"To take a blank piece of paper and draw characters that people love and worry about is extremely satisfying. It really does not matter what you are called, or where your work is placed, as long as it brings some kind of joy to some person some place."
— Charles M. Schulz
Charles M. Schulz, the only child of a Saint Paul, Minnesota
barber, wrote and drew Peanuts
for 49 years, 3 months and 1 day
(1950-2000). The stars of the strip are a boy named Charlie Brown, whom Schulz named for a fellow instructor at the Art School of Minneapolis, and his dog Snoopy.
The strip originated as Li'l Folks
, a feature Schulz drew for his hometown newspaper. The strip's cast grew as time went on - well, sort of; consensus is their age topped out at about 6 (Linus and Sally) to 8 (Charlie Brown, Lucy et al.) - but adults were always conspicuous by their absence, famously represented by unintelligible offscreen 'wah-whah' noises in the TV specials. (This was originally due to the editor's restrictions on the strip: to fit the kids in at a decent size in the small panels, he put the "camera" at their height and did away with anyone taller.)
When the kids aren't in school, they're usually playing baseball or having amazingly sophisticated intellectual conversations while leaning on a brick wall. Over the years, the strip became famous for its psychological realism, bordering on an all-out satire of more typically sentimental kiddie comics, though it arguably took a turn away from the philosophical toward more direct comedy relatively early in its run (around 1970). Charlie Brown developed from a standard 'lovable loser' into a sensitive and intelligent Everyman, whose relentless track record of failure meant he struggled perpetually with the Really Big Questions. Alternately aiding and exasperating him in his quest were his best friend Linus, a philosopher who sucked his thumb and carried a security blanket
, and Linus' big sister Lucy, a bossy, brassy self-described 'fussbudget' who knew that the big problem of the universe was that it never asked her
what to do.
The supporting cast included Charlie's little sister Sally, a ditz-in-embryo
whose literalist streak was only equaled by her crush on an appalled Linus; Schroeder, a handsome neighbor boy who — much to Lucy's chagrin — lived only to play Beethoven
on his toy piano (with painted-on black keys), and Franklin, the smart black kid who quietly integrated the strip in the late 1960s. 'Peppermint' Patty, the tough tomboy
from across town, and Marcie, her meek bespectacled acolyte, were frequent visitors.
One unique character, The Little Red-Haired Girl, was never seen and never heard (except in certain TV specials, but as Schulz made very clear
, those don't count
). She was Charlie Brown's Ideal, and thus in a sense everyone's, so Schulz wisely let each of those readers envision her for themselves.
Then there was Snoopy, beagle extraordinaire. Nominally Charlie Brown's pet, he actually lived in an incredibly rich world of his own imagination, acknowledging the existence of 'that round-headed kid' only when hungry. Over the years Snoopy would invent literally dozens of alternate personae, the most famous of which is the WWI Flying Ace
, perpetually locked in combat with the Red Baron
. Attending and often abetting Snoopy in his fantasies was his little yellow bird buddy Woodstock, who took to hanging out at the doghouse while he failed to get the knack of the whole 'migrating' deal.
The strip spawned about 50 animated TV specials over 40 years (starting with A Charlie Brown Christmas
and continuing through installments such as It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
; He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown
; It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
; and so on, ending with He's a Bully, Charlie Brown
), as well as four feature films (A Boy Named Charlie Brown
; Snoopy Come Home
; Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
; and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!)
), a Saturday Morning Cartoon
series (The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show
), not one but two stage musicals
(You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
), a few direct-to-video movies, and an eight-episode Mini Series
(This Is America, Charlie Brown
). The Peanuts
characters also appeared in TV commercials for the Ford Motor Company, Cheerios and Chex cereals, Dolly Madison snack cakes, a few regional brands of bread and Met Life Insurance, and believe it or not, a Video Game series
. Since Schulz's death (the night before his final strip was published
), the comic has kept a place in many newspapers by way of reruns. Specials occasionally keep being produced, such as a series of Flash shorts in 2009, the hand-drawn Happiness Is A Warm Blanket Charlie Brown
in 2011, and an upcoming anime adaptation by Madhouse
As of 2011, Boom! Studios
produced a few comics books of the series (part of the KaBOOM! Comics
line) with both new content as well as old strips.
The complete Peanuts
comic strip archive can be viewed at GoComics.com
. See also the official Peanuts web site
.Blue Sky Studios is slated to bring the gang back to the big screen in 2015 with a CGI film
after a 35 year hiatus. Paul Feig will produce and oversee the film. Here's the first teaser.
Frequent Peanuts Tropes:
- Snoopy's imagined personae: World War One flying ace, novelist, Beagle Scout leader, 'Mad Punter', streaker, vulture, Flashbeagle, Joe Cool, etc. etc.
- Leading Charlie Brown to ask, "Why can't I have a normal dog like everyone else?"
- Also, Snoopy's fights against the cat next door (represented by her swipes through his doghouse ceiling) and his tennis playing against the garage door.
- Charlie Brown's baseball team: Generally visible in these sequences were himself as pitcher, Schroeder as catcher, Linus at second base, Snoopy at shortstop and - most memorably - Lucy in right field. The team seemed to lose almost every gamenote unless Charlie Brown was unable to play for some reason, in which case they seemed to win every game (usually with Linus on the mound).
- Charlie Brown trying to kick the football and Lucy yanking the ball away. (Schulz briefly toyed with the idea of having him finally kick the football, but realized that the entire 'football' gag was about Charlie Brown's unending sense of optimism, rather than Lucy simply being mean).
- During the arc in which Charlie is seriously ill in the hospital (see under Littlest Cancer Patient below), Lucy vows that if he recovers she'll let him kick the ball for real. Come time to make good, she indeed doesn't pull the football away... but in true Charlie Brown fashion, he kicks her arm instead.
- In the very last football strip, Lucy is called in for lunch and entrusts the ball to Rerun, who goes outside and enacts the ritual off-stage. When Lucy later asked him whether he pulled it away, the answer is: "You'll never know..."
- Also, Snoopy never shoots down the Red Baron, Linus never sees the Great Pumpkin rise from the pumpkin patch, all the love is unrequited, etc...
- Lucy and her "Psychiatric Help 5 Cents" booth (a parody of a lemonade stand). Charlie Brown went through a lot of nickels.
Franklin: Are you a real psychiatrist?
Lucy: Was the lemonade ever any good?
- Charlie Brown's unrequited admiration of the Little Red-Haired Girl...well, not exactly unrequited, as on no recorded occasion did he get himself under enough control to speak to her in the first place.note
- Various attempts to separate Linus and his blanket, by either Lucy or his "blanket-hating grandmother."
- Sally's...creative...school reports: "Butterflies are free. What does this mean? This means you can have as many of them as you want."
Sally: So much for higher thought.
- Lucy leaning on Schroeder's piano, trying to get his attention. Or sometimes Snoopy and/or Woodstock playing around with the notes coming from the piano.
