Western Animation: Why, Charlie Brown, Why?

First aired on CBS in 1990, this Peanuts special (the 33rd overall) is notable as the first animated cartoon to tackle the subject of cancer. Ironically, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz would lose his own battle with the disease a decade later, but his approach to the topic was a brave move.

On an autumn day, Linus notices his classmate Janice is getting a lot of bruises and feeling tired, so he convinces her to see the nurse. When he learns about Janice and her cancer diagnosis, Linus starts to go through a change. As Janice's treatment for cancer progresses, the seasons changes to symbolize this, and Linus becomes stronger for being emotionally affected by the issues, even going as far as standing up to people.

Tropes used:

  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with. Janice does lose her hair from the chemotherapy, but when we see her in remission, her hair has grown back to its original length much, much faster than it would in real life.
  • Beware of the Nice Ones: The bully learns this the hard way after removing Janice's hat, which covered her baldness, and then loudly mocking her baldness until she cried.
  • Children Are Innocent: Clearly points this out, except in the case of Lucy and the school bully.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Janice Emmons
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Linus does this upon Lucy discovering he was visiting Janice. Since Linus knew he can't catch cancer like a cold, he yells at his normally bully of sister for her remarks. Linus goes as far as standing up against a school yard bully for making fun of Janice's baldness, a side-effect of chemotherapy.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Linus, all the way!
  • Title Drop: Linus does this on the way home from the first time he visits Janice at the hospital.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Linus.
  • Very Special Episode: The special was the first to address cancer in an animated format.