You Got Old, Charlie Brown

Call me crazy, kids (I’ve never denied that I’m not), but I’ve wondered for years what happened to the Peanuts Gang after they grew up. I know I’m not the only one. A few years back, an unauthorized parody of this exact topic played to packed, independent theaters around the country. It was called “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” and while I never saw it, I read enough about it to come to grips with the fact that my idea wasn’t entirely original. What idea of mine is? If you’re interested in reading more about “Dog Sees God,” you can link and check out its Wikipedia entry here. I’m not going to lie: It’s pretty ingenious.

Yet to some extent, my idea still was. Consider: “Dog Sees God” imagines Charlie Brown (known as “CB” in the play) and his buddies as angst-ridden teenagers dealing with the sh*t that teenagers deal with nowadays: Drug use, suicide, sex, et cetera and et ecetera. Pick your poison. Contrary to this, my idea imagined them as grown ups, preparing to return for their 20 year high school reunion. It was meant to portray them as adults dealing with adult problems like employment or lack thereof, marriages, kids, et cetera and et cetera, and while I’d likely never write a full-form treatment of this idea for fear that the Schultz Estate would come after me for copyright infringement, I feel that I can muse a little, here on my blog, about the possibilities.

I’m going to call this “You Got Old, Charlie Brown” as a homage to the television specials and movies that we all know and love. A quick parenthetical aside before I begin, though: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has been and will forever remain the greatest of the Peanuts’ specials, IMO. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” are tied for a distant second. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that topic as well but for now? I give you the character listing and treatment for “You Got Old, Charlie Brown,” a new, Peanuts parody by me:

Charlie Brown: Historically (and per Wikipedia, which should never be questioned for accuracy, sarcasm fully intended), Charlie Brown, while the main character of the comic strip, is a shining example of the “great, American un-success story” (citation not needed). When I look at him and I picture him in his 30’s, do you know what or rather, who I picture? Yep. Me. That said, in my version of the post-comic strip, post-television special and movie reality of the Peanuts Gang, Charlie Brown graduated from high school with honors and has a BA in English from an accredited, state university. He works in low level management for a small, privately held company that deals in… say… winches. He is happily married to the nameless, Little Red-Haired Girl from his childhood (go, Chuck!). They have two kids and live in a three bedroom, two bathroom house with a finished basement in the suburbs of the city of Schultzville. He’s a loving husband and father and a responsible employee but he’s not entirely satisfied with his life. His dream is to make his living as a writer, but he’s never been published despite a handful of half-hearted attempts. He’s good at it… people have told him so, but he suffers from a lack of confidence. The genre that he writes in primarily is horror. Chuck is haunted by something but no one–friend, family or shrink–has been able to determine what said something is. That “something,” which I will not reveal herein, is integral to his character arc in the story. What I will reveal is that he is the catalyst around which the entire story revolves. He is the one that is tasked with planning the reunion. And yes, he is still the “master” of…

Snoopy: Okay, so realistically? Even if Snoopy had been a puppy during the comic strip he’d still be over 20 years old (I figure Chuck is 37 now and he was 12 or so in the comics which would make Snoopy… calculating… 24). I don’t know of a single dog that has lived past 20 years so at some point, the original Snoopy must have passed away. Rest in peace, World War I Flying Ace. We’ll say that this Snoopy is 10 and was adopted by Chuck and the Little Red-Haired Girl shortly after they were married. Snoopy II, while also a Beagle,  is no where near as intriguing a pooch as his predecessor was. In fact, he’s kind of a dufus. he lounges around a lot, licks his balls, begs for food and et cetera, et cetera. In short? He’s a typical dog who, in recent years, has developed a bit of a bladder control issue. Yes, Snoopy II occasionally piddles on the carpet. The one thing that seems to fascinate him out of his leisurely stupor? The Little Red-Haired Girl’s pet bird named…

Woodstock: A little known fact about the Peanuts Gang: Woodstock, Snoopy I’s best friend, was actually the Little Red-Haired Girl’s pet bird (a presumption, but if I’m taking one or two liberties with this idea, why not that?). One day when she and, by association, they all were younger Woodstock flew the coup, never to be seen from again until he happened upon Snoopy I’s dog house and the two became BFFs. But wait, you may be asking yourself, why didn’t the Little Red-Haired Girl recognize Woodstock when she saw him hanging out with Snoopy? The answer to that is simple: She never did. As far as I know, the Little Red-Haired Girl was never seen in the comic strip or in the specials/movies, her existence merely inferred, much like that of the adults in the Peanuts Gang’s subjective universe by dialogue about her and the “wah, wah, wah, wah” sound of a voice on the other end of a phone call or out of frame. At some point between the end of the comic strip and the present, the Little Red-Haired Girl bought another bird and named it “Woodstock,” i.e. Woodstock II. Same scenario as with Snoopy, different species. ‘Nuff said. Moving on… 

