YMMV / Peanuts

YMMV tropes for The Peanuts Movie go here.
  • Adaptation Displacement: Semi-averted. While the animated TV specials are arguably better known than the comic strip among the general public, there is a rather vocal section of fans who take their cues from Schulz as far as treating only the strips as canon and ignoring anything from animation, even if it's minor stuff like the Super Bowl special giving Marcie a last name (which was never stated in the strips).
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • There are some who consider Lucy's cruelty toward Charlie Brown as a mask for her own romantic feelings for him. Since Lucy's kindness towards Charlie Brown (or in general) is a strong case of Depending on the Writer some specials/strips give this theory a lot more credibility than others.
    • There are those who think that Schroeder is gay.
      • Gay for Beethoven, maybe.
      • Or maybe for Charlie Brown.
      • There are also those who think Schroeder is simply Asexual and aromantic.
      • It has been occasionally implied that he might have some repressed feelings for her but the real reason why he is never open about them is because he is normally annoyed by Lucy's rude and bossy nature.
      • Or conversely Schroder has nothing against girls in general he is just simply annoyed by Lucy. Also the Running Gag of Schroeder constantly rejecting Lucy's advances can be seen as Lucy getting her comeuppence due to her often rude behavior towards Linus and Charlie Brown.
    • For a certain group, Marcie and Peppermint Patty are seen as School Girl Lesbians, despite the fact that both girls are canonically crushing on Charlie Brown.
    • In the foreword to the 1975-76 Complete Peanuts collection, Robert Smigel (a Saturday Night Live writer and the guy behind Triumph The Insult Comic Dog) argues against the popular view of Charlie Brown as a Determinator - see that entry below.
      "Charlie Brown didn't keep trying to kick Lucy's football out of some inner strength and Horatio Alger resolve we were supposed to admire. He did it because he was weak. He was flawed, and he couldn't help himself. But that's exactly why we love him."
    • The reason Violet constantly says My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad is that she doesn't want anyone to know that she wishes he'd spend more time with her.
    • Some even argue that Charlie Brown's life is not quite as horrible as we think it is as he is not quite the loser is often made out to be. Charlie Brown normally gets along with the boys in his class (particularly Linus and Schroeder) and he has a surprisingly good love life as the Launcher of a Thousand Ships entry below has pointed out well enough.
  • Archive Panic: A half-century's worth of daily comic strips, dozens of animated TV specials, 5 full-length animated films.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Lucy. People either love her for her personality and her Running Gag of swiping the football away from Charlie at the last millisecond, or hate her for the very same reasons.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The Alfred E. Neuman cameo at the end of this strip. It (sort of) makes sense in context, as the previous strips had Charlie Brown seeing everything as a baseball.
  • Cant Unhear It: If you were introduced to the animated shows first, it's hard to read the strips without assigning the voice acting from the shows to them. It helps that they did a pretty good job recasting the voices to sound close to the original children who played each character, so each character has a basic recognizable sound. MetLife even used the animated voice cast to do radio commercials featuring the gang.
  • Cargo Ship: If taken to the extreme, Schroeder/Toy Piano and Linus/Security Blanket. Unfortunately, those two pairings might be the only two requited relationships.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Rerun, who usurped control over the strip in the last five or six years at the expense of every character not named Lucy, Charlie Brown, or Snoopy.
    • Spike, Snoopy's older brother, also fits the bill, particularly during his heyday in the 80's.
  • Dork Age: There are lots of opinions on when the strip's Golden Age was, how far it fell from that over the years, and exactly when the Seasonal Rot first set in, but everyone agrees that the 1980s were the weakest period, with frequent rehashing of old ideas, misguided attempts at relevance, and the inexplicable rise of Snoopy's brother Spike. Some of this was due to circumstances beyond Schulz's control, namely a heart attack that forced him to slow down his working pace. Others believe that the strip never recovered from its 80's doldrums, often citing the increasingly scratchy art. This too was a side-effect of Schulz's heart attack; though he recovered, his motor skills started to deteriorate.
  • Ear Worm: "Linus and Lucy". How much so? One poll reported that the theme was the most recognizable piece of music in the world.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Schulz himself noted the discrepancy between Pig-Pen's popularity and his rare appearances in the strip.
