Smurfs Up: 10 Things From Our Childhood Hollywood Hasn’t Ruined Yet

We’re still dazed and confused by the fact that the first Smurfs movie was such a success, they needed to churn out a sequel just two years later. For those of us who grew up on these three-apples tall Saturday morning cartoon characters, it’s Alvin and the Chipmunks all over again. If it isn’t a giant movie remake, it’s the scandalous life of the former child stars besmirching our precious memories. What beloved things from our childhood hasn’t Hollywood ruined yet? Actually, we came up with a list. Read on only if you aren’t a studio exec looking for an unoriginal idea to steal.

[Photos: NBC, Hasbro, Nickelodeon, Penguin, PBS]
1. The Cosby Show

Remember when sitcoms about African-American families didn’t have to exist only on cable? Bill Cosby’s obstetrician Cliff Huxtable, Phylicia Rashad’s lawyer Clair and their five kids were appointment viewing in homes of all races. Come to think of it, if someone wants to bring back this kind of quality — FUNNY — show, we will welcome it. In the meantime, you can watch reruns on TV Land.

2. The Secret World of Alex Mack
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_6u-8usFbM
From 1994-1998, we followed the adventures of Alex (Larisa Oleynik) a regular girl who becomes very irregular when she’s accidentally drenched in a top-secret chemical. She can turn into Terminator-style metallic liquid, and zap or levitate objects, among other inconveniently unpredictable skills. We are especially grateful to see Oleynik grow up into a respectable TV actress (currently with small roles on Mad Men and Pretty Little Liars) rather than the kind of mess that’s ruined other Nickelodeon shows for us.

3. Clarissa Explains It All

Even back in 1991, we knew that seeing a smart, pretty, fashionable but totally independent heroine on TV was something rare and important for us. When Clarissa addressed the camera, she was like our favorite teen feminist blogger before there were blogs. After the show ended in 1994, Melissa Joan Hart went on to the slightly less fun Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but we’re still very happy that she’s grown up to be a totally normal mom and actress (now on Melissa and Joey). Meanwhile, we’ll let this show live in a happy ’90s time capsule — no updates necessary.

[Photo: Nickelodeon]

4. Mr. Snuffleupagus

Mitt Romney temporarily ruined Big Bird for us last year, and accused child molester Kevin Clash has forever made Tickle Me Elmo sound dirty, but there’s one character who maintains a childlike wonder in the world, despite the “Mr.” title: Mr. Snuffleupagus. Some of us old folks remember when everyone thought he was just Big Bird’s imaginary friend. The big-eyed, furry elephant-y muppet is out in the open now, but no less cute. If we ever hear of hanky panky going on under that costume, Sesame Street is dead to us for real.

5. The Magic Finger

Broadway, you can have Matilda. Hollywood, good job with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach and Danny the Champion of the World. But there is no way you’re making Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger — the story of a girl whose justifiable anger gives her the power to, say, turn a family of hunters into people with wings instead of arms — into anything better than what’s in my imagination.

6. A Wrinkle in Time

OK, so there was a Disney Channel movie based on Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 novel made back in 2003, but that doesn’t count as ruination yet. Disney currently has plans for a big-screen adaptation of the story, about 14-year-old Meg, her 5-year-old brother Charles and her friend Calvin, who travel through space and time to save her father from a giant evil brain. We think this still goes under the category of concepts that work better in our imagination than in CGI.

[Photos: PBS, Penguin USA, Square Fish]

7. Jem and the Holograms

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