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The Problematic Smurfs Character That Did Not Age Well

The premise of "The Smurfs" seems pretty straightforward. You have a bunch of little blue people who live together and get by with sharing and imparting words of wisdom upon one another. Their names describe their singular personality trait. Brainy Smurf is smart, Lazy Smurf can barely do anything, and Smurfette is a girl ... because apparently being female is a defining characteristic. While it seems like the kind of cartoon that would've been left in the 1980s, it's had a surprising amount of longevity.

It continues to be referenced in everything from "The Simpsons" to "Robot Chicken" and has spawned three feature-length movies within the last decade. Not bad for a bunch of characters who say "smurf" three times in a single sentence, but while they seem innocent enough, the truth is there's been plenty of darkness throughout the franchise's run. A lot of aspects of the show haven't exactly aged well, including the fact that many viewers believe the primary antagonist, Gargamel, embodies anti-Semitic stereotypes. And he's not the only character who presents a very anti-PC message to the kids watching.

Hogatha carries on the trope of the conventionally unattractive villain

There's a quote from Jake the Dog on "Adventure Time" that goes: "If she were good, she wouldn't be so ugly." Over the decades, there's been a trope in media that the good guys are attractive while the bad guys are ugly by conventional standards. This is most readily obvious in Disney movies where you have young princes and princesses being the heroes while the villains are old or have some kind of deformity. This trope is readily seen in plenty of places, including characters on "The Smurfs." 

Gargamel wasn't the only sorcerer trying to get his hands on Smurf berries as Hogatha also used magic to make the Smurfs' lives tougher. She looks like she could be Gargamel's cousin in that they're both pretty worse for wear, and regardless of the specific plot of an episode, Hogatha is always portrayed as an antagonist even when she's in the right.

This is most readily seen in Season 1's "Bewitched, Bothered, and Be-Smurfed," where her locket ends up in the hands of Smurfette. It's important to keep in mind that at no point that Smurfette try to find the locket's owner; she just goes around Smurf Village and starts messing with reality. When Hogatha tries to take the locket back, which is her property, Papa Smurf decides to throw it in the fire, ending her life. To be fair, Hogatha has a lot of lives, but still, the episode clearly teaches kids that villains have absolutely no nuance. And if we're to believe physical attractiveness is linked with moral righteousness, then the theme surrounding Hogatha is that ugly people don't deserve even basic property rights. 

At least kids today have shows like "Steven Universe" to teach them actually worthwhile lessons.