By Deborah Sengupta StithFree outdoor film screenings on the Long Center terrace were a new feature at the South by Southwest Film Festival this year, and the third and final installment, Monday night’s episode premiere of the revamped Powerpuff Girls was a well-executed event catering to crime-fighting kindergartener in all of us. Gates opened at 6 p.m. and the family friendly extravaganza included inflatable stations with cotton candy and candied popcorn color-coded to match the three Powerpuffs — Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. There were also interactive game stations and oversized sculptures of the girls for photo ops.
Cartoon Network staffers roamed the terrace handing out stickers of each Powerpuff, separating the kids and their grown ups into teams for the parade. Then everyone was given t-shirts, balloons and lighted bracelets — blue for Bubbles, pink for Blossom and green for Buttercup — to wear as they marched around the traffic circle on Riverside under giant parade floats of the three Powerpuffs. Later all the children who participated in the parade received blankets.
“We wanted to reinvent the show and give it some new energy, but keep everything you loved about the old show,” Nick Jenkins, one of the directors of the reboot said, introducing the episode.
Based on the episode that screened, it would appear they succeeded. With an updated post-riot grrl theme song, stylistically and thematically the show will be very familiar to old school fans, but it also feels very rooted in the present. Plot points for the debut episode included the trials of a wannabe unicorn, anger management meditations for feisty Buttercup and a burly lumberjack with overly aggressive facial hair who felt the Powerpuffs hometown, Townsville, had a femininity problem.
Like the original, the series still aims to appeal to children, but it’s loaded with plenty of inside jokes for parents and twenty-something fans who may or may not partake in mildly hallucinogenic drugs. The series is set to premiere on Cartoon Network in April, but show producers said the episode screened at SXSW will be available as a free download on iTunes on Tuesday.
If there was one gripe about the event it was the lack of real food available. Families who failed to feed their kids before the 6 p.m. gate time had two options, Lobster rolls and other high end seafood, from food truck Garbo’s and the aforementioned sweet treats.