Jimmy: Hey, everybody, welcome back to the show. It's Unpacking Peanuts, and things are weird here in 1971, and they're about to get weirder. Anyway, I'm one of your hosts. My name is Jimmy Gownley. I did Amelia Rules, Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up and The Dumbest Idea Ever. Joining me, as always, are my pals, co hosts, and fellow cartoonists.
He's a playwright, he's a composer, both for the band Complicated People, as well as for this very podcast. He's the co creator of the original comic book Price Guide, the original editor for Amelia Rules, and the creator of such great strips as Strange Attractors, Gathering of Spells, and Tangled River. It's Michael Cohen.
Michael: Hey, there.
Jimmy: And he's the former vice president of Archie Comics, the executive producer of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and the current creator of the instagram sensation Swedish Beasts, Harold Buchholz.
Jimmy: So, guys, we are here in 1971. Lots of strange stuff is happening. It's making Michael's head hurt. And we are here living in 2023. And, since we had some time off between recording last week's and this week, I took some time and indulged in what's going on in the world these days and I visited Chat GPT.
Jimmy: I know. Can I share with you guys what I did?
Jimmy: All right, so first off, I had it create some original Charles Schulz Peanuts strips. Just the script. Are you ready?
Jimmy: And then there's an even better treat at the end. Okay, so, Liz, we're going to need music for these. Maybe play the regular music just backwards because it's like Bizarro Peanuts. Okay. All right, so, the prompt was this-- write me a four panel Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz, featuring Linus, Sally, and Snoopy. Ready? Here we go.
Linus is sitting in front of the TV with Snoopy sitting next to him. Sally enters the room and asks, “what are you guys watching?” Panel Two Linus replies “the History Channel. We're learning about ancient civilizations.” Sally looks unimpressed and says, “boring.” Panel three, Snoopy gets up and grabs a toy bone. This is in panel three. One panel. Snoopy gets up and grabs a toy bone. He starts to tease Sally with it, making her chase him around the room. Linus watches with a smile. In panel four, Sally is out of breath and panting while Snoopy has a big grin on his face. Linus turns to Sally and says, “you know, sometimes it's okay to take a break from learning and just have some fun.” Sally nods in agreement and Snoopy happily jumps onto the couch.
Jimmy: Nailed it.
Michael: Out of business.
Jimmy: Nailed it.
Harold: But how do you point the w's?
Jimmy: Chat GPT just went down. It just crashed immediately. All right, this one's for Michael.
Charlie Brown is sitting on a bench, looking down with a sad expression. Violet walks up to him and asks, “what's wrong, Charlie Brown?” Panel two, Charlie Brown looks up and responds, “I can't seem to do anything right. I always mess things up.” Panel three, Violet puts her hand on Charlie Brown's shoulder and says, “don't be so hard on yourself, Charlie Brown. We all make mistakes.” Panel four, Charlie Brown smiles, looks up at Violet feeling comforted, says, “thanks, Violet. You always know how to m make me feel better.”
Michael: That's hilarious.
Harold: That's special. You're ready for a very special episode of Peanuts.
Jimmy: Are you ready for this?
Liz: oh there’s more
Jimmy: This is great. The prompt was, write an argument between the hosts of the Unpacking Peanuts podcast about Peppermint Patty. Are you ready to be terrified?
Michael Cohen, Jimmy Gownley, and Harold Buchholz are sitting around a table discussing the latest Peanuts strip. Jimmy says, “what do you guys think about Peppermint Patty as a new character?” Harold responds, “I think she's a great addition. She's strong willed and confident, which makes her a good foil for Charlie Brown.” Michael interjects, “but does she really fit in with the rest of the gang? She seems so different from the other characters.” Jimmy chimes in, “but that's what makes her interesting. She brings a fresh perspective and adds new dimension to the strip.” Michael counters, “but what about the classic characters like Lucy and Linus? They're the heart of the strip. I don't want to see them overshadowed by some new kid on the block.” Harold suggests, “Why can't we have both? We can continue to focus on the classic characters while also introducing new ones to keep things fresh.” Jimmy agrees, “exactly. That's the beauty of Peanuts. It's a timeless strip that can continue to evolve and grow while still staying true to its roots.”
Harold: What kind of table were we sitting around?
Jimmy: This is just the script. Well, it's the Charlie Rose table. Obviously, he's not using it.
Harold: So I think that what we're learning here is Charles Schulz is safe. We're in trouble.
Jimmy: We're in trouble. Yeah.
Michael: I think we don't even have to do this, right?
Jimmy: That was terrifying.
Harold: Yeah. You should ask about the second half of 1971 strips the next time.
Michael: Yeah, well the next time Harold can't make it right.
Michael: we've got it covered.
Jimmy: That's right. Because, Harold, you are on your book tour currently. How's that going?
Harold: It's going great. I just did three shows this past weekend. I did an art walk in Herman, Missouri. I did free comic book day in Waynesville, Missouri. And then I did some of the curated, crafted, created fair, Mother's Day Fair in Columbia, Missouri. And it was great meeting a lot of people and showing them Mystery Science Theater stuff. I've been working on, writing on, and a lot of people have been getting the Sweetest Beasts books, which are great. I have them this little six by six inch kind of gift book-y format that people have been really responding to. So I will be at the Awesome Con in Washington, DC. on the 16th through the 18th. that's coming up, and let's see what else is happening out there in the world. That's the most important one that's coming up in the very near future. We can talk about other ones in future episodes, but yeah, awesome Con is a big three day con in DC.
Jimmy: Michael, what have you been up to in the week we've been off anything.
Michael: Let's see. I now have wildflowers growing everywhere in our olive grove and vineyard, except in the one patch where I planted wildflowers.
Jimmy: That's so Charlie Brown. Well, that's something at least you got wildflowers somewhere. I got nothing. How about you, Liz? Are you doing well?
Liz : I’m doing good.
Jimmy: Good, All right well we’re all caught up.
Harold: actually, I have a mea culpa. We had an eagle-eared listener.
Jimmy: Oh, that's right. This might be Harold's last episode. We haven't decided.
Harold: I have been shamed. Yeah, I killed off the Big Nate comic strip for, some reason. I'd heard a story that it had stopped, and then it came back as a syndicated comic strip as a result of some of the adulation that, Jeff Kenney, who does the Diary of the Wimpy Kids series, had given to the strip. Not true, apparently. I'm sorry, Lincoln Pierce, I did not have your strip in my paper, and for some reason I had heard a story that you had actually stopped doing the strip for a while, and that came back as well, with just enormous success of your books. So, anyway, my apologies about that. Big Nate was apparently a strip all the way through and never did have a hiatus. Thanks for pointing that out.
Jimmy: All right, there you go. That's the scoop on Big Nate. All right, you guys ready to go for the second half of 1971?
Jimmy: All right, here we go.
April 25. Something off panel has caught Linus's attention. Shocking him. His hair is standing straight up. He runs away from it. Then, though, coming from the other direction is Snoopy, who's chasing him. Snoopy then chases Violet and Sally. He's barking at all of them as he does this. ARF ARF. Woof. Then we see Snoopy on all fours like a dog chasing Charlie Brown and Schroeder. ARF ARF. ARF ARF. Then Lucy Woof. Then Five, sticking with Five. ARF ARF. ARF ARF. Then the whole gang is all rounded up in a little huddle together, and Snoopy stands beside them and says, “I would have made a good sheepdog.”
Michael: This really works for me. Because you don't know what's going on.
Jimmy: Don't know what's going on. Yeah.
Michael: And it just actually makes sense.
Jimmy: the new bar for 1971. He wants to make sure something's cogent. My favorite drawing, there's a bunch of good Snoopy drawings, but I really like the one seeing Violet and Sally, where you could just see a little bit of the inside of his mouth like that, which you normally don't see. Really cool, really good cartooning. And like Michael says, that's a surprise at the end.
May 2. A smiling Peppermint Patty blooms from the heart of a flower in one of the classic symbolic first panels. Then we have her and Charlie Brown sitting back to back against the tree. I guess it's the thinkin’ tree, or maybe it's more like the heart tree. It's more of an emotional thing with Peppermint Patty, perhaps. Anyway, she says, “does your kind ever think about love, Chuck?” Charlie Brown says, “what do you mean, my kind?” Peppermint Patty forthrightly says, “oh, I don't know. I mean, I guess I always think of you as being sort of out of it.” Charlie Brown in a beautiful silhouette panel, says, “that's not fair, actually. I'm very sensitive.” Peppermint Patty understands this. She sits up, she feels bad. She says, “oh, I know you are, Chuck. No offense intended. I apologize. I really do.” Then she leans over to Charlie. Brown and says “friends?” She extends her hands and says, “Shake.” And they do just that. Then in the penultimate panel, she looks at her own hand, then looks back at Charlie Brown and says, “you touched my hand, Chuck.”
Michael: I'm confused. Okay. is this a thing with eight year olds that I somehow missed when I was eight?
Michael: Well, boys and girls who actually wanted to hang out.
Jimmy: Yeah. My best friend in the world was a little girl when I was eight. Marnie Marquette, baby. For those of you who've read Dumbest Idea Ever, or if you haven't, you can buy it right now and hear all about my eight year old friend Marnie Marquette.
Michael: All right. But the thing with, like, you touched my hand.
Jimmy: it depends on the kid.
Harold: When we were growing up, we know there's this thing coming up about boys and girls and and maybe we're we're experiencing it, but we don't know what we're experiencing. And we have our own ideas of, like, what what's actually going on. And sometimes it's completely wrong that actually goes out into adulthood, In my case.
Jimmy: This strikes me as completely authentic. But, like, the eight year old thing, that's meaningless in these strip. Like, there's no age for these characters, really. He adds, he said it once or whatever, but I don't think there's any way you could say this is the way an eight-year-old behaves.
