Sunday, November 27, 2011

Charmingly Offbeat or Some Creepy Shit?

First of all, thanks and praise to Honest Betsy, who likes my post titles and gave me this (which has nothing to do with the post title, which is meant to be attached to the rest of what the post is about - crap, I sense I'm in danger of having my award revoked):



Get it? Because the word titler has 'tit' in it? Also, we're both breastfeeding advocates - and what says 'breastfeeding advocate' like cleavage in an animal-print bra?

Second of all, it was American Thanksgiving recently, and there were two Charlie Brown Thanksgiving specials on, which I PVRed, because hey, Charlie Brown. Tonight Eve asked if the three of us could have supper on TV trays (actually she asked if we could have lunch on lunch little tables, but if I said that none of you would know what the hell I was talking about, so I paraphrased) and watch Happiness is a Warm Blanket. I happily agreed because we usually let them watch tv while eating on Sunday, I like it when there's something

At least, I always have loved Charlie Brown. I loved him when I was a kid. I loved him when I was a teen-ager. I loved him when I was a childless adult. I loved him when I was an adult with little children. And now that I'm an adult with older children.... well, I still kind of love it, but I notice things I didn't really used to notice. Granted, I think we can all agree that the totality of Charles M. Schulz's oeuvre demonstrates that he was not exactly a happy and well-adjusted man.
Happiness is a Warm Blanket is a lesser-viewed program (if you haven't seen it, it's about an impending visit from Lucy and Linus's grandmother, who, Lucy reports, has vowed to break him of his blanket habit or 'cut it into a million little pieces'. Lucy decides she will 'help' him break the habit before the grandmother gets there. I haven't watched any of the other ones through these newly critical eyes, but to name just a few of the things that make viewing this with my kids slightly fraught:

1. Lucy is a real bitch. Well, okay, I guess I always knew that, but good LORD she's a bitch. She keeps saying she's going to "break (Linus) of this stupid habit". In our house, stupid is a word that is NOT to be used lightly, and while she's not actually calling Linus stupid, the implication is clear.

2. That Violet chick is a real bitch too. The weird thing is, her only function seems to BE bitchiness. Lucy at least gets a few good one-liners in, but all Violet does is walk up to Charlie Brown and say something bitchy about how loserish he is, or walk up to PigPen and say something bitchy about how dirty he is or walk up to Linus and etc. etc.

3. The Charlie Brown crowd is weirdly obsessive about boy-girl relationships. Lucy always draped over Schroeder's piano. Sally always chasing Linus calling him Sweet Baboo. Peppermint Patty lusting after Charlie Brown - what the hell? Is it because there are no parents around and they're trying to recreate some kind of nuclear family model?

4. Schroeder clearly needs some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder meds. All he ever does is play the piano - it's not natural. Oh wait - maybe he has a Tiger Mom.

5. What kind of mother lets a grandmother threaten her kid like that? Oh right, the kind that ISN'T EVER THERE.

I just did a little more research, and the script for this show was actually written by Schulz's son and someone else after Schulz's death. Still, a lot of these issues are in all of the shows, and the comic strips as well.

I'm not saying this means I'll stop watching Charlie Brown, or not let my kids watch it. In some ways it's a refreshing change from some of the early-childhood-educator-approved treacle that's made these days. It's just funny how you see things differently at different stages of your life.

But man, Charlie Brown was a frigging saint for not bitch-slapping Lucy.

4 comments:

Mary Lynn said...

The tiger mom bit made me snort. It is weird about the absence of parents...maybe they're off having martinis with Max & Ruby's parents.

StephLove said...

The Halloween one is pretty brutal, too. But the part I love best (now that I'm a mom) is when Lucy gets up in the middle of the night to fetch Linus from the pumpkin patch and puts him to bed. Because under it all, she really does love him. Or that's how I choose to read it.

Kelly Quinones Miller said...

I noticed the same thing re: Lucy. Someone didn't raise her right.

(Disregard that my husband called me Lucy three times after we watched it with the family this year. Heifer.)

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

I was never a massive fan of Peanuts but as a parent, I think I like them less than ever. You're right about Lucy, and Violet, and most of the girls - they're all huge bitches. I like Mary Lynn's assessment. Where are the parents in these shows?