- Peppermint Patty in class, trying and failing hopelessly to figure out what's going on. This sometimes extends to her misunderstanding some concept so completely, and ignoring all rational warnings from Marcie, that she would find herself publicly humiliated.
- For a long time, she didn't realize that Snoopy was a dog and just called him "The funny looking kid with the big nose."
- Marcie calling Peppermint Patty "sir", over the latter's objections. Conversely, Patty was the only one who called Charlie Brown "Chuck" on a regular basis (although Marcie also did at first, but later switched to calling him "Charles").
- At first Peppermint Patty's standard reply was: "Stop calling me sir," but eventually she just gave up. Marcie is the only one who calls Charlie Brown "Charles".
- In later strips, a girl Charlie Brown meets at camp calls him "Brownie Charles", because when they met, he was so nervous that he flubbed up his own name.
Various works based on Peanuts:Television Specials that have Their Own PagesFeature FilmsVideo GamesFan Works
Other tropes used include:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Sally to Linus, Lucy to Schroeder, possibly even Peppermint Patty to Charlie Brown. In a weird, deranged way, Clara to Snoopy, too.
- Aborted Arc:
- Frieda's cat Faron only appeared for a few strips before Schulz realized that since Snoopy didn't speak in words, the only way to have him interact with Faron would be to have them think at each other (as Snoopy would later do with his siblings). (Also, by his own admission, Schulz looked at his drawings of Faron and realized uncomfortably that he couldn't draw cats very well.) When he got rid of the cat, his only regret was naming it after Faron Young, his favorite country singer. In the 1970s, Schulz would introduce the unseen, (originally) unnamed "The Cat Next Door", and was much more pleased with the results.
- What had been intended as a lengthy — possibly months-long — arc with Linus and Lucy's family moving away came to a very sudden end because fans objected.
- Absurdly Sharp Claws: The cat who lives next door to Charlie Brown and Snoopy is able to rip large portions of Snoopy's doghouse off in a single swipe, though it's unclear whether this demonstrates sharpness or sheer brute strength. Either way, you wouldn't want to meet that feline in a dark alley.
- Accidental Athlete: Discussed Trope. One strip has Charlie Brown recounting his fantasy of catching a wild foul ball while watching a baseball game, prompting the manager to declare, "Sign that kid up!" Linus responds that many millions of other kids have had the exact same daydream.
- Accidental Misnaming:
- "Stop calling me 'sir'!"
- "I am not your 'sweet baboo'!"
- The Ace: Peppermint Patty was introduced as baseball phenom who manages five home runs in her first game, after offering her services to Charlie Brown's team. But she quickly became a Small Name, Big Ego with subsequent appearances.
- Later Peppermint Patty introduced Jose Peterson, an even bigger baseball phenom who had once hit .640. And followed that up with an .850. To put that in perspective for those unfamiliar with baseball, no major league hitter has hit .400 since Ted Williams in 1941.
- Acid Reflux Nightmare: The special What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown is all about one of these suffered by Snoopy.
- Adorkable: Eudora. The fact that her characterization never really developed much beyond this probably explains how she ended up with Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.
- Adults Are Useless: "Useless"? Try non-existent.
- There was one animated special, Snoopy's Reunion, where there are not only adults seen, they can be heard. It's the one where Charlie Brown gets Snoopy for the first time. We see the puppy farm owner and he even talks.
- Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown! had a couple of adult characters who appeared on camera and spoke normally: the cab driver who took Snoopy to Wimbledon, and the teacher at the French school. There is also a London waiter who speaks in a thick Cockney accent that the kids can't comprehend, and Violette's uncle, "The Baron," who speaks normally but appears only in silhouette.
- And more background adults (or possibly teenagers) at the club in Flashbeagle.
- Adults are heard, but not seen, in She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown, but that's due to the storyline requiring intelligible adults for once (most notably, the rink announcer).
- The adults in This Is America, Charlie Brown. They were everywhere; again, this was needed for the concept - a look at famous American historical events, inventions, and music - to work, plugging in the kids as a Commedia Dell Arte Troupe of sorts. Unlike most of the above, we even see their faces.
- There's also the live-action title character in It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown (played, incidentally, by Charles Schulz's daughter, Jill).
- Occasionally in the first decade or so of the strip, there was offstage dialogue from parents - usually Linus and Lucy's - but only once did Schulz even try to draw adults, in a handful of Sunday strips in 1954. Even then it's distant crowd and overhead shots (as part of a storyline involving Lucy participating in a golf tournament). Notably, those four Sunday strips were never reprinted in any Peanuts collection until Fantagraphics put out the 1953-1954 edition of The Complete Peanuts.
- The strips where Rerun was carried along with his mom when she went bike riding showed her, though admittedly they only showed her back, and she never said anything.
- Charlie Brown does go to his father's barber shop and comments on how great his father is for showing him affection.
- Violet always took unseemly pride in comparing her father's accomplishments with those of the other kids'.
- Off-screen, there had to be a whole townful of adults giving Halloween trick-or-treaters treats, and rocks to Charlie Brown.
- Adult Fear: One '70s storyline involved Peppermint Patty's house being robbed while her dad was out of town. Also, Charlie Brown frequently worries for Snoopy when the dog goes off on his own with no real idea where he's supposed to be going.
- All Love Is Unrequited:
- Lucy's unrequited crush on Schroeder, Sally's unrequited crush on Linus, Linus's unrequited crush on Miss Othmar, Charlie Brown's unrequited crush on the Little Red-Haired Girl, Peppermint Patty's and Marcie's unrequited crushes on Charlie Brown...
- Averted with the birds Bill and Harriet, who get married. Snoopy is even Best Beagle.
- Alpha Bitch: Violet and Patty had traits of this trope in the early years. But the reigning champ is Lucy.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees:
- Besides the trope naming artifacts in A Charlie Brown Christmas, there's an early strip where Lucy tries to make Schroeder jealous by claiming she prefers more modern music and Snoopy comes in with an accordion to play "polkas, schottisches and waltzes." At the time this was a straight reference, while in reprints it looks as though it's a gag on how Lucy and/or Snoopy are out of touch.
- The character José Peterson represented a Melting Pot Nomenclature joke at the time, as the idea of someone with a Swedish father and Mexican mother seemed like a bizarrely unlikely combination - it wouldn't be seen as that remarkable in the modern US.
- And This Is for...: In Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, when Linus is unable to give his candy to Miss Othmar because she left with her boyfriend, he feels so upset that he goes up onto a bridge and starts throwing off the candies one by one (Snoopy and Woodstock both catch the candies in their mouths and eat them). As he throws each piece of candy off the bridge, he says things that start with this trope:
Linus: This one is for love! And this one is for Valentine's! This one is for romance! This one is for Elizabeth Barrett Browning! This is for "How do I love thee!" This is for...
- Animate Inanimate Object: Linus' blanket was depicted as alive in one story arc, and spent the week terrorizing Lucy.
- The Kite-Eating Tree is also depicted as one of these.
