Lucy van Pelt: Wikis

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Lucy van Pelt
Peanuts character
Linus boxing Lucy.JPG
Age 8
Sex Female
Family Middle brother, Linus van Pelt, youngest brother Rerun van Pelt, Blanket Hating Grandmother, and unnamed parents
First appearance March 3, 1952

Lucille "Lucy" van Pelt is a fictional character in the syndicated comic strip Peanuts, written and drawn by Charles Schulz. She is the older sister of Linus and Rerun. Lucy is a crabby and cynical eight-year old girl,[1][2] and is often bossy toward the other characters in the strip, particularly to Linus and Charlie Brown.[3] She is often referred to as the world's greatest fuss-budget.[4][5][6]

Contents

History

Lucy was introduced into the strip on March 3, 1952 as a wide-eyed baby who constantly tormented her parents. Very early on, Schulz eliminated the circles around her eyes and allowed her to mature to the age of the other characters. She soon grew into her familiar persona of a bossy, crabby, selfish girl.

Lucy wears a blue-colored dress with white and black saddle shoes for most of the strip's original run. However, in later years, towards its end, she was seen more in t-shirts and pants, until her dress was phased out altogether.

Perhaps Lucy's most famous gimmick in her long existence as a character is the one in which she pulls the football away from Charlie Brown right as he is about to kick it.[7][8][9] The first occasion on which she did this was November 16, 1952, taking over for Violet, who had previously (yet unintentionally) subjected Charlie Brown to this trick on November 14, 1951, for fear that Charlie Brown would accidentally kick her instead of the ball. Afterward, Lucy would always intentionally pull the football away from Charlie Brown to trick him.

For all her crabbiness and bad temper, Lucy did have a romantic side: she was in love with Schroeder, but he did not return the affection. In this Lucy is seen as insecure, as she shows a need for assurance from Schroeder and Charlie Brown that she is pretty (constantly asking them of their opinion of her appearance), and is known to react harshly when she receives an unfavorable, or even hesitant, answer.[6] Indeed, Lucy seems to be rather thin-skinned when it comes to being insulted herself; once, when Linus countered her statement that he was a terrible brother by saying that she wasn't such a great sister either, Lucy burst into tears. Another time, her reaction to Charlie Brown's telling her she wasn't perfect was to storm off angrily without even a word, leaving Charlie to comment, "I've never seen anyone so insulted!"

Relationships with other characters

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Lucy and Linus

Lucy is frequently irked by her younger and more passive brother, Linus. In particular, she wants Linus to stop his attachment to his security blanket, and has even gone so far as to cut it up (to make shapes for a "flannelgraph" and later to make squares for Linus to clean his glasses with) and to steal and hide it. She once made a kite out of it and "accidentally" let go of it. The blanket flew around the country and people wrote to Linus to let him know they saw it. It was rescued by the Air Force when it flew out over the Pacific Ocean. Another time Lucy buried the blanket, causing a frantic Linus to dig up almost the entire neighborhood before Snoopy found it.

On one occasion in 1965, Linus' blanket took revenge on Lucy for her campaign against it by "jumping" her and physically attacking her. The attacks scared Lucy so badly that she was afraid to go home at night. Eventually she and the blanket made a "truce" whereby the blanket would refrain from attacking Lucy if she promised not to try to throw it into the trash burner anymore. Lucy did in fact try to throw the blanket into the trash burner a few years later (as part of a storyline in which Linus made a deal to give up his blanket if his grandmother would quit smoking, and Lucy rationalized that after two weeks without the blanket, Linus no longer needed it), but an unusually strong-willed Linus intervened at the last second, rescued his blanket from the trash burner and screamed at Lucy to mind her own business when it came to the blanket; he told her that if their mother wanted him to get rid of the blanket, then he'd do it; until then, it was no one else's business but his.

Lucy thinks that she is completely perfect, and that Linus and practically everyone else, is anything but. She outright told Linus that he was a terrible younger brother, but, in a rare instance where he turns something his sister said back at her, when he demanded that if she thought he was such a horrible brother, what made her to be such a terrific older sister, Lucy, realizing that he struck a nerve, burst into tears.

