It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown (1997)

It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown ReviewIt Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown Review

It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown is a 1997 animated television special and the 38th entry in the Peanuts series. It is a very standard special.

Yes, it is definitely a special that doesn’t have any big flaws despite its familiarity. Linus meets a cute girl, falls in love with her and invites her to his birthday party where everyone thinks she won’t come. Yes, we’ve seen Linus being questioned and we’ve seen the boys get smitten by a cute girl many times before. Sure, it is charming and should serve well the kids, but as an adult, I found it to be childish and way too typical.

The ending is sweet and the scenes between the two lovebirds were definitely endearing. Linus isn’t as memorable, but the girl is charming and once again Sally got a couple of hilarious lines. She continues to steal the show whenever she appears. Charlie Brown himself is underutilized here, but I liked that the special focused almost entirely on Linus, but I just wish that it was more involving than it ended up being.

It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown is typical and childish, but sometimes quite endearing.

 My Rating – 3.3

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You’re in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown (1994)

You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown ReviewYou’re in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown Review

You’re in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown is a 1994 animated television special and the 37th entry in the Peanuts series. It is a very dull special.

Yes, this one is very boring mostly because the entire game between the birds and the cats and later bisons was so overlong and not that interesting in concept either. And I also found the design of the animals very unappealing here which is weird having in mind how iconic Snoopy and Woodstock are, but these other animals looked odd nonetheless. Whenever they made a sports-related episode, I am bound to be bored and I was certainly bored here.

But You’re in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown has its moments. Charlie and Linus’ infatuation with a girl is a tired concept and, though not bad, it wasn’t particularly memorable here. But the entire subplot with Lucy is absolutely fantastic as she perfectly manipulated Charlie into kicking the ball and then he tried to kick it while she wasn’t looking and still failed miserably. This running gag is one of my favorites throughout the series and it is so well put to use in this special plus the ending is pretty good.

You’re in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown is a wildly uneven special. The Lucy subplot is great, but everything else is weakly done and prolonged.

 My Rating – 3.1

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It’s the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown (2000)

It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown Review It’s the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown

 It’s the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown is a 2000 animated television special and the 39th entry in the Peanuts series. It is a funny, yet weak entry.

Charlie Brown tells the story of the Pied Piper to Sally and we get a boring episode that is a retelling, but a weak and boring one and it doesn’t feel like a Peanuts special that much. It ends well and it begins wonderfully, but everything in the middle (which is the majority of the special) is disappointing and forgettable.

It holds the distinction for being one of the few Peanuts specials where the adults speak which is again a problem as it doesn’t feel like a regular Peanuts special. This story could have been told much, much better. But it has such an awesome start with the first sequence with Sally and Charlie Brown being absolutely fantastic. The revelation that after he leaves the house she immediately just in case starts moving her things to his room brought me a huge laughter and it is undoubtedly the funniest moment in any Peanuts special.

It’s the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown has a very good, funny start, but everything afterwards is dull.

My Rating – 3.1

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It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown (1988)

It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown ReviewIt’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown Review

It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown is a 1988 animated television special and the 32nd entry in the Peanuts series. It is by far the worst one so far.

Yes, this one is even worse than ‘Snoopy!!! The Musical‘ and I didn’t think that was even possible. This is such an odd, ridiculous special that I was just surprised that Charles Shultz would even consider it, let alone make it. We follow Spike as he befriends a human girl in the desert and we follow their adventures.

Nothing ever of substance happens here, absolutely nothing. I have to say that I like Spike and he is the only bright spot in this dismal affair. And although the mix of live-action and animation is interesting and sometimes fun, it isn’t particularly well conveyed. Those human characters were so flat and the acting was just mediocre. The plot is basic and the third act is so silly. Again, I am surprised at this oddity’s very existence.

In the end, It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown is such an odd mixture of live-action and animation with flat characters and a silly plot leading to one of the worst Peanuts specials for sure.

 My Rating – 2.5

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Snoopy!!! The Musical (1988)

Snoopy!!! The Musical ReviewSnoopy!!! The Musical Review

Snoopy!!! The Musical is a 1988 animated television special and the 31st entry in the Peanuts series. It is one of the worst Peanuts specials for sure.

This is such a corny, overlong special that is basically a musical with song after song, but unfortunately all of those songs are either weakly sung or weakly written. They are not even worth mentioning as all of them blend in because they’re so similar to each other in their repetitiveness and mediocrity. I just don’t understand the obsession with musicals when this series is concerned. They never got them and never did them properly and they shouldn’t have continued to do them.

Let’s talk about the segments. Segments like Edgar Allan Poe and Just One Person are very boring and pointless, but The Great Winter is interesting for incorporating a silent film into its imagery whereas Poor Sweet Baby is another funny take on Peppermint Patty’s infatuation with “Chuck”. Those two save the movie for being pretty bad, but it is still mediocre and one of the series’ weakest.

Snoopy!!! The Musical has its solid parts, but it is for the most part a boring special with pointless segments and corny songs.

 My Rating – 2.5

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It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992)

It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown ReviewIt’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown Review

It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown is a 1992 animated television special and the 36th entry in the Peanuts series. It is a very good special.

