"The Smurfs Springtime Special" was a cartoon special that aired during Season 1 of the Smurfs cartoon show.
It is springtime in the Smurf Forest, and as the snow is melting and the animals are coming out of hibernation, the Smurfs are busy clearing out the snow in the village while Brainy is busy giving directions. This irritates the Smurfs who are busy busting their tails doing the hard work to the point where they splatter Brainy with a lot of snowballs, turning him into a snow Smurf, and Jokey adds the final touch of humiliation by giving him one of his "surprises". Papa Smurf tells his little Smurfs that they need to get the snow cleared in time for the annual Easter Festival. He visits Tailor's shop, where Smurfette and Grouchy are being fitted for their Easter bunny costumes. Smurfette asks Papa Smurf if the costumes look cute, and Papa Smurf pinches Grouchy's cheek and says that they look very cute, to which Grouchy simply says, "I hate cute".
While Papa Smurf steps out to take in spring and say that it's his favorite time of year, Gargamel steps out of his hovel and complains that he loathes this time of year, not just because of the sunshine, the new flowers, and the animals that come out of hibernation, but also because of the Smurfs. Already he could hear them giggling away nearby, enjoying the change of season, and Gargamel commands them in vain to stop their happiness. He says that for years he has tried every trick in the book to destroy them, only for his plans to fail. He tells Azrael that he has no choice but to seek help from Balthazar, a man whose name fills the evil wizard's heart with dread upon mentioning. Nevertheless, eager to seek an end to all the Smurfs' happiness along with their lives, Gargamel and his cat set off toward the place where Balthazar lives, telling the Smurfs to enjoy their happiness while they can because he will have the last laugh.
Meanwhile, Brainy and Clumsy are out in the forest looking for eggs. Clumsy finds one under a rock, but Brainy tells his friend that he can't find eggs under a rock, so he puts the rock back down on the egg and squashes it. They visit a chicken farm, where they are sure to find eggs, but as Clumsy is eager to get his hands on one, Brainy quickly pulls him into the safety of the shrubbery before the dog guarding the chickens gets a hold of Clumsy. Brainy has an idea of how to get past the guard dog, and so after gathering a handful of feathers, he and Clumsy disguise themselves as chickens in order to gain access to the hen house. But soon after they come out with their eggs, Clumsy sees that Brainy is losing his feathers and tries to warn his friend. Brainy is too confident to listen to his friend's advice, and then they both are charged at by the dog and the rooster. In their attempt to flee, Brainy and Clumsy bump into each other and have their eggs over easy on a half-shell before leaving. Fortunately, Clumsy finds a big egg laying by itself by the lakeside and alerts Brainy to its presence, which he then discovers and claims that he knew was there all along.
Gargamel soon finds Balthazar's castle, a foreboding fortress with a hellish orange glow that makes both he and his cat rather fearful. Still, Gargamel bravely walks across the drawbridge to its entrance, not noticing that a serpent has emerged from the castle's moat until he is banging on the door and feels green slime dripping on his head. The door opens long enough for Gargamel to dart inside, safe for the moment, but then one by one various types of traps spring up. Gargamel quickly races his way past them, calling out for Balthazar, until he falls through a trap door to land before the feet of an evil man who happens to be Gargamel's godfather. He pleads for Balthazar's mercy and audience, and when he gets it, he stammers in his asking how he could catch Smurfs. Balthazar mocks at Gargamel's request, saying the only place he could find Smurfs is in a book of fairy tales. In the same book he reads, he says that six Smurfs are needed for turning lead into gold, and that the only way to capture Smurfs is to get Mother Nature to freeze them out of their village. Balthazar has heard enough of what he thinks is Gargamel's madness and bids his godson to begone. However, Gargamel has taken Balthazar's book of fairy tales without his notice and kisses it after safely leaving with it, singing his evil song as he is preparing to use the book for capturing the Smurfs.
Back in the village, as the Smurfs are busy painting up Easter eggs, the egg that Brainy, Clumsy, and Smurfette are painting together starts to crack and move. Brainy thinks Clumsy purposely made the egg crack, but then he sees the egg crack more, spilling a bucket of painting on his head. From within the egg, the head of a duckling emerges, and the Smurfs see that it's a baby duck that's hatched. Smurfette sees how cute the baby duck is and tries to catch its fall as it takes its first steps. Papa Smurf tells Smurfette that the baby duck thinks she's its mother, and Smurfette embraces the duckling dearly.