Another habit of Linus that drives Lucy crazy is his patting Woodstock and Woodstock's fellow birds on the head. This seems to be a form of emotional therapy for both Linus and the birds, but Lucy is vehemently against it, mainly because she fears that she and her family will be ridiculed if word gets out that Linus pats birds on the head. In a Sunday strip in 1999 she was even more mortified to discover that her youngest brother, Rerun, had also picked up this habit.

Lucy annoys Linus in other ways: stealing all the crayons (except black, white, and gray), changing the channel or turning the TV off while Linus is watching it, and forcing him to shower her with lavish words of praise before she'll even consider sharing anything with him ("Thank you, dear sister, greatest of all sisters, without whom I'd never survive!" is what Linus was once forced to say before receiving a piece of toast. Then, he said, "How can I eat when I feel nauseated?") Lucy also forces Linus to bring her snacks or something to drink while she watches TV. Lucy once bragged that she played Linus "like a pianist plays a concert grand." Lucy has made no secret of the fact that she wishes she were an only child, and has actually tried to throw Linus out of the house a few times; in one such incident, when Lucy got the news of Rerun's birth in 1972, she exclaimed, "A new baby brother?! But I just got rid of the old one!"

By contrast, Linus' attempts to stand up to his sister typically result in a verbal or physical beatdown. However, he sometimes gets his revenge on Lucy in more subtle ways. In one strip, he suddenly responds to a rude remark from her by ceremoniously awarding her with a printed scroll and congratulates her on being "crabby" for 1,000 days in a row - to which she, completely blindsided at the sheer audacity of this creative insult, could only respond weakly, "One rarely gets a chance to see such carefully planned sarcasm." In another instance, Linus created an effigy out of snow that looked like Lucy. Lucy commented, "You're going to get great satisfaction out of building a snowman that looks just like me just so you can stand there and kick it!" To this, Linus replied, "On the contrary, that would be crude. I'm just going to stand here and watch it slowly melt away", while Lucy stood stunned at the philosophical contempt behind that statement.

On one occasion, however, Lucy was seen to acknowledge Linus' genuine affection for her. When Lucy demands to know what she has to feel grateful for on Thanksgiving Day, Linus replies, "Well, you have a brother who loves you..." Lucy immediately bursts into tears.

Another occasion that showed Lucy's care and concern for her brother Linus occurred in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. When Linus did not return home from the pumpkin patch by 4:00 A.M., Lucy got out of bed, put her coat on, walked out to the pumpkin patch and led her sleeping brother home and put him to bed. Also, while Linus was waiting for the Great Pumpkin in the pumpkin patch with Sally, and the others were trick or treating, she requested an extra piece of candy for her brother exclaiming, "It's so embarrassing to have to ask for something extra for that blockhead Linus." The book adaptation says she requested an extra apple, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Lucy and Charlie Brown

Her treatment of Charlie Brown is just as bad, although in the early days of the strip, she seemed to have a crush on him. Aside from her infamous football trick, she gives "psychiatric advice" by insulting and belittling him, but on rare occasions, she does try sincerely to help Charlie Brown, such as in A Charlie Brown Christmas, by getting him involved in directing the Christmas play. She also sometimes tries to give him what she thinks is good advice, however such advice is usually of little practical value.

In the earlier years, Lucy came up with silly theories (e.g. "Snow comes up out of the ground") and laughed at Charlie Brown's efforts to tell her otherwise. When Charlie Brown finally proves that Lucy's theory is false, Lucy makes an insensitive remark about the way he looks. A similar thing happens when Lucy laughs at Charlie's assertion that birds fly south for the winter; upon learning the truth from her teacher, she wonders if she can change to a different teacher.

Lucy delivers devastatingly mean remarks with the greatest of ease, usually showing no emotion whatsoever, then moving on with whatever she was doing. She has a tendency to go off on loud and rambling tangents when she is with him, such as a strip where Charlie Brown asked if she ever regretted anything she said. Her reply is that she always says what she means, but she becomes repetitive and progressively louder, which gives Charlie Brown a headache. The first time she pulled this on him was when he asked her if she was going to make any New Years resolutions. She completely went off on him screaming that she was all right the way she was, this loud rant so sickened Charlie Brown that he walked off holding his stomach. She also specializes in setting Charlie Brown up and then knocking him down.

