Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
July 6, 2020

The Smurfs who smoked up

By Peter Zou | October 4, 2001

The Smurfs were the basis for what turned out to be one big psychedelic experience. As any other person with two brain cells to rub together would remember, The Smurfs was definitely the greatest '80s cartoon. It revived the carefree, tie-dye lifestyle of the '70s to a six year old audience. Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Gargamel and Azreal are just a few of these beloved and unforgettable characters.

The Smurfs started out as a comic strip by Peyo in Belgium. Obviously when choosing a name for her child, Peyo's mother was not making a reference to peyote, the highly illegal psychedelic cactus.

It is also clear that the creator, Peyo, would have no idea what psychedelic drugs are, having grown up in an environment that was devoid of drug references. Peyo pushed the idea of little fungi look-a-like creatures, and it was soon picked up by the vultures at NBC, who turned it into a cartoon series geared towards keeping kids off drugs.

Under the skillful guidance of the executives at NBC, these small mushroom-like blue characters adopted qualities such as paternalism (Papa Smurf), intellectualism (Brainy Smurf), industrialism (Handy Smurf), space-exploration (Astro Smurf) and lethargy (Stoner Smurf).

These smurfs gathered in a Communist-like society, living in similar houses, wearing the same clothes, referring to each other with an equal title (almost like the title 'comrade') and running from the greedy self-serving villain.

One brave man set out to rid the earth of these colorful little heathens and their heinous mushroom houses. His name was Gargamel. He constantly pursued these blue mushroom-like Smurfs because, for some reason, he wanted to toss them in a pot, cook them, and eat them.

It's strange why anyone would want to chase around blue mushrooms in order to make them into tea. This is obviously not a reference to the blue-colored psychedelic compound psiloscybin.

Accompanying Gargamel in his strange actions came the apathetic, yet arrogant cat by the name of Azreal. Azreal, in Jewish and Islamic mythology, was the angel who watches over the separation of the soul from the body. Obviously, this cat was sent to protect the blundering Gargamel from any sort of out of body experiences that he might accidentally stumble upon in his quest to rid the world of smurfs.

Clearly, this anti-drug cartoon was successful in providing kids with an alternative to using psychedelic drugs. Trippy colors aside, The Smurfs taught them about communal living, warned against racism and provided kids with a new and complete set of vocabulary words.

Remember the time when every single verb and noun was replaced by the word 'smurfs?' Kids ran around yelling: "Look at those smurfs!" "Smurf it!" "Were you smurfing last night?" "Smurf the smurfing smurfer!" The infinite combinations of smurf-words exercised the mind and taught kids good English.

Sweet, sweet Smurfs. And to everyone who did not like The Smurfs: smurf off.

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