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Case Number 20389: Small Claims Court

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Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales

Warner Bros. // 2002 // 18 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Chief Justice Michael Stailey // December 24th, 2010

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All Rise...

Not even the Little Red Haired Girl can save Chief Justice Michael Stailey from the humiliation of this Christmas.

The Charge

Happy Holidays from Snoopy

The Case

Attempting to keep the Peanuts holiday tradition (which began in 1965) alive and well for the 21st Century, producers Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson take more of Charles Schulz' Christmas-themed comic strips from years past and weave them into a new television special. Broken out into character-centric segments, Snoopy confronts his holiday pet peeves, Linus suffers through girl trouble, Sally is humiliated by Samantha Claus, the Browns go to war with their neighbors over a Christmas tree, Lucy is invigorated by the Spirit of Christmas, and Charlie needs help with a gift for the Little Red Haired Girl.

In this over-commercialized season, our sequel-driven entertainment industry is never content with savoring the nostalgia of holidays past. Instead of producing new animated Christmas classics, ala Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, we sink money into pale knockoffs and hollow attempts at recapturing old magic. Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales is yet another example of this systemic problem. We already have the ultimate Peanuts' holiday special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. The world doesn't need another one. Stop trying. The whole point of Charles Schulz' original story was that modern society has lost the true meaning of the holiday in tidal wave of consumerism. And yet here we are, years after his passing, and Schulz' own estate continues to do exactly what he was preaching against.

I'm all for preserving the classics for future generations, but Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales isn't one of them, and neither is Frosty Returns, A Miser Brothers' Christmas, or Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys. These specials pander to the lowest common demominator, 40-somethings who grew up with fond memories of the original specials now looking to pacify their kids with mindless entertainment while they bake cookies, wrap presents, and drive/fly to visit relatives. Give them a book. Teach them to color or draw. Provide them with the tools to grow up and create the next generation of memorable holiday specials. Just, for the love of all that's holy, stop wasting your hard earned money on animated junk food. You're powering a machine that will only continue to make more.

As if 18 minutes of empty Christmas calories weren't enough, Warner Home Video tosses in a non-holiday themed "Bonus Episode" in which Linus and Lucy find out their dad is being transferred and they have to break the news to their friends. How will everyone deal with the pain of saying goodbye to old friends? Even this special can't be original, stealing a farewell lunch scene from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

The Verdict

Good grief…make it stop.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
• English (SDH)
• French
Running Time: 18 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated G
• Animation
• Christmas
• Comedy
• Family
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Bonus Episode


• IMDb
• Peanuts.com

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