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15 Most Popular Peanuts Characters Ranked Worst To Best

More and more, it seems, the entertainment has begun to rely on remakes and reboots to fill their release schedules. Some beloved properties have become the unknowing and unfortunate sires to truly awful reinterpretations, potentially marring their reputations forever. Others have been lucky enough to see their settings and characters cleverly and earnestly reimagined, breathing new life into ailing franchises. Then there's the third category: stories that endure in the hearts of the public, whether they're remade or not. With those franchises, we're on board for the ride, no matter what. Of this third portion, one of the most beloved and most enduring is the "Peanuts," Charles M. Schulz's colorful, lovable band of children, beagles, and mystery birds.

The only problem with the "Peanuts" gang is that some members are more lovable than others. Some of the Shulz toons are charming and imaginative enough to carry their own feature films, but some don't have the charisma to carry a single comic strip. After over 70 years of the "Peanuts" in comics, television, movies, parades, and everywhere else you can possibly pack in a Snoopy, it's time to determine once and for all which toons are the best and which are the worst. Here, with the Great Pumpkin as our witness, we rank all the most popular "Peanuts" characters from worst to best.

15. Charlie Brown

That's right -– Charlie Brown is the worst "Peanuts" character. Despite his name being attached to almost every piece of "Peanuts" media there is, the hapless blockhead is by far the least appealing of the whole crew. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Charlie fails at nearly everything he attempts, and the last thing that would break his losing streak is an honest assessment of merit. He can't kick a football, hit a baseball, or even recognize true love when it's right in front of him. In a ranking of which of the "Peanuts" are the best, like in every other metric, Charlie languishes at the bottom.

To be fair to Charlie, he was never meant to shine on his own. His role has always been the straight man for the oddball antics of his peers. He's a plain, black t-shirt that allows those bright, plaid pants to pop. He's a modest spoonful of sorbet, so the kick from those Tex-Mex meatballs isn't diluted. That said, stories are full of unassuming average Joe's who still manage to bring something to the table. Frodo was able to destroy the One Ring, and even Neville killed a giant snake. Whatever the "Peanuts" giant snake is (probably Thibault), Charlie isn't the kind of guy to take it on. That's why he sits at the bottom of the list.

14. Little Red-Haired Girl

It's reasonable to expect a low ranking for a character who, in most incarnations, doesn't even have a name. Instead, she's known almost exclusively as the Little Red-Haired Girl. Her role in the vast majority of "Peanuts" canon is simple — she's the object of Charlie's affections, and that's it.

In fact, Schulz never even drew her (aside from one silent silhouette) or wrote her any dialogue throughout the entire "Peanuts" comics strip. Despite the comic lasting almost 18,000 installments, long enough to be described by pop culture scholar Robert Thompson as "arguably the longest story told by a single artist in human history" (via The Atlantic), Schulz never gave the Little Red-Haired Girl a personality. She's an unseen, unheard living MacGuffin whose likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears remain largely unknown, and because of that, she's a feminist's nightmare. Perhaps the even greater tragedy is that she's based on a real-life romance of Shulz's, Donna Johnson Wold, who has personality in spades and comes across as a delight in an interview with Vanity Fair. Luckily, the cartoon girl she inspired is finally beginning to speak up.

13. Rerun

Chances are if there is one character on this list that necessitates a Googling to jog your memory, it's Rerun van Pelt. Yes, he does exist, and not only that, he's a member of one of the greatest "Peanuts" dynasties. Rerun is Linus and Lucy's younger brother, and in the context of "Peanuts" lore, that essentially makes him a Targaryen. The problem is that Rerun was such a flat, forgettable character that Shulz eventually started writing him out of the story.

From his first mention on May 23, 1972, all the way until the mid-90s, Rerun looked almost identical to his older brother Linus and never mustered up enough personality to help differentiate the two. In a book of interviews, "Conversations," Shulz himself put it,  "I think he was a mistake when it first began." Though Rerun eventually began starring in "Peanuts" titles himself, the majority of his existence has been spent as a background character, an annoying younger sibling, and worst of all — an afterthought.