May 16. Peppermint Patty's back. She's availing herself of a drink from a water fountain. She says to herself “that Chuck. He's something else. I don't know why I even think about him.” Then we see her under the tree, but there's no Charlie Brown on the other side. She's continuing to talk to herself. She says, “Chuck just doesn't seem to understand a girl's emotions. In fact, Chuck doesn't seem to understand girls at all.” She continues to contemplate her head in her hands. “Now, Chuck is hard to talk to because he doesn't understand life. He doesn't understand laughing and crying. He doesn't understand love and silly talk and touching hands and things like that. He plays a lot of baseball, but I doubt if he even understands baseball.” During all this, Peppermint Patty has been walking to Charlie Brown's house. She knocks on the door. When he answers the door, she just says, “I don't think you understand anything, Chuck.” And she walks away, leaving Charlie Brown confused on the doorstep. And he says, “I don't even understand what it is I don't understand.”
Michael: Good line.
Jimmy: Very good line.
Michael: Yeah, that's it. These last two Sundays both have silhouette center panels.
Jimmy: They really do. Yes.
Michael: I wonder if that's something he's going to start using.
Harold: And take a look at that tree in the first panel of the second tier. That does not look like a Peanuts tree.
Michael: It's a Walt Kelly tree.
Harold: or a Broom Hilda tree. I don't know, but it doesn't seem like a Charles Schulz tree, it's got these rounded, more rounded shapes on the leaves and the roots. Yeah, it's like he's got this different art style here. It's nice.
Jimmy: I love the silhouette panels, too. Yeah. Okay, here's an example. If you could scroll between these two. the first panel on the second tier of the last week and this week is both Peppermint Patty leaning up against the tree. And you can see the tree is pretty drawn, pretty radically differently. There is a much more going for a roundness of form than he is normally, where he's just trying to like.
Harold: It's almost like he's changing the look and the nature of the tree to match who's under it.
Jimmy: Well, this goes back to my I think that's really true. And I think this goes back to my Peppermint Patty is kind of its own strip theory. There's the classic world, there's the Peppermint Patty world, there's the Snoopy world. And what we're seeing as all this stuff goes on from this point well, from the last couple of years forward, is how each of those interact with each other. And that's a really interesting point. Harold, I think there might be something to that.
Harold: That's one of the amazing things about comics that you can do that I can't think of another medium where you could do that. I don't think Schulz was thinking about this necessarily, but he's so good at matching that configuration of lines to an emotion or to an aesthetic. We were just talking about how Snoopy is drawn all those different ways, and each one of them has a different feel to it. And I think it was my friend Emil, sent me a link to what the guys had to do when they did the CG version of the Peanuts movie. And I don't know you guys, if you've ever seen it, it's fascinating, but Schulz drawing Snoopy. Can you imagine creating a CG model for Snoopy? He doesn't exist because he's different every single pose. And they can only animate in the poses and the moves that we know. And like in the case of even Charlie Brown's head, it was like, well, the ear will rise or drop depending on whether we're seeing him from the front or from the side. And so they had to be extremely cognizant that these characters are morphing every time they move. And you can't just create a model of them and move them in 3D space because it's going to look wrong in every other pose other than the one you created it for.
Jimmy: Right. There's just a lot more detail in this than he has been putting in background recently. I mean, even if you look at the one again above it, there's the tree and some blades of grass and that's it. But he's really like those, like, flagstones on the water. I mean, that looks observed. The water fountain looks observed.
May 19 Snoopy is atop his dog house, typing away. In panel two, he thinks to himself “sometimes when you are a great writer, the words come so fast you can hardly put them down on paper.” Panel three, he sits there motionless. In panel four, he just stares out forlornly and thinks to himself “sometimes.”
Jimmy: well, I know that.
Michael: Yeah, well, Schulz knows that too. But he does this with the wordplay rather than any other kind of gag. It's just like the great use of the language
Jimmy: and great use, It works because beneath the word sometimes when it's repeated in that fourth panel is that great sad drawing of Snoopy.
Harold: Oh, yeah. How does he do that? The little line. Normally Snoopy is a solid forehead going sloping down to the snout in the nose. But when he's frazzled or depressed, then he gets these little actually quite long hairs that
Harold: and they have usually a little wispiness to them. The line's a little uncertain.
Jimmy: And it's great that's even-- how the dog-- like his nose and his body, how he feels. In the fourth panel, the line quality is deflated in a way that it's not throughout the whole drawing, in a way that's not in the panel previously.
Harold: And again, the drawing is matching the emotions. I mean, even to the point where you see his little leg and paw hanging from his body. It was reaching out to the typewriter, and now it's like half its length, which, in a way, has this I don't want to go too far with this, but it has the symbolism as, like, I can't type. I have nothing to say. So my arm is retracted. It's less, it's small, and only comics can do that. I think it's so cool.
Jimmy: Could you go a little deeper into the symbolism? Because I'm not 100% sure-- I would never make you do that. I might make you do that, but.
Harold: No the other problem is I would.
Jimmy: Yeah, that's the problem. That's why I'm not going to make you do it. What I'm going to do is
May 21 Snoopy still typing away. Good old Linus comes up and says, “have you ever thought of writing a magazine article?” Linus walks away saying, “magazines are always looking for how to articles or personal confessions or exposés.” Snoopy contemplates it in panel three and thinks “that's not a bad idea.” In m panel four, Charlie Brown is behind him and he sees that Snoopy is typing his new article. “How it feels to be owned by an incompetent.”
Michael: Laugh though you may. This one I don't like.
Michael: Because just like when Charlie Brown was like, really nasty to Snoopy a couple of strips ago. That's cruel.
Jimmy: wait, hold on, stop. I'm pretty sure we have 30, episodes of you going, you know what's great about Peanuts? The cruelty between these children.
Michael: Yeah, but the word incompetent is not a good word.
Harold: Oh, my God. What would you use?
Michael: Wishy washy would have been to be.
Harold: Owned by a wishy washy. Wishy washer?
Michael: Yeah, that's the thing. It's klutzy
Jimmy: to be owned by an incompetent. Oh my God, I love it.
Michael: I know.
Harold: It does surprise me when I read incompetent, because that's a term I wouldn't expect a Snoopy, but yeah, I get why it's there. I mean, what else would you use? Like the wishy washy. I mean, he might have done that if there was actually a word for it. I don't know.
Jimmy: Yeah. Can you come up with a better word? Anyone? how it feels to be owned--
Michael: By a terrible pitcher. Yeah, there isn't a great word that comes to mind, but I don't think incompetent is a good word.
May 27 Hey, it's a new Snoopy persona. It's Joe Cool. And “here's Joe Cool hanging around the student union,” which looks suspiciously like his dog house. Linus comes up instantly groks what's going on, and says, “hi, Joe, how’d you do in chemistry today?” Joe Cool says “that chemistry is a drag, man.” The last one Snoopy/ Joe Cool thinks “Joe Cool can't worry about chemistry when he's busy hanging around the student union.”
Michael: Now, is this actually the first Joe Cool? Did he do something like this a couple of years ago?
Jimmy: He did Snoopy hanging out and in that pose when he was on, for the head beagle. But he was not Joe Cool.
Harold: He was hanging out with street corners. I think there was a thing never Joe Cool as a persona. Yeah.
Jimmy: So now where are he has a couple of kids, I'm assuming in college at this point.
Harold: Yeah. So you got Meredith, 21, Monty, 19, and Craig, 18.
Jimmy: Can you imagine you're in college and you're trying to be a little bit of Joe Cool? I'm not certain, but I'm speculating that's what Schulz is seeing, because when any person, young person, goes away to college, it's a big change. And they come back and they're different, and they feel they express their worldliness differently and stuff like that. I think he may have seen a little Joe Cool attitude
Harold: Well 1971 yeah
Michael: That's what I was doing. I was an art student.
Harold: Did you wear the shades? Did you wear the Lennon glasses?
Jimmy: I think you could pull them off. If anyone could pull them off, Michael, I think they're-- you missed your shot.
Harold: Well, I grew up around colleges and universities. My father was an administrator, usually working on the business side of the college and the university. But he was responsible for the whole campus, how it was run, and the finances and all the battles over who needs what for this and that. And it was one of those deals where dad's a really an idealist, my mom's an idealist. They met at the college where they were at. So it was just a huge part of our lives. The university was usually part of this town that we were in. And so, Joe cool. I love it's. Just like, oh, yeah, that's what it's like when you go off to college. As a little kid, I was reading that, and I was like, yeah, that's just kind of the fun of you're going off. You're independent, and Snoopy is always independent. But here, there's just this version of him where he's just thinking to himself, he's not hanging out with Woodstock. He's not really interacting much with anybody, except with Linus here, briefly. But I personally just have this huge fondness for this version of Snoopy, because he's never doing anything as Joe Cool. He's just hanging out.
Jimmy: Yeah, I think I stole half of the way I speak from Joe Cool, which is tragic.
Harold: Here's Jimmy Gownley
Jimmy: hanging out in the Amelia verse. That inking’s a drag, man.
May 28 Here's Joe Cool hanging around the student union.
Jimmy: Hold on, before I do this, I accidentally got signed out of YouTube, in my account. And I have my YouTube settings very specific. I only want to see the things I want to see, which is basically like guitar videos, some comic stuff, and like, some Larry Bird yelling at people. That's all I want to see on YouTube. When you get signed out, though, it just gives you what it thinks, like a 51-year-old white guy would want, right? Well, it's a lot of really toxic stuff, really. So if any of you kids are out there and you happen to see any of that toxic male stuff on the Internet, remember this strip?
