I've lost that Smurfing feeling

Last updated 09:30 25/01/2012

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.

SmurfetteNaturally 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.

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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ok with it   #1   09:35 am Jan 25 2012

I found The Smurfs movie cool. way better than the new Muppets movie, now that was way past its time.....and rather boring and not funny at all

JMG   #2   09:37 am Jan 25 2012

Think that tattoo was bad? Behind a girl in her twenties in a shop queue last night, and there on her neck was a tattoo of..... a my little pony! Stifled laugh and disbelief.

Suzie   #3   09:45 am Jan 25 2012

I haven't seen the Smurfs movie yet, but actually want to. I have fond memories of the Smurfs, Rainbow Bright, The Carebears etc. I definately think its a "next generation" thing. I remember my mother saying to me when I was a teenager "oh I know this song, this is a remake, the original is so much better". I would cringe at how that was even possible...how was something old so much better than the new version. Now, in my 30's I get it. Movies, cartoons, you name it....My pet peeve is Winnie The Pooh....todays Pooh, is not Pooh in my eyes, its a cheap imitation of the real Pooh from my childhood, and I refuse to even acknowledge it. Its a remake/next generation thing, it doesn't fit our memory so therefore isn't right. Oh how I know I'll be dissapointed in the Smurfs movie, but I have to see it!

vbub   #4   09:49 am Jan 25 2012

totally agree with first comment - new Smurf movie is great, adults and children can enjoy, much better than latest Muppets movie which is a bit lame (man or muppet song a highlight).

mark   #5   09:51 am Jan 25 2012

Wouldn,t the fact that you were nostalgic for the smurfs indicate how good the story telling of the tv show was? You grew up, the smurfs didn't. Let kids enjoy kids movies and stop whining because you're an adult who can't find magic in all the media/movies that kids can.

Emme   #6   09:53 am Jan 25 2012

I had a similarly painful experience last year when I you-tube’d "Button Moon", the 80's English puppet(ish) show. Perhaps I was the only one who still had the song stuck in my head, but somehow the actual Button Moon was nothing like what I remembered, it was awful. I have come to the conclusion these things are best left where they belong - in our memories.

bOb   #7   09:55 am Jan 25 2012

FYI theres a Hong Kong Phooey movie in the works... Eddie Murphy voicing from memory

MHE   #8   09:58 am Jan 25 2012

I still have my childhood collection of Smurfs (including several Smurfettes) - I don't even let my kids play with them! I haven't seen the movie and probably won't bother to watch it until it's on the telly but have DVD's of the originals which still make me giggle a little. They definately don't have the enduring appeal of Sylvester and Tweety or Roadrunner but they will always have a little place in my heart :o)

jeremygroverboy   #9   09:59 am Jan 25 2012

I'm going to venture that it's mainly because they don't look at all like Smurfs in that movie. They look... creepy.

And I'm not sure that the whole Smurfs end up in the real world thing works for me. I'll watch it eventually, but I didn't want to go to the films to see it.

One of my workmates took her children, so I lent her a DVD of I have of the cartoon. She told me later that they were confused, and it wasn't until they asked "When do they go to New York" that she could clarify it for them.

(The cartoon holds up okay. It's a product of it's time, but it's okay)

Sass   #10   10:07 am Jan 25 2012

@Emme #6 OMG I used to get the theme song for Button Moon stuck in my head ALL the time! It would drive me crazy:/ That and Pob's Playtime...*shudders*

I don't generally watch animated features so don't destroy my childhood memories - life's happier that way:) I did used to watch a lot of random 80s tv shows when I was a kid and those sure don't stack up. Love Boat, not good rewatching!


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