December 19, 2005

Startling Admission: Holiday Edition

I'm a big fan of Christmas specials. Not the new ones (over the weekend I swear I watched some take off on A Christmas Carol starring Tori Spelling, William Shatner and Gary Coleman...see, I'm not making it up) but the old-school ones. Ones like Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman (how can you not love Jimmy Durante?), and the animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

In 1965, Coca-Cola teamed up with CBS to bring a new, low-budget animated Christmas special to prime time. It aired on December 9, 1965 and surprised everyone by captivating over 50% of the entire television audience. It won an Emmy and a Peabody and its soundtrack became one of the most recognizable pieces of music of the 20th century. I'm talking, of course, about A Charlie Brown Christmas, a Christmas special that I can't stand.

Let me admit, right here and right now, that I realize I'm in the minority. And that, by dissing this American classic, I'm probably simultaneously somehow letting the terrorists win and killing a sack full of puppies. But I still don't like it.

The special is woven out of neuroses and inadequacy. Charlie disappoints everyone and, stoic as he is, tries his best to disprove that he's a big loser. Lucy is just a bitch. The rest are all merely complicit in making Charlie feel like crap - even Snoopy is a pain in the ass. If there was ever an animated character in dire need of a Zoloft, it would be Charlie. Nothing makes me feel like clocking myself over the head with a fruitcake (fatal 7 out of 10 times) more than sitting down to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. Sure, Charlie symbolizes the feelings of inner-loserdom we all, at one time or another, have. But there's no need to be reminded of that during the holidays. Grow a set, Charlie. Tell Lucy to stick that pathetic tree where the sun don't shine. Enroll Snoopy in a little obedience training. Screw the Midwestern stoicism and have some fun.

Granted, there are two upsides - Vince Guaraldi's soundtrack is marvelous and the scenes with Snoopy dancing are priceless. But that's it.

So, there you have it - my startling Christmas admission. What's yours?

Posted by Chris at December 19, 2005 08:23 AM

I...of the 'We should all suck it up because we have nothing to cry about in our lives' philosphy....BAWL every time I hear 'Let them know it's Christmas Time'


Posted by: wn at December 19, 2005 08:26 AM

I'm speechless. I never heard anyone admit that they didn't like Charlie Brown's Christmas. What about Linus's soliloquy? What about everyone coming together to make the crappy tree pretty? What about Snoopy's winning 1st place in the decorating contest? ;-)

Posted by: Hazel Hazel at December 19, 2005 08:30 AM

I've never liked it either. Thank you for admitting your Christmas heresy. ;)

Posted by: erika at December 19, 2005 08:31 AM


Oh. My.

Charles Schulz is spinning in his grave.

I hope you're happy with yourself.

Merry Christmas Chris.

Posted by: Allan at December 19, 2005 08:40 AM

I HATE A Charlie Brown Christmas! Wow. Feels good to get that off my chest.

Posted by: Fraulein N at December 19, 2005 08:41 AM

My boyfriend and I made the startling discovery that Charlie Brown's Christmas is where the start of Emo began. Think about it...Charlie Brown is always depressed, moping around, and for christ's sake, can't even beat a girl (Lucy) at football. That's pretty sad. Lucy is a total bitch, and who can't see the lesbo-action between the redhead and the nerdy girl. This cartoon special really needs to be thought over. What is Charlie Brown's Christmas really getting at?

Posted by: Michelle at December 19, 2005 08:43 AM

I don't know how startling this is since I've admitted it time and again. I ♥ Elmo Saves Christmas. What is startling to me is that I still don't own this fine piece of cinematography.

Posted by: pea at December 19, 2005 08:51 AM

I'm not a fan of it either, maybe we should start a group, like for therapy or something. "My name is Jennifer and I hate The Charlie Brown Christmas Special." " Hi Jennifer!"

Posted by: JuJuBee at December 19, 2005 08:55 AM

I pretty much loathe the month of December -- bad shit happens. But? Snoopy dancing and that Peanuts music?

