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Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?
December 14, 2006 6:55 AM   Subscribe

The Lonely Tree: The Story of a Charlie Brown Christmas (via largehearted boy)
posted by sleepy pete (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Great piece, even if the last paragraph made me a little nauseous. Thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:09 AM on December 14, 2006

Good stuff. Thanks for the link.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:14 AM on December 14, 2006

Of all the Charlie Browns in the World, You’re the Charlie Browniest.

Those Peanuts kids could be really nasty towards each other.
posted by three blind mice at 7:17 AM on December 14, 2006

NPR: Behind Guaraldi's Timeless Holiday Soundtrack
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:34 AM on December 14, 2006

this is good.
posted by chunking express at 8:47 AM on December 14, 2006

This is very good. I remember a SNL TV Funhouse episode where Jesus came down to watch TV over the holidays. He changes channels, surfing through bogus renditions of carols and ads that worshiped the almighty dollar. He then saw Linus quoting Luke, a big smile on his face and he starts dancing like one of the Peanuts kids. It was the greatest thing I've ever seen on Funhouse ever. Happy Holidays indeed.
posted by wheelieman at 9:07 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

They had an new Charlie Brown animated cartoon on a few weeks back, "He's a Bully, Charlie Brown." Interesting to compare how completely different from "Charlie Brown Christmas" in feel, philosophy, etc., this newer Mendelson/Melendez stuff is.
posted by blucevalo at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2006

This is The Best Of The Web.

Amazing that even then there was consternation that the topics and themes weren't appropriate for television, and yet it made it onto network TV. Today, I think it would get dumped on the Hallmark Channel and only watched by the evangelical crowd.

Those Peanuts kids could be really nasty towards each other.

Charlie Brown was Schulz playing out his low self-esteem and personal feelings of inadequacy in comic strip form.
posted by dw at 9:32 AM on December 14, 2006

Great post. Thanks.

And thanks for the Guaraldi link, Armitage. "Linus and Lucy" ranks very high on my all-time Top 40. Such a gentle and pretty way to prime kids for an appreciation of jazz.
posted by gompa at 9:43 AM on December 14, 2006

I have a small, really old "Charlie Brown" fake christmas tree, given to me, according to my Mom, on my first birthday by my grandmother, who got it when she was a child. It is made of wire and cardboard, with weird plastic "needles" (that may actually be bakelite). It's the cutest, most pathetic thing you've ever seen, barely more than a wire frame these days, and I set it up every year. I string it with lights and a few handmade wooden ornaments I found at a yard sale. Everyone loves it and inevitably says, "Awwww, a Charlie Brown tree!"

Good stuff.
posted by elendil71 at 9:56 AM on December 14, 2006

Awesome post. Lots of good memories. Thanks!
posted by The Deej at 10:01 AM on December 14, 2006

wheelieman: it's on youtube
posted by Stynxno at 10:43 AM on December 14, 2006

Am I the only one this drek causes discreet anguish, as I consciously fend off the artificed good feelings and sentiment?

Thankfully, however, the anti-meme, alternate version has been posted on youtube, also.
posted by mongonikol at 11:27 AM on December 14, 2006

I once stumbled across, on tha intarwebs, a great essay on the making of this program, that really went into detail on the obstacles it faced and, rarely discussed, the role CBS president Dr. Frank Stanton played in rescuing the show from oblivion. Sadly, I've not been able to find that article for some time.
posted by evilcolonel at 12:18 PM on December 14, 2006

Am I the only one this drek causes discreet anguish, as I consciously fend off the artificed good feelings and sentiment?

It's not "good feelings and sentiment" here. It's heartbreak and loss and zero self-esteem. It's choosing sides on the playground and picking the scrawny, nerdy kid first. It's an anti-establishment, anti-materialism message in the midst of a season that only exists now to prop up the global economy with wasteful and useless spending.

This ain't no Rudolph or Frosty here and jolly souls and Rankin-Bass amusement. Schulz rips his heart out and shows it to you in all its bloody glory. You may vomit profusely over the Bible reading, but you know what? What Schulz is saying here is that this is a season about the last being first, not about whining that you're not getting your way.

And in the end, there's no redemption, really, for Charlie Brown. He's still a blockhead, trapped forever in the Promethean quest to kick that football, forever branded as a blockhead.

Honestly, if you're getting "good feelings and sentiment" out of it, then you're missing the whole point.
posted by dw at 2:26 PM on December 14, 2006 [5 favorites]

Well said, dw.
posted by melissa may at 2:42 PM on December 14, 2006

dw takes the words out of my mouth, wrings them of snark and allusion, and gets to the point. Thanks.
posted by sleepy pete at 4:43 PM on December 14, 2006

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