When Charlie Brown fails at something, Lucy is quick to point it out, as illustrated by the series of strips in early 1964 (later adapted into the script of A Boy Named Charlie Brown) in which she put together a slide presentation of all of Charlie's faults, and subsequently demanded that he pay her a sum of $143 for her services. Lucy will often trivialize Charlie Brown by saying something completely inane and off topic while he's pouring his heart out to her about something important to him, or, Lucy will think in literal terms, while Charlie Brown is speaking figuratively. Once Charlie Brown told Lucy he would have to build a mental fence to keep unpleasant news out of his mind; Lucy responded in all sincerity and with no apparent sarcasm, by saying "Don't make it a picket fence, Charlie Brown. They're awfully hard to paint".

Lucy sometimes tends to be a victim of Charlie Brown's wit or sarcasm. In one strip when Charlie Brown is at the psychiactric booth, she tells him that the insecurities people have can lead to colds and other illnesses in which Charlie Brown responds by sarcastically sneezing loudly, knocking Lucy to the floor.

It could be suggested that Lucy has some kind of hidden 'longing', or soft spot for Charlie Brown. In A Boy Named Charlie Brown, she first suggests that Charlie Brown looks 'kinda cute' among the flowers on his pitchers mound which actually infuriates him. Secondly in the same film, she is extremely angry when he loses the spelling bee. She then turns the T.V off to walk away, only to turn the T.V. back on to utter the words "Charlie Brown, you - you make me mad!" Also in You're in Love, Charlie Brown, when referring to the little red-haired girl, Charlie Brown remarks that 'a pretty face makes him nervous'. This causes Lucy to rant that she has a pretty face. She asks why he doesn't get nervous around her and begins to follow him when he walks off, continuing her tirade. And in A Charlie Brown Christmas and later an episode of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show she asks if Charlie Brown thinks she's beautiful, to which of course he doesn't reply, leading her to say "I know when I've been insulted! I know when I've been insulted!" Also early on in the strip, in her first years, Lucy actually kind of had a crush on Charlie Brown; in one story she asked CB if he thought that they would ever get married. Charlie said no of course leaving her visibly upset.

Lucy and Rerun

By contrast, Lucy's relationship with her youngest brother, Rerun (who entered the strip as a baby in the early 1970s but didn't become a major character until the late 1990s), is much less turbulent. Despite her initial dismay over his birth (lamenting that she was experiencing a "rerun" with another baby brother, thus giving him his nickname), Lucy in fact took on something of a mentor role for Rerun, teaching him important things he needs to survive in life, such as how to tie his shoes - in contrast to the outrageous misinformation she has been known to tell Linus (e.g. telling him that leaves falling off trees in autumn were "flying south for the winter"). As a result, Lucy's personality seemed to mellow a bit in the final years of the strip, though she never did become totally "nice." Rerun often shows a knack for getting around Lucy and weakening her defenses, whereas Linus is apt to give up and just let Lucy dominate him. In one strip, Lucy walked up to Rerun building a sand castle in a sandbox, and asked him what he would do if she kicked it down. Rerun responded; "Oh, nothing I guess. But years from now, when You and Your Husband come over to My house, and ask Me to co-sign for a loan for You, I might remember it". Lucy appeared to think this over for a moment, and then walked away grinding her teeth in frustration, while Rerun smugly continued building his sand castle.

Lucy and Snoopy

Lucy is terrified of being licked or kissed by Snoopy, and usually runs off screaming whenever he does kiss her. Snoopy is naturally infatuated with her and likes to tease her about it. On several occasions, her flirting with Schroeder has inadvertently resulted in a kiss from Snoopy - Schroeder walks away as soon as Lucy begins flirting, but then Snoopy appears, hears Lucy talking about a kiss, and kisses her, which inevitably results in Lucy running off in hysterics. Schroeder also once had Snoopy kiss Lucy to get out of kissing her himself, by having Snoopy act as his "representative" to deliver a kiss on Beethoven's birthday.

