Holiday knee-jerk review: "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

1. We're very sad if a holiday season goes by and we don't catch this on TV. Which is why this year, the Cheese Fry bought the DVD.
2. But we freely admit that part of the appeal lies in wistful nostalgia and remembering the first time we saw the show (probably on CBS) as a student at F.P. Caillet Elementary and feeling a strong affinity for the characters, who - at the time - were our peers.
3. Vince Guaraldi is a genius. But you already knew that, right?
4. We knew Lucy had a problem with Charlie Brown, but it's clear that minor character Violet harbors the most ill will. She's the one who utters the classic line "Oh no, we're doomed" when she finds out Charlie Brown is going to direct their Christmas play.
5. The funniest bit: Snoopy mocking Lucy as she's giving orders to everyone.
6. "All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share." Clever encapsulation by Sally Brown of everything that's "wrong" with the holiday season.
7. The show just isn't the same without all of the Dolly Madison commercials, the sponsor of the show back in the late 1970s. Whatever happened to the Zinger Zapper?
8. Weird that Peppermint Patty doesn't appear in the show. But she always was our least favorite Peanuts character. Abrasive. Annoying.
9. The bit where the gang dance to Snoopy and Pig Pen (who knew he could play the string bass?) and Schroeder's music is certainly memorable. The kids are all looped in a very cheap and crude sort of way, doing the same thing over and over again, but the dance moves are so charming. You have the twin girls in purple slinging their heads back and forth, the other boy doing the shoulder roll. Cute.
10. Love the gag where Linus Van Pelt and Charlie Brown rap their knuckles against an aluminum tree and hear it clang.
11. Thanks to Charles Schultz for making "good grief" such a useful multi-purpose exclamation.
12. If you don't feel a little fuzzy warmth in your heart when the show ends with the kids all shouting "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!" and then singing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," then you may not have a heart.