The Powerpuff Girls (2016)

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The Powerpuff Girls
PPG2016reboot.jpeg
"No me gusta!" - Bubbles
Genre: Superhero
Action "comedy"
Slice of life
Fiction
Running Time: 11 minutes, one 55 minute special
Release Date: April 4, 2016 – June 16, 2019
Network(s): Cartoon Network
CITV (UK)
9GoKids (Australia)
Created by: Nick Jennings
Bob Boyle
(Based on 1998 series by Craig McCracken)
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Starring: Amanda Leighton
Kristen Li
Natalie Palamides
Tom Kenny
Tom Kane
Roger L. Jackson
Jennifer Hale
Seasons: 3
Episodes: 122 (10 shorts and 1 special)
Previous show: The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2005)
Powerpuff Girls Z (2006-2007)


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 4, 2016. 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 Didn't Have the Power and Had Too Much Puff

  1. Addressing the elephant in the room, the reboot lacks the charm of the original, as it has less crime-fighting and more slice-of-life scenes related to what the characters do when "they are not saving the world". And just like Teen Titans Go! and the 2016 Ben 10 reboot (before Season 5), it lacks an action-packed tone, dark elements, clever writing, and creativity of the original and (to a lesser extent), the anime.
    • This is very much like what happened to the original series before, and there's a reason people like Mr. Enter say that the new seasons of the original were just as bad. Cartoon Network has not once learned a lesson after the damage they've done to the show from 2003 to 2005.
    • In fact, the reboot executes it so much worse that it makes the last two seasons of the Powerpuff Girls and Powerpuff Girls Z look much better in comparision.
    • Speaking of Teen Titans Go!, it even had a crossover with that show called "TTG vs. PPG", which is also pretty bad and barely qualifies as a team-up.
  2. Poor grasp on the source material, mainly because Craig McCracken, the creator of the original series, it didn't work on the reboot because he was still under contract with Disney when the reboot was announced.
  3. Awful and questionable script-writing and writing in general that comes off being nonsensical.
  4. Much like the 2015 Bob the Builder reboot, Fireman Sam since Season 6, Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service, Noddy, Toyland Detective, the Netflix era of VeggieTales, the 2016 Monster High reboot, Caillou's New Adventures and Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! & All Engines Go!, this reboot tries way too hard to modernize PPG, but it's done very poorly to the point where it doesn't even feel like the same show at all.
  5. Amanda Leighton, Kristen Li, and Natalie Palamides are a step-down from Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong, and E.G. Daily as their voice roles of Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles, respectively.
    • Palamides, in particular, sounds absolutely nothing like E.G. Daily as she makes 2016 Buttercup sound too tomboyish and high-pitched, while Leighton and Li's impressions of 2016 Blossom and 2016 Bubbles sound too whiny.
    • The original voice actors were not even consulted when the network decided to recast the girls, much to their disappointment, especially Tara Strong, who called it a "stab in the heart" on Twitter.
    • On that note, the male characters have their original voice actors reprise their roles, while almost all the female characters recast, which comes off a bit sexist.
  6. While passable, the animation is noticeably slow and stiff.
    • Speaking of the animation, there are numerous animation errors everywhere in almost every episode such as this one. This show has so many animation errors that even a blog point them out. Surprisingly, the animation provided by Sunmin Image Pictures, which is unacceptable since it's the same animation studio that provided the solid animation of Steven Universe, another show known for many inconsistent off-models and character sizes.
  7. A handful of episodes lazily reuse plots of episodes from the original series:
    • "Power Up Puff" rehashes "Ice Sore", only with Bubbles and Buttercup getting new powers first instead of Blossom.
    • "Man Up" rehashes "Makes Zen to Me", as both episodes involve Buttercup finding her inner peace.
    • "Bubbles of the Opera" rehashes "Bubblevicious". Both involve Bubbles changing due to complexes over her cuteness.
    • "Imagine That" rehashes "All Chalked Up" as both episodes involve HIM as the villain and he uses Bubbles' imagination to create chaos.
  8. Ugly and bland character designs for the background characters which don't fit in the same universe as The Powerpuff Girls. They look like rejected or background characters from Gravity Falls, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, We Bare Bears, and Clarence because of how they're rubbery/rounded out, cheaply designed, and not as dynamic-looking as the characters in the original show.
    • Some of the character redesigns are unnecessary, such as Professor Utonium having some round corners and Ms. Keane, the girls' teacher, not having visible breasts (though they reappear in the episode "Save the Date")
  9. 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.
    • The narrator is also absent in Seasons 2 and 3.
  10. The iconic ending hearts are also rarely used in the series, and they also no longer appear after Season 1.
  11. Usage of outdated 2012 memes 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 (a parody of Grumpy Cat), the Mojo Jojo Meme Generator in "Viral Spiral", and Bubbles saying “OMG! Yaaaas!” and "I can't even" in "Painbow".
    • Speaking of lines, much of the dialogue is quite laughable and stupid.
  12. Ms. Bellum, the mayor's assistant, is gone because Nick Jennings (The director of the reboot and an art director on SpongeBob SquarePants and Adventure Time) thought that she would be offensive to the new generation and started 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 eliminated to appease Moral Guardians who found her inappropriate based solely on her busty appearance and not her personality.
    • Speaking of which, to add salt to the wound Bianca Bikini is nothing more than an offensive sexist stereotype and is a poorly-written female villainess.
  13. The characters from the original series are flanderized to the point that they are wildly different and completely out-of-character compared to their original counterparts:
    • Blossom's 2016 counterpart sadly didn't recover from being flanderized, she went from a leader and the smart girl of the group, and also the most rational, into 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 (in an episode he is involved in, except in "Phantasm Chasm"). She seems to be the most unlikable out of the three.