This special is one of the best Peanuts specials in years without a doubt. It is still far from the best that the Peanuts gang has to offer, but it is still surprisingly well crafted. I dislike this format of vignettes, but here more often than not they worked. Those Snoopy-centric parts I didn’t really care for and the last part with the play was a fine, but forgettable and typical conclusion.

As for the highlights, the first vignette with Charlie Brown selling wreaths was really good and quite funny. Peppermint Patty and Marcie got their part and it was expectedly strong and amusing. But the highest honor of course goes to Sally who thinks that Christmas is all about getting things instead of giving. Her selfishness often produces hilarious results and this is no exception. It was very funny as is the entire special and that I haven’t really seen in a while from this series and I highly respected it here.

It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown is uneven, but so well crafted with many parts working on all cylinders and being genuinely funny.

 My Rating – 3.9

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It’s an Adventure, Charlie Brown (1983)

It's an Adventure, Charlie Brown ReviewIt’s an Adventure, Charlie Brown Review

 It’s an Adventure, Charlie Brown is a 1983 animated television special and the 25th entry in the Peanuts series. It is a solid, but very uneven entry.

This is another proof that it is very difficult to make a 47 minute special instead of the usual 20 or so minutes. This special is just needlessly overlong and some parts are great, but some are pretty weak. Let’s talk about each one of the eight segments there is in it. Sack is pretty good and I liked this again very brutal depiction of Charlie Brown’s unpopularity. He starts to become popular while wearing a sack on his head, but as soon as he removes it, things go back to the usual for poor old Chuck.

Caddies is a very poor Peppermint Patty part and I really disliked her voice here. Kite is interesting, but a bit too long. It does have an original storyline though. Sally is charming is usual in her segment, Butterfly is forgettable and Woodstock is an ordinary part with these two, although I definitely liked Snoopy in some of the previous scenes here. Lucy’s part with Schroeder is as great as usual and Blanket is a very interesting exploration of Linus’s obsession with this object.

It’s an Adventure, Charlie Brown is very uneven due to a couple of clunkers, but there are some truly great segments here nonetheless.

 My Rating – 3.3

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It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown (1992)

It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown ReviewIt’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown Review

 It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown is a 1992 animated television special and the 35th entry in the Peanuts series. It is a very uninspired entry.

The entire premise here is definitely a retread as we’ve seen something like this done a billion times before. Charlie Brown is the coach of a baseball team and they lose at the end, so typical. I found the sports elements here very boring and those sequences were awfully extended leading to a very slow and uneventful special.

Most of the characters are forgettable, but Lucy is solid and Snoopy has a couple of good moments. Leland as this new kid is nothing special, but at least he’s endearing. Some of the highlights include his scenes as well as the ending in which Charlie Brown states that it doesn’t matter what you wear but how you play the game. But most of the other scenes were unfortunately lacking.

It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown has its moments, but is mostly a typical sports episode with an expected conclusion and a somewhat forgettable use of its characters.

 My Rating – 3.1

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A Charlie Brown Celebration (1982)

A Charlie Brown Celebration ReviewA Charlie Brown Celebration Review

A Charlie Brown Celebration is a 1982 animated television special and the 23rd entry in the Peanuts series. It is an okay, but very uneven special.

First I have to say that I really dislike this format. The running time is over 40 minutes which certainly is a lot, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that the film consists of various segments and they are pretty oddly placed and some last much longer than the others. And that is why the film is uneven, but also in the quality of the segments as all of those shorter segments were forgettable.

The last segment with Lucy is of course pretty solid, some of Linus’ storylines were pretty good and I liked Sally as usual. Also, the segment with Lucy and Schroeder is very good. But the highlight is Peppermint Patty as her story is the best. She wants to switch to a private school, but thanks to Snoopy, she accidentally ends up attending a school for dogs. Of course, a lot of hilarity ensued and I loved both Patty and Snoopy here.

In the end, A Charlie Brown Celebration has its very good segments, but most are forgettable and the entire thing is one messy, uneven affair.

 My Rating – 3.2

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Snoopy’s Reunion (1991)

Snoopy's Reunion ReviewSnoopy’s Reunion Review

Snoopy’s Reunion is a 1991 animated television special and the 34th entry in the Peanuts series. It is one of the most underrated entries in the series.

I really liked Snoopy’s Reunion. It isn’t a masterpiece or anything like that, but it is pretty satisfying in its own right. It is to me one of the better Snoopy oriented specials. Here we follow him from his puppy days to his arrival at Charlie Brown’s house and eventual reunion with his brothers and sisters. I loved how we finally got to see his history and the special is very charming.

Sure, almost everything happening here is very predictable and ordinary, some of the sequences do drag and the film is too laidback in its approach, but I still liked it as it was very endearing. All of Snoopy’s siblings are fun and charming and Snoopy himself is really good here. The film lacks in the comedic department, but that ending was funny and very good. This special perfectly showcases Snoopy’s character and how he’s evidently a very unique and different dog. I also loved the melancholic tone at the end with the urbanization theme being well touched upon.

Snoopy’s Reunion is too laidback, but a charming, endearing and very satisfying look at Snoopy’s history and one of the most underrated Peanuts specials.

 My Rating – 3.7

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