Earlier this year, there was a massive online outrage over the purchase of the Peanuts specials by Apple. I didn’t follow it too closely, so I think that people assumed this meant that the specials would no longer be shown on TV, and the collective internet freaked the heck out.
But then Apple confirmed that the specials would still be on TV, and the galaxy was at peace once again.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is the only Peanuts special I’ve ever felt compelled to purchase on physical media. Possibly because it’s the only one I would watch annually on TV as a kid. I’m pretty sure I stopped watching it once I outgrew YTV, and that it was completely purged from my mind at that point, because when I started watching it again in recent years, it felt like I was watching it for the first time again.
You probably know the special – it’s about Charlie Brown becoming disillusioned by the commercialization of Christmas, and trying to find ways to properly get himself in the holiday spirit. It’s a little preachy, and I think that every holiday special that came after would project the same general message. By the time 1970 rolled around, “the true meaning of Christmas” would be a dead horse, beaten year-after-year by every holiday episode and special ever made. Or at least that’s my perception of it.
The funny thing is, I don’t know how much I actually like this special. I watch it because it’s tradition, but I don’t really get a whole lot out of it. There aren’t any especially funny scenes, nothing that really makes me feel particularly strongly in any way, not quotes that I feel compelled to parrot out at every opportunity. Mostly I just spend a lot of time thinking about how much time they pad with that same shot of all the kids dancing in the auditorium.
If I had to make a recommendation… Maybe watch It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown, which is the 1990 special. It’s not incredible either, but at least it’s got some jokes. It also has a lot of Peppermint Patty and Marcie, who are my favourite duo of the Peanuts gang.