Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

An In-Depth Anaylsis of the Cultural Ramifications Evidenced in the Powerpuff Girls

By mrgoat in Culture
Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 01:57:00 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

You may be familiar with a certain show aired daily by the cartoon network. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the subject of the powerpuff girls, I reccomend you visit the preceeding links to get your knowledge base on this important subject primed for the important analysis which I intend to bring to light.

Firstly, the environment in which the powerpuff girls operate is of paramount importance to understanding the ramifications of the rest of the material to be presented, for without this important context, one cannot possibly understand the restrictions (or rather, lack thereof) placed upon the Powerpuff Girls. Most specifically, Townsville. Townsville is simply a post-modernist analogy for the current state of world affairs. You see here, the shows authors are speaking directly to the growing "smallness" of the world, and by extension, it's people. The Powerpuff girls themselves are a damning criticism of popular social norms. More specifically, the fact that they never pay attention to anything outside townsville, is tantamount to saying there is nowhere but townsville which, as we can plainly see, is a common perception in the minds of the people. That is to say, most people are happy to stay in their own bubble, and never need experience anything else to think they are happy. It is a case of perception defining reality.

Next we must speak of their creation. You see, here are some young people, created by (and this "creation" is an exageration of simple use, for obvious dramatic purposes) drugs. Specifically, methylenedioxymethamphetamine. For this MDMA is obviously the "chemical X" refered to in the show. This tells us that one can be "created", and by extension, re-created by drugs. Obviously a statement on karma and the reincarnation evidenced in many belief systems. Note also, the symobolism in the technology used to create the powerpuff girls. It is indeed, (as shown in the intro of every show) a large pot (note also the pun), into which are mixed all the ingredients needed. This tells us that the technology itself is not so important as the outcome, in short, an example of the ends justifying the means. Does this mean that the powerpuff girls would be in favor of, say, human cloning? I realize this is a hot button issue, but the fact remains that they indeed, quite possibly would be. For a group of youngsters, decidedly liberated ones at that, who were created through entirely artificial means, to be against such a practice, would be hypocritical in it's entirety, so long as the cloned people served to bring joy to the world. I am sure there are many other such issues on we can derive their stance.

This creation (re-creation), then, coupled with an obvious virgin birth (note the reference to a virgin birth, for it shall become important soon) to a single father (a man of science, it is worth noting) with no mother in sight, is an obvious criticism of the christian Jesus birth myth. In short, a rejection of many of the more organised religions of the day. Freed from that stifling casting of social position, and empowered to their creation (re-creation) by "happy" drugs, they are free to excercise their superpowers. (For example, flight, an obvious reference to freedom.) These superpowers, set the powerpuff girls above (note, "super", indicating higher) ordinary citizens. How were these powers obtained? Through the use of MDMA, as noted earlier. This tells us that the powerpuff girls condone the use of drugs to reach higher states of conciousness. This blatant linking of superpowers to drug use, as well as rejection of many of America's most popular religions and social norms, is a poingant and telling descriptor of the mental state many young (and nay, even older) viewers are being drawn to consider and experience.

I would also like to bring to your attention at this point in time, the work done in this subject by one MisterQueue, a highly valued colleague of mine. He writes:

But what about the social structure of feminism so clearly lined out in these three girls, or, for a better term archetypes. Let us consider the viewpoints of the female of these two-dimensional creations that really only give us one-dimension each.

First we have Blossom, the smart one. She gives us the first impression of what I will call the "triad of stereotypical female personality traits." She is the intellectual of the group, and in so being, has to consitantly prove herself in a male dominated (ie Professor Utonium and the Mayor) spectrum of existence. It is not surprising that she has red hair, as intelligence is not seen as a stereotypically feminine trait and redheads are often seen as outcasts, hence causing her more internal pain than we can imagine. Redheads used to be burned as witches and warlocks on sight, and so she, to the male dominant Townsville, appears magical for her brains, they, in their puny male image, cannot see the possibility of an XX-chromosome (and is it any wonder they were transformed via Chemical "X"?) with such a cerebellum as Blossom has. She truly bears the pain of all women.

Next we have poor Bubbles, always the perpetuator of the myth. Her name even signifies her "bubbly" personality. She is, by no coincidence, a blonde girl with little to no common sense or knowledge. Always laughed at as the oft-referred "bimbo", Bubbles is somewhat at fault for Blossom's own dilemma. Were it not for perpetuators of the myth like Bubbles, Blossom would only have one mark against her. Add to that, the fact that her blonde hair makes her seem even more an icon for ridicule and you almost feel sorry for such a creature. Bubbles is simple, and really not much can be said for her, but she truly is an instigator in a way to the male mind's of Townville.

Finally, we come to Buttercup. Buttercup is in a way what Blossom may be some day if she does not retreat into vapidity like Bubbles. Buttercup rounds out the stereotype of femininity by being the so-called "bitch" of this trio. Her actions are that of the jaded and cynical woman who finds no hope in trying to change her role in the world and merely snaps at it like a viper regardless of her situation. She has no respect for Bubbles and her vapidity, and cares little for Blossom's intellectual approach. She is the ultimate in action, saying as she pleases because in her mind, it has already gotten as bad as it must. Hair as black as her heart has become, Buttercup's wounds have grown too deep to heal, and the nerve's have been severed from all feeling. She is what we fear the female to become if we continue on our path.

I could go on about the significance of the triad in females in myths (ie The Eumenedies, The Erines, The Triads, Charlie's Angels, Roseanne, etc. etc. etc.), but I think you see my point here.

Indeed Queue, I believe we can all see your point. The triumvirate evidenced in the Powerpuff Girls bears special consideration, and the important issue of gender roles is brought up. I feel there is little I can add to your magnificent exploration of this issue.

I would now like to open the floor up to discussion of the important points addressed here today, that we may better understand the sociological ramifications of the Powerpuff Girls.

Thanks to MisterQueue for his important examination of gender roles.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


My personal preference in Powerpuff Girl:
o Yes, and I would like the goat to have my children. 7%
o Blossom. 7%
o Bubbles. 26%
o Buttercup. 31%
o evilpckls. 9%
o Sarah the checkout girl. 17%

Votes: 143
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o cartoon network
o powerpuff girls
o Also by mrgoat

Display: Sort:
An In-Depth Anaylsis of the Cultural Ramifications Evidenced in the Powerpuff Girls | 146 comments (103 topical, 43 editorial, 0 hidden)
Subtexts with Bubbles (4.50 / 20) (#16)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 09:40:46 PM EST

It is rather unfortunate that this article seems to dismiss Bubbles out-of-hand as a vapidly insipid airhead. Sure, she's the only one of the group who acts innocent and childlike, but she is also the strongest, as revealed in the episode "Bubblevicious." (The short form of the episode is that Bubbles, sick of being derided as a "baby," eventually enters a berserker rage in which she proves herself to be more capable of both dishing out and handling pain than the other two combined.)

As the three girls are five years old, and only Bubbles is willing to admit (through action) to actually being a five-year-old child, it actually indicates a much higher level of emotional and mental stability than the other two, who feel the need to hide behind a façade of "toughness" and "maturity," while only Bubbles is comfortable enough with her identity to behave in a way that is condusive to her future emotional development.
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p

I am in agreeance. (4.00 / 6) (#17)
by mrgoat on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 09:44:15 PM EST

However, I am not qualified properly in that field, and thus will have to defer to MisterQueue. Perhaps he can enlighten us as to his decision to dismiss Bubbles so candidly as he did?

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Interesting counterpoint (4.14 / 7) (#18)
by MisterQueue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 09:45:08 PM EST

There are exception to every rule of course and what you point out is in fact one of them. I think though, that you'll find what she molds herself into (even after the aforementioned episode) still suits my depiction of her above. She is capable of such acts, but does she do them? Rarely, very rarely.

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

But that's the crux of my argument! (4.28 / 7) (#20)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 09:47:52 PM EST

She doesn't feel the need to prove herself; she is simply content to do what it takes to get the job done, while expressing her own personality, rather than attempting to clumsily fit into the "superhero" archetype.
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
Parent ]
I don't think any of them (4.16 / 6) (#21)
by MisterQueue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 09:51:37 PM EST

attempt to clumsily fit into the archetype in actuality, and I think that Bubbles motives or lack thereof are rather different than a lack of need. Even in that episode she was pushed to do anything beyond what was expected of her, and yes, some would crack under such pressure, but even mindless ones can catch feats of glory once in a while. I still stand by my belief that while she is capable of such, she really knows no better almost all of the time and makes no attempts to better herself.

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

Why must she better herself? (4.28 / 7) (#25)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:00:07 PM EST

She's already comfortable in her self-identity, which is more than I can say for the others. Witness Blossom, who feels the need to order everyone else around, and Buttercup, who is so stand-offish that at one point she even allowed herself to be covered in a quite thick layer of grime and fecal matter to keep others away! Unlike the other two, Bubbles doesn't attempt to inflate her self-image or ego; even in the episode in which they were all telling their own versions of a single story, Bubbles' version was the only one with any basis in reality, whereas the other two told tales which only distorted their individual contributions, inflated by their own egos.

Additionally, in "Bubblevicious," she wasn't pushed to do anything — she set out to prove her worth on her own, tired of being ridiculed by the others. She could have easily just continued to pretend to be weak and feeble and had the easy "training" which the professor was subjecting her to, but she didn't. The berserker rage was all her own, as was the willful denial of pain during the extreme torture inflicted upon her by Mojo Jojo.
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
Parent ]

I see your point there (4.00 / 7) (#27)
by MisterQueue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:11:01 PM EST

but I respectfully decline concurrance. I think I know a thing or two about identities of selves and I think that Bubbles spends most of her time sitting in a daze of action about her. She doesn't really know herself because she does not think about it. The show does not form a linear pattern (ie things in one episode do not often affect another episodes dealings), and so we must take her actions on a percentage basis in that case.

Most of the time Bubbles is a carefree dimwit (let's not mince words here.) I love her naive nature, and I think she is a fine superhero to have by your side, but I'm not going to wear rose colored glasses when looking at her. She is normally content to stand idly by and make no decisions or enact any changes. My argument that she was pushed to do it also stands. Yes she chose the berserker rage, but she would not have without the influence of the taunting.

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

You sir, are mistaken. (4.28 / 7) (#28)
by mrgoat on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:20:04 PM EST

In the concept of identity.
Bubbles spends most of her time sitting in a daze of action about her. She doesn't really know herself because she does not think about it.
I believe there are many zen masters who would indeed disagree with you. I find your condemnation of the zen philosophy deplorable. Bubbles knows herself better than all others, for two primary reasons:
  1. She does not need to think about herself to know herself, her knowledge is intrinsic, and as such is the truest form of knowledge, and:
  2. She is the sole perciever of her complete being. Whereas others may know her externally, only she knows the full truth of her being.
It is through her calmness and purposeful blankness of mind that she can truly understand her condition.

What you term naieveness is not naieveness, but an unwillingness to look farther than is needed. Her understanding of the world around her is most sublime simply because she knows better than to read too deeply into the people and events that transpire around her.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Utter Tripe! (4.28 / 7) (#30)
by MisterQueue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:26:12 PM EST

She does not need to think about herself to know herself, her knowledge is intrinsic, and as such is the truest form of knowledge

There is no such thing as a true intrinsic knowledge. Granted, there is something to be said for instinct, but we're speaking of a whole other case in this situation. Knowing at heart and being oblivious are two completely different things. I offer you this bit of advice from Isaac Asimov:

"If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them."

If Bubbles has any chance of solving Townsville's problems then she mustn't use her lack of action to do it (or in your argument her "intrinsic knowledge"). It takes a real showing of drive and determination to be seen as anything other than a fool, which is what she is.

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

Halfwit. (3.85 / 7) (#31)
by mrgoat on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:31:14 PM EST

Any moron can plainly see that Bubbles' lack of action is simply a matter of waiting for the right time and method to present itself to solve whatever problem is at hand. Indeed, the true measuer of her determination is her heroic show of restraint, until a proper solution may be found. I tell you here, she is not ignorant, she is supremely patient, a quality which I might posit that you seem severly lacking in.

Remember, immediate action is not always the best course of action, sometimes it is better to let the fire burn itself out than waste the water on it.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Bullshit and you know it! (4.00 / 8) (#34)
by MisterQueue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:39:17 PM EST

I think you're just utterly blind in your love for Bubbles that you can't seem to see the true fact staring you in the face. She is dumb! There I've said it: She's a dumb blonde bimbo! She will never be anything but a dumb blonde bimbo!

She's not calculating, she's not zen, she's not sitting back and waiting for the right time. She's stupid, utterly stupid. She's so frozen in pants pissing fear of her own lack of intelligence that she cannot see to enact in her own way. I think Buttercup's attitude probably mostly stems from Bubbles' complete lack of sense.

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

Lack of sense? (4.12 / 8) (#35)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:41:57 PM EST

Since when is caring for others' feelings a lack of sense? Must I remind you that, were it not for Bubbles' good-natured mediation skills, Buttercup and Blossom would have parted company on many occasions due to differences in leadership ability?
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
Parent ]
All the better for them really. (3.80 / 5) (#36)
by MisterQueue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:44:40 PM EST

I mean, Buttercup and Blossom really have no business being in the same room much less the same team. Together they perform awesome power, but they'd be happier alone I'd imagine. And I'm not saying that Bubbles doesn't have her place, what I am saying is do not put genius on luck and idiocy.

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

Well then (4.50 / 10) (#40)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:50:09 PM EST

It is obvious that you are unwilling to explore modes of thought which lie outside of your own narrow tunnel-vision. You can't see past the "ditzy blonde" stereotype to realize the intrinsic irony of her being the only well-grounded member of the team!

I'm afraid that, until we have gotten past this narrow-mindedness of yours, that my participation in this thread cannot continue. Good evening, dear Queue.
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
Parent ]

Pipe down you fool! (4.28 / 7) (#37)
by mrgoat on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:44:41 PM EST

Before you make a larger ass out of yourself than you already have! Bubbles has shown time and time again a willingness to go beyond the use of mere brute fore in her search for less destructive, and ultimately more intelligent methods of situation resolution.

I warn you against impuning the name of Bubbles "Sir" Queue!

And may I suggest you restrain your language to that used in more civilised discourse, though I am sure that it is a stretch for you, considering your unmistakably simian upbringing.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

That's it. (4.12 / 8) (#39)
by MisterQueue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:49:53 PM EST

It is clear to me now that aligning myself in your good graces was not only a mistake but probably a result of your own lack of either sense or any form of saving grace rubbing off onto my person.

