Recycle Bin, Writing

Recycle Bin: Powerpuff Girls: End of Innocence

July 6th, 2009 by Jeff | Dump Core

This wasn’t exactly what I was planning for the first post to the Recycle Bin, but it’s been gnawing at my mind for a while so I might as well exorcise it. I came up with the original idea months (if not years) ago, but it was recently resurrected by watching an episode of the show about a week ago (one I had never seen), and it all came rushing back. Please assume there is a hearty helping to tongue-in-cheek with this; it’s meant to be played in a “so serious it’s meant to be funny” tone that pretends to portray itself as dramatic while making you stifle your chuckles at its absurdity. The ideal distribution format would be as a big-budget, live-action tent-pole action film complete with copious special effects and suitable simian CGI.

Just a reminder: As with all Recycle Bin posts, this is a snapshot of an idea in development. For that matter, it’s an idea in development that I will never finish, because there is no incentive to complete it unless I want to get my pants sued off. Thus, there are likely to be tons of plot holes, inconsistencies, incomplete scenes, and huge sections glossed over with gross summaries like “they fight”. The summary below primarily consists of the plot, which is the trickiest to get right. Many of the in-jokes, cameos, and subtle humor has been left for the “phase two” that will never come, since those elements would be window dressing compared to a coherent story. This gives you a little insight into how I write may of my stories, including GPF. I usually try to get the plot nailed down first so everything makes sense, and then add on the fun stuff like humor and random characterization.

Powerpuff Girls: End of Innocence

One-Line Synopsis

Twenty years after the fall of Townsville, the Powerpuff Girls, now young adults oblivious to their superhero past, must rediscover their heritage in time to defeat an old nemesis.


  • Blossom: Former leader of the Powerpuff Girls, Blossom, now 20 (appears 25), is a senior executive at Hershel Industrial Manufacturing, reporting directly to Mr. Hershel and working out of the Hershel headquarters in Metroburgh. She is an obsessive organizer and an extremely fair and efficient manager, but yearns for adventure that seems totally missing from her life.
  • Bubbles: The “joy and the laughter” of the Powerpuffs, Bubbles now owns and runs Pokey Oaks Day Care in Metroburgh. Quiet, gentle, and extremely patient, she prefers to stay out of the limelight and keep to herself. In some ways she may seem a coward, preferring to avoid confrontation but ultimately willing to fight when pressed.
  • Buttercup (“B”): The “toughest fighter” of the Powerpuffs is now a detective on the Metroburgh police force. She has been cited numerous times for brutality and is well known on the force and on the beat for her temper and violence, as well as her extreme sense of justice.
  • Maximilian I. Hershel: Blossom’s boss and head of the massive Hershel Industrial Manufacturing conglomerate. He is an older gentleman, perhaps in his late 50s, with a cold, calculating manner. He manipulates those around him with the precision of a chess grandmaster, and it is apparently that he has something to hide behind his debonair smile.
  • Mojo Jojo: The girls’ original arch nemesis, the super-intelligent chimp starts the film in the custody of a Hershel R&D lab, apparently stripped of his ability to speak and spending his days as a test animal that refuses to participate in product testing.
  • HIM: The girls’ most powerful, malevolent, mysterious, and androgynous villain.
  • Professor Utonium: Creator of the Powerpuffs and now in is 50s, the Professor makes a brief appearance (details below).
  • Sara Bellum: Former aide to the Mayor of Townsville, Ms. Bellum plays a small but pivotal role (details below).
  • The Narrator: He narrates, of course. Aside from the opening and ending, the details of his involvement haven’t been fleshed out as they aren’t essential to the plot.
  • Several other minor characters would likely make cameos, but would not be essential to the plot and thus have been omitted.

