This week is going to be hard for us singletons. We'll go through our little black books, calling one ex after another in hopes of scoring a sympathy date. We'll keep up appearances at the office by sending ourselves flowers and candy. We'll rent Fatal Attraction and Romeo & Juliet to convince ourselves that love really does stink. But, through it all, we'll tell ourselves, "Things could be worse. At least, we aren't Charlie Brown."
"Valentine's Day is very hard on Charlie Brown," acknowledges Lee Mendelson, the executive producer of A Charlie Brown Valentine, the first new Peanuts special since the February 2000 death of the comic's creator, Charles M. Schulz. "Charlie Brown finally gets the courage to call [the object of his affection], the little red-haired girl, but he misdials and gets Peppermint Patty by mistake and [winds up taking her] and Marcie to the dance.
"Then," he adds, "bad things happen."
As Charlie Brown himself would say, "Good grief!" If Valentine, airing Thursday at 8 pm/ET on ABC, is only going to deliver more heartache to our hapless hero, why bother reissuing a bow and arrow to Cupid? Wasn't 1975's Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown crushing enough?
"One of Schulz's main themes has always been unrequited love, going back to the days when he lost a girl in St. Paul," Mendelson points out. So, in the new half hour, based entirely on Schulz's strips, "you have Sally chasing Linus and Lucy chasing Schroeder and, of course, Charlie Brown has no clue about any of it.
"That's the reason we wanted to do a new special to show the new romances going on," he continues. "This isn't a redo, it's a whole new story. [Schulz] felt that, after 32 years, Charlie Brown should get a Valentine."