I think that anyone without enough sense to admit the truth about a 2 dimensional cartoon character because they are so lonely and blinded by love for, let me remind you, a FICTIONAL cartoon character in a show for CHILDREN, is obviously not right for anything viable but clearly a burden on society. The only responsible thing for a repulsive reprobate like yourself to do is make a choice: hermitism, or continue to wank alone in a musky dank basement over your infatuation with a dim-witted non-existant blonde bimbette who is underage and hase useless appendages. I'd say I pitied you, but that would be lying.

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

How dare you. (4.33 / 9) (#41)
by mrgoat on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:55:05 PM EST

I intended an honest discussion of the themes present in the Powerpuff Girls, but you seem bent on turning this into nothing more than a string of personal attacks. I would direct you to another historical figure who could not see the value in free and thought provoking discussion, but even he liked blondes. You might remember a certain moustachioed man from Germany?

You sir, are worse than Hitler himself!

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Hitler? (4.11 / 9) (#42)
by MisterQueue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:57:26 PM EST


"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

This is FUN (5.00 / 3) (#46)
by alexdw on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 11:35:16 PM EST

Hitler, death threats, and cartoons all in one story!!! This is FUN!

[ Parent ]
We aim to please. (5.00 / 5) (#47)
by mrgoat on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 11:43:24 PM EST

It's all about entertaining you the viewer, yes you!

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

And it is much appreciated. (5.00 / 3) (#49)
by alexdw on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 11:46:51 PM EST

Well, if nothing else, it provides a much-needed relief from the overwhelming seriousness of K5 discussion. :-)

[ Parent ]
This is serious stuff, man (5.00 / 3) (#76)
by Nick Ives on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 03:22:38 AM EST

I'm not entirely sure if you realise (you probably dont unless your reading my mind, er, yea), but your article was just a direct almost word for word reproduction of my own thoughts on the PPG. Your article fails to delve into a few other points that I've thought about though, which I may post in another top level comment, but like, yea, man. Bubbles is my fave PPG though, maybe its because we're both blonde or maybe its because I tend to have a similar outlook on life, either way, I can really relate to Bubbles.

"To make the world a better place,
with rainbow bubbles in your face!"

[ Parent ]

Ignorance? (4.37 / 8) (#32)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:34:01 PM EST

I fail to see how Bubbles' approach to the problem — attempting to befriend and placate the opponents — is intrinsically worse than the other two girls' insistence on fighting violence with more violence. If it weren't for Blossom and Buttercup's continuation of the vicious cycle, Mojo Jojo wouldn't constantly be locked in the perpetual dance of one-upmonkeyship with the girls!
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
Parent ]
Ah (none / 0) (#93)
by shrike7 on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 12:40:11 PM EST

Remeber, however, that Mojo Jojo is constantly trying to prove himself worthy of the Professor's affections, as he felt abandoned when the PPG were created. Also, do not forget that he himself had a hand in their creation, and that the issues arising out of his creation of his worst enemies must be a constant burden to him.
[ Parent ]
I believe I can clarify (4.00 / 5) (#22)
by mrgoat on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 09:51:39 PM EST

I cannot speak for MisterQueue entirely, but I believe I spoke earlier about the manner in which the Powerpuff Girls exemplify the ideal of perception defining reality. That is to say, if Bubbles does not commit heroic acts, she cannot be heroic, for in the eyes of the perciever, her internal strenght cannot be considered, for it is not percievable outside of herself. She may be the stronger for it, (and I must admit my own preference for her above the other two) but this strenght can have no effect if no excercised.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

What about the Bad Guys? (3.85 / 7) (#26)
by wiredog on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 10:01:18 PM EST

Are the Gangrene Gang cultural archetypes symbolizing the terrorists? Is MoJo JoJo a symbolic representation of Osama bin Laden? And where does She fit in? Is she symbolic of the conspiracies we deal with every day?

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
She? (4.00 / 7) (#44)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 11:20:51 PM EST

I believe you're referring to Him.
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
Parent ]
Indeed. (4.28 / 7) (#45)
by mrgoat on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 11:24:23 PM EST

The Devil character, "Him" (among other villains) is a topic for a whole other symposium. They are rife with symbolism and human pathos, but sadly a full discussion of them was beyond the scope of this work.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Miss Bellum(sp?) (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by Nick Ives on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 04:19:33 AM EST

You know, the Mayor's secratery. The true ruler of Townsville in fact. Noone here seems to have mentioned that Townsville doesnt have a democractic system of government, there is no talk of elections and the mayor is there in perpuity even though he is obviously an ineffectual leader. I think this is because Townsville operates under a covert "benevolent dictatorship" headed up by Miss Bellum.

I dont have anything to really back this up other than the fact that you never see her face. She is the Illuminati of Townsville, she is always there to make sure that the Mayor takes the right course of action. She rules from the shadows. I think that the benevolent dictatorship is a comment on the state of democracy in western society. Turnout for elections is dropping because people's basic needs are met, whenever there is trouble it gets sorted out and people are free to live day to day without having to worry too much. Of course this isnt true for everyone, its just an ideal, I just havnt seen it mentioned anywhere else.

"soap bubbles carry my dreams up high"

[ Parent ]

Elections! (4.50 / 2) (#83)
by VrtlCybr2000 on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 06:14:14 AM EST

You're wrong, he was once voted out in favor of the possesive hick... Who's name escapes me....

[ Parent ]
Really?? (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by Nick Ives on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:06:52 AM EST

Man, this totally changes everything. I know the hick that you mean (the name escapes me too =P ), but man. Elections in Townsville. I'm gonna have to really think about this one.

Too much hair.

[ Parent ]

Fuzzy Lumpkins (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by enry on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:12:07 AM EST

I remember that episode.

[ Parent ]
The hick... (none / 0) (#101)
by Yottabyte on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:43:46 PM EST

...is Fuzzy Lumpkins.
[ Parent ]
Reading too much into this (3.42 / 7) (#52)
by enry on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 12:02:03 AM EST

That is to say, most people are happy to stay in their own bubble, and never need experience anything else to think they are happy.

Rrright. Take a look at other shows. The Simpsons takes place in Springfield. Drew Carey show takes place in Cleveland. Law & Order takes place in NYC. It's farily rare that these shows change location. For TV shows, it means you have to make the audience belive that you're at that location meaning either sending a film crew (expensive), stock footage (gets repetitive and no control over what you see), or using a stage (very hard to convince that you're in Boston vs. NYC).

This tells us that one can be "created", and by extension, re-created by drugs.

I do remember the anti-drug episode. Mojo gave some kids super powers, but they had to commit crimes for him, etc. Don't think that's right either.

This tells us that the powerpuff girls condone the use of drugs to reach higher states of conciousness.

Sorry, they don't continually use drugs to maintain their powers. The PPG were also not involved in their creation (or "drug" use). That's like saying a crack baby condones drug usage.

...in their puny male image, cannot see the possibility of an XX-chromosome (and is it any wonder they were transformed via Chemical "X"?) with such a cerebellum as Blossom has...

Hee, this one is really fun. Never heard of "Planet X"? How about X-Rays? It's a strange letter, and it's used where you don't know what to call something. You could just as well say that since it was called Chemical X, it's an endorsement of adult movies (previously rated X, now called NC-17).

Bubbles is simple, and really not much can be said for her, but she truly is an instigator in a way to the male mind's of Townville.

Really? I never noticed the color of her hair before. Then again, there are a few episodes where Bubbles shows her stuff.

...significance of the triad in females in myths...

Right, and Star Trek: TOS had three main characters (Kirk, Spock, McCoy). TNG has three command chairs on the bridge (I'm watching it now). Hell, DeLaSoul is made up of three people (it's the magic number). Triads exist everywhere, not just females.

