Moral Decay (The Powerpuff Girls, 1998)
After cleaning the house and getting a $1.00 reward, Buttercup discovers a way to get more by knocking out teeth from bad guys and putting them under her pillow.
Why It Breaks People's Teeth
- Buttercup is unlikeable in this episode. After accidentally knocking out one of Bubbles’ teeth and getting money from the tooth fairy, Buttercup becomes very greedy as she tries to knock more teeth out of her sisters, but when the Professor stops her before she can start, she decides the teeth from bad guys is a better option, she even beats the villains’ teeth who didn’t even do anything illegal yet. Bad guys need some beating, only when they deserve it for their crimes, but not like this!
- Blossom and Bubbles are almost no better either since they decide to have Buttercup punished by betraying her. They never confront Buttercup and call her out for her greed when they find out what Buttercup was doing as they immediately resort to betraying her without a second thought. They are also out of character since they always respond to the mayors pleas for help whenever he is kidnapped but when the villains kidnap him to talk to Bubbles and Blossom on the phone, the latter treats the mayor’s kidnapping like it’s no big deal. Blossom and Bubbles do not receive any comeuppance for betraying their sister and letting the villains beat her up.
- Plot Holes: Many throughout the episode.
- First off, Buttercup stole teeth from not only villains and crooks but giant kaiju monsters too. Due to the shape of the kaiju teeth, Professor Utonium would have noticed that Buttercup was up to no good due to the teeth being a huge fang that is almost as tall as the Girls' room wall instead of normal human teeth but instead he places money in her pillow without question. Why did he do that?
- As Professor Utonium is a scientist, he should have noticed another red flag from Buttercup, which is how many teeth she has been placing under her bed and pretending that is her own teeth. On average, the amount of teeth a normal human has ranges from 20 to 32 teeth (including wisdom teeth) but Buttercup brings enough teeth to fill up an entire sack full of money, which is estimated to be worth hundreds our thousands of dollars. Why did the Professor not notice this either? Had this episode been written more logically, Buttercup would have had her scam exposed when she had received 20 to 32 dollars from the teeth and the Professor would have noticed her scam due to Buttercup still having all of her teeth instead of having a mouth that looks like a newborn baby.
- In the ending, the narrator was also beaten for his teeth, as we hear him in pain. How did Buttercup even get to him?
- Bad Moral: Betraying your family members and selling them out to their enemies is good if said members misbehave. This is shown when Bubbles and Blossom decide to betray Buttercup by tricking her into going to a museum where she would be trapped by the villains and refusing to help her. Betraying a family member in reality is never a good way to punish them.
- Buttercup's punishment, while deserving, is very harsh. Not only do Blossom and Bubbles abandon Buttercup while she gets tortured by the villains and also knocks her teeth out, but also, her money is spent to pay her dentist bills, which is just cruel.
- One infamous scene where we get a lovely (note the sarcasm) look at Buttercup’s mouth after a beating from the villains.
- The Professor, who is generally portrayed as being a very caring, considerate, protective, reasonably strict, responsible, and selfless dad, sometimes to the point of being overprotective of the girls' safety, comes across as being very cold in regards to Buttercup’s suffering at the end of the episode when they are all sitting together in the dentist’s office waiting for her to go in to get her teeth fixed. Granted, he has every right to be disappointed in Buttercup, and punish her for what she did in this episode. But to not even ask his injured daughter if she is feeling okay after what she suffered?
- The episode started decent, with the girls cleaning the entire house.
- There are a few funny moments in the episode.
- While the episode has a bad moral, it also has a good moral, that greed can lead to your downfall.
This episode was not well received by fans, especially in comparison with the episode that followed it. Some fans consider this to be one of the worst episodes of Classic PPG, and Umbra Magna ranked this as #2 of the worst episode of the series.
- This is the only episode that features Buttercup having a criminal role, the same way a negative ending happened to Blossom in A Very Special Blossom.