Thursday, December 11, 2003

TV: "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!"

A Charlie Brown Christmas is easily my favorite Christmas special, and my favorite Peanuts special, of all time. There was no way for this new special to match that, and I didn't expect it to. In fact, it ended up being better than I anticipated. Much like in the later years of Schulz's strip, Rerun takes on the main role, and in doing so, suitably distinguishes this special from earlier ones. And Spike is always a welcome presence, in my opinion.

The chief fault of this special was its length. What could have been a tight half-hours was instead dragged out to an hour's length, padded with numerous unnecessary asides (e.g. Lucy and Schroeder at the piano, or Rerun's time on the bike, which I believe was utilized in an old special). Rerun doesn't actually get a dog until 40 minutes into the hour, and even then Spike only stays for a few minutes before leaving again.

Except for Schroeder, all of the voices were good, and we were treated to cameos from Violet, Patty, Franklin, and even Joe Cactus. Seeing Schroeder's house was a cute aside, better than the gags that followed. And ReRun does well onscreen, even if some of his soliloquies get old, and not all of his jokes from the strip translate well to screen (e.g. his card game).

Interestingly, in this week's TV Week, it was said "The Christmas stories are likely to hold at two." I can only presume that the author forgot about It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown!. And when compared to that forgettable special, I Want a Dog wins out.


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