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1982 Part 2 - Kiss Her You Blockhead

Jimmy: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. It's Unpacking Peanuts, and we're covering 1982 today, second half even. I'll be your host for the proceedings. My name is Jimmy Gownley. I'm also a cartoonist. I did Amelia Rules, The Dumbest Idea Ever and Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up. Joining me, as always, are my pals, co hosts, and fellow cartoonists. 

He's a playwright and 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 of Amelia Rules, and the current creator of such great strips as Strange Attractors, A Gathering of Spells, and Tangled River. It's Michael Cohen, 

Michael: say hey. 

Jimmy: And he's the executive producer and writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a former vice president of Archie Comics, and the creator of the Instagram sensation sweetest beast, Harold Buchholz.

Harold: Hello.

Jimmy: So we are in 1982. I don't have a whole lot of preamble I need to, get into this week. So what do you say we just get right to the strips?

Harold and Michael: Sure. Okay.

Jimmy: So if you guys are new listeners out there, welcome. if you want to, follow along with us. First off, what we're doing, we're reading every single Peanuts strip from the first one to the last one in order. And, we're talking about it year by year. If you want to follow along with this, there's a couple of great ways you can do it.

Jimmy: first, you can go to our website, and you can sign up for the Great Peanuts Reread. And our website is UnpackingPeanuts.com that will get you, once a month newsletter that will tell you what strips we're going to actually be discussing on the episodes of the show. So then, if you wanted to read along with us, you could be prepared. And it doesn't even cost anything for you to read along, because all of the strips are available on gocomics.com. You just go there, type in Peanuts, then type in the date, and away you go. So with all that out of the way, away we go. 

June 20, Snoopy is atop his doghouse, and he's looking at his calendar, and he says, if you look at the calendar too much, it'll drive you crazy. And then he throws the calendar away. This is because that first tier is always removable by the editor's discretion. So a lot of times that doesn't really add up to anything. Then the strip really starts with Snoopy lying on the doghouse. And he says, today is Father's day. I loved my dad. I think about him a lot. Then he sits up with a silly grin on his face and half disappeared from the waist down and thinks to himself, he was the one who taught us the old Cheshire cat trick. You just gradually fade away until only your grin is left. And that indeed does happen. We just see Snoopy's grin hovering there. Now he's lying on his stomach on top of the doghouse, and he's looking more upset. And he thinks one day, dad actually did disappear. We never knew where he went. That's the trouble with being a dog. They never tell you anything. He continues. Now our family is scattered all over. Spikes in needles, bells in Kansas City. I don't know where any of the others are. Then, with arms wide open, he thinks to himself, anyway, dad, happy Father's day, wherever you are. Then a moment. And then he says to himself, rats.

Michael: This is, kind of a sad little Sunday strip, isn't it?

Jimmy: Sad for like, a holiday?

Michael: Well, first of all, they never told dogs anything, even where his father went.

Jimmy: True.

Michael: Dogs never know this. one thing we worked last, time we were doing the first half of the year, and we were noticing there were a lot of callbacks to some really early Peanuts concepts. And this is strange because I can't remember what year it was, but Snoopy fading away until just the Cheshire cat smile is left. It's from the 50s sometimes. Sometime I believe maybe someone could check that.

Jimmy: Yeah, I don't know when it is.

Michael: Anyway, it was a long time ago with no reference to it. So he still has this power, this superpower. And it's funny, it killed his father.

Jimmy: You think that's what happened? It got stuck? If you make that face, it'll freeze that way.

Harold: I think it's kind of cool that we see that Snoopy's imaginative powers, maybe a little bit of where he gets it, his father could do these, fantastical things as well.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Michael: Anyway,  downbeat strip here.

Harold: Yeah. And I was just thinking, as a cartoonist, Snoopy reading the calendar and say, if you look at the calendar too much, it'll drive--. You know, Schulz is going through the year in advance, writing and drawing these strips. And one of the ways you stay relevant with being in the newspaper every day is you kind of have to look ahead and see? Hey, what's coming up for this next Sunday? Is there a holiday I have to cover? Do I have to do a football strip? You know what? So it's probably true for him. He doesn't want to be, driven by the calendar, but it is a big part of being a cartoonist.

Michael: It's kind of funny, too, because visually, the Snoopy used to have a very big forehead. And in panel one here, he still has a fairly big forehead, which disappears completely in panel three. So Schulz is still not quite set on, the way he's going to be drawing this, still kind of going back and forth.

Jimmy: Now, do you think that has anything to do with his loss of control a little bit?

Michael: I don't think so. I mean, it's not a complicated line or anything.

Harold: Yeah. Michael, do you think he's doing it on purpose, or do you think. Because I keep looking at all these different poses, and we keep saying that Peanuts characters look different in different poses as long as they look good, Schulz, that's what matters the most to him. Like tail. If smoothie's tail is like going off of the doghouse a little bit, it gets really fat, and then, if it's just hanging from its backside, it's not.

Michael: I'm not sure he was conscious of these things. I remember I always had a bad habit of drawing heads too big. And later in the strip, like Strange Attractors I'm talking about, I was very conscious about getting the heads the right size. But every now and then, I'd go back and there'd be a panel where, like, boy, I just didn't even notice. That didn't even occur to me that heads way too big.

Jimmy: Yes. And also to our new listeners, the three of us are cartoonists, so if you want to go to our website and check out our work, we'd be more than happy for you to do that.

 June 21. This is a pretty good sequence. So, we're in the middle of a sequence where Sally has gone off to camp, but she has signed up for her own camp this year. This is beanbag camp, where kids just, lie around in their beanbags and chill out for the summer. And, here on the 21st, she's about to come home. So in panel one, Charlie Brown is on the phone with somebody, and he says, that's right, Sally comes home today from beanbag camp. He continues, I'll be interested to see if she's changed. All they do there is lie in their beanbags, watch TV and eat junk food. And then in panel four, we see Sally arrive home. I'm home, she says, and, there's a bit more of Sally than there was when she left.

Michael: This was my one laugh out loud experience for this year.

Harold: Oh, really?

Michael: Yeah. I mean, I'd never seen these before. It was just like a surprise. We'd seen her at camp, sitting, lying there. We're eating nothing but snacks. But I didn't think he'd do anything with that. And, it's not a fat shaming joke. It's just funny. And it goes on a little while.

Jimmy: Well, what's great? speaking of not fat shaming, here we go. Because Sally's, okay with it. 

On June 22, poor Charlie Brown. Okay. He yells, sally, you're fat. And then Sally quite rightly says, don't yell at me. What did you expect? And she says, all we did for two weeks was lie on our beanbags, watch TV and eat junk food. An upset Charlie Brown says, I can't believe you do this to yourself. And then Sally says, hang on your hat. I signed up again for next year.

