Who could forget the Smurfs? The 1980’s was teeming with them so try as you might, you will never forget! These little blue guys (for they were mostly guys), with the catchiest song, the cutest looks and the bluest bodies – indeed they were so popular they were dubbed “Kiddie Cocaine”!
I can still recall the theme tune now. Darn it! In fact I now have a feeling it’s not going to leave my head for days! Just like the Tetris Theme tune I was plagued with last week!
Along with Waffles and high quality chocolate they are probably Belgium’s most famous export along with Tintin. But then again Tintin wasn’t Blue or cute, so he’s got to come in second.
These tiny blue hairless Hobbits were created by Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford in the 1950’s and well, all the characters in the series look almost exactly the same — mostly male, very short (“as tall as 3 apples high”), with blue skin, white trousers with a hole for their short tails, white hat, and sometimes some additional accessory that identifies a personality. If only human’s were as simple as that. There’s no Multi-tasking in the smurf world. Like Snow White’s dwarfs, the Smurfs fulfill simple archetypes of everyday people: Lazy Smurf, Grouchy Smurf, Brainy Smurf, and so on. Almost like the Mr Men. All smurfs, with the exception of Papa, Baby, Smurfette, are said to be 100 years old – perhaps created in a Matrix-like eden by some benevolent Creato-Smurf . The Smurfs' all share and are kind environment. A bit like the Wombles, but much more organized (i.e. more European). Each Smurf has something he or she is good at, and contributes it to Smurf society. This has led to the Smurfs being labelled as communists – although the fall of the Berlin Wall didn’t lead to an exodus of Smurf immigrants from former USSR states as expected by CBBC at the time.
The cartoons were shown all over Europe, so if you’re ever with a foreigner of your own age, but don’t speak their language – just mention “the smurfs” and you can break the ice, bond and reminisce in broken English.
There has been much debate over the actual size of a Smurf. Some saying they are "three apples high", others compare their size to their "mushroom" homes surrounded by towering blades of grass, believing that Smurfs are between 2-5 cms. Either way, if you find yourself in a heated debate about the size of a Smurf, it might be time to take a bit of “you” time, and maybe even think of taking a holiday?
Smurfs have not left the collective psyche since they stopped showing the cartoons – they have appeared on the Simpsons, in Kinder Eggs, in McDonalds kids meals and in 2008 Warner Bros released season one on DVD. And you can buy Smurf games on NINTENDO and SEGA
In breaking news, it seems that a Smurf Film is in production as we speak – due for release in 2011. This is quite exciting! Indeed, amazingly, Quentin Tarantino has been in negotiations for the role of “Brainy Smurf. Working title isn’t “Reservoir Smurfs”, but I like the idea.