- Animated Adaptation: Quite often.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Sally Brown
- Linus and Rerun, to Lucy.
- Anxiety Dreams: Snoopy blames his on eating pizza before bed.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the revival version of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown ("Beethoven Day"):
Lucy: I got it! We'll demand full-page ads in every newspaper!
Linus: We'll start a chain of Beethoven superstores!
Sally: We'll build a Beethoven theme park!
Charlie Brown: We can have a BAKE SALE!
- Art Evolution: The earliest strips have much cleaner, more three dimensional artwork...which admittedly, looks really weird compared to the later strips we've all grown up with. In the final years, the art became scratchy and squiggly due to Schulz's decreasing motor skills.
- Artistic License – History:
- An in-universe example occurs in Snoopy!!! The Musical, in the song "Edgar Allan Poe". Everything Charlie Brown says about Poe is utterly incorrect. Linus gets almost everything right, only he inexplicably spells the man's middle name wrong— it's "Allan", with two As.
- Numerous school reports by Peppermint Patty and Sally. Here are some of them:
Peppermint Patty: This is my report on Washington, D.C. "D.C." stands for Doctor. Dr. Washington was an ophthalmologist. His best friend was named Bunker Hill. One day on the battlefield Dr. Washington looked at Bunker Hill and said, "There's something wrong with the whites of your eyes!" As a reward for saving his friend's vision, the people voted to make Dr. Washington their coach.
—-> Sally: Britain was invaded in the year 43 by Roman Numerals.
Sally: Abraham Lincoln was our sixteenth king and he was the father of Lot's wife.
Sally: This is my report on Columbus Day. Columbus Day was a very brave man. He wanted to sail around the world. "I can give you three ships, Mr. Day," said the Queen.
- Aside Glance: Occasionally a character will give one of these to the reader. Snoopy seems especially fond of them.
- Asleep in Class:
- Peppermint Patty is always falling asleep in class. Marcie, who sits behind her, will either try to wake her up or play tricks on her while Peppermint Patty is asleep.
- Marcie herself has fallen asleep in class on a few occasions. In one instance, she had to get up early to be at her school patrol post on time, but fell asleep at her classroom desk.
- Ass in a Lion Skin: Snoopy has a penchant for pretending to be various other kinds of animals — including an alligator, an anteater, a bald eagle, a bat, a beaver, a songbird, a boa constrictor, a cow, a cricket, a dinosaur, an elephant, a giraffe, a goat, a gorilla, a kangaroo, a lion, a moose, a mountain lion, a mule, an owl, a partridge (in a pear tree), a pelican, a penguin, a piranha, a polar bear, a prairie dog, a rabbit, a rhinoceros, a sea monster, a shark, a sheep, a tiger, a vulture, and a wolf.
- As the Good Book Says:
- Linus is frequently given to quoting Scripture. Sometimes other characters also do it.
- In one strip Sally asks Charlie what all the "John 3:16" signs people are holding up at a football game mean. When he tells her about the reference she says, "Oh. I always thought it was a reference to John Madden."
- Another strip had a baseball game devolving into a extended discussion on the book of Job, with each character offering up interpretations that fit with their personality.
- Awesomeness-Induced Amnesia: The special It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown has Charlie Brown giving the Little Red-Haired Girl the customary kiss... and after a state of euphoria, he wakes up in bed the next morning with no memory of what happened after. Linus tells him later that he was the life of the homecoming dance, which Charlie can't recall.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
- Balloon Belly: Upon meeting Snoopy's brother, Spike, Lucy found herself disgusted by how skinny he was and attempted to fatten him up. This trope was the end result.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Woodstock is sometimes one of these to Snoopy.
- Berserk Button:
- Linus, upon being referred to as Sally's 'Sweet Babboo'. Also, when a bully makes fun of a bald girl after he takes her hat (she has leukemia), he flips out and whips the bully into submission with his blanket.
- Some others include: suggesting Linus should get rid of his security blanket; calling Snoopy "Banana Nose"; insulting Beethoven in front of Schroeder.
- Big "NO!": Whenever any of the gang is really frustrated, they are prone to scream, "AAUUGH!"
- Bigger on the Inside: Snoopy's doghouse. Its interior was never shown (except in the cartoon where it appears to be an Elaborate Underground Base), but we know it contains a Van Gogh painting (later replaced with an Andrew Wyeth after the doghouse burned down and was rebuilt), a pool table, a bridge room, a swimming pool, a postage meter, etc...
- Black Bead Eyes
- Black Comedy: No, there's no death, but laughing at the pathetic tragedy of Charlie Brown's life is still an example of this.
- Blind Without 'Em: Marcie was once told by Peppermint Patty that she would look more sophisticated with her glasses up on her forehead, resulting in her bumping into walls, a lamppost, etc. Marcie noted that "Before I became sophisticated, I almost never had headaches."
- Blunder Correcting Impulse: In this strip, Linus has taken over for Charlie Brown as the pitcher for their baseball team. When Charlie Brown sees that Linus is trying to pitch while wearing his blanket over his head, he comes out and takes over the pitching again.
- Bootstrapped Theme: "Linus and Lucy" is possibly the most famous example. Made even more confusing when there actually is a song called "Charlie Brown Theme" out there, and a few of the specials actually used it. "Linus and Lucy"'s Ear Worm powers are so mighty that they can just usurp the name. Being heavily featured in A Charlie Brown Christmas, the most famous of the specials, helps.
- Boring Failure Hero: Charlie Brown.
- Bowdlerise: Yes, not even Peanuts were immune to censorship. At least on the television, and namely It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown. Twice during the story's central football game, Lucy pulls the ball away from Charlie Brown, as per the usual, causing the play to fail... and Peppermint Patty blames CB in both of these instances. Viewers protested because it was Lucy's fault, so future airings and releases of the special to this day censor those two instances (but miss others!) of PP's blame. This, however, could add Nightmare Fuel to the special because the "offending" lines were backmasked. Incidentally, you can hear the original lines here and here.
- Brick Joke: The first strip about kicking the football had Violet (not Lucy) moving the ball because she was afraid Charlie would kick her arm. Decades later, Lucy promises to let Charlie kick the football if he got out of the hospital. When he does, he misses and kicks Lucy's arm.
- Breakout Character: Snoopy, in the mid-'60s. There's a reason the official name of their website was "snoopy.com" for much of the internet era.
- Break the Cutie: Poor Charlie Brown can barely go a day without being miserable.
- Break the Haughty: Sometimes Charlie Brown will get a few small victories, making him cocky, only to fail due to his overconfidence.
- Bubble Pipe: Snoopy uses one of these in a special where he's playing a detective trying to find Woodstock's nest.
- Butt Monkey: Charlie Brown is the unequivocal epitome of this trope, with a goodly amount of The Chew Toy and Woobie thrown in for good measure.