12. Lucy

Lucy van Pelt is number one when it comes to several important "Peanuts" lists –- rudest, angriest, loudest, biggest instigator, most tricks played on Charlie, most comfort blankets stolen, and most fights with Snoopy (tied with Woodstock, to be fair). However, those accolades don't make her one of the best "Peanuts." In fact, Lucy is one of the worst.

Shulz is quoted as stating, "Lucy comes from that part of me that's capable of saying mean and sarcastic things, which is not a good trait to have." She is a solid contender for an Oppositional Defiant Disorder diagnosis, which is ironic because she is also a brilliant budding psychiatrist. Lucy is confident, decisive, and fiercely intelligent, but she is also just plain fierce. In the modern era, when parents, teachers, and students are all becoming more aware of bullying and its long-term effects, Lucy's behavior is starting to feel less fun. At least she has good taste in boys.

11. Franklin

More than any other "Peanuts" character, Franklin earns a heap of points and then throws them all away. He's a human rollercoaster that climbs its way towards respect, pauses at the apex for dramatic effect, and then plunges into distastefulness. Franklin is an African American, and his inclusion in the "Peanuts" comic strip way back on July 31, 1968, was daring on Shulz's part. It was even more daring for Harriet Glickman, the African American teacher who convinced Shulz to write him in, as recounted to People. Sadly, once Franklin broke that barrier and made it into the "Peanuts" world, he didn't accomplish much else.

He appeared only rarely, and even then, his bland, one-note characterization made it clear that he was not a true "Peanut" but rather a token. Schulz once explained Franklin's absence in an interview by citing a desire to avoid "race things," but one infamous 1974 comic demonstrated the opposite. Some took the strip to mean that Schulz was willing to talk about race at times, as long as African Americans were the butt of the joke. Happily, the highs and lows of Franklin's history eventually leveled off, and these days he just feels like one of the gang.

10. Sally

Sally Brown is Charlie Brown's sister, and sadly, that's her most famous feature. It's true that she's also known for her unyielding love for her "Sweet Babboo" Linus, but no strong female character should be defined by their relationship to two boys. The good news is that, unlike the Little Red-Haired Girl, Sally has a personality, and unlike Lucy, that personality isn't overtly aggressive. The bad news, though, is that Sally is cute, nice, innocent — and oftentimes boring.

"Peanuts" is never a high-octane thrill ride, focusing instead on slice-of-life stories and relatable daily minutia. However, most of the kids (and all of the animals) have something unique to offer. The gang includes a child prodigy, a human landfill, and a young Jane Lynch, so our cup already runneth over. If a character wants to contribute to this cocktail, they need to introduce some zing, and Sally is relatively zing-less. To her credit, and the reason she's five ranks beyond her brother: Sally is known to flash some big protagonist energy from time to time.

9. Spike

Spike is an important figure in the "Peanuts" mythology. He's one of the only characters to live away from the same middle-American suburb as the others and one of the only characters with a different cultural background.

Unlike the cushy comforts the other toons enjoy, Spike chooses to live like a hermit in the California desert, alone aside from a single cactus friend. He's rail-thin and disheveled. From his initial mention on August 4, 1975, followed by his first appearance in the strip the following week, he's remained a quiet and easygoing presence. In essence, Spike is a wandering, unencumbered vagrant whose life outside of his city visits is unknown. One of the few details of Spike's past that he has shared regards the identity of his former roommates, a pack of wild coyotes.

There's just something fascinating and alien about Spike, a rootless bohemian who breezes in and out of the world of "Peanuts."

8. Woodstock

At the exact middle of the ranking sits Woodstock, and with good reason. That little yellow bird-creature is impossible to rank Woodstock anywhere but the middle because they're a total anomaly in Peanuts lore. Woodstock is an unknown species of bird. They vacillate between best friends and archenemies with Snoopy. Their gender has changed multiple times. They went without a name for the first four years of their existence, until after the 1969 Woodstock Festival took place and inspired Shulz. Previous to receiving their final name, they went by "Bird Hippie," despite no discernible relation to the hippie movement or aesthetic.

