Wednesday, September 29, 2010
One thing Schulz does, it seems to me, in the early days is repeat information unnecessarily. Schroeder's words in the last two panels are practically the same.
Here at Roasted Peanuts, we don't rest until we've dissected and bean-plated* each strip until all humor has been annihilated.
So, is there a way to have written this strip that could eliminate duplicating most of the text in the third panel? The obvious change, I suppose, would be to change Schroeder's words in either the third or last panel to something like "That's ridiculous!" Since the comedic point of the strip is Schroeder's lack of realization that (to spoil the joke completely) his playing Beethoven on his toy piano is just as ludicrous, it doesn't seem to me like anything is lost through this change.
This isn't meant to denigrate Charles Schulz's abilities as a writer. He was still developing at this point, but the comic itself is great. The fact that it does leave unstated the disconnect between Schroeder's statement and his actions, refusing to point to it outright and trusting the reader to make the observation himself, is a sign that he's already an excellent gag man. Most other comics would explicitly state the point of the joke and wreck the comedy almost as badly as I have, here, in explaining it.
* HI IM ON ROASTED PEANUTS AND I CAN OVERTHINK A PLATE OF BEANS