On Sunday, Nov. 21, the classic television special “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will air on PBS and PBS Kids and will be streaming on Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Apple TV+.
This special, along with the Halloween and Christmas productions featuring Charles M. Schulz’s beloved Peanuts characters, have become staples of pop culture. They also inspired a genre of parody productions that frequently reconfigure Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and the others in ways that Schultz would never have imagined, let alone condoned.
For those with a warped sense of humor and no squeamishness over occasional deep-dives into NSFW entertainment, here are the 10 weirdest Charlie Brown parodies that you’ll be able to find online.
“Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown.” One of the earliest works by Jim Reardon of “The Simpsons” fame was this 1986 cartoon made during his studies at the California Institute of Arts. Reardon spoofs Sam Peckinpah’s “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia” in a comically violent tale that shows Charlie Brown being ruthlessly hunted by his many antagonists before he gets his revenge in a massive shootout.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas Reunion.” This 2012 riff by Animation Domination High Def fast-forwards the Peanuts gang into their adult years, with some significant WTF developments including Linus becoming a suicidal recluse, Schroder playing piano in a gay leather bar and Pig-Pen as a homeless man sleeping in his car. (Yeah, who saw any of that coming?)
“The Charlie Brown Murders.” A recurring theme in these parody films involves Charlie Brown getting his revenge against Lucy. In this short, revenge involves a samurai sword – but at the expense of the lovable blockhead’s sanity.
“The Charlie Brown School of Dance.” Comedian-filmmaker Owen Weber devised this faux-commercial based on the funky dance moves by the Peanuts gang in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Enrollees in this school can learn to bust moves like Shermy’s “Zombie MC Hammer,” Freida’s “Wafting Odor” and Linus’ “Ghost Humper.”
“It’s a Mad World, Charlie Brown.” No, the Peanuts gang isn’t looking for buried money under a Big W – once again, the parody version of Lucy gets her comeuppance, first from an emotionally indifferent Schroder and then from a baseball-wielding Charlie Brown.
“Peanuts Gang Singing Bohemian Rhapsody.” YouTuber Garren Lazar has created a surplus amount of G-rated Peanuts parodies with the characters doing music video versions of classic rock tunes. This tribute to the Queen masterwork is perhaps the most inventive in terms of synchronization and editing – especially when the characters start calling for Galileo.
“Peanuts: The Untold Story.” Lucy’s trickery with the football does more than injure Charlie Brown’s pride – this cartoon has the poor blockhead learning that his constant falling on the ground has resulted in chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and he doesn’t take the news very cheerfully.
“Snoopy vs the Red Baron.” This black-and-white film is inspired by the Royal Guardsmen’s 1966 novelty tune, but it doesn’t look like it was an official promotional film – for starters, the band is absent, and the film includes an amateurish drawing of Snoopy while the canine fighter pilot is played by a man in a not-convincing Snoopy costume. While the film’s origins are a mystery, it offers a rousing visualization of the classic bubble gum pop tune.
“You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown.” The hit-and-miss world of “Saturday Night Live” scored a major hit on its Dec. 15, 2012, episode with this faux-commercial for an Actor’s Studio interpretation of the Peanuts characters. Hostility and bleeped profanity abound with Bill Hader playing Al Pacino as Charlie Brown, Taran Killam playing Michael Keaton as Schroeder, Jason Sudeikis playing Philip Seymour Hoffman as Pig-Pen and Kate McKinnon playing Edie Falco as Lucy. But the best imitation might be Martin Short playing Larry David as Linus – the mimicry was so strong many observers on YouTube’s comments section questioned if that was actually David.
"You're Entering Puberty, Charlie Brown." Charlie Brown is the first member of the Peanuts gang to cross that rubicon from childhood into adulthood, much to his regret and the confusion of his peers. And without dropping a big spoiler, let's just say the real fun in this cartoon is how he realizes that change is happening.