Makes me giggle every g-d damn time. Every. Time.

Posted by: Pammer at December 19, 2005 08:57 AM

*not startled* You put ALL my thoughts into words. Like that never happens... Am surprised, though, JuJu, you never tole me! My startling discovery??? Hmmm, just that I HATE every single little thing about the Grinch. Makes my skin crawl.

Posted by: JuJu's Mom at December 19, 2005 09:03 AM

i LOVE a charlie brown christmas.

but last year, i shared this christmas gem with my grinchy boyfriend and he HATED it. passionately. i think more so than you.

me, i've never liked the animated rudolph the red nosed reindeer, even as a kid - i never understood how the sasquatch fit in to that story.

but i do agree with you on one thing - the soundtrack and the dancing part of that whole damn special.

Posted by: suze at December 19, 2005 09:25 AM

My startling Christmas admission is that I can't stand my extended family Christmases. I love my aunts, uncles and cousins to death, but we are at our most obnoxious and ungrateful when it comes to opening those presents. Oh, and the screaming from all of my cousins' kids is enough to drive anyone mad. The only way I can get through it is by drinking. I much prefer the calm, open one-at-a-time pace of my immediate family Christmas.

Posted by: Beth in StL at December 19, 2005 09:33 AM

I'm with you on this. I hate Charlie Brown period!

Posted by: Theresa at December 19, 2005 09:53 AM

I can't think of anything to say to this post but it wopuld not be like me to not say something so....


Posted by: Jeff A at December 19, 2005 09:53 AM

I don't even know you. Joe Cool and the gang are loved in this house. *me taking the shipping label off your cookies*

btw we saw once upon a mattress last night--it was good. Carol Burnett was awesome.

Our fav is the grinch and the island of misfit toys.

Posted by: Michele at December 19, 2005 10:03 AM

Well, at least you like Snoopy's dancing. Beagle lovers of the world will not kill you now. But obedience training? Are you kidding? With a beagle? Doesn't work. Trust me. I have four.

Posted by: Heather at December 19, 2005 10:17 AM

i hate christmas music, christmas specials on TV, christmas movies, midnight mass, how the meaning of christmas gets lost among the sea of zales, macy's and old navy holiday commercials, and maybe christmas in general.

the only perks (for me) are:
-laying under the tree and staring up at the lights
-the soundtrack of a charlie brown christmas (something i've never seen. i've never seen the one with the great pumpkin for halloween too.)
-the presents (a reward for listening to the same 20 songs that i've heard every year of my 20 years for 2 months.)

Posted by: denise at December 19, 2005 10:21 AM

I absolutely love Rudolph and Frosty, although I haven't watched them yet this year.

Posted by: Adi at December 19, 2005 10:30 AM

I LOVE the music and the Snoopy dance! (The rest of the show - including Charilie Brown himself - is a little slow.) My Christmas confession - I love the Christmas special with Heat Miser and Cold Miser in it! LOVE them! Whiny, freaky, crazy little Christmas icons that they are.

Posted by: Lilymane at December 19, 2005 10:37 AM

Lucy IS a bitch!!!!! I hated her guts so bad. Just let him kick the damn football and you are SOOOOO not a psychotherapist, you fraud.

Posted by: melati at December 19, 2005 10:41 AM

Hear! Hear! Thank God someone finally had the guts to tell the truth! I wholeheartedly concur. I hate the way Woodstock just gets his ass handed to him through ALL of the Charlie Brown specials - Snoopy is so mean to him! What message do these send to kids?!

Posted by: Gwen at December 19, 2005 10:54 AM

Charlie Brown is seriously depressing. I agree with you. My admission is that I have the ENTIRE Grinch story memorized. Because it is the best story ever. I can recite every word and I can even take your last can of Who Hash. My talents are endless.

