A Charlie Brown Valentine (2002)

Starring: Wesley Singerman
Grade: B-

The Valentine’s Dance seems to look a lot more like a house party than a regulated school event. Yes, this is a random observation, but it should be noted. No gym or room in an elementary school looks like that. Then again, if it was a house party, they should have known better not to invite someone like smelly ass Pig-Pen.


In the middle of the night, Charlie Brown (Singerman) and Snoopy (Bill Melendez) are sleeping, but Snoopy gets out of bed because he gets an idea. After waking up Charlie Brown with his typewriter, Snoopy hands him an unfinished poem he typed up about Valentine’s Day. Sometime after, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty (Emily Lalande) sit by a tree and discuss the holiday and if it means “love” when someone gives another a big valentine. He says it could, but the size nor price of the valentine isn’t important. Eventually, Charlie Brown admits he’s never received a valentine in his life. Instead of trying to cheer him up, Patty says she needs to ask advice from someone who’s used to getting valentines. Just then, Snoopy walks by with a wheelbarrow full of them. He kisses Patty on the nose, so Patty follows him to ask questions because she thinks Snoopy looks like a human child.

Later, Snoopy is typing up Valentine’s Day letters from his typewriter for people. Lucy (Lauren Schaffel) gets one but critiques every line. As Snoopy reworks it with her advice but screws it up on every attempt, she angrily leaves. Sally (Nicolette Little) comes to Snoopy next, and he types one up for her. It spawns an idea for her. She’s going to cut out some hearts and glue lace around them. Next, she wants Snoopy to type up a nice verse. He types one up that’s all about chocolate chip cookies, and she refuses it and tells him to write another one. Sometime after, Sally tries to get Linus (Corey Padnos) to give her a valentine, but he says it’s never going to happen. At lunch, Charlie Brown talks to himself about how he would do anything to talk to the Little Red-Haired Girl. He thinks he’s the perfect guy for her. As he talks, she drops her pencil behind her, and he picks it up. Once he notices there are bite marks on the pencil, he ecstatically proclaims, “She’s human!”. Lucy asks what’s going on, so he tells her how he’s going to use this opportunity to start a conversation with the Little Red-Haired Girl. Saying she doesn’t want to see Charlie Brown go through all that trouble, Lucy grabs the pencil from him and gives it back to her immediately. Later on, Charlie Brown and Linus see a boy push down the Little Red-Haired Girl from afar. Charlie Brown wants to do something, but he knows he’d get his ass kicked, so he stands there. Linus takes it upon himself to save the day and uses his blanket as a weapon to take the bully out. Linus comes back and tells him there’s nothing to worry about.

With a plain-faced expression, Charlie Brown calmly says this is comforting and how he’s the “friend” of a hero.

