screen gems

Celebrate Thanksgiving with one of animation’s oldest gay couples

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a re-watch.

The Feast-ive: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Before Trey Parker & Matt Stone created the empire of kiddie satire, political commentary, and scatological jokes that is South Park, another great artist built a career on send-ups of American childhood: Charles Schultz, creator of Peanuts.

There’s a reason that the Peanuts gang and all the Charlie Brown animated TV specials still capture an audience after more than 70 years: the characters capture humor with heart. Take, for example, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving the 1973 animated special that followed the titular, long-suffering kid trying to wrangle his social circle through Thanksgiving at his grandmother’s house. In short order, Charlie Brown must play host for his pals Lucy, Linus, Franklin, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, his sister Sally, and of course, his dog Snoopy and feathered friend Woodstock. The gang revisits the story of the original Thanksgiving when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared a meal (too bad that friendship didn’t last), and renew their bonds of camaraderie.

It might sound trite, but damn it, it warms our hearts every time. Of course, Peanuts and its subsequent animated specials also proved far ahead of their time in terms of including coded queer characters: Marcie and Peppermint Patty. Charles Schultz created and modeled Marcie on lesbian tennis player Billie Jean King, and even as early as the 1970s, the overt slave/master relationship of Marcie & Patty raised more than a few eyebrows. Of course, for we queers, we always knew what was really going on.

In the run-up to this Turkey Day, we suggest giving this underrated classic a new viewing. Besides the coded gayness, and as with all Peanuts tales, the story testifies to the beauty and importance of a chosen family, of enduring friendship and the need to reflect on gratitude. Revisit it, laugh, and enjoy the queer & fuzzy feeling.

Streams on Amazon, YouTube & AppleTV+.