YMMV / The Smurfs

For the franchise:

  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • A lot of people know the Smurfs. The original comic book series, Johan and Peewit? Not so much.
    • Besides, the Animated Adaptation is probably more well-known for American audiences than the Smurfs comic books.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Smurfs, with how their society works, their lookalike costumes, and leader with a red hat could be seen as a symbol of Communism. In turn Gargamel could be seen as a symbol of Capitalism (especially considering initially he wanted to capture a Smurf for a potion to make some gold). See also Wild Mass Guessing.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • In the Animated Adaptation, and the books since The Baby Smurf, Gargamel begins appearing in every story, even if his presence is unnecessary for the plot, which several times results in BLAMs.
    • In the 2011 movie, we have THE SMURFS PLAYING GUITAR, mimicking their merchandise.
  • Ear Worm: The theme song especially the French version.
  • Epileptic Trees: A disturbing amount of them contradict the show's continuity (just look at the conspiracy theories surrounding Smurfette).
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Smurfs were very popular in the US and Canada during their heyday in the 80's.
    • The Smurfs are also very popular in Germany, with multiple German exclusive Smurfs albums released since the 90's. Vader Abraham popularizing the series during the 70's might have played a big role in this.
    • Similar to Germany, the Smurfs are also popular in Greece, with Smurfette being the lead singer in various Greek Smurf albums.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: It's a running meme that the Smurfs are communists, and in 2011, there was a children's movie accused of being communist propaganda... except that it was The Muppets, not The Smurfs.
  • Hollywood Homely: Smurfette started off as this before Papa gave her a makeover.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Gargamel is all too happy to call himself "evil," but he's got plenty of reason to be unhappy. First, it is strongly implied that he had a seriously abusive childhood from every time we meet one of his relatives on-screen, said relative is either trying to mooch off Gargamel, browbeat and berate him, or both, even the wealthy ones like Balthazar. Second, to near Cosmic Plaything levels, every time he tries to do anything it cosmically backfires on him due to some bit of information or event he had no way of knowing, even if his labors are good, honest work. In addition to the entry in Hard Work Hardly Works, there's been other episodes where Gargamel did try his hand at honest work only to be thwarted either directly or indirectly by the Smurfs. The most prominent of these is when Gargamel actually won at an audition to become the royal court mage, honestly (his spell ingredients were a bit jumbled by transport to the castle, and his spell malfunctioned, but the fact that he summoned a tornado indoors, rode the tornado without injury, and nobody else in attendance was hurt convinced the judges that his power and control were more than sufficient for the job). Unfortunately, his first task, finding out why the chickens were not laying eggs was solved by Papa Smurf outside his knowledge. Perhaps Gargamel could have kept the job even then, but the Smurfs that were delivering the message to the king just had to stop and intrude on Gargamel's lab, without permission which ANY mage or alchemist would have good reason to be angry about. When Johan caught Gargamel threatening the Smurfs, only then did Gargamel learn that the Smurfs were good friends of the king and was real lucky not to wind up in the dungeon. Makes his obsession with making the Smurfs suffer seem a bit more reasonable, doesn't it? Oh, and Scruple? Gargamel was compelled by force of arms to take him in, as an apprentice, something which everyone can agree he is ill suited to do, and Gargamel doesn't even receive compensation of any kind, not even for the kid's living expenses. Thank evilness, or whatever that The Smurfs is a Sugar Bowl or somebody at Gargamel's castle would be seriously under-nourished if not starving to death. As a bonus, one episode had Gargamel plan and nearly succeed at carrying out his genocidal vengeance against the Smurfs with a powerful artifact or spell of evil, and he's stopped by Sassette. How? By her saying "I love you, pappi Gargamel!" Gargamel just... stopped, and broke down crying. Why? Nobody ever said that to him before. NOBODY! Not even his own mother. There are times that the audience really wants to give Gargamel a hug.
    • Azrael gets a bit of this too. Remember, Gargamel's the best owner he's ever had. Azrael has HAD other owners. That hole in his ear? One of his previous owners did that when he was a kitten, deliberately.
    • Chlorhydris. Enough said.
