Thursday, 27 November 2008

Happy Smurfday

Let's get one thing out of the way first, shall we? I have no particular affection for Smurfs. I have always found them to be rather irritating little creatures. But I couldn't let their fiftieth birthday (albeit I'm a bit late with this virtual greeting) go unrecognised. So, Joyeux Anniversaire aux les petits Schtroumpfs - which is, of course, their original name.

One thing that does amuse me, however, is their penchant for using the word 'smurf' as a substitute for some other word. You will note the title of this post - Happy Smurfday - as a relevant example. You could also, for instance, say 'smurftastic', or 'I'm just smurfing down to the shops'. Apparently the Smurfs were a divided tribe by virtue of their language conventions. When describing a bicycle pump, Northern Smurfs would say 'bicycle smurf', whereas their Southern counterparts would use the expression 'smurf pump', an object which sounds both unpleasant and uncomfortable.

I would really like to have seen the Smurfs forget their differences and go the extra mile (or one and a half kilometres, if you are a BBC employee reading this) by using the word 'smurf' in a whole variety of ways. For example, 'smurf' could operate as an expletive, an adjective, a noun and a verb, thus:

Oh, smurf it! The smurfing smurfer's completely smurfed!

The Smurfs always seemed to me to be a bit old-fashioned as well. Now, being an old-fashioned sort myself, I can't really take issue with this. However, there seems to be an overwhelming need these days to make things 'relevant' to our times. Comics that we all enjoyed, like the Dandy and Beano, have been sanitised and politically corrected. Dennis the Menace and Roger the Dodger no longer get a good whacking for misbehaving. Nowadays they're more likely to undergo some other humiliation, like a jolly good dose of after school detention, or the temporary loss of a games console for a week. But the Smurfs have always been pretty correct. So how to we update them? I suppose the younger ones could spend their time smurfing the internet? Or indulging in the other kind of smurfing down at the beach (have you heard Smurf's Up by the Beach Smurfs?). But if they went into a shop and asked for a smurfboard, could they not end up with a skateboard, a breadboard or some cardboard? I suppose they'd be better off calling it a surfsmurf.

It's likely that our twenty first century Smurf (sounds like a film studio, doesn't it!) might fall prey to some of our worst vices. Binge-smurfing, smurf-eating (clarification: binge-eating), suffering from body dysmurfia. Younger smurfs could end up in gangs; there would be 'smurf' wars' when members inadvertantly strayed across invisible boundaries. And, just as bad, wholesale redundancies and financial meltdown when there's a credit smurf. Or a smurf crunch.

I think it's high time Hollywood woke up to the fact that a live-action Smurf movie is long overdue. After all, they've done it with Batman, Thunderbirds and the Flintstones, to name but a few. Casting might be a bit of a problem; after all, there aren't that many blue actors around, albeit I suppose some makeup could be employed. But the opportunity for endless innuendo, brought about by the liberal use of the 'S' word, would surely make such a venture worthwhile (although I hope even Hollywood would baulk at the use of the expression 'mothersmurfer'). There is, however, one thing of which I am certain; the actress who should be cast in the role of the Smurfette. Why, it should be none other than that excellent Irish actress...Victoria Smurfit.

Image borrowed from Apropos of Something blog.


Comedy Goddess said...

Aren't there gummy Smurfs? Sooner or later every crawly thing winds up as a gummy candy.

chris hale said...

I don't think so. The closest we come here in the UK is the Jelly Baby! But I've never seen a blue one.

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

Smurfs eat Jelly Babies!

chris hale said...


Madame DeFarge said...

Presumably you'd also have a branch of a middle eastern religion as Smurfism, led by a mysterious bearded papa smurf.

chris hale said...

Bonjour, Madame. there's a thought. Papa Smurf would, presumably, be the religion's representative on earth, but what about the deity? The Great Smurf? Smurf Almighty? The Smurf Architect? His/her Great Blueness?

Thanks for dropping by.

Stevyn Colgan said...

The Smurfs are a curious breed aren't they? For a start, they seem to model their society upon ant colonies with the males clustered around a single female - the 'smurfette' - and all holding fixed positions within the colony: cook, farmer, poet etc. To suppress any hint of individuality, they all wear identical clothes - a hat and what appears to be white tights/ pantyhose that covers their swollen gouty feet - except the alpha male who wears red. And they have vestigial tails, which hints at an arboreal ancestry.

Hmmm. Interesting. I may exand upon this in a later post!

Oh and happy 5oth smurfday you tiny blue things.

chris hale said...

Stevyn! There you are!

Thank you for your excellent and (as always) highly relevant comments. I look forward to hearing more about the little blue beggars.