09 April 2004

Gargamel

As a kid, I was puzzled by the motivations of Gargamel, the villian on Smurfs who had a strong resemblance to Richard Nixon. Sometimes he wanted to eat the Smurfs. Sometimes he wanted to use them in an alchemical operation to turn lead into gold. Sometimes he wanted payback for some imagined slight. His malice was just so unfocused, it didn't make sense to me.

Broke my willing suspension of disbelief, you know?

So today, the witty and sophisticated Diane pointed out to me the obvious: Gargamel is just crazy, and hatred of Smurfs is a psychotic symptom. This also explains why he lived in such a crummy hovel --- obviously he can't hold down a steady job if he's nuts.

I feel much better now.

1 comment:

Bardus said...

Yeah...I had always wondered about Gargamel's motiviations as well...not that early 80s cartoons created elaborate, multi-dimensional characters...but for the most part villans always had a pretty reasonable justification for their treachery (COBRA and Skeletor wanted world domination; Dr. Claw was a steel-gauntleted mob boss; Ranger Smith was trying to maintain Jellystone law; etc.). Gargamel didn't fit that mold, as you eloquently pointed out.

Which makes me wonder...what exactly were Smurfs? This is sort of along the lines of "Shaggie was a drug fiend...so what were in those Scooby Snacks," but...going with the "Gargamel Crazy" motif, couldn't the Smurfs been a halucination brought on by dementia, or possibly by ingesting poisoned mushrooms?

I'm just saying, maybe the Smurfs didn't really exist at all, except in Gargamel's damaged, febrile brain. That'd answer a lot of angry questions I posited to my uninterested parents circa 1986.