|Can't Smurf Progress|
|Original title||On ne Schtroumpfe pas le Prorgres|
|Story||Thierry Culliford, Philippe Delzenne|
|Artwork||Ludo Borecki, Pascal Garray|
|Publisher||Le Lombard (original French version)|
Papercutz (English version)
|Year of publication||2002 (original French version)|
2017 (English version)
"Can't Smurf Progress" (original French title On ne Schtroumpfe pas le Progrès, "You Don't Smurf Progress") is a comic book story that was created and published in 2002 by Studio Peyo. It is mostly currently available in non-English comic book formats, and has been published in English by Papercutz on June 6, 2017 with one additional story, "Brainy Smurf's Walk" from Smurfs: The Village Behind The Wall.
During Papa Smurf's absence, the Smurfs are making the annual reparations to their houses. Brainy Smurf lectures Lazy Smurf about his refusal to work until Clumsy Smurf accidentally leaves his hammer fall (and break) on Brainy Smurf's head. Clumsy Smurf offers to repair Lazy Smurf's house if Lazy Smurf goes to Handy Smurf's house to ask for a new hammer. Lazy Smurf refuses but goes to Handy Smurf's house after the hammer anyways. When Lazy Smurf arrives, he is almost run over by the new mechanical toys Handy Smurf made for Snappy Smurfling and Sassette. The toys give Lazy Smurf an idea, and he asks Handy Smurf to make him an invention. In the meantime, he gets the hammer for Clumsy Smurf, but it's so heavy that he has to carry it on a wheeled plank, whick causes the mockery of the other Smurfs.
The next day, Handy Smurf gives Lazy Smurf a vehicle to transport him. He uses it to help Carpenter Smurf and Miller Smurf to transport their heavy cargoes, while he causes disaster by crashing on Baker Smurf's bakery twice.
Impressed by the invention, Baker Smurf, Carpenter Smurf and Miller Smurf go to Handy Smurf's house to ask him for vehicles of their own. During the following days, they also ask him for machines that make their labors easier: Miller Smurf gets a machine that puts the wheat inside the mill and makes the flour come out already bagged, Baker Smurf gets a bread-making machine, and Carpenter Smurf gets a machine that converts logs into furniture. After other Smurf finds the three Smurfs resting and they tell him about the machines, the word is soon spread and every Smurf asks Handy Smurf for a machine.
One morning, Greedy Smurf thinks that there's still one machine lacking: one to serve breakfast. Then he remembers Clockwork Smurf and goes to Handy Smurf's house, but Handy Smurf tells him that Clockwork Smurf is unavailable. However, this gives an idea to Handy Smurf.
Farmer Smurf, sick of all this obsession with machines, leaves the Smurf Village.
Handy Smurf shows his new invention: wooden robotic servants that soon begin to do everything for the Smurfs, like fishing, hanging Smurfette's laundry while she sunbathes, even playing ball for two Smurfs until they declare they are "fatigued".
With time, the Smurfs get more demanding. During dinner, they say glasses have fingerprints, the food is too hot, and so on, even though they enjoy dinner at the end.
Grouchy Smurf has a robot bringing him juice, but every time he says he hates some particular juice, until the robot gets a breakdown and Handy Smurf has to repair it.
Greedy Smurf and Smurfette go on a picnic, but Smurfette has to get a shower first, so she has a robot-shower and another robot who chases Greedy Smurf due to trying to see Smurfette naked. When Smurfette finishes, Greedy Smurf has eaten all the food of the picnic.
There's also a robot who plays music to (and hears music from) Harmony Smurf, a robot who has to listen Brainy Smurf's quotations, a robot who cooks for Cook Smurf, a robot who paints for Painter Smurf and possibly others. The most notorious one is a waste disposal robot who "eats" the trash.
Papa Smurf returns to the village, finds about the robots and that the Smurfs rest all day. He begins lecturing the Smurfs about this, but then the Smurfs begin to attend him and leave him in his lab, that has been cleaned by the robots. Papa Smurf decides not to disapprove the robots.
Later, Papa Smurf is about to dispose of hazardous chemicals from his lab, when a Smurf calls him for an urgent matter, so he asks a robot to dispose of the chemicals after it finishes what it's doing. However, while Papa Smurf is away and the robot hasn't finished yet, the waste disposal robot mistakes the chemicals for trash and "eats" them. The chemicals make the robot to gain sentience, so he tries to rebel against servitude under the Smurfs. That night, the waste disposal robot reprograms the other robots into following him.
In the morning, the robots imprison all the Smurfs, and when Papa Smurf tries to escape, he is found and sent to a prison in the forest. The Smurfs are then ordered to serve the robots and build a palace for the waste disposal robot, now renamed King Trash I (roi Ordure Ier). Smurfs believe their job is done after finishing the palace, but King Trash declares they will serve the robots now. At day, Smurfs clean the palace, and at night, they are jailed in their own houses.
Farmer Smurf, who had left the village when the machines became a trend, gets homesick and returns to the village, but before he gets there, he finds a tree stump that has been made into a cell for Papa Smurf and finds out what happened. Farmer Smurf uses a hollow log to disguise himself as a robot, and he finds King Trash ordering Handy Smurf to build him a queen. The disguised Farmer Smurf pretends to escort Handy Smurf to his workshop, but reveals his identity when both are alone and then they go free Papa Smurf.
Farmer Smurf makes himself to be followed by the robot who is guarding Papa Smurf, to make it fall in a trap made by Handy Smurf. The cell door is closed, but it crumbles due to termites. Since Papa Smurf's lab was destroyed by the robots so an antidote cannot be made for the formula that gave King Trash sentience. Farmer Smurf comes with the alternate idea of using the termites against the robots. The problem is how to get them close to the robots, but Handy Smurf has an idea.
Two days later, Handy Smurf gives king Trash the queen he asked for. However, she's full of termites and soon crumbles. Then the termites go after the other robots. King Trash tries to escape by the front door, where the Smurfs are waiting him, so he uses a secret exit he had in the palace, but the Smurfs, knowing it, had put Carpenter Smurf's machine there, so Handy Smurf activates it and king Trash becomes wooden tools and furniture.
Days later, Handy Smurf and Hefty Smurf talk about how good is to return to healthy phisical activity, and they all were saved by the termites. However, when Handy Smurf tries to work, his hammer's handle breaks, and he can just think "smurfed beasts" while ladders, doors, etc, crumble due to the termites.
- The story is similar in theme to various Smurf stories that appear in the cartoon show where Handy's automated machines create more problems than they solve. One particular case is "Waste Not, Smurf Not", where an automated harvesting machine and food processing complex causes the Smurfs to become wasteful with their food.
- Clockwork Smurf is mentioned and appears in Greedy Smurf's thought balloon, but he doesn't appear in the story itself.
- Despite Papa Smurf accepting the robot servants after his return, it's implied that he doesn't behave as lazy and demanding as the other Smurfs, and still does the most part of his own job.
- King Trash's expulsion of bricks through his rear hatch is an example of a rather nasty stealth pun.