An unsettling rumor’s been making the rounds about a character in The Powerpuff Girls, with claims that one of the writers inserted himself in the story as a romantic lead for one of the girls. Only thing is... that’s not what actually happened.
A thread on 4chan, which made the rounds on Tumblr and Twitter this week, claimed that Powerpuff Girls writer Jake Goldman created the character of Jared Shapiro, a nerdy student and theatre buff whom Blossom has a crush on. The character looks like Goldman and is voiced by him, so critics said he was self-inserting himself into a romantic situation with an underage character. Some have been overrunning the Powerpuff Girls Wiki with negative comments in response, calling for the show (in its second season) to be cancelled.
Only thing is, Goldman wasn’t responsible for Jared—at least according to the network. Cartoon Network spokesperson Jean Woo told io9 that the character of Jared Shapiro was created by writer Haley Mancini and co-executive producer Bob Boyle, and Mancini was the principal story writer for the character. The network didn’t clarify why Goldman was brought on to voice the character, but it’s not uncommon for animated shows to include their writers or artists in the show—like Pendleton Ward, who voices Lumpy Space Princess on his show Adventure Time. Plus, former Powerpuff Girls storyboard artist Grace Kraft wrote on a Twitter thread that the artists modeled Jared after Goldman because he fit the character, and figured it’d be fun if he voiced him too.
There are those who still have concerns about an adult writer on the series voicing a character who has romantic ties to one of his underage characters, and that’s totally understandable. Even though kids’ characters on cartoons are usually voiced by adults, it can be uncomfortable knowing that someone who’s shaping the story is also voicing a character who’s affected by the story in a way that some find disconcerting—as shown in episodes like May 7's “A Star Is Blossom,” which featured a shirtless Jared in one of Blossom’s fantasies. Plus, there have been some other problematic issues with the show, including an episode where two of the girls twerked (which Mancini and Goldman created the story for, as they typically do, but didn’t write).
Putting a writer in a romantic storyline with an underage character may not have been the smartest choice for The Powerpuff Girls, but it wasn’t something Goldman did himself. Correlation doesn’t always equal causation.