From the archives: The Great Smurf Height Debate


With the recent celebrated announcement of a The Smurfs movie in the works, we thought it would be a good time to revisit one of the most heated over-analyzation debates from the old archives. Now, some snarky sites like Derober like to use ironic scorn tactics to deride the presumably family-friendly entertainment event, without the appropriate gravitas obviously required. Here at J. Cart. Overanal., however, we think such a motion picture will be fantastic grist for our mind-mills. So, we now proudly present The Great Smurf Height Debate. Most of the arguments below were written before Y2K, back when computers ran on coke-fired Stirling engines (processing speeds in excess of 2.2 kilobits/pound!) and well before Napster bankrupted spectacularly after investing too heavily in The South Sea Company. Since then, great strides have been made in Smurf Height Science, with the current prevailing theory being that a Smurf’s height and momentum cannot both be precisely measured simultaneously, given by the expression ΔpΔH=h/2πε, where h is, of course, Planck’s Constant, and ε is, of course, the Snorkittivity of Free Space.

  • How tall are Smurfs really? I mean, they live in mushrooms, so how big can they be? Most people I ask think they are over a foot tall. But I think they must be less than two inches. Sure, the smurfs look pretty large compared to Gargamel, but you have to remember the perspective of the camera is often from the Smurf’s point of view, and therefore sizes are disorted. Furthermore, Gargamel is the only human I can recall seeing so we have nothing to compare his size with. Perhaps Gargamel is just a little-wee man. As a final thought, if the smurfs were over a foot tall, their mushroom houses would have to be at least the size of a Le car or maybe a player piano.
    – Contributed by Tyler C.
  • As a response to the article about the height of a Smurf, I would like to mention that on The Smurfs’ Christmas Special (with the song “Goodness Makes the Badness Go Away”), there were several other humans to compare to Gargamel’s height. I would say, because the average Middle-Ages male was about 5’6″ (app.), this means that Gargamel was a stooping 5′ (app.). My guess, then, is that Smurfs are about 4-5 inches tall, and therefore have big mushroom houses. This is further supported by the fact that the Smurfs were an alchemist race (who knows what Papa Smurf was really making?), and probably need a lot of mushroom in their “spells.” However, 1 foot tall mushrooms have been known to exist (just look at a fallen tree, and you just might see one). Again, the Smurfs are in a fantastic world, and for all we know, they might be bigger than us (and all the humans that have appeared are giants!). Will we ever truly know?
    – Contributed by Stephen G.
  • Talking about the Smurfs’ size-I recall a few episodes where OK, I haven’t watched many cartoons for a long time, but reading all these comments on them is bringing back my old observations. In regards to the Smurf issue, it’s always seemed interesting to me that Gargamel’s cat was named Azrael, which is the name of the Angel of Death. Also, everyone’sAzrael would chase the Smurfs for some reason, and he was quite a bit larger than them. I think they’re about mouse-size. People are talking about Gargamel’s size, and traditionally bad characters tend to be misshapen in some way,and I think he is very short because that would fit in with the personality stereotype they are trying to produce (wily, crafty, sneaky, also he is hunched over all the time). And to add to the mushroom symbolism in The Smurfs, Papa Smurf seems to represent the Amanita muscaria mushroom, the red capped mushroom so often portrayed in “innocent fairytales” or any illustration using a mushroom at all. He even wears a red cap. This would add to his sort of father figure/shaman/leader of the tribe image. Does anyone remember those vampire Smurfs? I think they were “gnats”, with the g pronounced (guhnats). They turned purple and when they bit another smurf, they would turn them into a vampire, too. Although, they didn’t actually drink blood. I’d like to hear someone’s opinion on this.
    -Contributed by George H.
  • I remember seeing The Smurfs when I grew up, and I remember hearing in an early opening that the Smurfs were “three apples tall”. Many years later, I saw a Smurf T-shirt showing one of the little blue creatures exactly as tall as three apples next to him labelled “I Measure Up.” Since an apple is about 3 or 4 inches tall, I think 9 inches to a foot would be a good measure for a Smurf’s height.
    -Contributed by Darrel J.
  • Just a minor note, the Smurfs were created by the Germans. They are definitly supposed to be ‘three apples high’. They are supposedly created when depressed people (‘blue’ people) go sit in the Black Forest. Forest fairies feel sorry for the ‘blue’ people and change them into tiny sprites. The only trace of their depression is their blue skin.
    – Contributed by Althea6302
  • The Smurfs were NOT created by the Germans. The Smurfs were created by a man named Peyo who was born in Belgium.
    – Contributed by KyleWestern
  • If you watch the episode where Gargamel makes a giant, you will see that smurfs make their houses, not grow them like regular mushrooms. This shows that the mushroom houses can be any size so they have no effect on the Smurf’s size. Also, apples only reach 4 inches when planters use fertilizer and such. Naturally apples are much smaller, and therefore I think Smurfs would only be 7-8 inches tall.
    – Contributed by siletren
  • Remember the old commercials for The Smurfs said they were 3 apples high? Put 3 apples on top of one another. These Smurfs were huge! Think about the ratio here. Imagine the size of the mushrooms these things live in. Gargamel must have been blind not to find them. In the opening credits the smurfs run underneath Azrael’s legs. Given the “3 apples high” ratio this makes Azrael the size of a mountain lion, and thusly makes Gargamel out to be roughly 20 feet high.
    – Contributed by Dante W.
  • Whatever the t-shirts showed notwithstanding, I think we’re all missing the point about what “three apples high” means. I think they were some magic apples in the forest, and the Smurfs ate them, and well, it’s like someone saying that they’re “six cups drunk.”
    – Contributed by Michael W.
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28 Responses to From the archives: The Great Smurf Height Debate

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  2. Tall enough to fit in Gargamel’s hand, duh!
    >.>

  3. Also of note is the fact that three apples is apparently a standard measure, as this is also the weight of Hello Kitty and her sister Mimi

  4. greg says:

    smurfs were not 3 apples high if they were how the hell do they fit in a mushroom when mushrooms are smaller than 1 apple

  5. Big Loser says:

    I’ve been wondering about the validity of the three apples tall claim for some time now. Earlier today I was watching an episode titled something like “Poets and Painters”. During this episode there are on or two scenes where a smurf is positioned right next to a solitary apple. The smurf was barely taller than this apple putting a generous guess at maybe 1.5 apples tall.

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  7. Thank you for having the time to discuss this issue. I truly appreciate it. Ill post a link of this entry in my site.

  8. Pushead111 says:

    CRAB APPLES PEOPLE… CRAB APPLES!!! Check out Wiki for all of your answers to lifes greatest mysteries!

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  12. I know things says:

    Not to busrt anyone’s bubbles, but they are suppossed to be three CRAB APPLES high. Crab apples are very small.

  13. Pictures of Hello Kitty…

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  14. Jennifer says:

    I saw a comment above stating the Smurfs are a German creation which is incorrect… They are the brainchild of BELGIAN writer and artist Peyo.

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  18. PowerPurlGirl says:

    “3 apples high” is a translation of a French saying that refers to something tiny. They were not literally 3 apples tall.

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