    • Peggy Jean is surprisingly popular in fanfiction - maybe because she's the only girl that treats Charlie Brown with nothing but kindness.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Some fans prefer the idea that Linus's belief in the Great Pumpkin is supposedly a metaphor for religious faith. Though it is a metaphor for believing in Santa Claus, Schulz claimed that he thought the idea of a kid confusing Christmas and Halloween (well, Santa Claus and trick-or-treating, anyway) would be a funny plotline, but did not intend to place any deeper meaning or message behind it.
  • Fanon: Several elements of the strip, including the Little Red-Haired Girl's actual name and Marcie's last name. You're in the Super Bowl called her Marcie Johnson, but Schulz has said that he never considered the animated specials canon. Another special gave the Little Red-Haired Girl's name as "Heather". Again, not canon, but fanfiction uses it anyway, usually on the grounds that they have to call her something.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot: Those Darker and Edgier fics about the grown-up gang. From Peppermint Patty and Marcie being Schoolgirl Lesbians, Linus being a pot addict, to Schroeder being a closet gay.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Fans of the newspaper strip versus fans of the animated cartoons, as far as whether or not character details that are expanded upon in the latter (such as Marcie's last name, the number and names of Snoopy's siblings, and what the Little Red-Headed Girl looks like) should count as canon.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The major part of the strip's humor is Charlie Brown being a woobie Failure Hero. However, while such jokes of Charlie Brown misfortunes are funny when kept to the concise storytelling form of the comic strip, his original plots for the animated specials eventually lost all proportion for the stories' tone. This led to specials with excruciating levels of sustained and illogical cruelty against our hero that tended to anger viewers, sometimes to the point of writing letters of protest. Of the specials, It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown, and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown are particularly grievous offenders (the first features Charlie Brown being blamed for losing the homecoming football game when it was really Lucy repeatedly yanking the ball out of his way through force of habit, while the other two end with Linus romancing girls on whom he knows Charlie Brown has a huge crush).
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • One story arc has Charlie Brown's baseball team making it into the championship game... and the team loses because of Charlie Brown. However, the fact that Charlie Brown's team even made it to the championship game implies that they won at least a few games.
    • In the Thanksgiving special, one of the things Snoopy serves Peppermint Patty and others is popcorn, which was probably actually served at the first Thanksgiving. Also (as lampshaded by Linus), the situation Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Charlie Brown are in is similar to the one in the poem "The Courtship of Miles Standish".
    • Doubles with Genius Bonus and Just for Pun: Why is Snoopy a World War I flying ace? Because he's a BEAGLE!
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • The very last strip, like all newspaper comic strips, was written many weeks in advance… and was printed mere hours after Schulz's death.
    • In a 1954 strip, Charlie Brown invites Shermy over to read comic books. The titles include Revolutionary War Comics, War of 1812 Comics, Civil War Comics, World War I Comics, World War II Comics, and Korean War Comics, with Charlie Brown saying the next issue has him worried. He and all of America had reason to worry, considering what actually happened next...
    • The Running Gag of Peppermint Patty falling asleep in class is funny until it's eventually revealed that she's a latchkey kid who constantly stays up late waiting for her single dad to come home. She's not lazy: she's genuinely sleep-deprived.
    • The name of Snoopy's birthplace, the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, doesn't sound quite so charming now that the disgraceful conditions of many "puppy mill" dog-breeding facilities are better known.
  • Genius Bonus: Schulz was a big classical music fan,note  and though his ability to read music was limited, he meticulously copied passages from various piano pieces for strips featuring Schroeder at the piano (mostly Beethoven piano sonatas, but works by Haydn, Clementi, Chopin, and Rachmaninoffnote  among others also showed up), and his pianistic "career" includes some bonuses for fans of classical music.
    • In one of the very first strips to feature Schroeder at the piano from September 1951, Charlie Brown tells Patty that Schroeder has a contract with the "New York Philip Harmonic" to play Johannes Brahms' first piano concerto. "Why doesn't he play Brahms' second concerto?" Patty asks. "Well, after all, he's only a baby!" says Charlie Brown. Brahms' second piano concerto is widely regarded as a leading candidate for the most technically difficult piano concerto in the standard repertoire (the first concerto isn't much easier, but the Rule of Funny is in effect here).
