Thursday, October 23, 2008

Les Schtroumpfs...

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Smurfs, which were as much a part of my American childhood as peanut butter and rubix cubes. But what people may not know is that the origins of the Smurfs come from a Franco-Belgian comic series called 'Les Schtroumpfs', created by a Belgian artist called Peyo, in 1958. Hanna-Barbera brought the series to American television in the 80's, where it became an instant hit with children of all ages.

I remember wanting to be Smurfette when I grew up (which maybe isn't something I should admit in public), and I remember what a lovely world they seemed to live in, so cozy and familiar. People have tried to politicize the smurfs, some calling it one of the first ecologically minded children's programs, others have said the whole smurf universe smacks of communism. Whatever... Smurfland looked like a happy place to live.

I have to admit that Smurf is alot easier to say than schtroumpf, but some of the smurf names sound much more romantic in French:

Schtroumpf - Smurf
Grand - Papa
Schtroumpfette- Smurfette
à lunettes - Brainy
Costaud - Hefty
Grognon - Grouchy
Rêveur - Dreamy
Maladroit - Clumsy
Gourmand - Greedy
Coquet - Vanity
Bricoleur - Handy
Paysan - Farmer
Paresseux - Lazy
Puant - Stinky

Only Gargamel and his cat Azraël got to keep their original names. I was always glad when the smurfs foiled that pesky Gargamel. If only life was really that simple.

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