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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

The Smurfs: Season One, Volume One (review)

That The Smurfs was nominated for an Emmy in 1982 for Outstanding Animated Program surely must be an indication only that the cartoons of my youth were far worse than I remember. Of course, there are plenty of folks my age who have been simply salivating over the prospect of getting the adventures of the little blue critters on DVD for the first time — and here they are, 19 uncut cartoons from the series first season, 1981-2 — but I’ve got to imagine that they’ve been salivating only ironically. For these are truly as impossible to watch now as they were back when we were all undiscriminating children. Even as a kid I knew — we all knew — that there was something deeply disturbing about a village comprised of 100-plus boy smurfs and only one girl, but I had either completely forgotten or was never aware that Papa Smurf transforms Smurfette, in an early episode here, from a mousy brunette to a bombshell blonde. He considers her “new and improved! — but then again, he “hates daughters,” he informs us earlier in that same episode. It makes me want to side with the “evil” wizard Gargamel and his “evil” cat Azrael, who want to kill all smurfs. I can only sympathize. The toons have been remastered and the image look as good as a 25-year-old cartoon is likely to get, but the audio is the original mono. Extras include “The Smurfs’ Springtime Special” and a music video. [buy at Amazon]

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  • Jan Willem

    This would be the right time to issue this collection in Holland. For a couple of weeks, a Dutch supermarket gave away a plastic toy smurf for every 15 euros you spent on groceries. It proved to be a major boost for turnover. Kids would wait outside and beg leaving customers if they could have their smurfs! Not that the toys were very well made: arms would fall off and the supermarket was obliged to issue a warning to parents with very small children.
    In my early days (i.e. the sixties) I read and enjoyed the smurf comics, including the one about the Smurfette makeover, without picking up the misogynist undertones. In my defence I can only say that I was a boy of primary school age. I never much cared for the rather commercial TV cartoon version, though. Probably because I had moved on to more important teenage concerns by then.

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