For many us parents, we have fond memories of watching Charlie Brown as a child. Our entire youths were spent seeing the hapless, luckless kid muddle his way through childhood. Well, when KIRO Radio personality John Curley showed the classic It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown to his kids, he as shocked at their reaction. To them, the characters were so mean. It made him wonder if the content was too harsh for children.
While I agree that Lucy was certainly the quintessential mean girl and Peppermint Patty's quips could be a bit scathing, that is something that kids today sorely need to see.
In Great Pumpkin, Lucy and the rest of the gang get loads of cookies, candy and gum while poor old Charlie Brown gets a lousy rock. There are instances were kids are called names or maligned because they do not bath enough (remember Pig Pen?) Curley's kids feel so bad for them. But so did we. That is how we are supposed to feel for the kids, especially Charlie Brown.
You see, the cartoon hasn't changed, but the kids who watch it have. And that's because so much of children's TV is watered down, sanitized, feel-good gibberish. Not that there's anything wrong with that. My son loves the counting games and vocab lessons so much of the shows are filled with. But life isn't really so sweet and PC, is it. It's not in adulthood that they are hit with the harsh realities of life -- it's in pre-K and Kindergarten. I remember being totally floored when I witnessed three-year-old mean girls ostracizing another girl in my son's nursery school class.
Perhaps Charlie Brown helped prepare us better for school, which can feel a bit "Lord Of The Flies" even before middle school. Kids are cruel but today, so many kids don't get a real sense of how cruel they can be until they are confronted with it on the playground. Oddly, those cartoons were much closer to reality than anything else on kids TV these days. I say, let's watch Charlie Brown with our kids and then talk to them about the behavior they will undoubtedly encounter as soon as they hit kindergarten anyway.
Do you think Charlie Brown cartoons are too harsh for kids?