Michael: These are really funny. I like this little sequence.

Jimmy: Yeah, I do, too. I love that Sally's like, yeah, this is it. I have no problem with this.

Harold: I do think it's kind of odd in that previous strip where Schulz kind of telegraphs something, the gag, in a way that, I wouldn't expect him to, where he's on the phone talking to who knows who he's talking to about Sally coming back from Beanback cat, and he said, I'd be interested to see if she's changed. That seems like a very odd thing for Charlie Brown to like. It's like he's telegraphing where the joke is going without knowing what the joke.

Michael: Yeah.

Harold: Yeah.

Jimmy: Because she's been gone for two weeks I mean, right. It's not like, how much could she change, really?

Michael: Here's a general question, very general question. when you're reading these four panel strips, and I know you guys have read these before, do you glance through the four panels and then start reading?

Harold: No.

Michael: But there's really no way to keep your peripheral vision off the last panel, is there?

Harold: there is for me?

Jimmy: Yeah. I don't think I ever done that.

Michael: Yeah, I don't scan the whole thing. It's just, subconscious, just like.

Harold: So you caught it before you read it? You caught what happened before you read it?

Michael: Well, I was just aware of the joke before I even started reading this.

Harold: That's interesting.

Michael: Just because I saw it. It's small it's there in your eyes. How can you not see it?

Harold: I'm too biopic. I can go from one thing to the other. No troubles whatsoever.

Jimmy: Yeah, it doesn't bother me either. Maybe it's my astigmatism. I don't know.

Harold: That must affect the way you experience comics then, right? I mean, if it was to, say a whole page of comics, will you scan the entire page from the bottom?

Michael: No, it's just on the right. Yeah, I try to avoid looking.

Michael: But regular comics.

Harold: So it's like your mind gets interested before you can go through the reading portion or whatever and take it off and your mind dips in the hole.

Michael: Reading regular comics, even though a lot of the artists design the whole page as, one visual unit. Yeah, I can avoid looking down. And generally people don't put, unless it's a funny strip, there's not going to be a gag or anything in the last panel.

Harold: Yeah, I was thinking about this year as well. There are at least two. I think there's maybe more references to getting fat, and there's tons of references to chocolate chip cookies and donuts. I'm guessing he's on a special diet because of his heart bypass surgery. He's a little obsessed about food. when you can eat whatever you want, that's one thing. But then all of a sudden, what things you can't eat can kind of get into your head.

Jimmy: I do know that. I know that very well these days, actually. Just on, whether you see the punchline at the end and stuff like that. I do think it's something you kind of, especially on a Sunday page, if you have a chance to draw a real big panel, like in Calvin and Hobbes, I think that could be a problem. One of the great things about working in comic books is that you can have a page turn where you'll really have a true reveal, no matter how the person is reading the page, because you get to that bottom right hand and you have to turn the page. And if you put the impact or the punchline or whatever it is, dramatic reveal on the page turn, it really helps.

Michael: Yeah, well, I've been reading Mega Tokyo, which you guys might not know, but it's still running like 20 years, and he had these very entangled stories. But what he would tend to do, except I'm reading them on the website one at a time. He would create a situation that would get so confusing that when you reach the last panel, you're just dying to find out. You can't even figure out who these people are. And so I keep turning the page just to resolve my question, like, what's going on here? And then on the next page, I go, oh, okay, now I understand. And then I get the last panel. I go, I don't know what's happening. So it's really working. It's definitely, like, addictive to keep turning the page.

Harold: No. Are you reading through that or are you skipping a little bit ahead to kind of get some.

Michael: No, I have the volume. How many? Well, there's five, books, which ended with 2012, and then it's taken them the last twelve years to come up with enough material for another book.

Jimmy: Wow.

Michael: And I'd never read those. So now I'm going back and reading all of them. It's like a brilliant strip, and he's a great cartoonist, but he draws all the characters. Especially, most of the characters are Japanese. All of them have the exact same hair. and the only way to tell who's who, because it's fairly cartoony, is the way they dress. So I can go, oh, girl with ribbon.

Jimmy: Right?

Michael: Girl with flowers on dress. Because these are the major characters who look exactly alike. I don't know why he, doesn't change the hair, but he doesn't.

Harold: Well, it's like Linus and Rerun. This year. We actually do get to see them side by side again after Rerun being on the back of the bike for all of the, you know, he is called Rerun because I guess part of it is he looks like his older brother. So he's a rerun of Linus, I guess. But I, was surprised to see that Schulz gives Rerun exactly the same shirt as Linus. I was like, okay, now, not even the know. You can't even tell from the clothes if it's rerun, except for the context of Linus being bigger and being next to him.

Jimmy: And what's funny is a very.

Harold: odd choice because I think most people reading those rerun bicycle strips would, of course, think it's Linus on the back of the bike, unless they happen to have read a little block of strips. When Rerun was introduced, you'd have no idea that there was this other character in the strip.

Jimmy: It's very odd. The other thing, I think that the reason for that might be because they were coming up on, I think, 83 is the Charlie Brown and Snoopy show premiere, and they animate them in that. So he might have thought of them for the first time because they were animating them, or he might have thought, oh, it'd be a great opportunity to put it in the strip to remind people of it before the animation comes out.

Harold: I saw a lot of sense,

Jimmy: Those bike strips in the animated Peanuts, this joy brand Snoopy show, are some of my favorite Peanuts animations. I think they're really funny, and I think whoever the kid is that played rerun is really good.

Liz: And those of us with older siblings always got handmeowns.

Harold: That's right.

Jimmy: I still got handmedowns from my cousins, which is even more humiliating. I remember walking around with a pair of jeans that my cousin had written his name on Sean. So I was just walking around with sean jeans.

Harold: Know, it's either that or Calvin Klein. Why not Sean?

Jimmy: Oh, no, I hated this, and I didn't want to wear them. And my mom's like, you should wear them and be grateful for them, because they are fine. So I was going through, and I found a shirt, a Heineken shirt that I guess my oldest cousin had, and it said, grab a Heiney. I'm like, okay, mom, here we go. That didn't fly. I'm like, I thought we needed to be grateful. No. All right. 

August 16. Okay, so we're in the middle of another sequence again that I have to sort of set up. So Charlie Brown has lost his baseball field because the owner has decided that it's, too much liability. I guess someone got hurt. he would be responsible for it. So they're not able to play baseball. So Charlie Brown instead has been, throwing a golf ball off the steps, of his house or across the street from his house or whatever. Have you guys ever played this game?

Harold: No.

Michael: I actually invented a whole game, for two, where basically it would be like a racquet ball against a garage door that goes flying out. So you're throwing it and you're trying to get it over the other guy's head. Tennis, ball. So, yes, standing, making a huge racket. And the neighbors hated us because smashing the ball against the garage door.