- Call Back: One arc in the late 90s has Rerun patting birds on the head, much to the annoyance of Lucy, who comments how Linus did the same thing back in the 60s in a similar arc.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Linus once told one of the gang about how he'd met a really nice girl who he liked a lot, and he'd wanted to say something to her to introduce himself, but he couldn't really find the words. His solution? "So I hit her."
- Canon Discontinuity:
- Provoked by the appearance of the Little Red-Haired Girl, Schulz firmly insisted that the animated specials "don't count."
- Similarly, the existence of Charlotte Braun was denied until the '00s, when Schulz's estate FINALLY agreed to reprint the strips in which the character appeared.
- Cash Lure: According to a strip from 1985, this is Spike's favorite April Fools' Day joke, with a purse on a string. Because he's in the desert, however, no victims come by.
Spike: I'll wait for ten more hours, but then that's it.
- Catch Phrase:
- Cats Are Mean: The cat who lives next door, known as "World War II", has been known to slice vast chunks out of Snoopy's doghouse and beat up Snoopy and Peppermint Patty simultaneously - always off-panel. Though to be fair, a lot of the time Snoopy provokes the cat.
- Character Development: The strip's first few years are barely recognizable.
- Charlie Brown was, incredibly, a happy young child in the earliest strips before he became the universe's Chew Toy.
- Lucy started out as a wide-eyed, sweet little baby before evolving into herself.
- Linus was originally a hyper-intelligent toddler before he became an Innocent Prodigy.
- Snoopy was just a "regular" dog.
- Children Are Innocent: Subverted, averted and played straight at various points throughout the strip.
- Christmas Creep: They joked about this concept a lot. The Halloween-Thanksgiving period was the usual victim of the creep, but in the special It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, an entire scene takes place in a Christmas display when the gang go to buy eggs.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Many. Shermy, Charlotte Braun, Frieda, Eudora, and 5, to name a few. And there's also Violet and Patty, who were both there from the first year, but were Demoted to Extra sometime in the '70s, only appearing in crowd scenes or as generic kids. Schulz admitted himself that many of these were deliberate; he'd just run out of interesting material for some of the kids.
- Classical Anti-Hero: Charlie Brown is one of the most prominent examples.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Lucy to Schroeder and Sally to Linus.
- Clown Car Base: Snoopy's doghouse has much more room inside than the outer appearance would suggest, given the many things that have been implied or shown to be in it.
- Clumsy Copyright Censorship: There were a few product placements for Coca-Cola in A Charlie Brown Christmas. While a scene where the kids throw snowballs at Coca-Cola cans was subsequently reanimated to have non-descript cans instead, the credits end right before the kids finish singing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" because an announcer chimed in at that point to plug the soda, and the opening ends up getting a case of What Happened to the Mouse? as Linus landed on a Coca-Cola sign after being flung along with Charlie Brown by Snoopy.
- The Coconut Effect: The characters were originally voiced in the animated specials by actual kids - young kids who couldn't even read well and so had to learn their lines phonetically and recite them one line at a time, giving their readings a curiously stilted quality. This unique style became part of the Peanuts tradition, and continued even as the voice actors grew older (and were eventually replaced by a new set of kids).
- Collective Groan:
- Charlie Brown's ineptitude on the baseball diamond tends to prompt an anguished cry from his teammates.
- In A Boy Named Charlie Brown, he loses the big spelling bee when he misspells "beagle," Snoopy's breed. Even Charlie Brown himself reacts in this manner, instantly realizing he misspelled it.
- In You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, Linus appears to be a lock to be elected Class President, when the day before the election, he addresses the student body... including his campaign team, Charlie Brown and Lucy, who react as expected.
Linus: ...And, as a change of pace, rather than campaign talk, I've decided to say a few words about the Great Pumpkin...
- Comedic Sociopathy:
- Lucy, occasionally Peppermint Patty, earlier characters Patty and Violet, and every adult in the strip's world. In order for Charlie Brown to get a bag full of rocks on Halloween, there has to be a town full of adults who would give a child a rock.
- He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown! deals in this. Highlights include Snoopy actually physically attacking Charlie Brown, Schroeder, and Linus, Peppermint Patty treating Snoopy as a slave, and even Charlie Brown himself at one point nearly strangling Snoopy with a leash!
- Comic Book Adaptation: From 1960 to 1964 Dell (then Gold Key) put out a Peanuts comic book. Schulz only drew the first story, with the rest done by assistants Jim Sasseville and Dale Hale. Then in 2011 a new comic book mini-series began under KaBoom!.
- Comic-Book Time:
- Characters grow up, but reach a certain cap. Schroeder, Lucy, Linus, and then Sally and Rerun are all introduced as babies, growing up and eventually becoming closer to Charlie Brown's age.
- The strip makes fifty years worth of contemporary cultural references, running the gamut from Patti Page in 1953 to Harry Potter in 1999, all without anyone reaching their ninth birthday.
- The strip eventually stopped mentioning specific years, but this went on long enough that it started to get weird: for example, in the late sixties Lucy is still referring back to events in 1954 and naming the year, yet the characters clearly haven't aged in time with it.
- Companion Cube: The school building that Sally chats with.
- Comically Missing the Point: Lucy takes this to an extreme in Why, Charlie Brown, Why? in which the plot involves Linus's friend, Janice, being diagnosed with leukemia. Linus tells Lucy who at first doesn't care, then becomes afraid that she will catch cancer from Linus because he was in contact with her. After Linus points out her ignorance, she suggests Janice "probably got cancer because she's a creepy kid." Even after Linus continues to explain otherwise, she still doesn't get it and demands that he takes back the glass of milk she asked him to get, only to have Linus verbally own her: "I don't want to catch your crabbiness!" This video breaks down the whole scene and explains why Lucy can be forgiven for her remarks.
- Confused Question Mark: Pop up in speech bubbles sometimes.
- Continuity Reboot: Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, a 2011 Direct-to-Video film from Warner Premiere, is this to the original run of animated specials and series. An adaptation of strips that had previously been adapted in The Eighties, it focuses on the core cast from The Sixties (save for a Woodstock cameo in the opening sequence), dials back Snoopy's slapstick and Spotlight-Stealing Squad tendencies, doesn't try to be "relevant", disregards the strip and specials' Art Evolution in favor of the '60s-era designs, and is quieter and more melancholy than most of the later adaptations. (In other words, it could coexist with A Charlie Brown Christmas and Snoopy Come Home, but not with It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown.)
- Cool Mask: In one story arc, Charlie Brown goes to camp with a paper sack over his head, covering his face except for two eye holes (It Makes Sense in Context). While he's there, nobody knows who he is and some kids decide, as a joke, to have him elected Camp President. While he's Camp President, everyone takes his advice and he's given the credit for anything good that happens. One kid in particular treats him as a hero. Then CB takes the sack off his head, and the kid stares at him and says "They made HIM camp president?!"
- Daddy's Girl: Peppermint Patty has a close relationship with her father. Her mother is rarely mentioned - a Mother's Day strip has her state she doesn't have one, and she wants to give a Mother's Day gift to her dad instead.
