Some Not Particularly Organized Thoughts on A Charlie Brown Christmas

Ah.  So I did have a blog and it wasn’t all some strange dream (the inn in Vermont has proven not to be true, however, sadly).  Time to get back on my feet (once again), then.

A Charlie Brown Christmas aired this week.  Although I didn’t catch it, I’ve seen it a time or (twenty) two, so I feel free to comment on it.  Like Woodstock, this special is kind of an odd bird.  I can’t think of any other Christmas special which makes reference to the fact that Christmas is (originally at least) a religious holiday.  This one quotes from the King James Bible at length.  And you know what kids love even more than theology?  Cool Jazz.

But seriously, it must have been easy enough to slide in the jazz soundtrack (which, don’t get me wrong, is brilliant), considering Schulz and director Mendelson already did everything else wrong.  Charlie Brown isn’t excited about Christmas.  Instead he seems to be dealing with some Seasonal Affective Disorder.  And the thing is, he’s kind of right.  In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, not being thrilled about the holidays is a symptom of villainy.  People have accused Schulz of being melancholic or bitter, but one of the great humanizing elements of the Peanuts strip is its insistence that everyone feels lousy sometimes and that’s alright.

The original airing was sponsored by Coca Cola (who actually are the ones who contacted Mendelson about doing a Peanuts Christmas special).  So Schulz and Mendelson gave them a weirdo Christmas special about the winter blues and the commercialization of everything.  Most future airings removed a piece of footage.  Ever wonder where Linus ends up when Snoopy grabs his blanket and sends him flying across the frozen pond in the opening scene?  Linus ends up crashing into a Coca Cola billboard, breaking it in two (I can’t for the life of me find a clip or picture anywhere online, so you’ll just have to trust me) and smashing Schulz’s corporate financiers. And that ended up not even being the last laugh.   Coke got an anti-commercial commercial and Schulz created a special no one thought they wanted that everyone still watches.

I suppose I should come to some conclusion, here, but I just don’t know what to think.  To simplify the matter, I’ll ask:  how should I feel about wanting to buy a replica Charlie Brown tree?


Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment