Saturday, August 6, 2016

They Were....the Izzys!

Hi there! A few years ago, I wrote the following as a post on Facebook. It all started because someone posted a random pic of some figurines from the 1996 Summer Olympics of that year's mascot, Izzy. Since the Summer Olympics for 2016 have begun, I thought I would dig this old thing out of storage and post it here for your enjoyment. 

Or torment. You know, whatever works.


In 1996, 4 outcasts from the mythical community of Smurfs set out to Atlanta GA with little more than dreams in their back pockets and a desire to find their place in the world. At home, derided as mere "Smurf-Mutants", they were dismal failures. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, they improbably found amazing success. But at what price? They were...The Izzys and this is their story.

Smurfton was the go-getter of The Izzys, always on the run, looking for the better deal, the next score. It was Smurfton who got the gig for he and his buddies to be mascots for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. And so The Izzys were born. But Smurfton's ambitions were greater than his business acumen and the contract he negotiated did not leave the quartet financially secure when the Olympics were over. But Smurfton felt his foot was in the door and greater things were to come. But greater things did not come. Smurfton could not hold The Izzys together so he continued to look for opportunities to make a name for himself. Sadly, all he could find was the occasional job at used car lot grand openings. Tragically, in 2005, Smurftron was found dead in alley behind a nightclub in Phoenix AZ.

Smurfkin was with The Izzys to be with his friends. But all he really wanted to do was play basketball and make a good living at it. After the Olympics, Smurfkin landed a spot with the Charlotte Hornets where he led the team in scoring and rebounding. But while his skills were amazing, his career was sadly short lived. In 2002, at a Nickelback concert in Cleveland, a chance encounter with a drunken California Raisin ended in violence and gun shots. The injury ended Smurfkin's hoop dreams....forever. From there, he descended in a downward spiral of depression and an addiction to pain killers. However, in 2007 after a chance encounter with evangelist Rick Warren at a 7-11 in Modesto CA, Smurfkin found a renewed sense of faith and purpose in life. Today, Smurfkin is married to a former Miss Teen USA, has two kids and works as a graphics designer for Dreamworks Animation where he helped create Megamind.

Smurfish was very happy at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. It was there that Smurfish found the love of his life: Gracie the Horse. After The Izzys broke up, Smurfish decided he wanted nothing more than to go home, marry Gracie and start a family. However, not only were the attitudes of the other Smurfs unchanged regarding Smurfish's so-called "mutant appearance", they were vehemently opposed to Smurf/Horse marriage. Once again, Smurfish was forced to leave the Smurf village, vowing never to return. He and Gracie settled down in Vermont where attitudes towards Smurf/Horse relationships are more flexible. In Montpelier, Smurfish works as a life insurance agent and teaches impressionist painting at a local community college.

Smurfbo was the bad boy of The Izzys. He was frequently found partying in the Atlanta club scene. An alleged sexual encounter with Russian gymnast Lilia Podkopayeva almost led to his expulsion from the games and from The Izzys. After the games, Smurbo rechristened himself DJ Smurfy Smurf and scored a top 200 hip hop record, "Papa Smurf Just Don't Understand", a perky family friendly rap featuring percussion by Sheila E. However, a follow up rap, "I'm Gonna **** Smurfette Like a *****" was a PR disaster with accusations that DJ Smurfy Smurf was a misogynist. Dropping the DJ Smurfy Smurf persona, Smurfbo worked odd jobs in construction; much of his pay went to alcohol. After a drunk driving incident that left his companion, a female M&M, with a cracked shell, Smurfbo went to AA and has stayed sober ever since. Meanwhile, while on a Los Angeles construction job in 2009, Craig Thomas, co-creator of How I Met Your Mother, recognized the former Izzy and gave him a cameo on the show where Smurfbo shared a scene with Neil Patrick Harris. Oscar winning film maker James Cameron saw this appearance and cast Smurfbo in his new project with Viacom's Nick Jr channel, "L'il Avatar".

The Izzys. Their time together, their moment of fame at the 1996 Olympics was brief. And sadly, a reunion of the surviving Izzys is not likely to happen. "I talk to the boys once in while," said Smurfbo. "Good times, yeah but a lot of pain. Yeah, a lot of pain. We've moved on. Too bad Smurfton couldn't. I almost joined him at the morgue. But we're good now. Yeah, it's all good."


And that is the bittersweet story of the Izzys. It's a lesson for us all, I think. A lesson for us all.

That's that for today's post. Thanks for popping by and remember to be good to one another.

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