A Peanuts Prospectus : Marcie, and the Summer Camp Romance
I think it’s a given that I really have a jones regarding the Peanuts stories that deal with romance, and the oftentimes, impossibility that they’ll end happily.
The 1970’s were largely a time where Charles Schulz began to shift the female focus away from his mainstays like Patty and Violet. In their place, Peppermint Patty and Marcie began to be some of the main female characters, right behind Lucy (who was still in the throes of her psychotic tirades on Charlie Brown depressed psyche).
While some have known about the rather complex love triangle that evolved with Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Charlie Brown (often without him realizing it), Marcie had to fend off some unwanted advances from another boy, in the Summer of 1976.
As Peppermint Patty and Marcie are on their way to camp, Marcie tells Patty that there’s a kid behind her that is calling her names. When the kid keeps pestering her, Marcie hits him with the bus’ First Aid Kit.
One would assume the name-calling would cease, but the kid keeps at it. Each time, Marcie inflicts some form of punishment on him, from pushing him into the nearby lake, and also into a patch of Poison Oak. Luckily, Marcie gets some relief when the kid ends up in the dispensary.
However, once he’s out, the kid goes back to his old ways. One day while waiting in line, Peppermint Patty hears just what the kid has been calling Marcie (see right).
Needless to say, Patty is rather surprised that Marcie assumes this is a negative connotation.
It is during this altercation that we meet the boy, named Floyd. A mop of dark hair alights his head, and he tells how he just wants to get acquainted with Marcie. Patty is almost won over with the kid, until he calls her “Sir,” and Patty gives him a kick.
Patty tries to convince Marcie that Floyd’s calling her “lambcake” wasn’t mean-spirited, but Marcie just keeps assuming he’s being sarcastic (“if someone calls you lambcake, when you know you’re not a lambcake, that’s sarcasm.”).
Eventually, Patty sits down for a one-on-one with Floyd. With a dopey grin, Floyd tells Patty that he thinks he’s in love with Marcie.
“Well Floyd,” cautions Patty. “Love can be very painful.”
“I found that out on the bus when she hit me with the First-Aid Kit,” replies Floyd.
After the discussion with Floyd, Patty tries to get Marcie to soften on her stance. However, Marcie claims that since she’s never had a dog, a cat, a horse, or a hamster, she’s “not ready for a boyfriend.”
This reasoning definitely strikes Patty as odd, and she questions Marcie’s logic.
“Everything in its time, Sir,” replies Marcie, turning in for the night.
Even so, Floyd keeps trying to impress Marcie,but to no avail. He even attempts to get a cozy picture with her, and gets the business end of her fist.
Soon, Floyd has to go home, and asks to write to Marcie. However, as the bus pulls away, he comes to a startling conclusion (see right).
With Floyd now gone, Patty asks Marcie one evening, if being called “lambcake” was so bad.
“What about noodleneck,” asks Patty. “Or cementhead? People call each other lots of strange things without being really serious. You should think about that, Marcie.”
“I will,” replies Marcie. “Good night, noodleneck!”
The theme of summer camp was often a big part of the Peanuts strips during their run. Most of them mainly dealt with Charlie Brown, who often equated going to camp, to “being drafted.”
When Patty and Marcie were added to the strips, they soon after became part of the camp stories. Romance also figured into a few other stories with them as well. One even involved the Little Red-Haired Girl being in their camp, and whom Patty felt inferior to upon seeing how pretty she was.
This story involving Floyd, lasted from July 19,1976, to August 7, 1976. Much like some of the series’ other-character romances, Floyd was never seen again after his one appearance.
The story was also given the honor of being animated in a segment for The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, in 1983. In that episode, Floyd’s appearance was changed as well. His hair was given a reddish hue, and his shirt was striped blue-and-white.
Much of the story was intact, but a few additional bits where Floyd attempted to impress Marcie, were excised for time (the segment was one of 4 that ran in the episode titled, The Lost Ballfield).
The story was one that often stuck in my head, in regards to Floyd. It seemed rare to ever see a male character try to pursue a girl in the series like he did. Most of the time, it was Lucy or Sally who seemed to be as persistent.
I think the story stands out, because I can definitely recall some moments in my youth where I may have (as the phrase goes) “come on too strong” to some people. Floyd definitely has that overly-eager way about him, and it seems some girls aren’t quite into that (well, unless you’re a famous celebrity).