‘Powerpuff Girls’ harness their powers for a new generation
When “Powerpuff Girls” debuted on Cartoon Network in 1998, it showed not only that girls could save the day, but that they could be messy, strong, funny, and feminine. Almost 20 years later, the Emmy-winning series about three superpowered kindergartners has been rebooted by the network for a new generation of viewers. While the original creators aren’t involved, some of those who enjoyed the show in its previous run are now at the helm. Haley Mancini, a writer and voice actor on the show, is one of them. The Globe spoke with her by phone from Los Angeles.
Q. Was there anything from the original run that affected you going into the new one?
A. I’m such a fan of the original, and I know that our showrunners are too. The original show was always really perfect for me because I was a tough girly girl and a tomboy that didn’t mind wearing a dress. It was the best of both worlds for me. I really love the action, I love the story and heart of the original, too, and it all coming down to sisterhood. It was always something that held strong for me.
Q. What has changed with the new series?
A. There’s definitely some differences and definitely some things that are the same. Also, the way storytelling has changed, it’s really evolved into something different in the past 10 years. We had to modernize it. The amount of story told in 11 minutes is so much more. It’s evolved into [something] more character based and focusing more on the girls’ personalities, taking small day-to-day stories and blowing them up. You really get more of a full story with deeper emotions in less time. The story arc has become more complex.
Q. Is there a level of pressure/importance concerning working on the new show?
A. Yeah, I think definitely the excitement around the original show brought this whole team together. I don’t know a single person who didn’t grow up with the show, so it’s hard to find someone that doesn’t want to live up to that legacy.
Q. I have noticed that the show is making an effort to be socially conscious.
A. We’ve been having a lot of fun. It’s nice that we’ve come far enough with, for example, feminism and stuff where you don’t have to constantly reinforce it. They can be real little kids, and real little girls and have some girly moments but also they kick butt, and that’s kind of cool because it feels like that’s what the modern little girl is. Now that there [are] more girls on TV, the weight of everything doesn’t have to be on the one female character. Now there [are] more female characters, you can see all the different types of girls that there are.
Q. What do you hope for the show?
A. I think just putting forward positive messages. I’d like to see the characters grow more and more, and see the world relate to these girls more and more, and see a new generation of kids being like, “I’m a Blossom, I’m a Buttercup, I’m a Bubbles.” Whatever we do in the show to make that happen and feel like they care for these characters, and these characters can inspire them to do great things with their lives, that would be my end game. I think that is already starting to happen.