Monday, February 15, 2016

A Charlie Brown Valentine

Premiered February 14, 2002.

Valentine's Day is approaching and Charlie Brown can't get his mind off one of his classmates known only as "the little red-haired girl."  He wants to ask her to go to the Valentine's Day dance, but is too shy to talk to her.  Chuck goes through all sorts of dramatic methods just to get her to notice him.

He "winks" at the little red-haired girl, which gets him sent to the school nurse when his teacher thinks something is wrong with his eye.  Chuck thinks walking around the room will get him noticed. Unfortunately, this leads to his shirt getting caught in the pencil sharpener.

Linus suggests that Charlie Brown should just get her phone number, call her up and invite her to the dance.  He calls the wrong number and winds up accidentally asks Peppermint Patty to the dance.

At the same time, Charlie Brown's sister Sally is trying to find a way get Linus' no avail.

Linus reminds Sally that he's not her "Sweet Baboo!"
And Lucy is pestering Schroeder as usual.

Plus, Snoopy tries to break into the Valentine card-writing business.

Snoopy also tries to help Chuck practice what he will say to the little red-haired girl. 
Can Charlie Brown summon up the courage to talk to little red-haired girl?  Will the Valentine Dance be a disaster for everyone?

Will Sally get a Valentine from her Sweet Baboo?

J.A. Morris says:

This is one of the first Charlie Brown specials produced after the death of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.  When he died, the creative team relied on plots from comic strips (and to a lesser extent, earlier animated specials) to create stories for new specials.  So it's not surprising that A Charlie Brown Valentine feels more like a series of vignettes than a cohesive story.  But it's fun to watch Chuck, Sally and the gang fret over Valentine's Day once again.

Charlie Brown's efforts to gain the attention of the little red-haired girl are all pretty funny.  We feel sorry for Chuck most of the time, he's often his own worst enemy.  However, he's relate-able, since most of us have been overcome by shyness at some time or another.

Some of the best scenes from Peanuts specials involve the interaction of Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty, and A Charlie Brown Valentine is no exception.  Adding Marcie to the mix makes it even more fun.  We get a funny scene where Marcie asks Chuck if he likes her, all he can say is "do I what?," much to Marcie's consternation.  Unlike Peppermint Patty, Marcie is able to articulate her feelings for Charlie Brown, even if doesn't accomplish anything.

Charlie Brown waits for Valentines to arrive.
Linus seems pretty mean in this special.  When he overhears Sally talking about what he'll give her for Valentine's Day, he says the only thing she'll receive from him is "a big zero."  On the hand, Linus has never encouraged Sally's crush, so his somewhat cruel behavior isn't surprising.

Eudora makes a brief cameo.
As some of you know, I run another blog dedicated to Charlie Brown specials.  I always find it interesting when specials feature obscure Peanuts characters.  Eudora, who appeared in 1970s and 80s comic strips makes a brief appearance here, accompanying Sally on her quest for Valentine presents.

Snoopy's attempts at writing Valentine cards are all pretty funny too.  He types up expressions of love such as "your eyes are like two supper dishes."  Very romantic if you're a beagle.

For the soundtrack, this special features new recordings of various Vince Guaraldi tunes.  This makes A Charlie Brown Valentine feel like an "old school" Peanuts special, even though it was produced in 2002.

Some trivia:the phrase "little red-haired girl" is spoken 27 times in this 22 minute special!

This special has been released twice on DVD and is usually re-run around Valentine's Day on ABC.

Linus, Chuck and Snoopy, dressed up for the big dance.
A Charlie Brown Valentine isn't the best Peanuts holiday special, but it's a lot of fun and it another special that shows that Valentine's Day isn't easy for lots of people.

J.A. Morris' rating:

3 Valentine Hearts

RigbyMel says:

This is a cute special, but is a little too "bitty" to be a great one in my estimation.

As J.A. Morris says above,  there are lots of funny and enjoyable scenes.

Lucy switches from Psychatric help to Valentine purveyor for the holiday. 
Lucy's "super-potent" Valentine that requires a five day waiting period and Snoopy's Valentine writing efforts are highlights.    Poor Charlie Brown getting his shirt caught in the pencil sharpener is also pretty amusing, if somewhat improbable.

The Peanuts gang are, as always, sweetly relatable and it is very nice to hear David Benoit's takes on classic Vince Guaraldi themes.  The child voice actors in the special are pretty good as well.

Practice makes perfect, Chuck ... 
A Charlie Brown Valentine is an enjoyable special, but not quite a classic one.

RigbyMel's rating:

2 and half Valentine hearts

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