So “here's Joe Cool hanging around the student union, eyeing chicks.” A chick walks by. In this case, it's Lucy. Snoopy gives her a big grin. She ignores him. He has a big grin on his face in panel three, as she has left in panel four shades up on top of his head, sitting down next to his doghouse. Snoopy thinks, “actually we Joe Cools are scared to death of chicks.”
Jimmy: Never a truer word was spoken, Snoopy.
Okay, so, guys, we are now coming up on one of the larger, longer sequences. And this is well, we'll talk about it as we go along, but to me, this is like a Peppermint Patty strip. This is what I mean by the Peppermint Patty strip just feels different. We'll start with June 3. Basically, what it is is, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty are off to a carnival. And forgive me if I'm wrong, I read this two weeks ago, but she asked a bunch of other people, right. And Charlie Brown was the only one.
Harold: That could yeah, it wasn't the greatest honor for Charlie Brown.
Jimmy: Right? It wasn't the greatest honor, but they're there now. So here on
June 3 we see Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty, and they're at the carnival. And you can really see some carnival type activities and actions in the background. Peppermint Patty says, “this is it, Chuck. A real carnival.” Charlie Brown says, “look, there's a place where you can win a prize by knocking over some wooden milk bottles with a baseball.” Then Peppermint Patty looks at him and says, “they saw you coming, Chuck. They’ve also probably seen your fastball.” Charlie Brown looks back sadly.
Jimmy: I just like the way he's drawing. this little carnival looks like the Bloomsburg Fair here in Pennsylvania.
Harold: It makes me think of the animated specials.
Michael: This is so different than anything we've seen. So different, it kind of threw me, because usually they're very bare and they've never really gone anywhere.
Harold: Well, they did go to the dinner for Joe Shlabotnik.
Michael: I mean, Snoopy's gone places in Imagination. This is the first time they've actually been somewhere.
Harold: Yeah, right. But Peggy Fleming was there.
Michael: Well, you just see a table, though, right? No, but this is like an actual backdrop.
Michael: And it just doesn't look Peanuts.
Jimmy: Oh, I love it. I think it's beautifully drawn. I mean, you're going to have to accept it at some point. Michael, things are different than the 50s.
Michael: No, I refuse to accept anything after 1970.
Harold: That drawing of Charlie Brown, though, almost again, it makes makes me think of the animated specials and not the way how it's just not quite Charles Schulz drawing. This panel of Charlie Brown and panel two makes me think not quite Charlie Brown.
Jimmy: That's so weird. But when you guys say that, obviously it is Charles Schulz, right. And this is no more or less Charles Schulz than 1950 was. But what is it that when you guys say that and I understand, but I think I understand, but articulate it, what exactly are you seeing that makes it seem so different?
Michael: He's throwing away his old rules. And I think one of its rules was that everything is set around their houses.
Jimmy: and that's a rule?
Michael: He's violated that a few times, but very rarely. And when he does show another setting, it's usually super minimal, like the movie theater.
Jimmy: Well, to me this is great. This is someone who 21 years into his--. I mean, that would be one way to go. You could maintain it the same way forever and I think it would be static. And I don't think there'd be this podcast. I think, this is cool because this is something he's never tried before. That's what I want to see. I got the Paul McCartney Oratorio album not because I want to listen to it ever, but I want to listen to it once and just see what he did. Like, oh, that's wild. That's a totally new thing that this person I like did. So I love seeing that in this sense. And also I think this is just great cartoon that Tilt-a-whirl is freaking great. The fact that he has okay, the size of this panel in the newspaper would be what, like an inch across. And you could see the cart on top. You could see the logo for Tilt-a-whirl. You could see the steel beams with the little rivets in them. You can tell that's an arrow, an archery stand next to it. That's really cool.
Michael: Thank you for getting the mandatory Beatle reference out of the way.
Jimmy: You know what, I figure it's better to get it out of the way early.
Michael: Yeah, now I don't have to worry about it.
Jimmy: Just a burden relieved
Harold: Just specifically for that second panel. I think it doesn't quite look like the Schulz Charlie Brown is because the animators usually will make the, pupils, the little black dots wider and more circular when they draw them. And here Schulz is doing that himself.
Michael: More circular. You got a microscope there?
Harold: It's doing it for a reason because I think he's kind of trying to give him a little wide eyed, kind of pure innocent look in his face. But it's what I'm used to in the animation.
Jimmy: Yeah. Do you guys think that he is trolling around for animated ideas with some of these longer sequences?
Harold: I think his world has opened up because he's had to solve these problems not for the strip, but for animation. And I think that you can't help but then say, well, hey, I could do this in the strip.
Jimmy: I read ahead in a little bit and next year there's even weirder drawings and then it doesn't seem to be it seems like it's a phase he goes through and that goes back to not having so much of this stuff. But I love it and I think in these instances, you have to think of it as this is the Peppermint Patty strip and this is how things look in the Peppermint Patty strip. I think it's beautiful. Talk about spotting black.
Harold: Yeah. And it does feel 70s again, and not Imitative 70s, but somehow shaping 70s, where I'm expecting as we go over time, we've seen him amazingly uncannily on top of trends, starting trends. He's just there somehow when something's happening, and he seems to be the one defining it. And here I'm getting a mixture of things where he's kind of responding a little bit to things, but still this feels seventies in a fresh way, that is. Schulz yeah.
June 4 Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown are still at the carnival. It still looks groovy. She says, “Are we having fun, Chuck?” Charlie Brown contemplates this for a while. “I saw a movie on TV once where this girl and boy went to a carnival. They rode all the rides and ate popcorn and had a lot of fun. He even bought her a balloon.” “ Will you buy me a balloon, Chuck?” “Here you are. Here's a balloon.” He does at a 25 cent for balloon stand. Then they walk away, a big grin on Peppermint Patty's face as she holds her balloon, and she says, “we're having fun, aren't we, Chuck?”
Jimmy: That's back to your repetition thing.
Michael: There was a catchphrase going around.
Jimmy: yeah, it's Zippy the pinhead, are we having fun yet?
Michael: And that went from when
Jimmy: the 80s I think. But Zippy did start in the 70s, so I couldn't swear when that catchphrase came about.
Harold: Oh, yeah. Well, I would have placed in the 70s for Zippy, but probably after.
Jimmy: Oh, then see, I could be wrong. Actually. No, the reason I'm thinking the 80s is because he sings the song version of that in that movie Comic Book Confidential. You guys ever seen that?
Michael: Yeah, I did, but I don't remember that.
Jimmy: Yeah, he, had a whole single called are We Having Fun yet? Like sung by Zippy.
Harold: What really strikes me in this first panel is Peppermint Patty asking Charlie Brown if we're having fun. Number one, she's thinking it. Number two, she's asking somebody else their opinion about it. And this is the very first time I think I've looked at these two characters walking side by side. And they're very much alike. They're very much alike. And that had never really struck me before. The personalities, I mean, in some ways very different, but in other ways, they don't quite know what to make of the quieter things of life, and they're thinking about it. And Charlie Brown goes to Lucy, or he'll hang out at the wall with Linus and try to figure some stuff out. And there's like, kind of this openness and this purity and guilelessness to the way they're trying to experience life. And some people will just live it and experience it. But these two are like a little bit of a step removed from what they're experiencing, and they don't know what to make of it. And that does make them really cool partners to hang out with each other. They can talk in a way that most people normally wouldn't talk, or if they did talk to them, they would be talking to them on such a different level, like Lucy pontificating or Linus pontificating in a way that isn't the way they think. But these two seem to be kind of on some sort of a wavelength. And that's maybe why Peppermint Patty is so confused about Charlie Brown, because in a way, she likes him because he's like her. And that's not necessarily why you'd be romantically interested in somebody, but you're still fascinated by them and you like being with them. So that's my theory.
Jimmy: Yeah, I think that's a good theory. The other thing I find really interesting and fascinating, though, is that this idea of him doing these long stories, this is at a point where that is absolutely not the trend in any other newspaper comic. Right. I mean, nobody want is the continuity strips are out, and they're partly out because of Schulz, and now he's doing all these continuity things. It's very strange.
Harold: What's interesting, I just looked up Zippy. Zippy made his first appearance, in print just a few months before this strip came out. That's interesting.
Jimmy: Oh, wow. I don't think there could be possibly a direct correlation. So anyway, though, the story continues, and we didn't pick this one, but Charlie Brown picks a really inopportune moment to bring up the little red haired girl, and thus, basically ruins the whole evening. And then later that night on
June 9 Peppermint Patty places a phone call, and she is wearing the cutest little sleeping outfit. And she calls Charlie Brown and says, “hello, Chuck. Did I wake you up?” She continues in panel two. “I've been waiting for you to call and apologize, but I guess you're not going to, are you?” Charlie Brown says, “Well, I..” Peppermint Patty says, “good night, Chuck.” Click. She hangs up. Charlie Brown is now back in his room under the covers, and he says to himself, “in the old days, you could join the Foreign Legion.”
Michael: They should bring back the Foreign Legion.
Jimmy: yeah. Do you know, I think there still is the French Foreign Legion, but you don't have to--
Harold: We’re going to get some more messages.
Jimmy: I just learned this at one point. I didn't realize you had to forge a whole new identity if you wanted to join the French Foreign Legion. Like, you couldn't go and join as Harold Buchholz. You'd have to be like, Ace McGrew.
Michael: Ace McGrew, Foreign Legionnaire.
Jimmy: Foreign Legionnaire.
Michael: Well, it's something you can do to escape all these horrible problems.
Jimmy: Get shot.
Harold: I love Peppermint Patty in her 1970s house with the 1970s curtains and the 1970s chair. Lots of floral and designy stuff.
June 13 Boy, it's a Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown kind of year.
Michael: Another silhouette in the middle.
Jimmy: Another silhouette in the middle.
Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown are walking around, and Peppermint Patty says, “there are a lot of things I don't understand.” You and me both, Peppermint Patty. They sit underneath the tree and she says, “worse yet, it's hard to find someone you can really talk to.” Then in panel three, she asks “Charlie Brown, tell me what love is, Chuck.” Charlie Brown says, “well, years ago, my dad owned a black 1934 two-door sedan.” Peppermint Patty asks, “what's that got to do with love?” Charlie Brown says,”well, this is what he told me. There was this real cute girl, see?” Charlie Brown continues, “she used to go for rides with him in his car and whenever he called for her, he would always hold open the car door for her. After she got in and he had closed the door, he'd walk around the back of the car to the driver's side. But before he could get there, she would reach over and press the button down, locking him out.” Charlie Brown's continuing, and he says, “then she'd just sit there and wrinkle her nose and grin at him. That's what I think love is.” Peppermint Patty says, “sometimes I wonder about you, Chuck.” Charlie Brown just sighs.
Jimmy: now, this feels like classic Peanuts.
Michael: But, I thought It was going to go like and I was conceived in the backseat of that car.
Jimmy: Now, we do know this is the little red haired girl in real life.
Harold: Well, I can't help but think of Jeannie when I read this as well, because there's a playfulness here that I absolutely love. That this is like something that Charlie Brown kind of cherishes and in his mind, this is what love is. I think this is the sweetest thing. And he's going through some new love right now in his life. And there's a sweetness and a warmth to it, but also the classic Schulz thing where you're not understood at the same time.
Jimmy: Yeah, and you're right, though. Michael going back, for that silhouette in the middle and it really makes for a striking, really nice, cool Sunday strip.
Jimmy: And we're back to Peanuts trees, definitely.
June 15 Woodstock's trotting along and we see he must be feeling some thoughts of love because there's three little hearts in his word balloon. Then in panel two, he arrives at Snoopy's house where he chirps away and part of his chirping contains four little hearts. Snoopy is shocked by this and says, “I can't believe it. Woodstock has fallen in love with the worm.”
Michael: Everybody's falling in love in this.
Jimmy: It is a romantic year. It's a very good point, Michael. There's lots of love and romance in this strip. Why don't we, at this point, we take a break? get yourself a drink, get yourself a little snack for the back nine here. And, we'll be back on the other side. Cool?
VO: Hi, everyone. You've heard us rave about the Esterbrook Radio 914 and what episode would be complete without mention of the Fab Four. Now you can wear our obsessions proudly with unpacking Peanuts T shirts. We have a brand new Be of Good Cheer pen nib design along with the four of us crossing Abbey Road and, of course, Michael, Jimmy, and Harold at the Thinkin’ Wall. Collect them all. Trade them with your friends. Order your T shirts today at unpackingpeanuts.com/store.
Jimmy: And we're back. And Lucy's back out in the outfield.
July 11 Lucy in the outfield yells, “brush this guy back. Hey, batter. Hey, batter. Hey, batter.” Then in panel three “come on, Charlie Brown. Strike him out.” In panel four, though she's silent, the next panel we see, she has arrived at the pitcher’s mound for a little conference with Charlie Brown. She says to him, “I know you like lots of chatter out there, manager, but I can't think of anything to chatter.” Charlie Brown thinks and says, “well, how about saying, Throw it by him, pitcher? Or how about he can't hit what he can't see?” “Another good one,”says Charlie Brown, “is show him the high hard one.” Lucy asks, “could you write some of those down? I'll never be able to remember them otherwise.” Charlie Brown, who happens to have a pen and paper concealed about his person, does just this. Lucy takes it back out to the outfield, saying, “thank you. This will be a big help.” She's now reading off the card, saying, “okay, pitcher, throw it past him. He can't hit what he can't see. Pitch hard, Charlie Brown.” In that panel the ball lands bonk right behind her. Doesn't roll, doesn't move. She doesn't even see it. She continues yelling off the card, “stay with him, kid. You can do it, Charlie Brown. Be good, boy. Good shot. Show him the high hard one.”Charlie Brown just sighs.
Michael: it's a case where Lucy is not being mean or sarcastic, right?
Jimmy: She's literally trying to help. I just need a little help, and I'll do this for you. And she's just terrible at it. And again, it looks like she still might be out in center field, judging by the way, she arrived at the mound. So I think Charlie Brown is a bad manager.
July 20 and Peppermint Patty is at camp, and it's raining rain. She says, “Good grief.” But she peeks out from her little ramshackle looking cabin. Then in the pouring rain, she stands in the doorway and says, “how can you have fun at camp with dorky weather like this? I wonder how Chuck is doing.” Then a little girl comes up and says to her, “sir, what time is lunch?” Peppermint Patty looks at the kid and says, “don't call me sir. What kind of a dorky kid are you?” A little girl, soon to be Marcy looks out at us and says, “Dorky?”
Jimmy: And here we have another great comedy team arriving. Peppermint Patty and Marcy.
Michael: Yeah, well, this is a big one. She will someday be up there in the standings.
Jimmy: She absolutely will be. Yes. And pulls the sir thing right off the bat.
Harold: That's her schtick.
Jimmy: You know the calling Peppermint Patty, sir? Yeah.
July 23 All kinds of things are happening in the camp this time. And we have Charlie Brown, who's delivering a letter to Snoopy, who's the World War One flying Ace, who's asleep atop a tent. And he says, “Mail call, Snoopy. You got a postcard from Woodstock.” “Oh, I love a good missive from Woodstock.” He writes to Snoopy. “Dear friend of friends, I arrived safely at Eagle Camp and I'm having a good time, although they work us hard. How are things up at the front? Take care of yourself and say hello to the Red Baron for me.” Snoopy puts the letter down and says “that Woodstock is making fun of me.”
Jimmy wearing his-- That cracks me up that Woodstock is busting on Snoopy a little bit. And basically, other than like, maybe Linus, very few people do. most people just seem to accept it or are angry about it, but they don't tease him about it.
Michael: Explain the Eagle camp reference.
Jimmy: All right, so while everybody's going away to camp, Woodstock has gone away to Eagle camp, which is exactly what it seems like. The two where he's going to learn to be an eagle or like an eagle.
August 12 Joe Cool is at the beach. “Here's Joe Cool hanging around the beach, drinking root beer and eyeing chicks.” He continues in panel two. “Here's Joe Cool impressing the chicks by crushing the empty can with one hand.” In panel three, he attempts to do that, does not crush. In panel fourHe drops it, kicks it away, and says, “stupid can.”
Harold: Too bad he doesn't live in 2023. When you just buy a bottle of water and it disintegrates in your hand.
Jimmy: You can tell this is an old style can, too.
Harold: Oh, yeah, the steel ones, right? Those are intense.
Harold: Good tin. Yeah. So look at the Snoopy in panel two versus panel four. There's quite a variation there.
Jimmy: well, look at that. What happens to his shorts between panels.
Michael: Fading in the sun?
Harold: Exertion it lightens your shorts. Yeah, right. Our first cut offs
Michael: I think he’s trying to be Dennis Wilson
Jimmy: It is a very Dennis Wilson vibe.
Harold: I remember the strip from my childhood. It just makes me laugh. Kicking the can off, trying to be cool again.
August 18 Sally bursts into Charlie Brown's room, sending him flying out of bed. Clearly he was asleep. She yells, “summer is almost over. School starts in three weeks.” Then as she runs out of the room, she screams, “panic in the streets.” Charlie Brown is lying in bed. He just says, “Panic in the streets?”
Michael: This is a classic Schulz setup. Somebody says something weird in panel three, and then the last panel, someone repeats it like, Sydney or the bush?
Harold: And this I will say 1970s Peanuts is peak toes. Charlie Brown's toes in panel four is the best.
Jimmy: All four of them.
Michael: He only has seven toes, according to this panel.
Jimmy: you know what's weird? Because I have done that with, the old Amelia characters have four. And, if you look at our T shirt, the, Abbey Road one, you guys all have Peanuts hands, and I have an Amelia hand, and I did not do that on purpose.
Harold: I have my theory on where this strip came from. Do you guys have any thoughts on how Schulz may have come by this?
Michael: Wasn't there a movie?
Harold: Yeah, there was Elia Kazan film from 1950. I'm just guessing he was going through the TV Guide and he's like, panic in the streets. And there you go. That's my theory.
Jimmy: That's a good theory. You'll notice the kids are starting to dress differently.
Jimmy: I mean, Sally is coming in, and that does not look like her sleepwear. That looks like she's wearing a tank top and some funky 70s pants.
Harold: Yeah. Keeping up with the times there.
August 27 another classic pose where Lucy is back hanging out with Schroeder at the piano. She says to him, “if you really liked me, would you give me presents?” Schroeder says absolutely. “I'd give you candy and flowers and jewelry and books and record albums.” Lucy says, if you really liked me Schroeder says, “If I really liked you.” And in the last panel, he's continuing to practice and Lucy just says, “rats.”
Michael: Yeah. Again, the brilliant wordplay.
Harold: Yeah. I think I gave you the wrong strip. I'm just looking at my notes here.
Jimmy: Oh, well, let's keep I think this strip is great because I think this is really sad. And it's nice to see that classic set up that dates all the way back to the 50s still works.
Michael: Should be playing an electric piano by this point.
Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely.
Harold: The strip I meant to propose was the end of the whole camp thing. And Charlie Brown's trying to be friends with this kid who has his back to him the whole time, sitting on his bed just saying, shut up and leave me alone. The thing that made me laugh the most was the very last kind of the capper joke because it just kept coming back was, when he received he had sent a letter to the kid afterward. I love Charlie Brown. He's reaching out to this kid who says nothing to him. Won't even look at him. Says, Shut up and leave me alone. Gets him in trouble with Peppermint Patty. When she comes over to say hi, the kid just as rude to her. Says exactly the same thing. And then Charlie Brown writes him a letter after camp, and he gets a letter back, and it's like, oh, what do you say? What do you say? And he opens up and he says, shut up and leave me alone.