    • Several early 1950s strips feature Schroeder going through a rigorous exercise routine or launching himself off the end of a slide before playing a particular musical passage. The passage in question is the first measure of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.29 in B-flat, nicknamed the Hammerklavier, and widely agreed to be one of the most technically demanding piano sonatas by any composer, so Schroeder may well need to limber up before practice!
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • At least two translations of the strip (the French one and the Swedish one) were renamed after Snoopy. He's also very popular in Japan. It would be interesting to note that, if you look at Yoshi from the Super Mario series' look and personality, it's very similar to Snoopy. Even similar enough to think Yoshi might be an Affectionate Parody in tribute to Snoopy.
    • A peculiar example (almost a form of Covered Up) is that in the USA the animated specials are better known than the original strips, whereas in other countries it's usually the other way around.
  • Growing the Beard: The late 1950s, when the characterizations of Charlie Brown (Butt Monkey Determinator) and Snoopy (Anthropomorphic Shift to an Intellectual Animal) finally crystallized. Or it can also be argued as when Lucy is introduced in 1952, followed later in the 1950s by Linus and Sally to complete what remained the strip's core cast for most of its run. It arguably grew an even bigger beard in the early 70's after Franklin, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty, and Marcie were introduced.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Listen to current news stories of bullying, then go read a Peanuts strip, or watch any of the specials (such as the auditorium scenes in A Charlie Brown Christmas). Not as funny as it used to be, is it?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the November 16, 1952 strip, Lucy yanks the football away from Charlie Brown for the first time... after which he tells her, "Don't ever do that again!"
    • On June 10, 1959, shortly after Sally's birth...
      Linus: When I'm twenty-two and Sally is seventeen, do you think she'll go out with me?
    • A 1961 strip has Sally expressing her disappointment that she can't go to school with the other kids.
    • This 1998 strip all but predicts Tiger Woods' sex scandal 11 years later, as long as you take into account the different meanings of "ho/hoe".
    • In the 1970s, there was a character named Poochie who was shooed out almost immediately. Does that sound familiar?
    • A Halloween figure rising out of the ground to fly around the world giving presents to everyone? If we change his title from "Great Pumpkin" to "Pumpkin King"...
    • In a 1976 strip, Linus comments that Bob Dylan is 35 years old, which Charlie Brown calls the most depressing thing he's ever heard. Naturally, that joke has spent 40 years becoming increasingly funny and increasingly depressing at the same time as Time Marches On and Dylan continues to get older.
    • One strip features Snoopy, in his Foreign Legion persona, crawling parched through a desert (actually just a sandbox) and mentioning the "buzzards circling overhead". An early Finnish version of this strip translated "buzzards" as "hawks", mixing up the species of hawks known as buzzards with the colloquial term for vultures and creating the rather odd mental image of hawks circling a person dying in the desert. Fast forward to 1999, over ten years after the translation was made, and this strip really does feature Snoopy mixing up which birds are known for such behavior.
    • The strips from The '80s featuring the character Tapioca Pudding, who was a Take That! to Strawberry Shortcake. As of 2015, the same company owns licensing rights for Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake.
  • I Am Not Shazam: When the strip first came out, people naturally assumed that Charlie Brown's name was "Peanuts". This frustrated Charles Schulz, who had predicted that this would happen. For many years the Sunday strips carried the subtitle "Featuring Good Ol' Charlie Brown" to help avert this.
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: Ironically enough, once the strip became popular many people wound up forgetting the actual title and thinking it was called "Charlie Brown" or "Snoopy".
    • Snoopy was so iconic that that, in some countries (like Sweden), the comic strip is named after him. The official name of the strip's website was "snoopy.com" for much of the internet era.
    • Most of the animated specials and book collections include "Charlie Brown" in the title, but the title panels on the Sunday strips for many years said Peanuts featuring GOOD OL' CHARLIE BROWN.
    • In Italy it was known as "Linus" back in the day by most readers, mostly because the comic strip was published in a magazine named after him.
    • In Brazil there is an attempt to equal character and title by making Charlie Brown nicknamed "Minduim" (from amendoim, "Peanut").
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Believe or not, Charlie Brown. In Peanuts fanfiction (yes, there is Peanuts fanfiction), he's been paired up with Peppermint Patty, The Little Red-Haired Girl, Lucy and Frieda. In the strip, there's also Marcie, who has a huge crush on Charlie Brown, and he also had a short-lived romance with a girl named Peggy Jean. And in the early days, Patty and Violet sometimes showed romantic interest in him.
