Monday, November 2, 2015

Bleak Peanuts

A little something different this time, with a January 1975 strip focusing on Peppermint Patty rather than Charlie Brown:

This might not immediately strike you as being so bleak as some of the other strips. It ends with a moderately humorous punchline, rather sitcom-esque in its timing. And this strips also sets up one of the all-time funny sequences in Peanuts, when Snoopy stays in Peppermint Patty's guest bedroom as a watchdog (sorry, Watch-Beagle!) but proves unable to defend her house when thieves break in because he's trapped by the extremely wavy waterbed.

But think about all the strips where Peppermint Patty falls asleep in class, and gets poor grades. You might have thought it's just because she's athletic, not academic, and finds school boring and pointless. Maybe she's a little lazy too, and doesn't try very hard in class.

But here we learn differently. She's tired all the time because her dad (we know from earlier strips he's a single parent) has to work nights and doesn't get back until 2AM. She's scared to be home alone at night, and turns on the TV as a distraction. Puts all those strips about falling asleep in class in a different light, doesn't it?

To tell you the truth, for me, it puts her whole character in a different light. All that bravado she presents to the world is a false front. She really feels vulnerable, and opens up here to the single person she can trust with her feelings: Charlie Brown.

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