Thursday, October 8, 2015

Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown

Premiered October 30, 1981.
Charlie Brown:I've fallen in love!
Linus:The trouble with you Charlie Brown is that you fall in love all the time.  Every week you fall in love!
Charlie Brown:Not this time, this is different.  There won't be another time like this time ever.  I can't go through life knowing that somewhere there's a girl meant for me and that I never got to meet her.

Charlie Brown (Grant Wehr) and Linus (Rocky Reilly) are watching a football game on television.  The TV camera pans the crowd in the stadium and and a girl appears on the screen in a "honey shot."  Chuck sees her and immediately tells Linus he's fallen in love with the girl.

He decides he will do anything to meet her and begins searching the next day.  Linus agrees to help him, Snoopy (Bill Melendez) and Woodstock (Melendez) accompany the boys on their search.

Their first stop is the stadium, since Charlie Brown remembers the section where the girl was sitting. The stadium staff doesn't know who sat there, so they direct the boys to the season ticket office.

That leads them to a house where the ticket holders live.  Chuck is too shy to go to the door and asks Linus to do it.  A girl (Nicole Eggert) answers the door and she's interested when Linus tells her Charlie Brown has a crush on her.  Chuck signals to Linus that this is the wrong girl.  The boys learn that this girl was not at the game, but a relative used her family's tickets.

They visit the relative's house.  For the second time, Charlie Brown gets Linus to do the talking.  Once again, they find a girl, but not the right girl.  This girl (Melissa Strawmeyer) is a teenager, much older than the girl Chuck saw on TV.  This girl is also interested when she hears someone is in love with her, but she tells them to take off when she sees Charlie Brown is a "little kid."

Before they depart, the teen girl gives them another lead.  She says they should visit Happy Valley Farm, which is out in the country.  Charlie Brown is ready to give up, but Linus talks him into continuing the quest.

When Chuck and friends arrive at Happy Valley, They encounter a rather fierce bobcat!

Linus eventually knocks on the door and a girl (Jennifer Gaffin) answers.  Charlie Brown recognizes her from the game and tries to signal to Linus.  But Linus is too distracted when he realizes this girl also has a security blanket!

We learn her name is Mary Jo and they hit it off immediately.  Chuck signals that this is the girl he saw on television, but Linus is oblivious and is invited into Mary Jo's home.  Charlie Brown waits outside, hoping Linus is telling Mary Jo about him.

Will Linus tell Mary Jo how Charlie Brown feels about her?  Will Charlie Brown summon up the courage to tell her himself?

I'll just cut to the chase and say this is the weakest Charlie Brown special I've seen since I started this blog.  Charlie Brown comes off as borderline creepy and obsessed in Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown.

Is it believable that someone could fall "in love" with someone they saw for a few seconds and hadn't even met?  Yes, but it would have been a good time for Linus (usually the most introspective member of the Peanuts cast) to explain the difference between love and infatuation.  Linus briefly mentions that Chuck falls "in love every week," but that's the only nod to sanity here.

It's also somewhat disturbing to hear Charlie Brown use the phrase "honey shot."  If you've never heard of that before, a honey shot is a term used in sports broadcasting for closeups of attractive women in the crowd.  This first came to prominence in football games in the 1970s, most notably on Monday Night Football.

Making matters worse, the only regular Peanuts cast members featured are Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock.   I love those characters, but part of the fun of these specials is watching them interact with other characters.  We don't get to see Sally, no Peppermint Patty, No Lucy, no Schroeder, etc.

Around the time this special first aired, I remember several Charlie Brown specials that featured appearances by adults.  Someday You'll Find Her gives us this scene:

The inclusion of adults adds nothing but distraction.  Charles Schulz once told an interviewer that having adults show up would "bring everything back to reality."  Once the adults were seen onscreen, it made me wonder how Charlie Brown's parents would feel about the boys going way out in the country by themselves?  Would they be worried?  Linus and Chuck also encounter a teenager, who also seems out of place in the Peanuts universe.

There's a bit of a plot hole in Someday You'll Find Her.  When the boys arrive at Happy Valley Farm, Snoopy and Woodstock are already there.  Charlie Brown is surprised and wonders what they're doing out in the country.  How did they get there?  How did they learn the girl from the game lived at Happy Valley?

But it's not all bad.  The animation is excellent in this special, very vibrant for a special that was produced three decades ago.  Snoopy's fight with the bobcat gives us some great action scenes.

And the beagle also has some funny scenes where he attempts to navigate a cattle guard.

Near the end of the special, Charlie Brown walks home alone heartbroken in a dreamlike state.  The animation switches to a beautiful watercolor style.

Snoopy and Woodstock have some funny scenes together at the football stadium, playing football and "working out" in the weight room.

Ed Bogas and Judy Munsen composed the music heard in this special.  The soundtrack for Someday You'll Find Her features various genres of music.  The scenes at the football stadium are accompanied by a tune that sounds like a college fight song.  The bobcat attacks feature electric guitar music.  This soundtrack won't make you forget about Vince Guaraldi, but it's pretty good, with one exception.  Near the end of the special, when a dejected Chuck is walking home, the scene is accompanied by a sappy "easy listening" ballad.

This special has been released twice on dvd.  It's a bonus feature on A Charlie Brown Valentine and has been recently released on a set called The Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection.  It's also available for streaming on iTunes and Amazon.

Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown gives us a Charlie Brown who isn't very sympathetic and a limited cast that isn't a lot of fun to watch.  The watercolor animation and the Snoopy/Woodstock scenes save it from a lower rating.

J.A. Morris' rating:

2 Sparkys

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