Harold: Oh, man. Yeah, I played solitaire basketball, in the driveway because we had one of those. Had the basketball hoop, and then the garage sloped with these cedar shingles. And so you could throw the ball up on the roof and then basically get past two to try to make a layup or something.

Jimmy: Yeah, that's very inventive and kind of sad, but, yeah, we had a game off the wall, too, and it would be two people playing it, and you'd bounce the ball off the wall, or steps or whatever, the curb. And if it got so far, it was a single. So far, it was a double triple. And then if it got into the churchyard, it was a home run because there was a wrought iron fence.

Harold: Wow.

Jimmy: but we spent hours doing that.

Michael: Yeah, I honed my fielding skills, too. Playing that.

Jimmy: Yeah, that and, guys, you ever play wiffle ball?

Michael: No.

Harold: Those golf balls are dangerous, boy. They have incredible bounce, and they are hard.

Jimmy: I wouldn't play this game like Charlie Brown was with the golf ball. I would play it with the tennis ball, for sure. Yeah. Get your teeth knocked. Did. I was playing golf with friends of mine once, and a friend of mine hit a line drive. I mean, it was accidentally and just hit a cry right in the back. And the sound he made. Oh, boy.

Harold: Was bad.

Jimmy: Everyone was fine, though. 

Okay, so Charlie Brown is playing this game. This is how he is, wiling away his, hours, without the baseball, team. And Marcy's, upset about this, so she comes up and she approaches him, and she says, they took away your baseball field, Charles, and you're not doing anything about it. Charlie Brown is just playing with the ball and the steps. Marcie says, is this how you're fighting back, by bouncing that stupid golf ball against those stupid steps? And then Charlie brown screams. What do you expect me to do? Don't scream, Charles, says, Marcie, it's embarrassing.

Michael: This seems to say a lot about Marcie. It's usually she's not complaining about stupid things other people are doing. That might be a Lucy role, but it's the last panel that got me a little bit because who's being embarrassed? She's being embarrassed because she doesn't like attention, I think.

Jimmy: Oh, yeah, I'm sure. Well, I mean, if you're standing next to someone screaming, it's embarrassing. I don't.

Michael: Looking at you. That's what she's afraid of. She likes being invisible, I would think.

Harold: Yeah, this is a really interesting.

Jimmy: Are your take. What's your take, Harold?

Harold: Well, yeah, I think it's, again, I'm happy to see a little bit more develop with Marcie and Charlie Brown, because back when Charlie Brown was in that m mysterious hospital visit, we had that amazing Sunday where Marcie said she would even marry him if he asked her. And we haven't seen much after that about the relationship between these characters. And now we kind of get into it a little bit here where Marcie actually comes to him and, engages something because she cares about him, and it shows how she cares about him and how she goes about confronting him about something that she thinks he should do for his own good, which is not typically. I mean, Marcie will give advice to Peppermint Patty, so it's not out of character. But for her to come and do it with Charlie Brown is really interesting.

Jimmy: And I think, she does have a sense of, you know, of some sort of moral or ethical righteousness. And she feels not just deeply about Charlie Brown, but she feels deeply about the fact that this is not the way he should be acting. It's disappointing to her. Like, lucy thinks it's ridiculous and will make fun of you if she doesn't like what you're doing. But Marcy's disappointed in Charlie Brown, which has a really deeper feeling to it.

Harold: It does, yeah. And this is, something we haven't seen. Somebody kind of believing in Charlie Brown, that Charlie Brown should, be better because of who he is, not because he lacks. There's something she sees in him that he's not living up to. And that's really interesting.

Jimmy: Absolutely. As we see on 

August 17, Charlie Brown's continuing to play with the ball. And, Marcie says to him, I find it difficult to believe that they've taken away your ball field, Charles, and you're not fighting back. I find it difficult to believe that someone I am very fond of could be acting this way. Charlie Brown says, you're fond of me? To which Sally, who apparently has been listening from inside her house, says, as, she yells out the window, kiss her, you blockhead. 

Jimmy: Which was also the title of the book, by the way.

Michael: Oh, really?

Jimmy: Panel three was the cover if I recall correctly.

Michael: Yeah. This was kind of a shocking moment.

Harold: Yeah. Right. Marcie has a way of dropping these little bombs. You're not expecting it. And there it is.

Jimmy: I love Marcie I absolutely love Marcie And I love this idea of somehow her neurodivergence makes her the one who's actually mature, who's actually forthright, who's actually all the things that we'd like to be. Right. But that we aren't because we hide behind a million different reasons to not behave this way.

Harold: Yeah. So maybe she's not diverging at all. Exactly. Or,

Jimmy: Well, we're the divergent ones.

Harold: Right.

Jimmy: And then speaking of shocking. 

August 18. Charlie Brown's still playing with the ball in the steps because can't get anything past this kid. And Marcie says to him, I've always been fond of you, Charles. I think you're the nicest person I've ever known. I hate to see you suffer all the time. And then she kisses him on the cheek, and then she walks away and she says, I know you could never love someone like me who wears glasses, so I'll just leave you alone. Now, in the last two panels after the kiss, Charlie Brown's hat has been hovering several inches above his head. And it remains that way in panel four, to which Snoopy says, how does he do that?

Michael: Very good. This is like magic realism here, right?

Harold: Snoopy wants to add it to his bag of tricks.

Jimmy: Absolutely.

Harold: He's just interested in the mechanics of the magic.

Michael: I mean in comic strip, to have someone's hat pop off their head in surprise is normal. It's a cliche, but having it stay there, I've never seen before.

Harold: It's great. But, oh, Marcie-- Marcie giving that little smooch, I hate to see you suffer all the time.

Jimmy: What do you think about that? That's, like, quite a thing to say.

Harold: That's lovely.

Michael: Yeah. But the thing is, since she's convinced it can't be reciprocal, then she's not taking a risk. She thinks he could never be interested in her.

Jimmy: It's still a risk. I think it's a huge risk, as we see coming up, because she, does not feel very good about herself.

Harold: Yeah, but it's so funny that I know you could never love someone like me who wears glasses, so I'll just leave you alone. It's like, well, she's figured it all out, and she's leaving after laying herself on the line there.

Jimmy: I do remember the first time a girl ever said she liked me and having no idea what to do. Right. And I totally liked her. She was great. And I was just like, let's have a nice day.

Michael: That's normal response.

Harold: What is the writing? Hopefully, it's. Well, that's the thing. If you're so surprised about it, you have to think about it a little bit. It's like, well, is that reciprocal? I haven't even thought about it.

Jimmy: I haven't even thought about it. Which probably isn't a great sign for the person who's initiating it, if the other person. Well, that's thought about it.

