Here we go again. Another major holiday, another heartbreak over the end of the broadcast era for the Peanuts specials.
” A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” won’t air this year on ABC, its annual TV network home since 2001. As part of a new corporate deal, the animated special is moving to Apple TV+ along with the rest of the TV adaptations of the classic Charles M. Schultz comic strip.
I wrote in October about “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” making the same leap to the online platform. I shared my pain. You shared yours. Hearing from so many readers that the switch angered and saddened them, too, helped me feel a little less like an old lady yelling “Hey kids, get off my lawn!” into the abyss.
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A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” debuted in 1973 on CBS. That was a long-ago time when gathering around a wood-framed TV set and watching the cartoon, plus the obligatory ads for Dolly Madison snack cakes, was the height of Thanksgiving fun.
The move to ABC in 2001 kept the tradition alive until last year of seeing Charlie Brown cope with Peppermint Patty inviting herself to his Thanksgiving dinner. Poor Chuck, who was scheduled to go to his grandmother’s house that day, was forced to hold a separate gathering for her and the rest of the gang.
In the story line, Charlie Brown’s cooking skills were limited, so Snoopy and Woodstock pitched in to help. Linus, as usual, gave one of his inspiring speeches about the meaning of the day. The menu consisted of toast, popcorn, candy and pretzels, prompting Patty to throw a snit fit.
What I didn’t know until doing some research was that the Emmy-winning special made some viewers angry over Woodstock eating turkey, aka “bird cannibalism,” as the Peanuts fan site on Wikipedia explains.
Wow. This just shows how Peanuts specials have more than nostalgic appeal. They always have been teachable moments for families. How many of us, after all, had our ideas on holiday commercialism shaped by “A Charlie Brown Christmas”? Or felt more gratitude for our family’s Thanksgiving feast after thinking about Charlie Brown’s buttered toast?
I’ll repeat what I’ve written already about how the Apple TV+ move is another example of the web chipping away at traditions, and how people in Snoopy Thanksgiving T-Shirt comfortable financial situations assume everyone has easy access to streaming.
But those of you who emailed me last month said it better. There has been too much loss in 2020 to endure and too many new normals to accept without relocating Charlie Brown and his pals to a whole new medium.
Enough already. And, kids, honestly, you’re getting on my last nerve! Can you stop ride your bikes over the leaves I just raked off my grass?