So this year, in a desperate search for material to use in my Electric Christmas Card, I turned to my trusty “Boston Globe,” the nation’s most globular newspaper. Let’s see…PATRIOTS PLAN MOVE TO MEADVILLE, PA…No…MONICA LEWINSKY TO BECOME NEW FIFTH SPICE GIRL…No…GUS VAN SANT, FOR NO IDENTIFIABLE REASON, REMAKES PSYCHO EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL EXCEPT WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
Hmmm. That has potential. What if I remade the classic animated special “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” except with new cast members? Yeah…
LYSID’S A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
The roles and our players:
- Charlie Brown: Daria Morgendorffer, star of MTV’s “Daria,” a cynical, smartass mound of ennui.
- Linus Van Pelt: Zorak, insectoid band leader for “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast” and galactic criminal.
- Lucy Van Pelt: Eric Cartman, from “South Park”, wearing a black wig
- Snoopy: Dread Cthulhu, much smaller than normal and with a pair of beagle ears scotch-taped to his head
- Shermy: Crow T. Robot, from Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- Sally Brown (Charlie Brown’s sister): Gilbert Gottfried.
- Violet: Butthead, of “Beavis & Butthead,” wearing a green dress.
- Schroeder: Ren Hoek, the maniac chihuahua from “Ren and Stimpy”
- Pigpen: Peter Lorre, star of such movie classics as “M”, “The Maltese Falcon” and “Casablanca”. Made a career out of being short and creepy.
- Frieda: Lisa Simpson, of “The Simpsons.”
(We open with a light snow falling on the unnamed town where the Peanuts gang has been trapped in perpetual childhood for almost 50 years now. The gang is all down skating on the pond while a choir of what appears to be eunuchs in pain sings a Christmas song for background music. Present are Lucy, Shermy, Sally, Schroder, Pigpen, Frieda and several unnamed children, which for our purposes are played by Jem, Optimus Prime, Nomadic Newt Hawthorne, Torg, Princess Leia and TV Head. The camera pans down the street to Charlie Brown’s house. Charlie Brown (Daria) comes out of the house and walks to the mailbox.)
CB: Again, the crucial question. Have I received any Christmas cards this year?
(She looks in the mailbox)
CB: And again, the answer is no. Which means I don’t have to send any Christmas cards. All in all, a great tradeoff.
(CB walks down the street and meets Violet (Butthead))
CB: Hey, Violet, thanks for the Christmas card.
CB: I said, thanks for the Christmas card.
Violet: Listen, Diarrhea–uh, I mean, Chuckie Brown–I didn’t send you anything.
CB: I know. I’m just trying to mess with your head.
Violet (Butthead’s eyes light up): Huhhuhhuh! Mess with my WHAT?
CB (Daria rolls her eyes): I suppose I could have phrased that more carefully.
Violet: (in Butthead’s “seductive” voice): Hey, baby, you can mess with my “head” anytime.
CB (walking away): Sorry, Violet, but you’ll have to mess with your own head.
Violet (seeing that no one else is around): Uh, OK.
(Daria continues to Linus and Lucy’s house. She knocks on the door. It creaks open and the barrel of a laser rifle pokes out.)
Linus (Zorak): Feelin’ lucky, Johnny Law?
CB: It’s me. Do you want to go skating?
Linus (Zorak sticks his head out the door): Not really.
CB: Too bad. It was in the original, so it’s in the remake.
Linus: Then let’s get this over with.
(The pair walk through the snow, having a whispered conversation (“Didn’t you bring skates?” “The sharp flanges on my pseudopods function as perfectly serviceable ice skates.” “Oh.”). Zorak, being Linus, is carrying a blue blanket. They come to the Wall and stop.)
CB: I don’t know, Linus. I just don’t feel Christmasy this year.
Linus (offscreen): Uh-huh.
CB:Come to think of it, I haven’t felt Christmasy for years.
CB: I think my appreciation of Christmas dissolved when I realized that the true existence of Santa Claus would bankrupt Toys R Us.
Linus: Right on.
(Daria glances at Zorak. He’s drooling over an issue of Hustler.)
CB: I didn’t think you went for females without exoskeletons.
Linus: Let’s just say they appeal less to my sense of lust than they do to my sense of lunch.
(They walk on. Cut away to the pond, where skating continues. Daria and Zorak reach the pond, where Daria changes into her skates. Zorak jumps right onto the ice and sails away, blanket flapping behind him. We see Snoopy (Dread Cthulhu) lurking behind a tree, eyeing the blanket. Snoopy, with astonishing speed, lumbers onto the ice and grabs the blanket with his tentacles, towing Zorak behind him. A laughing child (played by a Care Bear) attempts to grab onto Zorak and form a crack-the-whip line, but ends up impaling his hands on Zorak’s sharp chitin spines. Cthulhu tosses Zorak into a snowbank. Daria steps onto the ice and tentatively pushes off. She slides across the ice, accelerating, causing others to duck out of the way in fear, and slams into a tree on the other side of the pond. The logo, LYSID’S A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS appears on the screen. Daria kicks at it with her skate blades.)
