If That Don’t Beat All

Craig McCracken
Craig McCracken

Like every other fan of CN’s The Powerpuff Girls, I was delighted to hear that a new special titled Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed, featuring the kindergarten super heroines with the Keene Painting eyes, would be airing in January, with the original voice team intact, even though the show’s creator Craig McCracken is not involved. For the record, Craig’s nonparticipation in the new digitally-animated show is due to his current gig supervising Wander Over Yonder for Disney, and not because he opined back in 2002: “I think this CG stuff is just the flavor of the month right now.”

There was one new addition to the voice cast of Dance Pantsed that particularly struck me, though: Ringo Starr. Who remembers when all of the Beatles, at least their images and legacy, constituted a 2001 episode of The Powerpuff Girls called “Meet the Beat Alls?” In it, the A-list of PPG villains––Mojo Jojo, Fuzzy Lumpkins, Princess Morbucks, and HIM––form a group called the Beat Alls, or the “Bad Four.” The eleven-minute episode was crammed with Beatles references and allusions, from the obvious to the very subtle, and quick images of the previously animated Fab Four from both their 1960s TV series and the feature Yellow Submarine.

Back in 2001 I spoke with Craig McCracken about the genesis of the episode. “We came up with, what if Mojo had a girlfriend?” he explained, adding:

“We also came up with what if the villains teamed up? And then it seemed natural that if they teamed up and became really famous for beating the Powerpuff Girls, we can parallel their rise to fame with the Beatles’ rise to fame. Then we can get Mojo’s girlfriend in there, the whole Yoko thing. But we never want the parody to take precedence over the characters we’ve created. Still, this one is not a normal show, as far as Powerpuff Girls go. We went, ‘Okay, we’re not going to do what we normally do, we’re going to make a Beatles-reference show. We did the same thing with a Dexter’s Lab where we did a Speed Racer episode.”

One sequence that did not make it into the final cut, Craig told me, was a parody of the real Beatles’ fame:

“The Beat Alls were stealing something from someplace and when they ran out the back door, they were right in front of the prison. All the prisoners were so in love with the Beat Alls that they knocked down the fence and were chasing them through the town like the schoolgirls in A Hard Day’s Night. It was a great joke to have these huge, muscley, burly men screaming like little girls, but it just got too long and we had to cut it out.”

The original episode coincidentally ran on the anniversary of the Fab Four’s first appearance on Ed Sullivan, but it was another coincidence that gave Craig second thoughts:

“The day we finished the show was the anniversary of the death of John Lennon. I wouldn’t watch the show that day and I wouldn’t show it to anybody out of respect.”

The Powerpuff Girls

The Powerpuff Girls