Just a brief respite from the start of basketball season …
On this day 57 years ago, Lucy first pulled the football away from Charlie Brown in the “Peanuts” comic strip. That was Nov. 16, 1952; Lucille van Pelt had been “born” into the strip as a fussy, demanding baby earlier that year, in March. She quickly sprouted into the bossy, sarcastic 8-year-old that we all know and love.
At least … I love her. Lucy has always been my favorite “Peanuts” character. I recognize this may not be, um, the popularly-held opinion.
Lucy is a child who is intelligent beyond her years _ although, technically she is in her late 50s now _ self-aware to a far greater degree than what she lets on, charmingly impatient, deeper emotionally than many of her peers and the adults around her, blunt, an energetic thinker, highly opinionated, temperamental, vigorously self-centered to such a degree it’s comical, obviously short of attention span when bored … and, to me, the most interesting character in the strip.
Oh, sure, some may distill Lucy into her so-called “worst” qualities: including the aforementioned yanking the football away from Charlie Brown and picking mercilessly on his vulnerabilities, being a tyrannical older sibling to Linus and to a lesser degree Rerun, continually pestering Schroeder with her affections, being hysterically afraid of dog germs. Understandably, if you were Linus’ blanket, you would fear and despise Lucy, because she’s long been out to get you.
However, I will always defend Lucy. Charlie and Linus ARE irritatingly insecure, and they need Lucy to keep bugging them to “fight back.” Sure, Lucy gets a perverse pleasure out of pulling the football away … but she would also accept it if Charlie would FINALLY say, “I’m not falling for this $#&% again, Lucy!” and really mean it. She would admire that, actually.
Further, to whom does Charlie always confide his deepest fears and dearest hopes? He goes to Lucy’s psychiatrist’s stand and tosses in his nickel, time after time. Nobody understands Charlie better than Lucy.
As for Linus, deep down he knows as much as Lucy can terrorize him, in an odd way she’s kind of got his back. She wants to toughen up Linus the same way she wants Charlie Brown to stiffen his spine to the rest of the world … if not to her.
Schroeder – hah! He might not know what to do if someone didn’t think him a cute genuis. The little pianist doth protest too much in regard to Lucy’s adoration, if you ask me.
Lucy’s multi-faceted personality is actually well-displayed in the Christmas episode. Starting with one of my favorite Lucy lines, her two-word comment on what she wants from Santa: “Real estate.”
She gives Charlie grief for picking the crummy tree … and she’s *right.* It is a lousy tree. Hey, someone needs to let Charlie know he’s really a pitiful consumer. However, then when everyone bands together to make the tree better, Lucy actually is not a dissenter. She participates. Having pointed out yet another idiotic decision by Charlie, she doesn’t dwell on it.
And in one of Lucy’s finest moments, when Linus delivers his soliloquy on the “real” meaning of Christmas, she respectfully remains silent. Even if she has her doubts about the whole religion thing _ which she surely does, being Lucy _ she cedes the stage to her little brother when he feels his convictions so profoundly.
Ultimately, Lucy calls it like she sees it, no sugar-coating, and she usually comes around to help solve problems. Often after she intentionally causes them.
Like I said, she’s the most interesting.