Michael: I would have put him on the tier list if I knew his name.
Harold: Right yeah
Jimmy: Yeah. Put up him at the top. That dude gets it. I just love Charlie Brown. He's still reaching out to this kid.
Harold: That's the best.
Jimmy: And, you know, if he's his bunk mate next year, yeah, they'll still try.
August 29 A balloon on a giant rope is sighing because why not? And then the next panel, Linus is, holding a regular balloon on a regular old string. Lucy watches this, and she sees that Linus is at this point talking to the balloon. And he says, “okay, balloon, I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to let you go so you can fly around for a while and get a little exercise, but you have to promise to come back. Okay? There, you go.” And leaves the balloon go. Lucy watches as it flies away. And then she just bursts out laughing. “Ha. Boy, if you're not the stupidest person alive, I don't know who is. Fly around for a while and get a little exercise and then come back. A balloon. Wow.” But then in the next two panels, the balloon does just that. And then that leaves Lucy to sit alone under the tree and think. “Balloons and little brothers drive me crazy.”
Michael: It's kind of a callback to when he Linus was a baby, and he kept doing these absolutely astounding things.
Harold: I can't help but think of Stan Laurel in this one and Oliver Hardy, except it would be get a little exercise and then come back.
Jimmy: I did not know you had an impression ready to bust out at a moment's notice. All these years and you learned something new. I've been practicing my Hunter Thompson for next year, but I can't do it. It's too specific.
September 12 We see a Snoopy as Joe Cool pennant. And then Joe Cool leaving the dorm, aka his doghouse. He's now wearing his classic Joe Cool turtleneck. And he thinks to himself, “chicks go for these turtleneck sweaters.” There he is leaning up against the doghouse. “Here's Joe Cool hanging around the dorm on a Sunday afternoon.” And he walks away and says, “maybe I'll go over to the student union and check out the scene. Here's Joe Cool hanging around the student union looking for action.” We see him looking at a bulletin board and says, “I see they're showing Citizen Kane again. I've only seen it 23 times.” He walks around the campus saying, “maybe I'll go over to the library and see who's there.” In the library, “Rats. No chicks. Maybe I should go over to the gym and shoot a few baskets.” And we see Snoopy in the gym. And he's like, “if I had some wheels, I'd cruise around for a while. Maybe I should walk over and look at the geological exhibit. I've got to be kidding. Look at those rocks again. No way.” Continues on his tour of campus. He thinks to himself, “there's a guy with two chicks how does he do it? The leaves are beginning to fall. The sun is warm, but it's kind of chilly in the shade. I wonder what's going on at home. Maybe I should go back to the dorm and write some letters.” Then Snoopy, leaning up against his dog house, but in a sad, deflated position, thinks to himself, “Joe Cool hates Sunday afternoon.”
Michael: He does the silhouette, but he doesn't do it--
Jimmy: like a center, yeah
Michael: near the center panels.
Jimmy: It's a great look though. This is a lot of panels for a Sunday page, and I really like it. One of the things I want to say that-- I often tried to draw the arm crossing pose for characters in Amelia and elsewhere. And he's got it now. But if you go back a few and you look at the original Joe Cool, from say, like May 28 or May 27, he doesn't know how to draw Snoopy folding his arms. Snoopy actually looks like in those, like he has his arms folded across his chest, like in a coffin, like Dracula would be, because he doesn't have the one paw tucked in. But then way up here, when he comes back to Joe Cool, he's got it. He knows how to tuck that arm in. It's a very small thing, but.
Harold: I think this creates such a great mood. I just love the strip. It's so evocative. And again, this is where Schulz has just taken us from a layer of a character to another layer, to another layer, to another layer, so that other cartoonists couldn't do if we didn't have haven't spent all this time with his world. Because here's a dog, a dog who wears sunglasses and a cool turtleneck sweater, and he's leaving his dog house, and then he winds up in these places that actually do look like he's wandering around an empty college campus. And the fact that he's role playing a character that he's not in the first place mixed in with, it's like this weird mixture of fantasy and reality and I don't know, it's just amazing, that he's been able to take me to this place. That is not the most intuitive thing. If you'd never seen this strip before, you wouldn't know what the heck is going on.
Jimmy: to say the least.
Michael: I think having the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack would make this work better.
Jimmy: The other thing that about this, when Snoopy is in his fantasy mode, he's never fantasizes being successful. The Red Baron is shooting him down.
Harold: Joe Cool can't get chicks.
Jimmy: It's a weird thing to fantasize about.
Michael: But the grocery store clerk probably gets a lot of action.
Jimmy: That's true.
September 13 and we're back at Schroeder's piano. Lucy, who looks a little angry now, says, “I've decided something. You and I are through.” Schroeder, says, “how can we be through? We never even started.” Panel three. Lucy thinks about this for a second and then she says, “that didn't even come close to working.”
Michael: I like this one a lot.
Jimmy: Oh, that's just funny. What do you like about that, Michael?
Michael: Oh, she just got hit in the face. Totally failed.
Jimmy: Yeah. And not even-- Like, didn't rile him up. It's not a zinger. He's just, like, saying, we can't be through. We didn't start-- so devastating.
Harold: What was the strip? This was the whole series of strips right. Where she's trying to call it quits, and he's like, okay, all right. It's like Puddy in Seinfeld. Yeah, that's right.
Jimmy: Exactly. All right.
Harold: but there was one in particular where I forget how it works, but basically there's gifts involved and things like things that these are all the things I was going to give you. She's returning all his stuff to her To him. It's like, all right, thanks. Basically breaking up with him, giving the gift she was going to give him. And then she's like, wait a second.
Jimmy: Yeah, really good. But also knowing he's going through difficulties in his marriage. It has a darker tune to it. Sorry, I'm going to bring down let's turn it around.
September 24 Charlie Brown's watching TV, and Sally comes in and she says, “I just got back from the show. The man there said that his theater cost $2 million. He said he didn't mind, though, because he was going to charge me $2 million for my ticket. And that way he'd get it all back at one time.” She sits down next to Charlie Brown. “I think he was teasing me.”
Michael: Sally's starting to figure the world out.
Harold: Yeah, she is.
Jimmy: I love her walking and taking her coat off. That's a great drawing.
Harold: Yeah. This really is a nice era of art for him. It's very clean and fresh and modern. I'm thinking of looking at late 50s Peanuts or early 50s Peanuts. yeah. It's like a totally different style. I mean, if somebody else had said, well, it's a new artist, you kind of believe it. Right. If someone had taken over the strip to draw it because he's shifted into these styles. And sometimes he's kind of in this little bit of in between world. But I don't know. He keeps landing on these really cool designs.
Michael: Feels a little different to me than the last couple of years, but I can't put a finger on how.
Harold: because yeah. Do you get that feeling, like, where he's in some transition mode and like, Snoopy's in particular. I remember in the early 50s, he's like, ooh, I'm not so happy with where he's gone here. And then he figures out something new and he lands it. And it does morph. It's not like, okay, I'm going to have a new Snoopy. But he somehow finds a version of it that really resonates and is really strong and very appealing. But it's quite different than what it had been. And I like the style here. In 1971, it just seems like it's settled into something that feels early seventies. And it's super designy, greeting card-y in some ways. To me, it's nice.
Jimmy: I have a weird question for you guys as cartoonists, and maybe this is just me. When it's going well for you, like you're drawing a page, and the panel and let's say it's a page and you're like, this one's actually coming out pretty good. So this happens once every six years or whatever. Do you find that then the risk becomes you can overdraw because it's going so well and you just start adding stuff until eventually you've done too much?
Michael: I always add stuff until I've done too much. It's called my style.
Jimmy: How about you, Harold?
Harold: I guess because my style is, as far as the characters are concerned, is so stylized, it has to be a few lines that I'm not if it's working, it's working because it's spare.
Michael: Did you say a few lions?
Jimmy: Right. Well, I guess then your risk would be though, then, to take those spare lines and maybe make them over emote, perhaps.
Harold: Yes. Right. But then it wouldn't be working. Right. There's one strip in particular I remember that, I was like, wow. I'm not usually focusing a whole lot on the backgrounds. It's kind of like Schulz again. I mean, he influenced me in a million ways and that was one of them, is I really focused on the characters and then the backgrounds are there to give some shape. But it's really not about the backgrounds, it's about the characters and where they are emotionally and all of that. But I did do one where the lion is sitting on top of a rock and he's kind of saying, I'm being super vigilant, looking out on his king of the beasts. And then it says, no matter what, I will not be stayed, blah, blah, blah. And then it starts to rain, and then it starts to rain harder. And then at one point, all you see are his two little eyes like, oh my gosh, this deluge is coming down on me. And then Woolly, the lamb, walks up with a red umbrella. And the last panel, he's holding the umbrella, and Woolly's sitting underneath at the base of the rock. And the rain. I was using black and white rain lines and it just all was coming together and it was, you know, it's one of those magical moments where it's like, wow I didn't know I had that in me to do. And it just feels really good. But going overboard with stuff is usually I don't know how to go overboard. When it comes to art, I go underboard, or like you say, I will over emote a character and it kills the joke. Yeah.
Jimmy: every once in a while Michael says something and then I have to think about it for 30 years and it's really. Annoying. and one of the things he said recently is like, boy, if you notice, a lot of times their hands are just down at their side and there's Peanuts characters, right? And somehow it really sells that particular mood or that joke. And I was looking at a page of mine that I had done for quite some time from my upcoming book, but everybody's hands were waving around and I couldn't do it with everybody's hands at their side. I totally did it. And weirdly, I showed it well, I showed it to someone. I can't say who I showed it to. And he said he's like, oh, I don't know why. It has a real Peanuts vibe. He thought, It doesn't really look like Peanuts. I'm like it's the arms.
