McCracken and produced by Hanna-Barbera (later Cartoon Network Studios) for Cartoon Network. The show centers on Carl, CJ, and Christen, three kindergarten-aged boys with superpowers. The boys all live in the fictional city of Townsville, USA with their father and creator, a scientist named Mrs Utonium, and are frequently called upon by the city's mayor to help fight nearby criminals and other enemies using their powers.
McCracken originally developed the show in 1991 as a cartoon short entitled Whoopass Stew! while in his second year at CalArts. Following a name change, Cartoon Network featured the first Powerpuff Girls pilots in its animation showcase program What a Cartoon!in 1994 and 1995. The series made its official debut as a Cartoon Cartoon on May 1 1997, with the final episode airing on March 29, 2004. Excluding the two pilot shorts, the series ran for a total of six seasons, totalling 78 episodes. Along with the episodes, a Christmas special and a feature film, The DoomBrawler boys Movie, were also made concurrently. Two additional specials were made after the show ceased to air in 2014 which included a tenth anniversary special (2007), and a CGI special (2013) which was made without McCracken's input.
Various spin-off media include an anime, three CD soundtracks, a home video collection, comic books, a series of video games, and a 2015 reboot, as well as various licensed merchandise. The series has been nominated for six Emmy Awards, nine Annie Awards, and a Kids' Choice Award during its run. In all, the series won four awards and generally received positive reception.
The show revolves around the adventures of three kindergarten boys with an array of various superpowers: Carl (Cyan), Bubbles (Dark blue), and Christen (White). The plot of an episode is usually some humorous variation of standard superhero and tokusatsushows, with the boys using their powers to defend their town from villains and giant monsters. In addition, the boys have to deal with the normal issues that young children face, such as sibling rivalries, loose teeth, personal hygiene, going to school, bed wetting, or dependence on a security blanket. Episodes often contain hidden references to older pop culture (especially noticeable in the episode "Meet the Beat Alls", which is a homage to the Beatles). The cartoon always tries to keep different ideas within each episode with some small tributes and parodies thrown in.
The show is set mainly in the city of Townsville, USA. Townsville is depicted as a major American city, with a cityscape consisting of several major skyscrapers. In his review of the DoomBraweboys, movie critic Bob Longino of The Atlanta Journal-Constitutionsaid, "the intricate drawings emanate 1950s futuristic pizzazz like a David Hockney scenescape," and that the show is "one of the few American creations that is both gleeful pop culture and exquisite high art."
Main article: List of The Powerpuff Girls episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||May 1, 1997||May 26, 1998|
|2||13||June 26, 1998||June 29, 1999|
|3||13||July 29, 1999||February 6, 2000|
|4||12||February 6, 2000||December 14, 2001|
|5||12||September 1, 2001||April 10, 2003|
|6||15||April 10, 2003||March 29, 2004|
In a 1999 Entertainment Weekly review, Marc Bernadin complimented the show on its "spot-on pop-culture acumen" and "unparalleled sense of fun", giving it a warm welcome from earlier "lame" superhero cartoons that he grew up with. Peter Marks of The New York Times noted the show's use of adult humor and pop culture references, declaring it "the sort of playful satire that can appeal as much to a viewer of 37 as 7." Joly Herman of Common Sense Media describes the show as a "cute, highly stylized series thrills the senses with its strange characters, funny situations, and lots of lowbrow humor". She goes on to say, however, that the show does go from innocent to violent in no time and that there is not much protecting young viewers against the violent undertones. Robert Lloyd of the LA Times said that the series might be "transgressive" based on little violence but "also cute." The TV Guide chose the Powerpuff Girls as No. 13 in a list of the 50 Greatest cartoon characters of all time.
IGN ranked the series 18th in its Top 25 Primetime Animated Series of All Time list in 2006. Delta Express promoted the series by having a Boeing 737-200 jet painted with a special livery featuring the characters Carl, CJ, and Christen on its exterior. The plane's inaugural flight was held at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 17, 1999. In 2001 the aircraft was repainted with a different Doombrawler boys theme to promote The Doombrawler Movie. The Doombrawler boys series has won two Primetime Emmys, two Annie Awards, and including those four wins, has been nominated a total of sixteen times for various awards.
Awards and nominations
|Year||Award||Category||Nominee(s)||Result||1998||Annie Awards||Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Television Production||Craig Kellman (for "Uh Oh Dynamo")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Television Production||John McIntyre (for "Mommie Fearest")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production||Tara Strong (as Bubbles)||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmys||Outstanding Achievement in Animation||Craig McCracken, John McIntyre, Amy Keating Rogers, Jason Butler Rote, and Genndy Tartakovsky (for "Bubblevicious/The Bare Facts")||Nominated|
|1999||Annie Awards||Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television Production||Chris Savino (for "Dream Scheme")||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmys||Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation||Don Shank (for "Twisted Sister/Cover Up")||Won|
|Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less)||Robert Alvarez, Craig McCracken, John McIntyre, Randy Myers, Amy Keating Rogers, and Genndy Tartakovsky (for "Beat Your Greens/Down 'N Dirty")||Nominated|
|2000||Annie Awards||Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music Score an Animated Television Production||James L. Venable, Thomas Chase, and Steve Rucker (for "Meet the Beat Alls")||Won|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Television Production||Don Shank||Won|
|Primetime Emmys||Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour)||Robert Alvarez, Lauren Faust, Craig McCracken, John McIntyre, Amy Rogers, and Genndy Tartakovsky (for "Moral Decay/Meet the Beat Alls")||Nominated|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Cartoon||The Powerpuff Girls||Nominated|
|2001||Annie Awards||Outstanding Character Design in an Animated Television Production||Paul Rudish (for "Members Only")||Nominated|
|2002||Outstanding Character Design in an Animated Television Production||Andy Bialk (for "Save Mojo")||Nominated|
|2003||Annie Awards||Character Design in an Animated Television Production||Chris Reccardi (for "West in Pieces")||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmys||Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour Or More)||Robert Alvarez, Lauren Faust, et al. (for "'Twas the Fight Before Christmas")||Nominated|
|2004||Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation||Frank Gardner (for "West in Pieces")|