Wednesday, February 01, 2006

So I guess I made a promise to share my thoughts on all things Smurf...

... and what kind of man would I be if I didn't live up to an idle promise made to a horde of ungrateful, faceless time-wasters who force me to give up precious hours of my week to keep them amused for several minutes?

A smart man, that's what.

But since I don't consider myself especially intelligent when compared to such average earthlings as, say, Dr. Stephen Hawking, I will proceed with the unnecessary trip down Smurf Lane.

"The Smurfs" was a highly popular cartoon show when I was between the ages of Sesame-Street and The-Transformers years-old. For those of you who don't know, the smurfs lived in a magical, mythical kingdom circa The Dark Ages and were basically your average race of little blue gnomes with a predilection for white hats and pants. Displaying an almost clinical lack of originality, they also preferred to name themselves after their dominating personal trait or stock-in-trade, applying Smurf as a surname.

For example, say you had a particular smurf who was well-known in the community for his tendency to follow too closely behind your car in traffic. His name would be Asshole Tailgatey Smurf. It's simple to the point of retardation, really.

I have broken down the major components of the Smurfs into three major categories. For reference, of course.

OUR BIG-NOSED HEROES: THE SMURFS

Papa Smurf-- Every race of imaginary, cerulean monstrosities must have its king, and Papa Smurf was more than able to fill the little red pants of leadership. Despite the fact that the rest of smurfkind was resigned to wearing nothing but white (score one for the lazy animators' union), Papa flaunted his bigwig status in a pair of jaunty crimson drawers and matching cap. Add to that a strong, proud beard that any mall Santa would envy, and you almost have a unique and distinctive character.

Almost.

Grandfatherly, avuncular, wise, steady, and noble, Papa Smurf was a walking cliche. In fact, walking was something he and his fellow smurfs were quite fond of. Many a pointless trek to nowhere particularly special was capped with the riotous following exchange:

SOME FUCKING SMURF: Are we there yet, Papa Smurf?

PAPA SMURF: Almost. (or) We're almost there. (or) Just a little farther...

(repeat exchange three times for attempt at comic effect, then...)

SOME FUCKING SMURF: Are we there yet, Papa Smurf?

PAPA SMURF: Yes.

Actually, I think he said something uncharacteristically curmudgeonly at this point, but I'm tired and it was never funny anyway, even when I was pre- The-Transformers years-old.

Papa Smurf got everyone else out of trouble because he was infinitely wise at the ripe old age of five-and-a-half billion, and also because the rest of the smurfs were mind-blowing morons. For example ...

Brainy Smurf-- Now, I suppose this unfortunate fellow was the writers' attempt at irony, and if so, I'm sure their combined six years of public school education were well-spent. Brainy was, in spite of his misleading moniker, not too terribly impressive in the cerebral arena. Not that he was dumb, either, it's just that, well, his unrepetant narcissism and powerful ass-kissing skills were far more striking. If anything, Brainy was more of a bitter, love-starved, anti-social nerd who would have cut quite a towering tragic figure in a bloody Shakespearean drama. As it stood, he was real fucking prick.

Distinguishing Feature: Big, black, ugly-ass glasses.

Hefty Smurf-- If Brainy existed to show children that book smarts counted for nothing in this world, Hefty was there to remind all of us that only looks and popularity mattered. Thank you, smurfs, for helping indoctrinate a generation of wee ones with the mindset mandatory to prepare us for life in high school. Hefty was, yes, hefty. Well, not hefty in the modern sense of "Needs to purchase tarps to cover his fleshy frame," but hefty in the sense of "Physically powerful and tattooed." Hefty was always strutting around, displaying himself to all and sundry. Hefty loved himself and his muscles. Hefty was obviously gay.

Distinguishing Feature: A tattoo of a heart with an arrow through it on his much-smaller-than-my bicep.

Handy Smurf-- Handy was practically the only really useful smurf in the village. Endowed with an actual trade -- carpentry -- he was like a little tiny Christ figure. Except that he was blue and wore overalls and was never killed by the Jews.

Distinguishing Features: Overalls, special hat, and pencil tucked behind his ear.

