How did Janine get the name ‘Smurf’ in Animal Kingdom?

How did Janine get the name ‘Smurf’ in Animal Kingdom?

Janine Smurf Cody is one of the notable characters in the crime-drama Animal Kingdom. The matriarch of the Cody family runs all the criminal activities such as heists, money laundering, and more. But how did such as devious and ruthless character get the name Smurf?

Isaiah, one of Janine’s mother’s boyfriends, named her Smurf because she liked to swim and turned blue if she stayed in the water for too long. This refers to the blue cartoons popularized in the 1980s.

The story behind the name in the TV series is pretty brief but has multiple layers. We see the story unfold in the flashback, as we see the life of young Janine unfold.

Isaiah was her mother’s boyfriend, who fled after a car accident, leaving Janine alone. We also see how she grows up and chooses a life of crime. In the present time, Janine finding Isaiah is also one of the subplots of the show.

After what he did to her mother, she wants revenge. So, she hunts them down, and almost ironically, he’s running a car dealership. When the two come face to face, he tells her why he named her that.

How did Janine get the name ‘Smurf’ in Animal Kingdom?
Smurf | Source: IMDb

This is a direct reference to the cartoon called The Smurfs, which came out in 1981. This resulted in timeline confusion and possible inaccuracy. In 1981, Janine was not a child and had grown up a bit. This means that Isaiah couldn’t have been familiar with the characters when she was young.

However, these blue human-like creatures first appeared in 1958 in a comic called Les Schtroumpfs. Giving the writers the benefit of the doubt, I’d say Isaiah was familiar with the comics. However, there’s no evidence to support that.

This origin story for the name seems insignificant but has another layer to it. In the world of crime, smurfing is a money laundering technique where one divides and structures a large amount into smaller transactions.

How did Janine get the name ‘Smurf’ in Animal Kingdom?
Smurf | Source: IMDb

In a way, Janine’s nickname foreshadowed her destiny as the head of a crime family. The show doesn’t delve too deep into what money laundering techniques smurf uses, but there’s definitely a possible connection.

Season 6 of Animal Kingdom is nearing its end. The final episode will air on 28th August 2022. Don’t miss it.

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About Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is an American drama television series developed by Jonathan Lisco. It is based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name directed by David Michôd, who is executive producer for the series, alongside Liz Watts, who also produced the 2010 film.

The series follows a 17-year-old boy, who, after the death of his mother, moves in with his estranged relatives, the Codys, a criminal family clan governed by the matriarch Smurf.

The crime drama stars Ellen Barkin, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, Finn Cole, Danielle Alonso, Molly Gordon, and Denis Leary. Season 6 will be the final season of the show.