So, as most of you know, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead is all about the Peanuts characters in high school. But, in case you know very little about the Peanuts peeps, here’s a little refresher…
Who He Was: Charlie Brown is a loveable loser, a child possessed of endless determination and hope, but who is ultimately dominated by his insecurities and a “permanent case of bad luck” and often taken advantage of by his peers. However he also has a sense of reality about him, usually making sarcastic jibes or using quick-witted remarks to point out the often ridiculous actions of some of the other characters.
Who He Is Now: After the death of his beloved dog CB is thrown into turmoil. Still feeling “stupid” and “like everything he does is wrong,” he begins to question death – and of course, life. CB still has the same friends he’s always had, but they’ve all taken different paths. Feeling like every choice he makes is the incorrect one he sets out on a path to “find himself” and ends up standing up to everyone he’s known his whole life.
Who She Was: Sally has flipped blond hair with a cluster of curls and sometimes a bow in front, and she wears a polka dot dress, usually pink or light blue. In the winter, and most of the time in the later years of the strip, she switched to a shirt and pants. She has a “take it easy” approach to life, preferring to slide by while doing as little work as possible. Her favorite pastime is sitting in her beanbag chair watching TV. In a series of strips from 1982, Sally actually went to “beanbag camp”, which consisted of nothing but lazing around in beanbags, watching TV and gorging on junk food, and returned home fat. She can be stubborn sometimes, and is usually convinced she’s right until someone proves her wrong, but she also has a good heart and a strong moral sense; like her older brother she is extremely sensitive to the unfairness of life. Charlie Brown usually goes to Lucy in her doctor’s booth when he’s feeling depressed, but Sally prefers to confide her troubles to the school building, which is very protective of her and will drop a brick on anyone who doesn’t treat her nicely.
In the later years of the strip, Sally also frequently developed “new philosophies” on life, which were typically short sayings or phrases with little or no philosophical value, such as “We’ll always have Minneapolis” (a take on the famous line “We’ll always have Paris” from the film Casablanca), “Who cares?”, “Why me?”, and “How should I know?” One time, Sally declared that her new philosophy was simply the word “No”, which was to be her answer to every question from that moment on, but then Charlie Brown caught her off guard with a question to which she responded, “Yes!”, leading her to grumble, “You ruined my new philosophy.”
Who She Is Now: A girl trying to find herself, CB’s Sister has changed her frequently developing “philosophies” for frequently changing personalities. A goth girl, a Barbie princess and a performance artist are just a few of the personalities she adopts as she too navigates the treacherous halls of high school in an attempt to discover who she really is.
Who He Was: Though young, Linus is unusually smart, and he acts as the strip’s philosopher and theologian, often quoting the Gospels. He also invented his own quasi-religious being, The Great Pumpking who (like Santa Claus) mysteriously appears every year, bringing presents. The Great Pumpkin, however, appears on Halloween and only at the most sincere pumpkin patch, which Linus invariably believes is his own. Linus is the only one who believes in the Great Pumpkin. Though he occasionally convinces other characters the Great Pumpkin is real, they always lose faith, while Linus keeps his.
Who He Is Now: Van has parted ways with his blanket, but picked up a new crutch in the form of marijuana. He’s still the philosopher of the group – having recently discovered Buddhism, he schools CB in the ways of the religion he has so recently adopted.
Who He Was: “Pig-Pen” is a character in the comic strip Peanuts who is a young boy who, except on very rare occasions is very dirty. “Pig-Pen” is a nickname, invariably written in quotation marks in the strip. In the character’s first appearance, (July 13, 1954), in a strip directly parodying the first chapter of Lord of the Flies, he declares, “I haven’t got a name . . . People just call me things . . . Real insulting things.” If he does have a real name, it is never mentioned. In a 2000 Gallup Poll”Pig-Pen” was found to be the fifth most popular Peanuts character.
Who He Is Now: Matt has become a germaphobe who is deathly afraid of being dirty. A terrible temper accompany his OCD tendancies as he has now become one of the coolest kids at school. His disgust for anything remotely unclean is second only to his incredible hate for anyone who mentions his former nickname.