Harold: It's the arms secret sauce.
Jimmy: No one will know.
Harold: Yeah, Schulz does seem to know how to strip things down emotionally so that we don't get distracted. He's great about that. And there's so much to be learned from that because it's easy for me to go into the histrionics kind of thing with the characters. Broad. Cartoons are broad. Yeah, it's good to have Schulz think Schulz, and then all of a sudden let me try this. Where the character is not reacting in such a huge way and 90% of the time it’s better.
Jimmy: requires so much restraint. So much restraint.
Harold: So in this sequence, I think Peppermint Patty decides that she would like to play a game of Ha Ha Herman.
Michael: For some reason, that makes me laugh every time I think of it.
Harold: And so Charlie Brown gets involved and anyway, it's never really explained what Haha Herman is, right? It's just one of those weird things that Schulz is trying to introduce into the Zeitgeist because it sounds funny. And, for me, this one never really gelled for me, the Ha Ha Herman thing, I was like, okay, this is Schulz once again trying to create something that's super iconic. And I'm like…
Jimmy: now here's something that's interesting that I did want to bring up about that because I think that's true. And I think we'd all agree that 71 is scattered in a lot of different ways. A great artist has to have those periods. Not a bad artist. A bad artist is just going to be a bad artist. An okay artist can continue with an immaculate consistency, as Brian Eno would say. Like, there's a reason Fraser always won an Emmy for best comedy because it was the same episode every week, you know what I mean? And they nailed it and they knew how to do it and it was professional. And if you wanted to just watch a well crafted, fine sitcom, Fraser was going to always be there for you. There's going to be episodes of Seinfeld that don't work. That's great. That's why Seinfeld is great and Fraser is good.
Harold: I agree.
October 12. Here we have Marcy. So this is the Ha Ha Herman story she has made. She has infiltrated the Brown household and she is at Charlie Brown's door to his bedroom and she says, “hey, Chuck, are you in there?” From inside, Charlie Brown calls out, “who is it?” Marcy says “it's me. Marcy. You know, from camp. We were playing. Ha. Ah, herman together.” Charlie Brown says, “I'm sorry, I don't want to see anyone.” Sally, who is the most forthright Peanuts character, actually, I think, says, “if my brother doesn't want to see you, I think you should leave.”
Jimmy: Right? It's like, all right, Sally. And Marcy is now outside at Snoopy's dog house and says, I don't suppose it would do any good to talk to you, would it? Snoopy thinks my mind reels with sarcastic replies. My least favorite joke, which is
Michael: what do you mean?
Jimmy: My least favorite joke is oh, so many punchlines. Oh, I have so many jokes. I mean, you have no jokes.
Michael: That's what that yeah, no, but he recycled that.
Michael: That’s one of my favorite lines
Harold: but in this case
Jimmy: From where?
Michael: he's used that before.
Harold: Yeah, Michael's right. But the one that's odd here to me is in the original one, I had a bunch of sarcastic replies that I could see would have been happened here, here. I have absolutely no idea what Snoopy sarcastic replies would be.
Jimmy: Right. And I don't specifically remember the one you're talking about, Michael.
Michael: Well, someone put him down for just being a dog or something like that.
Jimmy: Yeah. So there's a chance like what Harold saying, that could probably work great. But yeah, this one, I don't know what the sarcastic reply would be, so I feel like Charles Schulz didn't either, so he went for that. It doesn't matter as long as I'm just going negative. What's going on with the word balloon in panel, too? Why is the tail around the doorknob? Why not just put it beneath the doorknob?
Harold: Yeah, really weird. it's very unique because yeah, it curves around this doorknob. It does make it feel like it's inside the door, which I think you wouldn't get at the angle if you did the other way. It somehow does give you the sense that it's on the other side. Yeah, but that was a bold choice.
Jimmy: Now, here's an example of this. The art changing. Like when we see it, look at good old Charlie Brown's comforter quilt on October 12. And now when we go to
October 13 check out Peppermint Patty. Now we're in the Peppermint Patty strip and things are a little grungier, a little scratchier. Peppermint Patty's lying in bed under her quilt and Marcy peeks through the door, Sin City style and says, “sir, may I come in?” Peppermint Patty sits upright and says, “sir? What kind of an expression is that? Stop calling me sir.” Marcy says, “I've just been over to see Chuck. He's pretty hurt. He's taken to his bed.” Peppermint Patty rolls over in her bed and says, “so have I. When I think of how I hurt his feelings, I want to die. I feel awful. I really offended him.” Marcy says, “in first aid class, I learned that if you have offended someone, the best treatment is to apologize immediately.”
Harold: Yeah. Not a joke so much as a little bit of Marcy wisdom, which we're going to see a lot more a little bit of wisdom of in the future. For context, here they were playing Ha Ha Herman, which includes kind of a hide and seek element, and Charlie Brown's hiding and overhears Peppermint Patty once again, in her conflicted way talking about why anyone would be interested in Chuck. And she says some really pretty cutting things that he overhears, and then he just appears from the bush that he's been hiding in and walks off dejected.
Jimmy: I am not a gay woman, so I don't feel as if I can, talk about this, with any authority. However, I do know that Peppermint Patty is kind of seen as an icon for queer kids. And I think part of that it's never stated directly in the strip. But Peppermint Patty's confusion and need to play out some of these roles that, like you said earlier one of you said earlier, hasn't happened yet. These are the things that is coming. But she actually has a pretty decent way to practice this with Charlie Brown, who actually is also trying to figure some of this stuff out. I do believe that Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty would have a lifelong friendship. I think they're going to be pals forever.
Harold: Yeah, I could see that, and art wise, I'm looking at this strip and the thing that really all these little things that just jump out at you, like you were saying, kind of a grungier look to her bed spread. Well, it actually looks more like kind of a homemade quilt that an aunt or grandmother might have made for her.
Jimmy: Yes, that's what it looks like.
Harold: And there's lots of design in Peppermint Patty's home. You see it in the curtains and this and that, and then the chair designs and all of that. There's always some sort of something going on with it. It's not just a flat color or whatever. But the thing that just, for some reason, just jumps out at me that I love so much is Peppermint Patty in that first panel against the pillow. And her hair kind of feels like it's a little bit like straw. And, it's coming up over the pillow in a way that is just incredibly nicely drawn. And it's just a couple of lines.
Jimmy: Yeah. And it's such a simple thing, and I don't think anyone would think of drawing any kind of figure lying down is difficult, even if it's covered with a blanket like this is here. Figuring out what to do with her hair in this situation is difficult, but he does make a really good choice with it. It looks great.
November 5 It's Linus and Snoopy. Linus is clutching his blanket, and he says to Snoopy, “now listen carefully, you stupid beagle. This is what I want you to do for me.” Linus has his blanket now scrunched up, and he's looking at it with determination. “I'm going to try to kick this blanket habit once and for all, but I need your help. I want you to keep my blanket” he says as he hands it to Snoopy “for me. And don't give it back, no matter how much I plead, no matter how much I beg, no matter how desperate I become.” Last panel. Snoopy's holding the blanket, a huge grin on his face, and he thinks, “this is going to be fun.” And Linus yells, “and this isn't going to be fun.”
Michael: This is the first time Linus actually gets a long sequence this year, and he is my favorite character, but he hasn't been doing much, and it's a little disappointing because this is like recycled situation, which we've seen several times.
Harold: Yeah. Do you think he was Schulz was feeling a little guilty that Linus maybe hadn't been around for a while, and he doesn't have a lot of fresh ideas, and so he's going to take another take.
Michael: He needs some fresh ideas for Linus because he's such a great character, but he's not doing much.
Harold: Yeah, I think, jimmy, you were saying that you thought that where Schulz was at this point in his career and his life, maybe Linus was just that part of him was not easy to access.
Jimmy: Yeah, that's what I think. Not so much professional as it is just personal. Like I said last episode, Linus is contemplative, Linus is spiritual, Linus is thoughtful, and those thoughts are leading Schulz to dark places in regards to himself. He's finding other outlets for these types of thoughts, but they come out differently because they're filtered through different characters. Peppermint Patty really seems to be someone he's very interested and very focused on, and it might simply be because she's not him. She's less like him than--
Harold: Yeah, well It's interesting to see Marcy come in and take this role of the voice of reason. I think that's where Linus was before, and now there's such a focus on Peppermint Patty that you're seeing a little bit of Marcy kind of taking over that role since she's from the other neighborhood. So Linus is losing one of those roles to Marcy for the Peppermint Patty version of the strip.
Jimmy: Yeah, that's interesting.
Harold: Although I'd say Marcy is a little more grounded than Linus is on the-- She just seems to be very common sense and very humble about it, too. Marcy's, again, one of those characters that is not your typical newspaper comic strip character. She's very understated, she's very low key, but I found she's very often very welcome. I was never a fan of the whole Sir schtick. That's how she gets her start. But then she does grow into an integral part of the strip. But the shtick I'm like again. I don't mind her calling Peppermint. Patty, sir. It's just that how many times and I guess Schulz has to do this because when he's introducing a new character, nobody's reading the strip every day the paper with, with, you know, like, maybe a small percentage are. And so you, if you are going to introduce something and you think it's going to be a part of it, you just got to beat it to death for a while so that everybody kind of gets in line with what's going on.