- Darker and Edgier: It's nothing special today, but when you consider the types of comics that were around when Peanuts first starting being published in the early 1950s, a little boy reflecting on how depressed he is about his life was unheard of.
- Dark Horse Victory: In You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown, Melody-Melody ends up coming out of the stands to beat Linus in the Punt, Pass & Kick competition. In the process she wins a bike and Super Bowl tickets.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lucy, Linus, Schroeder (usually to Lucy's attempts to flirt with him), but Snoopy most of all.
- Decided By One Vote: The class election in You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown.
- Destined Bystander: In a 1968 sequence Peppermint Patty serves as a summer camp tent monitor for three younger girls named Clara, Sophie and Shirley. Clara has dark hair and glasses. Three years later Marcie made her official debut, also in a summer camp sequence. The only real difference between Marcie and Clara besides their names is that Clara's glasses aren't opaque. The name Clara got re-used for the overenthusiastic animal lover in Snoopy Come Home.
- The Determinator: No matter how many times he loses, Charlie Brown simply refuses to give up.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Peppermint Patty giving an account of her vacation to her class at school:
Peppermint Patty: I spent a week on my grandfather's ranch...well, it isn't exactly a ranch...he lives sort of in the country...kind of on the edge of town...actually, he has an apartment over a drugstore.
- Does Not Like Spam: Schulz hated anything coconut-flavoured, and as a result none of the characters like it either.
- Don't Call Me Sir: Peppermint Patty (though more commonly the exact line was "Stop calling me 'sir'!"
- Free Prize at the Bottom: One story arc concerned getting one free marble in a box of Snicker-Snacks cereal. In one strip Charlie Brown found that the packing center made an error - there were 400 marbles and one Snicker-Snack.
- Free-Range Children
- Freudian Excuse: Lucy's mistreatment of Charlie Brown suddenly makes a lot more sense when you look at the early strips.
- Full-Name Basis:
- Charlie Brown, obviously, to everyone except Peppermint Patty (who calls him "Chuck"), Marcie ("Charles"), and Snoopy ("the round-headed kid", because he doesn't remember Charlie Brown's name). Since you don't call your own family members by by your own last name, Sally calls him "big brother."
- Peppermint Patty is also unusual in calling Lucy "Lucille."
- Subverted in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Lucy, for the first and only time, calls Charlie Brown "Charlie" when she gives her theory on how Christmas is a racket controlled by a syndicate.
- The Funday Pawpet Show: The show got the word 'Pawpet' from the little puppet shows that Snoopy would present from atop his doghouse from time to time (usually in Sunday strips).
- Funny Animal: Over time Snoopy developed into a non-talking version of this.
- Gag Words: Starting in the late 70s, "Zamboni".
- Generic Guy: Shermy and later, Franklin. The latter could qualify as an Only Sane Man, though.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Snoopy's doghouse burns down, Lucy says he was probably smoking in bed.
- Girliness Upgrade: Peppermint Patty occasionally, especially these two strips.
- Girl Posse: Lucy, Patty, Violet, and occasionally Frieda.
- Girlish Pigtails: In the early '50s strips, Violet often wore her hair in pigtails - and the pigtails made a return in Violet's cameo appearance in one 1989 strip.
- Hair Decorations: The original Patty wore a bow in her hair. So did Sally early in the strip.
- Hair Flip: Done by Frieda, whenever she needed to show off her "naturally curly hair". And no, she doesn't have Regal Ringlets.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen:
- The adult characters, plus The Little Red-Haired Girl (in the strip, although she did appear onscreen — much to Schulz' vocal dismay — in the special It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown).
- Snoopy's nemesis World War II, aka "that stupid cat next door."
- Charlie Brown's pen/pencil pal.
- Sally wasn't seen until about three months after her birth.
- Any and every adult in the strip. Occasionally, especially in the strip's early years, adults would be given speech bubbles and address the kids from off-screen, though more often only the kids' reactions and answers are shown and the adults are neither shown nor directly heard from. In the animated adaptation, this was recreated by the famous "muted trumpet" sound that played whenever adults were talking.
- Headdesk: Charlie Brown does this in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, during the song "Little Known Facts".
- Heroic BSOD: Happens twice to Charlie Brown in two of the movies; once after coming home after losing the spelling bee in A Boy Named Charlie Brown, and once again after Snoopy leaves Charlie Brown for Lila in Snoopy Come Home.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Marcie and Peppermint Patty. Not too surprisingly, comedians and wiseacres like to inflate this to Les Yay (even though they both have a crush on Charlie Brown).
- Hidden Badass: Linus, of all people. When Charlie Brown was crying a bully was attacking The Little Red-Haired Girl, then we see Linus using his blanket as a whip in the air, he goes off-panel and we see the same sound effect of the blanket-whip. Poor bully...
- Hurricane of Excuses: Lucy, after striking out for Charlie Brown's baseball team.
- Hypocritical Humor: All the time.
- I Am Not Weasel: For a long time, Peppermint Patty thought that Snoopy was a human, and called him the "Funny-looking kid with the big nose."
- "I Am" Song / "I Want" Song: A few have cropped up over the years. "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" gives Charlie Brown the title song, which is both, Lucy has an I Want song ("Schroeder"), and Snoopy gets one of each ("Snoopy" and "Suppertime"). It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown has "Lucy Says", which serves both purposes for Lucy, and Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown has the heartbreaking "Alone", an I Want song for Charlie Brown (although he doesn't sing it, it plays in the background and obviously represents his perspective).
- Iconic Outfit:
- Charlie Brown's yellow shirt with the black zigzag.
- Linus's red striped T-shirt and Lucy's blue dress and saddle shoes.
- Sally's blue or pink polka-dotted dress.
- Peppermint Patty's green striped shirt, navy blue shorts, and sandals.
- I Know You Know I Know: Employed for this "Lucy and the football" strip.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Schulz always hated the name "Peanuts," so virtually every single TV special ever made has the name "Charlie Brown" in its title somewhere, as do three of the four films. Extra points if it looks something like this: "(insert-thing-here), Charlie Brown". This was also the case with most of the strip's book collections, although Snoopy sometimes got title billing rather than Charlie Brown, and this became less the case starting in the 70s (first with the "Peanuts Parade" format books, then when Holt, Rinehart and Winston lost the rights to produce Peanuts collections).
- If It Was Funny The First Time: Averted with the "Lucy holding the football" gag. Schulz made a point of keeping it fresh by doing it just once a year, and giving it a slightly different variation each time.
- If I Were a Rich Man: If Lucy had a million dollars, apparently she'd spend it all on marshmallows.
- If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: Sally asks Charlie Brown if she can have his room, should something happen to him while he's away at summer camp.
- I Just Write the Thing: Schulz often spoke about his characters as if they were real people.
- Improbable Weapon User: In the comic, Linus has used his blanket as a whip to break off a tree branch and beat up bullies.