Lucy and Snoopy have also occasionally found themselves in not-so-friendly competition - the two faced off in an arm-wrestling tournament once (the competition ended abruptly after Snoopy kissed Lucy on the nose and she recoiled in horror), and more than once in the course of the strip have actually come to fighting (again, Snoopy often wins by default by trying to kiss or lick Lucy's face). On several occasions, Charlie Brown has had Snoopy stay at Lucy's house while he and his family went on vacation, and Lucy usually treats her canine house guest inhospitably (i.e. forcing him to sleep outside in one of her old doll beds). Still, as it turns out, Snoopy is perhaps one of the few characters in the strip who usually winds up outsmarting Lucy.

However, one of the most famous Peanuts strips of all time shows a rare moment of Lucy showing affection towards Snoopy by hugging him and then saying one of the most famous quotes in the strip's history, "Happiness is a warm puppy." Lucy herself acknowledged in another strip that although there were times when Snoopy drove her crazy, there were also times when she felt like hugging him, which she then proceeded to do.

At the end of the animated film "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown", Lucy ends up being kissed by Snoopy (after she originally wanted to fight him for taking her eggs to give to the neighborhood kids) and responds "Aah, the Easter Beagle!" with a dreamy look in her eyes. Most of the time she would just call him a stupid beagle. Linus and Sally did too.

Lucy and Schroeder

Lucy is in love with Schroeder, who constantly rejects her advances. She spends much of her time leaning against his toy piano as he plays, striving to gain the attention Schroeder gives to his music. Schroeder often responds to her flirting with a sarcastic quote.

Lucy constantly sees herself as being in competition with the piano, which she has even tried to steal and destroy, and sometimes succeeding, earning her none of Schroeder's love or affection. To an extent, she also believes she is competing with Schroeder's favorite composer, Beethoven, and often makes a point to make rude comments about Beethoven to Schroeder's face (which angers Schroeder immensely). At various points, she would also remove the bust of Beethoven to replace it with her picture; or to the extreme, she took a ball bat and smashed it; only to be horrified to see that he had extra busts of Beethoven, which he replaced the broken one with. Her response to this is, "I'll probably never get married!" In one strip, Lucy tossed Schroeder's piano up into the Kite-Eating Tree which always eats Charlie Brown's kites, and in another strip, she threw his piano down a sewer. Schroeder, for his part, has on occasion exacted revenge by yanking his piano out from under Lucy, causing her head to strike the floor. Schroeder is also annoyed by Lucy's repeated hinting about gifts, such as when she says that Beethoven's birthday is an ideal day to buy girls gifts.

On occasion during the 1960s and 1970s, Lucy and naturally-curly-haired Frieda were shown as rivals for Schroeder's affections; Lucy once spotted Frieda taking her (Lucy's) place at Schroeder's piano, and Snoopy taught her how to jump up into the air and look vicious. Frieda was then beaten up. Another time both Frieda and Lucy are leaning on Schroeder's piano, and Schroeder yanks the piano from both of them; when Lucy said that "you need to like Beethoven to hang around here," to which Frieda replied, "Sure, but I'll just have a small glass." Another instance in the strip, Frieda wondered what would happen if she gave Schroeder a kiss. Lucy says "Why don't you find out." By then Schroeder had walked away for a minute, but Snoopy came in and, what usually happens to Lucy, kisses Frieda, with her saying "Bleah!"

Other personality traits

Psychiatric booth

Lucy and her "five-cents-please" psychiatric help booth as depicted at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan.

Lucy is also the manager of a psychiatric booth, parodying the lemonade stand operated by many young children in the United States. Here, she gives advice for five cents (except in the early 80s when the rising cost of hot chocolate one winter caused Lucy to increase her fee to seven cents) to the other characters in the strip, most frequently an anxious Charlie Brown. Of course, the advice that Lucy offers often leaves Charlie Brown feeling even worse than before. The psychiatric booth is a prime example of the more adult-oriented humor that Schulz incorporated into his comic strip, making it accessible to people of all ages. In the early years of the psychiatric booth, another of Lucy's most frequent clients was her own brother, Linus; Schroeder, Sally, Frieda, and Snoopy have also been beneficiaries of Lucy's psychiatric wisdom, which is usually of little actual help and accompanied by "5 cents please." A sign on the front of the booth declares that "The Doctor is" in or out, depending on which side of the "In/Out" placard is displayed. In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lucy reverses the placard from displaying its "Out" side to reveal the words "Real In", perhaps a homage to the "hip" 60s culture. Another time, on the title panel of a Sunday strip, it showed Lucy chewing gum, and the sign read "The Doctor is Preoccupied."

