No One Welcomes The Holidays Like The Peanuts Gang
My first word in English was disgusting. If someone gave me a quarter, I thanked him or her by saying, “disgusting.” Should I need to use the bathroom, I’d ask by saying, “disgusting?” And when I got into a fight at the playground, I screamed, “disgusting!” As an adult, I still haven’t the faintest idea why disgusting was so enticing, fun to say and well… magical.
Then I started to put words together. And my first phrase was, “good grief!” With my hand on my forehead I said, “good grief!” when my mother called me for breakfast. I resigned myself to the task of getting my father his newspaper from the living room with a “good grief!” And just before tucking into our dinner I prayed, “Good grief. Thank you for this food.” The Peanuts Gang was everything.
To this day, the only cartoon character I know how to draw is Snoopy, and that’s from sitting at my desk tracing the loveable dog for hours on end. Now as a pre-school teacher, not only are my students extremely impressed by my artistic talents, I feel no qualms about showing a Charlie Brown Special every now and then. From The Great Pumpkin in October to Be My Valentine Charlie Brown in February and everything in between, my class enjoys seeing their Peanut friends, quirks and all. And by the way, it’s not just us. The latest Peanuts movie grossed $246.2 million.
It took some time for me to fully embrace my undeniable devotion to Charles Schulz’s characters. It was never just childish antics that attracted me; I had a deeper appreciation that is still intact. The first Charlie Brown special aired on November 20th, 1973 on CBS. To this day, it’s still going strong on ABC. I believe authenticity and smart dialogue has kept the Peanuts Gang relevant. Now associated with Thanksgiving and other holidays for more than fifty years, the show never assumes that its viewers are too young or immature to fully grasp its humor mixed in with a nice dose of hale and hearty lessons. As Schulz’ widow, Jeannie, once said on NPR, Peanut specials focuses on “our commercialism” of the holidays. “And it points that out with humor so we can laugh at them — laugh at ourselves.”
I still laugh when Snoopy enters a holiday light and display contest for the cold hard cash and Charlie Brown moans, “My own dog, gone commercial. I can’t stand it.” And my heart still stings with understanding when he tells Linus, “I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”
I think we’ve all been there, Charlie Brown.
By Claudia Chung for Shine