The wonderful world of Peanuts, created by Charles M. Schultz. It was a staple of so many people's lives, and still serves as a mirror to understanding the world... of stereotypes.
The rich tapestry of angst and failure that is Peanuts stretches well over fifty years, starting in 1950, and going strong until exactly one day after the death of the creator in 2000. Many characters span the history of the strip and there are far too many people to list here. The main list of characters consist of people and archetypes that many can relate to, and they fully represent a demographic of kids so screwed up, reality shows have wet dreams trying to fabricate their brand of dysfunction.
The face of failure... poor schmuck.
The balding, stripe wearing, never do well star of our story. Just another example of how fuck-ups will inevitably do better than everyone else in life, and oddly enough, a life of shame and pain can be transformed beautifully into a multibillion dollar industry of soulless exploitative riches. Charlie Brown fails at everything. He has a little league team that never wins. He can't fly a kite. He persists in every endeavor and remains optimistic when failure is his only result. I have to give it up for the guy. He continues to struggle when one week of his pressure would have remote controlled a shotgun between my lips. He masochistically gains his most valued advice from the principle cause of his misery and he lives vicariously through the successes of his dog, who succeeds at everything. Charlie Brown is the American faliure and dream in one flavorful sundae. Charlie Brown teaches us:
We'll spare you a picture of the dog that is everywhere. Have to say, Snoopy is awesome. Awesome in the same way that that one guy from high school is who went on to succeed in everything he did. Snoopy is the guy who takes up drawing to try it out and winds up painting the Sistine Chapel with a toothpick tipped in paint in three hours, holding the toothpick in his ass. Snoopy has held virtully every job imaginble, and has always been the world's greatest at it. He is the consumate overachiever. He has been a World War One flying Ace, an author, a hockey player, a cashier, and the ward of a socially inept ex-Hippie. The biggest shock of Snoopy is that he is the product of a Puppy Mill. That's right, Snoopy was raised at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. Take that liberals. Your beloved Hallmark mascot is the product of selective breeding. And he would probably do your job seven times better than you. Snoopy teaches us:
Snoopy's slightly challenged friend who is clearly no statement against the hippie drug culture. He speaks in hash marks (get it) and is always confusing Snoopy with rants and statements he cannot possibly fathom the significance of. He is kind of like that friend you have that works third shift stocking because talking to anyone brings instant pictures of shotguns and blood to mind. He has more conspiracy theories than a college coffee shop and late night Art Bell. Woodstock teaches us nothing cause drugs rule.
Charlie Brown's younger sister. She has a serious infatuation with Linus, Charlie's best friend which has Sally Jesse written all over it. She calls him her sweet Baboo, which is the real world inspiration for the rap moniker Boo. Sally is the supportive girlfriend which will work out years from now, when Linus is an out of work philosophy major who researches the Great Pumpkin and "just needs the world to see what he's tallking about" in between puffs of grass grown in the basement. She'll go on and on to her mother in between stressed out drags off a cigarette about "if you only know him, and he'll make it some day." Kind of like educated white trash love.
Patricia "Peppermint Patty" Reichardt:
Lesbians love sports and wearing sandals. Plus they're not very good at math. The tomboyish, sexually ambiguous friend of Charlie Brown. Her team is his rival, and her "friend" Marcie and she love tormenting Charlie with vague references of their attraction to him. But alas, the hot girls that want you are the ones you can never get. They are the early versions of the hot teases you will meet in college. The friends who love telling you all about their sex lives, while you are sitting with a hard-on that could cut diamonds.
Lucille "Lucy" van Pelt :
Ah, the cruel mistress. The dominatrix of football induced pain. Lucy is the closeted version of Peppermint Patty. She is the Twinkie filled with the cream of "get real." She tells it like it is, and some take her to be a symbol of feminine strength. Well, if feminism is yelling your point over and over until someone agrees with you just to shut you up, then, well, okay, on point Mr. Schultz. Lucy displays a cruelty within the world of Peanuts that extends mainly to men. She is clearly the Rizzo of the ladies and she loves calling out the errors of Charlie and Linus, whilke repeatedly giving Charlie lower back trauma. Lucy teaches us:
Linus van Pelt:
The philosopher who inspires people to go into counseling as a business. Seriously, this kid is going to wind up paying for 75% of the condos in Florida. Not to mention the fact that his security blanket raises a bevy of issues. One, he clearly represents those assholes that hold quote after quote in a reservoir to let you know you don't know shit. Two, the blanket fetish this kid is going to carry makes Law and Order: SVU look like Candyland. You can't deny that one day in their thirties Sally is going to find Linus in the closet with no pants on, choked by his blanket while he's wearing a Great Pumpkin under-roo shirt. Linus clearly is the intellectual leader of the group. You have to wonder about what kid is that deep that young. What did he possibly walk in on that would make him that depressing? I've read Sartre with more uplift. Linus is what happens when you spend too much time drinking coffee with Goth kids.
The piano virtuoso. Schroeder is clealy a tortured musical soul, like the guy from Shine, just younger and in love with Beethoven. Lucy is in love with Schroeder, who has no interest at all. Unfortunately, Schroeder will wind up in a shitty cover band, annoyed that he has to sing Piano Man because it was his parent's favorite song when he first sang it when he was three. Schroeder is the oldest of the group and takes his music seriously. He will guaranteed be the friend you have who is more proud of his music than of his own well being. He'll spend all of his money for original recordings and rare concert bootlegs, all the time preaching to you about how you need to listen to this or that.
The clearly submissive "friend" of Peppermint Patty. She is the Velma of the group. She has a thing for Charlie Brown and is confused. She refers to PP as "Sir" and CB as "Charles." This girl has a neck primed for a well made personalized collar.
The African-American character of the group and notable for a number of reasons. One, he was entered into the cast during the civil rights movement while segregation was widely active, and his father was a soldier in the Vietnam War. This makes him a vibrant political statement and clearly he pre-dated Affirmative Action by about twenty years. He paved the way for Token characters everywhere.
A filthy mess of a human being that reflects the lack of human services during the sixties, and it bears the question of where was Children and Youth when this one was about. Or the CDC. Pigpen still is a dignified character and has extreme self pride in who he is. Truly this is a reflection of American's abiity to completely shit themselves out of reality. "You're dirty!" "I am fully clothed in the dust of the ages." Amazing.
Little Red-Haired Girl:
The shadowy nefarious figure who instruments for the complete dessimation of all of Charlie Brown's hopes and dreams. Either that, or a situation before law enforcement understood the importance of stalking legislation. Seriously, every boy knows what CB feels when this one is drudged out. I thought CB should have worn long sleeves, it would have covered up the razor script written LRHG on both arms. He has to have an inflatable doll with a shoddy red wig. She represents fantasy in all its voyeuristic glory.
The first instance I ever saw of someone completely self-absorbed with their own appearance. Her pride in her "naturally curly hair" screams of an ealy twenties obsession with botox, boob jobs, and later on, multiple visits to the therapist. Sessions spent screaming, "Am I pretty now!!!" into a stuffed representation of her alcoholic stepfather. Is that too dark for Peanuts?
The Great Pumpkin:
Someone you never actually see, but a reprsentation of childhood fantasy and how we love the things from our youth and look upon them with an almost enraged fervor. How things seem real, and then they die as we grow old, remaining in our mental closets as ever dimming embers. It is like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, all in that glorious moment where you're told the people you imagined are fake. The illusions start young, and they never stop. Now that's dark.