|Credit: Silver Arena|
I had the
The movie is pretty silly and harmless overall, but there is one scene in particular that really got to me.
In the scene, the main human characters are having a birthday party for their son, Blue. (BLUE? Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays loved the Smurfs so much in the first movie that they named their son 'BLUE'? I mean.)
Anyway, it's Blue's birthday, and we see the presentation of the cake. NPH makes sure the parents all know that the cake is vegan, gluten-free, organic, BPA free, and that the baker had never touched a peanut, much to the obvious joy of the parents of a child with a peanut allergy. Later in the scene, the child who is allergic takes a bite of a corn dog fried in peanut oil given to him by someone who doesn't know about his allergy. Watching the parents' horrified response to their son's (unseen) allergic reaction was hard to watch, especially because I have a son with a food allergy. There isn't a direct or obvious joke about the kid with the allergy, though. Somehow, the Smurfs managed to be a little more subtle than one would expect. Instead of mocking the allergy itself or the kid, the movie mocks the grown-ups.
What I really hate is the way parents of food allergic kids are being portrayed in this
When Lottie was in preschool in Lexington, we met A, a girl in her class. I was lucky enough to become friends with A's mom, E. A is allergic to peanuts, as well as other foods, and E is a wonderfully proactive, caring mom. Even with all of the precautions E has taken, A ended up in the ER due to anaphylaxis from peanuts. I cannot imagine how E must have felt watching her daughter struggle to breathe, and I can't imagine how frightened A must have been. This past Saturday, a 13-year-old girl named Natalie Giorgi died after taking ONE bite of a Rice Krispie treat. Natalie didn't know that the dessert contained peanut butter. As soon as she tasted the peanut butter, she spit it out, but it was too late. Her mother gave her Benadryl, but twenty minutes later, Natalie went into anaphylactic shock. Her physician father administered three EpiPens in an attempt to help her, but she stopped breathing. Natalie died due to laryngeal edema which is a fancy way of saying that her throat swelled shut and prevented her from breathing.
Natalie isn't the only person who has died from an allergic reaction this year, and horribly, she won't be the last unless people start realizing that food allergies are genuine and on the rise. I don't expect people to cater to my kid, but I do expect people to be honest about food ingredients and preparation. (And, really, shouldn't we ALL want that, food allergies or not?)
I'm disappointed that Sony chose to keep a scene in the movie that teeters on the edge of mocking kids with food allergies and jumps all the way off the cliff mocking the parents of those children. We're all just doing the best we can, you know?
( Before you shake your heads and wonder why I'm writing about the food allergy issue yet again, go back and re-read the part about Natalie Giorgi. Then go to the Food Allergy Research and Education page for more eye-opening information about food allergies.)