Ah, girl cartoons. Marked primarily by copious amounts of pink, these shows were a staple in my childhood tv lineup. Interesting fact: all are owned by greeting card companies. Each of these shows provided a simple vehicle for those companies to sell large quantities of toys to us impressionable young girls. If a quick review of my boxed up old playthings is any indication, they were pretty damn successful. Without further ado...#5 : Popples (1985-1987)
This show was the ultimate in fluff. These little balls of magical fuzz showed themselves only to a few special children. Popples could pull all kinds of things from their little pouches, and also flip the pouches around themselves to hide or bounce all over the place. Popples speak with lots of repeating “p” sounds (P-p-p-popples!) Popples created great messes when parental units weren't around, making the children hurriedly clean up after them. Popples all had "P" names like PC, Party, Prize, Puzzle, Puffball, Pancake, Potato Chip...you get the idea. The little stuffed toys were a favorite. Mine was yellow, with a little pink nose. Awww...#4 : Rainbow Brite (1984-1985)
What I remember about this show is mostly from owning the toys. (Which, according to Hallmark, grossed the company more than a million dollars in retail sales.) Rainbow Brite protects the colors of Rainbowland with her little sprite friend Twink and her pony Starlite. She uses star sprinkles, which are mined happily by Sprites, to make the colors here on Earth bright. This makes us all happy. She meets many “Color Kids” in her adventures who each represent different colors of the rainbow. I was particularly partial to the intellectual Shy Violet, but then I was kind of geeky as a kid. Murky is a little guy who kind of looks like an evil Mario dressed in gray. His sidekick Lurky looks like a big brown puffball with legs. Murky and Lurky are bent on wiping out all the colors of Rainbowland, but, of course, Rainbow Brite always wins in the end. The colors are saved, hurrah!#3 : Strawberry Shortcake (1980-?)
Oh, the sweetness! The pink! The yummy desserts! The Strawberry Shortcake tv series took place in a berry (ha!) special place called Strawberryland, which is made up primarily of...berries. Strawberry Shortcake lived in a large strawberry cottage with her cute little kitty-cat Custard. Her friends all had names like Lemon Meringue and Blueberry Muffin. The "bad guy" in this show was the Peculiar Purple Pieman. He did things like use dirty tricks to try and beat Strawberry Shortcake in a baking contest. He, of course, fails, as nothing can defeat the sugary goodness of Ms. Shortcake's cakes! There is a spunky new version of this great 80s classic, but it can't hold a candle to the original simple sweet-fest.#2 : My Little Pony (1986-1987, 1992)
You can tell this show was made for the toys by the variety of ponies that filled the toy shelves. There were the standard ponies, the flutter ponies, the so-soft ponies... Their pastel bodies and brushable manes and tails attracted little girls across the country, and created a captive audience for the tv show. My Little Pony began as “My Little Pony 'n Friends” featuring other cartoons in addition to MLP, but soon the popular ponies got their very own show. The My Little Ponies lived in a wonderful place called Dream Valley in Ponyland. There were quite a lot of ponies, including Lickety Split, Wind Whistler, Gusty, and North Star, just to name a few. They each had their own particular pastel shade, with colored manes and tails. They each also had unique markings on their flank, such as a grouping of flowers, that somehow related to their personality. The show revolved around everyday life in Dream Valley in addition to battling evil forces trying to take over Ponyland. Good always wins out in Ponyland, thank goodness! #1 : She-ra Princess of Power (1985-1986)I am...She-ra!!
I was about 5 years old when I first saw this show, and I wanted to be She-Ra so badly. She was a princess. She kicked butt. She had a snazzy magical transformation sequence. And
a pony. What more could you ask for? Unlike the previous four entries, She-Ra wasn't a pink fuzzy explosion full of candy and hearts...She-Ra was strong, beautiful, and capable. She was perhaps the first strong female cartoon role model for us little girls during the 80s. Princess Adora, a.k.a. She-Ra Princess of Power, lived on Etheria in the kingdom of Brightmoon. She was the defender of the Crystal Castle and a fighter for the rebellion. Princess Adora was the twin sister of Prince Adam, who you may know as He-Man. Fun Fact: She-Ra had a bigger budget than He-Man. You go girl! She-Ra's horse Spirit transformed into a flying unicorn named Swift Wind. Her weapon was the Sword of Protection, which she used to transform and to battle the evil Hordak. There were 93 episodes of this series, which lasted two years. Like the others listed here, She-Ra spawned numerous toy figures and accessories. This is perhaps the first magical-girl-ish show to gain popularity in America, paving the way for future transforming fighting girl shows like Sailor Moon. Thanks, Mattel!
Well, that's that--five of my favorite girl-oriented cartoons from the 80s. Thoughts? Comments? Corrections?