    • Bubbles' 2016 counterpart went from a cute girly girl in the group who is the most optimistic and shy, into a childish, crybaby, whiny, and stereotypically girly "girl" who cries and throws tantrums over the smallest stuff like a bad school picture and losing her doll, Octi. She becomes more tolerable in later seasons.
    • Buttercup's 2016 counterpart went from a sporty, no-nonsense tomboy who is always eager for a good fight into a tomboyish clichéd bully than a too sarcastic tough girl who teases her sisters and beats people around her, she is the most tolerable (at least most of the time) out of the three.
    • The Professor's 2016 counterpart has changed from a caring, and responsible smart father to an unfunny idiotic dad trope whose inventions come out more often than not as silly rather than useful.
    • Mojo Jojo's 2016 counterpart no longer utilizes his famous language and speech patterns. Instead, he acts like a stereotypical villainous elitist who speaks in the third 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 times, though.
    • The Mayor of Townsville's 2016 counterpart 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' 2016 counterpart is much greedier 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 teenage girl, and doesn't match her appearance.
  14. Lots of continuity errors:
    • Mojo Jojo mentions having a mother in his life more than once, even though he didn't have a mother.
    • "You're A Good Man, Mojo Jojo" depicts a pre-Chemical X Mojo as being calm and sweet, but his original origin story, his 1998 counterpart was a playful, jumpy, but destructive chimp whose rowdiness caused him to break the Chemical X vial.
  15. The songs and singing are terrible with "Tiara Trouble", "Once Upon a Townsville", "Snow Month", and "Drama Bomb" being notable examples.
  16. There are disembodied voices singing everything, with some examples like Bubbles' Real Unicorn Horn in "Horn, Sweet Horn", Morbuck's introduction in "Princess Buttercup", and the Soda of Peace in "The Secret Life of Blossom Powerpuff".
  17. With the exceptions of Mojo and Princess Morbucks, the original villains are very underused to make room for more uninteresting, lame ones, such as the Fashionistas, Manboy, Janitaur, Gnat, Bianca Bikini, and Allegro. Also, several original villains such as Sedusa weren't introduced in the reboot, meaning they 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 apparent reason, such as The Rowdyruff Boys making a pointless cameo in the episode "Total Eclipse of the Kart".
  18. Weird media in the reboot that makes no sense for the show's universe such as Space Tow Truck, The Turn Around Tank (a parody of Shark Tank), etc.
  19. The humor show is unfunny, very awkward, and somewhat cringe-worthy.
  20. Speaking of the episode "Painbow", Blossom and Bubbles actually twerk in one scene, seemingly in a misguided attempt to appeal to kids in Illumination style. To make matters worse, they are little girls, (5-10) so this can be considered a (minor) child sexual 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 Twelve Forever), who is infamously pedophilic.
  21. Blossom given a love interest named Jared Shapiro. Jared appears to be 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.
    1. This led 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 rather than Goldman's.
    2. Not only Jared Shapiro older than Blossom, but he's also a pointless love interest with no character and personality, and he’s nothing but a nerdy stereotype.
  22. The credits' theme is poor, as it's just a shortened remixed version of the show's theme song.
  23. 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 about 5 to 6 years old.
    • It's probably revealed that they're 10 to 11 years old because one episode claimed that they had five picture days (picture days happen once a year), yet their appearances have not changed one bit. This is justifiable, since they are not human, although a flashback in the original series showed them as young adults.
  24. 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. It also uses an Exploding car in one scene.
  25. The Girls are given multiple cartoony and anime facial expressions that are too over-the-top and feel like they don't suit the characters' normal faces.
    • Although, depending on your view, a few of these expressions are creative.
  26. The fighting is not as exciting. This is because the girls can't hit anybody without a flash used to censor it, in yet another attempt to appeal to today's increasingly extreme moral guardians, which failed since Infinity Train was allowed a bloody death scene only two years later.
  27. There is the infamous 4th Powerpuff Girl named Blisstina Utonium, who wasn't well-received by fans and can be an example of the show jumping the shark.
  28. The show is a blatant continuation of the franchise, given the original series already had a 15th-anniversary special called Dance Pantsed that aired back in 2013 which, despite different character designs, obnoxious voice acting, and an awkward storyline, was still true to the original.
  29. During the production of this show, Cartoon Network lied that the series' original creator Craig McCracken gave the reboot his official blessing, which turned out to be untrue since Craig McCracken himself denied doing so on his Twitter posts, commenting that he had never given the new reboot his official blessing.
  30. It has lots of accidental unfortunate implications.
    • The LGBT community, as well as fans, have a problem with the transgender metaphor in "Horn, Sweet Horn" and dislike the show’s handling of it.
    • Ms. Bellum's removal and the twerking scene, as mentioned before.
    • Max Giraldi discusses some on his episode of it on Brain Dump. Aside from the whole business of Ms. Bellum getting written off, he brought up two other points;
      • The fact that the girls' teacher, Ms. Keane, had been consistently drawn with a modest chest size in the original show, but the reboot inexplicably portrayed her as completely flat-chested, pointing out that it seemed to carry an implied message that it was wrong for women to have breasts at all.
      • With the sole exception of Ms. Keane, every female character from the original show had their voice actors replaced while all the male roles retained by the original actors, which implies a message of "men are expendable, but women are replaceable".
    • A few viewers, including RebelTaxi, have noted the accidental implications of the brown-skinned Bliss being an overly emotional flawed prototype replaces with "superior" white incarnations.
  31. Similar to seasons 5 and 6 of 1998 PPG, the reboot has many mediocre to awful episodes, such asː

