Lucy talks Schroeder into playing his piano for a PTA meeting. but there are unforeseen details that he will not tolerate.
In order to win the ever resistant Schroeder’s affections, Lucy follows Peppermint Patty’s advise and talks him into performing for a PTA meeting. Unfortunately, Patty, in her usual level of sensitivity, fails to mention until after Schroeder’s agreement that only rock music will be on the program. Now Lucy, knowing that Schroeder would never agree to that, must find a solution.
Play It Again, Charlie Brown 4K Review
I know I’m in a significant minority here, but if I had to single out the one definitive ‘Charlie Brown’ special that I personally love more than any other, I wouldn’t think twice about going for this one. Obviously it doesn’t have any of the ‘holiday classic’ appeal that elevated the likes of ‘it’s the Great Pumpkin’ and ‘a Charlie Brown Christmas’ into annual syndication and the hearts of thousands – but it can be judged on its own merits, and it’s simply a lovely, gentle and very enjoyable little cartoon that focuses on the ambiguous relationship between two of the most memorable supporting characters: Lucy and Schroeder. Pre-occupied Schroeder is content just to sit at his toy piano all day, chiming out tributes to his idol Beethoven, while lovesick Lucy, taking a well-earned break from undermining the self-esteem of the other kids in the neighbourhood, longs to pry his attention away in her direction, but only winds up making a nuisance of herself on every occasion. In desperation, she turns to Peppermint Patty for advice, who comes up with a near-perfect solution – only trouble is, it comes attached with an uneasy moral dilemma for Schroeder. Like most ‘Peanuts’ specials (the earlier ones in particular) it never talks down to its audience, and manages to deliver a wonderful message that can be respected by kids and adults alike. It’s about staying true to your personal principles and not feeling that you have to compromise them for the sake of convention, done in a light-hearted and genuine tone, and you have to admire the conclusion that Schroeder himself comes to. This cartoon confirms my theory that he may just be the most rational and potentially prosperous member of the Peanuts gang. He’s a kid who’ll go places in his adult life, mark my words.
It’s all combined with the dry, melancholic ‘Peanuts’ humour that has you smiling no matter what your age, the ingenious blending of adult philosophy with a child’s-eye perspective, and some truly delightful set-pieces, particularly the three-man musical act from Charlie Brown, Pig Pen and, of course, everyone’s favourite black-and-white beagle, Snoopy. Not everything about it is entirely timeless (I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that the ‘spray can’ gags would have seemed a little more relevant in the early 70s when this first debuted, and Lucy’s ‘saucepan’ comments may have a few eyebrows raising), but they’re pretty small fry compared to the narrative beauty that dominates this tale. Plus, you have to love any ‘Peanuts’ special that succeeds in capturing the softer, more helpless side to the usually very mean-spirited Lucy.
Get over the scrappy animation quality (which is the only thing this loses marks for), and love it for the many, many things it does right. Like the classical music Schroeder so lovingly plays throughout, it’s mellow, relaxing and has a certain appeal that doesn’t diminish with time. ‘Peanuts’ specials just don’t get any lovelier.