Monday, April 7, 2014

Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown

Linus:I think our team is in trouble this year, Charlie Brown.We're weak at every position.
Lucy: Except for right field.  She's exceptionally cute!
Linus:Our right fielder is completely hopeless.
Lucy:But cute.

Premiered August 29, 2003.

Lucy misjudges a fly ball...
Charlie Brown (Wesley Singerman) is getting ready for another baseball season.  He wishes his team could become a winner.  Chuck believes the only thing preventing his team from winning is his right fielder, Lucy Van Pelt (Serena Berman).

...and another.
Charlie Brown calls her "the worst player in the history of baseball."

Linus looks at their team roster & isn't optimistic.
In their first game of the season, Charlie Brown's team plays a road game against Peppermint Patty's (Daniel Hansen) team.  But Chuck's first batter, Snoopy (Bill Melendez) is accidentally hit by a Peppermint Patty's first pitch.

Two managers shake hands, while Marcie snubs Snoopy.

Charlie Brown takes his team off the field, resulting in a forfeit.  Peppermint Patty is humiliated by this.

Snoopy gets beaned on the first pitch of the season!
Their team gets off to a bad start, losing its first 11 games.  Charlie Brown tries to trade Lucy to Peppermint Patty's team.  She's not interested, but says she'll trade Chuck 5 players for Snoopy.  Charlie Brown is torn, he wants to win but doesn't want to trade his own dog.

Linus & Snoopy are shocked when Chuck considers trading his own dog
He gives in to his desire to win a game.  Linus (Corey Padnos) and Schroeder (Christopher Ryan Johnson) are shocked that he traded Snoopy.  Chuck realizes his mistake and cancels the trade.

But Peppermint Patty says it doesn't matter.  The players traded to Charlie Brown's team would quit baseball before they'd play for him.

Snoopy is pleased to learn he won't be traded.
Peppermint Patty is having her own troubles in right field.  Marcie (Melissa Montoya) plays that position and is the team's worst player.  In desperation, Peppermint Patty trades Marcie to Charlie Brown's team for Lucy.

Chuck calls it "the greatest trade in the history of baseball," Peppermint Patty even throws in a pizza to sweeten the deal.

Will the teams improve after the trade?  Or will Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty regret making the deal?
J.A. Morris' says:
This is a good special, very different from the other two baseball themed specials I covered earlier this week. Unlike the earlier specials, there is no dramatic finish, no bottom of the 9th inning heroics or failures.

Lucy chats with Frieda while ignoring the ball she should be fielding.

It mostly focuses on how bad Lucy is at baseball.  We get multiple scenes of her missing fly balls.  You might think that would get old, but they found enough different depictions to keep it funny.

How Charlie Brown sees the sunrise on the first day of baseball season.
 Charlie Brown might seem a bit out of character in this special.  He almost trades Snoopy because he thinks it will help his team win a game.  As a sports fan (and someone who played a sport as a kid), I can admit that sports can make us act irrational at times.

Lucy's plan to perch atop the right field fence backfires & results in a homerun.
I was glad that we got to see Linus and Schroeder call him out for trading his own dog, but I understand why Charlie Brown wanted to know what it felt like to win, just once.

Charlie Brown's obsession with winning and the word "win" scares Linus & Snoopy
Peppermint Patty is used well here.  I don't recall too many scenes featuring her and Lucy in past specials over the years.  It was fun to see Peppermint Patty tell "Lucille" (as she calls Lucy)  exactly how she felt about her right fielding abilities.   She's a great character and this is her first appearance in a special built around baseball.  She hadn't been created when Charlie Brown's All Stars was produced and was (strangely) left out of It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown.

Peppermint Patty finds a "glove" big enough to help Lucy catch fly balls.
 While Lucy's athletic abilities (or lack thereof) are pointed out multiple times, you hardly feel sorry for her.  In addition to calling Charlie Brown a blockhead (her go-to epithet) she calls him "garbagehead."  She usually limits her insults to Chuck and Linus, but here she refers to Marcie as "that stupid girl with glasses."

Lucy "helps" Charlie Brown after he gets hit by a line drive.
David Benoit composed new music for Lucy Must Be Traded Charlie Brown.  In addition, the soundtrack features new recordings of some of Vince Guaraldi's earlier tunes recorded by Benoit's group. All the music sounds good.

Charlie Brown's field has an "automatic sprinkler system."

It looks like this special is currently out of print on dvd, but that dvd can still be easily found online.  It's also available for streaming on Amazon Instant Video and iTunes.

Schroeder sleeps in his catcher's mask & worries about making errors the night before opening day.

Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown is fun special and is recommended.  Since it was produced in 2003 it doesn't have the nostalgic pull that other specials have, but I think Peanuts fans of all ages will enjoy it.

J.A. Morris' rating:

3 Sparkys.

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