I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown is the forty-third Peanuts TV special. It first aired on ABC on December 9, 2003. The main character in the special is Rerun van Pelt. Like all specials that were produced after the death of Charles M. Schulz, the plot is a combination of various stories that had previously appeared in the strip.
At the start of the special, the audience is introduced to Rerun and sees some of the difficulties that he faces in his everyday life: riding on the back of his mother's bicycle, coping with his crabby sister Lucy, being embarrassed by his blanket-toting brother Linus and getting accused of harassment when he asks the Little Pigtailed Girl from his kindergarten class to come to Paris with him.
Rerun wishes that he had a dog but his mother refuses to get one. Not having a dog of his own, he asks Charlie Brown several times if he can play with Snoopy. At first, Snoopy agrees and the small boy and the dog play happily together. However, Snoopy seems to tire of Rerun's games and suddenly stops seeing the boy. Rerun asks Charlie Brown if Snoopy has any brothers or sisters. He is told about Belle, Marbles, Olaf, Andy , and Spike. Rerun thinks that Spike might make a good pet. Snoopy writes to Spike and asks him to visit. Spike agrees and makes the long trip from his home outside his farm, carrying his jar with him.
When Spike arrives, Lucy is shocked to see how skinny he is. She takes him in to nurse him back to health. However, after the dog recovers, Rerun's mother will not allow him to stay in their house any longer. Charlie Brown tries to find a new home for him but none of the other children are willing to take him in. Spike has no choice but to return to his home in the desert.
Rerun is saddened to see Spike go. To cheer him up, Lucy enters Rerun in the annual school Christmas pageant. While Rerun has only one line to recite, he nervously forgets it just moments before he is supposed to deliver it. After whispering his problem to Lucy, she tells him that he had better remember it, or she will slug him back at home. Rerun suddenly remembers the line and delivers it in time. After Lucy wishes him "Merry Christmas," Rerun thanks her, then faints.
Rerun asks Charlie Brown if Snoopy will pull him on his sled. When the dog eventually agrees to come out and play, Rerun finds himself pulling Snoopy on the sled instead. He finally decides that dogs are too much trouble after all.
At the end of the special Charlie Brown "breaks the fourth wall" by saying, "Sometimes I ask myself, 'When will it all end?' and then a voice comes to me that says, 'Right after the credits.'"
- Jimmy Bennett – Rerun van Pelt
- Ashley Rose – Lucy van Pelt
- Corey Padnos – Linus van Pelt
- Adam Taylor Gordon – Charlie Brown
- Hannah Leigh – Sally Brown
- Nick Price – Schroeder
- Jake Miner – "Pig-Pen"/Franklin/Shermy
- Kaitlyn Maggio – The Little Pigtailed Girl/Violet/Girl with a red coat
- Bill Melendez – Snoopy/Spike/Woodstock
- This is the fourth Christmas-themed TV special.
- This is Rerun's fourth television appearance.
- This is the seventh time Charlie Brown says, "Why can't I have a normal dog like everybody else?" in a TV special.
- This is the second TV special in which Rerun is seen riding his mother's bicycle, the first one being It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown.
- Several scenes of Rerun playing with Spike are based on comic strips in which Rerun's interactions were actually with Snoopy.
- Several quotations said by Rerun while riding on his mother's bicycle are recycled from the "Snoopy: Team Manager" segment "Rerun".
- In the original comic strip of the Christmas play, in the end, Linus is the one who keeps whispering to Lucy, not Rerun.
- This special is the second time Snoopy's brothers Marbles, Spike, and Andy appear in a Peanuts special, the first being 1991's Snoopy's Reunion. His sister Belle is also mentioned but not seen.
- The scene in which Lucy fattens up Spike was previously used in the "Snoopy's Brother Spike" episode of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.
- This is the last Peanuts special to be released on VHS and DVD by Paramount.
- The telescript for this special was transcribed from Schulz's other strips.
- When Linus says big sisters are "the crabgrass on the lawn of life", it was originally Snoopy's opinion of cats in the comic strips.
- The music for Christmas Time Is Here from A Charlie Brown Christmas can be heard in the special.
- When Rerun and the pigtailed girl are talking about their trip to Paris, a girl in the background is putting bricks in a box that is only partially full. In the next shot, it is full all the way to the top.
- Rerun draws a football stadium with 60,000 fans in it. Then he turns the paper over to draw a better face. When he says, "I'm just drawing your ear", the football stadium that he drew cannot be seen.
- The size of Rerun's head changes constantly throughout the special.
- In one shot of Rerun and Charlie Brown talking to each other, Rerun is almost the same height as Charlie Brown.
- Schroeder says that Beethoven never owned dogs, but he actually owned five dogs.
- Rerun states that he had been given 50 cents from the girl when they were talking about their trip to Paris, but when he attempts to buy Snoopy from Charlie Brown, he claims that he doesn't know anything about money.
- I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown on the Christmas Specials Wiki.
- I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown on the Internet Movie Database.
- I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown on the Big Cartoon Database.
- I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown on AllMovie.