You're a good man, Charlie Brown - with a dark side. While many people have nostalgic memories of Peanuts, and still love the popular TV specials and films, the franchise created by Charles M. Schulz may not be as family-friendly or innocent as it seems. Some fans have come up with some truly dark theories about the cartoon group of kids. Charlie Brown, Linus, Sally, Lucy, even Snoopy - fans have studied them all and delved into their potentially darker inner lives.
All these Peanuts fan theories make too much sense when you consider the melancholy and depression that pops up in series; in particular, anything related to the beleaguered Charlie Brown. You probably never suspected, however, that so many dark elements might be at play in the character's lives. The Peanuts gang could probably build up a pretty hefty mental health bill, even at just 5 cents per session.
Linus is the only Peanuts kid who genuinely believes in the Great Pumpkin. He waits in the pumpkin patch every Halloween for the Great Pumpkin, even though the mythical figure never appears. Redditor u/gandolffood suggests Linus is so dedicated to this apparently imaginary figure because of its association with his father.
Linus's parents are never seen and rarely heard in the comic strips or films, but according to this theory, Mr. van Pelt passed when Linus was a toddler. Just before this, the family goes trick-or-treating, and Linus's dad, too tired to keep up with Lucy, sits down to rest in a pumpkin patch. He holds Linus on his lap, covering him with a blanket, and tells the story about the Great Pumpkin.
Mr. van Pelt passes later that night, and Linus returns to commemorate his dad each year - or waits for him to return. And of course, he can't be separated from that blanket.
Redditor u/CultHero666 contends the Peanuts characters are patients at a 1950s psychiatric hospital. According to the theory, Charlie Brown is a veteran who has PTSD. He's regressed to a childlike state and perceives the other patients as children in his fantasy world. Most of the other characters are affected in some way too, the theory says.
Lucy, for example, reportedly has an antisocial personality disorder, so she likes to manipulate those around her. Linus is delusional, which explains his wild fantasies about the Great Pumpkin. Sally is preoccupied with Linus. Peppermint Patty and Marcie are lesbians forced into treatment by their families (homosexuality was often treated as an illness in the 1950s).
Schroeder is autistic, a brilliant pianist but uncomfortable with or uninterested in being around other people. Pig-Pen, unable to take care of or clean himself, is a ward of the state. Snoopy and Woodstock represent aspects of Charlie Brown's childhood personality - or maybe they're just therapy animals.
Members of the hospital staff are the adults in Charlie Brown's life, but we never see or hear them properly because Charlie Brown doesn't want to acknowledge their existence.
According to a theory from writer Jim C. Hines, Snoopy is not merely Charlie Brown's innocent yet mischievous dog. Instead, he's a Time Lord from the Doctor Who universe. Evidence to support this idea is related to Snoopy's doghouse. The structure looks tiny but is far bigger on the inside - a trait shared with the Doctor's time machine, the TARDIS. And the doghouse can fly, just like the Time Lord's vehicle.
Plus, Snoopy sometimes wears a bow tie, and he has several alter egos, similar to the Doctor.
Charlie Brown is clearly unlucky - in love, in friendship, in football. Misfortune seems to follow him around, which could explain his dour demeanor and depression. It's possible he is unable to get out of his own way or do anything properly, but Redditor u/WeGottaGoFast1138 argues the protagonist must be cursed.
A deep, malevolent force affects everything Charlie Brown does, so nothing ever goes right for him.