Violet (Butthead): Uh, catch snowflakes on your tongue Or something.
Lucy(Cartman): Why they hell would we wanna do that?
Violet: It’s in the original, buttmunch!
Lucy (Cartman walks off): Yeah, call me when it starts snowin’ Cheesy Poofs.
(They catch snowflakes on their tongues. Happy piano music plays. Elvis starts to scream and his head slowly dissolves.)
Shermy (Crow): Boy, I guess acid snow is still a problem in this part of the country.
(Manson jumps on Quickdraw McGraw and starts to strangle him as we pan away to Lucy and Linus standing nearby.)
Linus: I think you have a customer.
(Charlie Brown is sitting at Lucy’s psychiatry booth.)
(Lucy walks over the hut and switches the sign to read “The Doctor is In Charge.”)
Lucy: Don’t worry, now. Everything’s gonna be all right. You just tell alllll your problems to Love Doctor Cartman.
CB: Well, lately-
Lucy(thrusting money jar into Daria’s face): HEY! FIVE BUCKS, BIMBO! MONEY TALKS OR THE LOVE DOCTOR WALKS!
CB (putting five bucks into the jar): Didn’t it use to be five cents?
Lucy: I got malpractice insurance payments to make. Now, what seems to be the trouble?
CB: I just don’t seem to have any Christmas spirit.
Lucy: I see. Well, I suspect the root of your problem is repressed homosexuality.
CB: No, I think it’s more the rampant commercialism this time of year-
Lucy: I understand that you would want to avoid the truth, but let’s face facts. You’re a girl with a boy’s name. You don’t stay in the kitchen as a proper woman should. You hang around with a giant insect with a blanket fixation. You must be a lesbian.
CB (Wearing the classic Daria scowl): I really don’t think-
Lucy(jumps on her head and starts pounding on her): ADMIT IT! YOU’RE GAY! ADMIT IT, I TELL YOU! OBEY THE LOVE DOCTOR!!
(Daria judo flips Cartman onto his head.)
CB: I want my five dollars back, now.
(Cartman zips back behind the booth.)
Lucy: Now don’t be hasty. Psychiatry is an inexact science, and a course of therapy will often come to a dead end. Why don’t we start over?
CB: I guess so.
Lucy: Maybe in order to get the Christmas spirit, you need to participate in Christmas-themed activities. We are having a Christmas pageant, and we need a director. That would be Christmasy. Why don’t you direct?
CB: But I have no previous experience in theater, and I’m disliked throughout the community. How could I direct?
Lucy: Charlie Brown, your very lack of skill and status means that you will depend on me for your authori-tie. Therefore, I will be able to use you to manipulate the pageant to my own ends.
(A moment of silence. They stare at one another.)
Lucy: That was the part I wasn’t supposed to say out loud, wasn’t it?
Lucy: Well, you have to do it anyway. It’s in the original. See you at one o’clock at the school, punk sucka!
(Cartman leaves. Daria walks toward home.)
(There’s a gray stone monolithic doghouse in Charlie Brown’s yard. It’s decorated with Christmas lights and sundry shiny things. Daria walks up and takes a flyer off the doghouse.)
CB (reads flyer): “Holiday Lights Display Contest. Make the best display on your block. Win Money Money Money!” Even my own dog’s gone commercial. Well, not dog…beast…familiar…whatever he is, I’m vaguely disappointed.
(CB goes inside. Sally (Gilbert Gottfried) traps him at the dinner table.)
Sally: Hey, mac, uh, big brother, would you write a letter to Santa for me? I’m sorry, but I just can’t call you big brother. Even leaving aside the question of your gender, I always pictured Big Brother as looking kinda like Stalin. I just don’t think you’re what Orwell had in mind-
CB (Daria rips paper out of Gilbert’s hands): You’re almost as annoying as my actual sister. Now, what do you want?
Sally: You write and I will dictate-not in that order, of course. Dear Santa, semicolon-is that supposed to be a semicolon or a comma? Or is it a colon? I always get embarrassed by colons. I mean, if I drew a little picture of somebody’s colon, people would be grossed out, but somehow you can use that punctuation mark and nobody minds! I don’t- (he notices Daria’s glare) Ahem, well, as I was saying, I hope you had a good summer, and that all the reindeer are well. Do you know how many diseases reindeer can get? Rabies is if you’re lucky! I had a reindeer once-
CB: Sally, what do you want from Santa? Besides attention, that is?
Sally: To sum up, please bring me a Mercedes and a case of Tequila. Your Friend, Gilbert, I mean Sally.