Posted by: Eulallia at December 19, 2005 11:05 AM

My secret is that I LOVE A Charlie Brown Christmas, although you are totally right about everyone treating him like crap. I was watching it with Baby Girl (who is now 4)and she was horrified at how everyone talked to Chuck. It upset her that they laughed at his tree and then she commented on how she was SURE Santa was not going to come see them because they were being so mean to Chuck.

You know what surprised me though? All of the references to the Bible and God. I didn't think it was bad, just surprising that in this day and age, they would actually run the program with that type of content.

Posted by: Doula Amy at December 19, 2005 11:11 AM

I hate The Christmas Story.

Posted by: Autumn at December 19, 2005 11:17 AM

I just can't get into the Christmas spirit this year, which is highly unusual. I think it's because my job and other circumstances are making me bitter and angsty. Also, I didn't get around to getting a tree this year, which didn't help.

Also, I've never seen A Christmas Story in its entirety. I've seen parts of it, and I just don't get the appeal. At all. It makes me sad and angry all at once, and that's just in the first few minutes.

Posted by: Dawn at December 19, 2005 11:55 AM

I'm listening to the soundtrack right now. But that's not startling, I realize.

CB specials always make me a little nuts in the same way that 3's Company did - I get all anxious and want to change the situation (or at least the outcome) but can't.

And I WAS Lucy as a child. Bitchy and bossy and no fun to be around really. Yep.

But my truly startling admission is that I HATE THE HOLIDAYS. I suffer from depression at this time of year that has only gotten worse as time goes by. I want to shop and shop and buy gifts and go to parties and none of it ever happens and I end up so let down. Same with New Year's Eve. Always just one big letdown. Hence, the Christmas Bitch.

Well that was jolly.

Posted by: kalisah at December 19, 2005 12:01 PM

Just watched it over the weekend and noticed something for the first time. How come everyone always refers to him as 'Charlie Brown'? Linus gets to be referred to with one name. Lucy too. Why is it that whenever anyone says anything to him, they always use both names? Just thought that was weird and also I wondered why I never noticed that before.

Anyway, I love it. But I respect your opinion, as always. Everyone can't like everything. We each must find the things we like and derive whatever pleasure we can from them.

Posted by: Mike at December 19, 2005 12:02 PM

I haven't seen A Charlie Brown Christmas despite the fact that I LOVE Snoopy (mine is 22 years old) and the soundtrack.

Actually, I haven't see any of the Christmas specials. None. Perhaps a bit, but never more than 5 minutes. Except the Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker. My favorite Christmas movies are Die Hard and Love Actually.

So there's my confession.

Posted by: Oakley at December 19, 2005 12:17 PM

I have caught a few Christmas cartoons on tv this year.. brought back alot of memories thats for sure! I completely missed them all last year! It was just not the same..

Posted by: soniclibra at December 19, 2005 12:17 PM

you are unamerican and you have let the terrorists win.

Posted by: laura at December 19, 2005 12:23 PM

IMO, it doesn't get any better than Vince Guaraldi. And if I have to suffer a mean-spirited cartoon with awkward pauses, well, so be it.

My Christmas admission: In my heart of hearts, I crave the Christmases past; the smell of perfume on Aunt Agnes' icy cheeks when she comes in the door; the sound of Uncle Denis' laughter when he carves the turkey; the whole family gathering to play a silly game with cards and wrapped up "treasures"; in other words, I crave the magic that once was. Mom and Dad always made it special. I saw that last night while putting up all the little hand-made ornaments that Mom's friends made for us (with our names and the year painted on). They were always thinking of us, always.

Which is to say, nowadays, Exmas sucks ass.

Posted by: bhd at December 19, 2005 12:36 PM

I'm somewhat mystified by this admission, since I just assumed that there was a special protein in human DNA that made people like it. But then again, I've never actually analyzed why I liked it. Regardless of what it says or how it says it, it evokes memories of my childhood that make me feel very warm and safe, especially that scene with the kids ice-skating on the pond with Vince playing in the background.

