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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You're Obsolete, Charlie Brown

I'm not a cry-baby.

I'll admit that I have teared up at our son's graduation ceremonies (high school and college, not kindergarten), but I can get through most of life's events without excessive waterworks. Chances are though, I'm not inviting you to our house for the annual viewing of the Charlie Brown holiday specials. Those darn shows sneak up on you, that's all I'm saying.

The Gospel according to St. Linus

I've seen several email and Internet memes that highlight the dirt, danger and general lack of parental supervision that children of the sixties and seventies endured growing up. I won't bore you with the, "When I was a kid," proclamations except to say that during a normal school day, I walked two miles to school (and back)...that's elementary school by the way; and during vacations, it was out the door and gone until lunch time, and again until dark. I'm sure my mother thought she knew where we were but in reality she had no idea.

We all did stuff like this that our parents never knew about...

I's a different, darker world we live in now; which makes the statements concerning Charlie Brown in this article and the original blog (which the Today show article references) all the more baffling. I agree that bullying has no place in our children's lives. Yet bullying exists in grown up life too, and I don't think retiring the Charlie Brown television specials will stop that. Name calling is bad - we didn't allow words like stupid and that sucks when our kids were growing up; of course that doesn't stop them from using them now - and I'm pretty sure it wasn't the degenerative influence of Lucy van Pelt that lodged these scurrilous terms in our children's psyche.

I suppose the final indignity to our generation is that Dadcamp, the author of the original Retire Charlie Brown blog I reference above, closes with a suggestion to replace Charlie Brown holiday fare with Hotel Transylvania.

Say what?

Even the monsters look like they want to see Charlie Brown...

To be fair, I included the trailer above so that we could all have our fun alternately defending or excoriating Dadcamp's suggestion.

Honestly? I'd watch Hotel Transylvania. I'd probably watch it with young kids - if I still had some. But to hold it up as a shining beacon of superior children's fare while figuratively pulling the ball out from in front of Charlie Brown one last time?

Evidence for the prosecution (and this is just from the trailer):
  • Dracula singing a sweet lullaby to his baby daughter then giving us the monster face when he gets to the part about anyone messing with her...
  • An animated suit of armor getting kicked in the groin, um, area (I have to admit I laughed when he said, "Why did that hurt?")
  • And of course, the general idea that there are monsters in the world, albeit just as neurotic as we are, that can't stand people
Even Monsters, Inc. had a more benign take on monsters' existence in our world. Is anyone concerned that Hotel Transylvania is going to raise up a whole new generation of vampire-loving tweens? That's a topic for another blog...

I'm trying not to let the golden haze of pleasant memory overshadow my objectivity here but one other small issue I'll point out: Imagine this conversation between Dadcamp and  his 5-year-old son...

Son: Let's watch You don't mess with the Zohan.
Dadcamp: Um, we can't.
Son: Sure we can, here it is on NetFlix.
Dadcamp: No son; I mean we can't because it's not an okay movie.
Son: But Daaaaaaaaaad...what's wrong with it? I mean, like, Adam Sandler is in it and he was funny in Hotel Transylvania; you even said so.
Dadcamp: I know son. But that Zohan movie is different and Mr. Sandler isn't as good in that.
Son (pouting): Okaaaaay. Hey - wait a sec! Let's watch The Longest Yard - that's a FOOTBALL movie!

You get the idea...

And don't think for a minute that your five year old child won't be able to learn the names of other Adam Sandler movies. 

For whatever pain and suffering the Charlie Brown holiday films may cause socially concerned parents in the new millennium, I don't think you'll ever have to worry about Linus spouting one of the seven words you used to not be allowed to say on television in some other show that your kids will want to see because the think Linus is funny in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

What do you think?


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