- Improbably Predictable:
- In one Sunday Strip, Linus and Lucy drew pictures for their grandmother. Linus had Lucy take the drawings and ask which one Grandma liked better. He successfully predicted that Grandma would like both drawings equally.
- Linus predicts to Lucy that if an adult is asked, "We have Mother's Day and Father's Day....why isn't there a Children's Day?" the adult will answer, "Every day is Children's Day." When Lucy tries it, Linus is proved right.
- Informed Flaw: Peppermint Patty is always complaining that she has a big nose, but it's really no bigger than anyone else's.
- Insistent Terminology: Snoopy's fantasy alter egos are always "The world-famous X", even if it's absurd. (For example, if he gets roped into being a golf caddy, his Internal Monologue cuts to "Here's the world-famous Caddy stepping out on the green...")
- Instrumental Theme Tune: Technically called "Linus and Lucy," but rumors that someone out of the production crew called it anything other than the "Charlie Brown Theme" turned out to be exaggerated.
- Intellectual Animal: Snoopy.
- Invisible Parents: With a few rare exceptions, the parents of the main cast are never seen, and infrequently even referenced by their children.
- It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The opening line of World-Famous Author Snoopy's 'novel', which was entirely strung together out of banal literary cliches.
- It Was His Sled:
- Jerkass: Lucy. As well as, in the early strips, (original) Patty and Violet.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Despite Lucy's bossiness and crabbiness, she actually has shown to have a nicer, caring side on a number of occasions.
- For example, when Charlie Brown has to go to the hospital, Lucy is distressed, and eventually promises that if he gets better, she won't pull the football away. She keeps her promise but Charlie Brown accidentally kicks her hand.
- Lucy also has a good relationship with her youngest brother Rerun. Charles M. Schulz himself commented on how this came as a surprise to him.
- In It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Lucy wakes up in the middle of the night, and - finding that Linus hasn't come home - puts on a coat over her nightgown, goes out to the pumpkin patch, brings her exhausted and shivering brother back to the house, takes off his shoes and socks, and carefully tucks him into bed.
- Back when she was in the strip, Frieda was always pushy and pressuring toward Snoopy, whom she wanted to be a "real dog" by hunting rabbits instead of being lazy, but it was evident that she liked Snoopy and it was concern for his well-being, no matter how misguided, that motivated her.
- Karma Houdini: Lucy, in It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown. Pulling the football away from Charlie Brown is one thing. Causing their football team to lose the game because of it, then managing to convince everyone it was Charlie Brown's fault, is another.
- Nice Hat: Minor characters Roy (a friend of Peppermint Patty's) and Eudora (a friend of Sally's) are always depicted wearing hats. Linus occasionally wore a cowboy hat in the 1950s strips, and some early '60s strips have the male characters donning replica Civil War infantry caps (mirroring a real-world fad inspired by the war's centennial).
- No Antagonist: Since even Lucy's bullying is offset by her usual good intentions, there isn't really a villain per se for most of the time, and the ones that exist are all mental. The Red Baron is an antagonist in Snoopy's imagination, the kite-eating tree seems to be how Charlie Brown's mind is able to accept so much bad luck with kites, and that was it for a number of years. The animated special Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown! broke tradition and added a team of no-good bullies from parts unknown to torment the gang.
- No Ending: The last true strip (the actual last strip is just a letter from Schulz to his fans accompanied by recycled artwork) has Charlie Brown explaining his vast knowledge of love letters to Sally; when she notes his expertise, the punchline has him saying "If I ever got one, I don't know what I'd do." A very poignant kind of No Ending.
- No Indoor Voice: Charlotte Braun exists practically for this trope.
- No Matter How Much I Beg: Linus enlists Snoopy in this trope to kick his blanket habit (Snoopy eventually resorts to having it made into sport coats for himself and Woodstock). Years earlier he tried the same thing with Charlie Brown. The first time he asked to have the blanket back Charlie Brown promptly obliged. (Linus, in disgust: "You're weaker than I am!")
- No Name Given: Unnamed characters include the Little Red-Haired Girl (though in one or two specials she was given the name Heather), Charlie Brown's pencil-pal, all the parents (most of them do have family names, though), and "Pig-Pen".
- Non Indicative Name: No, none of the characters is named "Peanuts." The name was assigned due to Executive Meddling, apparently by someone who assumed it was a slang term for kids. Schulz originally wanted to call it "Lil' Folks," and was none too happy with the title change. note
- Noodle People: Spike in his earlier appearances. As the Art Evolution grew, Spike appeared less thin, but still thinner than Snoopy.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Most characters started out really young, gradually grew up to a certain age, and then remained that age for the remainder of the strip. For example, Charlie Brown was originally 4, then gradually became older, eventually stopping at the age of 8.
- The Smurfette Principle: Averted in the comic at large, but in the Beagle Scout stories, the only female troop member is Harriet, thanks to her skill at creating angel food cake with seven-minute frosting.
- Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: In the first decade, some characters aged far more rapidly than others. Notably:
- Schroeder, introduced in early 1951 as an infant, within a year became first a toddler piano prodigy, and then not only fully verbal but apparently the same age as Charlie Brown, Shermy and friends.
- Lucy was a crib-bound toddler in her first appearances, and aged until she reached a point where she's apparently slightly older than Charlie Brown (based on the fact that Charlie Brown and her little brother, Linus, are usually depicted as being in the same class).
- Linus, introduced in late 1952, was somewhere between infant and toddler for two years, and a typical preschooler for the next year or two. Then, in 1957, he rapidly became the precocious Christian theologian he would remain ever after. (He never gave up his security blanket, however.)
- Sally Brown was the first character born into the strip, in 1959 (Snoopy mentions waiting "until her eyes are open" to go visit her). Theoretically, this should make her at least several years younger than the rest of the cast. But by the early 70s she was more or less the same age as Linus. Similarly, almost overnight in the 90s, Rerun Van Pelt went from a toddler to kindergarten age.
- Something Completely Different: In 1988 the syndicate allowed Schulz to ditch the strict four-panel format and gave him greater flexibility for the daily strips. After that he used a three-panel format as his base but frequently played around with it. He especially liked doing single panels, sometimes with no dialogue, even occasionally with captions a la The Far Side.
- Sore Loser: Snoopy in You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown; after losing a tennis match, he goes on a tirade that would make John McEnroe blush.
- Sound Defect: In a 1956 strip, Linus is surprised to hear a leaf make a "klunk" noise as it hits the ground.
- The Speechless: The characters first introduced as infants (Schroeder, Lucy, Linus, Sally, Rerun) were justifiable examples of this, although their thoughts were frequently "verbalized" via thought balloons a la Snoopy.
- Spell My Name with an "S": His name is Charles Schulz, not Schultz. The fact that people still get it so wrong so often, even on this very wiki, is appalling.
- Squee: Snoopy's usual reaction, in both the strip and the animated tales, to The Six Bunnie-Wunnies.
- Stock Footage: Present in several of the animated specials.
