“Rats. Nobody sent me a Christmas card today. I almost wish there weren’t a holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasise it…”
As I’m not American, I am only vaguely aware of Charlie Brown. I know he is drawn by Charles M. Schultz, I know that he has a dog called Snoopy that perches atop his kennel and I know that his name sounds like a slang term for at least three class A drugs. Up until watching A Charlie Brown Christmas that was about it for my knowledge of the iconic cartoon series.
Having now watched 25 minutes of Charlie Brown I have surmised several things as follows: This show pretty much consists of every other character laughing at Charlie Brown for how much of a stupid goddamn dickhead he is being all the damn time. I can’t recall any actual quotes but the general response whenever Brown tries to interact with another character is gee whizz, not this guy again, fuck you Charlie Brown! Followed by the whole cast dancing for a really long time to celebrate.
Snoopy is probably the most iconic character from Peanuts but it is difficult to see why based on this, as he basically just prances around being a jackass and getting in the way. Meanwhile, the misanthropic Charlie Brown becomes more and more disillusioned by the commercialisation of Christmas and the fact that everyone hates him, leading to a heart-warming conclusion that features Litmus, the one with the blanket, reading a verse from the good old Gospel of Luke to placate him. I’m not a particularly religious person but it is actually quite refreshing to see some kind of religious involvement with Christmas as, you know, that’s what the whole damn thing is supposed to be about. The animated short ends with all the characters standing round a Christmas tree singing carols but this cliché finale feels more earned than in countless other festive films I have endured over the past few years.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is pretty unheard of in this country, but it is a cultural phenomenon in North America and it is easy to see why. It is weird and archaic and quaint, all things that we don’t get enough of at Christmas time.