Tag Archives: Cartoon

The Devil is the Smurfs

Background: The informant was raised east of Los Angeles by a mother who was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness and was very active in the church. The informant was and is not religious herself, and her father was not a member of the church either. This was told to me in person.

Informant: I wasn’t allowed to watch the Smurfs as a child because my mom said they were demonic… but I don’t know if that’s folklore, that’s just my childhood.

Thoughts: I’d never heard of anything like this before, but I feel that anything that is viewed as demonic even though it isn’t specifically stated to be is very interesting to me. Looking into it, it also appears that this wasn’t just isolated to my informant and her mother. I found a book called Turmoil in the Toybox, written by Phil Phillips, who claims that many childhood books, shows, and toys have a satanic and demonic presence that are supposed to “program and influence the minds of our children towards the occult and witchcraft.” The show The Smurfs was included in this book, being branded as “undead corpses,” as they are “blue with black lips,” and the Lake Hamilton Bible Camp spreads the notion that children who have Smurf toys are more likely to be attacked by vampires. For more, there is a brief excerpt of the originally 90-minute long video interview between Phil Phillips, and Pastor Gary Greenwald included in this article:

Emmett, Neil. “‘Turmoil in the Toy Box’ Revisited.” Cartoon Brew, 23 Oct. 2013, https://www.cartoonbrew.com/ideas-commentary/turmoil-in-the-toy-box-revisited-90147.html.

The Language of Ubbi Dubbi

Informant Info: The informant is an 18-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri. She is currently a freshman studying Public Policy at USC.

Interview Transcript:

Interviewer: From all of our previous interactions, I know you have a habit of a funky little language. Can you tell me more about it?


Interviewee: The language is called ubbi dubbi, and it originated on a show called Zoom, which is a PBS kids show. All you need to do is put ub in front of every vowel when speaking. We started speaking it in middle school and then in high school everyone seemed to be super into it. It got bad enough that at a certain point that teachers had to put “No phones, no calculators, and no ubbi dubbi” on tests because kids would cheat through it. But yeah, I still like to make memes with it or I’ll just randomly speak it for fun to throw people off.



You must love the good old forms of variation and multiplicity. This collection is an example of how popular media can influence folklore, particularly through kids. The language was a silly piece of a kids show, yet the humorous sounds inspired the informant to make a hobby out of speaking it.  I’ll give her credit… it’s harder than it seems to speak it successfully. But, nonetheless, it shows popular media being taken and morphed into an actual language.