L-r: Bubbles, Blosom, Buttercup.


Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1992
Creator: Craig McCracken
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Litttle girls, as we all know, are made of sugar, spice and everything nice. But The Powerpuff Girls, who were created in a genetic engineering laboratory instead of being born like …

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… everybody else, are made of sugar, spice, everything nice, and Chemical X. Professor Utonium, the brilliant genetic engineer who was in charge of the girl-making project, accidentally added to the recipe. That's why they're superheroes.

The Powerpuff Girls began as the entry of animation student Craig McCracken (Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends) into Spike & Mike's Animation Festival, released September 1, 1992. There, they were called "The Whoopass Girls" and the substance Professor Utonium accidentally added to the mix was a can of a chemical called "whoopass". In fact, the cartoon was named for the accident: Whoopass Stew: A Sticky Situation. In it, the girls defeated The Vile Gangreen Gang. All of their voices were done by Jennifer Fried, who has no other acting credits at all.

McCracken has expressed a preference for "graphic, simple, comic-booky stuff where things are broken down into basic shapes and colors so that they read simply and clearly". He was experimenting with drawings of children with bigger, sadder-looking eyes than anything human could possibly have, of the type popular in the 1960s and '70s, when he came up with the basic designs for his little-girl superheroes.

Cartoon Network (Cow & Chicken, Johnny Bravo) re-named the girls and ran animation about them on its What a Cartoon! show, where many disparate cartoons about characters as old as George & Junior or as new as I.M. Weasel were seen. Their first appearance there was in Crime 101, which appeared on January 28, 1995. It sometimes happens that concepts first shown in that venue, such as Dexter's Laboratory and Courage the Cowardly Dog, are eventually deemed worthy of their own slots on the schedule. The Powerpuff Girls got their own show on November 18, 1998.

The girls were named Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup. They didn't have secret identities, so it was easy for them to get permission to leave the room at Pokey Oaks Kindergarten. All they had to do was raise their hands and explain that they had to save the world. Their teacher, Ms. Keane, was very understanding. The girls had individual characterization, but it didn't go so deep it couldn't be described quickly. Bubbles was the quick-witted leader. Blossom was the cute little charmer. Buttercup was the tomboy with an attitude.

Blossom was voiced by Cathy Cavadini, who has had various roles in animation based on DC Comics properties, such as Batman, Teen Titans and Justice League of America. Bubbles was originally voiced by Kath Soucie (Phil and Lil in Rugrats and All Grown Up), but the role was taken over after the series started by Tara Strong (Timmy in Fairly OddParents). Buttercup was Elizabeth Daily, who has been Wendy Elizabeth in Eek! the Cat, Louie in Quack Pack and more.

Professor Utonium was Tom Kane (Magneto in X-Men). Ms. Keane was Jennifer Hale (the current voice of Disney's Cinderella, on such occasions as she turns up. The adventures took place in a city called Townsville, location unknown, whose mayor was voiced by Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants).

The series proved to be one of the most popular Cartoon Network ever carried. It's been adapted for Japanese tastes as Demishita! Powerpuff Girls Z. A total of 80 episodes of the original version were made, including a 10th anniversary special, plus a couple of feature-length presentations. That, plus a mountain of home video releases, books, toys, etc. attests to the girls' continuing popularity.


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