Sally Brown: So, I figure that if Charlie Brown was approximately 12 during the Peanuts Gang’s heyday, his sister Sally was about three years younger than him, making her… calculating… nine. Sally didn’t exactly have the same kind of successes in school growing up that her brother did. Her educational life mirrored his up until she got in to high school. Once there, she became one of the “popular” girls. She partied a lot, had a number of boyfriends and though she was never considered easy or the s-word, she had a bit of a reputation. “She was kissed a lot” as some might say. She graduated from high school in the 50th percentile of her class, and went to a local community college where she lasted four semesters. Thereafter, she left school and took a job as a cashier for her local retail pharmacy. She lived at home, and worked her way up the corporate ladder until she was promoted to Store Manager at 25 years young, right around the same time that her brother and the Little Red-Haired Girl were getting married and adopting Snoopy II. Subsequent years since saw her getting her own place, and transferring from store to store with a reputation as someone who would bust her ass to clean up a “project store,” no matter what the cost. At the time that “You Got Old, Charlie Brown” begins, Sally is 34 and is working in the highest volume store in her district. She is training to be a District Manager, and has been told that she is next in line for promotion once a position opens up. I repeat: Once a position opens up. She’s been waiting for one to do so for almost five years. One more thing: Sally’s career does not allow her time for any sort of long term relationship or family, which means…

Linus Van Pelt: Chuck’s best friend growing up did pretty well for himself early on. He graduated high school with the same honors as his friend and went to the same college as him. They graduated together, still tight, but while Charlie Brown’s degree was in English, Linus’ was in Philosophy. Due to an unfortunate accident that occurred when he was 19 involving a UPS truck after a 48 hour long cram session for an exam on Freud, he won a large settlement and has been living off of the money since. It afforded him the capital to pay for graduate school and, eventually, a PhD in Philosophy. Linus currently teaches at the university level, incidentally at the same community college that Sally Brown dropped out of a few decades previous. He is married to a lover-ly woman named Patty who is not the same Patty from the early days of the comic strip (and should not be confused with Peppermint Patty) and is still very close with his lifelong best buddy, Charlie Brown. Lately, however, Linus’ home situation has been a bit tenuous. Patty has seemed less interested in the things she used to be interested in, i.e. going out, having sex, et cetera and et cetera. Linus has not yet been able to determine the “why” behind it despite his impressive intellect but he has confided in Chuck that he is concerned and seeking security. Let me repeat that: Security. One person he has not confided in is…

Lucy Van Pelt: Linus’ sister graduated high school and graduated college with degrees in International Business and Finance (with a Minor in Japanese). She has been a Wall Street power broker for the last 15 years for various firms and is known throughout the business community as the meanest, bitchiest, uncompromising monster since Gordon Gecko. She’s even been investigated once or twice for her business dealings but as of the beginning of “You Got Old, Charlie Brown,” she has not yet been convicted. She was recently featured in an article in Forbes as one of the Top 25 most powerful women in the business community, as much for her reputation as for her collection of pant suits, which numbers in the thousands. She has a phone attached to her ear 24/7 and is remembered by many of her “friends” as having left her wedding to take a business call. But unlike Sally, she is married. In fact, she is married to…

Shermy: Shermy, who disappeared quite early from the comic strip, went on to become the star quarterback of the Peanuts Gang’s high school football team and was accepted to Alabama University on a full scholarship. Sadly, he ruptured his Achilles in the first game that he ever played there as the starting quarterback and his career ended. He graduated with an Associates Degree in Restaurant Management and encountered Lucy one night, a few years later when she had a meeting with a client at the restaurant he was a line cook at. He recognized her but she didn’t recognize him. After her meeting went awry due to her constantly taking phone calls from other clients, Shermy came out to check on her. Lucy asked him if he had any weed and he informed her that he did. Lucy then asked him if he liked to f*ck and he informed her that he did. They were married six weeks later. He has been miserable since, but the sex is good, the “herbal refreshment” is top notch, and he doesn’t have to work anymore. He spends his days (and many nights) at home, tending to their two poodles and is a self-admitted HGTV addict. Unlike…

Peppermint Patty: The woman who had a crush on Charlie Brown growing up never got to be with him despite her incessant advances toward him. She graduated high school and went far away to college, for she wanted to be as distant from Chuck and her old life as she could be. Once there, she quickly embraced experimentation and “found” herself, i.e. she came out of the closet on the last day of the second semester of her Freshman year. Incidentally, she came out over the phone to her best friend…

Marcie: Marcie, upon hearing that Peppermint Patty was a lesbian, found the courage to admit to the truth that she had known but had never admitted to for years. Within minutes of when Peppermint Patty told her, she conceded the same and further informed Peppermint Patty that she had been in love with her since they had been pre-teens together. While this admission initially caught Peppermint Patty completely off guard, she realized that she too had harbored feelings for Marcie for quite some time, but had been using her obsession with Charlie Brown, along with her Ike Turner-esque treatment of her friend to disguise said fact. She–Peppermint Patty–returned home a few days later and has been with Marcie since. They traveled to and entered a Civil Union in Massachusetts as soon as it was legalized. They adopted a young Nambian child whom they named Franklin and have a Pit Bull named Rerun. They work together as the co-chairs of a state certified day care center, and while Marcie no longer calls Peppermint Patty “sir,” she has been known to let her wife’s surname slip in times of intense passion.