Posted by: CroutonBoy at December 19, 2005 12:38 PM

I haven't watched it in years.
My admission:
My friend Brendon and I sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" for karaoke at a Christmas party last weekend.

Posted by: Heather at December 19, 2005 12:57 PM

I am so breaking up with you! I love Charlie Brown, especially the Christmas special (the original). The music is the best ever.

My startling admission is that I wish I had been born into a Jewish family, because I would rather celebrate Chanukah instead. I am with Kalisah, Christmas is usually a big letdown. It makes me feel depressed and inadequate.

Anyway! Vive le Charlie Brown!!

Posted by: Ms. Q at December 19, 2005 12:59 PM

ack! i hate A Charlie Brown Christmas. with a passion.

i'm personally partial to A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. these two NEVER get old for me!

Posted by: ali at December 19, 2005 01:22 PM

Congrats on your nomination for Best Daddy Blog on the BOB Awards!!


Posted by: Jim Turner at December 19, 2005 01:31 PM

(creak) yes, I'm coming out of the closet.
I've never like the charlie brown specials.
Any of them.
I alwasy thought it was just me and kept my weirdness to myself.

I'm a christian.
I love to wallow in the true meaning of christmas.
I love christmas pageants.
I just don't love this show.....

(creak) I'm going back into the closet one else would understand.

Posted by: speckledpup at December 19, 2005 02:25 PM

I confess that my kids and I watched "War of the Worlds" over the weekend instead of doing Christmassy stuff.


Posted by: ben at December 19, 2005 02:34 PM

You are brave to admit this.

I must admit that I'm not sure I have seen this special. Atleast not in the last 20 years.

But the hubby will be getting the soundtrack for Christmas this year, after admitting to me that "Lucy and Linus" is his *favorite* song in the world.

Who knew?

Posted by: Isabel at December 19, 2005 03:56 PM

I hate hate HATE I'ts a Wonderful Life. The premise is so ridiculous and emotionally manipulative. HATE.

Posted by: TB at December 19, 2005 03:58 PM

Tell me where the puppies are, Cruella! Are they in a cave somewhere with you & Osama or have you already offed them?

How can you not like Charlie Brown? I mean, of all the Charlie Browns in the world, he's the Charlie Browniest. Yeah, I love that special, also the Garfield Christmas special and A Christmas Story. I'm not a big Rudoloph fan - I don't think I've watched the entire movie since I was a kid, and even then I don't think I liked it very much.

My holiday confession? I hate decorating. Especially the tree. People get so picky about where the ornaments go and blah, blah, blah, what's the point when you're just going to take it down in a couple of weeks anyway? But, I like the idea of the tree and enjoy it being all lit up and everything, so I usually don't tell people how much I despise the decorating - I just wander off in the midst of the decorating frenzy and leave others to do all the work.

But, at least I don't kill sacks full of puppies.

Posted by: erin at December 19, 2005 04:07 PM

Hey, I'm bored (read: procrastinating the 100 billion things on my to do list) when you have some time, I'd love to know how you make those photos with more than one of you in them...I have photoshop and photoshop you use those to do it?

Posted by: JuJuBee at December 19, 2005 04:37 PM

Oh, thank goodness someone said it.
I have always disliked Charlie Brown Christmas (I almost shortened that to CBC, but then I'd be kicked out of Canada)

It's so whiney. Ugh.

Posted by: Opal at December 19, 2005 05:08 PM

Hmm, startling holiday admission... Other than the fact that I hate egg nog and like to bite the heads (and limbs) off gingerbread men, I can't think of anything. :) I do agree with you about CB though, I have never liked that one.

All those other specials you mentioned make me want to make a run for Blockbuster!

Posted by: Kestrel at December 19, 2005 07:49 PM

geesshhh...what do you have against midwesterners...

Posted by: linda at December 19, 2005 08:32 PM

Although the boy LOVES it (and it worries me more than I care to admit) I hate the Sounds of Music and refused to by him the DVD for Christmas. The last thing I need is a five year old singing the yodelling song at the top of his lung while hyped on sugar.

