The Smurfs, From Memory

Smurfs live in villages of exactly 100 individuals. There are other Smurf villages, though they never appeared in a Smurfs episode. An outside Smurf did visit once to help the village conduct a ceremony that required 100 Smurfs to dance at one time. (Papa Smurf couldn’t participate in the ceremony, since he had to act as conductor. That left only 99 Smurfs.) The visiting Smurf looked and talked just like Brainy Vanity Smurf, and that episode was a mistaken identity/Comedy of Errors -type story.

Smurfette was introduced in either the very first episode or in a segment that ran on a prime time preview of the Saturday morning cartoon season. She was an evil Smurf, created by Gargamel, for some nefarious end. Papa Smurf used his magic to turn Smurfette into a good Smurf. You could tell she was good because her hair was magically turned from black to blonde.

It would be a stretch to say that the introduction of Smurfette was a sign that the Smurfs had jumped the shark since she appeared in one of the very first episodes. I assume that her character was added by the producers of the TV show and that she didn’t appear in the Belgian comic books that inspired the show, but I’m not certain. Cynics will still look down at her as a “new” character, introduced to balance out the otherwise entirely male cast.

A new Smurf is born every blue moon. Young Smurfs (those that aren’t created by wizards) are delivered by the stork.

The 1984 Smurfs Olympics Special opened with two Smurfs arguing over which of two uses of the verb “to Smurf” was grammatically correct. Papa Smurf settled the argument by pointing out that every Smurf on one side of the Smurf Village Smurfed verbs one way, and every Smurf on the other side Smurfed verbs the other. The disagreement inspired Papa Smurf to propose holding the Smurfic Games — an athletic competition between the two sides of the village. A line was drawn down the middle of the village to mark the two sides. Clumsy Smurf’s house was right on the boundary — the line was drawn along the ground, up one side of his house, and down the other. If I remember correctly, he was even standing on the border and the line was drawn onto him. He wanted to know which team he would be playing for. Neither team would have him. This upset Smurfette so much that she left her team and formed a third team with Clumsy. All but the last of the games were held and the medals were all split between the two main teams. The final event was the Smurfathon — a long race through the woods. Each team was represented in the in the race by one runner. At the start of the race, Clumsy was left far behind by the other runners. But Gargamel had some scheme in action, and he snared the first two runners. Clumsy somehow eluded Gargamels grasp. He was exhausted when he finally got close to the end of the race, and he stopped just short of the finish line. He only crossed over the line after Smurfette gave him some encouraging words and the crowd cheered for him. The other runners were freed soon after the race, possibly as a side effect of something Clumsy did during the race. In the end Clumsy was crowned with a wreath, and the Smurfs circled around him and sang, “Clumsy is the champion of the Smurfic Games” to the familiar tune of “La la, la lalala la lala la la.”

The male Smurflings were created after a group of adult Smurf characters encountered a magical phenomenon that turned them young. Some of the characters that were changed were existing characters — I believe Handy Smurf was one of them. Others were introduced entirely for the purposes of being reduced to Smurflings. Sassy Smurf was a young female Smurf that was immediately introduced to balance out the Smurfling group. She was created by Gargamel in the same manner as Smurfette.

Grandpa Smurf was introduced either during the same season as the Smurflings or the year after that. His presence and background was never explained. Baby Smurf appeared around the same time as Grandpa Smurf, also with no explanation.

In the last season of the show, a handful of Smurfs were transported to another world by a set of crystals. In each episode, they would have an adventure in the new world while Papa Smurf and Grandpa Smurf tried to rearrange the crystals into a pattern that would take them back to the Smurf village. These last seasons aired long after I should’ve graduated from Saturday morning cartoons, by the way.

This was written without checking any references. Aside from glimpsing parts of an episode running silently on a television in the back of a restaraunt last year, I haven’t seen the shows since they first aired. This is based entirely on details that I’ve retained from my childhood. I sometimes ask myself, “What happened to you?” I think I’m beginning to understand.

Also, In Holland Germany The Smurfs are called something like “Den Shloomps” Die Schlümpfe.

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  1. In Holland, they’re called “De Smurfen” but in France they smurf by “Les Schtroumpfs” and in German “Die Schlümpfe”. See here.

  2. I remember one midnight band trip wherein we discussed the political/socioeconomic system of the smurfs, and the fact that there was only one female in a huge group of males and the resulting sexual tension that inevitable arose. [/geek]

  3. My all-time favorite was Azrael – for some reason Gargamel’s sidekick just caught my imagination. But then I was rooting for the wolf in the “three little pigs” and the witch in “hansel and gretel” and the wolf again in “little red riding hood.” Can’t believe how many saturday mornings I spent watching these – did you ever catch “The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse?” Same writers and staff as South Park only about a decade earlier.

  4. I missed Mighty Mouse. I recall that a Jerry Falwell associate claimed that in a scene where Mighty Mouse smelled a flower, he was actually sniffing cocaine.

  5. Smurfette did appear in the comic. As a matter of fact, that particular episode followed the comic story almost to the letter. For the first season or two, she was always referred to as THE Smurfette, not just Smurfette. Many, if not most, of the first few seasons were based directly on the comics. Also, Vanity’s clone came from a mirror, not another villiage.

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