A big part of this blog has been dedicated to all of differences I’ve noted between the States and Spain. To change things up a bit, I’ve decided to write this post about a similarity instead, and I’ve chosen that which I find the most fun and perhaps the most uniting of all – children’s TV shows. “Children of the 80s” the world over (at least in North America and Western Europe) can unite over a shared fondness for Saved By the Bell (Salvado por la Campana), Beverly Hills 90210 (Sensación de Vivir), and Growing Pains (Los Problemas Crecen). But the true bonding comes when, perhaps over a rum & coke one night, we start to reminisce about Saturday morning cartoons. The Smurfs, Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, and Scooby-Doo were the true heroes, and Smurfette (Pitufina) and Kermit the Frog (La Rana Gustavo) decorated bedrooms, pencil cases, and backpacks in Madrid just as they did in Missouri.
Decades later, most of us can still sing the intro to Sesame Street (although, the words are only “lalala” in Spain – not unlike the Spanish national anthem) and anything overwhelmingly blue is most definitely Smurf-like. Those shows will stick with us forever. Although they are just simple cartoons, there’s no denying that the children’s series have underlying meanings and important lessons for the kiddies. The Smurfs, after all, include the classic figures of everyday life – the tattooed meathead (Hefty Smurf), the glasses-wearing know-it-all (Brainy), the wizened old man (Papa), and the evil villain (Gargamel) – and their weekly adventures taught teamwork, kindness, and acceptance. Similar concepts were dealt with regularly in the complex underground world of Fraggle Rock, on the sidewalks of Sesame Street and in the Muppet Babies’ nursery. A good friend and honesty were the answer to every problem. When it comes down to it, what shaped us as children was more or less the same on either side of the Atlantic. Perhaps we aren’t so different after all.
P.S. The pic is of a very old and very loved Smurf figurine back from the days when my dad travelled for work. Every business trip meant a new Smurf! Be sure to click on him for a surprise.