For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to visit the Buckeye State and pay homage to The Rude Boys. The Cleveland-based quartet consisted of Larry Marcus, Melvin Sephus, Edward Lee “Buddy” Banks, and Joe Little III. Initially breaking onto the scene in 1990 with the hits “Written All Over Your Face” and “Are You Lonely For Me” from their debut, they wasted no time returning to the studio.
A beloved background character takes center stage in Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin
Apple TV+ keeps Charles Schultz’s legacy alive in the latest special, Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin. Raymond S. Persi directed the film, and the script was written by Robb Armstrong, Bryan Schultz, Craig Schultz, and Cornelius Uliano. An origin story of Peanuts’ most beloved characters, the film follows a boy named Franklin and his approach to making new friends.
With his dad’s military job, Franklin’s family is always on the move, and Franklin finds support wherever he goes, from a notebook containing his grandfather’s friendship advice. However, Franklin struggles to fit in with the Peanuts gang when he uses his usual strategies and experiences unexpected blunders that put him at odds with everyone. His life is turned upside down when he learns about the neighborhood soap box derby.
In the opinion of Franklin’s grandfather, everyone loves a winner! He’s confident that winning the race will also lead to new friendships. He only needs a partner, which Charlie Brown provides. While building a car, Franklin and Charlie Brown become good friends. With the race drawing near, the pressure mounts – will their newfound friendship and car survive?
Every Thanksgiving holiday, a photo of the Peanuts gang circulates online. The image depicts Franklin, the only African-American character in the comic strip, sitting alone on one side while the other characters sit together on the opposite side. Some people interpreted this as a sign of segregation, indicating that the other characters did not want to sit next to Franklin. However, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Darin Bell has suggested that Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, meant for Franklin to be included and seen in the comic strip.
Initially, when the special was announced, I thought the hook might be Franklin discovering Black History Month and his roots. While the writers don’t take this route, the angle they use is a relatable one. The story’s heart lies in Franklin’s journey of self-discovery and adaptation. As he grapples with feelings of alienation and loneliness, he draws strength from the lessons from his grandfather’s journal. Using this approach, the creative team makes the film relatable for anyone who has ever been the new face in school or at a job.
In addition to its poignant storytelling, Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin is brought to life by stunning animation that pays homage to the classic Peanuts style while infusing it with modern flair. The visuals are vibrant and expressive, perfectly complementing the emotional depth of the narrative.
Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin is a delightful and uplifting film that continues the legacy of the Peanuts franchise while offering a fresh perspective on the universal experiences of transition and adaptation. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Charlie Brown or new to the world of Peanuts, this charming tale will warm your heart and leave you with a renewed appreciation for the enduring power of friendship.
Final Grade: A
Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin arrives on Apple TV+ on February 16th.
More reviews to explorer
Valentine’s Day 2024 may have come and gone, but I still plan to use highlight songs with the V-word for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. The artist I chose is a southern gentleman by the name of Lloyd. Initially breaking onto the scene as a member of the preteen-boy band N-Toon, Lloyd’s solo career kicked off in 2004 with the hit “Southside.”
As we continue to celebrate the month of love, I chose “Valentine by Ryan Leslie as the second song with the word valentine for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. Leslie broke into the music industry in 2003, writing hits for Beyoncé and New Edition. Leslie released the singles “The Way That U Move Girl” and “Used 2 Be” featuring Fabolous. However, his debut album was never officially released due to creative differences with his record label. In late 2007, Leslie finally broke through with the bop “Diamond Girl,” and his self-titled album would finally hit record stores on February 10, 2009. Leslie also succeeded with the follow-up singles “Addiction” and “How It Was Supposed to Be.” Surprisingly, though, Leslie didn’t drop “Valentine” as the fourth single, which would have timed perfectly with the album release date.