Lucy van Pelt

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Lucy van Pelt
Peanuts character
Lucy van Pelt.png
First appearance March 3, 1952
Voiced by Karen Mendelson (1963)
Tracy Stratford (1963, 1965)
Sally Dryer (1966–1968)
Pamelyn Ferdin (1969–1971)
Robin Kohn (1972–1973)
Melanie Kohn (1974–1975, 1977)
Sarah Beach (1976)
Linda Jenner (1976)
Lynn Mortensen (1976)
Michelle Muller (1977–1979)
Laura Planting (1980)
Debbie Muller (1980)
Kristen Fullerton (1980-1981)
Sydney Penny (1981)
Angela Lee (1983)
Heather Stoneman (1984–1985)
Jessica Lee Smith (1984-1985)
Melissa Guzzi (1986)
Tiffany Billings (1986-1988)
Ami Foster (1988)
Erica Gayle (1988–1989)
Jennifer Banko (1990)
Marnette Patterson (1992)
Molly Dunham (1993)
Jamie Cronin (1995-1997)
Rachel Davey (2000)
Lauren Schaffel (2002)
Serena Berman (2002–2003)
Ashley Rose Orr (2003)
Stephanie Patton (2006)
Michelle Creber (2008-2009)
Grace Rolek (2011)
Hadley Belle Miller (2015)
Information
Gender Female
Family Brothers Linus van Pelt and Rerun van Pelt, Blanket Hating Grandmother, and unnamed parents

Lucille "Lucy" van Pelt is a fictional character in the syndicated comic strip Peanuts, written and drawn by Charles Schulz. She is the main bully and the older sister of Linus and Rerun. . Lucy is a crabby,[1][2] bratty and extremely stupid girl who often bullies the other characters in the strip, particularly Linus and Charlie Brown.[3]

Personality[edit]

Lucy is very stupid and dimwitted: on one strip she said "I hate it when I'm not around!", on another, she said "If you leave them [the cows] in the pasture overnight, they'll get pasteurized!" and on yet another, she complained about receiving a pumpkin that wasn't blue.[4]

She is also extremely vain: she thinks she is beautiful when she is frequently described as ugly, and thinks she is perfect (though she once admitted complaining is the only thing she can do[5])when she has definitely no skills at all , as she is the worst and weakest baseball player, gives lousy and mindless advice, and, fittingly, cannot kick a football herself.[6]

Lucy's bratty and loud-mouthed attitude frequently annoys all her companions.

Lucy is named after a former neighbor of Charles Schulz in Colorado Springs, Louann van Pelt and modeled after Schulz's first wife, Joyce.[7]

Christopher Caldwell has said about the character: "Lucy is no "fussbudget." She's an American nightmare, a combination of zero brains, infinite appetites and infinite self-esteem, who is (for that reason) able to run roughshod over all her playmates. At her best, she is the most terrifying character in the history of comics."[8]

Psychiatric booth[edit]

Lucy also has a psychiatric booth, parodying the lemonade stand operated by many young children in the United States. Here, she pretends to be a psychiatrist and tells her opinions on problems for five cents (except in the early 1980s when the rising cost of hot chocolate one winter caused Lucy to increase her fee to seven cents[9]) to the other characters in the strip, most frequently an anxious Charlie Brown; this "advice" is always completely useless and nonsensical: once, she told Charlie Brown that being depressed leads to physical illnesses. Lucy asks for "5 cents please" in return for her advice. 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". Another time, on the title panel of a Sunday strip, it showed Lucy chewing gum, and the sign read "The Doctor is Preoccupied."

Baseball[edit]

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!" Once, Charlie Brown berated her for letting fly balls drop, and telling her he would not brook any more excuses such as the grass getting in her eyes; Lucy caught the ball cleanly, and tossed it back to him on the mound silently, after which he admitted he was actually looking forward to her next excuse.

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 outfielder's head and most of the infield, 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!" and walks away happily while Schroeder and Charlie Brown look on.

History[edit]

The third new character in Peanuts after Violet and Schroeder, Lucy made her debut on March 2, 1952. She was originally a goggle-eyed toddler who continually annoys her parents and the older kids, but aged up over the next two years so that by 1954, she was the same age as Charlie Brown (the early strips with toddler-age Lucy were not reprinted until after Charles Schulz’s death). Schulz then altered Lucy's eyes to have the same appearance as that of the other characters, except for small extra lines around them which were also sported by her two siblings.

