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The Powerpuff Girls (2016)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Powerpuff Girls revamps the popular characters who first debuted in 1998 as lab creations tasked with protecting their town from monsters and other villains. They delve right into that same task in this series, which means there's lots of cartoon-style violence (crashes, explosions, punching and kicking) but little injury or other realistic consequence. More so than in the original series, this incarnation spends much time developing the girls' characters, so they also take on more personal challenges such as dealing with an "in crowd." Kids will relate to many of these issues, and the girls' experiences yield positive messages about self-identity and friendship. Expect to hear some name-calling ("buttzilla" and "butterbutt," for instance), arguing, and some threatening talk on the part of the villains. It's also important to know that the Powerpuff Girls brand has been heavily marketed since its inception, so there's a commercial factor to consider in introducing them to your kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Cartoon equivalent of your parents trying to be cool around your friends (Now with more transphobia!)
What's the story?
Pint-size peacekeepers Buttercup (voiced by Natalie Palamides), Blossom (Amanda Leighton), and Bubbles (Kristen Li) return to their villain-trouncing ways in THE POWERPUFF GIRLS. The young heroines have their fingers on the proverbial pulse of Townsville, and when trouble -- in the form of Mojo Jojo (Roger L. Jackson), Princess Morbucks (Haley Mancini), and a handful of other rabble-rousers -- comes to call, they're quick to jump into action to defend their hometown. When they're not duking it out with villains, they're going to school, playing with peers, and developing their unique identities, which usually raises some interpersonal challenges for them as well.
Is it any good?
This reboot charts a slightly different course for these much-loved characters than did previous series, splitting its focus between their roles as heroines and their development as regular kids. Each story still sees them sucker-punching the baddy of the day (don't worry, they're not going soft), but there's always another angle that follows one of them through a more personal trial of some kind. This makes their antics a lot more palatable -- at least from a parent's point of view -- because there are some decent examples of friendship, self-identity, and forgiveness in the girls' relationships.
The Powerpuff Girls benefits from sharp animation that improves on their original images and a revolving door of comically evil villains who always manage to be foiled by three grade-schoolers. There's a strong current of "Anything you can do, I can do better" running through the stories, and that means that in Townsville, size certainly doesn't matter. Kids will come for the characters' wacky adventures, but they'll stay for their larger-than-life personalities.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this show mixes violence with positive messages. Does the fighting ever seem realistic, or is it meant to be funny? In either case, how can you tell? Does the fact that there is violence overshadow what positive content there is, especially in the Powerpuff Girls' personal lives?
Kids: Is it as easy to separate good and bad in real life as it is in cartoons such as this one? What family and/or school rules do you have that are meant to help keep you safe? In contrast, by what rules do the Powerpuff Girls live? Would these work in the real world?
Are Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles good role models for kids? For girls in particular? Is violence always their answer to every problem? How do they communicate their feelings to each other to resolve issues that affect their relationship?
Themes & Topics
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