Monday, April 22, 2013

The Powerpuff Girls in: "Meat Fuzzy Lumkins"

Created, Written and Directed by: Craig McCracken
Animation Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Art Director: Paul Rudish
Layout Designer: Mike Moon
Music: Pete Houser
Voices: E.G. Daily, Kath Soucie, Cathy Cavidini, Jim Cummings, Ernie Anderson, Paul Mercier
Produced in Association with: Animal House Animation, Japan

Here it is, the first short in the series, and the one that led into one of Cartoon Network's most popular series. I remember liking this one a lot when I was a kid, and I saw it so many times I probably could have reviewed it without even rewatching it. It's still pretty good, but there are a few things about this short that could've been done better. Let's start by doing a recap:

Townsville Hall is holding its annual jam contest and we're down to the final three. Fuzzy Lumkins is confident his entry made of meat is going to win, but when The Powerpuff Girls (who act as the judges) choose another entry instead as the winner, it causes Fuzzy to snap and swears he will get his revenge on Townsville. Later at the Pokey Oaks Kindergarten, the Girls receive a call that Fuzzy is turning everyone and everything into meat who he then proceeds to eat. The girls rush to rebuild Townsville (how they do it, I'm not sure), and then quickly fly to stop Fuzzy before he can turn Townsville Hall into meat.

The part that follows is easily the highlight of the cartoon, where Fuzzy uses his gun on the girls so he can turn them into meat. This part is very well staged, with constant back-and-forths between the villain firing his laser gun and the girls barely dodging it. Bubbles gets narrowly hit by the beam, turning one of her pony tails into a drumstick. This completely turns the table on Fuzzy, as an incredibly pissed Bubbles proceeds to beat the crap out of Fuzzy in what is the very first massive villain beatdown of the series. Bubbles uses the gun to turn Fuzzy into meat, and peace is back to Townsville once again.

This is a very entertaining short. While it's not up there with the best episodes of the later TV series, it is certainly good on its own merits, as proven by the generally good reception it got when it first aired. A lot of things here feel strange when compared to the series, mainly the different voices, character designs, and even the different personalities (Fuzzy feels a lot more competent here than he does on the show), but I can forgive all that since this short came out around 4 years before the actual series, so it had plenty of time to change certain things.

The cartoon's biggest problem is how it handles the main characters. These three girls are supposed to be a team, but I have to say, they don't feel like one most of the time. For the first two thirds of the cartoon, this is basically The Blossom Show. She basically does all the talking, answers the phone from the Mayor, questions the citizens, and finds out who the villain is. Bubbles then takes over for the fight in the end, and Buttercup... has like two lines in the whole short, flies around and stands by the sidelines. She contributes so little to the story she might as well be removed entirely and it would barely matter.

Other than that, this is still a pretty good cartoon, the brilliantly staged fight certainly makes up for the major downside the short has, and the animation goes greatly with it. Regardless of what you think of the actual show, give this a short a watch sometime, because it's clearly a piece of cartoon history.

Oh yeah, the Mayor is different here. Either he got redesigned, or got replaced by a different one after he was turned to meat in this short. Take your pick.

 The very first shot of The Powerpuff Girls. Hard to take a screenshot that shows the whole picture, but a fitting entrance for a superheroine trio.

 Funny face on Bubbles in this shot.

We pan on a crowd of nervous people which ends with sweaty monkeys and a guy with an umbrella. Is this a reference to something or just random? Either way, it's pretty amusing.

Love the shot of Fuzzy as he realizes he has lost.

Another good shot of Fuzzy. Kinda menacing and crazy at the same time.

I like this shot mostly because of the citizens watching from the windows. What's with the green guy? A Puppet Pal prototype?

Funny moment with the girls about to leave Pokey Oaks only to freeze after Ms. Keane (still unnamed in this short) reminds them to ask for permission before leaving.

 I think out of these three, only Salami Swami actually appeared on the show, and even then, it was only a cameo.

As I mentioned, the sequence with Fuzzy firing his gun and the girls dodging the beam is pretty good. Great animation all around in this segment.

 Uh-oh. She's pretty pissed.

Yeah, you better run.

My favorite shots from the "Bubbles Vs. Fuzzy" fight. Which one looks more painful? Take your pick.

Hahaha, oh man. After Bubbles beats Fuzzy in every way possible, we get this out-of-the-blue scene with Fuzzy casually walking down the street, only for Bubbles to trip him so he falls face-down to the floor. Not sure why it's there as it's incredibly random, but I love it anyway. Fuzzy's walking cycle is hilarious.


  1. Much of this short can trace it's origins to a short film done by Craig McCracken while a student at CalArts in the early 90's. At the time though, he referred to the girls under a different name but the premise was still the same...

  2. I remember watching the Space Ghost: Coast to Coast airing when this short aired on Cartoon Network. God, I was, what, 10? Either way, I loved the hell out of this short as a kid. They were little girls who kicked ass and the action was all dazzling and zazz and whatever. It was very enticing for my youthful little brain.

    I recently got the Powerpuff Girls series on DVD which contained this short. I rewatched it again and was pleased that it still holds up well. It's a marvelous little gem.

  3. And because of what PPG did to use the name "Townsville" as it's hamlet setting, I often wonder how many of those residing in the real Townsville in coastal Queensland Australia thought that was a reference to their fair city? I'm sure it was a coincidence to use the name without thinking such a town could have that name.