Whitney Pastorek and Ken Tucker
March 07, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

Love or loathe the ”Smurfs”?

Kids adore tiny creatures living in communal bliss. (I even liked Snorks, and I’m not all that chipper.) The Smurfs is the granddaddy of this Saturday-morning genre, hypnotizing us with exploding presents, then sneaking in morality tales, alternative lifestyles (thanks, Vanity Smurf!), and classical music like Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. And all that happiness makes the sugary cereal go down easier. Only Gargamel could hate them. — Whitney Pastorek

Urrgh, me Gargamel! You can sugar-coat this blue blight, but kids don’t need cartoons with dribbles of high culture; they need real high culture. The Smurfs’ most annoying trait is to replace nouns and verbs with the word smurf. Hanna-Barbera got hold of the Belgian-created critters in ’81, then stiffly animated them to squeak things like ”Papa Smurf can smurf anything he smurfs his mind to!” It’s nostalgic dreck young minds should be steered away from. — Ken Tucker

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