Happiness is watching Snoopy.
“Happiness is Peanuts” is only apropos if you’re not allergic. Thankfully, I’ve had all my booster shots, including the one for cooties. Sadly, I was never immunized against fluff, which comes back to bite me in the ass when I watch Charles Schulz’ work. There is not a Peanuts animated show I will not watch. I am a huge Schulz fan and this collection does not disappoint…for the most part.
Happiness is Peanuts: Snoopy’s Adventures is a compilation of two distinct entities. One is the special Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown, the other is an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.
Episode Fourteen of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show contains three short stories. The first concerns what happens when Snoopy breaks his leg right before the big baseball game. Peppermint Patty is prevalent here and manages to get through most of her classic ways of addressing Charlie Brown — “You sly dog,” “Chuck,” and one of my favorites, “Old boy” — in one phone conversation. The second is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk with Snoopy and Woodstock teaming up for the role of Jack. I love seeing any of the animals in the Peanuts gang after they’ve stuffed themselves silly, that little ball their stomachs turn into always cracks me up. The final story features Linus and Lucy’s younger brother Rerun and his first encounter with love. The grocery cart exchange between the two is especially cute.
Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown (25 min) is an animated special detailing Snoopy’s upcoming nuptials. After a chance encounter with poodle Genevieve, our favorite beagle is in the throes of **cough** puppy love (I had to do it.) He invites his brother Spike to the wedding and, while Charlie Brown and Snoopy wait on his arrival, the rest of the gang divides the responsibilities of hosting a wedding. It is really adorable to see what the gang comes up with.
Do these hold up against the slick computer-generated images prevalent in today’s cartoons? No, if that is what you’re looking for. This is not slick animation by anyone’s standards. But there is an undeniable charm to the stories and their brevity makes them a nice fit for today’s ADD generation. Besides, I’ve long had an appreciation for hand-drawn animation.
The video quality is what suffers from the transfer to DVD, moreso than the audio. This is reinforced all the more when you view the high quality trailers and the menu for the disk. The picture is slightly grainy and that grain becomes more apparent the lighter the color on screen is. The 1.33:1 full screen aspect ratio only takes a bit to get used to, as does the thin band of color on either side of the picture. Thankfully this border of sorts is consistently present or else it would be a distraction. Plus, there are obvious scratches and bits of dust (I even thought I saw an insect crawling at one point) to clutter the background. The palette is very washed-out, except for the blacks and reds which are beautifully saturated next to this pale palette. The whites are a bit duller than you’d like to see, especially in Snoopy himself. However, the smaller the screen you view this on, the less these issues will make themselves apparent. The Dolby 2.0 Mono audio isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off. But what might do just that is learning there are a total of five audio tracks and six subtitle tracks. This is a release from a studio that knows it wants a worldwide audience and what it has to do to lure them in.
As far as bonus material goes, there is a commercial for Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown but it cannot be accessed through the menu, only by popping in the disk. Likewise for the Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes trailer. The extras include trailers for Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Season One, Volume Two and The Looney Tunes Show. This is a real disappointment. Even recycled extras from other Peanuts specials would have been welcomed. But to have no Peanuts related extras on the disk? Good grief! (Yeah, I went there. I never met a pun I didn’t like.)
I adore Snoopy and company, and Happiness is Peanuts: Snoopy’s Adventures delivers two of my favorite things — Snoopy smiling and Snoopy crying, a sound that always makes me smile. The high score it receives is because it entertained and is re-watchable, two things that bump up any score in my book.