  • Les Yay: Because of the close friendship between Marcie and Peppermint Patty, some fans have inferred a romantic relationship between them. However, the comic strip's content does not lend support to this conclusion. This usually is only referred to in pop-culture satirists like Family Guy, comedian Stephen Lynch, and Robot Chicken.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Charlie Brown both in and out of universe. As Chris Rock once said, "He didn't even star in his own Halloween special."
    • Linus, to a lesser extent, also is this, namely in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the first Valentine's Day special and especially in Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown. Plus having Lucy as a sister doesn't do his reputation/well-being/self-confidence any favors.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Snoopy's Happy Dance.
    • Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown has become a popular analogy. Political pundits especially seem to love it.
    • "I got a rock" is so memorable that it still gets referenced/parodied even today.
    • There's 3eanuts, a Garfield Minus Garfield-style attempt to recontextualize Peanuts by leaving off the final panel, which often ends up making the strip seem cruel and depressing. That said, it doesn't work nearly as well as Garfield Minus Garfield because Peanuts isn't as formulaic as Garfield, and really most humorous works would come off as bleak if you trimmed out the jokes. Also because Peanuts can be pretty bleak and depressing even with the final panel.
  • Narm Charm:
    • The animated specials, particularly the very early ones, have a great deal of this. The animation is crude and often off model, and some of the child actors, particularly very young ones like Kathy Steinberg (the original Sally) and Jimmy Ahrens (the original Marcie), give very awkward readings of their lines (which are often audibly spliced together from multiple takes), but the art and the vocal performances are part of what makes the stories and especially the characters so endearing in many viewers' eyes.
    • The theme song for the second season of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. Very much a product of its time, but Awesome Music nonetheless.
  • Nausea Fuel: An early 1970s Sunday strip has this, when Lucy drinks some soda with a straw that Snoopy used without her knowledge. The disgusted expressions that Charlie Brown makes because of this distract Lucy from their conversation.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Rerun, during the strip's final years, began developing into a more rounded and funny character, redeeming him in the eyes of some of the fans who objected to his rise in prominence as other, more established characters faded into the background.
  • Retroactive Recognition: In It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown, Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown, and Series 2 of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, Sally was voiced by Stacy Ferguson, now better known as The Black Eyed Peas lead singer/solo artist Fergie. She even gets to show off her singing voice in Snoopy's Getting Married.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Any character introduced into the strip that ran the risk of being this (Charlotte Braun, etc.), Schulz unceremoniously dropped.
    • Snoopy's family, especially Spike, from the late 70's onward, due to them all being a massive Spotlight-Stealing Squad and causing the comic to be less charmingly melancholy.
    • Violet and Patty, due to them being huge Rich Bitches a la Muffy Crosswire from Arthur. Thankfully, they both disappeared in the mid-to-late 60's.
    • Rerun, for being an annoying Cousin Oliver and Creator's Pet hogging all the screentime throughout the entirety of the 90's.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: The strip sometimes suffers from this, due both to its own cultural ubiquity and to the influence it's had on countless other comics over the last half-century.
    • Consider this: Schulz's characters were considered dysfunctional in the 1950s and '60s. After comics like Calvin and Hobbes or Zits, it can be hard to believe this.
    • As Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson once put it in an interview:
      "Every now and then I hear that Peanuts isn't as funny as it was or it's gotten old or something like that. I think what's really happened is that Schulz, in Peanuts, changed the entire face of comic strips, and everybody has now caught up to him. I don't think he's five years ahead of everybody else like he used to be, so that's taken some of the edge off it. I think it's still a wonderful strip in terms of solid construction, character development, the fantasy element...Things that we now take for granted—reading the thoughts of an animal for example—there's not a cartoonist who's done anything since 1960 who doesn't owe Schulz a tremendous debt."
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: "Happiness Is a Warm Puppy", a strip quote that was famously turned into a gift book, leading to an entire "Peanuts Treasury of Happiness" series.
  • Toy Ship: Many of the strip's male/female relationships would qualify as this.