Baseball

On Charlie Brown's baseball team Lucy plays right field (or occasionally center field), and is characterized as a bad player, who, when temporarily kicked off the team, turns to heckling the games. Lucy has a knack for coming up with a novel excuse for every fly ball she misses (for example: "The moons of Saturn got in my eyes", or "I think there were toxic substances coming from my glove, and they made me dizzy", or "I was having my quiet time."). Other times, she finds an excuse to have one-sided conversations with Charlie Brown at the pitcher's mound, often over some trivial thing she noticed, which usually result in Charlie Brown blowing his top and yelling at her to "Get back in center field where you belong!".

In many strips, and probably her most famous baseball habit, she gets hit on the head with the fly ball, and shows her getting "Bonked." Once, in a 1983 Sunday strip, the ball hits every center fielder's head, and Schroeder says to Charlie Brown, "You're right, I think six bonks is a new record." In a series of strips that later became part of the 2003 TV special Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown traded Lucy to Peppermint Patty's baseball team for Marcie (and a pizza), but once Patty discovered what a terrible player Lucy really was, she traded her back. Even on the diamond, Lucy flirts with Schroeder, who plays catcher on Charlie Brown's team: once she called for a "squeeze play...I'll squeeze the catcher!"

Only once has Lucy ever produced on the baseball diamond: in one game, Lucy (using a bat signed not by a ballplayer, but by actress Liv Ullmann) slammed a home run, after Schroeder jokingly suggested that he would kiss her if she hit a four-bagger. (Lucy let him off the hook: "If that's the only way I'll get you to kiss me, forget it! Another victory for women's lib!")

Portrayals

1960s child actress Tracy Stratford first voiced Lucy in 1965 and since then many actresses including sisters Robin (from 1972 to 1973) and Melanie Kohn (from 1974 to 1977) have voiced her. Actress Sally Dryer provided Lucy's voice from 1966-1968. Pamelyn Ferdin also provided a voice to Lucy in Play It Again, Charlie Brown. Sydney Penny voiced her in It's Magic, Charlie Brown. 1980s child actress Angela Lee voiced her in 1982 and 1983. Heather Stoneman voiced her in 1984 and 1985. Jessica Lee Smith voiced her in the animated version, of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown". Erica Gayle and Ami Foster both voiced her in "This Is America, Charlie Brown" (1988-1989).

In the stage musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Lucy was portrayed by Reva Rose in the original off-Broadway cast in 1967, and by Ilana Levine in the 1999 Broadway revival.

She was portrayed by Lucille Ball on a 1971 episode of "The Flip Wilson Show" in which Charlie Brown was portrayed by Wilson and Linus was portrayed by Donny Osmond.

She was impersonated by Mary Scheer on an Invader Zim episode Mysterious Mysteries where she said What's with this big head? which shows that Lucy still has her mean attitude.

References

  1. ^ Choy, Penelope (2005). Basic Grammar and Usage. Thomas Wadsworth. pp. 160. ISBN 1413008925.  
  2. ^ Umphlett, Wiley Lee (2006). From Television to the Internet: Postmodern Visions of American Media Culture in the Twentieth Century. Farleigh Dickinson University Press. pp. 66. ISBN 083864080X.  
  3. ^ Mansour, David (2005). From ABBA to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 281. ISBN 0740751182.  
  4. ^ Nelson, Roy Paul (2004). The Art of Cartooning. Courier Dover Press. pp. 4. ISBN 048643639X.  
  5. ^ Altshuler, Thelma C. (1965). Prose as Experience. Houghton Mifflin. pp. 374.  
  6. ^ a b Pendergast, Tom (2000). St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. St. James Press. pp. 25. ISBN 155862404X.  
  7. ^ Inge, M. Thomas (2000). Charles M. Schulz: Conversations. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 89. ISBN 1578063051.  
  8. ^ Grossman, Anna Jane (2007). It's Not Me, It's You: The Ultimate Breakup Book. De Capo Press. pp. 101. ISBN 0738210900.  
  9. ^ Williams, Jean (2002). A Game for Rough Girls? A History of Women's Football in Britain. Routledge. pp. 166. ISBN 0415263379.  

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