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: Dance Pantsed is a stand-alone special that revives the cast of the popular TV series. Everything fans loved about the original is back in this story, right down to the girls' squeaky-voice cast and hyperactive superhero style, and some eccentric new characters round out the mix. There's still a lot of destructive violence, usually exacted by the young ladies, and parents may take umbrage at a scene in which the girls successfully stage a loud temper tantrum to get something they want in a store. But there are also some decent illustrations of teamwork and self-empowerment in these unique superheroes' outrageous adventures.
What's the story?
THE POWERPUFF GIRLS: DANCE PANTSED opens with Townsville facing a new threat from a familiar foe as Mojo Jojo (voiced by Roger Jackson) kidnaps three local celebrities for reasons unknown. When the call comes in, the Powerpuff Girls –- Blossom (Cathy Cavadini), Buttercup (Elizabeth Daily), and Bubbles (Tara Strong) -– leap into action to rescue the hostages, including the eccentric mathematician Fibonacci Sequins (Ringo Starr). Foiled in his plans, Mojo puts an evil twist on the girls' favorite video game, Dance Pants Revolution, which puts them under his control and forces Professor Utonium (Tom Kane) to dust off his old dancing shoes to try to save the day and his girls.
Is it any good?
Townsville hath no fury like three young superheroes benched for nearly a decade, and the Powerpuff Girls are back with a vengeance in this comical TV movie. Visually it's a tasteful update of the original animation style from the late '90s, and the return of many of the crucial voices bodes well for viewers' sense of uniformity. Also, of course, the girls' outrageous antics strike a familiar tone with those who knew and loved them at their start.
But if this is your kids' introduction to the Powerpuff Girls, it's worth weighing the costs and benefits of tuning in. Yes, there are good examples of the benefits of teamwork and some empowering themes for girls in particular, but Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles also show that they can be whiny and demanding when it suits them. Plus, the frantic pace at which the show –- and the three main characters -– moves can be a bit jarring, and if your kids wind up loving what they see, they'll probably want to revisit the girls' former adventures. The bottom line? As with the original TV show, this is fine for older kids, but it warrants some thought for the younger crowd.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the need for this TV special so long after the show's end. Do you think the cartoon's original fans will tune in for it? If you've seen the original series, what would you say this installment adds to the overall story?
Are the Powerpuff Girls good role models? What about them makes you think so? Teamwork is a consistent theme in their adventures, but does it ever come at the cost of the girls' individual abilities? Is that a problem?
Does the media have different standards for male and female characters and superheroes in general? Are positive traits such as patience, kindness, and generosity seen more often in heroes of one or the other gender? How do the Powerpuff Girls rank among your favorite heroes?
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