Jimmy: You do. And it's part of, like, this branding. because Schulz is doing a bunch of different things. He's primarily creating this work of art, but he's also sustaining one of the greatest pop culture franchises of all time. And I think of, oh, it's a, it's a different band. My second band I can talk about think of REM. In their late phase of their career. And they used to do a thing where they'd play half the show would be new songs or they'd play songs you didn't they weren't the hits. They would change the set list constantly. And, they were up for some festival. And for the first time in, like, 20 years, they weren't the headliner. They were on before the headliner. And, the guitarist was like, it was like a down moment for everybody. And they said, well, here's what we're going to do. we're going to play all the hits. We've never had a show where we just play all the hits. Losing My Religion, Stand. And of course, they end up blowing the other band off the stage. But it's that weird thing in where because that was a festival and they're not super REM fans. So if you're not a super REM fan right, and you hear Losing My Religion, End of the World, Stand, whatever, you're going to lose your mind. If you were one, you're like, okay, well, they just played the hits. I think he has to, in some instances with this play the hits. And he knows Peppermint Patty Marcy is going to be a hit, but he has to repeat it.
When I worked at the TV station, the promotions department, we changed the slogan from whatever it was to Working For You. I think that's what it was called. Whatever. So I think it was working for you. And we did it for a year. Every promo said Working for you. Every graphic had it hidden somewhere. It was put on the and we did a poll to the viewership of the region and like, 2% recognized it as our slogan.
Harold: Yeah, right.
Jimmy: And the people who were the consultants, which I cannot believe consultants are real job. But, for this story anyway. They have it a valid point. They said, yeah, by the time you're sick of it is the first time it's even registered to your audience.
Harold: That makes sense. And Michael, I want to ask you, what's your opinion on Snoopy forehead in this strip?
Michael: Yeah, it's not much forehead. I'm not getting my money forehead wise. Yeah, it gets lower than that, but there's not much there. He looks stupider.
Harold: Do you think the forehead changes based on, again, Snoopy's role in a strip is just kind of, again, kind of matching the tone to whatever's happening to the look of the character?
Michael: I think artists don't even notice that these characters are evolving. No, it just happens. And then they look back and they go, oh my God. But I think it makes him look stupid.
Harold: Interesting. Yeah. I was just wondering emotionally, because the focus is on Linus in some weird way, is that some subconscious thing Schulz is doing is to play down Snoopy's intelligence or thoughts in those three panels to surprise us in panel four? I don't know. Schulz, he just seems to be so in tune with the character.
Michael: Maybe he's conforming more towards the plush merchandise. I don't know.
Jimmy: I don't think at this point you do.
Harold: Get some of the forehead back in panel four when he reveals that instead of him being just with the arms by the little paws by the side like we were talking about earlier, and then all of a sudden, Snoopy surprises us with this mischievous grin about, OOH, this is going to be fun. I'm keeping this.
Jimmy: So many things, especially when you're drawing these figures that are so small, the littlest motion, little change. The fact that the Snoopy figure is at the bottom of the panel versus the top of the panel changes where it was probably sitting on his art desk, all that kind of stuff. And it just makes little differences. And I think Michael's right. Sure, it just happens.
Harold: But I would argue that he's so good that his subconscious is working in his favor for these jokes and stuff. Yeah, that's my sense.
Jimmy: I do agree with that. And that's the magic that you can't replicate. We could study this in detail, but he has something going. Like we were talking about how Snoopy looked deflated in the last panel versus the previous three panels. Is that something conscious or is that just the emotion he's trying to feel within himself? It comes out on the paper and it leaves--
Harold: And look at that Linus in the first panel. That is a gorgeous Linus drawing and it is different than any of Linus we've seen before. He's part of this move toward this kind of rounder, softer artwork that we start to see in the early seventies. And I think we're going to continue to see it go in that direction. But that is a really nice design. I like that Linus very much, art wise.
Michael: Which one?
Harold: Panel of Linus when he's presenting the blanket to Snoopy. I just like the art there.
Jimmy: Me too.
December 2 Linus is looking out the window. It's a wintry day. He comes back in and says to Lucy, who's playing some 45s on her little record player, “the ground is covered with snow. We should throw some bread out for the birds.” Lucy says, “that's a good idea.” Then panel four, she does that exactly. An entire loaf, and it hits Woodstock right on the head. Bonk.
Michael: That's one of my favorites. I mean, just making fun of him for being so small and all these horrible things happen. It's just total slapstick. But it works with Woodstock because you feel sympathy for him.
Jimmy: I never even thought about this way until you said it like last episode. He's so tiny. I mean, that has to be the smallest little cartoon character. And that giant loaf of bread hitting in the head is just funny.
Harold: I noticed here in the second panel, the lettering the S on we should is one of he lost control. One of the first times where I've seen him in the lettering where he didn't fix it, it's like he dipped the pen and he got a big old blob on the S. And he just kept going, I don't need to fix this.
Jimmy: Well, boy, I was, looking through Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up, which was a lot of things. In part, it was a four-year psychological torture session. And I was looking at the lettering, and I can tell you exactly my mood just by looking at the lettering. Each of those pages, just by looking at the page. There's one that I'm lettering these pages and going, I don't want to have this fight with them, but I'm going to have to have I'm just struggling to get, for someone who is nominated for Best Letterer for four times, you can see that I'm struggling.
Harold: Well, just the very fact that you said you could tell your mood while you're doing it is maybe one of the reasons why you were nominated four times for Best Letterer. Because there is personality in the lettering.
Jimmy: Well, okay. So this goes back to this digital versus non digital thing. And I'm trying definitely to hone in what I'm trying to say when I talk about this, because I do digital stuff all the time, and I have for 20 years. I'm not anti digital. What I watch when you guys do your digital drawing, your drawing. What I worry about for the younger generation is that they're letting the apps draw for them, meaning every single opportunity they have to take something out of the realm of personal expression and letting the computer do it, they do. And that's the problem.
Harold: Yeah, I think there's definitely something to that. Although it's weird because right now, the medium also determines for you what it's going to look like. There's only so much wiggle room that you're working within based on what your tool says you can do. And I think there may be a tendency for us to because we can copy what everyone else is doing. Everyone else has the same tool, and the tool will change even, things that the smoothing let's say you have a smoothing thing. You can set it. I'm going to set this at zero, and I'm going to have some shake in the line. But even that's not you. It's just like the dip pen where I tried to use a rapidograph forget it. I mean, it would just look horrible. And that was my rapidograph look, whether I liked it or not. And I think people really enjoy the fact that it's like, oh, wow, I feel so bad about how shaky or how imperfect this thing is. It's like, I want to make it a little more perfect. But, who was it that said that your art style is your imperfection?
Jimmy: Yeah. Eisner. Yeah. The sum of your mistakes.
Harold: Yeah. And we're removing that. And I think, unbeknownst to a lot of people, maybe they are losing some of themselves to that computerized perfection.
Michael: Yeah. You lose something. But the computer lettering, which I've been using exclusively for, like, 20 years, has just got so many pluses. I mean, I was always a terrible letterer, but the big plus is I go back and look at those and I go, that's not a good choice of words. And I just rewrite the word.
Jimmy: Well, I think lettering and things like the panels and all that stuff, that's one thing. And I think especially for your style, and specifically, I'm thinking of, like, Tangled River and the type of book it is that is part of the aesthetic. That's a considered part of the aesthetic. And that's fine. What I think I'm talking about is, like, these are the four gradients that it comes packaged with. Use one of those four, set every control to the maximum control of the computer. 17,000 layers that are all incorporated into the thing. And it looks like it was done it might look like it was done for a Pixar movie, and that's great. But it's also exactly what AI does really well.
Harold: Yeah. The quality in terms of the look of the art, at this free Comic Book Day event, I walked off with six comics of different artists and styles, and I was kind of marveling at the professional look of so many of those comics. And a lot of them I had never seen before. But you're right that the personality can start to it's amazing how uniform the CG movies are right now. Everybody's kind of in that same space. Just like I used to gripe about 1980s animation that was like feature animation, because guess what? Everybody went to Cal Arts and everybody studied under … or whatever. And they all had one influence. And so everybody was drawing something in the same way for a certain type of expression. The diversity of styles from artists from all over Europe and Asia who came to work at Disney in the 30s and 40s just had this richness because people didn't have the same point of reference. And so everybody's bringing those different imperfections and amazing abilities, from all different backgrounds, all art styles, illustration, art and painting, and they're bringing it together. And you're constantly surprised by the uniqueness of the beauty of this. And now we're just moving we're moving toward common reference points and common tools that It puts us in danger of losing the uniqueness and personality that maybe we could put in there.
Michael: Yeah, but you can't help drawing like you draw as hard as you may try as hard as I may try to draw like someone else, it still looks like me, I guess that's a bug and a feature.
Harold: And that's great. I'm glad that is that way. Yeah.
Jimmy: Well, Michael once sent me a pastiche he had done of a couple of things, or one of he did one that was a pastiche. And then he showed me a couple of other things in the similar style that were done by other artists. And he's like, can you tell which one? I was like, yes, I can, but I like yours better, so that's okay. You know what I mean? And that's like, the thing. There was a way that you learned at one point that's different than the way you learn now. There's a tutorial for everything. And if you learn that tutorial right on YouTube or whatever, and you didn't go to Mark Crilley, you went to somebody else, despite my suggestion, you'll … the one way to do something, and that's it. And that's how you'll do that thing forever. I've learned how to play guitar poorly from a nun in third grade. And I've been playing guitar my whole life. And Michael will let you know. Not particularly good.
Michael: Was it the Singing Nun?
Jimmy: It was Sister Miriam Ruth, my favorite grade school teacher. She did sing and she could rock a mean guitar and taught me, like, Muppet movie songs and stuff and hymns for church because we had church band. But why am I telling you about Sister Ruth? What were we talking about? We were talking about computer podcast. Where else did we talk about?
