Tag Archives: Phil Roman

It's Dental Flossophy, Charlie Brown (1980, Bill Melendez and Phil Roman)

There’s an adorable moment when Woodstock makes a nest out of dental floss in It’s Dental Flossophy, Charlie Brown, but otherwise it’s a hard going five and a half minutes.

Charlie Brown needs to floss and Lucy’s going to teach him. She wants to get all that plaque out before she goes to Schroeder’s concert. There’s so much pointless exposition, all of it with wooden delivery, one has to wonder how much work writer Charles M. Schulz put into Flossophy. Or how much work the directors put in to Michelle Muller’s performance as Lucy. It’s impossible to believe some of her deliveries weren’t just first takes.

Woodstuck gets Lucy’s dental floss because he’s having trouble building a nest. It’s a twenty or thirty second subplot and about the only charm in the cartoon. Snoopy helps him with it, apparently able to maintain brain function through Lucy’s flossing instruction instead of just shutting it off entirely.

And it’s all on Muller. Schulz gives her all the lines. She’s got to precisely describe various flossing techniques and there’s no way to make them work in dialogue. It gets her some sympathy, even if her performance itself doesn’t deserve it. When she gets to the “smell your floss, isn’t it gross, that smell is the plaque” moment, the goodwill’s gone. It’s unclear if the plaque smelling is supposed to be funny, disgusting, or instructional; regardless, like the rest of Flossophy, it’s a fail.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Bill Melendez and Phil Roman; written by Charles M. Schulz; music by Vince Guaraldi; released by the American Dental Association.

Starring Arrin Skelley (Charlie Brown) and Michelle Muller (Lucy).


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A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973, Bill Melendez and Phil Roman)

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” only has one great scene. The special is generally good–though the usual Peanuts logic problems–but there’s a great sequence with Snoopy and Woodstock messing around to a song from Vince Guaraldi. It’s set against the precious painted backdrops and it’s lovely.

The sequence also stands out because it’s the only original song in the special, which is otherwise a comedy of errors.

Or, actually, a comedy of missed communications. The drama of the special is Peppermint Patty has invited herself to Charlie Brown’s for Thanksgiving. So, instead of talking to her about it (or talking to his parents about it), Charlie Brown and company set up a Thanksgiving feast replete with popcorn, toast, pretzel sticks and jelly beans. Patty is disappointed. Two minutes of drama ensue.

Melendez and Roman’s direction makes it seem better than it is–it’s charming, sure. Just not particularly engaging.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Bill Melendez and Phil Roman; written by Charles M. Schulz; animated by Bob Bachman; edited by Robert T. Gillis, Chuck McCann and Rudy Zamora Jr.; music by Vince Guaraldi; produced by Melendez and Lee Mendelson; released by the Columbia Broadcasting System.

Starring Todd Barbee (Charlie Brown), Robin Kohn (Lucy van Pelt), Stephen Shea (Linus van Pelt), Hilary Momberger (Sally Brown), Christopher DeFaria (Patricia ‘Peppermint Patty’ Reichardt), Jimmy Ahrens (Marcie) and Robin Reed (Franklin).


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