Let's Annoyingly Pop Culture Your Ass, Charlie Brown

So Art Attack was sitting in our lair practicing for an inevitable showdown with our arch nemesis when a press release from Fox came over the Internet announcing two upcoming animated Thanksgiving specials. One involved Ice Age, which may or may not be a fine set of films seeing as we've only watched scraps of them while sitting in the waiting room at the pediatrician. The second caught our eye, though, and we'll bet it catches yours, too.

Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown. Allah be merciful, what the hell is this crap?

We've been watching Charlie Brown specials all our lives. They're simple but awesome little bits of non-Disney animated goodness centered around basic childhood milestones like spelling bees and Easter with just a hint of Christian overtones. In other words, Charlie Brown animated specials are just about the most American thing we can think of, including the one that takes place in France.

You do not need to advertise Charlie Brown by tying a title in with the freakin' Beatles, okay? If there is anything more popular than the Beatles, it's either Santa Claus or Charlie Brown. Not to mention there are two specific problems with this naming convention.

1. Did you know that it's because of the Beatles that Vince Guaraldi, who wrote all the famous Charlie Brown music, doesn't have an Oscar? It's true. They beat him out in 1971 with the Let It Be soundtrack and didn't even bother to come pick up the statue. Well, we work in a sheet music store and we sell at least five copies of "Linus and Lucy" for every Beatles song combined, so we're going on record to say that Vince got gypped.

2. Of all the Beatles songs, why would you associate "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" with children? That song is about sex, murder or being addicted to morphine, depending on whether you're listening to the original song, Charles Manson explaining it, or watching Across the Universe. Strangely enough, switching "gun" to "blanket" doesn't seem to really change the context at all.

But fine, Fox. You ruin our childhood, we ruin yours right back. You want to name Charlie Brown specials after songs? Well, two can play at that game.

5. It's a Season in the Abyss, Charlie Brown

You know what's a real defining moment in your childhood? The moment someone explains to you that the Nazis built whole factories just to kill an entire group of people for pretty much no real reason...and that if you started counting those dead people the day you were born, you would die of old age long before you'd tallied them all. Yeah, that's a real defining moment.

So we figure the Peanuts gang could go to the Holocaust Museum and Linus could give one of his famous lectures, hopefully reducing all the children to such sadness and terror that they'll damn sure be on the lookout for that kind of thing in the future so it doesn't happen again. You thought Snoopy fought the Red Baron with gusto before? Let's see him take on the Luftwaffe.

Plus, we've always wanted to hear someone do a jazz piano album of Slayer tunes, and no, Tori Amos covering "Raining Blood" does not count.

4. He's the Stranger, Charlie Brown

Can't speak for the rest of you, but ever since the death of Osama Bin Laden, whenever we see President Obama come to a microphone to make a speech we hear the Cure's "Killing an Arab" playing in our head. Sometimes it's the theme from Spider-Man, but mostly it's the Cure song.

These are still scary times to live in, and many a child has grown up without a parent due to extended operations in the Middle East stemming from that fateful day in September ten years ago. What better way to help those children come to grips than through a cathartic explanation of terrorism from Charlie Brown himself. Best of all, they can use real sound bites from current politicians and it will still make as much sense as the adult-speak you usually hear in Peanuts specials.

3. You're in the Arms of an Angel, Charlie Brown

Let's face it: Dogs aren't portrayed very accurately in Charlie Brown specials. For instance, in real life they make much better seamen than pilots. Usually Snoopy is right in the thick of the adventures, totally unsupervised and just as totally unflappable about whatever may come his way. He's Joe Cool after all, not to mention Flash Beagle. What's going to slow him down?

We do think it's odd, though, that with all his roaming we've never seen him picked up by the pound. Sure, he wears a collar and Charlie Brown probably gets a call to come get him within minutes of arriving there, but don't try and tell us that that trip doesn't show at least one of them the horrors we humans callously inflict on our pets. Maybe just one special could deal with spotting animal cruelty and advertising pet adoption. Besides, Sarah McLachlan has already consumed 90 percent of our soul with those commercials; might as well feed her the other 10 percent.

2. Rabies Is a Killer, Charlie Brown

No, we're not going to give Snoopy rabies, so you can freakin' relax. Even we have our limits to just how many of your tears we can freebase into an elixir that grants eternal life and the ability to rapidly change shoes. We're going on a different trip this time.

See, Charlie Brown and the gang have already used up the big holidays, so we'd like to suggest our favorite obscure holiday for them to celebrate, World Rabies Day. They can hang wreaths covered in bullets, bat wings and St. Bernard teeth, Linus can wait all night for the Great Frothing Honey Badger to bring vaccinations to the most sincere veterinarian clinic, and they can sing Rabies carols like our favorite one from Agony Bag up there.

1. Love Will Tear Us Apart, Charlie Brown

You ever fall in love with someone when you're in elementary school? We mean like totally head over heels in love even though you're lacking the physical developments that would make a romantic love even remotely relevant. We did with a girl named Jennifer Swanson who we never had the courage to talk to, and so did Charlie Brown.

Well, we were literally so heartbroken by never gathering the nerve to talk to this girl we didn't try to talk to another girl for almost a decade. It's a special kind of end of your life that we always felt that we shared with good old Charlie Brown. It's time he dealt with the fact that he's never going to have any kind of meaningful relationship with that little red-haired girl the same way we did... by dressing in black and looking sad in the corner for ten years. That's your cue, Mr. Curtis.

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