The Powerpuff Girls (2016)
The Powerpuff Girls is an animated series based on the 1998 series of the same name by Craig McCracken. It is a reboot that aired on Cartoon Network on April 4th, 2016, and reruns formerly aired on Boomerang until January 2018. It stars Amanda Leighton (replacing Cathy Cavadini), Kristen Li (replacing Tara Strong), Natalie Palamides (replacing E.G. Daily), and the rest of the original cast coming back from the 1998 series.
Why It Sucks
- Addressing the elephant in the room, the reboot sucks out the charm of the original, as it has less crime-fighting and more slice-of-life-ish scenes related to what the characters do when "they are not saving the world". And like Teen Titans Go! and Ben 10, it lacks the action-packed tone and dark elements of the original.
- Speaking of Teen Titans Go!, it even had a crossover with that show called “TTG vs PPG”, which also sucks and barely qualifies as a team-up.
- Awful and questionable script-writing and writing in general that comes off being nonsensical.
- Neither Cathy Cavadini, E.G. Daily, nor Tara Strong reprise their roles as Blossom, Buttercup, or Bubbles respectively. Instead, they are voiced by stand-ins Amanda Leighton, Kristen Li, and Natalie Palamides for their youthful looks.
- Buttercup's new voice actress, Natalie, in particular sounds absolutely nothing like Daily as she makes the character sound too tomboyish, while Amanda Leighton and Kristen Li's impression of Blossom and Bubbles sound too whiny.
- The original voice actors were not even consulted when the network decided to recast the girls.
- The animation is noticeably stiff.
- Ugly and bland character designs for the background characters which don’t fit in the Powerpuff Girls universe. In fact, they look like rejected or background characters from Gravity Falls, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Steven Universe, We Bare Bears, and Clarence because of their rubbery/rounded out, cheaply designed, nor just not as dynamic-looking as the characters used to be in the original show.
- The narrator is rarely used in Season 1 of the show, even though he was what made the original cartoon special because of how hilariously overdramatic he is.
- And what's even worse is that the narrator was completely removed in Seasons 2 and 3 of the show.
- Usage of outdated memes and internet slang in the first season in an attempt to pander to modern culture, such as the "No Me Gusta!" meme as seen in "Tiara Trouble", Frowny Cat (parody of Grumpy Cat) and the Mojo Jojo Meme Maker in "Viral Spiral", and Bubbles saying “OMG! Yaaaas!” and "I can't even" in "Painbow".
- Ms. Bellum, the mayor's assistant, is absent because Nick Jennings thought that having a beautiful, warm-hearted, motherly, intelligent and strong-willed woman on the show was offensive to the new generation and stated getting rid of her was "a good choice", yet they added a villain named Bianca Bikini who only cares about fashion, being another sexist stereotype. It's painfully obvious Ms. Bellum was eliminated to appease moral guardians who found her inappropriate based solely on her busty appearance, and not her personality.
- The characters from the original series are wildly different and completely out-of-character compared to their original counterparts:
- Blossom is now an over-reactive, nagging, and exaggerating OCD neurotic perfectionist who cries and throws a tantrum over the slightest things like being out of the student council ("Fashion Forward") and not becoming part of the Model UN club ("The Secret Life of Blossom Powerpuff"). She's obsessed with Jared Shapiro as well. (whenever he is involved, except in "Phantasm Chasm"). She seems to be the most unlikable out of the three.
- Bubbles is now a childish, crybaby, whiny and stereotypically girly "girl" who cries over the smallest stuff like a bad school picture and losing her doll, Octi. She becomes more tolerable in later seasons.
- Buttercup is now more of a bully than a tough girl who teases her sisters and beats people around her, behaving too much of a clichéd tomboy, albeit she is the most tolerable out of the three.
- The Professor has been changed from a caring and responsible smart father to an unfunny idiotic dad trope whose inventions come out moreoften than not as silly rather than useful.
- Mojo Jojo no longer utilises his famous language and speech patterns. Instead he acts like a stereotypical villainous illeist who speaks in 3rd person (Similar to other villains who do it like Zim from Invader Zim, but not in a good way) almost all the time for example: "Mojo pays good money for high-speed Internet", "Mojo is not hideous! He is at least a solid... eight!", "Chelsea, crush the last Puny Puff Girl! And her dopey unicorn friend". He is likable at the times.
- The Mayor of Townsville is now an unfunny comic relief who has an obsession with only pickles instead of his other favorite foods such as sunflower seeds and toast.
- Princess Morbucks is much more greedy than in the original series and is now the stereotypical famous girl who's making money jokes. Her new voice, too, is distracting and sounds like a stereotypical teen girl, and it doesn't match her appearance.
