I love Peanuts. I was born the year A Charlie Brown Christmas was released. I adore the Charlie Brown specials. Well, I adore the old school ones. The newish ones with the different character voices and the more updated cartoons, I really do not relate to as much. There are a few sequels to the trifecta of Charlie Browndom, but they miss the mark, I believe. I hold A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving close to my heart. I will a l w a y s sit down and watch them when they are on.
I kind of cheated tonight when I saw that the program was offered on Apple TV. Usually I wait until it shows on one of the big networks, with the myriad of commercials and all. Wine breaks, as I like to call them. I was missing the sweetness of Ted Lasso and the wackiness of Mrs. Maisel, so I was flipping though the channels, looking for something that would bring me lightness and joy. There it was.. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. So I pressed "Watch".
It all starts with Charlie Brown being coerced into kicking that blessed football. You think by now Charlie B would know that Lucy is, well... a big liar. She never apologizes and continues to manipulate him. She clearly is a narcissist, but he is like 7 years old and takes the bait. She pulls the ball and he flies through the air (quiet impressively, really) and lands flat on his back. She then says something pithy, takes the ball and walks off... making him feel like it is completely his fault. Lucy is a gaslighter too, apparently. It’s a wonder that she and Linus are related.
Oops...sorry, y’all... I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. Can’t even watch a simple 1973 cartoon without my own Super Soul Sunday narration. But.. don’t you find it crazy that Marcie calls Peppermint Patty “Sir” and she never corrects her?! I do dig Peppermint Patty’s Birkenstocks though. I also find it interesting that she invites herself over for Thanksgiving dinner... and then invites 2 more friends...then complains about the meal. 1973 was very forgiving to kids who have no supervision and zero manners. The coolest of the cool is Snoopy, who effortlessly prepares a last minute meal with color, originality and flair. He is also completely confident that everyone will be thrilled with his presentation. We have a beautiful table in the backyard, with Chip & Joanna mis-matched chairs, fine china and a lovely white table cloth. I think he and Woodstock had approximately 15 minutes to do everything, including butter the toast. It is a kid’s dream feast and Peppermint Patty complains about not having any gravy & potatoes.
Well of course after Peppermint Patty complains, Charlie Brown feels like a failure again. He feels bad for not only being bulldozed into hosting a 7 year old’s view of Thanksgiving, but he also feels like he failed his mission to create anything that actually works out in life. We know people like this, right? Thanks to Linus, who always has the right thing to say, the evening is not a complete loss. He has depth beyond his years. I think he is 6. Dude man has a blanket, but he has a head and a heart full of great wisdom too.
The day is also saved by the mumbling grandma on the telephone, who invites the whole tribe of misfits to her house for a “real” Thanksgiving dinner. They all pile into the back of the station wagon (no seatbelts) and sing their way to her condo. It’s a brilliant story with only a little bit of violence, only a tiny bit of flirtation and a whole lotta hope.
The underdog wins. It’s a subtle win, but alas, a win. Snoopy and his faithful partner, Woodstock, end up having a fabulous feast of real turkey and some kind of colorful baubles that are placed artfully on the silver platter. Even at 8 years old, I wondered what it must have felt like for Woodstock to eat turkey. Still do. Oh well, I must suspend my curiosity and just let it be what it is.
Why do we watch Charlie Brown every year? Because we believe. We believe in good. We believe in kindness. We believe that ultimately love prevails. We believe that Vince Guaraldi was born to accompany those iconic cartoons & scenes and we believe that despite being served jellybeans, the deliciousness is in the company and not what is on the table.
Happy Thanksgiving. kids. Call me if you would like to invite yourself over. Bring 2 friends.