This whole thing is based on a lot of shoddy thinking that reaches interesting conclusions.

My thoughts? It's a fun show, one that I have my Tivo record when it gets the chance. It's entertainment, and nothing more. If I want deep philosophical thoughts on life, I turn the TV off.

rofl. (5.00 / 2) (#75)
by rakslice on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 03:20:32 AM EST

The folly of mistaking a satire piece for real discussion is inborn in us; or, then again, maybe it's just a byproduct of the author not knowing who the audience is. -Me, 2002

[ Parent ]
The discussion /is/ the satire (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by Nick Ives on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 05:39:41 AM EST

Which is really all the fun =).

Or maybe its all really serious. Does it matter?

[ Parent ]

The X-Factor (5.00 / 2) (#80)
by Nick Ives on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 05:36:24 AM EST

Why are you so quick to dismiss the link between Ecstacy and the Powerpuff Girls? Admittedly the letter X springs up in lots of places, but the sheer number references towards Ecstacy in the PPG are hard to brush off so easily, unlike your "X-Rated" strawman which is easy to dismiss. I dont recall seeing any hardcore pornography in the PPG, but there are lots of Ecstacy references which are discussed in the article. I'll reply to your points:
I do remember the anti-drug episode. Mojo gave some kids super powers, but they had to commit crimes for him, etc. Don't think that's right either.
If anything that was an anti-WOD episode, highlighting that the limited availability of "Chemical X" caused the problems rather than Chemical X itself. If Chemical X was more freely available then the kids wouldnt have to turn to Mojo for their supply, would they? The PPG are models of responsible X useage, but only because its fused into them, which leads me onto your next point. The PPG dont have to continually use X because its part of them, your argument is like saying Blossom needs sugar to keep on being sweet, Buttercup needs spice to keep on being a bitch and Bubbles needs everything nice to be nice to everyone. It just doesnt work.

I agree with you about Bubbles, in fact I'd go further and state that she is the most supreme of the three, even though I really know that none can exist without the others.

Carrying on about the X references and linking it to the triad thing, PPG borrows alot from what has gone before, so do most things. Your right that 3 is a significant number for lots of reasons so it's natural that there should be 3 PPG. That doesnt stop it from being significant here though, because it highlights itself as part of that tradition. This brings us back to the drug references which are also part of a childrens TV tradition. Take a look at the Teletubbies, or the classic Magic Roundabout. Subversive messages are nothing new in childrens TV and again, PPG is merely continuing the tradition.

Its for these reasons that the Powerpuff Girls is such a fantastic work of art. It pays homage to what has gone before whilst at the same time exploring new ground. Just as Scooby Doo is fantastic for its support of finding truth through the use of reason, the Powerpuff Girls is fantastic for its exploration of the issues affecting modern society. Whilst it may not become as timeless as the former, its truly a classic of our era.


[ Parent ]

You made my head hot! (none / 0) (#85)
by enry on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:51:03 AM EST

The X-rated strawman is not so easy to brush away. Ms. Bellum could be a 1-or-2-bagger. Mojo, Utonium, and the Mayor have all dressed up in drag. Utonium was influenced by three girls at a young age and spent the rest of his life until that point trying to create them. The Mayor offered the girls candy (hey little girl...). Mojo fell in love (monkey love?). Two X chromosomes plus the X from Chemical X makes XXX, the more frequently used "rating" for pr0n.

I think the drug use is harder to pull off. Are there MDMA babies out there? What makes it extacy instead of crack (aside from the X I mean)? If anything, MDMA would make Buttercup more relaxed. Why not meth, which makes you feel invulnerable? The people of townsville don't try to raid Utonium's lab to get chem. X, nor is it being sold on the black market (aside from Mojo, an that was just a plot point).

[ Parent ]
Its in the water (none / 0) (#127)
by Nick Ives on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 03:00:54 PM EST

Easy, everyone in townsville is happy and smiley and they all walk around practically oblivious to the world until a giant monster comes along, at which point they run screaming (even if your feeling the love a monster is enough to scare you) and the girls come to save them.

After reading your points I'm more open minded about the "X-Rated" subversion. Adds an interesting new dimension, but it doesnt in any way diminish in my mind the significance of chemical X. Its the chemical X that gets the XXX flowing. As for the dressing in drag, I dont think thats altogether too significant. Its more a reflection of reality if you ask me, I mean, everyone I know (myself included) has dressed up in drag at least once. That isnt that strange, is it? As for E making Buttercup more relaxed, I dont think thats the case, I think shes more at the end of the trip where shes still got the speedy buzz but the love has started to wear off.

I'm not entirely serious with it being "in the water", I mean, otherwise the kids wouldnt have been so desperate to get it from mojo. Maybe Townsville is a metaphor for Amsterdam, except with all drugs not just cannabis. Given that the show is from the perspective of 5y/old's it makes sense that it doesnt get talked about in front of them. That would also explain the implicit pornography that you described. Those are my thoughts for the moment at least.

Woohoo, k5 is back. Now we can get back to unearthing the full truth behind the Powerpuff Girls.

[ Parent ]

Whatever happened to fun? (2.50 / 4) (#64)
by Torgos Pizza on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 12:54:02 AM EST

The moment that people start trying to compare the Powerpuff Girls to symbolism in real life, just sucks all the fun out of the show. I tune in, turn my brain off and get my mojo running with Mojo Jojo.

Chill out. Enjoy the 'toon.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

I was avoiding voting on this story (4.33 / 6) (#65)
by rickward on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 12:58:32 AM EST

until I saw MisterQueue invoke Godwin's Law upon himself. +1FP, because if it's worth reading, it's worth being on the front page.

People who get pissed over silly things deserve to be bothered at all costs. --MisterQueu

Satire (4.27 / 11) (#70)
by Hopfrog on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 02:33:19 AM EST

This is satire. The actual sad part is that during my german lessons, we actually "dissected" popular culture in this way. We had to chew over every single sentence, regurgitate and and chow a bit more, then spit out some meaning. And my teacher always said that all possible intepretations are correct, since it is a work of art. When correcting the papers however, it turned out that some were more equal that the others, and thats why I failed.

Point is, if you look hard enough, you will see what you want to see.


see what you want to see. (4.00 / 1) (#84)
by bogado on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 08:53:26 AM EST

I moderated your coment based simply in this observation, that is exctly what this post is about. I don't think this is exactly "bad" it is a good exercise, and may be a sign of the quality of this cartoon witch is in my opinion one of the best realeased in some time.

[]'s Victor bogado da Silva Lins

[ Parent ]

And that is called (none / 0) (#103)
by pietra on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:41:31 PM EST

"a lazy-ass reason why I don't put much thought into literary criticism." Believe me. I have a degree in British Lit, and I heard *plenty* of inane theories, especially pertaining to Dracula (my focus was on the 19th century). You cannot necessarily read anything into a text and be correct. You can definitely read anything into a text and be wrong. For example: Dracula was written on a typewriter. Therefore, if you position your fingers over certain words ("blood," "vampire," "sex," "Dracula") and then shift them to the left, or right, or up, or down, you will spell out secret messages from Bram Stoker that totally revise all previous criticism. This doesn't work, and it's lame as hell, but one of my professors actually tried to get it published. Proof positive that correct analyses take effort, time, and can be definitively proven through examples from the text.