CB: Even my little sister has gone commercial.
Sally: Not yet, but I’m trying. Those bastards at 10-10-321 won’t return my calls…
(CB leaves in disgust. Fade out with Gilbert still babbling to himself.)
(Fade into the school stage. All the cast and many extras are there.)
Violet (Butthead is obviously reading an offscreen cue card): Uh, Lu-cy, did you…uh…f-f-…find a di…rec…tor for…the…
Lucy: I get the gist, you dumbass! I got Charlie Brown to direct.
Frieda (Lisa Simpson): Oh, no!
Violet: That sucks! You got Diarrhea to direct?
Lucy (kicks Butthead in the kneecap): YOU CALL HER CHARLIE BROWN, YOU SACK OF HORSEAPPLES!
(Daria enters. “Lucy and Linus” is playing. Everyone is dancing just as they do in the dance scene in the original special. Crow is violently throwing his head from side to side. Zorak and Gilbert appear to be cha-chaing in tandem. Cthulhu is flopping around with a guitar. Ren (Schroder) is pounding on the piano. Butthead is doing what seems to be the twist and he looks none too happy about it. Daria clears her throat several times for attention, but everyone just keeps on dancing until Cartman notices her. )
Lucy: Hey, everybody, it’s the director! Clap for the director! Clap, you f—ers, clap!
(Everybody applauds except for one smartass in the rear who boos. Everybody backs away to reveal it’s Snoopy booing.)
CB: And they call you man’s best friend!
Snoopy (Cthulhu broadcasts telepathically): NO, THEY DO NOT.
CB: That’s OK. I’m not a man.
(Daria walks over the director’s chair.)
CB: Hi, all. I guess the key to a great pageant is paying close attention to your director. Not that I would know. Let me go over a few basic hand signals that I’ll be using to confuse you during the performance. (She points right) When I do this, it means move to your right. (She points to the left) When I do this, it means move to your left. (She pats her head and rubs her stomach at the same time) When I do this, it means everyone switch roles at random. (She sticks her foot behind her ear) When I do this, it means adopt an Indian accent…hey!
(The music starts up again and everyone resumes dancing. Daria scowls in the corner. Cartman, right next to her, taps his feet and snaps his fingers.)
Lucy: These are some phat grooves, ain’t they, Charlie Brown?
CB: No! We need to get down to work.
Lucy: You’re right, Charlie Brown. Hey! Everybody listen to your director! You must have discipline! You must respect your director’s authori-tie! (He sees an extra that looks a lot like Marilyn Manson talking and not paying attention) YOU WILL RESPECT YOUR DIRECTOR’S AUTHORI-TIE!!!!! (He takes a stick and clubs the extra to the floor)
CB:OK, now that I’ve got your attention, Lucy will assign you your roles.
(Cartman goes around with a bundle of costumes. First he goes to Crow.)
Lucy: Shermy, you’ll be a shepherd.
Shermy: A shepherd! I’m moving up!
Lucy: What were you last year?
Shermy: The myrrh.
(Cartman goes to Lisa and Peter Lorre. Lorre is surrounded by a cloud of dust.)
Lucy: Frieda, you will be the innkeeper’s wife.
Frieda (Lisa): Do innkeeper’s wives have naturally spiky hair?
Lucy: Don’t ask me; I don’t give a rat’s ass. Pigpen, you’re the innkeeper.
Pigpen(Lorre): Oh, yesssss. Does the innkeeper get to be with the children?
Lucy: Um, yeah. Whatever.
(Lorre begins to whistle “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Cartman inches away, not turning his back to Lorre, and goes to Zorak. Gilbert is standing next to Zorak, mooning over him.)
Lucy: Linus, you gotta ditch that dumbass blanket for the pageant.
Linus: You can have it when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers, wigboy.
Sally: Isn’t that the cutest thing!?!
Linus: Isn’t what the cutest thing?
Sally: I don’t know, that’s just what was in the original. I don’t think it was written with you in mind. I wouldn’t call you cute. You remind me of Christopher Walken with a really bad overbite.
(Lucy goes over to Schroeder.)
Lucy: Schroeder, play some Christmas music to get us in the mood. You know, jingle bells or something.
(Ren plays a lovely piano rendition of “Jingle Bells”)
Lucy(frowns): No, no. Christmas music! Deck the halls and all that crap.
(Ren plays a wonderful organ version of “Jingle Bells”.)
Lucy: No! I mean Christmas music! Fa la la and sleigh bells and stuff!
(Ren picks up the piano and brains Cartman with it.)
Schroeder: You EEDEEOT! Here I have played Jingle Bells for you TWICE! What do you want from me, you WORM!?!
(Ren stalks off)
Lucy(shouting after him): I’M GONNA MAKE YOU MY BITCH, SCHROEDER! YOU HEAR ME? MY BITCH!