As for Charlie Brown -- sigh poor old Charlie Brown. I can take it or leave it haven't seen it in years. But you know, the Grinch (animated) I own on DVD, and it gets played once a week. Usually as requested by the little one... usually. And I always watch it. even when it's the middle of summer.

Posted by: Nat at December 19, 2005 09:09 PM

Although the boy LOVES it (and it worries me more than I care to admit) I hate the Sounds of Music and refused to by him the DVD for Christmas. The last thing I need is a five year old singing the yodelling song at the top of his lung while hyped on sugar.

As for Charlie Brown -- sigh poor old Charlie Brown. I can take it or leave it haven't seen it in years. But you know, the Grinch (animated) I own on DVD, and it gets played once a week. Usually as requested by the little one... usually. And I always watch it. even when it's the middle of summer.

Posted by: Nat at December 19, 2005 09:09 PM

well um... i totally don't like that one movie, A Christmas Story or whatever? with the kid and the BB gun? just don't see the appeal.

my other admission is that i fucking l-o-v-e A Muppet Family Christmas (not Muppet Christmas Carol) because who can beat muppets + fraggles + sesame street + talking snowmen, etc. i even cry at the end every time because i hate that it's over.


Posted by: kate at December 19, 2005 10:25 PM

Autumn: FIE on you, I say! How can you not love A Christmas Story!?? The leg lamp? The Red Rider BB gun? Randy getting his tongue stuck to the flagpole?

Posted by: Broad at December 19, 2005 11:34 PM

I like the Charlie Brown Christmas but I agree with you. I've always thought that everyone picked on Charlie and I felt so bad for him.

And yes, the soundtrack is awesome.

Posted by: Colleen at December 19, 2005 11:58 PM

my name is monique and i hate 'a charlie brown christmas'

yeh, not a favorite over here. we pretty much get into all the Rankin Bass ones... the stop-motion ones especially. my most favorite... Nestor the long earred donkey. run, don't walk, run and find this and make it part of your collection and regular december viewing. LOVE IT.

my startling admission... there's two.
1. i hate Frosty the Snowman
2. i like fruitcake

Posted by: monique at December 20, 2005 07:31 AM

TB, thanks so much. I thought I was the only person in the world who hated Its a Wonderful Life.

Posted by: That Girl at December 20, 2005 07:38 AM

The music makes up for everything. And I really love it. As far as startling xmas admitions hmmm....I don't know if this qualifies but--I like xmas so much more now that I'm an adult. As a child it was absolutely torurous. The anticipation was hell for me, and never ever paid off. Kind of like Lucy and the "after xmas blues." Horrible.

What about the "Ziggy" xmas special? That one is pretty good.

Posted by: Ginny at December 20, 2005 08:55 AM

Obedience training for a beagle ha! Not going to happen. Beagles are very independent thinkers :)

My startling admission? When I was 3 or 4 I was sure I saw an elf spying on me for Santa to see whether I was being naughty or nice. And I can clearly remember it happening, too. It is one of earliest memories.

Posted by: bad penguin at December 20, 2005 10:39 AM

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I HATE the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I always have. I like the music, but Tom loves the actual movie and forced me to watch it.

And seriously, I've thought I was a Bad Person for not liking it. I thought I was a Troubled Person, and that I should at least pretend to like it so that people wouldn't know I was a Bad/Troubled Person.

Now I do not need to pretend. Because I am no longer the only one.

Posted by: Del at December 20, 2005 04:25 PM

I like the Charlie Brown Christmas. I love the music, and, even though I haven't seen it in years, I still play the CD over and over this time of year. But it's not my favorite. That honor goes to The Grinch, because Dr. Seuss rocks.

And my startling admission: I am a card-carrying, tried-and-true athiest. But I always get weepy during Linus' soliloquy. Every damn time!

Posted by: Jen at December 20, 2005 08:17 PM