[ Parent ]
it's funny that you bring that up (none / 0) (#104)
by MisterQueue on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:47:48 PM EST

because my section was only written with me having seen almost 2 episodes of the show. I think it shows in my critique. ;D

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

It does (5.00 / 1) (#109)
by pietra on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:15:07 AM EST

but I like you and your pockets, and felt it would be impolite to point that out. Besides, it's a Power Puff Girls article!

[ Parent ]
Woo hoo! (none / 0) (#110)
by MisterQueue on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:22:51 AM EST

I'm liked and so forth! I'm a lucky lucky Queue. I don't have a "pocket" if you mean it in my diary sense, however, if you mean it in the sense that my pants have many pockets then it is true...very true indeed.

(And again.. WOO HOO I am liked!)

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

I like my sig. (2.00 / 5) (#71)
by bjlhct on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 02:38:29 AM EST

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
Hoo! For bonus points... (5.00 / 1) (#112)
by bjlhct on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:24:20 AM EST

Get this published somewhere! So, see, I swear I've read a half a dozen articles like this but serious. Many, many kudos to you. . [dot-blank] end

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
MisterQueue saves the day (3.80 / 5) (#72)
by carbon on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 02:49:32 AM EST

MisterQueue, please promise to do a follow-up on Dexter's Lab, Courage, and a few other of the Cartoon Cartoons. EEE, for instance, certainly is a lot more surreal then PPG ever is, not that I dislike PPG.

This story seemed to start out as a joke, but strangely result in a lot of (seemingly) intelligent discourse. Certainly, this story was a welcome change from the death and gloom angle. I think that kuro5hin shall forever refer to the thread above as 'The Great Bubbles Debate'. T-Shirts are available.

Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
What I want to see... (none / 0) (#87)
by enry on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:59:08 AM EST

analysis of The Tick. Preferably the comic (Man Eating Cow, etc). But the 'toon will do in a pinch.

[ Parent ]
Dexter's Lab? (none / 0) (#89)
by wji on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:05:15 AM EST

Well, if you're going to explain Dexter's Laboratory, you'd better explain this. And you might as well ask Dexter himself.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
My vote goes to (none / 0) (#117)
by vertigo7 on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 11:02:40 AM EST

Ed, Edd, and Eddy.

[ Parent ]
Yes, that's what I meant by EEE (none / 0) (#128)
by carbon on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 03:07:51 PM EST

That's got to be my all-time favorite non-anime cartoon. It's just so surreal, and so unpredictable (something that very few cartoons can manage). Everything Ed says or does, I can almost never be sure in advance of. Another thing that's interesting is that it never, ever introduces new characters needlessly, and it never shows any direct interaction with any adult. Not even Peanuts style mumbling, there simply are no adults in this show at all. It's amazingly well done.

Hehe, I can still remember some of my favorite lines:

Ed: "This place reminds me of the house in 'The Night Madame Swans Wax Figures Came To Life and Ate Everyone!', the mini-series."

Ed: (trying to rhyme) "Don't even think about it... think about it?"

Edd: "Will you help me find an alternate solution, Ed?"
Ed: "But I don't know what one looks like, Double-Dee!"

Heck, this show is like an endless supply of funny quotes. It's like that old LucasArts adventure game "Sam and Max Hit The Road" in that respect: just about everything every character says is memorable and hilarious.

Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
oops (none / 0) (#133)
by vertigo7 on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 01:28:43 AM EST

sorry, totally missed the EEE in your first comment. My bad. :)

[ Parent ]
Yeah, ok... (3.50 / 4) (#74)
by Rhinobird on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 02:56:51 AM EST

Yeah, OK, I can dig it. OR, it could be merely a cartoon about three superpowered kindergardeners...
"If Mr. Edison had thought more about what he was doing, he wouldn't sweat as much." --Nikola Tesla
Stereotyping and mindsets (4.25 / 4) (#77)
by lauD on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 03:43:08 AM EST

I think one of the key issues at hand here is not whether or not Bubbles in an intellectual who can actually be capable of more than being bimbotic (but it was fun watching) but stereotypes and mindsets. Bubbles has blonde hair, and in the mindsets already preexisting in our minds, we think- blonde: dumb: bimbo.

If there is some aspect of Bubbles that does not fit the dumb blonde stereotype, (Bubblevicious as you have mentioned) we ignore it and try and squeeze the rest of it into the mould anyway. I refer to one of Terry Pratchett's opinions here, that humans only see what they want to see and simply disregard the next. I quote, "Training to become a wizard is training to see what is actually there, and not what is not there, which is much more difficult than you think it would be." (Somewhat mangled, it should be from Mort)

What if our mindsets were different? What if we stereotyped black hair to mean low IQ? Does that mean that this debate would be about whether Buttercup tries to hide her intellectual inabilities by making up with her physical ones? Or if it was red hair instead of blonde. Then, would Buttercup be trying to defy the stereotype, go against the flow and assert herself in the male-dominated society of Townsville? Why not?

I really like the point on how Bubbles is secure and able to declare that she is five years old and that the other two have to put on a facade of maturity and physical toughness, because they are not secure in their five-year-oldness. Maybe there's more to Bubbles that what everyone thought. *shrugs* If this was a debate... probably one of the best I've had for a while.

Why was I born with such contemporaries? Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

1 Cor 13.11 (2.66 / 12) (#81)
by Demiurge on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 05:39:30 AM EST

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things" Ah yes, geek 'culture'. A stultifying blend of Japanimation, children's cartoons, bad sci-fi/fantasy, and high-school literature.

Let's not forget that your average geek wouldn't realize satire if you rammed it down their throats.

Hrmph. (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by enry on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:56:39 AM EST

I'll admit, I was caught. However, in my defense, take a look at some of the other stories that have floated around here. This one is pretty tame by comparison.

[ Parent ]
thanks for the .sig! (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by avdi on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:01:12 AM EST

Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
[ Parent ]
I've got another one for you (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by Ken Pompadour on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:08:07 PM EST

Isa 44:28-45:1

How dare you soil Cyrus' gift.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Ach! Japanimation! (none / 0) (#136)
by Akaru on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:08:57 AM EST

Any points you were trying to make went right out the window when you mentioned Japanimation!

Its enough to bring a man to tears.

[ Parent ]
Re: 1 Cor 13.11 (none / 0) (#137)
by Therac-25 on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:29:57 PM EST

Ah yes, geek 'culture'. A stultifying blend of Japanimation, children's cartoons, bad sci-fi/fantasy, and high-school literature.

You forgot video games.
"If there's one thing you can say about mankind / There's nothing kind about man."
[ Parent ]

We have a winner. (4.80 / 5) (#92)
by watchmaker on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:17:17 AM EST

This story, and the amazing subthread of argument between mrgoat and MisterQueue below, have now replaced "Zen" as my all time favorite K5 story.

A truly amazing piece of work. This ranks up there with Swift's "A Modest Proposal" in my book.

Of course, it's easy to do this with a show like the Powerpuff Girls.

Now, had you drawn conclusions about the stultification of american youth (and the corresponding rise of hate crimes against the elderly) from an analysis of social stereotypes and racial integration in CatDog, that would have been a challenge.

And before anyone gets any ideas, don't even try. Everyone knows that Spongebob Squarepants is only a cartoon.

Bah (none / 0) (#98)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:21:22 PM EST

Zen is derivative.
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
Parent ]
Triad of female archetypes (3.66 / 3) (#94)
by drivers on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 12:44:24 PM EST

I noticed the same triad in the movie Josie and the Pussycats. Ditzy upbeat blonde (drummer), bitchy (bass), though I don't think Josie represented brains exactly. Good satirical movie by the way.

