Well, A Charlie Brown Christmas was on ABC last night. My wife and I decided to give it a watch, for nostalgia's sake. We sat through about half of it.
Conclusion? This show sucks!
I know people like it, but other than the aforementioned nostalgia, why in the hell is or was this ever a popular and/or beloved television special? We found it to be boring and depressing. So I'm afraid I will have to label this a The Emperor Wears No Clothes situation.
Let's break this down, analytical style:
This is me after watching Charlie Brown's Crappy Christmas Special.
1) The theme song, Christmas Time is Here, sounds like a funeral dirge. A funeral dirge. I'm sorry. It's terrible. Little dead zombie children intoning, "CHRISTmastiiiiiiiiime is heeeeeeeeeere, HAPPineeeeeeeeesssssss and cheeeeeeeeer." Very convincing, Peanuts gang. Now please don't eat my brains.
2) Here's what someone wrote about the special on IMDB (as part of a favorable review, no less): "Charlie Brown tries to find the real spirit and message of Christmas...He gets the chance to be the director of a Christmas-play and slowly he discovers what he wanted to know." Emphasis here on "slowly." Slooooooowwwwwwwly. It's like the producers turned in the show at 30 minutes, and the network said "we just cancelled The Joey Bishop Show - we need another half an hour!" It's too long by 50 percent, at least.
Do you think that tree branch would support my dangling body long enough for my neck to snap?
3) Everyone in the Peanuts gang hates everyone else. They are just constantly hating on each other - Lucy hates Linus, Peppermint Patty hates Lucy, Frieda hates Pigpen, everyone hates Charlie Brown, and so on. Here are some interesting articles from Time magazine about this. Everyone always says the comics and shows have "an unsentimental humor," or "they make childhood alienation funny."
Well - no they don't! It's just depressing and tedious. Two movies have ever made me cry - E.T. and A Boy Named Charlie Brown, where he gets to the national Spelling Bee finals but loses when he can't spell "beagle," thus causing everyone to hate him even more than they already did. How is this funny? Please explain the wry humor to me so I can one day explain it to my traumatized children. Because apparently, we have to show all this Charlie Brown stuff to children, or else we're communists or something.
Oh my God, Charlie Brown. This is the worst tree ever. Why are you such a loser? I hate you SO MUCH!!!!
4) The ending, where Linus does his famous Bible recitation of Jesus' birth, in a way that's supposed to bring it all home for us, and remind us in this hustly-bustly life just what Christmas is all about. And of course, Linus busts out his very best dreary monotone for the occasion. I would tell you how it all turned out, but I fell asleep - after taking that many sleeping pills, who wouldn't have?
My point here is that the Charlie Brown Christmas special is boring, drudgerous, and depressing. So why is it a holiday classic? We should replace Charlie Brown with another, more deserving Christmas special. Might I suggest A Garfield Christmas (which is truly funny), the visually impressive and creative A Claymation Christmas Celebration, or the legitimately awesome and emotional Muppet production Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. Any or all of these are highly superior to Charlie's Crappy Christmas and could easily replace him in the nation's holiday lexicon (errr, excuse me, holiday "canon." Some uppity wordsmith seems to have corrected me). Buy hey - hey - that's just me. Good day to you.