Let’s get Smurfy
September 12, 1981. I was in the third grade and eagerly sat in front of the TV in our living room waiting for the premiere of The Smurfs. I saw an ad for the tiny blue creatures in the comic section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch weeks earlier. From that first visual, I was hooked.
Week after week, month after month, year after year I would watch the Smurfs as they faced challenges ranging from a deranged wizard who wanted to turn them into gold to a giant ogre who wanted to snack on the little blue buddies. It didn’t take long to amass a huge collection of toys, shirts and even drinking glasses.
My addiction and obsession never really subsided. Some 15 years after the debut on NBC Saturday mornings, I found myself once again collecting Smurfs. I was visiting yard sales, flea markets and antique malls adding items to my collection. Some of the more unique items included an alarm clock, a toy box and a record player.
When I got married, I sold most of that extra collection, but I did keep my glasses and little figures. My Smurf collection is now on display in the closest thing I’ll have to a man cave while all my kids are still living under our roof. (And yes I get the irony of saying Smurfs and man cave in the same sentence.)
Smurfy lessons we’ve all learned
All that being said, there are some lessons I’ve learned from watching the Smurfs. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Each Smurf seemed to have a quality or trait that defined them. Clumsy tripped and fell a lot. Grouchy was always in a bad mood. Jokey was the prankster. So even if your best quality may be annoying or viewed as a detriment by others, embrace it and make the most of it.
Face your fears. Even Scaredy Smurf stepped up and did things he wasn’t comfortable with. The Smurfs often banded together to help those in need, whether it was one of their own, an animal in the forest or a human. That bravery sometimes resulted in trouble, but in the end, the Smurfs always found the way to safety and never ended up on Gargamel’s gold recipe.
Finally, find the good in others. As I mentioned, there times Grouchy Smurf was quite frankly a pain in the ass. Same with Brainy and his know-it-all attitude. But the others in the village accepted these qualities and loved their fellows Smurfs anyway. Smurfette, the most lovable of all the Smurfs, started off as an evil creation by Gargamel. But the love of the others beat out the hate and she joined the village. The Smurfs even took pity on Gargamel and his cat Azrael. They would typically one up the wizard but never had any intention of permanently hurting their foe.
Nearly 40 years after coming to the United States, and almost 60 years after their debut in Belgium, the Smurfs are still teaching kids of all ages these life lessons. There are three movies and computer games celebrating these iconic little characters. Speaking of which, there’s a new collection of Smurf Funko Pops available now.
I'm a former TV news guy turned marketing manager. I like to blog, podcast and watch pro wrestling.