'Tis the Season to be Smurfy (1987)

First, I want to clarify that this isn't the infamous Christmas episode where the Devil shows up. That was released in 1982. and we discussed it back in the first year of the blog (apologies for the lack of detail - we had a very different concept of what this was back then). 'Tis the Season is a special from 1987, during the seventh season of The Smurfs. If you're just now realizing a seventh season exists, you're in good company - I'd have guessed three. Turns out there were actually nine, but that's outside the scope of this review.

The three main characters featured in this are Grampa Smurf, Sassette, and Wild Smurf, and I don't know who the Smurf any of these Smurfs are. Grandpa, unsurprisingly, is basically an older version of Papa Smurf. Sassette is a young girl, so... I guess Smurfette isn't the only female Smurf anymore? And Wild Smurf is basically Tarzan. He primarily communicates by making animal noises, and from context I'm guessing he was raised by squirrels.

Just so we're clear, if I'm wrong in that assumption and you know his actual origin, keep your Smurfing facts out of the comments sections. If I wanted to know Wild's backstory, I'd Google it: I like thinking he was raised by squirrels.

At any rate, this is Wild's first Christmas, which is a well Hanna-Barbera returned to so many times, I'm surprised they didn't drown in it. That's not particularly relevant to the main plot, though they make a bunch of jokes about it at the beginning. Also, he's introduced to mistletoe, which is mainly an excuse for him and Smurfette to kiss a lot. This seems to be implying they have a Tarzan/Jane thing going on, but maybe it's just for the special.

Back to the plot. Grampa and Sassette go into the city to watch humans. There, they see a thief, an old toymaker, and a cruel noble who stops his kid from accepting a gift from the toymaker. The two Smurfs follow the depressed toymaker home and learn his wife is ill and may not recover. The toymaker hopes Christmas will cheer her up and help her get better, and he reads her a story about elves.

Grampa and Sassette return to Smurf village to drum up support to cheer up the sick woman, but everyone except Wild is too busy decorating to even listen. The three of them take off in a one-squirrel-open sleigh with some gifts, but get stuck in a storm halfway there.

Meanwhile, Papa Smurf returns from visiting... some guy... I don't know: they said his name, and he sounded like a wizard or something. Who the Smurf knows? Anyway, Papa gets back and finds out no Smurf gave a Smurf about a sick old woman, and he guilts the Smurfing Smurf out of them until they pack up their Christmas tree and a bunch of gifts on a sleigh drawn by a dog. I think we're supposed to know who the dog is - I do not. They find Grampa, Sassette, Wild, and the squirrel and give them a lift the rest of the way.

When they get to town, Brainy and Hefty are separated from the others. They wind up chasing down the thief, who's just stolen from the rich guy and thoughtlessly dropped his empty money purse in front of the toymaker's house.

Meanwhile, inside the Smurfs set up the tree while the toymaker and his wife are sleeping. Clumsy accidentally breaks an ornament, waking them. They come in, see the Smurfs, and assume they're Christmas elves, which...

Okay. Nisse are the inspiration for Smurfs, anyway, right? I'm not actually certain about that, but I just kind of assumed. If I'm right, then for all intents and purposes, the Smurfs are julenisse, at least when seen at Christmas. That's kind of a neat homage to the underlying folklore (again, assuming I'm right about how the Smurfs were created).

I guess it makes sense to them, too, because after briefly denying they're elves, the Smurfs think about it for a minute and more or less admit it's as good a label as any. 

Over in the thief's home across the street, Brainy and Hefty pretend to be Christmas spirits and confront the thief via shadows cast by a candle. They guilt him into realizing the error of his ways or something. So, we're throwing in a Scrooge motif, as well. It's not particularly well executed, but there's already quite a bit packed into this half-hour special.

Back in the toymaker's home, the woman's happy, and everything's great until the city guard shows up with the noble to arrest the toymaker. They followed the thief's tracks, locating the empty money bag, and the presence of seemingly expensive decorations and gifts are more or less all the proof they need. Unsurprisingly, the fact the toymaker is rambling on about elves bringing the decorations doesn't seem to help.

The Smurfs are currently hiding, and are about to reveal themselves to corroborate the toymaker's story, when the thief butts in to confess and return the noble's gold. The noble, moved by this, decides not to press charges, and he and his wife stay to help out the toymaker. By then, the Smurfs have snuck out.

All that in 30 minutes.

It isn't good, but it also wasn't boring. Batsmurf insane, yes, but not boring. 

The animation is decent. Nothing special, but it looks fine. I appreciate the medieval setting, even if it's basically the middle ages through the prism of a renfaire. It's all bizarre and quirky enough, I'm tempted to tag this "so bad it's good," but I feel like that implies a little more than this actually delivers. Still, I had a good time trying to figure out who the new characters were and what the Smurf was going on.

I will warn you that the Smurfs are annoying as always (the new ones most of all), but I was still fascinated by all the weird shit. I mean weird Smurf. Smurf it all to Smurf! I knew I was going to fuck this up.