- The Stoic: Schroeder, who can seem rather emotionless, even when playing his piano. Well, at least until you insult Beethoven, when he becomes Not So Stoic.
- Story Arc: One of the staples of the strip. Many of them were later adapted for the TV specials.
- They started getting longer and more elaborate in the '70s. Perhaps the most famous example was a nearly-month-long arc from the summer of 1973, in which Charlie Brown stars seeing baseballs in everything he looks at, then develops a baseball-shaped rash on the back of his head, which forces him to wear a paper sack over his head, then he leaves for camp, where he becomes the unexpectedly popular and successful "Mr. Sack" and even gets elected camp president, then he loses the sack after the rash disappears, then he decides to confirm that he's "cured" by getting up to watch the sun rise to see if it looks like a baseball... only to find that it looks like Alfred E. Neuman instead.
- Straw Feminist:
- Peppermint Patty occasionally shows a mild straw feminist streak. Lucy and Sally sometimes do, too.
- In the early '70s, Lucy went so far as to withdraw from Charlie Brown's baseball team because she felt baseball was degrading to women as a male-dominated game. Also an example of Ripped from the Headlines.
- Sometimes they did voice Schulz's own concerns, as in the Sunday strip where Peppermint goes on a rant about TV sports news neglecting women's sports (rattling off the names of twenty sportswomen of the time in the process). Charles M. Schulz was a great admirer and personal friend of Billie Jean King and hosted a women's tennis tournament himself.
- Straw Misogynist: In TV special #2 (Charlie Brown's All-Stars, 1966), a local businessman offers to sponsor the team and give them uniforms and everything. The kids are excited and start practicing really hard, making great plays. Charlie calls off the deal - because the businessman wanted him to cut Snoopy and the girls from the team and have only boy players.
- Strip Archive: Here.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Having half-circles around their eyes all the time seems to be a common trait in the Van Pelt family.
- Suddenly Voiced: In most of the animated specials and films, Snoopy was The Speechless (though his thoughts could be read in the comic strip). However, in the adaptations of the two Broadway musicals and during some segments of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, he actually gained a voice for his internal monologues. This, however, had a blacklash effect to fans who felt it didn't fit him. Thus subsequent animated adaptions left Snoopy voiceless once again.
- Summer Campy: Used in numerous storylines in the strip, as well as the TV special It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown and the feature film Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown.
- Surprise Jump: Charlie Brown and Sally are walking to school. While waiting for the bus, Charlie Brown tells Lucy that Sally is so scared about her first day of kindergarten that if someone even mentions kindergarten while she's around, she'd jump 30 feet in the air. Putting this theory to the test, Lucy says "Kindergarten" to Sally, who then promptly jumps up into the air in fear. Lucy then muses, "Only 10 feet. I knew you were exaggerating."
- Sweetie Graffiti: This 1954 strip.
- Take That:
- Over the years MAD took a liking to parodying "Peanuts" in their publication. Schulz got back by featuring Alfred E. Neuman in one 1973 strip.
- The short-lived 80s character Tapioca Pudding was a Take That to Merchandise-Driven franchises like Strawberry Shortcake. Her father works in licensing and is planning to put her likeness on lunchboxes and countless other knickknacks.
- Take-That Kiss: Snoopy uses this fairly frequently.
- Tempting Fate: In one storyline, Linus is running for class president with Charlie Brown as his running mate. After some very rousing speeches, it looks like Linus has the election in the bag. During his closing speech, Lucy and Charlie Brown watch in the audience, and Lucy notes that there's no way they could lose, unless Linus says something incredibly stupid. Linus picks that very moment to talk to the student body about the Great Pumpkin and promptly gets laughed off the podium.
- That Cloud Looks Like
- That Was the Last Entry: In a 1990s arc, Snoopy and Woodstock find a tiny book inside a dented cage. The book is a diary that supposedly belonged to Woodstock's grandfather.
Snoopy: (reading diary) "Once a week, they put my cage outside in the sun. Sooner or later they're going to leave that little door open. Anyway, this is a stupid life sitting here alone, waiting for that to …" (turning to Woodstock) "And that's it! The diary ends right there! [Your grandfather] probably got out, and is sitting on a telephone wire right now looking down at us…
- Those Two Animals: Snoopy and Woodstock.
- Those Two Guys: Although Patty and Violet were originally the primary female characters in the strip, both of their personalities were fairly generic. Once Lucy arrived their role became limited to tormenting Charlie Brown (and occasionally others) for sport. The two were generally seen as a pair, and when seen apart, they were usually playing Straight Man to another character. Not much was seen of them after the 1970s. Patty ironically started out as part another "those two guys" pair, as far as as Patty and Shermy being a couple in the first couple months of the strip.
- The Three Certainties in Life: One Sunday strip where Lucy, holding a football, challenged Charlie Brown to name three things that are certain. Charlie Brown guessed Death and Taxes but drew a blank at the third...until Lucy pulled the football away. "It was so obvious, Charlie Brown."
- Thought Bubble Speech: Snoopy's speaking is only in his thoughts, with bubbles portraying them.
- Throw the Dog a Bone:
- People who complain about Charlie Brown always getting the short end of the stick and never being able to kick the dang football probably never saw the 1980s TV special, It's Magic, Charlie Brown.
- As many problems as Charlie Brown has, parental issues aren't one of them; as he occasionally talks about how great his dad is for making time for him.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: Snoopy is often shown blushing. In one 1950s strip, Charlie Brown wonders, "How can anyone blush through a face full of hair?" (thus becoming the Trope Namer).
- Token Minority: Franklin is one of the few characters who aren't some shade of white. However, Schulz forbore to make any more of a point of it than necessary; Franklin (and later Swedish-Mexican character José Peterson) speak the same amusingly hyper-correct English the white characters do.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Peppermint Patty (tomboy) and Marcie (girly girl).
- Tree Cover: One story arc has Charlie Brown hiding behind a tree in front of the home of the Little Red-Haired Girl, trying to muster up enough courage to knock on her door and talk to her.
- True Meaning of Christmas:
- Linus reads off part of the Gospel of Luke in the Christmas special. Yes, folks, the original meaning gets used.
- Similarly, the Thanksgiving special has Marcie giving a brief lecture on the True Meaning of Thanksgiving.
- Lucy is sweet when it comes to Schroeder, her love interest, but she's mean and crabby when it comes to everybody else. And when it comes to her "competition" for Schroeder (namely, his piano), then it's a completely different story.
- Peppermint Patty is a bit more sweet towards Charlie Brown than she is towards anyone else, but is still prone to blow up at him if things don't go her way
- Tuckerization: Most of the characters were named after people that Charles Schulz knew, most famously his Art Instruction Schools colleague Charlie Brown. Of particular note is Linus Van Pelt, with the first name of another Art Instruction co-worker and the last name of one of Schulz's neighbors.