Harold: Yeah, but how do you not drop that as a bomb on somebody? Right. I guess there's ways to ease into it, but it certainly doesn't happen here.

Jimmy: I convinced myself that it was a prank. I truly did. Isn't that sad? That's unlike me, but I did.

Harold: Really? Wow.

Jimmy: Yeah, totally.

Harold: Yeah. Sometimes if someone compliments you, you're like, what's the catch?

August 20, Marcie is upset and she's confiding in her friend Peppermint, Patty. And she says, I think I frightened poor Chuck. Maybe it's a mistake to talk so openly about love. Then Marcie holds her head in her hands as Peppermint Patty says, no, Marcie no. You were just being honest. And Marcie says to Peppermint Patty, really, sir, I didn't think you knew anything about love. To which Peppermint Patty says, Marcie and leaves. And Marcie slumps against the tree and says, I did it again.

Jimmy: poor Marcie screwing it up. That's funny. But I love Peppermint Patty's. Again, like, super mature approach to this.

Harold: Yeah, she's appreciating Marcie kind of the way Marcie's been appreciating Charlie Brown.

Liz: Why isn't she being jealous.

Jimmy: Well, she's not. Yeah. Which, because I think she loves Marcie enough. You know, she's also been in love with Pig Pen, so she understands.

Michael: Dance with Pig Pen.

Harold: No one else. No one kicks up dust.

Jimmy: Like, no one.

Michael: Let's kick up the dust.

Jimmy: yeah, I definitely thought that.

Harold: Wow.

Jimmy: She's not jealous or she's not going to. She's at least going to put any jealousy on the back burner for her friend, which is great. I mean, they are a great little friendship.

Harold: Well, also, she was unsuccessful.

Michael: Well, that's true.

Harold: I guess maybe she would have been more jealous. But this is more about Marcie's, swing and a miss.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: And, the previous strip I love Marcie says about Charlie Brown. He made me so mad. I told him I liked know. That was what got her was know. Because he wasn't living up to what Charlie Brown should be. In her mind, she had to tell him that she liked him.

Jimmy: I didn't have any great memory of this sequence, from my previous reads, but this time it really hit really, really enjoyed it.

Harold: Yeah. Michael, you were just saying while we were off, Mike, that this sequence was kind of growing on your appreciating a little more than the first time.

Michael: I was kind of rushing through the year. And so you get in this rhythm like, okay, next one. I didn't really stop and think about them too much.

Harold: Yeah. I really do like this sequence. And I love seeing again when you do a strip for all these years to have some fresh revelations and fresh responses and fresh dynamics between characters this far in. It's really a treasure to find it.

Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely. And we bring the weight of those thousands of Charlie Brown failures to know. And he's sort of getting something that he's always said he wanted. He always wants a friend. He always wants someone to like him. He always wants to get a valentine or whatever. And, here he got a kiss on the cheek from a really nice person.

Jimmy: But he's still not going to be able to turn this into an overall win for himself. It just can't be done.

Harold: Which is very sad. I mean, I'm upset with Charlie Brown in this sequence, too, because here this great thing happens and he's. Well, then the thing is, it's not because he's intensely into something else. He's zoning out and they're like, hey, come on, Chuck, wake up. You lost the baseball thing. You're not fighting for it. And that's the thing that brought Marcie there in the first place. And then you get this revelation that somebody cares about you and you're just checked out. That was Chuck.

Liz: She does have glasses.

Jimmy: Yeah, she does have.

Harold: Oh, man. And that just hovers out there and there's nobody, nobody's there to say the way Marcie Marcie does. That's what Schulz is so good at, is creating these moments of vulnerability that hang there and it just invites the audience to fill the gap. You care about them because they're not getting cared for in the strip itself. And it's not because he's hateful. It's just he's very good at getting those moments of tension where someone feels like they're not good enough or they're a failure. And it's very hard, I think, for certain artists to let that just lie in the strip. And I think that's one reason why Schulz was so incredibly successful is for years he can let a failure be unanswered or, you know, that is unique to him, but you don't feel like he's doing it because he wants to be cruel to the characters. There's this sense of empathy in there. And I think that's just really, I, that's one big reason, I think, why we remember Peanuts today and why, know, when you see whatever, is in the merchandise or what people put up online, a lot of it know, Snoopy giving Woodstock, the big hug or whatever, because it's like, that's what a lot of us, I think, oh, you know, you're not going to get a hug from anybody. I'm going to give you the hug. And so when it finally does happen in the strip, it becomes iconic, because I think that's where a lot of people are emotionally toward these.

Jimmy: You know, it's funny because we talk about and even mentioned, you know, Schulz disavowing the meanness of the early years of the strip and not doing as many mean jokes, but that doesn't mean he sacrificed depth.

Harold: No.

Jimmy: At all. He just went for a completely different tone. And I think it's a tone that we're still kind of catching up with in some ways because, you know what I mean? He was ahead of the field, but also, like, ahead of the field in a way that everybody was longing for. He was still ahead of the field with this stuff, but it was just in a way that the culture wasn't necessarily going. The 80s were pop, the 80s were Garfield. It wasn't so much. This next strip, which I love. 

August 26, Charlie Brown is up on top of the pitchers mound, and he looks just pleased as punch. It's good to be back on the old mound. He says, this is where I belong, alone on the mound, working out my destiny. Then he revs back to pitch and says, when I'm out here, no one can bother me. The only thing that matters is the game. And then Marcie stands right in front of him on the pitcher's mound and says, my heart is bent, Charles. So they've gotten their part back and they're playing, and Charlie Brown seems to have already put this know, he's just like, all right, playing baseball, but is. Is still on it. Her heart is bent and she's very upset with Charles. And this is a great little sequence, too, actually, where Charlie Brown is stuck in that picture's pose for several strips until he eventually just falls over. 

Jimmy: Really good one.

Harold: Your heart is bent.

Jimmy: that's a great line. My heart is bent. That is because her heart is not broken. But it is bent.

Harold: Yeah. To see and like you were. Yeah. Schulz is going to a place that most others can't in storytelling. And I think that's why he's so loved and the characters are so revered is he's able to go to these places of. I said it before, but it's just unresolved tensions and failures and sadnesses. And Schulz is okay with staying there. And, it's not because he's cruel.

Jimmy: And two characters you love, like you said, you're upset with Charlie Brown in this sequence, not because Charlie Brown's acting out of character or because the ships are bad, but it's because you feel for Charlie Brown as if you were a real person.

Harold: And you say he's not out of character, but I guess it's fair to say if we didn't know this sequence at all, which I didn't know until I read it. I'd never seen this one before. This could go a couple ways, right, with Charlie Brown. Yeah. And the way it, Yeah. Is deeply disappointing as someone who's come to care about Charlie Brown. And, like, there's. There's certainly things about him that I love. And, Yeah, he's just not up to it.