Lucy wore a blue dress with black-and-white saddle shoes until the 1970s when Schulz began showing the strip's female characters in pants and shirts in order to keep their outfits more contemporary. By the late 1980s, she had switched to this look permanently.

Lucy frequently pulls the football away from Charlie Brown right as he is about to kick it.[10][11][12] The first occasion on which she did this was November 16, 1952 (Violet unintentionally did the same thing a year before because she was afraid Charlie Brown would accidentally kick her), but unlike subsequent stunts, Lucy first pulled the ball away because she did not want Charlie Brown to get it dirty (he took a second try in the same strip, only to trip over it at the end). The football strips became an annual tradition, and Schulz did one every year for the rest of the strip's run. One infamous example of this is the animated special It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, where her actions (she pulled the ball away four times) cost the school football team a win in the Homecoming game, yet Charlie Brown is blamed even though he is clearly not at fault. Charlie Brown did in fact kick the football in the September 12, 1956 strip, but with Schroeder holding the ball.

Lucy is named after a former neighbor of Charles Schulz in Colorado Springs, Louann van Pelt and modeled after Schulz's first wife, Joyce.[7]

Relationships with other characters[edit]

Lucy and Linus[edit]

Lucy is frequently bothered by her younger 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.

She was also notorious for destroying any aspect of Linus's creativity. Whether it be sand castles, which she has destroyed by kicking them over or running them over with her tricycle (once when she did this, he went home and got a pair of pliers and used them to dismantle the tricycle); his house of cards, which she blew over (once when she did this when he was a baby, he picked up the card deck and threw the deck at her after blowing over his house of cards, and laughing about it); a pile of blocks, which she kicked over; or his drawings, which she crumpled up, tore up, and/or threw in the trash burner, she never passed up a chance of stifling his creativity out of sheer meanness or perhaps she thought it was funny.

Whenever Linus offered to help her out on projects, such as making snow bunnies, Lucy outright rejects his help and screams at him to leave her alone and not to bother her. This usually angers Linus to the point where he would build something (a dinosaur or a cannon) which would frighten his bullying sister.

Lucy is known for being incredibly selfish. She won't allow Linus to read any of her comic books, or use her crayons; and would hit or slug him without provocation. She sees no problem in hitting her brother for whatever reason, mainly when he has insulted her; or has called her (or implied that she has) a big mouth.

On some occasions, Lucy attempts to teach Linus various bits of information, typically about plants. This information is usually completely wrong and even preposterous, to the point that it makes an eavesdropping Charlie Brown's stomach hurt. Only once does Lucy go too far: upon telling Linus that leaves, rather than falling from the trees in autumn, "all JUMP off before the SQUIRRELS get 'em!" Linus clutches his hands to his stomach and remarks, "That did it! Move over, Charlie Brown!" while Lucy watches in surprise.

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 would 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 (except her friends of the same gender) is not. 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, erupted quietly 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 "the laughing stock of the neighborhood" 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, outright taking over the TV and ordering Linus to leave, so she can watch her shows, and forcing him to shower her with lavish words of praise before she will 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. (To quote Linus in one of these examples, "She has all the patience of a boiling teakettle", after she screams, "WHERE'S MY ICE CREAM?!") Lucy once bragged that she played Linus "like a pianist plays a concert grand." and that is no idle boast. 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!" Seeing that she was defeated, Lucy eventually let Linus back in, muttering "you can't shovel water with a pitchfork.", this expression has completely no sense or meaning, and not even the slightest bit relevance to the situation.

By contrast, Linus' attempts to stand up to his sister typically result in a verbal or physical beat-down. 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 thankful for, Linus replies, "Well, for one thing, you have a little brother who loves you..." Lucy immediately bursts into tears and hugs Linus, causing him to say, "Every now and then, I say the right thing." Another occasion that showed Lucy's care and concern for her brother Linus occurred in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. When Linus does not return home from the pumpkin patch by 4:00 am, Lucy gets out of bed, puts her coat on, walks out to the pumpkin patch, leads her sleeping brother home, takes his shoes off, and puts him to bed, all quite wordlessly and even angrily walking out of his room once he is asleep. 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."

Lucy and Charlie Brown[edit]

Her treatment of Charlie Brown is just as bad, although she seemed to look up to him, probably because he was older. Aside from her infamous football trick, she gives 5-cent "psychiatric help" 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, but such advice is usually of little practical value.

