I've lost that Smurfing feeling

00:43, Jan 25 2012

When I was a kid The Smurfs were at the height of their popularity. My little sister and I both had small collections of Smurf figurines, this despite the fact that they were sold exclusively at BP stations and that our family didn't have a car so had no particular reason to frequent petrol stations. My memory is fuzzy on this point but I think it likely that trips were taken to BP solely for the purpose of acquiring a Lazy or an Artist Smurf.

Naturally Smurfette was my favourite. Even now I can picture exactly what her shoes looked like. The slightly rounded toe, the low heel. Not to mention her lemony yellow painted-on hair and white sundress.

And then one day she disappeared in mysterious circumstances. I hunted high and low for her, as did my mother, but she was never to be found. Even years later I would half expect her to turn up somewhere, wedged into a corner, perhaps buried in a shallow pot plant grave, on top of a pelmet, in the roof, even. But she never did. I have my suspicions, naturally. I expect some grubby neighbourhood urchin got their hands on her and...no, I can't think about it. Even now, it causes me pain to think of her ending up being used as a teething ring for some snotty toddler. Or worse.

So, I think it's fair to say that I was a Smurf fan.

Why, then, am I so appalled by the appearance of adverts on the telly for The Smurfs film (it's available on DVD already?). I mean, I have a history of getting pretty misty-eyed and nostalgic about a lot of stuff from the eighties. I have in my repertoire an impressive/scary set list of animated theme songs from the Gummi Bears to Top Cat to Hong Kong Phooey. That this movie came and went in cinemas, starred the King of Awesome Neil Patrick Harris, AND one Tim Gunn, "concerned" fashion guru without the tiniest bit of interest from me is interesting. I mean, sure, it's a kids' movie and I am demonstrably not one of those anymore (even though I did lose control of my bladder a tiny little bit when I discovered this week that lightsaber chopsticks were a real actual thing in the world) but shouldn't the warm cosiness of nostalgia have overtaken me? Thirty years later and I'm still pissed off about that Smurfette figurine... I mean, you'd think I'd be a little bit interested, right?

But then I realised the terrible truth. The Smurfs were crap. You'd really be struggling to find a more insipid TV series. From the maniacally meaningless "la la la-la-la laaa" of the theme music to the irritating use of the word "smurf" for every damn thing, it's pretty much a recipe for a migraine...for anyone not in primary school.

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Because there are kids' movies and TV shows that are watchable if you're an adult. I may be a cold-hearted cow but Finding Nemo stops me in my tracks every time. I would happily watch an episode or five of Danger Mouse. I still dig those crazy muppets. But Smurfs...I don't think they have "enduring appeal" as an adult (unless you've had a lobotomy, which, by the way, is how I'm explaining the existence of this tattoo). I'm okay with letting The Smurfs go if it means I get to keep what remains of my sanity.

Or maybe it's just that curmudgeonly urge to dislike a remake. The A-Team, Footloose, The Smurfs. All rebooted for a new generation. All likely to make me curl my lip into a mild sneer. I doubt this is coincidence.

Do you also find yourself cringing at "next generation" remakes of your childhood faves? And is this really fair? Am I being too harsh on The Smurfs? Was it, in fact, a masterpiece of animated storytelling? What other favourite shows from your past, do you, with the fullness of time, now consider to be a bit rubbish?

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