28 Feb

Perfection and the Powerpuff Girls

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 7.47.36 PM

For those who haven’t seen the buzz yet, there’s a Powerpuff Girls revival coming to save the day later this Spring.

If this is your first encounter with The Powerpuff Girls, allow me to fill you in: The Powerpuff Girls follows the lives of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup as they balance a typical childhood with a superhero lifestyle. Amidst attending kindergarten, hosting slumber parties, and following a curfew, the girls are often called upon by the Mayor of Townsville and his deputy, Ms. Sara Bellum, to save the city from criminals, monsters, and a collection of eccentric villains.

The original series ran for six action-packed seasons from 1998 to 2005. In 2014, Cartoon Network announced the series’ revival, and two weeks ago, we got our first look at the girls’ new intro. . .

. . .and its packed with unbridled pop-punk awesomeness.

However, this new theme song performed by Tacocat reintroduces the strange and questionable circumstances of the Powerpuff Girls’ creation. The theme begins with some of the original narration by Tom Kenny:

“Sugar. Spice. And everything nice. These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girl. But Professor Utonium accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: Chemical X. Thus the Powerpuff Girls were born!”

When we compare the Professor’s intention (“to create the perfect little girl”) with the end result, we clearly see that the Powerpuff Girls were merely the result of a failed experiment. How can a show that was praised for everything from pop culture references to female empowerment rely on the idea that the very girls who are meant to empower us are no more than a failed attempt at perfection?

Well, maybe that’s not the message the story of the girls’ creation is trying to send.

We cannot ignore the upbeat vibes of the show as a whole and the overwhelmingly positive response of the citizens of Townsville towards the Powerpuff Girls. If we allow the show’s positive outlook to pervade the introduction as well, this “failed” experiment takes on an entirely different meaning:

You don’t have to conform to any one person’s idea of perfection in order to be perfect.

While the Professor failed in the creation of the perfect little girl, he succeeded in the creation of three perfect little girls, and the energy throughout the show proves that. Better yet, each of the girls boast their own unique personalities, showing that ‘perfection’ manifests itself in many different ways. Blossom is charismatic, intelligent, and perceptive. Bubbles is sweet, compassionate, and eager. Buttercup is resilient, bold, and intuitive. None of them are more important than the others. None of them are more well-loved than the others. None of them are stronger than the others.

These little girls share an important lesson: There is no such thing as the perfect little girl, but girls can find perfection in themselves. What better message to send to a group who has historically been forced to conform to the ideals of physical and emotional perfection thrust upon us by the media and society at large?

And, hey, let’s not forget what Bubbles tells the Professor: “Everything great you’ve ever created has been by accident!”

[Image from “Who’s Got the Power?” music video by Cartoon Network and Tacocat. Minute 0:21.]

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