Extended Synopsis

The “film” begins the same way the series does:  “Sugar. Spice. And everything nice. These are the ingredients Professor Utonium used to create the perfect little girls. But he accidentally added another ingredient: Chemical X! Thus the Powerpuff Girls were born!” A brief montage similar to the opening sequence of the show ensues, but is eventually interrupted when the narrator adds, “but that was twenty years ago.”  He continues in a faux news reel style to summarize the last two decades: the city of Townsville was destroyed by an unknown force and subsequently abandoned. Those citizens who survived the cataclysm either refuse or unable to speak of what happened. The city now lies in ruins, rapidly being eclipsed by its nearest big neighbor, Metroburgh. The Powerpuff Girls are now nothing but a local urban legend told by the Townsville survivors scattered among the surrounding states. The “news reel” ends with an announcement that Hershel Industrial Manufacturing has purchased all of the land currently occupied by the empty city and plans to level what remains to expand its Metroburgh facilities.

One of the young executives in charge of this project is Blossom, a rising star in the Hershel empire. Her sharp intelligence and impeccable organizational skills have helped her rise in the ranks with alarming speed, making her the youngest of an elite few who report directly to the CEO himself. She enters Hershel’s office to report that the project is on schedule and that the leveling work will begin within the next few days. Hershel gives her carte blanche access to the company’s resources to ensure everything is completed on schedule. “I’ll leave the details in your capable hands,” he says.

Meanwhile, disaster ensues at one of Hershel’s R&D labs. Shortly after the lead researcher explains to his female technician about the mysterious test chimp JoJo who just “showed up” in a shipment some twenty years ago, another shipment arrives containing a case of mysterious liquid labeled only “Chemical X”. Shortly afterward, alarms begin blaring throughout the lab. In Hershel’s office, his secretary interrupts the CEO to inform him there has been an “incident” at the lab. Showing only modest concern, he dispatches Blossom to investigate. As Blossom leaves, she eyes the secretary warily. Although we never see her face, the woman watches Blossom leave and never takes her eyes off her until the doors close behind her.

Blossom arrives at the lab just before the police. The evidence is grim: Jojo’s cage has be torn open from the inside out, a case that should contain vials of liquid has been ripped open and the vials are gone, what’s left of the two researchers has been splattered all over the back wall, and the sole window in the lab has be shattered with the glass fanning out into the grass outside. One of the detectives is a young woman Blossom’s age, with short black hair and responding to the nickname “B”. She is gruff and abrasive, but thorough in her interrogation. For some reason, Blossom can’t take her eyes off the other woman; she is haunted by a feeling of deja vu, certain that she has seen the woman before. Despite her dismissive attitude, “B” also shares the feeling that she has seen the young executive before, and watches her leave in grim fascination.

Somewhere in here I need to introduce Bubbles and the day care. Unfortunately, I haven’t reached that level of detail, and probably shouldn’t since I’ll never do anything with this anyway. Suffice it to say that somewhere in here Blossom ends up at the day care and meets with Bubbles. The name of the day care is brought up (“Pokey Oaks”), which Bubbles explains is a name that just stuck with her since she was a child, although she can’t explain its origin.

Eventually, Mojo Jojo makes his re-emergence. Although older and somewhat graying in his fur, he is still the egotistical hyper-intelligent simian he’s always been. He begins to wreck havoc within Metroburgh, bringing him in direct conflict with the police. Although I’m somewhat sketchy on the details, somehow “B” and Blossom end up defeating him, reluctantly teaming up to outwit him and send him into temporary retreat. Bubbles should also be present, but she cowers under cover and eventually runs away.

Confused by the events of the day, a weary Blossom heads home only to run into an older woman. He never see her face; we always see her from angles where her face is off-camera, obscured by something, or simply out of focus in any given shot. Her hair is thick, long, curly, and flaming red, although there are hints of gray within the curls. Blossom recognizes her. “You’re Mr. Hershel’s secretary,” she says. “What was your name?” “Sara,” the woman replies. She insists that Blossom must go to Townsville before it is leveled, and gives her an address. When Blossom attempts to press for more information, the woman disappears down the street.