Jimmy: No, he's just not up to it. It's the. He could. Because he doesn't like conflict. He doesn't like confrontation. He always tries to avoid it. So he doesn't even want to say to Marcie Marcie I think you're the greatest, but I don't like you that way. Which Marcie would have. Yeah, felt bad, but moved on with, but. So he just choose to block it out. And I think that's completely what he would do. And it is disappointing, and that makes him such a rich character.

Harold: And, then you've got mean. She's angry, and she's got a lot of emotions going through what his non. You know, she also does say, I think I frightened poor Chuck. She's still thinking about him, which makes you, There's. There's so much good in her that as much as she's hurting, she is angry with him. But she also is concerned that she frightened, him. That's her guess. He's not responding. And so she's reading it in this fear. Maybe she's right. Maybe he's just instantly checking out as soon as something like this happens, and we don't even see it. But Marcy's intimating that's what's going on.

Jimmy: Yeah. So how does this wrap up then, Harold?

Harold: Well, Charlie Brown doesn't respond. He's mid pitch, as you mentioned, Jimmy, and he does fall over because Marcie doesn't leave the mound until he can no longer stand in that, about to throw the pitch mode. And the last panel, is Marcie walking off the mound after Charlie Brown's fallen to the ground. And she doesn't see where he. It's like she's disappeared because I guess her glasses are very limited, field of view. And she says, maybe I was wrong. Maybe I'm not so fond of them after all. And in this case, I will say I was disappointed in Schulz and not really, because I was like, oh, how is this going to linger? And basically, he lets her turn it off, and it's like, okay, now we can go back, set back to normal. Not really. But, I was sad that this is how it ended, not that he doesn't have the right to do it and not that it isn't true to the characters, but I was like, oh, rats. I wish there had been more of it.

Jimmy: I was actually happy for Marcie because she needs to get out of this unhealthy relationship before it starts because she's got decades of him staring off blankly and not responding, I think.

Harold: Yeah. And disappointed more than Schulz in Charlie Brown, because this is, you know, you had a chance to pull it off. She confronts Charlie Brown, and he just is not there at all.

Jimmy: Just not.

Jimmy: And I do think it also just speaks to the idea of Charlie Brown isn't in love with the little red haired girl. Charlie Brown loves pining for the little red haired girl. That's what he's into. So exploring something real just isn't his bag, and that might be fine. 

Harold: I'll bring this up because this is probably a good place to bring it up. Do you feel like Schulz-- Do you get any sense that around this time, in what we're reading compared to what we've read in the past, that there's a little bit of Schulz checking out the way we see Charlie Brown? Do you think that this is reflecting an aspect of his personality? We know he's not traveling the way he used to. He had agoraphobia to some extent, and his world, we know, has gotten smaller. He's still very active. He's involved in this public, wonderful, public ice rink that he helped build in his community. And he's there all the time, so it's not like he's not seeing people. But there is this sense to me that his world has slowly gotten smaller than, say, when he was driving the kids around to school and was involved in his church. And it just seems like things have gotten a little.

Michael: I think it's spelled out in the strip we just read, this is where I belong. Okay. It's him at his desk, alone, working out my destiny. When I'm out here, no one could bother me. The only thing that matters is the game.

Harold: That's really--. And so I guess maybe that's why I said, part of why I said, I'm a little disappointed in Schulz here, because I feel like this could go a couple different ways, and this is indicative of possibly, where his life might be going to and that you care for the guy, you care for the guy, you care for the characters, and there's just a little tinge of, oh, okay, there's a path, and he's chosen maybe not the best path. And again, this is all reading into, a thousand times over reading into it. I'm sure it says more about me than it says about Schulz but when I see this, it's disappointing. And I don't know, maybe this is a good time to do our anger and happy index, because part of that has to do with the amount of passion that is in the characters and in the strip.

Jimmy: I think that's a great idea, but here's what we'll do. We'll take a break, and then we'll come back on the other side. We'll do the anger and happiness index, and then we'll, hit the rest of the strips and pick our strips of the year and most valuable Peanuts.

Harold: See you right after the break.

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 be of good cheer penn nib design, along with the four of us crossing Abbey Road, and, of course, michael, jimmy, and harold at the think and wall. Collect them all. Trade them with your friends. Order your t shirts today@unpackingPeanuts.com. Slash store.

Jimmy: And we're back. All right, before we do the anger and happiness thing, we usually check the mail here. I don't have anything on the hotline. Do we have anything in the mailbag, Liz?

Liz: We do have some new reviews, though. Rockhopper Lad says, I'm a huge Peanuts fan. Going to the Schulz museum last year was almost a pilgrimage. It is amazing to hear people talking about Charlie Brown and his friends with the same excitement I have for them. I'm a writer, so I always approach Peanuts from character development and dialogue. Hearing three cartoonists discuss the strip adds their perspective as artists. Of course, I knew what a talented artist Schulz was, but I have learned so much from listening to them.

Jimmy: Awesome.

Harold: Wow. Thank you. That's lovely.

Liz: And then Gus the donut man adds, be of good cheer. This podcast is nearly as delightful and engaging as the incredible comic strip they unpack.

Jimmy: Oh, very nice.

Harold: Wow.

Jimmy: Well, thank you, guys. it'll be great for us if you give us some reviews. and just wherever you listen to your podcast or this podcast, just give us a review, and we're going to go through and read some when we get a chance, and maybe we'll read one of yours, but we would love to hear from you either way. All right, Harold, let's talk about that anger happiness index. Where are we at?

Harold: Okay, so 1981, we wound up with 112 happy strips and 80 angry strips. Does it feel different this year?

Jimmy: I think anger is up. I think we're going to be at 83 angry.

Harold: So just a little bit up, huh? Okay. Any thoughts, Michael?

Michael: getting the old random number generator ready.

Harold: Now that you have one of those things, there's going to be no point thinking.

Michael: Might as well just let it do it for me. Okay, here we go.

Harold: AI generated 88. All right, 88. Okay, well, so 80 and 1981, we are just down slightly. It's pretty level. it's down to 75. So, yeah, pretty much the same. How about happiness? Does it feel, any happier or less happy?

Jimmy: I think it's exactly the same.

Michael: I have to get my random number generator working.

Jimmy: That is much easier than just saying a number. Isn't your brain a random number generator?

Michael: That's true.

Jimmy: 12, 78, 72.

