As someone born in the ‘90s, the Powerpuff Girls were all the rage for my generation. I remember collecting the dolls as a kid, and always identifying with Blossom, as much as I wanted to be more like Buttercup. When I helped out at a kindergarten class during my senior year of high school, I asked the 4-year-olds if they’d ever heard of the Powerpuff Girls — and they had not. So it’s really exciting for me that this 1990s classic was updated to appeal to children of the current generation.
Like some other shows on Cartoon Network, like Adventure Time and Steven Universe, the show will appeal to adults as much as it does children. With references to the classic series, funny innuendos, and feminist moments, the rebooted series is well worth a binge-watch session or two.
While there have been some criticisms of the reboot, mostly targeting its modernization and one episode that read to some as transphobic (though the writer responsible has come out to say it wasn’t a metaphor for gender identity), there are tons of upsides to the series. For one, series creators Bob Boyle and Nick Jennings estimate that women make up 50-65 percent of the show’s crew. Additionally, the new theme song is sung by Tacocat, a Seattle-based feminist pop-punk band.
A few of the classic villains remain, including Mojo Jojo and HIM — both of whom are as gender-bending as they were in the original series.
Some stand-out moments in the show, for me, include the following:
• Episode 2, "Princess Buttercup," where Buttercup joins an all-girl roller derby team. For generations, roller derby has been seen as a feminist sport, by and for women, that often attracts a queer fanbase.
• Episode 6, "Man Up," where a villain named Man-Boy (dressed as a lumberjack) shows up to spout misogynistic bigotry. He refers to Buttercup as “princess,” which leads to outrage from her. It’s obvious that this episode is a metaphor for the “Men’s Rights” trolls that often spend time harassing feminists online.
• Episode 7, "Bye Bye Bellum," features the departure of Ms. Bellum, the mayor’s assistant in the original series. While some may disagree, I personally am happy by Ms. Bellum’s departure as in the original series, her face is never shown. She’s quite literally just a walking, talking, curvy body. To me, this seemed dehumanizing, as it objectified this woman’s body despite the fact she was an important person in the governing of Townsville since the mayor is so incompetent.
• Episode 14, "Puffdora’s Box," is one of the episodes that focused on Blossom’s potential Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. As someone who has lived with OCD all my life, it’s refreshing to see the often misunderstood illness presented to a younger audience. I sure wish there was a cartoon character with OCD when I was a kid!
• Episode 17, "Once Upon A Townsville," totally destroys the one-dimensional idea of a princess, as the Powerpuff Girls rescue a stereotypical princess fixated on her prince saving her.
• Episode 25, "Fashion Forward," is about villainous duo The Fashionistas launching their own brand of scarves, known as Smoojhis. However, the professor refuses to by Smoojhis for the girls, as the slogan for them is “Looks Are Everything.” And as it turns out, the Smoojhis brainwashed people into following The Fashionistas idly.
Season 2 of the Powerpuff Girls reboot aired last month. While not on Hulu yet, I look forward to watching it and seeing if the awesomeness continues!
Top Image: Cartoon Network
More from BUST