- Umpteenth Customer: In one Sunday strip, Charlie Brown goes to the movie theater because they're offering free candy bars to the first 500 children in line. He lets Lucy ahead of him, and she's the 500th child.
- Undesirable Prize: In "Good Sport", Charlie Brown finally wins something (A motocross event where everyone else broke down before the finish), but instead of getting tickets to the Pro Bowl (as the promised prize), he gets a gift certificate for five haircuts... which is useless to him because his dad's a barber, and he doesn't have hair to cut in the first place.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Many strips refer to real world events, but these were rarely reprinted (precisely because they were dated) until The Complete Peanuts. Occasionally some slipped through when the reference was sufficiently obscure: for example, a series of strips in which Snoopy observes birds having furious (but unintelligible) political arguments while holding signs depicting different punctuation marks. This accompanied the bitter polarised political discourse in the US in the run-up to the 1964 election.
- The Unintelligible: Every adult, ever.
- An exception: Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back) had two intelligible adults, for plot reasons, but it was toyed with earlier in the movie when British people talking to the kids speak a language that is intelligible to the audience but not to the main characters.
- Also, You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown has an intelligible announcer/narrator. As did She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. Snoopy's Reunion featured the appearance of the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm owner, and It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown had a number of teenagers/adults in the disco where Snoopy goes.
- Woodstock's chirpings are unintelligible to the reader/viewer, but apparently not to Snoopy.
- Unsound Effect:
- Linus jumps into a leaf pile, making the Written Sound Effect "Ker-leaf!" in the process. This gets lampshaded by Charlie Brown, who makes an Aside Glance and asks, "Ker-leaf?!"
- Also, the "polkas, schottisches and waltzes" strip mentioned above. Snoopy's accordion playing was captioned with those words.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
- Nobody (except Charlie Brown) ever seems to think it odd that a beagle is riding atop his doghouse in full WWI Flying Ace getup, among many other things (Marcie even participates in the WWI fantasy on occasion, as a 'simple French lass' with whom he shares wistful root beers in little cafes). A running gag was that Peppermint Patty thinks Snoopy is a "funny-looking kid with [a] big nose." In fact, Snoopy provokes most of the moments like these.
- This is averted in one of Franklin's early appearances where he encounters, in rapid succession, Lucy's psychiatric booth, Snoopy doing the Flying Ace thing, and Linus talking about the Great Pumpkin, at which point he proclaims to Charlie Brown that the neighborhood is just too weird and goes home.
- Vandalism Backfire: In an early strip, Lucy takes a blanket away from Linus and tears it apart. Linus says, "That wasn't my blanket. It was yours." Cue Lucy pounding the floor in frustration.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story:
- A 1966 storyline, involving Snoopy's doghouse catching fire and burning to the ground, was inspired by a fire at Schulz's studio in Sebastopol, CA earlier that year.
- A story arc about Charlie Brown ending up in hospital for weeks on an end was based on Schulz going through a bypass surgery that included a similarly lengthy recovery period.
- Very Special Episode: "Why, Charlie Brown, Why?" (aka the Cancer Special).
- The Von Trope Family: Lucy, Linus and Rerun Van Pelt.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: An in-universe example happens in this early strip, in which the local drug store has tons of violent comic magazines neatly arranged in a section labelled "For the Kiddies".
- What the Hell, Hero?: Everyone does this to Charlie Brown when he trades Snoopy for five players from Peppermint Patty's team.
- When It Rains, It Pours: Rain in the comics is truly a black line-y torrential downpour.
- When Trees Attack: The Kite-Eating Tree, which is implied to be sentient.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?:
- We're never told the location of the town the characters live in, or even its name. However, the look of the houses is based on those in Schulz's own birthplace of St Paul, Minnesota, and an early strip has Lucy winning a trophy for "Outstanding Fussbudget of Hennepin County" (real-life location of Minneapolis).
- The character "5" is established to live inside ZIP code 95472, which is Sebastopol, California.
- The school that Charlie Brown, Sally, et al. attend is variously referred to as James Street Elementary and Pinecrest Elementary.
- If you look closely at a letter envelope in Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales, it lists the town as "Sparkyville, USA". ("Sparky" was Schulz's nickname.)
- If A Boy Named Charlie Brown is to be believed, the gang live about a day's bus drive from New York City.
- Who's on First?:
Sally: I'm practicing my Y's.
Sally: No, Y's! I did a whole row of them.
Sally: Not O's, Y's!
Linus: I see.
Sally: I C? Who said anything about I's and C's? These are Y's! Don't you ever listen?
Sally: Not G! Y's!! Now pay attention… these are U's…
Linus: They don't look like me at all…
(Sally throws papers at Linus)
- William Telling: Charlie Brown does it to Snoopy in this early strip.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Charlie Brown and Linus.
- Wolverine Publicity:
- The special It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown stars Snoopy's brother, Spike, and Charlie Brown himself only gets a small cameo.
- Similarly, What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown! centers around Snoopy, with Charlie Brown only appearing at the beginning and end.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Used (and subverted) a few times in the early days of the strip. Explained more on the trope page.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: In one strip Peppermint Patty is asked to solve a (word) algebra problem involving relative ages. Peppermint Patty gives up without trying, but if you actually work out the problem, you'll discover that the father is only 12 years older than his daughter!
- X Must Not Win:
- Whenever Charlie Brown has any real chance of winning something, someone has to be around specifically to prevent him from achieving the victory, usually Snoopy.
- The most prominent case is in A Boy Named Charlie Brown, where he is one of the two remaining contestants on a winner-takes-all national spelling bee. Charlie Brown screws up spelling "beagle" due to a combination of Snoopy (who is a beagle) following him along and worry over Linus getting angry at Charlie Brown for a trivial reason.
- In Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown's team is set to win the river race, but the bullies sabotage his boat, allowing Woodstock to win.
- Averted in "You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown". He actually wins a motocross race, but the victory is somewhat dampened by the Undesirable Prize. (above)
- Yank the Dog's Chain:
- One cartoon had Charlie Brown's baseball team win their first game ever (with Charlie Brown, that is - with him absent they won a few)...then have to forfeit because Lucy's baby brother Rerun had broken a rule. Ironically, Rerun had also been the chief reason they had won the game in the first place.
- One story arc had Charlie Brown's team in the championship game. Charlie Brown balks and ends up losing the game as the other team gets an extra run added to their score for the balks. note
- You Are Number Six: 555 95472 ("5" for short) and his sisters 3 and 4 (and, presumably, parents 1 and 2); 5 explains that his father is commenting on the prevalence of numbers in our lives: not as a sign of protest, but of surrender.
- You Said You Couldn't Dance: In It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, after the titular event, Charlie Brown can suddenly dance, and does so with all the girls... and can't remember it the next morning.
- You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses?: Linus, who wore glasses for a short time in the early '60s. Lucy got mad at him for eating the last apple and snapped that if it not for the fact that Linus were wearing glasses, she would slug him, leading Linus to remark, "Glasses are good for your eyes. They keep you from getting punched in them!"