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"You're Hopeless, Charlie Brown:" Celebrating the Holidays With The Peanuts Gang

A_Charlie_Brown_Christmas "I'm depressed. I'm depressed. I'm depressed. Everything I touch gets ruined." Those words can only mean one thing: last night, I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas with my kids for the first time ever. Let the good times roll.

What my kids saw: children playing in snowfall.

What I saw: a desperately lonely, profoundly depressed young boy seeking some reason not to give up all hope.

What my kids saw: a Christmas play with music and dancing.

What I saw: a landscape devoid of adult influence, where children run free and lawless a la Lord of the Flies. "Linus sharpened a stick at both ends."

What my kids saw: a doghouse covered with colorful balls and twinkling lights, filling the winter air with sparkle and shine.

What I saw: Charles Schultz railing against the transformation of American culture from the simple pleasures of yesteryear to the empty glories of the age of instant gratification.

What my kids saw: a boy carrying his blue blanket with him, everywhere he goes.

What I saw: a child clinging to the only thing in this world that can offer him hope and comfort.

What my kids saw: "Can you be a sheep?" "Baaa." "Can you be a cow?" "Moooooo." "How about a penguin?" [Snoopy waddles around like a penguin.]

What I saw: A boy peers in to an empty mailbox. "I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?" His eyes are huge, infinitely deep, aching for love.

What my kids saw: Charlie Brown being offered a chance to belong - at last! - through an opportunity to direct the Christmas play.

What I saw: Charlie Brown being ignored by his peers, then openly mocked, then finally crushed with the easy, violent cruelty of the cool kids.

Violet: Boy, are you stupid, Charlie Brown.
Patty: What kind of a tree is that?
Lucy Van Pelt: You were supposed to get a *good* tree. Can't you even tell a good tree from a poor tree?
Violet: I told you he'd goof it up. He isn't the kind you can depend on to do anything right.
Patty: You're hopeless, Charlie Brown.
Frieda: Completely hopeless.

What my kids saw: A poor, weak little tree made glorious and beautiful by the love of children.

What I saw: Redemption is wonderful. And temporary.

What my kids saw: A timeless holiday classic, accompanied by what may be the most beautiful musical soundtrack ever created.

What I saw: An opportunity for enhancement...

. . . . .
TwoBusy is both holly and jolly.

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i love it and own it myself (no kids!). but charlie brown is a cruel reflection on society. and it hurts.


I don't really enjoy this special. Wonder why?


The other night during Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer I felt compelled to say, "Santa is not being very nice is he? No! Would you ever not play with someone because of how he looked? That is mean and unfair!" Charlie Brown's message is almost light and airy.

Deb Rox

Dammit, what was I going to say, I got disoriented by the Dooce/Suave ad and didn't know where I was for a second.

Charlie Brown--all of the children are neurotic and unwell, especially Charlie. I always wondered if the whole cartoon was an extended illustration of a ditch weed paranoia attack.


Next year, it might be better if the kids watched alone? Or maybe you should watch it with ear plugs?


I bought this in the three disc set last year from Costco and my two girls (8 and 3) have been watching it at the appropriate seasons. We watched this episode for the first time this week and I was shocked by how depressing it is! I know that Schulz battled depression his entire life and it really shows here. I did talk to my girls about "inappropriate language" and empathy to how Charlie B. must be feeling. I'm so glad I watched it with them because it is not as child friendly as I remembered.

I know sometimes kid shows can be over thought by angsty adults but I don't think we are overreacting here.


@mouthy broad - I agree. Despite the fact that it's tremendously depressing, it's such a deep-set cultural reference point for me that I still enjoy it.

@BaltimoreGal - Not an unreasonable reaction.

@Xdm - Santa's a fucking fascist in Rudolph. As is Donner... he's like the dad in Dead Poet's Society who drives his "I want to be an actor" son to suicide.


@Deb Rox - The Suave ad has that affect on some people. It's like a mild concussion.

@Issa - But then they would be robbed of my valuable insight.

@funda62 - Agreed on all points. And just as Xdm used Rudolph as a teaching moment - "See how Santa's being a dick? Don't do that." - we can use the cool kids' abuse of Charlie Brown as another example of how not to interact with peers.


Please don't watch "It's a Wonderful Life". I couldn't bear it.


Way back in the days of three channels, I watched this one Christmas. I was about 6. I got up, told my mom that if I was Charlie Brown, I would lock myself in my room until I starved to death and she forbade me to ever watch it again. I still haven't broken her rule.


We watch Charlie Brown shows a lot at my house. I'm forever wondering at what point the poor guy will finally commit suicide.

Good thing there is Linus to keep things happy!


All the Charlie Brown specials are twisted. Oddly enough the always cheer me up because I think well hell my life isn't and never was as bad as Chuck's. BTW, who the hell has rocks set aside for the kid with the weird costume?

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