- The songs and the singing are terrible with "Tiara Trouble", "Once Upon a Townsville", "Snow Month", And "Drama Bomb" being notable examples.
- There are disembodied voices singing everything, with some examples like Bubbles' Totally Real Unicorn Horn in "Horn, Sweet Horn", Morbuck's introductionin "Princess Buttercup", and the Soda of Peace in "The Secret Life of Blossom Powerpuff".
- The villains from the original such as Sedusa weren't properly introduced to the new generation, meaning they just appear randomly with no explanation of who they are or why they're even there.
- Some of the original villains have been relegated to being crammed into scenes for no reason, such as The Rowdyruff Boys making a pointless cameo in the episode "Total Eclipse of the Kart".
- The new villains are uninteresting and lame, such as the Fashionistas, Manboy, Janitaur, Gnat, and Allegro.
- Weird media in the reboot that makes no sense for the Powerpuff Girls universe such as Space Towtruck, The Turn Around Tank (parody of Shark Tank), ect.
- The humor of the show is unfunny and very awkward that's cringeworthy.
- Some of the character redesigns are unnecessary, such as Professor Utonium now having round corners, and Ms. Keane, the Girls' teacher, lacking her bust, though they reappear in the episode "Save the Date".
- Blossom and Bubbles actually twerk in one scene, seemingly in a horribly misguided attempt to be "hip" and "with it". To make matters worse, they are little girls, making this a minor child sexualization offense. This also comes off as extremely hypocritical, this is okay for showing on a kids network, but not Ms. Bellum?
- What makes this even worse is that the episode was storyboarded and even written by Julia Vickerman (creator of 12 Forever), who is an actual pedophile!
- Speaking of sexualizing underage children, Blossom was given a love interest named Jared Shapiro. Jared appears much older than her and she's frequently seen having weird fantasies about him. This is very creepy, especially since the character has the same given name and similar appearance to ex-Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle, who was arrested for child pornography charges shortly before the reboot aired.
- This lead to theories by fans that Jared was modeled after and voiced by series lead writer Jake Goldman. Luckily this was debunked since it was Haley Mancini’s idea and not Jake’s.
- Not only Jared Shapiro is older than Blossom, but he’s also a pointless love-interest with no character and personality and he’s nothing but a nerdy stereotype.
- The credits theme is horribly sung, and cringe-worthy as it is basically a shortened version of the shows theme song.
- Pokey Oaks Kindergarten has been destroyed all because their class hamster, Twiggy, mutated from a potion in "The Wrinklegruff Gals", meaning the girls are now in middle school for some reason despite being 5/6 year olds.
- But it’s revealed that they’re 10-11 years old because one episode claimed that they had five picture days (picture days happen once a year), but yet their appearances have not changed or gotten older.
- There are numerous animation errors in almost every episode such as this one. In fact, this show has so many animation errors that even a blog was made pointing them out.
- The show lazily uses live-action stock images and footage, with the rap scene from "Once Upon a Townsville" and this scene from "Presidential Punchout" being notable examples.
- The Girls are given multiple cartoony and anime facial expressions that are too over to the top and feel like they don't suit the characters' normal faces.
- The iconic ending hearts are rarely used in the series, and they no longer appear afterwards during Season 2 and 3.
- Boring action scenes. This is because the girls can't hit anybody without a flash being used to censor it, in yet another attempt to appeal to today's increasingly extreme moral guardians, which clearly failed since Infinity Train was allowed a bloody death scene 2 years later.
- Similar to Breadwinners, it abuses gross-out humor, meaning the violence has explicit skinnings, realistic injuries, allergy-induced visuals and violent and overactive behavior while using powers. As a result, it feels disturbing to the point where the show almost feels more like an adult parody than a children's show.
- There is the infamous 4th Powerpuff Girl named Blisstina Utonium, who wasn’t well received by fans.
- The show is a blatant cash grab, given the original series already had a 15th anniversary special called Dance Pantsed that aired back in 2013, which, despite different character designs, and a awkward storyline of the special, was still faithful to the original.
- Even though The Powerpuff Girls have new voice actresses, some of the voice actors from the original series such as Tom Kenny, Tom Kane, Roger L. Jackson and Jennifer Hale reprise their roles as The Narrator, Professor Utonium, Mojo Jojo, The Mayor, and Miss Keane.
- And there are still some decent, tolerable, and okay characters such as The Derbytantes, Barry, The Mayor, Ms. Keane, HIM, and sometimes Buttercup, Bubbles, and Mojo Jojo.
- Bubbles and Buttercup become more tolerable during Seasons 2-3. They also gained some character development than Blossom, Bubbles started crying less than her original counterpart and from Season 1 of the reboot and is now a computer geek and Buttercup being good at math.