Back in class, Patty asks Marcie (Jessica D. Stone) what she’s doing. Apparently, she’s writing a valentine for Charlie Brown because she likes him. Patty suggests Marcie sign her name on it too, but Marcie refuses. After school, Marcie shows up to Charlie Brown’s doorstep and implies a valentine may be coming his way. As a follow-up, she asks him if he likes her. He is confused and asks what she said, so Marcie gets pissed off and leaves. Following this, Charlie Brown is with Patty, and he checks his mail. He finds a valentine inside. He reads it and immediately assumes it’s the Little Red-Haired Girl, but Patty gets angry with him because it’s from her. She leaves after telling him that he likes her, with him responding, “I do?”. After this, Marcie calls him and tries to reconcile. She reminds him of yesterday’s incident, but he again asks “What?”. Meanwhile, Lucy tells Schroeder (Christopher Ryan Johnson) that next week is Valentine’s Day, asking him if he’s going to give one to her. Considering he’s never given one to her before and he reminds her of this fact, she yells at him. At home, Charlie Brown shows Sally the valentine he made for the Little Red-Haired Girl, but Sally says she’ll probably laugh in his face and walks away. He tells Snoopy about the whole ordeal and how he wants to give it to her, but he wants to practice on Snoopy. So, he goes outside, rings the doorbell, and has Snoopy act as the Little Red-Haired Girl. Snoopy walks outside with a red wig and kisses Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown tries to practice to himself what he’s going to say to the Little Red-Haired Girl when he gives her his valentine, but he gets too nervous and mails it anonymously. Sally goes to Linus’s house to give him his valentine, but he doesn’t take it. He only asks if it has any monetary value, but she doubts it. Charlie Brown buys some candy in a heart-shaped box for the Little Red-Haired Girl, though he admits he may be too scared to give it to her anyway. He considers waiting behind a tree and just holding it in the open for her to take it. That night, he lays in bed and tries to talk himself into telling the girl he loves her. The next day at school, Charlie Brown wonders about the “What if?” scenarios involving the Little Red-Haired Girl giving him a valentine instead. As Lucy tells Schroeder she will settle for a kiss on the nose and a hug and him completely ignoring her, Sally writes another valentine for Linus. She walks with a friend, and they see Linus outside of a candy store, so she assumes he’s buying her something. He overhears it and makes it clear this is not the case. At recess, Charlie Brown tells Linus he’s thinking about asking the Little Red-Haired Girl to the Valentine Dance. He asks Linus to go talk to her to see if she likes him. He hides behind a trash can to listen in. Linus goes and talks to her, but Charlie Brown is devasted to hear that she has no clue who he is. She bats away every detail Linus points out to try and jog her memory of him.

Well, it looks like this may be another rough holiday season for our favorite balding child.

My Thoughts:

Being the first Peanuts special produced after the death of series creator Charles M. Schulz, there’s a very different feel to A Charlie Brown Valentine. The animation is modernized with digital ink and paint and is much smoother, the characters are moving different, and they are speaking at a much quicker pace. The heart is still there, but it doesn’t have the endearing quality of the older, slow-moving specials of years past. Even so, A Charlie Brown Valentine is a solid standalone sequel to Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, though it’s clearly the inferior one of the two.

In this special, they play things safe. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If anything, it’s respectful to the creator of the franchise. However, it’s just not as deep as Shulz’s work. It’s safe, harmless, and entertaining, but it’s a little too “regular” compared to previous specials, which is why it just doesn’t have the staying power or “rewatchability” other Peanuts productions seem to have. Nevertheless, it’s still a good first step following the unfortunate removal of the spearhead behind these beloved characters. Thankfully, Charlie Brown is handled very well. His “wishy-washy” tendencies as Sally puts it are played upon a lot here, as he finds himself in the middle of an unwanted love triangle with Peppermint Patty and Marcie, which spirals into something much more amusing than you would think. Speaking of which, this is the first time we see a bit of attitude coming from Marcie! Personally, I like her playing the loyal, smart sidekick of Patty who is there to point out when she’s being a dick to bring her back down to earth. She was always very innocent and well-intentioned. In A Charlie Brown Valentine, this is the first time in which we see her express some anger and confidence like never before. I wouldn’t want this to become the “new” version of Marcie in the post-Schulz years, but if it’s just to create another dimension to her somewhat bland personality, it’s fine. It’s giving her a bigger role in general, so fans should welcome a change like this as it gives her more to do. It’s reminiscent of Schroeder showing some much-needed aggression in Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. Though they shouldn’t get too audacious with the sweet-natured Marcie, letting her do her own thing and not having her just be a doormat for Peppermint Patty is a step in the right direction. If anything, she has untapped potential as a supporting character, and this is the first time we start to see it.

Snoopy stole the show, and the Little Red-Haired Girl at one point, but the joke is on her. If she found out she danced with a dog and not a human being in a dog suit (which was Snoopy’s undercover disguise for the doorman to get in the dance), she’ll be mortified. Considering this, Charlie Brown can’t be too bent out of shape.

