We all know of Charlie Brown, or Peanut’s, a cult classic that has shaped children’s literature for a while now. Charlie Brown is known for it’s lovable characters, american archetypes, and silly situations, and recently, a continuation of the Charlie Brown universe was created, but this play gives us a completely new twist.
Dog Sees God takes the characters and relationships in Charlie Brown and sets them years in the future, when the characters are teenagers. Instead of dealing with their previous innocent problems, the kids have new ones to deal with. Charlie Brown (now CB) is grieving the death of his dog, meanwhile questioning his sexuality and place in society, Sally (CB’s sister) is goth, and throughout the show questions her life’s true philosophy, and Lucy (Van’s sister) has been institutionalized for setting the little red haired girl’s hair on fire. The characters go through life in high school, dealing with others while dealing with their own personal issues and conflicts, and I won’t spoil it but the end brings tragedy and illustrates the unfairness of real life. Dog Sees God is about as far from the sentiment of Peanuts as you can possibly go, but somehow maintains the relationships and archetypes of the characters within their universe.
This play is full of satire. The most obvious would have to be parody, as this play is a direct parody of the original Peanut’s comics. Taking the original characters, this play twists them into extremely realistic adult versions of themselves, playing off of the little quirks the characters originally showed and exaggerating and forming them into phobias, diagnoses, and larger plot points. This play is also full of all types of irony. Verbal irony is used throughout the show in dialogue and interactions, bringing attention to the relationships between the characters and acting as a way to point out the extreme natures and flaws of some of the characters. Situational irony coats the entire show as many of the things the characters do we wouldn’t expect from them, such as PigPen ending up the “bully” of the show or Lucy acting as a psychiatrist for Charlie Brown from the confines of the institution she was placed in.
This is a comedic show (at least for the beginning), but the use of satire especially when in relation to such a classic children’s story brings forward the real problems with the social structures created in a high school environment. The characters from peanuts create a surprisingly good base for the archetypes of modern teenagers, so this parody works very well as a commentary on the toxicity of interpersonal relationships and friendships. The work is funny and comedic in the lines but also manages to bring light to issues like homophobia, sexual abuse, and addiction, especially when it pertains to teenagers. And by the end of the show, illustrates the consequences that can come from these actions when they are let grow and go untreated.