I’m pretty sure we first saw a trailer for The Smurfs movie about two years ago and I thought it looked a bit rubbish, but it has New York and Neil Patrick Harris and, you know, Smurfs, so I figured we’d probably go and see it.
But then I read some stuff about “the Smurfette Principal” and “The Problem with Smurfette” and saw another trailer in which Smurfette’s skirt blew up in the manner of Marilyn Monroe’s famous upskirt moment and I just thought… sod this. I told Harry I wouldn’t be going to see it (and therefore nor would he) and explained why. He was fine with it (honestly, he was – we talk about gender inequality in kids TV all the time and he’s actually started noticing things I’ve missed).
But then when The Smurfs showed up on Kids AM, Harry said he wanted to see it. And I thought about it and decided that it was pretty unfair of me to judge it without seeing it, so told him we’d go.
As we were setting off on Saturday morning, Harry said, “And now I’m going to teach you a lesson!”
“That you like The Smurfs movie!”
I told him that I never said I wouldn’t like it – maybe I would – but that I had some problems with it and we could talk about that after. Actually, I said (joking, honest) that we’d discuss what was wrong with it on the way home. David laughed. Yeah, sounds like fun, I know.
So. We saw it. And, you know what? I really enjoyed it. I laughed out loud a lot. There were some good jokes for the grown-ups (I particularly liked the one about “Passive Aggressive Smurf”. I’m glad we went to see it.
Yes, it has problems. Of course there’s the whole 100 Smurfs and only one is female issue. There’s the fact that the Smurfs are supposedly named after their personalities, but Smurfette is basically defined as “girl”. Neil Patrick Harris’s character is Vice President of Marketing (I think it was) whereas his wife, Grace (Jayma Mays) doesn’t seem to have a job at all (at least, it’s never mentioned). (In fact, Grace is a bit wet in general.) And then there’s the subplot involving the cosmetics company NPH works for and how important it is for women not to lose their looks (I didn’t bother addressing that with Harry – he’s too young to be opening that particular can of worms). And when a dad brought a Smurf to the counter in the toy shop and asked “Do you have one in pink?” even Harry rolled his eyes. (Read more about it at Ms magazine’s Smurf Girls Are Easy… and Love To Shop.)
But as well as just looking pretty (or “Smurfalicious” – barf), Smurfette gets to kick some ass. The Marilyn moment is less about sexualising Smurfette (although there is a bit of that) and more the lead-in for a kilt joke, which had Harry in absolutely stitches. And, you know, NPH is awesome.
When it finished, Harry said, “So? Did you like it?”
I said, “Yes. I loved it.”
He said, “Ha! I told you I would teach you a lesson!”
So on the way home, I lectured him about being a smart arse instead.