Looking back on my childhood, it seems like my entire life was colored pink, blue and green. I grew up watching “The Powerpuff Girls” like a lot of kids born in the ’90s. The original series, which was created in 1998 by Craig McCracken, wrapped absurd humor, action-filled adventures and badass female heroes together into an adorable candy-colored package tied up with Blossom’s signature red bow. The show went off air in 2005 after six seasons and a feature length film. In 2014, Cartoon Network announced they would be reviving the show without McCracken’s presence but with his approval. The rebooted series premiered April 4.
I was both anxious and excited for this new series. Would it have the same sugar and spice? Would it be everything nice? Teasers showed the reboot was building off McCracken’s original ’60s-inspired animation style, which was a relief. However, it was announced June 8, 2015 that the girls’ original voices of E.G Daily (Buttercup), Cathy Cavadini (Blossom) and Tara Strong (Bubbles) would not be returning to the show. They would be replaced with Amanda Leighton (Blossom), Kristen Li (Bubbles) and Natalie Palamides (Buttercup).
“We decided, for this reimagining of “The Powerpuff Girls”, to infuse a new tone and energy,” executive producer Nick Jennings explained.
Unfortunately, these changes lowered the show’s quality. While the new series has the same colorful animation style, it lacks the impeccable comedic timing and wit of the original. Nothing is as absurd or silly as it could be. Granted there are a few good jokes here and there, for example in the episode “Princess Buttercup,” villain Princess Morbucks requests a monster using an Uber-type app on her phone. The joke continues with the monster asking for a good rating before being destroyed. Jokes like these are only accents, though. The actual comedic impact of the stories is not strong. In the original show, entire episodes would be dedicated to establishing and maintaining a joke to its fullest potential. A classic episode and a personal favorite of mine is the season three episode “Meet the Beat-Alls,” where all the girls’ villains team up to create a villain supergroup to defeat them. The episode is full of Beatles lyrics and references. I don’t think you’d see a whole Beatles-themed episode in the reboot. It takes itself much too seriously. Though I had hope for the show, the voice acting is mediocre at best. The new voices clearly reference the original voices, making it unoriginal and contradictory to the reason new voice actors were hired. This fact, plus the subpar writing, makes this new reboot less than satisfactory.
Perhaps the most frustrating part is that these new versions of the characters don’t kick as much butt as they used to. You don’t really see them save the city of Townsville. What makes the girls interesting character-wise and what attracted me to them back when I was a kid was that they fought crimes on top of being little girls. The reboot fails to realize they are more than perfect little girls.
The series is a huge let down overall. Though it may have elements of the sugar, the spice, and everything nice, it doesn’t have the thing which makes it special: the chemical X.
Frida Gurewitz is a junior English major. She can be reached at [email protected]