Harold: It. 72. Okay, well,. It's been kind of slowly going down. I think that. I can't remember what 80 was, but I believe, barring, I think 80 was above that number. If that's true, I don't think it's been this low since 73. One of my theories was that the strip did get more stoic as it went along, and I think that's definitely the case. We see the late 50s. Lots of you think Schulz was kind of distancing himself from some of the meanness in the characters, from those earlier years. And I guess part of that you could see in the anger thing, it's just a little more stoic strip. And he's really good at doing those kind of low key strips now. He's got a lot of subtlety in what he's doing.

Jimmy: He certainly does. So Michael was using a random number generator there to pick his answer for happiness and anger. And the reason was, we had a live event, and it was a lot of fun where, our Patreon supporters were able to come on, hang out, ask questions, and just chat. But we also played a little bit of a game. I don't know how many of you guys have listened, to all the past episodes or any of the past episodes, but in one of them, we were talking about how, in an effort to sort of study how the strip worked, I figured out how many different panel arrangements Schulz had done and different themes and character pairings and stuff like that to see if you could generate random comic strips. I actually did this for, my own Amelia Rules series.

Harold: Yeah. Can you describe what a panel arrangement.

Jimmy: Basically, you know, Schulz had four panels to work with every single day, all the exact same size, but he used them differently. Sometimes the punchline would be in the last panel. Sometimes the punchline would be in the third panel, and there'd be a reaction. Sometimes there would be a silent panel. Sometimes the entire topic of the strip could be a mystery as to what they're talking about until the last panel. So we put all of those on a list, and Michael, who is a longtime dungeon master, made a weighted sort of scale of how we could essentially roll up a Peanuts strip, like we were rolling up a dungeons and dragons character. Michael, can you explain a little bit what you did? Just the basics of it?

Michael: Yeah, we can't actually roll up a strip because that actually takes talent. But what we can do is define a number of parameters that make it easier to come up with an idea for a strip. So, basically, using the random number generator and the weighted averages, we're able to roll a location. And depending on the location, like, if the dog house comes up, then it's more than likely that Snoopy and Woodstock are going to be in the strip. And, same with, if it's the piano room, then odds are. It's going to be Schroeder and Lucy, maybe someone else. 

So you do the random location and then random characters, also weighted, and then a theme of basically what the strip's about. And also using and then incorporating Jimmy's concept of, basically, the template for the panels, the different kinds of combinations, of panels. So, anyway, you do a couple of quick rolls, and basically you have. What we have here is we have four panels. The first panel, somebody says something. The second panel is a non sequitur. The third panel is silent, and the fourth panel is the punchline. And so, you know, basically, this is Charlie Brown and Lucy, and they're at the psychiatric booth. And from that point on, the game is that as a group, you start filling in the blanks and actually come up with a strip, including the punchline. So we refined it to do it with the group of Patreons, who we did the zoom call with the other night. And, it was a lot of fun, and we actually got. It was a couple of strips because I could never do it in a million years do one. But, as a group effort, we were able to come up with some decent strips that seemed pretty.

Jimmy: So, yeah, super listener John Attema actually, using some of his photoshop skills, cobbled together using actual Peanut strips. And our new dialogue, one of our sample strips that we did with this little random generator machine or whatever we're calling it. And, Liz, we can put that up on our social media or on the website or something.

Liz: if Schulz worldwide won't object to it.

Jimmy: Well, we'll clearly label it as fan art. We'll clearly label it as fan art. yeah, it's really fun. And I think what was cool about it is it does give a little bit of insight into what Schulz's brain is like, because you're seeing, if nothing else, just the raw materials from which he constructed these strips thematically, character wise and everything. And it also is interesting to show that the benefits limitations can put on creativity, because we allowed to chance every aspect of the strip except for the strip, the dialogue. It's really fun.

Liz: I just want, to remind our listeners that in our Jeannie Schulz episode, Jimmy mentioned that he had analyzed the strips from 67 to 68 and found 14 different ways that Schulz structured a four panel comic strip. And Jeannie Schulz said, I'm sorry, he wasn't alive to see your notebook.

Jimmy: Oh, I know. You know what? That was, like the highlight of my life. Right? That was just as good as it gets.

Harold: Wow. That was pretty cool.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: So did you want to give the example of the one we'd figured out right before the,

Jimmy: I can read it right now. Just give me a second. So, basically, here's what happened. We used the random generation thing, and we rolled up a strip that would be Snoopy and Woodstock on the dog house. And it, would be a deepening mystery for the first three strips. Three panels, rather, of what the strip is about, and then a punchline. And this is what we, as a group.

Michael: don't forget, the theme was.

Jimmy: Oh, sorry. Yes.

Michael: The theme was memory.

Harold: Okay, right.

Jimmy: Sorry. So we rolled up, as a group, this strip, which was three mysterious panels and a punchline. It was Snoopy and Woodstock on top of the doghouse, and the theme was memory. so this was our fake Peanuts, maybe play the music backwards. 

Snoopy and Woodstock are atop the doghouse, and Woodstock is chirping away, saying something. In panel two, Snoopy thinks Woodstock sure loves reminiscing about his childhood. And we see Woodstock continuing to talk. In panel three, Woodstock continues to chirp away while Snoopy says, the only problem is his egg stories just aren't very relatable and in the last panel, instead of little hash marks, we see Woodstock talking about an egg. 

Jimmy: Is that going to win us the Reuben award? Not necessarily, but that was a 5-10 minutes exercise that generated that. I think there's something cool about it.

Liz: And our listener community created that.

Harold: Yeah, that's pretty cool. Yeah. We are all very familiar with, the beats of the four panel. Now, this far into reading these strips again. And it's amazing what we can come up with. We can kind of anticipate Schulz now. It's fun. It's a fun exercise to kind of live in that world. Yeah.

Michael: So we might do that again the next time we have a Patreon meetup.

Liz: And, thanks again to John Attema for sending us the visualized version.

Michael: Yeah, that's really great.

Liz: And to Charles Schulz for creating the inspiration.

Michael: Yeah, thanks, Chuck.

Harold: Yeah.

Jimmy: Way to go, dude.

Harold: I appreciate it, Sparky.

Jimmy: All right, what do you say we get back to the old strips? 

August 29. It's a Sunday. Snoopy and Woodstock are both atop the dog house, and they're leaning against each other, back to back. Snoopy sighs. Woodstock lets loose, an entire torrent of little chirp marks with an asterisk. And then there's a footnote that explains the asterisk.

Michael: Footnote one

Jimmy: This is his David Foster Wallace era.

Michael: And there's a footnote to the footnote.

Jimmy: That's an in joke. how's infinite Jest going? 700 pages.

Michael: 700 pages. Hey, only 400 to go. We're almost there.

Jimmy: Almost there. 