- The theme song, "Who's Got the Power?" by Tacocat is good, and the full music video had great animation and more action than the actual show.
- The voice acting is at least average, like Amanda Leighton's, Kristen Li's and Natalie Palamides' when the girls are not annoying.
- The Japanese dub is an improvement to the English version.
- The soundtrack is pretty nice.
- The outdated meme references are removed in the second season and onwards.
- At least the redesigns of the characters are minor and still stay true to the original designs.
- The redesigns of the girls are decent, such as giving Bubbles pigtail hair decorations and Buttercup a cowlick.
- Some funny moments here and there.
- There are some tear jerking and heartwarming moments when they aren’t forced. Such as the Professor missing his girls in "Somewhere Over The Swingset", Silico's backstory in "Halt and Catch Silico", homesick Blossom in "Home, Sweet Homesick", moments between the Professor and the girls, and Morbucks becoming friends with Blossom in "Poorbucks".
- The animation is passable, despite it's errors.
- Decent art style, mostly due to Bob Boyle being involved as co-executive staff.
- Ace of the Gangreen Gang was utilized better outside the series by filling in as bassist for Gorillaz in several music videos while Murdoc was incarcerated.
- Some of the new villains are unique and creative for what they are, like Packrat, Jemmica "Jemoire" Thrash, and Silico.
- Some episodes are decent or even good like "Poorbucks", "Sister Sitter", "Fashion Forward", "The Wrinklegruff Gals", "Splitsville", "Find Your Bliss", but the greatest episode the reboot has to have is "Never Been Blissed", which is the highest rated episode of the reboot.
- The backgrounds are beautiful to look at.
- The animation in Seasons 2 and 3 is a slight improvement.
- PPG (2016) was the main topic for an episode on the cooking show, Cake Wars.
- PPG (2016) was one of the sets available to purchase for the game LEGO Dimensions, alongside another WB/CN cartoon, Teen Titans Go!.
- Tara Strong didn't return because she was busy with her roles as Raven from Teen Titans Go!, Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Unikitty from the Cartoon Network show Unikitty, and among others.
- As of 2020, no Season 4 has been announced, nor have there been any official announcements of The Powerpuff Girls reboot getting cancelled.
- As with the original series, the reboot is popular in Japan. With having their own events in most cafés, a crossover online game event with the Love-Live! anime series, boba tea at Pearl Lady, ect.
- The 1998 version of Bubbles has made a cameo appearance in “The Wrinklegruff Gals” despite her being voiced by Kristen Li instead of Tara Strong
The show was met with negative reviews from critics, viewers, and fans alike from the original. On iMDB, it has a 3.5/10 and a 4.1/10 on TV.com.
The show received mixed reception from Google users as it holds a 52% which translates to a 2.6/5.
The Occidental Weekly lamented that the series "lacks the impeccable comedic timing and wit of the original" and called the voice acting "mediocre at best", while also criticizing the writing, which it deemed subpar. Slate was critical of the show's "self-conscious feminist overtones", and compared the show unfavorably to the original, particularly the second-season episode "The Powerpuff Girls' Best Rainy Day Adventure Ever". Polygon criticized that the show lost what they considered made the original so special: "fighting seems like an afterthought, as if Cartoon Network wants to keep the Girls a safe distance from the fray", and that the show was a "step backward, not forward". Jessica Swartz of Inverse said that new viewers might not know who the villains are or what their motivations are, as no introduction was given to the characters. Swartz also went on to say that the show focuses too much on the main characters, and overall called it a "mediocre cartoon". Shelby Watson of The All State praised the show's voice acting, but criticized the show's increased focus on the girls' domestic lives rather than fighting crime, and was especially critical of the animation, writing: "The animation is beyond lazy... the art direction itself is catastrophic. Animators routinely forget their own rules on how to animate their characters, leading to a disjointed style that just comes across like the animators don’t care." Watson also noted other technical problems in the series, such as inconsistencies in character design or misuse of perspective, saying that they "shouldn't happen in a professional studio."
Viewers have also criticized the show for its appropriation of Internet slang and memes, such as "can't even" or the character Bubbles yelling "no me gusta!" while her face turns into one commonly associated with the meme (as seen in "Tiara Trouble"). These references have been called out on being out of place and "being forced", as well as referencing fads of which popularity have faded long before their appearance in the show; the aforementioned "me gusta" and other derivatives of rage comics had their peak popularity in early 2011, in a desperate attempt to be relevant. Fortunately, though, the production staff got the message, and meme references have been removed.
Saberspark considered this as the worst show to ever air in Cartoon Network, placing it on #1 on his Top 10 WORST Cartoon Network Shows.