Lucy came up with odd 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 Brown'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. On several occasions, Lucy tries to teach her theories to Linus, which causes Charlie Brown's stomach to hurt. Linus looks upon Lucy in respectful awe, until she says something truly crazy, to which Linus respond that his stomach hurts too.

Lucy delivers 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 Charlie Brown, such as a strip where he 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.

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 Brown'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 insane and off topic while he is 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 is sometimes a victim of Charlie Brown's wit or sarcasm. In one strip when Charlie Brown is at the psychiatric booth, she tells him that the insecurities people have can lead to colds and other illnesses, to which Charlie Brown responds by sarcastically sneezing loudly, knocking Lucy to the floor. Also, in an early strip, she pestered Charlie Brown for a glass of water and when asking what took so long, he dumped the water over her head. Similar incidents have occurred.

Also while she will point out his shortcomings, unlike the other girls, Violet and Patty in particular, Lucy is sometimes willing to try to help make Charlie Brown a better person by offering advice, whether he wants it or not.

Lucy and Rerun[edit]

By contrast, Lucy's relationship with her youngest brother, Rerun, who entered the strip as a baby in the early 1970s but did not 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 name), 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. (e.g. Charlie Brown tells Linus he should stand up to his sister. He mentions this to Lucy, who gives no reply. He then says, "I have stupid friends.") 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. There is an almost identical strip with Linus where he is building a tower with wooden bricks. Lucy asks him what he would do if she knocked it over. Linus says "Probably nothing at the moment....But years from now when you and your husband want me to co-sign a note so you can buy a new house, I'll refuse!" Lucy walks away, frustrated, and Linus remarks "Younger brothers learn to think fast."

Lucy and Snoopy[edit]

Lucy is terrified of being licked or kissed by Charlie Brown's dog 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. In fact, in a strip from 1994 Schroeder actually kissed Lucy on the cheek for giving him a cupcake for Beethoven's birthday. Her eyes were closed during the kiss because when she opened them, Snoopy was standing where Schroeder was and she assumed Snoopy was the one that kissed her.

Lucy and Schroeder[edit]

Lucy is in love with the toy-piano-playing, Beethoven-obsessed blond boy Schroeder, who constantly rejects her advances. Her love of Schroeder begins in the Peanuts strip from January 27, 1953. When she asks Schroeder what song he is playing, he responds saying the Nutcracker Suite, which Lucy erroneously interprets as "Nutcracker, Sweet". 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 and Schroeder seem to be very good friends when they're little, but Schroeder became cold after Lucy showed her interest. In an early strip, Schroeder told Charlie Brown that Lucy has pretty eyes.

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, but instead more of his wrath. 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 a closet full of extra busts of Beethoven, one of 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.

However, Schroeder is sometimes open with the possibility that he and Lucy might get married someday. For instance, once Lucy told him after they get married, he can do all the cooking, he replied,' What would you do?" She said," I'll fold the napkins."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Choy, Penelope (2005). Basic Grammar and Usage. Thomas Wadsworth. p. 160. ISBN 1-4130-0892-5. 
  2. ^ Umphlett, Wiley Lee (2006). From Television to the Internet: Postmodern Visions of American Media Culture in the Twentieth Century. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 66. ISBN 0-8386-4080-X. 
  3. ^ Mansour, David (2005). From ABBA to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 281. ISBN 0-7407-5118-2. 
  4. ^ "Peanuts cartoon 28 October 1954". Gocomics.com. 28 October 1954. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Peanuts cartoon 07 January 1956". Gocomics.com. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Peanuts cartoon November 11, 2011". Gocomics.com. 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Holiday TV: Mariemont woman inspired Lucy Van Pelt". December 18, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Against Snoopy". StrausMedia. Christopher Caldwell. January 4, 2000. Retrieved December 5, 2014. 
  9. ^ Peanuts December 28, 2014
  10. ^ Inge, M. Thomas (2000). Charles M. Schulz: Conversations. University Press of Mississippi. p. 89. ISBN 1-57806-305-1. 
  11. ^ Grossman, Anna Jane (2007). It's Not Me, It's You: The Ultimate Breakup Book. De Capo Press. p. 101. ISBN 0-7382-1090-0. 
  12. ^ Williams, Jean (2002). A Game for Rough Girls? A History of Women's Football in Britain. Routledge. p. 166. ISBN 0-415-26337-9. 

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