Okay, so they're on top of the dog house, and Charlie Brown is looking. He got a letter in the mailbox. Or someone got a letter in the mailbox. So, Charlie Brown comes to the doghouse and presents it to Snoopy because it's for Snoopy. So he hands Snoopy the, envelope and says, here, this just came for you. Snoopy reads it to Woodstock. You are cordially invited to a luncheon on Wednesday. Regrets. Only Snoopy starts saying to Woodstock, I have a lot of regrets. I regret I ate too much pizza last night. I regret that I've never punched a cat in the nose. I regret that I've never been able to grow a beard. And I regret that I've never heard from that little Georgia Beagle since I spilled root beer down her back. This is just cracking Snoopy and Woodstock up to the point that in the next two panels, they laugh so hard, they fall off the doghouse and land on their head. Clunk and bonk, respectively. Then, as they lie next to each other on the ground, smiling and laughing. Snoopy says, I regret that I can't go to the luncheon because my head hurts.

Michael: I've never heard this regrets only thing.

Jimmy: Oh, yes.

Liz: That’s ‘cause no one ever sent you an invitation

Michael: That's true. No one's ever invited me. No, I was kind of puzzled by that because that's kind of the springboard for the whole strip.

Jimmy: Yeah. I don't understand why. I guess I don't know what the benefit is of just not just having.

Michael: If you accept that I don't want to bother them.

Harold: They just assume you're coming.

Liz: It's the alternative to RSVP.

Jimmy: Yeah, but I don't understand the benefits of it.

Harold: Right, because the people who aren't won't tell you they're not coming. People who are coming to tell you that they are. So that's an interesting, I'm wondering what the usage is for Liz. Why would you do it that way?

Liz: You would assume that they're coming unless they send their regrets.

Jimmy: That's, a mistake. You can end up with a lot of plates of fish at that event.

Harold: Yeah. I'm rejecting you. And you require me to reject you formally. I don't know, formally.

Michael: Right.

Jimmy: You're not hearing from me, you, regrets only, dude. There is no way I'm showing up. 

September 28. Uhoh, it's a new beagle in town. Peppermint Patty sees this wide eyed spotted beagle, who looks a lot like a dalmatian, says, so you're marbles and unnecessary quotation marks. And she says, I know your weird brother, which, by the way, makes marble roll his eyes. Well, anyway, he and chuck are on their way over. Come on inside and wait. Marbles is a little shy about this. Peeks around the corner of pepper and Patty's house and says, any cats in there? 

Jimmy: So we have a new brother.

Michael: Yeah. Not a big fan of the Snoopy relatives. I, don't find any of them very appealing.

Jimmy: Most people don't, but that's only because you haven't met Olaf. Olaf gives me one of the best laughs in the entire 50 years run of the strip. I only remember him in one strip, but, I mean, it's a whole sequence. But the one strip that made me laugh so hard, it almost makes me feel like the, Snoopy relatives are worth it just for Olaf.

Harold: It's interesting that Marbles wears yellow shoes.

Michael: Oh, you got it in color?

Harold: Well, it's described that way in one of the strips. he wears yellow shoes.

Jimmy: they're the weirdest looking little shoes, too. Like, what are they? Are they sandals, little bowling shoes almost.

Harold: Or like loafers or what are those looking at marbles? My feeling is if he had lived a little bit later in life, he would have been wearing crocs. Any more to say about, our pal marbles?

Jimmy: No, I just thought it was necessary to point out, since this is another example, of a Snoopy, relative coming in here, which is now the third one, because we've had Spike, we've had Belle, and now we have Marbles.

Harold: Any insights into Snoopy via Marbles, do you think? Just in contrast, I, can't say.

Jimmy: I thought of any off the top of my head. I think Marbles might be part of a lucrative licensing opportunity at some point. And they are. I mean, you can get all of the. I know my kids had a little Belle figure.

Harold: Oh, really?

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: I guess the running joke with Marbles is that Marbles is much more literal than Snoopy. And so when Snoopy takes him on his flights of fancy, Marbles isn't getting it at all right. Which I thought was interesting, but wasn't, particularly happy about this character coming and just taking Snoopy literally and not getting anything from his world. Where was Schulz going with that? Why did he find that interesting? That there's another dog who's a relative to Snoopy who doesn't have his imagination? Well, Snoopy just said his dad had the, cheshire cat trick.

Jimmy: well, I think one thing we cannot underestimate or overstate is that the most pressing and inspiring thing in Schulz's life is the daily strip. If he feels inspired or not, or Marbles is a good or bad idea. He's got to fill in those four panels every day for thousands of days. Sometimes you're going to get, a Marbles. Sometimes it'll be a ducky and a horsey. And sometimes it'll be. That's life.

Harold: Yeah, well. So are we going to see marbles again, Jimmy?

Jimmy: He has a whole raft of brothers, and bell, that we see later.

Harold: Yeah, so they're going to have moments where marbles is back in the mix.

Jimmy: Marbles will be back, and you'll meet Andy and olaf. And if there's. I can't remember all of them.

Liz: Maybe that’s why his father left.

Harold: Yeah, well, I'd hate to see Snoopy lose his Mmarbles, so I'm glad he's coming back.

October 17. Linus is behind a stone wall, and he's, looking out for something in the distance, shielding his eyes with his hand. And we see in the distance jogger Snoopy. Linus watches him for one panel, two panels, three panels. And finally, in the fourth panel, Snoopy approaches close enough that Linus can make it out for sure. And he says, hi. I thought maybe it was you. As, Snoopy jogs by. Linus says, I've been watching you from way off. You're looking great. Snoopy says, that's nice to know. And then thinks to himself, the secret of life is to look good at a distance. 

Jimmy: I think that's a great punchline. But the reason I picked it is I just really like the landscape drawing. I love the wall, which, is different than the thinking wall and looks very similar to a wall Schulz had at his house when I stayed there.

Harold: That he had built.

Jimmy: That actually, in the Rita Grimsley Johnson book, they talk about that. He thought it was weird he didn't realize he was building the wall from his strip on his property. But I love that. I love the scratchy pen lines on the tree. I love the straggly little birch trees. And panel two, I just like all the drawing of it.

Michael: It's nice.

Harold: Yeah.

Michael: I'd like to point out that this is the first time in 32 years of the strip that there's been some Jewish representation.

Liz: It’s not a yamulke-- it’s a sweat band

Jimmy: Is that a yamulke? When you see it in black and white, it does have that.

Harold: And this is where the Snoopy forehead kind of works against him.

Jimmy: There's a guy on YouTube that all he does is the histories of, different types of hats. And I watched the yamulke episode not so long ago. They're not that interesting, but they're real soothing.

Harold: Kind, of the Bob Ross of hats.

Jimmy: Yeah, right. Exactly.

Harold: Yes.

Jimmy: He's the Bob Ross of hats.

Harold: Yeah. It's like, look at this as a flat cap.

