Thoughtful PopCult Analysis of ‘Peanuts’ Deserves Better than a Clickbaity Headline Hating on Snoopy

On a shelf in the slanty room under the stairs, next to her college textbooks, my mother kept a stash of inexpensive Peanuts paperbacks — dozens of them, which reprinted the newspaper strips, perhaps on a yearly basis, maybe more frequently.

I spent many a summer afternoon reading through those books, and I remember sorting the books in chronological order and noticing how the drawing style changed over the years. I remember noticing that Shermy and Patty (not *Peppermint* Patty — a different character) got relegated into background characters over the years, and how Snoopy, who started out spending most of his time on all fours, became gradually more and more human.

A key thesis of this Kotaku article is that as the strip centered on Snoopy and his human-like behavior (he took on the role of wise mentor to Woodstock, more conventional brother to Spike, serial victim of of the Cat Next Door), that left less room for Shultz to explore the childhood angst that made Charlie Brown such an iconic figure.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 5.55.29 PMYes, the movie will make a lot of money. And yes, it will likely put Charlie Brown and his friends back on the pop culture landscape, at least temporarily. But to be truly successful, it needs to have the thoughtfulness and sincerity that these characters were originally imbued with. Less Woodstock, more Linus. Less Snoopy, more Marcie. It needs to have a little darkness and a little sadness to balance with the silliness. Because as Schulz proved over 60 years ago, it’s the combination that will make the audiences laugh — and cry — even harder. —Kotaku