Intrigued by the mystery, Blossom reluctantly agrees. She arrives in the deserted town and finds the address. Inside the dilapidated building is an old hermit, bumbling in a makeshift laboratory. When the old man sees her, he is overcome with emotion. It’s Professor Utonium, his clean-cut black hair now a tangled gray mass and his square jaw erroded with age. He calls Blossom by name, but she does not remember him.

The Professor begins to relate the events of the past two decades. Although the full details are never revealed, the Powerpuffs were forced into a powerful confrontation with their arch foe, Mojo Jojo. Everything about the fight seemed typical for the time: Townsville was in peril, lots of buildings were destroyed, etc. Only this time, the carnage spilled over to a nearby government research lab. The lab was utterly destroyed and many of the researchers were injured or killed. The contractor employing most of the researchers sued the government over the incident, forcing the feds to intervene. Mojo was incarcerated and the Powerpuffs were taken into “protective custody”. The girls were separated and placed into foster care. The Professor, disgraced and stripped of his credentials, was left destitute and held responsible for the destruction as the girls’ legal guardian, ruining him professional and financially.

During the next few years, the effects of Chemical X on both the girls and Mojo began to wear off. Apparently, while the chemical remains permanently in their systems, regular exposure is required to maintain their spectacular abilities. Without this exposure—for the girls living in the Professor’s house and for Mojo his repeated skirmishes with the girls—their powers lessen and become semi-dormant, almost to the point where they seem nonexistent. Absent from Chemical X, the Professor, and each other, the girls eventually forget their amazing heritage and grow up not knowing their full potential.

The Professor opens a hidden secured door to reveal a small alcove containing newspaper clippings, videos, and other paraphernalia from the girls’ heyday as superheroes. Blossom immediately recognizes both Bubbles and “B” (Buttercup). The Professor hands her a scrapbook full of photos and clippings, then pulls out the last remaining vial of Chemical X in his possession and begs Blossom to find the other girls and recover their powers and memories. For the past twenty years, he has been piecing together the puzzle behind their final battle with Mojo and has come to the conclusion that it was no accident. The contracting firm running the destroyed lab knew Mojo’s attack was coming and intentionally put their people in harms way to force the government to intervene. It was all a ploy to wrest the girls’ from the Professor’s care and scatter them.

Just as the Professor is about to reveal the contractor’s name, Mojo attacks. The remnants of the house are destroyed and Blossom barely escapes with her life. The Professor is not so lucky. Crushed beneath the rubble, he pleads one last time for Blossom to reunite the girls, then dies in her arms. Mojo continues his attack, forcing Blossom to take cover. Behind a fallen wall, she eyes the vial of dark liquid warily, uncorks it, and downs a third of it. After much hacking, coughing, and gagging, she suddenly awakens to new memories and strength. She steps out from behind the rubble and confronts Mojo, fighting him to a standstill. He eventually retreats, returning to Metroburgh. Blossom takes to the air (with difficulty, since it’s been years since she last flew) and passes him to find the other girls first.

Eventually, Blossom gathers Buttercup and Bubbles and attempts to convince them of what the Professor told them. She brings with her the scrapbook from the Professor’s shrine as evidence. Neither woman is convinced. Only when Mojo begins attacking random citizens do they seem receptive. Blossom shoves the vial of Chemical X at them, telling them they’ll have to decide for themselves. She, on the other hand, cannot stand still and let Mojo destroy Metroburgh. They watch in amazement as Blossom takes to the air and begins to fight the chimp with her super speed and might.

Buttercup eyes the liquid suspiciously, shrugs, and says, “What the heck,” throwing back a swig. She passes the vial to Bubbles as she begins to gag. Bubbles refuses to drink. “I’m nobody,” she whimpers. “I’m no hero.” However, as soon as Buttercup regains her composure and begins to test her recovered powers, Bubbles is amazed. Buttercup grabs Bubbles by the shirt and shakes a fist in her face. “Drink it, you big sissy, before I reverse your digestive tract the hard way.” “There’s no need for violence,” Bubbles replies testily. They are interrupted by Blossom being tossed over their heads.

