Monday, January 4, 2016

Powerpuff Girls: "'Twas The Fight Before Christmas"

Premiered October 7, 2003.

"The point, Princess, is that you better change your ways, or all you're ever gonna get from Santa is a big, fat lump of coal in your stocking!" - Blossom

Christmas is coming and the people of Townsville, USA are preparing to celebrate the holiday season.

That's especially true for three kids Blossom (Cathy Cavadini), Bubbles (Tara Strong) and Buttercup (Elizabeth Daily), better known as the Powerpuff Girls.

Buttercup worries that her Christmas list won't reach Santa in time. 
They're discussing the letters they've sent to Santa Claus when they're interrupted by their enemy Princess Morbucks (Jennifer Hale). She only wants one thing from Santa:to become a Powerpuff Girl.

Princess Morbucks is a spoiled brat with a penchant for criminal activity. 
The Powerpuff Girls remind Princess that she's committed many crimes and worked with felons.  Blossom says that Princess is "a spoiled brat who's greedy and jealous."  This puts her on Santa's naughty list.

Princess Morbucks decides to get her present through alternate means.  She takes her family's plane to the North Pole, sneaks into Santa Claus' workshop and locates his list of children who are naughty and nice.  Princess changes the list so that every child on Earth is on the naughty list...except for Princess Morbucks herself!

Back in Townsville, Bubbles wakes up and hears Santa's sleigh on their roof.  She runs downstairs to see what presents have been left under their tree.  Bubbles is shocked when she sees no presents and becomes distraught when she finds her stocking filled with coal.  She flies around the city and uses her x-ray vision to see what other children have gotten.  It turns out Santa brought nothing but coal to children everywhere.

Bubbles wakes up the other girls and tells them what happened.  Suddenly, they encounter Princess Morbucks, who has become a Powerpuff Girl!  Her altering of Santa's list has paid off, big time.  The Powerpuff Girls decide to fly off to the North Pole to tell Santa Claus the truth about the list.  But in order to do so, they'll have to race against Princess and beat her to Santa's workshop.  But in order to get there, the Powerpuffs will have to battle Princess Morbucks and her new superpowers.  

The super-powered girls race to the North Pole. 
Can the Powerpuff Girls win the race to the North Pole?  Can Christmas be saved?

J.A. Morris says:

I was never a regular viewer of The Powerpuff Girls series, but I enjoyed it when I tuned in.  It was always full of action, humor and pop culture references.  "'Twas The Fight Before Christmas" is generally lots of fun, but it has two problems.

Prof. Utonium (Tom Kane) helps light the tree.
First off, it's much longer than regular Powerpuff Girls episodes.  Most ran for 22 minutes and contained two stories.  This Christmas special is 44 minutes and portions of it feel like padding.

Worse than that is the handling of the naughty and nice list.  As our summary states, Princess doctors the list so she can get what she wants for Christmas.  Everything we've ever learned about Santa Claus, from books, songs and other specials indicates that this would never happen.  You can't go behind Santa's back, change the list and get away with it...because Santa KNOWS who's been bad or good.  Santa wouldn't deliver coal to all but one child on Earth because a list said so.

"'Twas The Fight Before Christmas" has been released twice on DVD.  It's available as a standalone disc and can also be found on The Powerpuff Girls 10th Anniversary Collection - The Complete Series.

In spite of what I said above, It's still tons of fun and the positives outweigh the problems.  "'Twas The Fight Before Christmas" is recommended but the issues I mentioned prevent it from being a classic Christmas special.

J.A. Morris' rating:

3 candy canes.

RigbyMel says:

Although I was aware of and enjoyed watching The Powerpuff Girls from time to time in the early 2000s,  this particular episode was new to me.

Blossom gets to put the star on top of the tree. 
I quite liked the rhyming narration throughout and also the way the Powerpuff Girls race to put up the Christmas decorations at their house.  The way that they disagree with and eventually fight Princess Morbucks (who comes off like a warped version of Little Orphan Annie)  is also consistent with what I remember of elementary school fights. (Although the addition of superpowers adds an interesting twist!)  I definitely wanted to see the spoiled Princess receive her comeuppance!

Some of Santa's elves enjoy some refreshing (?) "Nog Cola." 
There are also a couple of amusing sight gags involving people getting tangled in Christmas lights and a "Nog Cola" machine in the break room at Santa's workshop.   The girls' horror at receiving coal in their stockings is both amusing and heart wrenching as well.

This episode is certainly entertaining, but as J.A. Morris mentions, Santa would know who was naughty and nice regardless of whether his list printouts had been tampered with.   So, that bugged me.   I also wasn't crazy about the tank top attired Santa -- although I like the look of the series in general.

This episode is not a classic, but it is nice to see a little girl powered (pun intended!) superhero holiday action, in any case.

RigbyMel's rating:


2 and a half candy canes.

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