(Cartman fumes, not seeing Cthulhu sneaking up behind him. When he turns around, Cthulhu kisses him.)
Lucy: AGGHH!!!! MONSTER LIPS! MY LIPS TOUCHED MONSTER LIPS! WITH ICHOR!! DOG ICHOR!!!! AAGGHH!!!
(Cthulhu grins. It’s a horrible sight.)
CB: Shouldn’t we be getting on with rehearsal?
Lucy: You know what would really help us get into the Christmas spirit, Charlie Brown? A Christmas tree! Why don’t you go get bent-I mean, go out, and get us a nice shiny Christmas tree?
(Daria scowls, but Zorak leans over to her ear and whispers.)
Linus: Why not? It’ll give us an excuse to get out of here for a while.
CB: Christmas tree it is. Any particular species?
Violet: Uh, get one with a TV in it.
Lucy: That’s a good idea, Violet. Get a big one, with a TV in it and Snacky Cakes on the branches.
CB: Right. C’mon, Linus, let’s roll.
(The camera follows Daria and Zorak to the Christmas tree place. All the trees are themed after TV shows of the 80s. There’s a Family Ties tree, a Miami Vice tree, a Dallas tree, an A-team tree with little machine guns on the branches.)
Linus: Ooh, look. Manimal!
CB: None of these trees say “Christmas” to me.”
Linus: What do they say to you?
(Daria squeezes the tummy of a Mr. T doll hanging from the A-Team tree.)
Mr. T(in a squeaky, elvin voice): I pity the fool!
(Daria looks around, sighs.)
CB: So, which one do we surrender our dignity to?
Linus: What about this one?
CB: That’s not a Christmas tree. It’s a discarded washing machine.
Linus: Perfect! It’ll be a Dada statement about the season. Besides, it’s free.
CB: Good point.
(They cart the washing machine into the distance.)
(Commercial break. Inexplicably, the video for “Groove is in the Heart” is shown.)
(Fade in back at the stage. Daria and Zorak come in with washing machine. )
All the kids: Yay, they’re back!
Lucy: Where’s the tree?
(Daria points to the washer. A look of confusion and then stunned comprehension passes across everyone’s face.)
Lucy: What the hell is that supposed to be?!? I said a CHRISTMAS TREE, numbnuts! I send you out after a Christmas tree and you come back with some washer as old as a prostitute I might pay five cents for if she came with a side order of cheesy poofs and I didn’t feel like chasing down the cat that night!?!
(Everyone stares at Cartman.)
Lucy: Um, it’s not a tree, is all I’m sayin’.
Daria (scowling): Listen, doughboy, first you set me up to be a puppet director and then your order me out into the snow to fetch you greenery, and then you complain about what I bring back!!? What’s going on here? Really, what the hell are we doing here? What’s the point of this damn special?
Linus: I can tell you, Charlie Brown.
(Zorak walks to the middle of the stage.)
Linus: Light, please.
(A single spotlight shines on Zorak.)
Linus: And the word went out in those days that both World War II and the Depression were over, and America was safe and fat once more. Yet the shadow of the mushroom cloud hung over all, and consumerism dominated the land. So a cartoonist did set out to express the angst of the time, using small children mouthing big concepts, and he wrote an animated special, which sought to cut through the consumerism and release the Christian meaning of the holiday as an antidote for ennui. But said special was interspersed with commercials, and therefore undercut its own message. The end. A Zorak production, written and directed by Zorak. That’s what that this special is all about, Daria-I mean, Charlie Brown.
Linus: Is something on fire?
(Butthead is standing him with a magnifying glass, focusing the spotlight rays on Zorak’s exoskeleton.)
(Zorak whips around and bites off Butthead’s head.)
(Daria walks over and picks up the washing machine. She heads out the door and walks home. She stops by the doghouse. She picks one decorative star off the doghouse and places it on the Christmas washer.)
CB: That was a futile gesture. I wonder what’s on TV.
(She continues into the house. Soon the whole gang from the pageant arrives. They look at the forlorn appliance.)
Linus (Zorak puts his blanket around it): I never thought it was such a bad washer. Maybe it just needs a little love.
(The gang takes all the decorations off the monolithic doghouse and puts them on the washer, transforming it into…a very strange looking old washing machine.)
(Then they wait.)
Linus: Hey, Charlie Brown! Get out here and act surprised so we can wrap this up!
CB(Daria’s voice from inside the house): Sorry, “The Jeffersons” is on. No can do.
(The crowd murmurs. “Hmm, wow, ‘The Jeffersons’.” Then they all pile into Daria’s house.)
(Long shot of the outside of Daria’s house, as the children inside all join in singing a very special song.)
A Zorak production
Written and directed by Zorak
From an strange dream by Charles Schulz