Awesome / A Charlie Brown Christmas

  • It's not often that total and utter silence can count as a CMOA, but the reaction by the cast, who had been wrapped up in the commercialism of the season, after Linus gives his sermon is an almost physical entity.
    "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
    • There is the powerful scene when Linus gives his recitation of the Shepherds' vision of the angels' announcement of Jesus' birth. The scene has a moving power that rivets you to the screen regardless of your beliefs, regardless of the fact it's a Talking Heads scene.
      "Lights, please..."
      • This is also Charles Schulz' own Moment of Awesome, because he put his foot down when Executive Meddling kicked in and said that if he couldn't have that part in the special, he would not allow it to be aired.
      • It's even more awesome in the eyes of anyone who reads the Peanuts comics, and therefore knows that Linus has crippling Stage Fright and Lucy, every holiday season, without fail, signs him up to perform in front of the PTA, and then proceeds to drag him there under protest. He once spent an entire week sitting in a tree to avoid reciting publicly, and yet seeing Charlie Brown in such a state of despair makes him drop all that without a second thought.
    • Doubling as a bit of Fridge Brilliance pointed out by a few sharp-eyed viewers, Linus drops his blanket just as he gets to the words “Fear not” and continues gesturing with both hands free. The kid who can’t go anywhere without his security blanket, who has a panic attack whenever it’s taken away, suddenly doesn’t need it for a moment when he thinks of the true meaning of Christmas.
  • Linus showing off his Improbable Aiming Skills by using his blanket as a sling for throwing snowballs (a scene that was cut from a lot of reruns, and only recently appeared on the DVD and in the ABC cut).
  • In a meta sense, the sheer staying power of this masterpiece is pretty awesome, especially when you consider that CBS thought the special would flop hard. The choppy, sloppy animation has actually become beloved and warmly imitated over the years.

    Schulz had to fight hard to use child actors instead of adults, which was pretty gutsy considering only three of the kids -– the voices for Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy -– had any acting experience (The girl who voiced Sally couldn't even read yet!) The CBS execs tried to force Schulz to add a laugh track, but he point-blank refused. He had to lobby hard for the inclusion of Vince Guaraldi's jazz soundtrack over a more traditional one, and the decision to include jazz would be a fateful one (Seriously, can you imagine Peanuts today without jazz?). And on top of everything else, the execs were ready to cut the special altogether if Schulz didn't nix Linus's now-iconic recitation of Jesus's birth from the KJV translation of Luke. Schulz called their bluff and stood firm.

    In the end, the special paid off in a big way: Half of all the US TV audience tuned into the first broadcast, the special won a freaking PEABODY award, and it's run for 50 straight Christmases and counting. Not bad at all.
    • Awesome as well in a meta sense, as what made Linus reciting the sermon so special was not that it was Christian, but what it represented, not just to those of Christian faith, but to everyone watching. To recount, Jesus was born in a barnyard, and looked to be nothing special. But he later grew up to be one of the greatest leaders and religious figures of all-time in his faith, despite his simple and humble beginnings. Just like the tree Charlie Brown got. The tree looked to be nothing special, but it was the only truly original tree out of all the other aluminum ones. It's genuity and simplicity are what made it so special, and it became something amazing, just like in the story of Jesus. The story represented something clear. Christmas was not about the commercialism or any of that. That's all fun but that's not the true meaning. It was about appreciating the simplicity and beauty of everything around you. And to quote the end of Linuse's sermon, "Peace and good will towards men." That's what Christmas is all about. It's no wonder you don't have to be Christian to appreciate this special, or Christmas in general for that matter.
      • Awesome again n a meta level when you realize that this actually represents the journey this special took with the CBS execs, being ridiculed nonstop before becoming a beautiful classic, just like the treee in the film. This is a truly amazing special.
    • The Bible speech actually managed to help then-fledgling Big Idea finally get the confidence to place a scripture reading scene in their first Christmas special. Keep in mind that said Christmas special was only to be aired on PAX, a Christian station and the company openly made Christian-themed material and yet they were still nervous until they took heart from Charlie Brown and crew.
  • Also meta, Charles Schulz's brief acceptance speech when it won an Emmy.
    Charlie Brown is not used to winning, so we thank you.
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