Greedy, Lazy, and Vanity Smurf-- If you're going to emulate the vastly superior human race, you had better be prepared to accept the fact that the Seven Deadly Sins are gonna run rampant through your makeshift plebeian society. Out of this inescapable truth, Greedy the chef, Lazy the ne'er-do-well, and Vanity the fey priss were born.

Despite his name, Greedy actually embodied Gluttony, but at least he provided cakes and pies and other garbage for his fellow ungrateful denizens of Smurfopolis (or wherever).

Lazy (Sloth) did jack-all shit, for which I applaud him. It takes some giant blue balls to accept the fact of your own unquestioned worthlessness to the point of using it as a first name.

Vanity (Pride) stared in a mirror all day and admired himself tirelessly. All this, in spite of the fact that he looked exactly the same as every other goddamned smurf.

Lust, Rage, Avarice, and Envy were not, as far as I recall, given their own representatives in the smurf kingdom. Which is just as well. Lusty Smurf especially would have rather a tough go of things in an overwhelmingly male community.

Distinguishing Features: Greedy -- chef's hat and apron; Lazy -- droopy eyelids; Vanity -- hand mirror and flower tucked behind his ear

Grouchy Smurf-- His name says it all, and who doesn't love a malcontent with an incurable case of scratchy ass? Grouchy hated everything ... well, almost everything. I think he blushed and "Aw, garsh"-ed whenever that slut Smurfette deigned to give him a peck on the cheek, but that was his sole concession to civility. He was your token disruptive, unproductive radical/reactionary, and these are exactly the kinds of strident, perpetually unhappy, media-clogging, crybaby publicity whores who have made America what it is today. Thanks a ton, Grouchy. You fucking dick.

Distinguishing Feature: Angry eyebrows and a perma-scowl

Smurfette-- Well, we were bound to get to this insufferable floozy sooner or later, so I might as well get her out of the way. And out of what meager respect I have for my loyal constituents, I will try to avoid the obvious, tired "Smurfette was screwing the entire village cause she was the only girl!" jokes that you heard all through college.

In hindsight, I never thought it would be possible for anyone, ever, to top Walt Disney in the "Grating, Dim-witted, Tedious, Annoying-Voiced, Weak, Helpless, Pathetic, Please-Please-Please Kill Her Already Damsel-in-Distress" department, but congratulations, Smurf creators. You've breathed 'life' into what may arguably by the most detestable heroine in the history of children's animation. Smurfette represented everything the feminists worked so damned hard to change about the narrow worldview of women throughout the course of history. Well, not so much the view of women as little blue dwarf-like creatures; moreso the stereotype of a superficial, vapid, appearance-obsessed, utterly ineffectual and dependent drain on society. Yes, Smurfette must have had suffragettes nationwide stewing in their unflattering pantsuits.

And for this and only this, I commend you, Smurfette. Few things are genuinely funnier than angry, humorless women libbers, or "bitches," as I like to call them.

I'm a bit hazy on Smurfette's introduction into the smurf kingdom. Obviously, the smurf method of procreation is not your typical 'male-meets-female-and-inserts-penis-into-her' style of child-begettin'. In fact, I believe Smurfette spontaneously sprung forth from Papa Smurf's forehead one day. Oh, wait. That was the Greek goddess Athena. Hmm. I don't know, maybe smurfs are like planarian -- you know, those cool little flatworms you mutilated in high school biology? -- in that you slice them in half and they regenerate to form two separate living beings.

That's gross and, ergo, monstrously awesome.

Yes, we'll go with that explanation. So I guess Smurfette has one other good thing going for her. But I draw the line at two. She was painfully boring, and that voice, ye gods, that eardrum-shattering voice...

Distinguishing Features: White dress, blonde hair, and vagina

Jokey Smurf-- Wow, was this guy a trip and a half. Jokey's tireless gimmick was that he was forever bestowing little yellow gifts upon his fellow smurfs ... gifts which invariably exploded on opening, thus placing the gift-receiver in definite and deliberate harm's way. That's right. Jokey was actively trying to blow up his unsuspecting blue brethren. This little bastard was the original Unabomber. And how can you not secretly admire a diminutive animated sociopath who dissolved into gales of maniacal laughter upon the sight of his hapless victim's battered and soot-covered face?