Jimmy: Oh, that's like waxed wool. Very nice. I miss my favorite guy. He doesn't do anymore. He used to just review books, but he didn't review the content. He reviewed the printing. He's like, oh, look at this binding. Oh, Smythe sewn with. That was a heck of a channel.

Michael: I love books, the binding and the smell.

Jimmy: Look at the gold leaf.

Harold: That's excellent. Sounds like my kind of podcast.

Jimmy: Oh, it was great.

Harold: It was great.

December 26, it's a Sunday. Snoopy approaches Woodstock, who's hanging, out and looks like, he's upscaled his nest. It's a big nest. He says, come on, I'll show little.

Harold: Stocking hanging from it.

Jimmy: Oh, yeah, a little stocking hanging 

Snoopy says to Woodstock, we're in luck. Woodstock follows behind him, but has a question mark. He's not sure what's going on. So then Snoopy comes up to a little path and we see some tracks in the snow. And Snoopy says, look, you can still see the sleigh tracks in the snow and the hoof prints from the reindeer. See right along here? They're following them now. Snoopy points the sky and says, and now you can see where they end. This is probably where they took off into the air on Christmas Eve. He had, to fly all over the world, dropping presents down chimneys for all the kids. No, no. Birds. Dogs neither, says Snoopy as the two of them walk back to Snoopy's doghouse. Birds and dogs don't count. We're less than nothing. Then they, both, very upset, sit on top of Snoopy's doghouse and Snoopy says, oh, santa just couldn't care less about an innocent little bird and a faithful dog. But then from the sky come two packages. Bonk, bonk. Hits them both on the bean. And then in the last panel, we see that they did get presents. Some glorious new neckties, which they are just thrilled with. And Snoopy thinks he remembered.

Harold: I love those last three panels. yeah, they're just great.

Jimmy: You can't get better than that. So good. Interestingly, it could have been a daily strip. You could do the last panel on the second tier and then the three panels on the last tier and you could have done it just like that.

Harold: Yeah. And he really does a nice job of them wandering through the snowy landscape. Similar to that jogging strip. Yeah, I love it where, we just see the world, the kind of the rural world that's outside of their suburbia. Snoopy, tracing Santa Claus. But talk about Schulz being a character in the strip where he gets to play Santa, but by chucking a couple of presents.

Jimmy: I love that they're neck ties.

Harold: If you don't have a chimney, that's How you get your get it,.

Jimmy: I love that they're neckties and that they love them. Yes.

Harold: There's nothing better than seeing Woodstock in a gigantic necktie three times his size.

Jimmy: So good, so good.

Harold: yeah, this one again, there's the melancholy, that we've seen in some of the other strips. but with a twist. I like this one a lot.

Jimmy: Yeah. So that's it for this week. we would love for you to keep the conversation going with us. If you want to do that, you can reach out by sending us an email. We're unpackingPeanuts@gmail.com. Or you could follow us on the social media. We're at unpack Peanuts for Instagram and threads. And we're at unpacking Peanuts on Facebook, blue sky, and YouTube. And we would love to hear from you. And like we said earlier, if you want to leave us a nice review, that would be wonderful. We might read it on the show and also, visit our website, unpackingPeanuts.com. Sign up for that great Peanuts reread and also give, the store a look. You can maybe buy one of the t shirts or one of our books or, help out with a one time mud pie donation or join Patreon. Any of those things would be wonderful to help keep the show going. So that's it for this week. the only thing we need to do is, hear from the guys and get their most valuable peanut and their strip of the air. Michael, why don't you go first?

Michael: Okay. I'm going to do a little kvetch here. Instead of a rant. Back when we were doing, the 1960s strip, I made a little comment because we were always talking about Schulz is creating great characters and doing great art. And I remember commenting that, well, the one thing that we're not highlighting is the fact that he might be the funniest man in the world. And we spent some time thinking about who was funny back in 1963 because, I think Schulz was like a belly laugh a day almost guaranteed. I've been missing that. He's going in a lot of different directions, but this year, it seemed to me like the punchlines were not hitting. there were punchlines, but they didn't seem that funny to me. And people can't maintain the high level for 50 years. So, when I'm going back to pick my strip of the year, I'm going back to the one time I laughed out loud. And that's the June 21 with, Sally coming home from Beanbag camp. Just really funny. And I was going to pick Sally as most valuable peanut based on a couple of really good sequences she was in. But I'm changing my mind because I think Marcie really comes through.

Jimmy: Good call.

Michael: As a really interesting character, so I'm going to go with her.

Jimmy: Good pick. All right, Harold, how about you?

Harold: Yeah, I'm kind of in the same camp as Michael in terms of how I'm picking my favorite strip. I think it was just one that kind of jumped out from the rest, because it just had a tone to it that the strip didn't have as much this year. And that would be February 7, 1982. And that is Charlie brown and Snoopy, where Snoopy is being told to heal. And then he goes into a whole routine with Charlie Brown saying, well, here's a heel and here's some toes. These are my paws. And this is.

Jimmy: That is the most Harold Buchholzy strip you could possibly pick.

Harold: I love that. Just, just sheer joy from Snoopy. And, I love it a lot. And if I had, my second choice, I think was so close to what I chose, I think last year with, Santa and the one we just read, those two are similar in tone, but, yeah, I was just happy to see, Snoopy doing the happy dance and being goofy. That was a nice breath of fresh air for me. most valuable peanut. I'm, with Michael. Marcie is the one who I think shows the most development and reveals more of herself this year, where the characters are pretty familiar to us by this point, but Marcie has some surprises, so I'll give it to Marcie

Jimmy: Great picks, great insight. It's going to be the second time. We're all in agreement. I'm going to go with Marcie as my MVP as well. That was by far my favorite sequence this year was the whole Marcie Charlie Brown thing. And for my strip of the year, I'm going to go with -- It's tough because I'm basing it all on this sequence. That's what I like the most about this year. So I'm going to go with Charlie Brown getting a kiss on the cheek. No, that's a momentous moment. Yeah. August 18, 1982. And the hat floating above his head for three panels. Pretty good.  

All right. Well, that's it for us this week. Like I said, we'll be back next week where we're talking about 1983. It's so much fun for me to do this. I hope you guys have at least half as much fun as I'm having because this is just my favorite day of the whole week. So we'll see you next week, 1983. Be there, be square for Michael, Harold, and Liz. This is Jimmy saying, be of good cheer.

Michael and Liz: Yes be of good cheer

Harold: Be square

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 threads. Unpacking Peanuts on Facebook, blue sky, and YouTube. For more about Jimmy Michael and Harold visit unpackingPeanuts.com. Have a wonderful day, and thanks for listening.

Jimmy: My heart is bent Charles.

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