Cartoon Network offers Puffed-up special

Friday, December 12, 2003

The Powerpuff Girls get their own holiday special. The hour-long adventure "'Twas the Fight Before Christmas" (8 p.m., Cartoon Network) features the dazzling animation and sophisticated graphic design that has made this series a delight for kids and grown-ups. Truth be told, "Fight" seems pretty padded at an hour. The wags at the Cartoon Network should know that the best holiday specials ("Charlie Brown" and "The Grinch") clock in at 30 minutes.

"Fight" pits the girls against their nemesis and kindergarten classmate Princess Morbucks. The rich and spoiled superhero wannabe takes her daddy's private jet to the North Pole to make sure that Santa grants her Christmas wish to become the fourth Powerpuff Girl. Once there, she discovers that she's on Santa's "naughty" list. Accustomed to always getting her way, Princess mixes up the "nice" and "naughty" files, dooming all of the good kids in the world to stockings filled with coal. Naturally, it's up to Townsville's troika of bug-eyed heroines to save the day (or rather the night) before morning arrives.

Maybe this Norm Macdonald production can attract a Friday-night audience. It never found one on Wednesdays. On tonight's episodes, female revelers want to join the male Christmas-caroling group "The Silent Knights" (8 p.m.), and Stan incites a burglary spree to teach the town a lesson (8:30 p.m.).

Tonight's other highlights

Late night

Julia Roberts and Alkaline Trio appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno greets Jennifer Connelly and Ruben Studdard on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).