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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

UB's top 5 Christmas Specials: # 3 A Charlie Brown Christmas

So your Uncle Buck has returned from a mini-Christmas vacation and therefore returned to his top 5 Christmas Specials list. Coming in at # 3 is "A Charlie Brown Christmas", which should have been named, "Stop your whining Charlie Brown."

The thin plot of this one revolves around Charlie Brown, depressed again (anyone ever think of cutting this kid's Ritalin dosage?), can't believe there is another holiday to show him that no one likes him.

Charlie Brown: I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.

Linus: Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy's right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest.

After laying out his problems to Lucy, the biggest of which seems to be the commercialization of Christmas (can't you see Charlie Brown getting the Chuck kicked out of him after school), she takes mercy on him and asks Charlie Brown to be the director of the (school?) play.

Lucy: Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia.

Charlie Brown: I don't think that's quite it.

Lucy: How about cats? If you're afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia.

Charlie Brown: Well, sort of, but I'm not sure.

Lucy: Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is fear of the ocean, or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges. Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?

Charlie Brown: What's pantophobia?

Lucy: The fear of everything.

Charlie Brown: THAT'S IT.

Charlie Brown gets to the play and everyone is dancing...This is the play? And where is Peppermint Patty? Now that UB thinks of it UB doesn't remember Lucy in the Thanksgiving episode. Anyway Chuck takes his new job to seriously so the whip him back to Earth and tell him to go get a Christmas Tree.

When Linus and Chuck arrive at the tree lot they find only aluminum trees (at an outdoor lot?).

Linus: Gee. Do they still make wooden Christmas Trees?

When they do find a wooden one it is a tiny little tree that looks more like an up-right branch. Being the blockhead that he is, Charlie Brown takes this one for the play. The "gang", of course, rips Charlie Brown (the biggest clue that no one likes him is that everyone calls him by his full name. Do you know anyone who has friends who call them by their full name? "Hey Scott Dinjian pass the salt." "Hey Andrew Cedrone I was eating that."). Finally Chuck can't take it any more and throws out this little remark:

Charlie Brown: (shouting in desperation) Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?

Linus: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you. Lights, please. (A spotlight shines on Linus.) "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'". That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

This speech by the blanket clutching Linus makes this Christmas Special arguably the best. For 40 years they've shown this on TV and it is the only one of it's stature to actually recite a bible passage about the birth of Jesus Christ. In that one speech Linus tells Charlie Brown and the rest of the group that Christmas is not about trees or plays or lights on dog houses, but the arrival of the savior of the human race.

After hearing this Charlie Brown takes his little tree back home and begins to decorate it.

Charlie Brown: I killed it. Everything I touch gets ruined.

The gang arrives soon after and uses Snoopy's decorations, that won him 1st prize, on the tree. A returning Charlie Brown is stunned by what his "friends" have done.


Everyone: Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled. Joyful, all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies. With the angelic host proclaim: "Christ is born in Bethlehem." Hark! The herald angels sing "Glory to the newborn King!"


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