Michael: This is the Sister Ruth podcast
Jimmy: Oh, right. So she taught me how to play guitar, whatever it was, and I played guitar and learned for 40 years. And I bought books or whatever. Over the pandemic I started watching YouTube videos, like, to learn how to play jazz guitar. And I progressed from YouTube videos in 18 months more than I progressed in decades. Learning it the other way. But I'm still not a good guitarist. Do you know what I mean? There's a certain amount now of facility I have that I can play along with people if we were jamming or whatever, but I don't have it because.
Michael: You're not putting in the 2000 hours.
Jimmy: 10,000, right. Is that the number?
Michael: 10,000 hours
Jimmy: Yeah. And I think that's what happens. I think you can arrive at a state of almost like being like a virtuoso earlier now, but it's empty without the life experience, without the vision behind it. There's tons of guitar videos with people who--
Michael: But you always start off copying. You copy different people and eventually one day you wake up and you're playing something that doesn't sound like any of them. It's all of them.
Jimmy: Right, right. It's amazing. That art, I hope as we move into this uncertain future, we all realize how amazing it is the variations humans make in art with very little actual changes being done. It's pretty spectacular.
Michael: Okay, back to the strips.
December 5. It's back in the 50s because Charlie Brown's dressed up in his really weird looking Russian winter outfit. But it's almost like a clear line Belgian style cartooning this time and he's sliding across the ice as he is wont to and of course he falls and he can't get up. “Good grief, I can't get up. I'm trapped like a turtle,” he says as he shakes his legs trying to right himself. He just lies there and the next panel says, “I can't move, I'm doomed. I'll have to lie here for the rest of my life.” Just then, Lucy and Patty, the original Patty, walk by and Lucy's already in the middle of the story, she says, “And then she told me about this one party they had where they played spin the bottle. Everyone sat in a circle with a milk bottle in the middle. Then the person who was it would spin the bottle like this,” she says as she reaches for Charlie Brown's toes and she gives him a good spin, sending him circling around himself on the ice and they continue to walk as Lucy says. “Then they'd all sit there and wait for the bottle to stop spinning to see who it would point to.” In the last panel, Charlie Brown has stopped spinning and he says, “sounds like a great game. I wonder who I'm pointing to.”
Michael: So, dear listener, even though we talk about a certain amount of strips every episode, we actually read every single strip. We've read everything from the beginning. And Schulz is stealing his own strip here. I can't give you the exact date, but this situation has happened before. He knows it because he's dressed Charlie Brown like he would have dressed him in 1953. He put in Patty, who was one of the main characters back then and it's fine, he changed the punchline, but basically, I guess 20 years later, who's going to notice except podcasters.
Harold: Was this going back to the idea of we're playing the hits.
Jimmy: I think it's playing the hits, but I think it's weird. I think the strip looks odd. The lack of blacks on this is really striking to me, particularly. I mean, I love actually the way it looks. I think it's cool, but it doesn't look as finished.
Harold: Maybe because of some others. Maybe because he's more confident in what the color can carry.
Jimmy: Maybe, yeah. Although that seems unlikely. 1971 newspaper printing couldn't have been too great. And again, like I said last episode, do yourself a favor and try to find that Peanuts Jubilee hardcover. And you can see these things in gorgeous full color and huge size. Really pretty.
December 28. Charlie Brown and Linus are walking along on a snow covered little field, and Linus says, “I have a theological question. They're at the thinking wall. And Linus says, “when you die and go to heaven, are you graded on a percentage or a curve?” Charlie Brown, without missing a beat, says, “on a curve, naturally.” Linus says, “how can you be so sure?” Charlie Brown says, “I'm always sure about things that are a matter of opinion.”
Jimmy: I have never agreed with Charlie Brown more. I also am 100% sure in matters of opinion. I loved a good essay contest, when we were kids. I was like, oh, hold my beer. I'm going to put the whole system on trial.
Michael: Why would Linus ask Charlie Brown?
Harold: Yeah, I was a little wondering about who would normally play these parts. And I guess there's not a perfect match for the characters for the joke. But the joke is so good. I think Schulz just made his best choice here. But I'm thinking usually it was Linus who would pontificate, or it'd be Lucy, if she's sure about things that are a matter of opinion.
Michael: Yeah. And Shermy's retired, so they can't use Shermy.
Jimmy: I think, though, that because I think Linus, in this particular instance, he's not pontificating because he's actually considering this as a serious issue. He has actually been thinking of this type of thing. Right. But I guess you're saying, okay, I see what you're saying in that Charlie Brown is usually wishywashy and wouldn't have any kind of strong opinion, even if it is yeah.
Harold: Because it doesn't quite work with Lucy. It wouldn't quite work, certainly for Linus to say it. And who else would say it? It seemed like he did pick the best from his repertoire to make this joke go over. But for me, it does seem just a little bit awkward based on who these personalities are. But it still is a great joke.
Michael: I think this would work better if you flipped the characters.
Harold: I don't think Linus would be that self aware to say what Charlie Brown is saying.
Jimmy: Yeah. Right. That's what I think. And I also think that it's like there is a version of these thinking wall strips where it's serious, serious, serious. Then Charlie Brown says something anticlimactic. I think that's the format he's doing. And, instead of the anticlimax, he's just, giving Charlie Brown not quite a zinger, but the punchline. A more Charlie Brown way to say it might be put him in the more contemplative pose. Head in hands and say something like, when it's a matter of opinion, that's the only time I'm right.
Harold: Yeah, right. You could almost look see him looking depressed, looking off.
Michael: Let's go back and rewrite all of these
Harold: chat GPT.
Jimmy: Hey. All right, so we are at the end of the year, and that's very exciting. And we've just announced what we're going to do now. We're going to go back and rewrite Peanuts, the three of us together, using.
Michael: Make it good
Jimmy: We’re gonna crush it this time. Out of the way, Sparky, if that is your real name.
We're not going to do any of that. But we are going to do is tell you that if you want to continue hanging out with the gang, you can follow us on our social media. We're on Instagram, Twitter-- there we're UnpackPeanuts at Unpack Peanuts. We're on good old Facebook, where we're Unpacking Peanuts. You can check out our podcast wherever you get podcasts, including on YouTube, where there's a nice new trailer, that if you guys wanted to share around with your friends. It's called Unpacking Peanuts. Fun Size. If you guys could share that around, that would be great. And then do the usual. Visit the website. You could buy some mud pies. You could buy one of our books. Please buy one of our books.
Michael: That sounds pitiful.
Jimmy: You could do buy some T shirts.
Harold: Come out to Awesome Con if you're in the DC area.
Jimmy: Yeah, you can do all those kinds of things. And, other than that, we'll be back next week. But before we leave, I want you guys to tell me well, actually, I want to say one thing. I want to replace the Shermometer with the Marcimeter. But we'll start that next year. All right, I'm ready. I think we got to do it, but we'll do that next year. And starting now, what I would like is for you to tell me your Strip of the Year, and of course, your MVP.
Harold: Who goes first?
Jimmy: Either one.
Michael: We're wishy washy. Who goes first?
Jimmy: You want me to go first?
Jimmy: All right. I have to think about it. Well, for my MVP, I don't have to think about it at all. It is Peppermint Patty. To me, this Peppermint Patty just dominates this year. And I absolutely love Peppermint Patty. So I have no problem giving it to her. For strip of the year. I'm going to go. Joe cool. Walking around the campus on Sunday, hates Sunday afternoons, loved every panel of that drawing. So that's why I'm giving it to Joe Cool. And that is what date? Oh, September 12. Harold, you're up.
Harold: Okay, I get Peppermint Patty. And that's a really good choice. I would have to say Snoopy just because Snoopy is he's taken on still a lot of roles here. He's developing that relationship with Woodstock and Joe cool. I absolutely love. He's continuing to develop as a character as well. And he's just so present in this year. Also, my choice for the favorite strip would have to be a Snoopy one. It's April 15 where, Lucy bribes Snoopy with a sugar cookie to hand over the letter from Miss Helen Sweetstory. And she yells at him. It's a form letter as Snoopy is munching happily on his sugar cookie. There's just so many layers of Snoopy's personality in this that I find absolutely hilarious. And great classics. Big mouth Lucy yelling in the end as well. So. I just love this whole Helen Sweetstory stuff. I'm a sucker for that, so I had to give it to him.
Jimmy: Well, me and you both. And next year is very exciting. We have a big Helen Sweetstory coming up. Michael MVP and strip.
Michael: I really can't decide on MVP. My two faves, Linus and Sally, are having an off year. They're not doing very much. So I'm going to give it to the kid at camp who says, go away and leave me alone.
Michael: Shut up and leave me alone because I can identify with that.
Michael: strip of the year. I pick one that I think is like a perfect Peanuts strip, which is September 13, 1971. Schroeder and Lucy at the piano. And she says, that didn't even come close to working. It's just--
Jimmy: Great pick
Harold: and a great sequence.
Michael: It's very spare but it hits home. I like that a lot.
Jimmy: I do, too. And you know what else I like a lot? Spending this time every week talking with you guys about Peanuts and having you guys out there. Listen, it means the whole world to me, and I would love to hear from you. So hit those socials up between now and next Tuesday. Other than that, you guys have a great week. We're coming back. 1972. Thompson is in trouble. Be there or be square. For Michael and Harold. This is Jimmy. Be of good cheer.
Harold and Michael: Yes, be of good cheer.
VO: Unpacking Peanuts is copyright jimmy Gownley, Michael Cohen and Harold Buchholz. Produced and edited by Liz Sumner. Music by Michael Cohen. Additional Voiceover by Aziza Shukralla Clark. For more from the show, follow Unpack Peanuts on Instagram and Twitter. Unpacking peanuts on Facebook and YouTube. For more about Jimmy, Michael, and Harold, visit unpackingpeanuts.com. Have a wonderful day and thanks for listening.