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Charlie Brown Therapy

What is it about Charlie Brown that is so therapeutic? The same episodes have been playing on TV since before I was even born, yet whenever one of the Peanuts TV shows starts playing  my heart skips a beat. Somehow I shrink back down to an eight year old and my mind empties of all my adult-world stress. Magically, I’m teleported back into my childhood where everything is pure, innocent and safe.

Watching the Peanuts TV specials as an adult, I’m immediately taken by the fact that a whole world could exist of children only. In the Peanuts cartoons, adults are reduced to invisible, unintelligible background noise. Perhaps it was because I grew up watching the Peanuts cartoons, but even to this day I still see most adults in this way – joyless robots who try to enforce their authority with sporadic droning and irritating whining.

Charlie, Lucy, Sally, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang have managed to develop their own sophisticated world of social rules and etiquette. Somehow this society of children exists successfully enough to teach us all the errors and ethical issues of our own cruel social behavior. With tact and subtlety, heavy philosophical issues such as religion and social acceptance are brought to light with fun and innocence. We see that these issues are not only found in the adult world – they can weigh just as heavily on the young. We can find our way through them with conscientiousness and honesty.

Everything about the Peanuts kids world is amazing. Beyond their sense of right and wrong, they are always open to learning from each other. They eventually see the error in their ways and make changes for the better.Even though Charlie Brown will always be a Charlie Brown, he is an old soul.  He will always be the heart of the Peanuts gang.

The Peanuts kids have also incorporated the feelings and actions of animals into their own little world. As with any well-loved pet, a dog personified becomes a playmate with adventures all his own. We even able to see things from the point of view of animals – that within our society there are other smaller societies complete with their own social roles, etiquette and sense of right, wrong and fantasy.

The music of The Peanuts cartoons is something I’ve always found just as magical as the stories themselves. The great pianist Vince Guaraldi has created a soundtrack that is uniquely 1960’s – uniting children’s stories with the easygoing coolness of West Coast Jazz. I am such a fan of Vince Guaraldi that I used to play his CD’s for my children when they were babies to help get them to sleep at night. I still listen to his music independently of the shows and have actually gone on to research more about  the West Coast Jazz movement of the time.

Now in my adulthood, it is comforting to know I can always recharge my ethical batteries by watching the same shows that taught me these lessons in my childhood. All too often, these lessons I so easily accepted in my younger years tend to be forgotten in my adult years of sporadic droning and irritating whining. Even listening to the music of Vince Guaraldi is enough to put me in a more peaceful mindset, leaving my brain open to wonder and magic and idealism.

I’ve been watching The Peanuts with my kids today. I’m happy to say that my family enjoys these timeless stories over and over again as much as I do. Even on DVD, year after year, we still hang on to the edge of our seats to see what will happen when Linus runs for election as class president. And we always believe that somewhere out there The Great Pumpkin does exist – and hope that someday Linus will finally get the proof he needs to show The Great Pumpkin to the world.

Thank you for this treasure you left to the world,  Charles M. Schulz.


About Fortyteen Candles

oh, let's see...distinguished Gen-X'er, frustrated writer, suffocating in the confines of a small town that thinks it's a big deal. A few years ago we were home to the second largest Walmart in our state, don-cha-know. Oh, and I was voted "Most New Wave" in my senior high school year book. Actually, that last sentence alone is really everything you need to know about me.

34 responses »

  1. I liked to watch “Peanuts” too, but it was always with a bit of a heavy heart. I felt so bad for Charlie Brown all the time!

  2. Funny how you say that Peanuts was a world of children only. True. I never noticed that until you pointed it out. Interesting what you see then and now.

    • Yeah, when I was a kid I was actually afraid of the adult world because of Peanuts! Adults were mysterious and scary….and had weird voices! LOL…Glad you liked the post. Thank you for your comments!

  3. Loved the post! So familiar, we love(d) Peanuts too!

  4. Like it or not Charlie Brown and friends are fictional, imaginary creations representing ideal personalities. As an adult, I tend to put people into just two categories, those I wish to be around & those I don’t. Give me a warm fuzzy kitten any day over the average self-centered, rude human being. I define my contact with the human race as a necessary evil, sort of like the need to vote in a presidential election. 🙂

  5. Love this. I had all of the books when I was little. So true.

  6. I always crack up when Snoopy fights with the lawn chair in the Thanksgiving special. Some things are just ‘feel good’ masterpieces; Peanuts specials are at the top (up there with Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, and others). 🙂

  7. “Peanuts” was and is so great – Snoopy was and still is my favorite – but they all great – Charlie, Sally, Linus, Woodstock and and and I could mentioning them al… 😉

  8. My favourite too 🙂

  9. Aw, thanks for reminding me how great these are! Must go indulge in a little nostalgia fest 🙂

  10. Charles Schulz did leave a legacy of smiles. From my understanding he was a delightful man. Although I lived in the same city as he for many years, we never did run into each other, go figure. Anyway, here’s the link to his museum set in Santa Rosa, CA. You can find his skating rink nearby as well.

    Sue Bock

  11. You just brought back some great memories – thanks for the smile today!
    One of my favorite moments is Linus doing that ‘speech’ at the end of the Christmas special when he’s standing there in the spotlight.

  12. Ah, Peanuts was great. But you know, adults WERE like that when I was little. We were out on our own, without “helicopter parents” — and life and stuff just happened to us. At the end of the day or during an emergency, we’d go home for dinner. And, if we were lucky, to watch Peanuts.

  13. Don’t laugh, but I have the Peanuts’ theme on my iPod. Yup. Love it THAT much.


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