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‘The Powerpuff Girls’ meet the Beat Alls

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"Powerpuff Girls" (10 p.m., Cartoon Network) is one of those very rare cartoons that bridges generations — parents can enjoy the show as much as their kids. And that's never been more true than in tonight's second segment, titled "Meet the Beat Alls."

It's a Brutish invasion as the four primary "Powerpuff" villains — Mojo Jojo, Him, Fuzzy Lumpkins and Princess — team up to defeat the Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, thus becoming the Beat Alls. That is until a mysterious performance criminal by the name of Moko Jono breaks up the group.

You get the idea.

"This was basically (because) myself and the crew are all big Beatles fans and we just thought it would be a fun idea to do this episode," said "Powerpuff" creator Jeff McCracken.

But while the parents will be laughing at all the Beatles references — there are so many even McCracken and Co. lost count, including song lyrics, sight gags, pseudo-Beatles music and much more — the kids will see an episode that features the series' four main villains ganging up on the Powerpuff Girls.

"We wanted to make sure that we were telling a 'Powerpuff' story at the same time," he said. "Hopefully, the kids will understand the story of — OK, the four villains have teamed up and they've defeated the Powerpuff girls and how are they going to get out of that situation and save the day again? They probably won't get the (Beatles) references, but if they see their parents laughing hopefully they'll ask them what all that meant. And then maybe kids will start listening to the Beatles, which would be good."

McCracken, 29, said he's been listening to Beatles music since he was 7. And this episode isn't the first "Powerpuff's" ode to the group — Him, who's been one of the main villains ever since McCracken first came up with the "Girls" when he was in college, "is basically an homage to the Blue Meanies (in 'Yellow Submarine'), who really terrified me when I was a kid."

McCracken said it really isn't tough to make the show appeal to different age groups.

"We're just really being honest and writing what we like," he said. "It sounds like a cliche, but a lot of animators are kids at heart. We like good guys and bad guys and we buy toys and we're still into those same kind of things. So there's going to be things that kids pick up on because we're almost in that same state. . . . That part of us hasn't ever died. There's going to be stuff that kids like because we still like what kids like."

What he finds far more amazing is the "Powerpuffs' " popularity.

"I'm pretty amazed that it's taken off like it has. I always assumed it would be a small, cult hit that college kids would like and there'd be, like, a few random T-shirts in some hip shops and maybe a stuffed doll you could get at the store. It's kind of blown up."

Indeed, these days its difficult to do much shopping without running into "Powerpuff" products, which run the gamut from clothes to toys to lunchboxes and more. McCracken sees the merchandising as sort of a validation — and one of the first signs that the show really was successful came "as soon as I started seeing toys everywhere and I started hearing people talk about it."

But success hasn't gone to the heads of those responsible for producing "Powerpuff Girls."

"It hasn't changed the way we've done things, really," McCracken said. "We kind of still are trying to make shows the same way we always have — you make a show based on what we want to do and what we would want to see.

"The only thing is that because it's become successful, it's kind of like — OK, we were right. We were right in doing it our own way and we're going to continue doing it that way because it's worked. And let's not try to mess with the process because it's worked out well."

E-mail: pierce@desnews.com