How's this for an archetype: you have your movie star actress action and/or brains type and then you have your male geek type working on the computer supporting the efforts, analyzing data and tweaking the hitech gear, possibly in a wheelchair (e.g. Dark Angel tv) or blind (e.g. Contact movie).

curious (4.66 / 3) (#96)
by luethke on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:06:06 PM EST

I've never been into any drug culture so the part about MDMA obviously being "chemical X" flew right over my head, would someone who knows pleas explain that to me? (sorry i'm an idiot when it comes to these things). I do actually get the part about chem x being a drug, I just don't know whay MDMA would "obviuosly" be chem X versus any other drug (don't even know what MDMA is, other than a drug).

also something else not pointed out: not only could townsville be an allegory for isolationism but the evil monsters the PPG's save townsville from come fom the "evil" outside - so that even strengthens the idea of "them against us".

and for those who watch PPG's regulary, what's up with the sugar episode where mojojojo steals the candy the mayor gives them, they say the professor has told them to never eat candy. I felt this was a culture thing that flew right overe my head also.

MDMA (none / 0) (#99)
by dogwalker on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:25:42 PM EST

MDMA is short for 3,4-METHYLENEDIOXY-N-METHYLAMPHETAMINE, which is the chemical name for the drug more commonly known as Ecstasy.

Ecstasy is often referred to as "E" or "Ex", hence the connection to "chem X."

share and enjoy

[ Parent ]

Candy (none / 0) (#119)
by notcarlos on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:05:24 PM EST

I'm not sure, but if "Chemecal X" is the common drug "Ex", then artificial sugars tend to enhance the experience, or so I've been told (X is not a drug I've taken).
Perhaps, then, enhancing the effects of "Chemecal X" would produce either strange results in the girls themselves, or possibly enhance their powers beyond all human comprehension, resulting in what the Greeks call dios (godlike) girls.
So, to open up a new thread, what, in fact, would the Girls be if they became godlike? (I'm suddenly reminded of a piece of art in my Classical Studies Advisor's office: picture three goddesses, fully armored et al., with the RBG trail behind them.)

He will destroy you like an academic ninja.
-- Rating on Rate My Professors.com
[ Parent ]
Other symbology (4.30 / 10) (#100)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:33:03 PM EST

I find it rather interesting that, although there are only 6 ways of ordering three characters of which two are a strict chromatic ordering (R/G/B or B/G/R), the girls are never presented in a chromatic ordering! Whenever they're drawn on screen, they are always in a non-chromatic order from left to right, and even when mentioned by name it's always "Blossom(R), Bubbles(B) and Buttercup(G)." The order in which they're presented they're often mixed up, but it's never in a chromatic ordering, when mathematically-speaking it should happen about 1/3 of the time!

What's more, the natural ordering that they would fall into during a battle is chromatic (Blossom(R) the leader, Buttercup(G) the offensive support, and Bubbles(B) the rear flanks), but that is never the case... It is very unnerving to me.
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p

A relevant quote (4.75 / 4) (#102)
by Robert Hutchinson on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:48:17 PM EST

"... [B]e nice, or I'll color over your head."

-- Bubbles (in an unofficial capacity)

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

Woa, for a minute I thought this was adequacy.org (2.33 / 3) (#105)
by megahal on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:47:49 PM EST

Seriously. If you look way too far (as this author did) into anything, you can always come up with some stupid shit like this.

Kudos to you for the excellent troll, btw.

Not a troll (5.00 / 2) (#106)
by MisterQueue on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:49:29 PM EST

but tongue-in-cheek satire at best. Some people bit on a lure we hadn't intended to be a lure. If it's a troll it's merely an accident.

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

What is a troll? (5.00 / 2) (#107)
by megahal on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:57:56 PM EST

A troll is simply satire, cleverly disguised as a point of view.

Good accident. I was very surprised to see so many people take it seriously.

[ Parent ]
This is a quandary of mine. (5.00 / 2) (#111)
by mrgoat on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:21:20 AM EST

If I intend something to be satire, and many people miss the point completely, is that my fault? Am I therefore a troll? Am I a troll for expressing opinions I may or may not h old? Is playing the devil's advocate, by definition, trolling? Or would this be a case of many people just not getting the joke, and in their annoyance at their own dumbness, calling me a troll?

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Not a bad thing. (1.00 / 2) (#115)
by thufir on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 10:33:37 AM EST

You pose a good question, and I have no answer.

One thing I might remind you though, is that a troll is not a bad thing. Nothing brings more laughter to a lot of people than a well engineered and executed troll.

[ Parent ]
"Troll" (5.00 / 2) (#118)
by mrgoat on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 11:04:11 AM EST

But the word "troll" has taken on a bad meaning, much the way "hacker" has. Whereas it used to mean one thing to some people, it now means something different, (and bad) to a larger group. Only in the case of "troll" the mass group misunderstanding it isn't quite as large as the group misunderstanding "hacker". In both cases, it is the perception of the meaning at large that defines the meaning. So where "Troll" was not bad, it now is.

And I never intended this to be a "troll", as that implies getting biters and laughing at them. I was hoping everyone would see this for the humor piece that it is, and that some people would join in our satirical discussion. Most people "got it". A few didn't. I'd say I struck just about the right balance.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Undisguised satire, However (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by mrgoat on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 10:56:34 AM EST

Is neither funny nor telling. It's vulgar and annoying, as it amounts to little more than outright bad sarcasm.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

No biters, either. (none / 0) (#124)
by raygundan on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:51:59 PM EST

Just lots and lots of comment-posters engaging in satire as well! Only, it seems you can't tell the difference either. ;)

Only a thought-- I'm sure a number of the posts to this story are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek much like the story itself. Hard to tell the difference, sometimes.

[ Parent ]
Interesting View, But it's just a Cartoon for kids (4.25 / 4) (#108)
by Gideon on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:58:42 PM EST

By Kids, I mean children and Adults with too much time on their hands. (I clearly fall into one of those categories).

mrgoat did a very good job analysing the show. However, I do think that the show is only guilty of targeting by the show's producers and writers.

they never pay attention to anything outside townsville

When has any cartoon (written for children) has escaped the locale of their home base? Townsville is where the action is, and there always seems to be SOMETHING happening.

For this MDMA is obviously the "chemical X" refered to in the show

It's not that obvious. How can you assume that the writers wanted to push Extacy on other kids? The symbol X has always been used to identfy some unknown (much like X-rays). And it has some kind of special appeal to younger audiences. Its an easy way to simplify something and leave with the viewer believing and understanding what has happened. I doubt that the Professor is trying to push purple pills to the next generation of ravers. And if it does happen, I blame Brittney.

the social structure of feminism so clearly lined out in these three girls, or, for a better term archetypes

The point of having 3 characters on the show that have completely different personalities is two-fold. Firstly, it's all marketing. Children will identify with their "favorite" character and stick by them. (Much like Power Rangers, Poké Mon, and Wrestling). It gives the show three times the opportunity for the viewer to like the show and its characters. The second point is that each character has a different personality, and naturally, a different method of doing things. What the show shows children is that even though there are very many ways to do one thing, the only way it works out, is if you work as a team and use everyone's different strenghts to resolve it. (Because lets face it, I'm better at doing some things you are, and you're better at doing things than I am. (Like spelling, probably)

Even though I enjoyed this article, and found that it was very insightful, I really don't think that the show is some kind of Social barometer. It's just a way to keep kids watching for 30 mins full of commercials.

