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  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Bo and Peanuts Characters: A Short Deep-Dive Thread

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Happy Halloween! 🎃


To celebrate Spooky Season, I've decided to write about two of my favorite things: Bo (naturally) and Charles Schulz's Peanuts.



One of my favorite Halloween specials when I was a kid was It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!







It's still a classic in my book, and I watch it every year without fail.



I have been a Peanuts fan since my youth, and I own way too many Peanuts items in general (blankets, Funko Pops, Snoopy EVERYTHING haha).


I also adore Lucy van Pelt and have always appreciated how intelligent and determined she is compared to other female cartoon characters back in the day. I mean, she runs her own business! haha








I even have this sign about her perfectionism on my desk for my work as a copy editor.



Anyway, watching the Halloween classic again reminded me that Bo has referenced the comic strip multiple times throughout his career. While his bit in One-Man Shows is the most obvious example, there are a few others I'd like to discuss.


Let's take a look!


Charlie Brown Getting Molested


Okay, we'll start off with the easiest reference. In Words Words Words, Bo's arrogant persona says that he's not a comic but an artist and he does one-man shows (I mean, he's not wrong...haha).



After providing short clips of his shows starting with 1998 (when he was 8 apparently) and going through each year, he reaches 2005.



For that particular year, he says the following:


2000, uh, 5


2005, if I could get a blackout for this, I did a piece called Charlie Brown Getting Molested, so if we could blackout right now.


"Hello?


Is anybody here?"


(Unintelligible trombone noises a la Peanuts cartoon)


"What the fuck are you doing?! Let go of me!"


(Unintelligible trombone noises)


"Good grief"


Here, Bo plays with some common tropes of Peanuts. First, he recreates the wah-wah sounds that were used in the TV specials to depict adults talking to the kids. As genius.com notes, this unintelligible noise was created by playing the trombone. Here's a video on how to make that funny sound effect!



After the creepy interaction, Bo then says, "Good grief," which is Charlie Brown's classic catchphrase (along with "Rats!").


This happens to be one of my favorite parts of WWW because I'm such a huge fan of Peanuts, and I LOVE how Bo subverts your expectations by punctuating the traumatic experience with a calm "Good grief," like nothing really happened.


However, there are a few more examples of Bo referencing Peanuts characters than this one. Let's explore!


Schroeder



You can easily see why Bo would be associated with the piano-playing Peanuts character. Schroeder is a blonde boy with a passion for Beethoven, and, according to this 2016 AMA, he is Bo's favorite pianist. lol




Schroeder is also most famous for playing "Linus and Lucy" in A Charlie Brown Christmas. If you don't recognize the song title, this is the piano piece that is most associated with Peanuts, and Schroeder plays it when the kids are dancing around during the Christmas play rehearsal.



Bo knows this song VERY well, and he even played it during a 2009 Livestream at approximately 4:40 in this video!



This brief performance by Bo is particularly significant to me because that piano piece is one of my absolute favorite tunes. My husband and I even danced to it when we were formally introduced at our wedding reception!


There was also a t-shirt design for Inside on Teepublic (no longer available, sadly) that depicted Bo in Welcome to the Internet but he's Schroeder instead (Ed. Note: See the thumbnail above).


I obviously purchased this as soon as I saw it because it fits my interests SO well! Haha


Eighth Grade


I know what you're thinking. There's nothing in Bo's feature directorial debut that directly relates to Peanuts. And that is certainly true.



However, many people have picked up on themes and details that align the film with Schulz's creation.


One visual element that relates to Peanuts is Kayla's yellow tie-dyed shirt.




It's how we first see Kayla interacting on YouTube and at her middle school, and it helps match her personality to the sad sack character of Charlie Brown.





In an interview with Shane Peltzman at Google about the film and social media's effect on society, the interviewer points out that, in this way, Eighth Grade is reminiscent of Peanuts, which Bo somewhat confirms.





Charlie is forever beaten down by everything around him (classmates constantly mock him, he gets rocks instead of candy, he gets the wrong type of Christmas tree, etc.).






Despite these constant setbacks, Charlie remains optimistic and never gives up (such as how he always tries to kick the football that Lucy will always pull away at the last minute), just like Kayla who realizes she has to make the best of her life by the end of the film.



Additionally, the point of view of Kaylaparticularly how she blocks out her father and only hears his muffled voice at timesis reminiscent of the way the Peanuts kids interact with adults.


In the now-viral Child Mind Institute video, Bo references this attribute at approximately 22:50 minutes in, saying the following after the moderator Ginger points out how we don't see the dad in the driving to the mall scene:


"There's sort of like a Peanuts thing in the movie, you know, where the parents are supposed to be like wah-wah."



While it's unclear if the inclusion of these elements was conscious or not, the narrative of Charlie Brown certainly fits the themes of Kayla's life and helps deepen the meaning of Bo's incredible film.


Fun fact: Bo must have associated yellow shirts with Eighth Grade because all of the merchandise is also yellow (and black...more Charlie Brown vibes)!




I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at Bo and Peanuts.


Thanks for reading, and have a happy Halloween!



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