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NPR talks about Charlie Brown character

NPR ran an interesting piece on the resilience and lovability of Charles Schulz’ character Charlie Brown yesterday They explain how a character so miserable, picked on and so unlucky could be so easily identified by millions of people. They also interviewed Lynn Johnston, creator of For Better or For Worse and children’s book author Judith Viorst who wrote “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

Very worth your time as it explores the impact of a comic character.

Hat Tip: The AAUGH blog.

Community Comments

#1 Rick Stromoski
May/13/2008
@ 7:46 am

Probably because for the vast majority of people, they don’t get the game winning hit, recieve an A+, get the girl, are the most popular, sing on key, excel in anything or win an award. For most people, they lead quiet lives of desperation as did charlie brown so they identify with him very easily.

#2 Jorey Epperson
May/13/2008
@ 8:21 am

Yeah, that seems like a no-brainer. Charlie Brown is the everyman.

#3 lefitte
May/13/2008
@ 8:39 am

Well said, Rick.

And I maybe even a little deeper … Charlie Brown did not succeed in the world of baseball, field goal kicking or love, but he still had a lot of friends and a dog he loved.

I think it speaks to the Capra-esque sentiment of friends and family mattering more than material success and transient accomplishments.

But I’ve also gotten teary-eyed at credit card commericals … so I’m susceptible to sentimentality.

#4 Wiley Miller
May/13/2008
@ 9:22 am

Charlie Brown’s appeal actually needed explaining?

#5 Pete Sheffield
May/13/2008
@ 9:28 am

Rick said it best. I always loved Charlie Brown cause he’s me. He’s the loveable loser in all of us.

#6 josh shalek
May/13/2008
@ 9:47 am

I always figured it was that zigzag shirt.

#7 Garey Mckee
May/13/2008
@ 9:35 pm

“For most people, they lead quiet lives of desperation as did charlie brown so they identify with him very easily.”

I believe I’m more loudly desperate. But Rick’s synopsis is a great one. There’s nothing wrong with discussing or digging into a character we already are very familiar with, especially Charlie Brown. Chip Kidd said it best in his commentary for his Art Of Charles M. Schulz book, “…when you look closer than you’re supposed to at something you think you’re familiar with, you’re introduced to it all over again.”

#8 danny alvarez
May/13/2008
@ 10:59 pm

Someone should produce a Peanuts 20 year high school reunion to see if Charlie Brown grew up to become the same loser he was as a kid.

I see him as an overweight, depressed 40 year old working as an appliance salesman at a retail outlet. I bet his wife cheats on him too.

#9 Larry Levine
May/14/2008
@ 7:25 am

I love Charlie Brown because he always gets a bag full of rocks on Halloween.

#10 Georg Waldhof
June/20/2008
@ 5:39 pm

My favorite title twist of any of the Peanuts animations was “You’re Elected, Charlie Brown.” The show eliminates the possibility of Charlie Brown’s election in the first five minutes with Lucy acting as campaign strategist doing a poll which determines that Charlie Brown “couldn’t get elected in a million year” – or something like that.

Then Linus runs and wins, ironicly because his opponent proves he is the better candidate by putting others first.

Fascinating

GW

#11 Charles Brubaker
June/20/2008
@ 9:57 pm

“My favorite title twist of any of the Peanuts animations was â??Youâ??re Elected, Charlie Brown.â? The show eliminates the possibility of Charlie Brownâ??s election in the first five minutes with Lucy acting as campaign strategist doing a poll which determines that Charlie Brown â??couldnâ??t get elected in a million yearâ? – or something like that.”

Actually, at the last minute, the title was changed to “You’re NOT Elected, Charlie Brown,” due to the fact that Charlie Brown didn’t run at all (although he considered it).

Because this change happened at the last second, many press releases for the special used the former title.

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