I was just about to leave the party when Papa Smurf showed up with Smurfette and a Mason jar. Not that it wasn’t a nice party. Or a nice house. But, I had already done the tour twice and had already heard about how there wasn’t very much built-in lighting.
I wasn’t sure why there were now Smurfs. Clearly, they planned to go elsewhere after putting in an appearance here, but late September seemed early for a Halloween party. There was the chance, I suppose, that this was some sort of street team promoting the previous week’s direct-to-DVD release of The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow. I’m not entirely sure what that show is about; I assume it has something to do with a Smurfless Smurfman smurfing up where you least exsmurf him, but I’m only guessing. Whatever it is, I have to think there is a better way to promote it than by sending pairs of Smurfs with noticeably uneven blue complexions to pay visits to 30-somethings gathered at a housewarming party in the suburbs, but admittedly, I’m no marketing expert.
“I brought moonshine if anybody wants some,” said Papa Smurf, who clearly knew more about my demographic than I had initially assumed. Still, I was wary. There have always been legends that the bad stuff can make you go blind. But, then again, I was already seeing Smurfs, so there was that.
“We’re going to an 80s party after this,” explained Smurfette. That could very well have been why Papa Smurf was wearing a Donkey Kong t-shirt instead of going bare-chested as usual. Or, the t-shirt could have been the result of Smurfette using most of the blue paint on her arms, upper torso, face, and legs and not leaving much for Papa Smurf. Were I Papa Smurf, I definitely would have insisted on taking Smurfette’s car, as I’m sure numerous blue smudges were left on various upholsteries throughout the night.
Gordon Gekko? Sure. Michael Jackson? Obviously. But, a Smurf get-up seems like a kind of left-field choice for an 80s party, right? I mean, that’s a costume that probably wouldn’t really occur to me. And, it would certainly be a big investment of time and messy effort. But then, of course, I’d be one of many in the party crowd wearing a “Frankie Says Relax” t-shirt and a Member’s Only jacket, all the while secretly lamenting, “Damn, I wish I’d thought of The Smurfs.”
I’d last thought of The Smurfs a few months ago when my 5 year-old, Stella, pulled a box of my wife’s old Smurf figurines out of the closet and shouted, “Let’s play with The Smiths!” Would that be a good costume for an 80s party? Morrissey? Did Morrissey in the 80s look pretty much like Morrissey in the 90s? I don’t really have another frame of reference, because in the 80s, I was way more into The Smurfs. But, I understand Stella’s confusion; if you quizzed me with “asexual European, often blue,” I might just answer with “Morrissey.”
Papa Smurf took the lid off of his jar of moonshine. “The guy my uncle buys his weed from makes this,” he said, as if sensing my doubts about its provenance. I had last tried moonshine over a decade ago, and I remembered it seeming much like paint thinner.
I took a sip. It was sweet, and not bad at all. “Have you heard of Popcorn Sutton?” I asked, passing the jar back to Papa Smurf.
“Yeah, of course,” he said. The legendary moonshiner’s fame had grown in the years since he chose suicide over a term in federal custody.
“I’m from the same county in North Carolina.”
“No shit?” Papa Smurf seemed impressed.
“Hey!” He interrupted a conversation Smurfette was having across the kitchen. “This guy says he’s from the same place as Popcorn Sutton.”
I don’t know why I felt the need to bro-bond with Papa Smurf. He didn’t try to win points with me by bragging that he was from the same toadstool village as, say, Brainy, Brawny, or Handy Smurf. Of course, I’ll bet Handy Smurf hates when you drop his name at housewarming parties, because then people are all, “Oh! Do you think he would help me install some lights?”
The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow is now available on DVD.