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The Twisted Family of the Powerpuff Girls

Born in 1986, this '80s baby and '90s kid remembers the colorful and naughty side of millennial youth.

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Sugar, Spice, and Some Things Not So Nice

If you watched The Powerpuff Girls animated movie, 1998-2005 TV series, or the 2016-2019 TV series, then you're already familiar with triplet superhero sisters Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup Utonium. They were the creation of Professor Utonium as an answer to rampant crime in the city of Townsville.

Things start to fly off the rails when you realize that a trio of artificially created newborn girls in the mind and body of kindergarteners is being sent off to battle everything from mutated monster villains, to space aliens, to armed bank robbers, to an LBGTQ stereotype version of Satan in the character of Him. However, the blend of stylish art, bold colors, unusually intense action, and silly comedy serves as a giant distraction from the endless nightmare that is the lives of these three goofy, yet intelligent child superheroes.

But even the most lighthearted and silly episodes can't distract from the twisted branches of the girls' family tree.

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Brotherly Love or Father Knows Best?

The Powerpuff Girls originally aired on November 18, 1998, after two successful shorts in 1995 and 1996. Fans were instantly introduced to the girls' father, Professor Utonium, and for two months, the narrative was that he created the girls in his basement lab by mixing sugar, spice, everything nice, and controversial Chemical X, which was procured via mysterious means.

On January 6, 1999, a cartoon aired titled Mr. Mojo's Rising. In this short, fan favorite villain Mojo Jojo kidnaps Professor Utonium, and reveals that the Professor is genetically his father. Professor Utonium originally had baby Jojo as his infant assistant and quickly became outraged at Jojo's juvenile and destructive behavior, completely forgetting that Jojo was an infant chimpanzee.

Jojo pushed Professor Utonium into the vial of Chemical X, instantly resulting in Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup being conceived and born, and Jojo slowly mutating into Mojo Jojo. In all of his experiments, Professor Utonium added in some of his own DNA, whether by mistake or on purpose, meaning that he is genetically Jojo's father just as much as he is a father of the Powerpuff Girls.

However, because Jojo's DNA was also included in the blast that created the girls, and because it was Jojo's intervention that brought them into existence, Jojo is genetically their older brother and their father, making Professor Utonium their father and grandfather at the same time. This also means that Professor Utonium had triplets with Jojo while he was still a baby.

In the short, A Very Special Blossom, it's revealed that Mojo Jojo has a second biological father, a chimpanzee that became a sailor who had recently passed away. In the 2016 episode, The Wrinklegruff Gals, Mojo Jojo is heard on the phone with his very much alive biological mother, who like her son, is evil. This implies that Professor Utonium likely kidnapped the infant Jojo from a highly intelligent family of chimpanzees, who were perfectly capable of entering into human society. It is not clear if he ever experimented on Jojo's parents.

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The Sisterhood Of Mommy Dearest

On May 26, 2000, Cartoon Network ran a very dark short entitled, Twisted Sister. The kindergarten triplets are exhausted from school, fighting crime, and being mules for every lazy adult in town, who use the girls to spend their free time doing basic chores. This includes their father-grandfather, Professor Utonium, who demands extra chores from them even though he knows they were fighting crime all day. This echoed the premise of the 1999 short, Too Pooped To Puff, but since nobody in Townsville learned their lesson from that episode, the girls realize that instead of going on another strike, they're going to have to add a new member to the team.

They try to replicate Professor Utonium's recipe of sugar, spice, everything nice, and Chemical X to create a new girl and the result is Bunny, who is four times their size, has a hunch in her back, malformed teeth, and a speech and learning disability. Yes, in calling the episode Twisted Sister, the joke is that Bunny is handicapped, and no, that not only has not aged well, but it was disturbing and upsetting back in 2000.

Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup call Bunny their sister, but genetically speaking, Bunny is their niece and daughter. Neither Professor Utonium or Mojo Jojo get to meet their granddaughter, as Bunny dies by spontaneous combustion at the end of the episode due to unstable DNA.

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All In The Family

It might be for the best that Professor Utonium never met Bunny, given how poorly he treated her dress-alike aunt, Blisstina. Introduced on September 17, 2017, Blisstina Francesca Francia Mariam Alicia Utonium, Bliss for short, is the Powerpuff Girls' long lost older sister. Like Bunny, she wears purple and has highly unstable powers. However, unlike her sisters and niece, Bliss was made using Chemical W and only exists because Professor Utonium was jealous of a colleague who had created the perfect little boy in a lab. So, he began experimenting with making perfect little girls.

Created out of spite, Bliss constantly butted heads with Professor Utonium. She left home following an accidental explosion and raised herself on a deserted island. Professor Utonium convinced himself that Bliss died, never bothering to look for her, so when Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles were born sometime later, he erased everything about Bliss and concealed her story. That is, until Bliss returned as a teenager. Professor Utonium eventually reconciled with Bliss, so she wouldn't be the only sibling for the girls.

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Mojo Jojo created The Rowdyruff Boys in a 1999 special episode while he was in prison, using snips, snails, puppy dog tails and Chemical X. The newborn boys are genetically the Powerpuff Girls' half-brothers and their nephews, since Mojo Jojo is genetically their brother and father. Polar opposites of the girls, triplet boys Boomer, Brick, and Butch nearly succeed in killing their aunt half-sisters, but the grandsons of Professor Utonium are killed when Blossom kisses Brick, Buttercup kisses Butch, and Bubbles kisses Boomer.

In a 2003 episode, the boys are resurrected when the satanic Him uses his powers to bring them back to life with a touch of his own DNA and stronger bodies. They appeared off and on through 2004, when the triplet boys found themselves in a custody battle between Him and Mojo Jojo.

More disturbing than seeing the girls have to fight their nephew-brothers so violently, is having to see them as teenagers. On November 25, 2003, Cartoon Network aired the short, City of Clipsville, where we take a future glimpse of the girls as teenagers. And who are their love interests? The Rowdyruff Boys, now less antagonistic and much more aloof. The fact that there was a children's cartoon series perfectly fine with incest is not very powerpuffy and it's something that millennials and Gen Z have grappled with for ages.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Koriander Bullard

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