You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown

You're Not Elected, Charlie BrownSynopsis: Fun Wins In A Landslide!

Charlie Brown for student body president! Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Doesn’t that sound exciting? Doesn’t that sound impossible? With Lucy’s polling help, good ol’ Charlie Brown realizes he doesn’t have a chance. So he back Linus, who runs on a pro-recess, anti-homework platform. Why, he once even shared his peanut butter sandwich with a prospective constituent. Talk about a shoo-in! Unless, of course, Linus talks about a certain toy deliverer who rises out of the pumpkin patch each Halloween, a belief sure to blow his chances with voters. Join the fun and cast your vote for You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown!

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You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown 6.5

eyelights: its distillation of the electoral process. the score.
eyesores: the simplistic view of the electoral process. the one-liners and gags. the voice acting.

“In my administration, children will be children, and adults will be adults!”

Good Grief. I really don’t understand the appeal of ‘Peanuts’. As a kid nor as an adult, I just never really “got it”. I like the characters, but I don’t find the one-liners or the gags particularly funny; at their best, I’d call them groaners. And, quite frankly, the same could be said for “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown”, the 10th animated special based on Peter Schulz’s beloved series and characters.

Broadcast on CBS in 1972, right before the upcoming Presidential election, the special was inspired by a story arc that Schulz did in 1964, which had the ‘Peanuts’ gang vying for election at their school. Here, however, the material has been tailored for a 25-minute special, reducing the story to Linus’ election campaign with the help of his sister and friends – including Charlie Brown, who does not present himself.

Despite what the title suggests.

Interestingly, “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown” wasn’t the original title for the special: it was supposed to be “You’re Elected, Charlie Brown” but, at the last minute, the producers decided that the title didn’t make sense. Not that the new one does either, since Charlie Brown isn’t running. So baffling. Like I said, I simply don’t get ‘Peanuts’. There must be some sense in this, but it’s totally lost on me.

In any event, the special is a series of silly gags that confounded me, such as Snoopy making himself a big breakfast, only for Charlie Brown to rage over it (Why? What did Snoopy do wrong?). The core of the story revolves around Lucy’s campaign to get Linus elected, muscling some of the students to help her polls and coordinating her team of volunteers – which consists of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Woodstock.

I was surprised by how cynical the special’s view of politics was, that intimidation was considered either funny and/or acceptable, that only two candidates was considered democratic, that Lucy’s personal stake and objectivity wasn’t in question (she is, after all, Linus’ sister). But it did its best to distill the whole process into 20 or so minutes (after the opening salvo), so that wasn’t all bad.

Also pretty good was the music, courtesy of Vince Guaraldi, who delivered the traditional jazz-infused theme but also some funky fresh flavours throughout, including an original song for Snoopy, which Guaraldi sung himself. The music is unusual contextually, but I’d buy the soundtrack anyway. Sadly the animation is really rudimentary and the voice acting is absolutely horrendous: it’s stilted and unnatural.

So, in the end, I’m no great fan of “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown”. It’s a passable half hour of kid-friendly animation, but it’s nothing especially special or compelling. At least to me. In this day and age, there are no winners and losers, just different degrees of winning. So I’d say that this special is a winner: it made an effort to show up and it did its best, even as it didn’t quite make it to the finish line.

He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown 7.0

“You’re in the big leagues now, kid. Everything’s for keeps.”

“He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown” is a television special that aired on ABC in 2006. Based on the popular ‘Peanuts’ comic strip by Charles Schulz, particularly a storyline that he published in 1995, this is the 44th in a long line of cartoons that began in 1965 with ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.

For some reason, it’s been included with the Special Editon DVD release of ‘You’re not Elected, Charlie Brown’ (although it later got a separate release – I swear, the “Peanuts’ shows are repackaged like crazy!). Since bullying seems to be a constant in politics these days, I found it à propos.

This one revolves around Rerun getting all his marbles taken by a bully at summer camp, who takes advantage of the naive novice. Distraught because he didn’t realize they were playing for keeps and that he consequently lost his grandfather’s prized marble, he turns to Charlie Brown for help.

So Chuck decides to learn how to play marbles so that he can win them back for Rerun, holing out for a couple of days of intensive training. Meanwhile, Peppermint Patty goes to summer school instead of camp, but shows up because she’s jealous of Marcie, who pretends Chuck is flirting with her.

Firstly, I didn’t think that Charlie Brown could be a winner, so that was weird (that’s actually brought up in the strip; it appears to be his first time). Secondly, I didn’t like that he taught himself to play instead of teaching Rerun and empowering him in the process. It’s a poor lesson.

But the animation’s much improved over the other ones I’ve seen (it was made in 2006, so it’s not surprising), as is the voice acting. Neither are great, but they’re better, decent. Having said this this, the one-liners still suck. Ouch. But I’ve never been much of a ‘Peanuts’ fans…

Either way, it was an occasionally entertaining special, and I’ve no doubt that fans would enjoy it.

Date of viewing: August 9, 2015

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