Tonight, ABC aired the classic animated Peanuts special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and while many fans tuned in for the warmth of nostalgia to kick off their holiday season, many came away with a less than fuzzy feeling when it came to how one specific character was treated.
The special centers around a somewhat impromptu holiday meal that happens when Peppermint Patty invites herself and several others over to Charlie Brown and Sally’s house for Thanksgiving despite the fact that they’re preparing to go to their grandmother’s for the feast. After a little help from Linus, who convinces Charlie they can have two Thanksgivings, as well as Woodstock and Snoopy who do the cooking, a friends’ Thanksgiving is on.
The meal — buttered toast, pretzel sticks, popcorn, jelly beans, and an ice cream sundae — is served at a table in the backyard, and while all’s well that ends well with everyone ending up invited to Charlie and Sally’s grandmother’s meal, it’s the seating arrangements at this unusual dinner that has some fans on social media heated. Franklin, the one and only black friend in the group, is seated by himself on one side of the table while the other is crowded with the rest of the friends. On top of that, he’s sitting in a lawn chair as opposed to everyone else’s proper furniture.
It’s… not a good look, which viewers were quick to point out. Many felt the scene was in bad taste at a minimum and racist at worse, with most settling into the idea that the special simply hasn’t aged well. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving first aired on November 20, 1973 on CBS where it aired every year until 2000. In 2001, it moved to ABC with the rest of the Peanuts specials and has continued to air annually.