Bubbles eventually drinks and the battle ensues. The fight is very sketchy, but Mojo is eventually defeated. (Is he killed? I’m not sure. I’m very uncertain on that note and can see pros and cons either way.) At the end of the battle, Mojo is obviously injured (if not dying) and unable to continue. “This is all HIS fault!” he wheezes as the girls close in. Blossom is not amused. “You brought this on yourself, Mojo,” she replies defiantly. At this, Mojo begins to laugh maniacally, although it ends abruptly in coughing and wheezing. “I thought you were the smart one,” he growls at her. “Are you so blind you cannot see? HE was the one who goaded me into attacking that lab! Can you not see how HE has manipulated us all? Do you not know that HE is the one who has defeated us both?”

Blossom stares at him in confusion, then realization crosses her face. She pulls out a newspaper clipping from the Professor’s scrapbook. It describes the attack on the government lab from twenty years before. Popping out of the text is the name of the contracting firm: Hershel Industrial Manufacturing. Blossom’s mind reels. Hershel Industrial Manufacturing… H. I. M…. HIM!

Mojo either expires or is handed off to the proper authorities. Meanwhile, the girls take flight and return to the remains of Townsville, where the leveling and groundbreaking is to commence shortly. They arrive just as Mr. Hershel is about to dig with the ceremonial shovel. The crowd watches in amazement as the Powerpuffs land nearby.

Blossom confronts Hershel with the Professor’s story, Mojo’s testimony, and the evidence from the Professor’s scrapbook. Hershel is coy and dodges the accusation, neither confirming nor denying his involvement. Blossom continues to goad him (again, details are sketchy here; maybe somewhere she has discovered some of the plans for the factory to be built, including details that make little sense) until she finally evokes a response. Hershel’s voice suddenly moves up an octave to a high falsetto, gaining a mysterious reverb. Before their eyes, he transforms into the HIM we all remember. A battle naturally ensues, eventually ending in a draw.

Enraged, HIM begins to transform into a hideous monstrosity with only a hint of his original form. The battle is rejoined, and only after much destruction is he eventually defeated. He opens a portal to another realm, vowing that his “defeat” is only a minor setback.

The girls and the spectators are left among the smoldering, flattened remains of what was once Townsville. Eventually, someone has to ask, “What now?” A glint of mischief enters Blossom’s eye. “‘Mr. Hershel’ left the Townsville project in my hands. He wanted to make sure the city was leveled and new construction began promptly thereafter. But he never said explicitly what we should build. We’ll rebuild the city.” Buttercup looks at her skeptically. “Won’t the board of H.I.M. object?” “He left everything in my hands,” she replies. “Carte blanche. He should have been more specific.” The narrator states with obvious flair, “And finally, once again, the day is saved, thanks to the Powerpuff Girls!”

[One thing left unanswered is why HIM wanted Townsville destroyed in the first place. Apparently it had something to do with building something (the new factory) on the spot. Unfortunately, the story hasn’t developed that far in my head, so I only have a mental note that he needed the land for something and it had to be the land occupied by Townsville. It couldn’t be anywhere else. It also has to be something so important that he was willing to plan for years to obtain it; the building of the contracting firm, the government lab, the disbanding of the Powerpuffs, ensuring the city remained desolate, raising the capital to buy the land, building a massive factory on the spot, etc. This is obviously a project with at least 25, 30, or even more years on the time line. Maybe that should be left up to the “sequel”.]

[It should also be apparent that most of the events have transpired according to his plans; he kept Blossom and Mojo close to keep an eye on them, he made sure Mojo would be exposed to Chemical X again, he knew Ms. Bellum would tell Blossom to go to Townsville, etc. It is obvious he wanted the Powerpuffs out of the way for a time, but that he also wanted them to reawaken. Did they reawaken too soon? Was their reawakening a key requirement to his plan? Is his “retreat” all part of the scheme? This is a detail I really wish I could iron out.]

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