I would much rather read an examination of Townsville's Mayor and his tall, headless, red-dressed, busty sidekick!

They're as evil as smurfs! (4.50 / 2) (#113)
by sangdrax on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 05:54:27 AM EST

Papa Smurf is modeled after Stalin
And even more links on Google about smurfs and communism.

And what about all those cartoon characters walking without pants (like Donald Duck)? that can't be good for kids!

Cartoons are meant to be simple and understandable for kids. They are not made to represent the real world; any kid knows that. Somehow some grown-ups perceive it as real. Apparently they still need some more growing up to do.

On the contrary. (5.00 / 2) (#114)
by mrgoat on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 09:34:57 AM EST

Cartoons are meant not just for children. They never were. Cartoons have been intended to entertain the parents of children as well, since their inception as an entertainment form. The idea is that the authors quite frequently use jokes that "fly over the children's heads" so to speak. Meaning, of course, that they do not understand them. Thusly is the ability to work on multiple levels integral to cartoons.

Would you seriously say that the smurfs are intended solely for children? Scooby Doo? (with it's "scooby snacks", the "mystery van" and shaggy and scooby's seemingly perisitent case of the munchies) How about Animaniacs? Certainly not designed only for children. The Flintstones: Clearly a criticism of the blue collar worker, and a warning agianst violence in the home. Tom and Jerry? What was once a seemingly innocuous cat and mouse game is simply a metaphor for the dangers and rewards of rebellion against the status quo.

I could go on, but surely you must understand my point now.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Bubbles is not dumb. (4.50 / 2) (#120)
by raygundan on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:44:33 PM EST

This is a masterful attempt to read a whole lot into a simple, fun kids' cartoon, but I have one big gripe.

misterqueue reveals stereotyping of his own-- labelling Bubbles ditzy and dingy based on her bubbly personality. Bubbles is the member of the team who most frequently displays the "common sense" misterqueue accuses her of lacking. While the other two attempt to overplan (Blossom) or solve everything through strength (Buttercup) and frequently argue about which method is better, Bubbles often saves the day through a solid, common sense solution. (See the episode "Three Girls and a Monster" for a prime example)

Bubbles also speaks fluent Spanish (episode "Ice Sore"), and apparently, more than a small bit of Japanese (episode "Super Zeroes"). Not to mention she can talk to squirrels. No mean feat for a "bimbo" who is in KINDERGARTEN.

While she is the target of evil for her kind and trusting nature ("Octi Evil") these are hardly bad traits. And kindness, a childish voice, and blonde hair do not make a person (however fictional) stupid.

I have been trolled splendidly.

I agree with you. (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by mrgoat on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:32:29 PM EST

And for a healthy discussion between myself and MisterQueue on the value of Bubbles, you needn't look any farther than the comments contained under this very article. I think I defend her admirably, and in the future I will take into account the points you have raised about Bubbles. Perhaps a more formal, in-depth character study is in line.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

I think my views on this have been stated (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by MisterQueue on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 02:33:30 PM EST

and I have nothing more to add to it. Suffice to say that if I ever meet you I WILL kick your ass.

"That's fucking great! I want a baby jesus buttplug!" -mrgoat[ Parent ]

I totally agree... (none / 0) (#139)
by BooBoo on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 11:23:38 PM EST

That and Bubbles can kick some serious ass when she wants to, thus becoming a blend of the intelligence of Blossom and the strength of Buttercup.

And she's just so darn cute... that can be a plus, too. Throw 'em off with cuteness, and they won't even suspect that you're gonna blast 'em in the 'nads.


On tattoos: FUCK YEAH, IT HURTS!!!

[ Parent ]

Bravo ! (none / 0) (#121)
by bugmaster on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:11:29 PM EST

I love it when people take a simple idea, and take it to the extreme. I also love reading the comments of other people, who can't tell the difference between satire and reality. I'd mod this +1 FP if it weren't on the FP already :-)

I'd just like to add that the Mayor (of Townsville) is obviously modeled after our current president, Dubya Bush. The parallels are undeniable, even though the Mayor is slightly smarter than his real-world counterpart.

you might have a point, there... (none / 0) (#132)
by azool on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 07:22:51 PM EST

except that the PPG pre-date the current president by quite some time.

[ Parent ]
it still freaks me out... (none / 0) (#144)
by fink on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 06:33:26 AM EST

that Townsville is mentioned. I used to live there, in real life.

[ Parent ]

The End Time is Nigh (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by bugmaster on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:42:23 PM EST

Actually, while I agree with most of the article, I believe that the show as a whole has a deeper point. Anyone versed in Greek mythology can clearly see that the PPG are, in fact, the Erinyes, more commonly known as "The Furies".

The Furies are generally renowned for being the "avenging spirits of retributive justice... Their task was to punish crimes not within the reach of human justice" [loggia.com]. This describes the PPG pretty cleanly, as well. They deliver swift, painful, extremely retributive justice to supervillains, who are too powerful to be safely contained by mere mortals.

While MisterQueue briefly mentions that the PPG might in fact be the Furies, he doesn't seem to attach much attention to this fact. However, I believe the PPG/Furies to be critically important. Consider a regular day in the life of Townsville: everything is fine and dandy, until the supervillain attacks. The PPG then typically beat the snot out of the supervillain. In the process, at least a city block (and usually more) of Townsville is razed to the ground.

The implications here are clear. If Townsville represents our world (i.e., the Earth), then what we are witnessing is a mortal battle between the gods and the forces who are the opposites of gods. The Norse myths speak of Ragnarök, the epic battle between the gods and the giants which will destroy the world. Inicidentally, the Ragnarök forces of the Aesir will be led by three gods: Odin (the smart one, the leader), Loki (tricky, angst-ridden, scary as hell), and Thor (packs a punch, dumb as a rock). Remind you of anyone ? In any case, the Greek myths also speak of a final battle which will end this world; in the Greek version, the battle will be fought as a "rematch" of sorts between the Olympian gods, and the Titans whom they have imprisoned. Many other religions contain the final-battle-which-will-end-the-world myth in some form.

In short, the PPG is not merely a show about sociology or drugs. The PPG is a prophecy. The final battle draws near. THE END TIMES ARE NIGH !!! Make peace with your gods, all of you ! Especially mrgoat.

A chilling analysis. (none / 0) (#125)
by mrgoat on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 02:13:49 PM EST

However, as the Powerpuff Girls is a work of fiction, much like the myths from which you posit they glean inspiration from. As such, they no more fortell the impending doom of the world than said aforementioned myths.

Also, all these myths revolve around a specific antithesis to the "good" gods. Who, praytell would this specific opponent be to the Powerpuff Girls? It has been shown time after time that there are no recurring villains that the Powerpuff Girls have world-destroying class battles with. Highly destructive, certainly, (as shown by the wanton destrucion rampant in their battles in Townsville) but nothing close to the complete obliteration of Townsville.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Not just fiction (5.00 / 1) (#129)
by bugmaster on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 03:25:11 PM EST

Well, all human storytelling is a work of fiction, in some degree or another. I mean, look at "Learn the Windows API in 21 days" types of books -- if that's not fiction, I don't know what is. However, PPG is more than pure fiction. Nay, just like the Norse, Greek, etc. myths, PPG prophecise the end of the world as we know it -- a violent, terrible end. Looking at the world events today, can you really believe the end is far ? There is terrorism, war in the Middle East, comets on approach to Earth (harbingers of doom), that strange black water in the Atlantic (and the seas shall be as blood). Beware, I say. The end is near. Run for the hills !

