Synopsis: The Peanuts gang share a Friendsgiving… Snoopy & friends join the 1620 Mayflower voyagers on their trip to the new world.
The 1973 A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving finds poor Charlie Brown bullied into hosting a Friendsgiving by his non-friend, Peppermint Patty. Charlie was just going to be a normal kid and follow his parents’ lead for the holiday, but Patty calls him and invites herself over for the holiday. She further crosses etiquette lines by inviting her lackey-friend Marcie and another kid, Franklin. Where the hell are these kids’ parents?
Poor Charlie Brown frets over how to handle the sitch because he has no Thanksgiving food around and is supposed to go to Grandma’s house to celebrate. Total brat Lucy shames and blames him for the predicament. Time to unfriend her! His friend Linus suggests Charlie throw together an event before the trip to grandma’s. Great, but he doesn’t offer to help. Instead Snoopy and little yellow bird Woodstock hustle to pull the event together. Snoopy is the head chef, improvising with a toast, jelly bean, pretzels and popcorn menu. Ice cream too!
When Patty gets there with the other kids, and sees the offerings, she yells, “What blockhead cooked this?!!” Go to hell, Peppermint Patty. You worst-guest-ever.
Charlie Brown flees to the house, once again feeling crushed by his frenemies. Patty sends Marcie in to apologize for her. Not cool. He should tell Peppermint Patty to feck off, but this is a 1970’s cartoon where making nice to toxic classmates on T-giving takes precedence.
Charlie’s grandma makes a ninth inning appearance — or phone call– to save the day. Personally, I would forego the traditional dinner at grandma’s condo & go all-in for an alternative celebration with the beagle and the bird.
The Mayflower Voyagers (1988) is kind of an add-on history lesson to the Thanksgiving special. The Peanuts gang actually goes back in time (!) to 1620 and boards the Mayflower in England with a bunch of Puritans where they soon set sail for America.
When I first saw the special, I was confused because it wasn’t the upbeat cartoon I expected… We hear all about the wretched conditions onboard the ship and even see Charlie Brown and friends repeatedly on the verge of heaving their guts from sea sickness. Thank goodness they finally land on the East Coast of America! Not so fast…
They sail from Province to Plymouth looking for some place to settle. While Snoopy and a small group of men explore the land, others go about the serious business of languishing and dying on the anchored ship. Great story for kids!
Weeks pass and the Pilgrims do a sh*tty job of procuring food and making a settlement. They keep getting sick and dying off. In fact so many die, that the kids end up having to do the adult’s work. Lucy bosses the Peanuts gang around, as per usual. “Who put you in charge?” demands Peppermint Patty. Lucy haughtily answers that Captain Miles Standish did, “People with pretty faces are always put in charge.” Lucy, you mofo!
Just when it seems certain that the pilgrims– and maybe even the Peanuts gang!– will perish, some Natives rush in to help. I bet they are still kicking themselves about that.
They teach the hapless pilgrims how to farm and save them from starvation. The pilgrims and natives eventually sign a Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Assistance. Soon the Natives would learn that the newcomers from across the ocean would not make good friends. But before that realization, they enjoy the first Thanksgiving together…
Don’t worry, all of the Peanuts gang survive. At the gathering, the malicious Lucy does one thing right and makes music with Snoopy and Schroeder at piano, natch.
I felt edified by the special show, but also I couldn’t help ruminating on all of the people who actually died. Why, I wondered, did Peanuts creator Charles Schulz inflict us with such knowledge? I guess to show us how brave the Pilgrims were… but they were pretty foolhardy too. And I didn’t think he should’ve made the Peanuts gang suffer through all of those hardships. Well, maybe Lucy. I felt sorry for the Indians too, because I knew that the newcomers would steal their land.
Before long, I was as depressed as Charlie Brown. The remedy? Save repeat viewings for the T-giving ep where you can enjoy the happy jollity of Snoopy being head chef for T-giving. Popcorn for everyone!