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Even though the 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 Ms. 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 more 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 is good at math.
  2. 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.
  3. The voice acting is at least passable, like Amanda Leighton's, Kristen Li's, and Natalie Palamides' when the girls are not annoying.
    • The Japanese dub is an improvement English version, featuring voices that sound more like the original actresses.
  4. The new soundtrack is pretty nice.
  5. Although the facial expressions are over-the-top and don't suit the characters, they are at least creative and arguably an improvement on the original series.
  6. The outdated meme references are removed in the second season and onwards.
  7. At least the redesigns of the characters are minor and still stay true to the original designs.
    • The redesigns of the girls are decent and add some minor details, such as giving Bubbles pigtail hair decorations and Buttercup a cowlick.
  8. On top of that, the character designs look cute, depending on your view.
  9. There are moments where it can be funny.
  10. 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".
  11. The animation is passable, despite its errors and stiffness.
    • Likewise, the animation in Seasons 2 and 3 is a slight improvement over Season 1.
  12. Decent modern art style, nice new color palettes, mostly due to Bob Boyle (creator of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!) being involved, with beautiful backgrounds.
  13. Ace of the Gangreen Gang was utilized better outside the series by filling in as bassist for Gorillaz in several music videos while Murdoc incarcerated.
  14. Some of the new villains are unique and creative for what they are, like Packrat, Jemmica "Jemoire" Thrash, and Silico.
  15. Compared to Teen Titans Go!, the morals are decent. And most of the time, the episode endings are good as well.
  16. There were some good or decent episodes, such as:

