who, or what are the "Powerpuff Girls,"
anyway? It's a Cartoon Network original cartoon series.
It was created by Craig McCracken, a graduate of CalArts,
the same school that produced John Lasseter (of Toy
Story fame), Brad Bird (director of The Iron
Giant), and Tim Burton. The Powerpuff Girls got
their start as a student film McCracken did at CalArts,
named "Whup Ass Stew." The Girls at that time
were called the "Whup Ass Girls." Hanna-Barbera
didn't much like the name (naturally...it's not very
kid-friendly, or would that be parent-friendly?), and
thus came the show as it is today.
The eponymous superheroes are three
five-year-old girls with "ultra super powers."
Professor Utonium (their caretaker and father figure)
created them in a lab accident. Well, he didn't create
them by accident; only the super powers were
unintentional. In typical superhero fashion, they defend
their beleaguered hometown of Townsville. Atypical for
superheroes, they have no secret identities and attend
Pokey Oaks Kindergarten.
Blossom is the self-appointed leader
of the group. She dresses in pink, with a girlish bow in
her hair, and is a no-nonsense, get the job done sort of
hero. Bubbles, dressed in blue, is the dainty, babyish
member of the group. She's not as rough and tough as her
sisters, and is fonder of coloring than beating up bad
guys. That job is ably handled by Buttercup, the tomboy.
She dresses in green, but her favorite colors are black
and blue -- the colors the evil villains of Townsville
are sporting after she is done with them. Like any
heroes worthy of the prefix "super," the
Powerpuff Girls face a worthy rogues' gallery of
villains, which includes a megalomaniacal monkey (Mojo
Jojo), a very effeminate version of the Devil
("Him"), and the "Gangrene Gang."
Down 'n' Dirty contains ten
episodes from the second season of the show. At the
time, there were two episodes per half-hour of the show,
so technically there's only five episodes of the show.
In typical Warner Bros. fashion, this is far from the
entire season, but is instead something of a sampler
from the season. They picked these particular episodes
because they are the most kid-friendly.
The city of Townsville gathers to celebrate the girls'
birthday. Unfortunately for them, the villains of
Townsville also try to crash the party -- from prison --
by sending the girls gifts of mass destruction.
"Beat Your Greens"
This episode is something of a parody of Mars
Attacks! and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
Sentient vegetables from another dimension plot to take
over the world, starting with taking over Townsville by
infecting its vegetable supply with mind-control spores.
The plan backfires when the kids of Townsville,
including our intrepid heroes, refuse to eat their
"School House Rocked"
This is probably one of the weakest episodes on the
disc, though it does have the benefit of an appearance
by a Jack Webb-ish truant officer. The Powerpuff Girls
must face their nemeses the Gangrene Gang when the
teenaged baddies are sent back to school...at Pokey Oaks
"Los Dos Mojos"
The girls must face not one, but two versions of their
arch-nemesis, Mojo Jojo...except one of them isn't him
at all, but Bubbles with amnesia!
"Stuck Up, Up and Away"
See, this is the problem with episode compilation discs.
If you're not careful, you jumble up the order of the
series and confuse people who are just beginning to
watch. Stuck Up, Up and Away introduces one of
the villains seen in Birthday Bash. Princess is
the new girl at Pokey Oaks. She is freakishly spoiled in
ways that make Richie Rich look like a Calcutta street
urchin. Used to having everything she wants, she demands
that her father give her super powers just like her
classmates, the Powerpuff Girls. Classroom mayhem
Far from my favorite episode, of the show in general or
this disc in particular, Dream Scheme at least
demonstrates the abundant creativity of its creators.
The entire 10-minute episode sports narration or
dialogue that rhymes in a very Seussian way. It revolves
around a ploy by the Sandman to put the residents of
Earth to sleep -- permanently -- so that he can catch a
good night's sleep.
"Just Another Manic Mojo"
The second-best episode on this disc, it chronicles a
day in the life of evil supervillain Mojo Jojo. Mojo
prepares for the day (in a sequence reminiscent of both Austin
Powers and Darth Vader's brief helmetless revelation
in The Empire Strikes Back), eats a nutritious
breakfast, and must devise an evil scheme on the spot
when the Powerpuff Girls show up at his front door to
retrieve a baseball they accidentally threw through his
window. Mojo Jojo is probably the most clearly defined
character in the series, either hero or villain, and
this entire episode devoted to sketching out more
details of his personality is welcome. Besides, it gives
extra opportunities to show off his excessive wordiness
("For a nutritious breakfast, two eggs is the
minimum requirement, and I have but one, which is one
shy of two, and it is two that I need! Curses!").
"Down 'n' Dirty"
This is the best episode on the disc...in fact,
presented with the discs at the Warner Bros. Store, I
purchased this volume strictly for this episode.
Buttercup makes up her stubborn mind that baths are for
sissies and gives up on personal hygiene entirely.
Nothing will change her mind...not being thrown out of
her house, not the scorn of her classmates, not even
angry villagers with torches. What changes her mind?
When even large ugly monsters don't want to fight with
her anymore. (The angry villagers with torches scene is
particularly great. As they're chasing her through a
forest, Buttercup suddenly realizes she's a superhero
and can just fly away. See, it's another example of the
show's fine comic touch.)
Pro: it's a Mojo Jojo episode. Con: it's a Princess
episode. The spoiled little rich girl has it in for the
Powerpuff Girls again. However, she's frustrated that
she can't come up with a plan devious enough to destroy
them, so she turns to another villain to devise a plan
for her: Mojo Jojo. Predictable, but has its fun
Remember that issue of Superman where Spiderman moved to
Metropolis and the citizens of Metropolis forgot all
about the Man of Steel? Neither do I. A sham of a new
superhero, Major Man, comes to Townsville and is greeted
with the love the town has previously showered upon the
girls. When the girls discover his dirty little secret,
they give him a taste of his own medicine!!