STORY: The year is 1620. The Peanuts kids join the Pilgrims aboard the merchant ship "Mayflower" as it travels from Plymouth, England to the (possibly) glorious New World. Miserable conditions--ranging from nausea to death--make the two months spent crossing the unforgiving ocean neigh intolerable. Over 100 dreamers are smashed up against one another like sardines--and smell nearly as mephitic. No shuffleboard, no Hungry Hungry Hippos...only visions of what await them in their new home keep the passengers from losing their sanity.
Once aground, the struggle continues. A group of musket-toting Pilgrims (and Snoopy) attempt to approach a group of Natives huddled 'round a campfire, who run off upon catching sight of their would-be friends. "They must be afraid," one portly Pilgrim proclaims. "Quickly, we must chase after them!" On such brilliance, began America.
Eventually, the Pilgrims find suitable land to begin building homes, while widespread ill-health and the encroaching winter bear down. Enter Samoset and Squanto, two Natives with friendly hearts and able bodies. Calling upon the generosity of their people, they help the new arrivals establish a comfortable, prosperous settlement. Their teamwork culminates with the first-ever "Thanksgiving," wherein much food is prepared, and much food is eaten. 7
MUSIC: General seafaring string and reed arrangements courtesy of Ed Bogas. Unimaginative but unobtrusive. 7
ANIMATION: The team certainly went all-out to make the 17th-century pop off the screen. The men tend to be generously mustachioed, and the women are often abundantly bosomed. The only flaw (potentially, depending upon your taste) are the "dickle" noses sported by many of the characters. (You know...can't decide whether it looks more like a dick or a pickle, so you just split the difference.) 8.5
VOICES: Erin Chase is a dependable 8 in the role of Charlie Brown, while Brandon Stewart's Linus is likewise. Jason Mendelson's Peppermint Patty is in the same boat as well (quite literally).
Erica Gayle is outstanding (8.5) as Lucy, who, going by her facial expressions throughout, is never not smelling shit. Tani Powers fails to impress as Marcie (6), sounding as spineless as Frieda's cat.
Going outside the usual suspects--Frank Welker makes for a respectfully-voiced Squanto (8) and Gregg Berger handles double duty admirably (8), as both military advisor Myles Standish and the kindly Samoset.
(WHITE) WISHY WASHY OL' CHARLIE BROWN
--The traditional story of the first Thanksgiving as told to American children has one notable problem: it's kinda bullshit. Which makes this well-presented special a lie. Rather than rail against the national school system, or the producers of This Is America, I'd rather urge people to do their research. Put the shoe up to your ear. And never, ever feel guilty about scarfing down pumpkin pie.
A VERY VEGAN THANKSGIVING
You can tell Captain Jones is the leader because his attire inspires others. Also because he remains seated while dudes with weapons stand, faces frozen in menacing countenances.
The Mayflower Voyagers is the only segment of This Is America, Charlie Brown still aired on national television, as it makes a tidy pair every November with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. If you can ignore the historical inaccuracy and get a chuckle out of dickle noses, a decent watch awaits.