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Why The Powerpuff Girls Is Much Darker Than You Think

On one fateful night, Professor Utonium's (Tom Kane) life changed forever when he decided to take to his workbench in hopes of creating a daughter all his own. A dash of sugar, a hint of spice, and, of course, everything nice made their way into his science experiment, along with a mysterious yet powerful ingredient known as Chemical X. This accidental addition led to the existence of three super-powered little girls — Blossom (Cathy Cavadini), Bubbles (Tara Strong), and Buttercup (EG Daily) — as well as the perfect premise for a television series on Cartoon Network.

"The Powerpuff Girls" is a timeless classic in the animation game, having originally called the airwaves home from 1998 to 2005. Week in and week out, the titular trio would go about Townsville and stop criminals of all shapes, sizes, and motives from doing harm to the public. At the same time, they'd struggle with all of the frustrating things that come with being children, adding an interesting layer to what could've been an otherwise straightforward superhero show. Naturally, "The Powerpuff Girls" presented itself as a kids' program, but that's not to say it was 100% kiddie fun.

Like most cartoons aimed at children, "The Powerpuff Girls" has pushed the envelope now and again. However, it's difficult to overlook just how dark the show is on a fundamental level.

The Powerpuff Girls' very existence has led to some dark moments

Throughout their series, the Powerpuff Girls have consistently proven themselves as a symbol of kindness and care, often going out of their way to help out the people of Townsville. While having three metahuman, kindergarten-age children running about the city stomping on criminals is a moral gray area on its own, there's something to be said about their existence in the first place. They may be a net positive for the city, but if "The Powerpuff Girls" has proven anything, it's that their presence and creation have paved the way for some horrific moments.

As the show's title sequence reminds viewers every episode, Professor Utonium's creation of his three daughters was a total fluke. Chemical X made its way into his concoction by mistake, thus creating superpowered triplets. Even still, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup gave it a shot themselves and created Bunny (Christine Cavanaugh), who was genuinely good-hearted but lacked her sisters' social skills and molecular stability thanks to the girls' butchering of the recipe. As a result, she tragically dies in the closing moments of the same episode she debuted in, "Twisted Sister."

Additionally, it's worth highlighting the episode "Knock It Off," which featured Utonium's old friend, Dick Hardly (Jeff Bennett). Money-hungry as ever, he gets the girls to tell him the recipe required to make more beings like them, doing so and making a profit off of them. He doesn't get away from it for long, though, seeing as the Professor and the Powerpuff Girls learn of his get-rich-quick scheme and the mutated creatures he'd accidentally created. The episode ends with Hardly's factory going up in flames and him being attacked by the "faulty" girls he never properly loved.

At the end of the day, "The Powerpuff Girls" is an iconic cartoon that's just as enjoyable to watch today as it was back then. With that said, it has its fair share of dark, disturbing elements too, with some of the most unsettling surprisingly linked directly to the child heroes themselves. They may have turned out fine, but evidently, lightning doesn't strike twice, and the result of trying to force it to can be scarring.