And there was no blaming the poor whackjob, either. I mean, come on. How long had these guys lived with this walking cashew and been opening his presents with smug feelings of impunity? They could have easily stopped accepting his gifts any day, but no. I'm afraid Materialism and Greed are ugly vices, my friend, as the unappreciated and unbalanced Jokey taught us well.

Of course, maybe he was just surrounded by pea-brained jackasses. This is also a very likely possibility.

Distinguishing Features: A deceptively attractive present in his hand and a wild gleam in his eye

...AND THE REST

Gargamel-- Oh, yes, you remember Gargamel. Gargamel was The Man. The smurfs' sworn enemy. He was a crookbacked, snaggletoothed, balding old coot dressed in black rags who lived in a sorry stone shack. I think he was some kind of magician, too, always stirring his cauldron and tossing colorful potions all hither-and-thither about his kitchen. His driving purpose in life was to catch and, er, well ... devour the smurfs.

Yes, Gargamel had a quenchless hankering for smurf-flavored stew, and you know what? Who are we to judge? After all, have you ever eaten a smurf? And if you have, well, I'm sure there are a number of very reputable mental health professionals available to "assist you" (for "assist you" please read "keep you the hell away from the rest of humanity").

I always felt a little sorry for Gargamel. Here was a lonely old hermit, shunned by his own kind and forced to live on the outskirts of the civilized world, obsessed with a race of little people whose existence everyone else doubted. You know, kind of like that scruffy homeless guy down on 22nd and Main that you're always taunting and pushing over. And all the poor guy (Gargamel, not the homeless fella ... as far as I know) wanted to do was eat the little blue buggers, one by one, until their extinction was assured. Is that so wrong? I mean, isn't that simply what all old European discoverers of new animal species and indigenous peoples want to do? And where would we be without this imperialist sense of reckless entitlement? In a sad, sorry, Smurf-free world, let me tell you.

Azrael-- But if you thought Gargamel had it rough, try being his fucking cat. This poor raggedy bastard was reviled by the smurfs and scorned by his master. No wonder he was always in such a piss-ass mood.

I actually know a man whose parents forbade him to watch "The Smurfs" on account of Azrael's name.

CYNICKITE: I don't understand.

T.C.I.: You would if you'd just let me finish, turd-for-brains.

For those of you who don't know, Azrael is also the Hebrew name for the Angel of Death. Apparently, some not-especially-sharp parents felt that the smurf creators' use of the word "Azrael" was their subtle attempt to slip some well-intentioned Satanism into the show ... in the form of a mangy, maroon-colored cat that was forever getting its ass handed to it.

I don't which is more upsetting: that I know the name Azrael as the Hebrew Angel of Death or as the cat on "The Smurfs."

The Smurflings-- Whenever a show begins to show its age, the producers and writers have a meeting that lasts all of three minutes in which they decide to add several new characters to the series to spice things up.

This never works. Never. Never, ever.

Case in point: The miserable fucking Smurflings. These were like smurf children -- only, because smurfs don't have sex like normal sentient beings, I don't know where the hell they came from. They kept a stupid normal-sized dog for some reason and had a senile old codger as their chaperone. I think his name was Pappy Smurf, or Grampy Smurf, or Pederast Smurf, or something. The only smurfling I vividly remember was an especially obnoxious female one with orange pigtails. Her apparent personality trait was that she never shut the fuck up. What a brilliant idea. An obnoxious little girl who prattles on ad nauseam about absolutely nothing and offers her useless opinion even though no one asked for it. I mean, that's just pure marketing genius at work there.

"The Smurfs" was cancelled shortly afterwards.

Various human peasantfolk-- Included in the poorly-thought-out onslaught of new characters were several pleasant peasants who helped the smurfs out on occasion. I think. They included a pair of young lovers who were -- yup, you guessed it -- as interesting as beige carpeting, and a phenomenally irritating midget minstrel who served as "comic relief." This guy's running gag was his notoriously lousy singing voice. Uhh, then why are you a minstrel, asswipe? And don't feed me any of that "but it's amusing irony" bullshit. This was the Middle Ages, not the era of Ashlee Simpson. If you were a minstrel who couldn't sing, get to beggin' or get to dyin', you pathetic future plague victim.