    • Brainy Smurf at times. Yes, he's insufferable and is considered The Scrappy both in universe and out, but the other Smurfs never give him a chance or at least try to tolerate him. He gets literally beaten up pretty much every time he talks, even though the Smurfs are supposed to be kindhearted and forgiving, especially with each other. Sometimes, the reader may have the impression that he's the village's punching bag even when he doesn't do anything wrong. For instance, in Le Schtroumpf Reporter, Hefty Smurf and another Smurf get annoyed because the aforementioned reporter has started wrting very intellectual and hard-to-understand articles in his newspaper. They come across Brainy, who tell them that the new articles are very interesting and ask them if they agree. They beat him up for that. In La Gourmandise chez les Schtroumpfs, when Greedy Smurf gets an indigestion (because he didn't listen to Brainy!), and when Brainy after helping him to return to his home starts to (annoyingly) list the medicine that he will give to him, he gets a kick in the ass.
  • Memetic Molester: Papa Smurf in one of his poses has a really creepy smug look on his face. It doesn't help that in one of the stories he was going after Smurfette.
  • Memetic Troll: Papa Smurf can be interpreted as one, creating holidays like Unhappiness Day, where every Smurf has to be miserable while he walks around making sure they aren't having fun, and Hug a Smurf Day, which almost just becomes "Torture Grouchy" day because he hates hugs, not that Papa Smurf doesn't find this hilarious.
  • Moral Event Horizon: King Smurf is thought by the Smurfs to have crossed it when he decided to throw Jokey Smurf into jail after receiving Jokey's explosive present.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Happens a lot of times to Brainy Smurf, even though he's supposed to be a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Some fans find Brainy Smurf sympathetic because (at least in the comics) despite his constant nagging, he often has a point and is victim to brutal physical violence when the other Smurfs are annoyed... without them getting any chastisement for this, even though the Smurfs are supposed to take pride into being more peaceful than humans!
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The Smurfs (whose society can somehow be described as an "utopia") have been mistaken (to Peyo's great amusement when he was alive) for a metaphor:
    • Of the occasionally creepy "groupthink" vibe common in cartoons during The '80s.
    • Of a Communist society. Think about it. Never do you see one "Consumer Smurf" buying from a "Shopkeeper Smurf" (in fact, one story explicitly states that the Smurfs don't use money and every Smurf with a job seems to do it for free), and the fruits of the community's labor is divided evenly amongst the community. Each Smurf has their own job, and any attempt at trying a different job typically ends in disaster. Gargamel comes off as a metaphor for capitalism, wanting to make money no matter the cost or what he destroys in the process. And topping it off, their leader wears red.
    • Of the KKK. A hundred critters in pointy white hats living in what amounts to a secluded commune led by a wizard with a pointy red hat. Hmm. It should of course be noted that it was made by a Belgian, and the KKK esoteric imagery is mostly unknown in Europe.
    • The Smurfs are actually a patriarchal conservative utopia. They live in a static and autarchic rural agrarian system, away from evil technological and social progress. They are ruled by a wise, benevolent, kind but stern patriarch who lays down the law and without whom anarchy and chaos engulf the village.
    • Certain real-world societies have also high-jacked the meaning of on paper communism. On paper, the Smurfs would be an ideal socialistic society or the above mentioned patriarchal society. Papa Smurf is essentially the government role that helps inform and "control" what jobs the Smurfs do for the society. In real life such a system would wholly depend on having all the right pieces in all the right places; in reality what most westerners call "communism" is more like socialism with a corrupt Papa Smurf turning it into a flat out dictatorship.
    • There have been two explicitly political issues. One is "King Smurf" (The Dutch translation even called him the Smurführer). The other one, "Smurf versus Smurf," is a satire of Belgium's linguistic division.
    • Some can see Gargamel as the stereotypical image of Jews in the Middle ages (despite having a normal nose, no beard, and no accent) and later on: short (Gargamel actually isn't short, he seems to be because he's slouchy) with back-hair and big curved nose. He is chasing after the innocent Smurfs and he wants to either make gold out of them, or eat them (cartoon only for this one). In addition, the story of Smurfette: She was initially an evil creation of Gargamel and was black-haired with a big nose. After her transformation into Smurfette, she has blond hair and blue eyes, and she is a kind and good-hearted woman. In one episode Gargamel kidnapped her and put a spell on her so she turned evil again, and she resumed her black-haired appearance. When she turned good again, she also resumed her blond hair again. All of of this can be explained by very very older literary tropes like Uglyness Equals Villainy and Dark Is Evil, among others. Gargamel is just your usual sorcerer and it requires much effort to see him as a Jew.
    • Fundies put the "fun" in fundies by claiming that the principal Smurfs represent the seven cardinal sins while Papa Smurf represents the devil and that Gargamel is a Catholic priest; thing is, his clothes do look like those of a priest...