Out in the forest, Gargamel is carrying Balthazar's book, calling out for Mother Nature. The animals in the forest communicate with each other as they sense Gargamel has evil intentions, and soon an owl flies off to the beautiful house of Mother Nature, who awakens from her bed to get ready for the first day of spring. The owl warns Mother Nature of a visitor coming, but then a knock on the door interrupts the owl, causing it to fly off as she goes to answer the door. Gargamel appears at the door, claiming to have traveled a great distance to honor her with a bouquet. Mother Nature notices something isn't right about the flowers in the bouquet, but Gargamel gets her to smell them, and soon after she smells them, she feels herself rather faint. Gargamel tells Mother Nature that she's now under his power. Mother Nature warns him that he will upset the balance of nature, but she suddenly drops, and Gargamel chuckles as he drags Mother Nature into the house, saying he has nipped spring in the bud. He says that Papa Smurf will soon come to look for Mother Nature, and he himself will be waiting.
Suddenly the weather changes, and what was once a nice spring day soon turns cold and wintry as ice forms in Farmer's watering can and a strong wind splats Greedy's face with a cake placed on the windowsill. Papa Smurf sees that something isn't right and calls all his little Smurfs together for an emergency meeting. He says that it's the worst blizzard that he's ever seen in 543 years, so they must take immediate action. He tells Handy to get him a ladder that's tall enough to reach the lower branches of the Great Oak Tree, and commands Hefty, Clumsy, Brainy, and Vanity to give assistance. He then tells Smurfette, Jokey, Tailor, Farmer, and Grouchy to gather what little food they have left from the storehouse before muttering to himself that they may be in for a long winter.
As the spring snowstorm continues, the Smurfs set up camp inside the Great Oak, bringing all their stores inside a hole in the tree in addition to a stove to keep them warm. The wind, however, blows out the fire in the stove, leaving them with no heat. Smurfette wonders what they're going to do now, and Papa Smurf says the only one who can set things right is Mother Nature. As the Smurfs approach Mother Nature's house, Balthazar notices both the change in the weather and the book of fairy tales being gone. He begins to wonder why Gargamel would steal such a worthless book before realizing that there may be some truth to his godson's claims.
Papa Smurf and his little Smurfs cautiously enter Mother Nature's house with the village leader calling out to her when a net scoops up most of them except for Papa Smurf. It is Gargamel waiting in hiding for the Smurfs to show up, and now he has Azrael chase after Papa Smurf, telling the cat not to let him get away. Gargamel tells his captive Smurfs that soon he's going to make gold out of them so that he will be rich, and that they will be no more. Meanwhile, Azrael chases Papa Smurf across the snowy forest, but around the bend the village leader finds a very big friend in the form of a moose to scare the cat off with. Papa Smurf thanks the moose and then leaps back onto the ground to head for the village.
Gargamel is carrying the sleeping Mother Nature slung across his shoulders when he calls for Azrael and gets no response before heading off to his hovel, eager to turn six Smurfs into gold. In the village, the remaining Smurfs are busy digging through the big deep pile of snow when Papa Smurf arrives and tells them that Gargamel has captured six months and abducted Mother Nature. He says that if they don't free Mother Nature, the whole forest will remain frozen forever. This riles up the rest of the Smurfs that they are ready to head for Gargamel's castle en masse. The baby duck wants to go with the Smurfs to rescue their companions, but Smurfette adamantly refuses and tells the duckling to stay, which he does, finding himself saddened.
When the Smurfs get to Gargamel's castle, they could hear the evil wizard snoring and muttering in his sleep. Papa Smurf checks to make sure Gargamel is asleep, then calls for Harmony, Handy, and Greedy to leap up to the door handle and pull the chain. As the door opens, the Smurfs creep stealthily inside, with Papa Smurf telling Vanity to guard the door. They soon see the captured Smurfs and tell them they will get them out, but as the Smurfs file away at the cage bars to break the captives loose, Vanity sees in a reflection Azrael peering through the door and shuts it in the cat's face. Papa Smurf and a few others try to revive Mother Nature, all the while dealing with Azrael's attempts to wake up his master by scratching at the window shutters. But then the cat gets in through the chimney after the captured Smurfs are broken out and they all scatter, A few Smurfs lead Azrael into a closet where they trap the cat, but still Gargamel doesn't awaken from his sleep. Papa Smurf then tells his little Smurfs to wait outside while he tries to awaken Mother Nature.
