I was born in 1977, so that makes me a child of the 1980s. As a child of the 1980s I was exposed to awful fashion, excellent music (and I don’t mean hair metal), awesome films, and the best damn cartoons ever. Do you remember watching She-Ra, He-Man, ThunderCats, the Littles, Strawberry Shortcake, and the Smurfs? They were great, weren’t they?
Like most little girls, my favorites were She-Ra and Strawberry Shortcake and my least favorite was the Smurfs. I actually really despised the little blue creatures. They got on my nerves and felt a sick and sadistic pleasure watching Gargamel the evil wizard set traps for them and catch them every episode. I wanted him to succeed in using them to make gold. Unfortunately, in the end Papa Smurf came to save the day….
Wait, let’s back up just for a second here. Have you ever noticed that Papa Smurf was never captured with the rest of the Smurfs? I noticed this as a six-year-old and would always yell at the television, “Gargamel, go get Papa Smurf first!” If Gargamel snatched Papa Smurf, then the other Smurfs would have had nervous breakdowns. I can picture them now throwing themselves off a cliff in despair, can’t you? (It’s just me, isn’t it?)
And I wonder how Papa always managed to avoid being captured. For all I know he could have been in on Gargamel’s plot to hold the other Smurfs captive, hoping that Gargamel would share the loot once he started turning things into gold. I wouldn’t put it past him, the jerk.
At any rate, little six-year-old Angie Hottentots-Laurel always sat in front of the television trying to tell Gargamel that he needed to go after Papa Smurf first. Once he bumped the old man off, then getting to the others, for good, would be easy.
In retrospect, my six-year-old self was a real weirdo. I mean, I did come up with a game called Vietnam War Babies around that age, after all. You’re probably wondering what that is now, so I am going to tell you. It was a game that involved an obstacle course in my massive back yard and required at least 10 people to play. One group of kids would play the Viet Cong and another would play babies fathered by Americans during the war. The babies went through a crap ton of obstacles (and Viet Cong) to get to “North America,” which was the garage at the end of the property, and their daddies.
I have no idea how I came up with these bizarre things at such a young age, but I am willing to wager that it was thanks to being the baby in a family with older brothers and my fascination with the evening news. I was also at an advanced reading level at that age (I began reading at the age of four), so I probably picked a lot of stuff up that way. Who knows?
Now back to the Smurfs.
My parents and granny thought my yelling at the television was cute; they thought that my frustration that Gargamel would not listen to me was cute. Like many of young children, I thought that the people and things on television lived inside of the box and could hear and see us like we saw them. And it never occurred to me at that age that the Smurfs were not real.
So why didn’t Gargamel catch Papa Smurf first? Well, in all honesty, that would have been too easy. It made too much sense and Gargamel was not the smartest wizard in the world. And if he did get to Papa Smurf, then there would not be any need for the show to go on considering Gargamel’s plotting against them was the only thing the show had going for it.
Now I think it’s time to wrap this post (the first installment of Something Random Sunday…see how it works?) and do my regular thing of begging for your reaction. Why don’t you tell me the sort of things you did when you were a kid. How did you use your imagination? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
- Gangster Smurfs (geektyrant.com)
- Cartoon History Lesson #16: Vanity Smurf (lezgetreal.com)
- Neil Patrick Harris: ‘Smurfs 2’ with Jayma Mays! (justjared.com)
- True Blue: See Smurfs Fans in Their Smurfy Finest (bellasugar.com)