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The Smurfs (1981, Season 9)

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The Smurfs (1981, Season 9)
Season9title.jpg
The "Un-Smurfy" term is relevant now.
Genre: Adventure
Comedy
Running Time: 13 minutes
23 minutes (half hours)
Country: United States; Belgium
Release Date: September 9-December 2, 1989
Network(s): NBC
Created by: Peyo
Distributed by: Warner Bros
Starring: Don Messick
Lucille Bliss
Frank Welker
Jonathan Winters
Julie McWhirter
Pat Musick
Michael Bell
Jered Barclay
Hamilton Camp
Episodes: 41


The Smurfs is an American-Belgian animated television series created by Peyo. It was distributed by Warner Bros. and aired on NBC. The show was centered on a fictional colony of small, blue, humanoid creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest.

While Seasons 1-8 were well received, Season 9 had mixed reception from critics and fans.

Bad Qualities

  1. This season lacks the charm of the first 8 seasons. It does not help that the original plot, which revolved around little blue creatures living in a village and protecting it from villains, focused on them time-traveling, which goes against the whole purpose.
  2. The style of writing is very outdated due to it coming out in the late 80s. The running gags also started to get old pretty quickly. Comparing to Peabody's Improbable History, the Smurfs are stuck in time travel and never returned home by the next episode, which is rather disappointing when you think about it.
    • In "Cave Smurfs", Brainy Smurf had three books he obviously had no time to write and is thrown out of the cave after being pounded flat inside his own book off-screen. Greedy also eats a fig larger than him in seconds. Another complaint is the overuse of Hanna-Barbera sound effects.
    • While "Small-Minded Smurfs" had a good plot, it suffered from mildly racist stereotypes and a mean-spirited ending. Although Brainy is unlikable for most of the series, this is one of the few episodes where he is an innocent bystander and the Brainy gag was just an excuse to show that the character hasn't changed.
      • Also in one scene, Papa Smurf said that Smurfs should be patient with each other, which undermines the fact that they act like humans to each other for things that aren't really a big deal. It also doesn't help that Papa Smurf sometimes does next-to-nothing whenever the Smurfs does something humans would do.
    • In "The Golden Rhino", Brainy is rescued but talks on and on, making Grandpa Smurf regret they ever released Brainy (making it mean spirited). It's also infamous for forgetting the whole point that one of the Smurfs' fates is being turned into gold.
    • "Papa Loses His Patience" suffers a predictable ending where Papa Smurf finally loses his patience with Brainy and throws him into a fountain, where all Brainy could've done was apologize to Papa Smurf for using magic in an attempt to increase the level of his patience.
  3. Some episodes tend to rehash elements from previous seasons, like "Grandpa's Fountain of Youth", when Grandpa Smurf falls into the fountain of youth. The exact same thing happened to Papa Smurf in "The Fountain of Smurf". In addition the "animal mom believes that the character is their child cliche" is very overused in episodes, such as "Cave Smurfs".
  4. Other episodes have boring plots as well:
    • In "Hefty Sees a Serpent", no one believes Hefty when he claims to have seen a sea serpent. This plot falls into just boring.
    • Hogapatra steals Lazy's pillow in "Hogapatra's Beauty Sleep", which is downright nonsensical.
    • In "No Reflection on Vanity", Vanity becomes desperate to see his reflection after losing his mirror. Also counts as boring.
  5. Some mean spirited moments, like Papa Smurf inflicting physical abuse on Brainy in "Cave Smurfs", even though he's supposed to be kindhearted and forgiving, especially to his fellow Smurfs.
    • It was once funny for Brainy to get his just desserts from the others, but this is going too far. In "Like It Or Smurf It", Brainy is thrown out of sight for guessing the wrong color of an island moth, only to be chased away and tortured by a lobster.
  6. Many viewers were displeased with this season, especially the late Paul Winchell, the man who formerly voiced Gargamel, who left the show because he was disgusted after reading the scripts for the voices of Gargamel's ancestors who appeared in some of the episodes, thus explaining his sudden replacement with Michael Bell.
  7. The show started to recycle bits of dialogue from the previous seasons, which can get repetitive and tiresome rather than interesting and clever.
  8. As per usual, the continuity is often hit-or-miss. In "Shamrock Smurfs", Grandpa Smurf tells the other Smurfs about the leprechauns, the Smurfs, notably Brainy and Clumsy, act as though they've never seen or heard of a Leprechaun before, and Brainy even doubts their existence despite the Smurfs having a long friendly history with Michael the Leprechaun (from "How to Smurf a Rainbow").
  9. Only 17 of the 103 Smurfs are used in this season, causing several plots to run thin. Several fan-favorites like Nat, Harmony, Poet, and many more have completely disappeared.
    • Even with the 17 Smurfs still being used, in multiple episodes, many of them are absent without any explanation.
  10. Papa Smurf has semi-reverted back to his Season 1 characterization, as he often expresses any anger towards Brainy instead of trying to approach it with a patient or gentle attitude like before. Because of this, Brainy is treated like even more of a Butt-Monkey than before.
    • He also joins in the laughter of his little Smurfs when teasing Brainy, which is also out-of-character for him. And in "Hefty Sees A Serpent", he doesn't believe Hefty's interactions with a serpent (despite him seeing strange things before).
  11. Brainy Smurf himself is no better or wiser than the other Smurfs. Starting with this season, his intelligence level dropped quite a lot in most of the episodes.
    • In one episode, Brainy refuses to put on sunscreen and believes to be smart enough without sunscreen, which is somewhat ridiculous. You need sunscreen to protect you from getting a sunburn.
  12. Multiple locations don't fit within the Smurfs universe. Examples include the South Pole in "No Reflection on Vanity", and Australia in "G'Day Smoogle". More locations include Russia, Arabia, etc.
  13. A little too much creative freedom. There is even the presence of bubblegum in "Gnoman Holiday" and the statue of Grouchy Smurf that comes to life in the episode "The Monumental Grouch".
  14. A few animation errors can still occur sometimes. In "Trojan Smurfs", Sassette's hair becomes blonde for a brief moment.
  15. Multiple villains are completely phased out or just lazily called "their ancestors". Examples include Hogatha being "Hogapatra" or Gargamel being "Gargapouri".
  16. Quantity over quality: While not as worse as later shows, this season was made as a desperate attempt to keep the series afloat. This ended up failing miserably, seeing as how Smurfs and time travel don't go together.
  17. The last episode, "Hearts 'n' Smurfs", ended the series on a cliffhanger, as it ended with the Smurfs going to another time period. Because of the show's cancellation after this season, it was never known if the Smurfs returned to their original time period. The characters themselves disappeared from animation subsequently for a long time.

Good Qualities

  1. The animation still remains as good as ever, due to the upgrade in equipment.
  2. The voice acting is still awesome, with many of the actors still keeping the roles for their characters.
  3. There are still a handful of likable characters:
    • Smurfette is still a cute and likable character, despite her doing questionable acts like her fellow Smurfs.
    • At least Papa Smurf doesn't often express any anger towards the other Smurfs besides Brainy.
    • Grouchy Smurf is still likable and one of the only characters that haven't gone under Flanderization.
  4. This season introduced specific title screen art relating to each episode. This is an improvement over the previous seasons, which reuse the same four basic artworks that don't relate to each episode.
  5. There are still some funny moments here and there, such as Greedy explaining a recipe in the middle of an adventure.

Episodes With Their Own Pages

  1. Cave Smurfs - Episode 2b
  2. Small-Minded Smurfs - Episode 19a
  3. The Golden Rhino - Episode 23

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