Apple’s Welcome Home Franklin is a Sweet Introduction to Franklin Armstrong!

One of the magical things to come out of Apple’s subscription service is all of the new Peanuts specials that have debuted on Apple TV+.  They are all-around fantastic and comforting animated shows that depict the Peanuts gang in different and amusing situations.  Each character in Peanuts is unique and this especially applies to Franklin, the first Black Peanuts character introduced in 1968. A new special on Franklin arrives on Apple TV on February 16 titled Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin

Welcome Home Franklin Apple Franklin is shown as smiling at Peanuts character Linus who holds his blue blanket

Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin is the origin story of Franklin Armstrong, the African American little boy in the Peanuts series.  Franklin is portrayed as the son of a member of the military, moving from town to town due to his father’s service.  Franklin gets his confidence in making new friends from a notebook his grandfather gave him that gives him tips on how to make friends. 

Franklin is encouraged by this notebook to start conversations by telling a joke or showing interest in his potential friend’s interests.  He makes it to the sleepy suburban town where Charlie Brown and his friends live, but Franklin is stumped.  Several of the children are odd and he doesn’t have much in common with them and frankly, the town feels a bit bland.  When a huge popular Soap Box Derby race gets announced, Franklin teams up with Charlie Brown who seems to be an outsider also, to create a soapbox go-cart that will win.

Franklin and Charlie Brown get to work on creating their go-cart while getting to know each other.  Franklin patiently explains to Charlie Brown what the Negro Baseball League is when baseball-loving Charlie Brown admits that he has never heard of it.  Franklin introduces Charlie Brown to jazz legends like Coltrane and the two dance and shimmy to the music whenever it comes on in between building their go-cart.

Welcome Home Franklin Apple Franklin and Charlie Brown are showin racing their soap box go-cart

In return, Charlie Brown becomes a loyal friend to Franklin and is much nicer than the annoying Lucy or the overly sensitive Linus.  Franklin’s interests also hint that this Peanuts special is set in the 1960’s which is when the comic was first introduced.  The suburb is depicted as a place with picket white fences and safe enough for the children to exist while the annoying parents with their classic garbled words are always on the periphery of the action. 

I like that even though Franklin finds characters like Linus and Pigpen strange, it’s never presented as mean or mocking confusion.  Franklin seems to quickly accept that these characters are a tad bit different just like him.  This special also provides a bit of drama and when Franklin and Charlie get to know each other, their friendship is put to the test when Franklin pushes Charlie Brown to go faster in their cart, but the worried Charlie Brown argues that there’s a such thing as too fast.

It’s important to note that the infamous table scene in the Peanuts Thanksgiving special is acknowledged.  Franklin sits across from the rest of the gang by himself but he is warmly embraced by the gang and encouraged to join them in a celebration after the conclusion of the Soap Box Derby race.  

Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin fits perfectly in with the wholesome kid’s movie and show content on Apple TV+. With some soothing jazz, and the warmth of a new friendship, Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin is a surprisingly sweet and emotional journey for those who have always enjoyed the series. 

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