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FiTV - Fiona Gardiner
2011-07-15 at 14:38

Return to Smurf Village

The little blue beings called Smurfs began in 1958 from the imagination of Belgian cartoonist Peyo, a.k.a. Pierre Calliford.  They were a side-note to another story that, with the addition of their own Smurf-tastic language, became a story of their own.

Ironically, their lack of monetary economy or social status – okay, Papa Smurf is top dog – and the communal lifestyle in which everyone simply pitches in with what he or she does best, led to criticism. 

The Smurfs were labelled as communists and Marxist socialists. Despite the political brouhaha, Smurf fever eventually crossed the ocean from Europe to North America.

From 1981 to 1989, kids experienced The Smurfs every Saturday morning on NBC. And now, more than 20 years after their television cancellation, they’re back on the big screen in a live-action and computer-generated film. 

I should be thrilled.  Part of me is. But I need to know: What the heck happened to Smurfette?

Oh, she’s in the movie, voiced by one Katy Perry – the same overly-endowed singer who was banned from Sesame Street. And the blue gal who could be won over with a simple daisy? She’s dumped the little tent dress and is now in Harper’s Bazaar wearing Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabbana. 

Instead of her swollen feet puffing out of somewhat grandmotherly heels, Smurfette is wearing stilettos and thigh-high leather boots.     

I remember Smurfette as such a sweet girl. Sure, I heard the jokes about the lone female in a village of 100 blue males.  (Although, originally, there was also a Sassy Smurf. So it was more like one in 50.) 

I’ve also read the online commentary about all those mushroom houses. And I’m pretty sure that in 1958, Peyo was not trying to lead kids to the magic of hallucinogenics. 

However, The Smurfs were referred to as “kiddie cocaine” for ’80s youth by the TV industry.

So maybe it’s no surprise that Smurfette is now modelling. After all, the fashion world is long known for its substance abuse. 

Now, I realize that long-standing characters must be occasionally updated. Superman, Batman, the Green Lantern – they were all modernized. However, they also lived in the real world where times change. 

The Smurfs live in a village in the woods. And while a character’s appearance, too, will change when a new actor is brought in to play the role, these Smurfs are cartoons.

Of course, Disney recently updated Mickey Mouse.  They wanted to make him more “relevant.”  Really? A cartoon mouse needs to be relevant?

Apparently so. Apparently, a blue cartoon Smurfette that got pre-pubescent boy-hearts pumping in the ’80s, isn’t sexy enough in today’s MTV-fuelled, boobalicious, video gamer world. 

And Peyo’s Utopic village in the woods just seems a little tainted.


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