Warner Bros. // 1972 // 25 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // October 24th, 2008
Linus Van Pelt: "My administration will release us from our spiritual Babylon."
Real elections contain much unintended humor. However, just in time for this year's Presidential Election comes the intentionally funny You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown.
If you remember seeing You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown (released in 1972) at all, it probably doesn't stand out in your memory like the more famous, holiday-theme adventures of the Peanuts gang, such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. But You're Not Elected is a worthy entry in the Peanuts Collection loaded with sharp political satire that children are not likely to appreciate. Plus, as an added bonus, this episode features Snoopy's "Joe Cool" persona.
In You're Not Elected, adapted from the Peanuts comic-strip, Charles Schulz captures the absurdity of the political process perfectly by superimposing the electioneering behavior of adults on to children participating in a primary school Student Body President election. All the action rings true: Lucy's opinion polling finds Charlie Brown an unsuitable candidate (i.e., he can't win), leading to the selection of Linus as a nominee. Further, Linus appears on a call-in show, makes alarmist statements ("We are in the midst of a moral decline") and meaningless sound bites ("In my administration, children will be children and adults will be adults") during the campaign, laments that "The press is against me," and almost blows the whole thing when he decides to go off-script by talking about the Great Pumpkin. Finally, in the aftermath of the election, Sally mourns "He sold out! We elected him and he sold out!" when Linus reveals that he has no real power. Does any of this sound familiar? It's all enough to make You're Not Elected more intelligent than most serious political television as well as a classic statement on political campaigns. If you enjoyed The Candidate or Bob Roberts you should enjoy this.
This release also contains the 2006 feature He's A Bully, Charlie Brown, made after Schulz's death in 2000. At summer camp, local bully Joe Agate cheats young kids out of there marbles, including Linus's little brother Rerun. Under the tutelage of Snoopy, Charlie Brown becomes a marble master and wins back all the marbles. He's A Bully is a slight, fun piece that younger audiences will enjoy, but is unsophisticated compared to You're Not Elected. Also, in my opinion, it lacks the charm of the earlier Peanuts shows.
The video is excellent. The colors are bright, although there is some grain visible. The audio is also good. The score and the "Joe Cool" song sound great.
An additional extra, "The Polls Don't Lie: The Making Of You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown" takes a look at the making of the special. With interviews from Lee Mendelson, Schulz's widow, Jeanne, and Peanuts Historian Scott McGuire, and footage with Bill Melendez. It provides some interesting facts, including the revelation that the original title was "You're Elected, Charlie Brown".
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Japanese)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Portuguese)
Running Time: 25 Minutes
Release Year: 1972
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "He's A Bully, Charlie Brown"
* "The Polls Don't Lie: The Making Of You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown"
* The Official Peanuts Site