Almost done guys. If you stuck it out this far thank you. This has been fun, albeit somewhat blasphemous to traditionalists, I’m sure. Another quick, parenthetical aside: I know that there are other Peanuts Gang members that I am not including in my ensemble, but these are the ones that I put the most thought in to. I’m trying to include as many names as you can see but I may leave out a few. That said…

Schroeder: Schroeder was always my favorite Peanut, and I see no other outcome for him then the obvious: Classical Pianist. Schroeder did not need to go to college because by the time he was 16, he was considered the best, young pianist in the world. He released his first album of Beethoven covers, played with the Boston Philharmonic at 18 and was quickly playing concerts to packed halls across the world. He is credited with bringing a rock star’s sensibility to classical music and making it “cool” again. The show that he put on at the Sydney Opera House when he was 21 is still regarded by many as the greatest piano concert ever and holds the record for the largest attendance there ever. He currently lives in the Pacific Palisades where he is married to a supermodel and spends his days writing music and his nights being a philanthropist. He has given millions to charities around the world in an attempt to keep the Arts relevant in education. On a side note, Schroeder also has compiled the world’s largest collection of musical memorabilia. Among the pieces he is most proud of are one of Bach’s original harpsichords and a gold Lame (pronounced “la-may”) vest that was once worn by Liberace. Sadly, he was a great deal more fortunate than…

Pig Pen: Poor, poor Pig Pen. He never quite “got it.” He never made it through high school. He dropped out and worked for a while as a drive through cashier at the local Wendy’s. Eventually, he lost his job due to repeated complaints by the customers and fellow employees of his poor, borderline horrific personal hygiene. The Peanuts Gang attempted an intervention at his 16th birthday party but they were unsuccessful. As soon as he was confronted he broke in to hysterics and started screaming that it was “his life” before he disappeared in to the night, many thought never to be seen or heard from again. Until, a few years later, when he rose to unexpected prominence for saving a five year old child’s life on a subway platform in Manhattan. The child had wandered off from his parents and was meandering beyond the yellow line. Pig Pen was sitting in the corner of the subway terminal eating a crust of bread when he saw this, along with the lollipop the boy carried in his hand. Whether he saw the train that was bearing down on the platform as well is open to debate. Pig Pen instinctively stood and made his way quickly toward the child. He managed to get a hold of the back of his jacket sleeve and pull him back simultaneously with the train pulling in to the station. Had he not intervened, the boy would have been decapitated. The heroic act was captured on surveillance video and Pig Pen, once found, was toasted as “a true hero” by the mayor of New York. He was awarded, among other things, a key to the city and a cashier’s check for $10,000.00 to help him get his life in order. Sadly, Pig Pen pawned the key for $15.00 and a bottle of Vermouth and gambled/whored the $10,000.00 away within a month. His last known place of residence was the homeless shelter on 46th Street where, despite a full bank of working shower stalls in the bathroom, he continually refuses to bathe to this day. Why? Yet another mystery of “You Got Old, Charlie Brown.”

And that, my friends? That’s all I’ve got character wise. As for the plot? Sadly, I don’t think that I can reveal much of it. My agent/co-worker has advised me that to do so would be the same thing as opening myself up to an influx of lawsuits. Maybe by the grace of God this character treatment will one day make it in to the hands of the executors of the Schultz Estate. Mayhap they will read it and say, “wow. What a great idea!” For their benefit, I will give you this. The opening of “You Got Old, Charlie Brown.”

Charlie Brown stared longingly in to the drooping, brown eyes of his best friend, Snoopy. “Say something,” he pleaded, “DO something. Anything, boy? Anything at all?” Sadly, Snoopy did not oblige. His tail wagged once, then twice, and his floppy, black ears perked up for a moment before once again falling still. Simultaneously, Chuck heard something emanating from near Snoopy’s rear end. It sounded like water running. Unmistakable. He realized what was happening but knew that it was already too late. The f*cking dog had once again “piddled” on the sectional in his Man Cave. 

“Oh good grief,” he muttered and sighed as he stood up, muted the game that was playing on the 42 inch LED television across from him, and called for his wife’s assistance. 

To be continued?

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3 thoughts on “You Got Old, Charlie Brown

  1. Also- isn’t the whole Peppermint Patty/Marcy thing a little.. I dunno, obvious? Seems like it might be a more interesting story if they WEREN’T gay- aside from some experimentation in college, or something.

  2. Per the Peanuts Wiki, she apparently appears in “It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Valentine,” as well, though she never shows up in the comic strip save for in silhouette (I’ve got to admit, I never saw either of the above referenced specials so I don’t know if she encounters Snoopy or Woodstock in them). As for the Peppermint Patty/Marcie thing, I think most people feel the same way–that it was pretty obvious. Maybe they’re not still together. Maybe they had a brief yet passionate relationship early on that failed, and the reunion brings them back together for the first time in a couple of decades. That could work, too. Thanks for the input, Bob!

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