Today I took my son to check out the Peanuts Movie. As a child, Peanuts was my favorite comic strip. I always enjoyed reading it both at home, and especially with my Nanny when my sister and I would spend the weekend with my Grandparents. It always made me giggle to see the exploits of Snoopy, the hi jinks of Lucy, and the forever best efforts that always fell just a little short of success for poor old Charlie Brown.
I also remember being able to mark the Holidays as they arrived with the Peanuts Holiday TV specials. Nothing better than to be entertained by ones’ favorite group of cartoon characters and yet still have important lessons reinforced. For those reasons, I am thankful that the Specials are still run on CBS. Network TV may be otherwise all but un-watchable trash, but somehow, the wholesome and important things still appear.
I still remember the last Peanuts’ strip, in which it’s creator, Charles Schulz penned a simple Retirement “Good Bye” note to the millions of fans who loved his creation. It was almost fitting that he passed before the final strip was published. It was sad, seeing such a beautiful thing come to an end, but that’s often the way it is with Life
I think while Snoopy was my favorite character, I always identified most closely with Charlie Brown. Growing up seemed tough for me…I was bullied a lot, criticized for my looks, and made fun of seemingly for no reason. Much like Charlie. So in some ways, I think I channeled his frustration, depression, and hopelessness at times. But, I’d like to think that recognizing his “Never Give Up” spirit and ability to keep going also helped to in some small way make me the strong person I am today.
In 2008, I became a Daddy. Because of human frailty and brokenness on the part of both myself and my ex-wife, my experience of Fatherhood has certainly been much different and less than I could’ve ever thought possible. But, every opportunity I’ve had to share the Peanuts Holiday Specials with my Son, I’ve done so. And not surprisingly, he’s really begun to enjoy Peanuts just as I did. So, when it was announced that the Peanuts Movie was being made and would be out this year, my heart was happy! I knew I had to take Tyler to see it. And today we did.
I will close with this: The Movie was Marvelously done, and did not depart from Charles Schultz’ tried and true formula. The actors who performed the voices were chosen perfectly, and there were plenty of Charlie Brown failures and Snoopy vs the Red Baron daydreams as I hoped for. But additionally: Charlie Brown finally gets some respect and love! It actually made me tear up in the last scene when ‘The Little Red-haired Girl’ chose Charlie Brown as a pen pal. When he asked her why, she told him essentially because of who you are and the good things you’ve done. What a fitting thing to put in the first feature-length Peanuts Movie!
So, no matter what the world serves to you, the important thing is Never give up and Always live by the things you know to be important.
I think Mr. Schultz would be proud! Atta Boy, Charlie Brown!