Charlie Brown Christmas Specials

You know when you should be watching something but all you want to do is watch Peanuts Christmas Specials? It’s getting to the time of year when Christmas specials are abundant – people try to tell me that Love, Actually is a bad film, but I still love it – and it’s a great time. When I was little I have memories of watching Yogi Bear, but I remember nothing about the plot. I’m sure Yogi said “pic-a-nic basket”. I know I saw some Peanuts cartoons when I was little, but I have a similar lack of memory, so I was delighted to learn that there are three Peanuts Christmas specials on Stan. I just did a search for Yogi Bear, and he has two Christmas specials available as well. It truly is a wonderful time of year.

I was sitting with my family on Friday night, wondering what to watch because the ratings season is over in Australia, so the television landscape is a little bit like the Nullabor. So, I went to my laptop to check what was new on streaming – one of the many advantages of Stan over Netflix is that they have a page of their new additions in reverse chronological order – and lo and behold there were two Christmas specials: I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown and Charlie Brown’s Christmas TalesMy parents have more of a history with Peanuts than I do, and they were also delighted to learn that they were available, so we watched I Want a Dog for Christmas.

What I learned watching I Want a Dog for Christmas is a lot of things: I knew that Lucy was the mean one, that Linus and Sally were often grouped together, and that Snoopy was Charlie’s dog. I had no idea that Sally was Charlie’s younger sister and that Linus and Lucy were related or even that they had a younger brother named Rerun. Rerun is the central focus of I Want a Dog for Christmas, as he wants a dog, but his mum won’t let him get one. He asks Charlie if he can play with Snoopy, but that’s not really up to Charlie. It’s funny, the dialogue is quick, and the relationships between the characters are well-defined.

The most accurate term for any of these Christmas specials is “delightful,” followed closely by “charming.” This afternoon I watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales (My favourite part was when Woodstock was riding the toy bicycle), and then learned that It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown was also available. This special was released in 1992, when Charles Schulz was still alive, whereas the other two were released in 2002 and 2003. Given the length of time it takes to produce animated shows, it’s possible that Schulz was involved, but given that It’s Christmastime Again was my favourite of the three specials, his involvement would have been minimal at best. This one involves more of the characters, adding Peppermint Patty and Marcie, but also loses a Rerun, who is probably my favourite character. I love that “disconnected” characters were all involved in the Christmas play, which became a slapstick comedy once Peppermint Patty really embraced the idea of becoming a sheep. Sally also mucked up her line, but the best part is that Harold Angel is a real person. That’s the best punchline of them all.

Other thoughts:

  • I love that Charlie is the only one who knows that Snoopy is Santa.
  • Charlie sold all of his comic books to buy a pair of gloves for Peggy Jean, which were $25. In today’s money that would be $42.56 – I just want to say that Charlie Brown gives good gifts.
  • “Santa came but he didn’t bring you anything.” “…” “APRIL FOOLS!”

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