For the Belgian comic book series:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Specific story examples:
    • Brainy in "The Olympic Smurfs." Was he being a fair judge in giving Smurfette a pink card that legally takes her away from Weakling just after he wins the Olympics and a possible Smooch of Victory from her? Or was he being just a complete opportunistic Jerkass?
  • Dork Age: from The Baby Smurf to The Strange Awakening of Lazy Smurf, the slapstick and social parody were toned down (in fact, it begins earlier, with the secondary stories of the album The Smurfic Games). The Finance Smurf, the last album made before Peyo's death, and those that follow it, recover these parts that made the book successful.
  • More Popular Spinoff: To Johan and Peewit.
  • Recycled Script:
    • The Smurf Menace (comic book) begins with the Smurfs being in conflict and fighting each other, so Papa Smurf decides to use his magic to bring an enemy towards them, so that they unite each other and become peaceful again. Just like in Smurf VS. Smurf.
    • If you count stories between the comic book continuity and the cartoon show continuity, The Finance Smurf recycles the plot of "The Smurfs and the Money Tree", even to how it ends (Greedy and Finance both suffer a case of Pyrrhic Victory or Pyrrhic Villainy in that they gain possessions at the cost of losing friends).
  • The Scrappy: The Smurflings are considered this, which is why they are hardly ever shown in the comic book stories, along with the Canon Foreigner characters like Grandpa Smurf and Nanny.
  • Unfortunate Character Design: The phallic-looking Old Tower in the comic book story The Smurfs and the Book That Tells Everything.

For The Smurfs and the Magic Flute:

For the HannaBarbera animated adaptation:

  • Accidental Innuendo: In the episode "Hats Off to Smurfs" Vanity hides himself in a closet after being turned ugly.
    Papa Smurf: Vanity, you must come out!
    Smurfette: Yes Vanity, come one out!
  • Ear Worm: La la lalalala, sing a smurfy song ...
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Marina and Scruple. Gourdy's slowly making his way up there as well.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: A lot of them.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the episode "Clumsy Luck," a second glasses-wearing Smurf appears in one scene. While at the time, it was just an animation error (a duplicate of Brainy, to be exact), come the 2011 movie, a second glasses-wearing Smurf, in the form of Narrator Smurf, now exists.
  • Ho Yay: Brainy and Clumsy, inferred in at least one episode, "The Smurfiest Of Friends."
  • Most Annoying Sound: Smurfette literally going 'boo-hoo' and sometimes even her voice.
    • Nanny Smurf's voice as well.
  • Recycled Script: The villain-disguised-as-a-Smurf ploy was used a few times in the cartoon show, both by Hogatha and Gargamel.
  • The Scrappy: A lot of people had nicer things to say about Smoogle compared to Nanny Smurf when they both were introduced in season eight.
  • Seasonal Rot: The final season was a Re Tool of the series that saw the Smurfs lost in time and traveling through different eras trying to get home. The change proved unpopular and led to ratings to plummet, which led to the series' cancellation shortly after.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • Some folks on YouTube noticed the similarity between The Smurfs theme song and the scatting melody of the J. Geils Band's "Centerfold", both of which came out in 1981.
    • The episode "Smurfing For Ghosts" uses a tune that sounds very similar to Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters", while the cartoon special "The Smurfic Games" uses one that's similar to Vangelis' Chariots of Fire theme tune.
  • Toy Ship: Sassette and the male Smurflings, mainly Nat and Snappy.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Very few people realize that Gargamel's theme is not an original composition, but an esoteric piece of classical music, specifically "Schubert's Unfinished Symphony".

For the 2011 movie:

For Smurfs 2:

Alternative Title(s): The Smurfs A Christmas Carol, The Smurfs 1994, Smurf Rescue In Gargamels Castle