MISCELLANEOUS

Mushroom houses-- The smurfs lived in mushrooms.

[Insert unoriginal drug joke here]

Smurfberries-- The smurfs subsisted almost entirely on smurfberries. These berries apparently enabled them to maintain their glossy blue coats and miniature stature. Unbeknownst to the smurfs, however, they also contained a very slow-acting deadly neurotoxin which eventually led to the smurfs' "cancellation."

Disappearing act-- The smurfs' entire village could disappear instantly whenever trouble (i.e. a lonely old man and his purple cat) reared its ugly head. Thus, they were never in any real danger. Ever. The show stretched this complete lack of conflict out for a surprising number of seasons.

The word "smurf"-- The smurfs used the word smurf in everyday conversation to signify an alarming number of disparate nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Note the word's many varied meanings in the following exchange:

A SMURF: I just got smurfed by that smurfing smurf over by the smurf. Can you smurfing believe it? What a smurf! Do you smurf me? Smurf!

AN INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEING: What the fuck are you talking about?

The G-Nat episode-- I have saved the best for last, my friends. The G-Nat (that's pronounced Guh-Nat) episode will go down in history as one of the children show universe's most disturbing and memorable pieces of television ever. In this eerie, upsetting episode, one inquisitive smurf was bitten by a rather nasty, hideous purple insect which, I assume, could only be a G-Nat. The infected smurf turned purple and vicious and proceeded to hop around the village infecting his fellow smurfs by biting them on the ass. I swear to all and sundry gods above and below, I am not making this up. One by one, the lovable smurfs succumbed to this hideous epidemic as smurf turned against smurf until only Papa remained. And even he got bitten and turned! Un-be-fucking-liev-a-ble. Now that -- that was good television, people. Incredible. Simply incredible ...

I seem to recall that the smurf race was saved only because Papa and Brainy had discovered a cure for the disease that Papa Smurf unleashed just as he fell victim to an ass-gnating. Whatever. The point is, this was terrifying epic tragedy on a grand scale in the vein of Stephen King's "The Stand." The G-Nat episode was even a cautionary tale that eerily presaged the bioterrorism scare by decades. Never, never shall I forget the look of unfiltered evil on the faces of those little maniacal purple demons. "Smurf" creators, I salute each and every one of you demented nutfucks.
____________________________________________________________

Well, there you go. Another pointless, long-winded, unsettlingly comprehensive cartoon-focused entry.

Join me next week.

Or don't. Like I really have time for this shit anyway.

In closing, I hope the Grim Reaper looks exactly like Azrael the cat.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Shouldn't James Bond have succumbed to liver failure or venereal disease or old age by now? How is he getting younger? And continually changing nationailities?

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7 Comments:

Blogger Patelicious said...

Don't forget Smurfberry Crunch, the delicious, undoubtedly healthy, breakfast cereal tie-in. I can't hear the march from the Nutcracker Suite without substituting the words "Smurfberry Crunch is fun to eat! Smurfberry Crunch, a tasty treat!"

10:11 AM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Pate, you brilliant bastard! I was honestly debating whether or not to include the unforgettably delicious and dye-injected Smurfberry Crunch morning cereal to my list of Smurf nostalgia.

I decided against it, opting to stick with minutiae that existed entirely within the known Smurf fictional universe. But good call, regardless.

And thanks for getting that song stuck in my head, turdwad.

3:22 PM  
Blogger The Fourth Earl of Excelor said...

Chuckles O'plenty's most engaging post yet. A page turner for any Smurf enthusiast.

-The Chicago Tribune

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

I like smurfs....

Laura

5:15 PM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Er, um ... way to contribute, Laura. Keep up the fine work.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

That's IT! You are buying all the drinks when I am there in March. Sorry man...you did it to yourself....

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, But I can't relate to GI Joe or the Smurfs. I guess I'm just to old.

Now if you were to discuss the pro's & con's of let's say "The Hair Bear Bunch" or "The Banana Splits" or "H R Pufnstuf" or "Johnny Quest" now there was some fine entertainment.

There was no message on how to be a fine human being, it was all for the hours you wasted in front of the TV.

Keep up the fine writing.

Tim

6:23 PM  

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