We were excited to revisit this favorite cartoon from our childhoods. There was Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, and Grouchy Smurf (my personal favorite). We sang along to the theme song (the overcomplicated "la,la, la-la-la-la" came back to us quickly) and tucked in for some quality entertainment.
I'll admit, I chuckled the first few times Grouchy said "I hate Smurfberries!" and "I hate gag gifts that blow up in my face!" I remembered why he was my favorite as a kid--I was a bit of a grouch myself. But after a while, it got a little predictable. Kind of a one-note joke, that Grouchy. I'm sure I found him hilarious when I was a child, especially since up until the age of 8, my only brush with real, honest-to-goodness humor was my cousin Lori, who had the amazing talent of being able to hang a spoon off of her nose. Still cracks me up to this day. But I digress. It turns out that Grouchy wasn't nearly as funny as I remembered.
The Smurfs were cute, for a while, but a few more things came back to me. Like how it was no wonder why Jason and I remembered the theme song, since the stupid Smurfs sang it about sixteen times during every episode. And how Smurfette's voice always reminded me of howling cats clawing a chalkboard. I seem to have forgotten what a little tart she was, toying with the Smurfs' emotions. (Even Papa Smurf was smitten with her, which makes him a dirty old Smurf.) Plus, I'd forgotten what an annoying suck-up Brainy Smurf was. And how stupid, if not borderline malicious, Jokey Smurf's tricks were.
Jokey's malevolent explosive gifts were only the beginning. I quickly became alarmed at how cruel and violent the Smurfs were, particularly towards Gargamel and Azrael. (Did I say Grouchy Smurf was my favorite? I always loved Azrael as a kid, probably because he was a cat.) Sure, Gargamel was evil and always wanted to eat the Smurfs, but that doesn't give those little blue gremlins the right to try and murder the man and his cat. Within the first three episodes, Azrael was thrown from a tall tree, nearly roasted to death by a dragon, and, of course, had not one, but two presents from Jokey Smurf blow up in his face. It's all fun and games until the cat loses his whiskers, folks, and it happened no less than seventy times in the first season. Those Smurfs owed Azrael an apology and a whole lot of tuna.
I also realized that the show took a lot of liberties substituting the word "smurf" for regular words. At first, it seemed okay, even kind of cute.
"Have a smurfy day!"
"Let's get the smurf out of here!"
Umm . . . what was that last one?
Apparently, the writers of the show must have thought it was funny to substitute "smurf" for--dare I say it?--vulgarities. Throughout each 23-minute episode, expressions like "He really smurfed us!" and "What the smurf is that?" abounded. Sure, sometimes there were other words that weren't dirty that maybe they might have meant, but substituting "He really scared us!" instead of "He really smurfed us!" doesn't quite work after Gargamel throws a bunch of Smurfs in a cooking pot and sets it to boil. I call shenanigans!
By the time we finished The Smurfs: Season 1, I was feeling a little disillusioned. I didn't know whether to call PETA about the mistreatment of Azrael or call the library and tell them exactly what I thought of their smurfing video. Gone was the innocence of my younger days, when all was happy, innocent, and smurfy. I was left feeling empty, hollow, and totally smurfed.
I decided to make myself some hot chocolate and watch something more innocent, like a Disney movie. Because nothing bad could happen in The Fox and the Hound, right? Right?
Turns out, in the words of Grouchy Smurf, I hate The Fox and the Hound. I was better off with those filthy Smurfs.