The mystery goes even farther, as Shulz claimed it took him 20 years to learn how to draw Woodstock –- his own cartoon. The bird-being is so thoroughly perplexing that its creator took decades to understand it. The inexplicable icing on that cryptic cake? Allegedly, only Snoopy can understand Woodstock's chirps, making Woodstock essentially a smaller, higher-pitched Groot

7. Marcie

Kicking off the top half of the list is Marcie -– best friend to Peppermint Patty and intellectual oddball. Marcie is always characterized as modest and soft-spoken, despite being a star student and, in many ways, lightyears beyond her friends. Her laconic nature makes her a hard nut to crack, but inside is a sweet, gooey center. To both Charlie and to Patty, she's spent decades demonstrating that she is a loyal, supportive, selfless friend.

If Marcie has any flaw at all, it's her frequent habit of inserting malapropisms into her otherwise sophisticated speech. From her grades, cultural references, and general wisdom, it's clear that Marcie is brilliant, and yet she can scarcely go a single strip without misspeaking. Whether it's calling Patty "sir" or believing Linus's Halloween deity is the "Great Grape," Marcie is always belying her intellect with naivety. Though, for a child who has proven herself an adept organ player and fluent French speaker, you have to wonder if Marcie's frequent detachment and enigmatic blundering may be deliberate and part of some larger cerebral game.

6. Schroeder

Schroeder is a rare "Peanuts" character you could drop in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and survive. His success wouldn't come from any alpha mentality or physical prowess –- in fact, he may be the weakest of all the kids. Instead, Schroeder would survive because, unlike his peers, he has a marketable skill.

Though only a child, Schroeder is already a musical prodigy, and he backs up his unnatural amount of natural talent with a strict, almost monomaniacal dedication to practicing his art. While the other kids are out consoling each other for one of their many unrequited loves or failing at every aspect of baseball, Schroeder is home, studying music, performing finger exercises, and practicing his scales. As if he needed any more points: when Schroeder does play baseball as a catcher for Charlie's team, he's one of the only competent athletes on the field.

Charlie is obsessed with the Little Red-Haired Girl, Patty is obsessed with Charlie, and Sally is obsessed with Linus. But Schroeder's one true love is Beethoven, which sets him on a lofty trajectory. When Charlie grows up to be a low-level office drone, Schroeder will be performing Beethoven for royalty.

5. Pig-Pen

Pig-Pen has superpowers. There is no denying it. This ever-filthy kid was one of the first "Peanuts" characters, and in his almost 70-year history, has never gotten clean –- not truly. Though countless comic strips and video adaptations have shown Pig-Pen momentarily dust-free, the filth always returns. It instantaneously, magically returns, even when Pig-Pen is nowhere near any dirt or dust. In one appearance, he instantly re-accumulated his soot cloud after being showered clean –- despite being on a decidedly dirt-less adventure in "The NASA Space Station." Even more, Pig-Pen has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to control and direct the dirt, sending it away from and then calling it back, and even temporarily transferring it to other people and objects.

Pig-Pen also maintains an admirable mentality. He's proud of his grime, superpower or not. He revels in the fact that he is perpetually cloaked in the "dust of countless ages." To give Charlie some much-needed kudos, he also stands in awe of Pig-Pen's powers, once marveling that, "It staggers the imagination! He may be carrying the soil that was trod upon by Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan!"

4. Peppermint Patty

If a couple of the female "Peanuts" kids lost points early on for setting feminism back, it's only because Patty set the bar so high. Since her inclusion in the comic strip in 1966, Patty has been an effortlessly feminist, dimensionalized character. Even in her earliest appearances, Schulz established Patty as the best athlete in town, regardless of gender. Not only that, but she swiftly took over the management of the gang's baseball team. In the 60s, before Title IX made it illegal to discriminate against a person due to gender in educational programs like sports, Patty was a true trailblazer.