Most of the stuff Charlie Brown was trying to say or do to get the Little Red-Haired Girl to notice him, or as he monologed to himself about hypotheticals that would never happen, are all eerily similar dialogue-wise to previous specials. Actually, the “Pretty faces make me nervous” joke was already done in You’re in Love Charlie Brown. Even so, the similarities can’t be avoided in a special centered on love, with our main character only having one go-to crush in the series. Plus, it still sets the tone for our star and the energy of the holiday. His overthinking of the situation is classic Charlie Brown shtick, exemplified by the “She’s something and I’m nothing” speech. As he goes on and on about the possible role reversals and how it would only be possible if they were both “nothing”, or if she’s “nothing” and he’s “something”, Linus finally just cuts him off and simply states, “For a nothing Charlie Brown, you’re really something”. Now that is some “Grade A” Charles M. Shulz material right there! The same could be said about him talking about the far-off possibility of the Little Red-Haired Girl actually liking him, and him potentially not liking her as much as he thought, to the point where he thinks out how he would break up with her. This sort of overanalyzing in regard to pursuing your crush should hit close to home for a lot of us. It’s that relatability that very few animated specials seem to get on the level that Peanuts always has. The only lone exception of this is Charlie Brown managing to call Marcie by accident instead of the Little Red-Haired Girl. How in the fuck does someone manage to do this when you have to press the buttons individually? If he had a smart phone, I get it, but this was an old phone! Doing something like this is nearly impossible.

I know our protagonist sucks, but he doesn’t suck that much.

Going along with the relatability of our star, the misery is still there. Hearing firsthand that your crush doesn’t know you exist is a real blow. Later on, they double down on it too when he thinks of all these loving hypotheticals of this girl kissing and hugging him, but he sees her hand out valentines to all the kids at recess except for him. All in all though, he got to dance with two girls at the same time at the party, so things weren’t a total loss in the eyes of his peers I would imagine. Who cares if they were mad at him after? It looked like he had two dates! The boy was balling out! If Linus mentioned this along with the “You’d like to cry, but you’re too macho” line to boost his confidence, this would’ve been a much better way to end the special on a positive note. I just don’t see realistically how Charlie Brown is elated, despite his many failures here, with the simple shield of looking “macho”. It’s a plus for him sure, but enough to conclude the special? Ehh…

Though most won’t note this, it was a nice callback to see Sally take the role of classroom leader in talking about the rules of the valentine box that Schroeder had on lock so many years ago in Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, especially when Sally says that the lid isn’t big enough for candy, so they have to give it to the person elsewhere. Of course, this is referencing Linus’s dilemma with Miss Othmar in the special’s predecessor.

There’s a lot of amusing material throughout like Charlie Brown attempting to wink at the Little Red-Haired Girl but getting sent to the nurse because it looked like something was wrong with him, him getting his shirt caught in the pencil sharpener, and him shouting the compliment “YOU LOOK REALLY CUTE TODAY” like a fucking idiot. At the same time though, there are other bits inserted that don’t really go anywhere, aren’t very funny, and just add to the runtime such as the Lucy/Charlie Brown psychiatry segment that turns into Lucy selling valentines, Charlie Brown wasting time waiting by his mailbox and jumping inside of it and getting rained on, and Sally’s one-sided lovers’ quarrel with Linus. It makes the story more complete to get all the characters involved in some capacity, but it’s not as enjoyable as it usually is. Most of these sidebars to the main story just don’t have the charm like the old specials do.

Shoutout to Schroeder for making it clear to Lucy that him not sending a valentine to her was not an oversight. What a king.

A Charlie Brown Valentine doesn’t take the crown from the older Valentine’s special that preceded it, but it’s still a nice continuation of the series following the creator’s passing. It’s still funny, true to the source material, and is a great first attempt in moving these iconic characters into the modern era. Plus, seeing Charlie Brown get a valentine, even if it was from his dog, will put a smile on your face.

You May Also Like

+ There are no comments

Add yours