Hollywood’s newest offering is a film version of the iconic 1980s television show, which ran for nine years on NBC. The little blue guys — and one girl! — are back.
And guess what? They are no longer Commu-Smurfs.
You didn’t have to be Joseph McCarthy to see the red undertones of the blue Smurf society. In Evan Topham’s popular YouTube video, along with countless internet conspiracy essays, the case for Smurf Communism has been firmly established. First, all Smurfs were forced to wear the same uniform: white poofy hats, white pants with a hole to accommodate tails, and white shoes. (Smurfette was allowed a white dress, but was never allowed any deviation in her uniform.) Secondly, the Smurfs only had one role in life and were named according to their profession: Poet Smurf had to write all of the poems, Handy Smurf had to fix all of the broken items, Baker Smurf had to create sugary confections for every Smurf’s consumption. No one was allowed to perform multiple roles in society. Once, Vanity Smurf tried to switch things around and paint, however, and Poet Smurf put down his quill and tried to build things. The disastrous consequences sent a clear message to Smurf society: stick to your job assignment and don’t ask any questions.
Further to the point, no single individual Smurf profited from his giftings but rather worked for the common good. Farmer Smurf, for example, didn’t sell his crops to individuals at a fair market value. Instead, he grew provisions for everyone, distributed equally to each Smurf throughout the year from their storage in the communal mushroom-shaped huts. When the Smurfs had a drought, they found the one smurf who was hoarding more than his fair share of smurfberries and beat him with a board from his floor.
Wise old Papa Smurf differentiated himself by wearing a red hat and pants (obviously a representation of his communist sympathies) and white facial hair (an homage to the “grandfather of communism” Karl Marx). His arch-enemy was a perverse representation of capitalism, the evil greedy Gargamel, only interested in increasing his own personal wealth by capturing the Smurfs and turning them into gold.
The Washington Times asks the question:
Pop quiz: Who uttered the famous maxim, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs?”
A) Karl Marx
B) Papa Smurf
C) Both A and B
The chilling answer, Smurf fans, is “C.”
To make matters worse, the Smurfs have a mind-controlling la-la-la-la-la-la song, and constantly replace everyday nouns and verbs with the word “smurf,” which, according to the Washington Times, creates a “a dumbed-down, thought-controlling Newspeak lexicon to rival that of the totalitarian state in George Orwell’s ‘1984.’”
With new movie, however, come indications that the Smurfs seem to have given up on their communistic ways. On Friday, the financial markets grew increasingly anxious as the U.S. edged closer to defaulting on its debt. However, Papa Smurf showed up at the New York Stock Exchange to encourage the traders by ringing the ceremonial opening bell.
Friday also happened to be the opening day of their new movie, Smurfs 3D, which further demonstrates this philosophical shift. The blue creatures are taken from their bucolic village and put smack into the middle of the mecca of capitalism, Times Square. They end up in the apartment of a Madison Avenue type marketing mogul (played by Neil Patrick Harris), struggling to sell makeup to insecure New York women. The Smurfs — far from being wary of him peddling his goods — end up giving him inspiration for his new “Blue Moon” ad campaign.
Plus, Smurfette finally tries on a different dress. (Though it’s wonderful she expressed more of her personality, beware that the Katie Perry-voiced Smurf does utter the sentence, “I kissed a Smurf and I liked it.”) Smurfette, apparently intoxicated at being able to actually change clothing, also appears on the pages of this month’s Harper’s Bazaar where she models $895 polka dotted shoes and carries a $400 Marc Jacobs hand bag.
And forget environmentalism. In the movie (spoiler alert!) the Smurfs use magic to turn the moon blue, which helps them return home and guarantees a successful “blue moon” campaign. (Did I mention, Smurfette’s handbag in Harper’s Bazaar is real fur?) The movie’s product placement alone ranges from M&Ms to FAO Schwartz to the Blue Man Group, showing that the Smurfs, far from being a communistic pawns, have finally embraced capitalism in all its forms.
If the 1980s cartoon was some hidden message about how communism beats capitalism each and every episode, then this movie’s philosophical shift is a very welcome change in deed.
It might even be the most Smurf-tastic economic news we’ve had lately.
— Nancy French is the co-author of Bristol Palin’s Not Afraid of Life and Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War.