Goodbye, Charlie Brown


Jack Hentschel ’26, Staff Writer

“Isn’t it peculiar, Charlie Brown,” says Lucy, looking triumphantly down at him, football in hand, “how some traditions just slowly fade away?”

This November, for the first time in the 49 years since its premiere, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will not air on television. Instead, it will stream exclusively on Apple TV+, the megacorporation’s subscription service, which costs $6.99 per month. Apple bought the rights to “Peanuts” back in 2018. After three years of agreement with PBS about the big three holiday specials, it has decided to sequester Charlie Brown from the public sector, probably — if trends are any indication — forever.

For the four people in America who haven’t seen it, here’s what happens in “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” After the aforementioned football fake out, Charlie Brown gets roped into throwing a Friendsgiving (they don’t call it that). There’s just one problem: he can’t cook! So he, Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock do their best — toast, jelly beans, popcorn, pretzel sticks. When the friends arrive, Peppermint Patty goes off on Chuck for the meal, and he sulks away. Patty realizes her mistake — the real Thanksgiving was the friends we made along the way — apologizes, and Chuck invites everyone over to his grandmother’s for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. The end.

It’s easy to roll your eyes at the message. After all, it’s basically the same one found in “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and countless other holiday stories — the people you spend the holiday with, not necessarily the features of the holiday themselves, are what truly matter. But it’s a cliché because it’s true, and if I didn’t appreciate it as a kid, I do now. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” has been, for me and many, just as much a holiday tradition as turkey and mashed potatoes. The worst part of its fading away has been realizing that I don’t care all that much, that it was only ever a compliment to the part of Thanksgiving that has always been and will always be there. 

That does not mean I want it gone from my life, though — the opposite. We might not need “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” but we deserve it. We deserve a piece of public media that stresses the importance of personal relationships, that shifts focus away from materialism and onto the immaterial, that quietly and powerfully refuses a system whose greed would swallow tradition and dissolve culture.