To give Charlie, and therefore Shulz, some well-deserved praise, the blockhead himself never cared what Patty's gender was. As long as she could help the baseball team, she was welcome. That passive acceptance led Sports Illustrated to call Patty an inspiration to young female athletes at the time. Patty helped make "Peanuts" a place where being a female athlete was not only acceptable, it wasn't even up for debate. To top it off, Patty was one of the kids that came from the unseen "bad" part of town, though she never let it stop her. Taken together, the facts of Patty's life make her a champion for the underrepresented everywhere.

3. Linus

Many of the best "Peanuts" characters earn their top spots through some form of kindness, intelligence, or skill. Some kids, like Sally and Franklin, are kind, loyal friends. They help maintain balance when tempests like Lucy rage through town. Others, like Schroeder and Marcie, are intelligent and insightful. They're the voice of reason, and they'll likely go far in life. Still others, like Patty, are talented competitors whose practice and ambition make them invaluable additions to any team, sports or otherwise. Then there is Linus, the one kid who is kinder, smarter, and more talented than every other "Peanuts" kid combined.

Linus saves Christmas. He defends a girl with cancer from a bully. He quotes philosophers verbatim. He speaks candidly and defends differences in mental health. Even more impressive than all of that, Linus steadfastly supports Charlie, no matter what. Despite all of Charlie's moaning, crying, fumbling, and failure, Linus has always been a faithful, loyal, trustworthy friend. He admonishes Chuck from time to time, but only when he needs it to evolve as a person. If not for Linus, Charlie would unravel like a ball of yarn in a cat cafe. Given his ability to temper even notorious dynamos Lucy and Snoopy, it's likely the entire group would unravel without Linus.

2. The Great Pumpkin

One of the most impressive achievements of the "Peanuts" franchise is how it created a new folkloric deity and established it in mainstream culture. The Great Pumpkin first appeared in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," the 1966 Halloween special adored by critics and fans alike. Well, perhaps saying it appeared is inaccurate, as the entity is never actually seen by any character. Instead, Linus mistakes a series of objects and other people for the Great Pumpkin, just enough tantalizing hope to keep Linus's belief intact for decade after decade.

Linus likely imagined the Great Pumpkin by conflating similar concepts in modern Halloween and Christmas celebrations, combining elements of Santa Claus, the Headless Horseman, and traditional autumn decorations. The unintentional side-effect of Linus's mixup is that the Great Pumpkin became something bigger than its original medium. "The Simpsons" included it in a "Treehouse of Horror" and "Robot Chicken" gave it a ghoulish send-up, to name a couple.

Thanks to the "Peanuts" legendary status in pop culture, the Great Pumpkin sprouted leafy wings and has now transcended into the general consciousness, making it one of the most enduring symbols of "Peanuts" ever.

1. Snoopy

There was no other way for this list to end. Snoopy is the absolute highlight of the entire "Peanuts" franchise and by far its best character. Beating out even Charlie Brown, Snoopy has become the face of the "Peanuts." He's everywhere, from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and even NASA lunar landers. Snoopy's popularity transcends any of his peers, and with good reason -– he can do anything.

Snoopy is unique in his ability to play any role and play them well. Depending on the story, he can be an emotional protagonist or comic relief. He can play the joker and highlight others as the straight man. He's both a real dog to Charlie and a fantastical action hero to Woodstock. Essentially, Snoopy is both Calvin and Hobbes. He's the one to carry the other characters off on wild adventures but follow along earnestly and contentedly when the others have adventures for him. His derring-do can teach kids about World War One aeronautics, and his simple, canine hunger can teach them about gardening.

When you think about the "Peanuts," you think first about Charlie and Snoopy. Since one is a gloomy dope and the other is a magical, colorful knight errant, the choice is clear. Snoopy is the best "Peanuts" character.