  • Uncanny Valley: Lucy's early appearances had her depicted with pupils and irises rather than the simple dots that were shown in the time. This made her look like a total Creepy Child, especially when she smiled.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Charlie Brown is treated like dirt by almost everyone, from major to one-shot characters - even his friends are not above tearing into him for his perceived failings - yet he remains beloved by many readers, partly because of his perennial underdog status and the fact that it never stops him from trying.
  • Values Dissonance: One strip from the mid-1950s Played for Laughs the fact that Linus had mistaken his first snowfall for the fallout from a nuclear war. Might count as an inversion, since, if anything, nuclear winter was even less funny during the Cold War. Or perhaps just Black Comedy.
  • Values Resonance:
    • A Charlie Brown Christmas' denouncement of commercialism (which carries over into A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown as well) and presentation of the True Meaning of Christmas. Which makes later handling of the show even more ironic; due to the fact that networks generally push in more and more commercials into episodes, for several years the special aired heavily truncated. Fan backlash ultimately made them back away from it, giving the special a full hour and tossing in a short from a Christmas anthology special to pad things out so they can air it uncut. Of course, that does mean that ABC gets to have a reliably high rated special they can rerun in an hour timeslot.
    • There's also a bunch of still-relevant political humor in You're (Not) Elected, Charlie Brown and the strips on which it was based. The fact that they haven't dated is probably due to Schulz lampooning the overall election process rather than a current election or event of his day.
    • The bullying can fall into this and Dissonance as well - the characters do bully each other, and it's Played for Laughs, but many of the actual bullying rarely veers into Troubling Unchildlike Behavior, and when it does (such as Lucy throwing Shroeder's piano to the kite-eating tree), it's not shrugged off.
    • Save for a few controversial instances, Franklin's skin tone is barely commented on.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Some people believed early on that Peppermint Patty was not a tomboy, but an actual boy. It doesn't help that in some of the animated adaptations, she is voiced by a boy, and that in the 1980s and '90s, it became a little more acceptable for young males to have longer hair than it would be in the 1950s-1970s. (Where it was older men who had longer hair primarily!)
    • Plus, she's drawn with shorts - Schulz typically drew the other girls with skirts.
    • This was just made worse in the strips constituting She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown, where Peppermint Patty goes to get her hair cut by CB's father, a barber, then comes running out, her hair all but scalped, screaming at him, "You didn't tell him I'm a GIRL!"
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!:
    • It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown is positively jarring in how closely tied it is to the mid-1980s, with its biggest set piece being Snoopy, clad in a torn sweater, sweatband, and leg warmers (a wardrobe he chose after trying on and then rejecting a white disco suit), going to a dance club and showing off moves that pay clear homage to Flashdance while Franklin gives a display of breakdancing.
    • In one of the last daily strips, Sally is writing a letter to Harry Potter. Not as obvious as Flashbeagle, but this was written around the time the books were becoming popular.
    • Dilbert also got a Shout-Out in that last year.
    • The 90's were full of this, from Forrest Gump to Barney to the Walkman.
  • What an Idiot: Poor Peppermint Patty…
    • An entire arc was dedicated to Peppermint Patty attending a "cheap private school" Snoopy recommended and not realizing it was an obedience school until after she graduated and the principal told her when she showed him her diploma as proof that she doesn't need to go back to school.
    • She then blamed Snoopy, and looked for him in order to beat him up, but forgave him when he saved her from the cat who lived next door to Charlie Brown (which she had mistaken for Snoopy in a cat suit). The unseen adult in charge of the obedience school apparently is also an idiot for thinking there's nothing wrong with training a human and graduating her as if she's a dog.
    • Patty for the longest time thought Snoopy was a "funny-looking kid with a big nose." It was not until a series of strips in 1974, when Patty announced she was quitting school and moving into "Chuck's guest cottage", that an irate Marcie finally pointed out the truth to her.
    • In a series of strips from 1982 or so, Patty decided to transfer to a school for gifted children because she thought it meant they would give her presents.
  • The Woobie:
    • Charlie Brown, whenever his optimism is crushed for the umpteenth time.
    • Linus, whenever the Great Pumpkin fails to appear.
    • Peppermint Patty gets her moment when she sees the Little Red Haired Girl and how pretty she is, and realizes why Charlie Brown always loved her. It's enough to drive her to tears, and anyone who's ever had an unrequited crush probably knew exactly how she felt. Thank God Linus was there to listen and cheer her up.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Peanuts