Trivia

  • The 2016 reboot of The Powerpuff Girls was the main topic for an episode on the cooking show Cake Wars.
  • The 2016 reboot of The Powerpuff Girls was also one of the sets available to purchase for the game LEGO Dimensions, alongside another CN-affiliated cartoon, Teen Titans Go!.
  • Tara Strong didn't return partially 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 now, Season 4 has not been announced, nor have been any official announcements of the show getting canceled.
  • As with the original series, the reboot is popular in Japan. With having their events in most cafés, a crossover online game event with the Love Live! anime series, Boba tea at Pearl Lady, etc.
  • It spawned a clone of Burrito Bison: Launcha Libre called "The Powerpuff Girls: Monkey Mania", though to be fair, they were both made by the Canadian company Juicy Beast and published on mobile devices by Kongregate.
  • A live-action reboot of the franchise made by The CW, had its script leak in mid-2021 and was universally panned by fans and others alike for its abysmal writing in general and for being more unfaithful to the source material than even Dragonball Evolution, The Last Airbender, the 1993 Super Mario Bros. film, and even this reboot.
  • Like most kids' shows, they have an official YouTube Channel.

Reception

The show met with mixed negative reviews from critics but was panned by fans of the original series and considered to be one of the worst cartoon reboots to date. Some fans also stopped watching the original as well, and it got worse with the CW reboot script.

Saberspark considered this as the worst show to ever air on Cartoon Network, placing it at #1 on his Top 10 WORST Cartoon Network Shows and RebelTaxi named it as the absolute worst cartoon to air in the entire 2010s decade. TheMysteriousMrEnter ranked this show as #4 on his Top 10 Worst Cartoons of the 2010s list. He hated it so much that it made him start disliking the original as well.

Craig McCracken, the creator of the original series, wrote on Twitter that he never gave this series his blessing and wished Cartoon Network didn't go ahead with their plans of a reboot of the series. He acknowledged from a financial standpoint why the series commissioned.

When the reboot casts were confirmed, Tara Strong (the voice of Twilight Sparkle and Bubbles) herself describe the reboot's voice actor choices as "a stab in a heart".

On IMDb, it has a 3.4/10 however, the show strangely received a more mixed reception from Google users as it holds a 54% which translates to a 2.6/5 and a 3/5 from Common Sense Media.

Despite the mixed and negative reception, it won an award and nominated for two awards; nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Animated Program for the episode "Once Upon A Townsville" won a Gracie Award for the series overall, and nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production for the episode "Home, Sweet Homesick".

Cartoon Network seems to be ashamed of how the Powerpuff Girls reboot turned out, and wanted to distance themselves from it by removing the reboot from reruns on Boomerang once the third season finished airing in favor of classic Powerpuff Girls episodes, and later on, announcing a new reboot with Craig McCracken's involvement,but some fans were uninterested.

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