The City of Townsville, 10 years later

Nothing to make a guy feel old than seeing the arrival of the 10th Anniversary of something that feels like … well … like it’s not ten years old.

But much to my surprise did I realize that it’s now been a little more than ten years since the cartoon, The Powerpuff Girls, made its series debut on Cartoon Network.  It’s actually been a little bit more than ten, since the series premiere was in 1998 (November 18, to be exact) — and you could say it’s even longer than that, since the concept itself premiered as a pilot even earlier, in March of 1995.  It took running across a “10th Anniversary Marathon” of episodes on television Monday (and a brand-new episode, created to honor the anniversary) to realize just how long it’d been since this cartoon had first hit the airwaves.

Created by Craig McCracken, the Powerpuff Girls quickly became one of the fledgling Cartoon Network’s biggest hits, its debut episode scoring the highest rating of any premiere in the network’s history at the time.  Throughout its run, the show would be a ratings winner for the network, appealing to a large demographic that included a surprising number of adults watching with their kids — or in some cases, adults watching alone.

In its inception, Cartoon Network had been the home for all of your cartoon reruns in one place — old episodes of The Flintstones, Tom & Jerry, Scooby-Doo, and Warner Brothers classics featuring Bugs Bunny and others filled the programming landscape.  But the Powerpuff Girls was part of a new approach for the network — the creation of  original shows as a programming base.  While the Powerpuff Girls wasn’t the first of these shows, it arguably became the most popular, and along with other now-cult favorites like Dexter’s Laboratory and Cow & Chicken just to name a few, Cartoon Network became a channel to enjoy something other than a trip down Nostalgia Lane.

I worked as a store manager at KB Toys at the time, and I remember being surprised by the sheer number of people who came in looking for Powerpuff Girls merchandise (which we never could seem to keep enough of in stock).  My schedule usually allowed me to have Friday nights off, and the little kid in me found itself drawn to watching the Friday night block of cartoons religiously, and I’m not embarrassed to admit that the Powerpuff Girls were a favorite.  The show may have been a cartoon, but it wasn’t just aimed at kids.  While the plots were simple, they were mostly action-packed, and the animation was solid.  And there were some episodes, like the classic “Meet the Beat-Alls”, which seemed to be squarely aimed at its adult fanbase (anyone who loves the Beatles should see this episode, as it’s chock-filled with references to the Fab Four too numerous to go into here — anyone who has seen it, can check out this list of those references here.

beat-alls

The entire series is now available in a collected format on DVD, and it’s well worth the $42.99 it’ll run you at Amazon.

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