Moving right along, you ask,

Who, praytell would this specific opponent be to the Powerpuff Girls? It has been shown time after time that there are no recurring villains that the Powerpuff Girls have world-destroying class battles with.
World-destroying is hard work, even for creatures from beyound the great Abyss. Try counting the number of civilians and equipment that were blown up, buried under rubble, electrocuted, ran over by stampeding pedestrians, etc., next time MojoJojo, Fuzzy Lumpkins, that fish monster, or some other villain attacks. Townsville is being destroyed, piece by piece. It's so big, though (just like our world), that the destruction will take a long time to complete.

Also note the episode (sorry, I forget the name) where the PPG have traveled into the future (by moving at warp speeds), in which the world as we knew it was dead, and Him owned what was left. This fate awaits us all. Repent !
[ Parent ]

I always thought of the PPG... (5.00 / 2) (#130)
by Dephex Twin on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 05:19:41 PM EST

...as a parody on comic books and Japanimation rather than a social commentary. "Townsville" always reminds me of "Metropolis"-- the generic city that Superman (especially early on) always seemed to be saving. He certainly did a lot more good in that city than elsewhere in the world.

The look of the Powerpuff Girls themselves seems to be a parody of anime-style cartoon characters, with the big eyes and head, etc.

I always thought of Mojo-Jojo to be an anime parody as well-- the way he talks reminds me of characters from that genre (very fast, lots of words with no breaks, lots of redundancy). (Sorry, I'm not an expert on anime, so I can't think of a precise example.)

The PPG do have somewhat stereotypical personalities, but I think that's the point. It's taking these stereotypes to the extreme, to the point of absurdity. They even take the stereotype of the fact that the girls are kids to the extreme. All the characters are different kinds of stereotypes, and I think that is part of what is so fun about the show.

There's a lot more parallels one could make, but my point is, while looking at the PPG as social commentary might be interesting, I don't think it is the creators' intent, and that it is intended as more of a parody.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
the movie omg (1.00 / 2) (#131)
by logiterr on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 06:22:46 PM EST

ima haf ta see that movie omg. too cool.

what is the chemical X though?

My girlfriend looks like buttercup. (none / 0) (#134)
by S1ack3rThanThou on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 09:14:04 AM EST

Which I think is pretty cool.

"Remember what the dormouse said, feed your head..."
I met two of the PPG writers a while back. (none / 0) (#135)
by Fantastic Lad on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 10:38:10 AM EST

I had the opportunity to meet a couple of the writers who work on the PPG series. I asked them where the heck PPG came from, and I quote:

". . ."

Actually, I can't remember a damned thing either of them said. I do, however, recall neither of them had anything terribly wise or memorable to say regarding culture or what have you. Nice enough people, but still. --It was a long time ago, I was dead tired, and I was just making polite conversation. Give me a break.

As for the whole MDMA connection. . ?

They're SD Sailor scouts, for Pete's sake! Nobody fights crime on 'e'. You hug it, jump around like a moron and quietly brain-bleed for a few hours after the hydrogen peroxide effect kicks in. Sheesh. If the PPG girls were taking 'e', they'd be more like hyper Care Bears with that popular 'strug-out Monday' look. Subtle difference, I realize, but you don't see too many well delivered flying kicks at the average rave.

Suitable for lunchboxes and getting that ever-powerful 10 year girl demograph addicted en-masse to some brain sucking computer game.

You want to talk about cultural impact? Try the word, 'Engineered' on for size. Unwitting, perhaps, especially if you consider those two well-meaning but entirely unremarkable, & very White pay-check writers. --Who may indeed realize, but try not think too much about the fact wholesale marketing to girls of the idea that, 'It's Cool To Be Tough, So Long As You Remain Cute, Feminine and Pre-Pubescent,' is no better, and in fact, probably worse for societal health than a whole legion of anemic runway models.

Mess 'em up right good when they're young, and they'll be obedient little consumers for life. --Who come pre-programmed to fuck nicely and make cute noises when they submit. And the misery train rolls on. . .

-Fantastic Lad

"Japanimation" (none / 0) (#138)
by Lai Lai Boy on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 09:36:12 PM EST

Would you degenerates stop calling it Japanimation for Christ's sake?

It's anime.

[Posted from Mozilla Firebird]

project a-ko (5.00 / 2) (#140)
by christfokkar on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 10:13:21 AM EST

Well, I'm glad somebody finally had the courage to step up and say that chemical X is MDMA.

Still no real mention of PPG's anime roots though. The triad is very easy to explain. It comes from Project A-Ko.

In Project A-Ko, you have the calm, self-assured redheaded leader (A-Ko), the annoyingly immature blonde (C-Ko), and the bluehaired bitch (B-Ko). All three are young, female, and defy the laws of physics on a regular basis. Sound familiar? They were also quite fond of wrecking the town in blind pursuit of their own ego-battles.

A-Ko, of course, is a parody of other anime, notably Ranma and Gallforce. Ranma is the calm, red-headed hero, and Akane is his bitchy brunette counterpart. Ditz, take your pick from the supporting cast. Gallforce, again, has a calm, redheaded leader (Rabby), a petulant, immature blonde (Rumy), and a bitch (Eluza) although admittedly she's not a brunette. Sound familiar though?

All three animes I listed are heavily driven by female characters - in fact, A-Ko and Gallforce essentially have no male characters at all.

How do I know this is intentional? From the epsiode where the Professor builds a giant, heavily-weaponized robot in his basement overnight. B-Ko was fond of doing just that.

PPG is awash in cultural references. You might want to note the lack of head on Ms. Bellum (Charlie Brown), or her sexual dominance and redhaired voluptuousness, which are reminiscent of Jessica Rabbit.

There are certainly more than this, but these are the ones that stand out for me.

magic knight rayearth (none / 0) (#142)
by gauze on Mon Sep 02, 2002 at 02:48:17 PM EST

<<In Project A-Ko, you have the calm, self-assured redheaded leader (A-Ko), the annoyingly immature blonde (C-Ko), and the bluehaired bitch (B-Ko). All three are young, female, and defy the laws of physics on a regular basis. Sound familiar? >>

Yeah sounds exactly like Magic Knight Rayearth.

Probably 34 other Anime series as well I guess, I dunno.
There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
[ Parent ]

mrgoat needs a valid argument (none / 0) (#141)
by stickmanbob on Thu Jul 18, 2002 at 01:14:56 PM EST

In the begining of his argument mrgoat assumes that chemical X is MDMA by stating "this MDMA is obviously chemical X" but he leaves no support for this claim. this part of mrgoats argument is invalid and can be tossed aside until he can back up his weak claim that Chemical X is MDNA.
There is no knowledge that is not power
No shit eh? (none / 0) (#143)
by mrgoat on Sat Sep 21, 2002 at 04:12:11 AM EST

Hence the fact that this was humor.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Too much time on your hands? (none / 0) (#145)
by Whatdafark on Mon Jan 27, 2003 at 08:40:22 PM EST

It seems that way. What a waste of cyberspace.

Waste of cyberspace? (none / 0) (#146)
by MisterQueue on Sun Feb 16, 2003 at 11:07:55 AM EST

Indeed.. you are.


"At least in Hell, their government isn't lying about what they are." -mrgoat
"Why don't you sell Parent ]

An In-Depth Anaylsis of the Cultural Ramifications Evidenced in the Powerpuff Girls | 146 comments (103 topical, 43 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!