Kim Possible a few years later. I sure as hell didn’t change the channel though. My rationale was I’d miss the giveaways and prize reveals, waiting for a phone call where I would race to answer and shout “Cartoon Cartoon Fridays!” at whoever was unfortunate enough to be at the other end.
However, Cartoon Network just revealed that they were reviving the show. It’s got a whole new art scheme, and voice cast for the girls (who actually seem to be the only replacements, but more on that later) and a new producer, Nick Jennings, the art director for Adventure Time. I’ve seen the new art work on the girls and my response is... meh.
Gender Neutral Powerpuff Girls?
I don’t even know how to explain how I feel about this artwork. It’s really dreary by comparison. Bubbles’ hair is dulled and her pigtails are slightly different, Blossom’s bow is taller, and they made Buttercup look like a five year-old lesbian. Not a great start. It may be nitpicking, but their eyes look strange, almost like there is too much white in them.
Also, compare the background to the old. The old was a colorful splash of reds and pinks; traditional girl colors. This is yellow. I might be reaching here, and I probably am, but could someone please remind me what color represents gender neutrality again? Have we reached the point where even The Powerpuff Girls are ashamed of being girls? Are they gonna change their name to The Powerpuff Gender Neutral Noun?
While some of you may have never liked the show, which is a perfectly reasonable position to take, I actually liked it. I pretended not to, but that’s not the point. Girls liked it because it was a girls’ show, which is fine, as there are boy shows and girl shows: the way it should be. Even though it was a girls’ show, they were still superheroes, and even boys can appreciate girl superheroes.
Defending Her Honor
I’ve defended this show from detractors, claiming it was young feminist indoctrination. Besides the show actually being relatively anti-feminist (at least anti-third wave feminist), this argument falls flat for several other reasons, but I’ll cite the biggest one: the Rowdyruff Boys.
While the girls can kick the snot out of every living thing on the planet, their only superiors in brute force were the Rowdyruff Boys. The girls are stronger because of the method of their making, but what happened when a set of boys were created in the same manner? All the same powers and skills, but they were boys. These boys—who were created in the same fashion—kicked the shit out of them. No contest who won that fight. They weren’t really even all that evil, just misguided and juvenile, so we can’t really claim they were trying to portray boys as evil.
While Buttercup was all for going back and fighting, Ms. Bellum (a true feminist) told them their true power was not brute force, but their femininity. Ms. Bellum knew they couldn’t win playing their game, so she suggested they stopped trying to beat them at being boys, and win by being girls.
Ms. Bellum herself destroys many arguments against this show. In a notable episode titled “Equal Fights,” the girls thwart a bank robbery from a new villain name Femme Fatale. The girls actually let her go after she unloads some feminist theory on them, essentially brainwashing them into hating men and justifying any negative behavior from a female as an attack on men, thus acceptable.
The girls are too young to understand what equal rights even mean. Instead of critically thinking about what equal would actually mean, they just assumed like many young indoctrinated women, it means man-hating. They begin attacking boys in the school, the professor, and the mayor, while completely and willfully ignoring Femme Fatale’s crime spree.
Ms. Bellum sits them down and has a “girl talk” with them. She reveals how hypocritical Femme Fatale is, and that her victims included other women. This is where the girls realize what equality actually means and what it implies. They then go and stop Femme Fatale, who was busy stealing all of the Susan B. Anthony coins in the city of Townsville. Susan B. Anthony, who once demanded that because she broke the law, she needed to go to jail like any man would.
In 2001, the Powerpuff Girls taught little girls why feminism was stupid.
Equal Pay For For Equal Work?
I don't remember ordering a stab in the heart today https://t.co/wmomYvtCDG
— tara strong (@tarastrong) June 8, 2015
I have NO ILL FEELINGS 4 the actresses in the new #ppg, We were just beyond hurt we were NEVER asked..every role I breathe life into I love
— tara strong (@tarastrong) June 9, 2015
I previously mentioned the original voices of the girls will not be returning. However, this is not because they declined to return. Tara Strong was disappointed she wasn’t invited back, but wishes no ill feelings toward the new actresses. And when I say new, I mean new: only Amanda Leighton, the new Blossom, has anything resembling a resume. However, Tom Kenny, Roger L. Jackson, and Jennifer Hale are returning, but not Tara Strong, E.G. Daily, or Cathy Cavadini. I have a theory as to why: money.
Tara Strong and E.G. Daily are the undisputed queens of voice acting. Cathy Cavadini has been around, but you can fold Tara Strong’s resume four times over and it’ll still be longer than Cavadini’s. Besides vocal chops, Strong and Daily have price tags brand new, fresh talent can’t ask for yet.
Part of me hopes they rebooted the show just to hijack its messages of true equality and femininity as strength, just so I can laugh and point out that they built it off paying three women less.
I guess little girls are made from sugar, spice, and sweet irony.