I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003)

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown Review

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown Review

 I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown is a 2003 animated television special and the 43th entry in the Peanuts series. It is a very weak special.

Rerun wants a pet of his own and eventually gets him but realizes that dogs are too much work. I do not get the point of this special whatsoever and it is one of the most troublesome, pointless and overly pessimistic Peanuts specials and that says a lot. Rerun is a fine, but forgettable character and it is a big problem that none of the other characters appear here aside from a couple of good scenes with Lucy and Schroeder.

I liked that it was a dog-centric episode, but other than that and the fact that some scenes are very good, most of the other scenes are either boring or lack any meaning to them plus the special is over forty minutes long and there just weren’t any need for that as the plot is overly simplistic. It truly is one of the weakest Peanuts specials.

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown has its moments, but it is overlong, pointless and boring.

 My Rating – 3

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Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown (2003)

Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown ReviewLucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown Review

 Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown is a 2003 animated television special and the 42nd entry in the Peanuts series. It is a very good late entry.

This is a really good Peanuts special from the 21st century which is a rarity that should be treasured. It goes back to those classic baseball-themed specials from the sixties and seventies and although too much relying on the sport and familiar, it is still very good and satisfying owing to excellent character moments. Charlie Brown must get rid of Lucy and trade her to Peppermint Patty because she sucks at the game and is the worst player. Naturally that created a couple of really funny moments and the special has pretty good humor.

Charlie Brown here is as depressing as ever and he ends up alone in the rain, miserable in a classic Peanuts fashion. Lucy is excellent and of course Peppermint Patty is very good and I liked the emphasis on Marcie and her infatuation with good old Chuck. Snoopy also has his moments. Everyone delivered and was memorable and only the absence of Sally was felt and it bothered me.

Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown is familiar, yet very well executed and quite funny.

 My Rating – 4.1

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Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales (2002)

Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales ReviewCharlie Brown’s Christmas Tales Review

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales is a 2002 animated television special and the 41st entry in the Peanuts series. It is an okay, passable diversion.

There is literally nothing to hate here and nothing to love either. Everything is either okay or solid. Once again we get a series of vignettes and of course some are better than the others. Most of those smaller, shorter parts were forgettable, but the parts with Sally and Lucy were two highlights.

Lucy is expectedly terrific and watching her try to be nice and interact with Schroeder is always bound to make you laugh. But Sally is even better as her confusion over the title of the Santa Clause produced a couple of comedic gems of the scenes. Charlie Brown himself is dull here, but Linus has his moments. I wish that the others were more utilized and the special is too short overall.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales has great Sally and Lucy, but others are dull and forgettable.

 My Rating – 3.3

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A Charlie Brown Valentine (2002)

A Charlie Brown Valentine ReviewA Charlie Brown Valentine Review

 A Charlie Brown Valentine is a 2002 animated television special and the 40th entry in the Peanuts series. It is one of the best Peanuts specials of all time.

Yes, it happened. The more recent entry got on my top ten list and it is very much deserved as it is such a great special. Stupendous is its quality. Charlie Brown wants to talk to the Little Red Haired Girl, but doesn’t have the courage. Then hilarity ensues when Marcie falls in love with Charlie and he somehow invites both her and Peppermint Patty to his party.

The plot here is too convoluted at times plus Marcy falling in love with Charlie did feel a bit too sudden and random. But other than that, this was such a blast to watch. Charlie’s crush was so well utilized and this is possibly the best Valentine episode ever from Peanuts. I loved its ending and that it remained a mystery who sent him a valentine. He was excellent here, but so is Snoopy as well as Lucy and of course Patty. Everyone gets their moment to shine and it is such a rich special both in humor and in character moments.

A Charlie Brown Valentine is such a terrific special filled with excellent moments for all of the characters and such a good story with good humor too.

My Rating – 4.3

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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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