Friday, February 1, 2013

She's A Good Skate, Charlie Brown



First aired February 25, 1980.


"There's no one harder to please than a skating coach."
-Peppermint Patty


Peppermint Patty (Patricia Patts) is preparing for an upcoming Figure Skating competition.  She wakes up very early every morning to squeeze in some practice time.  Her coach Snoopy (Bill Melendez) is working her hard, demanding the best of Peppermint Patty.


Her early morning practices are taking a toll.  Peppermint Patty keeps falling asleep at school.  Her friend Marcie (Casey Carlson) does her best to keep her awake.


Peppermint Patty is skating well, but she takes a few falls during practice.  Things get more complicated when a group of hockey players show up and try to claim the ice for a game.

Peppermint Patty & Snoopy "face off" against some bullying hockey players.

They threaten her with their sticks, but Peppermint Patty and Snoopy stand up to them and put them in their place.


Peppermint Patty asks Marcie to sew her a new skating dress.  Marcie tells her multiple times that she can't sew, but PP pays no attention.  This results in a dress with no sleeves! 



After Marcie fails, Snoopy is able to fix it.


The day of the skating competition arrives.



Charlie Brown (Arrin Skelley), Linus, Lucy, Schroeder and Marcy are in the stands to cheer for Peppermint Patty.



The first few skaters have trouble and fall down.  But a girl named Evelyn skates very well and performs a difficult program.  Snoopy is impressed and a bit worried about his skater's chances.



When it's Peppermint Patty's turn to skate, disaster strikes.  Snoopy puts in the tape of her skating music...and the tape gets destroyed!


Peppermint Patty sees this and tries to keep her composure.  Charlie Brown says she will be "doomed" without her music and disqualified.  Only one member of the Peanuts gang can save Peppermint Patty:Woodstock!


Will Woodstock save the day?  Can Peppermint Patty win the competition?

 (Some SPOILERS appear below)
J.A. Morris says:

This is a very sweet special, and unique among Peanuts specials for multiple reasons.


Even though,  Charlie Brown's name appears in the title, he has a very small role.  Other characters such as Lucy, Linus and Sally appear only at spectators in the crowd at the skating competition.  As a kid, I remember thinking it should have been called "You're A Good Skate, Peppermint Patty". 

"How would you like to be force-fed a pair of goalie pads?!"

This is the first special I can recall that had only one plot.  Everything that happens is related to Peppermint Patty's skating competition.   Which is fine, because she's one of the more entertaining characters in the "Peanuts Universe".

Woodstock saves the day!
Yes, Woodstock does save the day by whistling Peppermint Patty's music.   It's a beautiful performance of Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" by virtuoso whistler Jason Serinus.  It's very beautiful, I get choked up every time I watch that scene.  And yes, Woodstock's whistling helps Peppermint Patty win the competition.


The animation here looks gorgeous.  I recently re-watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, I was surprised at how much better the animation looked in She's A Good Skate.  It should be noted that the ice skating animation was done with rotoscoped footage of ice skaters.  Among these skaters was Charles Schulz's daughter Amy.   

Some of the rotoscoped ice skating footage shows up in the credits.

Despite his small role, Charlie Brown gets to deliver a great line about Zambonis, while Snoopy uses one to clear the ice.

Snoopy resurfaces the ice with a Zamboni.

And Bill Melendez does a great job here voicing Snoopy.  I've never heard him "talk" quite the way he does in this special.  I (literally) laughed out loud every time Coach Snoopy barked at Peppermint Patty.  It sounds like Melendez may be aided a bit by tape loops, but it's still great.

Snoopy shows Peppermint Patty what he wants her to do.
Director Phil Roman deserves kudos for this special, as do Judy Munsen and Ed Bogas for composing the music.  Their soundtrack won't make you forget Vince Guaraldi, but it's very good, I found myself tapping my foot to the music. 

I was a bit surprised to see hockey playing kids depicted as bullies in this special, since Charles Schulz was a big hockey fan.  His sons played youth and Schulz ran an ice rink that has hosted hockey tournaments since it opened in 1969.  But the scene where Snoopy and Peppermint Patty stand up to the hockey players is great. 


 But there's one problem I have with She's Good Skate.  In most specials, when we hear school teachers (or any adults) speak, we hear the "whah-whah-whah" sound that was created with a muted trumbone.  But here, Peppermint Patty's teacher (Debbie Muller) actually speaks with an adult's voice.  I remember this really bothering me the first time I heard it (when I was 8).  It still feels wrong. 

Marcie "helps" Peppermint Patty stay awake.
 This special is available on a dvd called Happiness Is... Peanuts:Snow Days.  It also streams on Amazon and iTunes, and occasionally gets rerun on ABC.


If you haven't seen it,you should check it out.  She's A Good Skate, Charlie Brown is a great special, but the adult voice prevents me from giving it my highest rating.



My rating:





.5

3 and a half Sparkys.

2 comments:

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    1. Thanks for stopping by & commenting! Sorry if I the review wasn't clear, but this special is available for streaming on Amazon:
      http://tinyurl.com/l6hch56

      iTunes:
      https://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/peanuts-specials-vol.-1/id280885107

      And dvd:
      http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Is-Peanuts-Snow-Days/dp/B00582GLC6

      Yes, the dvd is in print and no, it's not only available in a box set.

      It's not on Hulu.

      Hope that answers your questions.

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