As the Smurfs watch and wait fearfully while Papa Smurf mixes up an antidote to awaken Mother Nature, Smurfette sees the baby duck approaching to join them from the village. But then they also see another human approaching the hovel on a sleigh. It is Balthazar, who appears in a very angry mood, demanding to know where Gargamel has taken his book and where are the Smurfs. Gargamel tries to hide what he knows until he sees that the Smurfs are gone from the cage. He bangs his fist on the table in frustration, but as he does, Papa Smurf pops into view from behind a flash. Balthazar sees the Smurf and is now convinced that they are real, but Papa Smurf isn't interested in staying to satisfy the evil lord's curiosity. Balthazar tells his godson to stay out of his way while he produces a musket from within a case he was carrying.
The Smurfs cheer and encourage Papa Smurf to keep coming as he tries to ascend the snowy hill where they are waiting at the top, but soon he slips and starts to slide down. Smurfette and the baby duck slide down to help Papa Smurf ascend the hill when Balthazar fires his "magic wand of the future", which strikes his target. The Smurfs watch in fear as the blast knocks both Papa Smurf and the baby duck on their backs. Papa Smurf arises and says that he is all right, but the baby duck doesn't appear to be lucky. While Smurfette mourns for the loss of her young charge, Balthazar reloads his weapon and tells the Smurfs on the hill to surrender six Smurfs unto him or else they will pay dearly. The Smurfs respond by attacking Balthazar and Gargamel with snowballs and charge straight toward them. Balthazar is ready to aim his musket again when they see that the Smurfs brought the "cavalry" with them...a pack of large animals who charge down with the Smurfs to deal with the evil wizards and sends Balthazar fleeing for his life while Gargamel hides in his closet with Azrael.
With Gargamel, Azrael and Balthazar safely out of the way, Papa Smurf uses the completed antidote on Mother Nature and she awakens. She is soon apprised of the situation at hand, and she remembers that Gargamel came to her with blood roses in order to put her to sleep. She makes the door to the closet vanish so that he can be given a just punishment: a growing flowering vine that entangles both Gargamel and his cat. She also turns the book of fairy tales into a yellow rose, and when she sees Smurfette holding the seemingly lifeless baby duck in her hands, Mother Nature also causes him to come back to life, which gives the Smurfs another reason to cheer.
Later on, as spring fills the forest, the Easter Festival is underway with the Smurfs dancing to the music of the village orchestra, Greedy ready to have a feast, and Smurfette and Grouchy joined by the baby duck with one of his wings in a sling. Mother Nature appears and thanks Papa Smurf for everything, saying that he's lucky she isn't a few thousand years younger before she gives him a kiss on his hat. Jokey shows up with one of his "surprises" for Mother Nature, which she gladly receives but magically alters so that it produces a big bouquet of flowers that she is happy to "receive". Grouchy stops his dancing and says "I hate happy endings", but then the baby duck also stops dancing and gives Grouchy a kiss, which makes him reciprocate in kind before they both laugh together.
- Lord Balthazar and Mother Nature made their first appearances in this special. They would appear in the cartoon show itself in the following seasons.
- Years later in 2014, a Smurfs live on stage performance was shown, and the story is based on this special.
- This is one of the mainstream media Smurf stories that invoke the Exposed To The Elements trope mentioned on TV Tropes, as the Smurfs hardly wear anything heavier than a scarf to protect themselves from the wintry weather.
- In international countries, this special was part of a theatrical compilation film, "Here Are the Smurfs", made around 1983 and 1984. The other episodes included were "The Smurf's Apprentice", "The Astro Smurf", "The Hundredth Smurf", and "Smurphony In 'C'", and featured Papa Smurf (through voice-over) narrating the stories in-between said episodes.
- Warner Home Video released the special on the Smurfs Season 1 Volume 1 collection for North America.
- Fabulous Films released the special on The Smurfs: The Complete First Season and The Smurfs: The Smurfs Springtime Special collection for the United Kingdom.
- Magna Home Entertainment released the special on Smurfs: Volume 6 , Smurfs: Complete Season 1 and Smurfs: Specials Collection for Australia and New Zealand.
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the German version of the special on Die Schlumpfe: Die Komplette Erste Staffel DVD set for Germany.