Pig Pen is most known for his dirtiness, but true fans know that this Peanuts kid has a heart of gold and a quick wit that make for some funny moments
Pig Pen, and his accompanying cloud of dust, are a beloved part of the Peanuts cast. He is a long-lasting character who has seen ups and downs throughout the strip, due to years long absences. Although many are familiar with Pig Pen’s dirtiness, there are actually several qualities of the character that make him more than just the friend with poor hygiene – from his determination to become class president to his love of mud pies.
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Charlies Schultz himself was not immune to the Pig Pen dislike, feeling stifled by the limits of what he considered a one-note character. At one point Schultz, regretted the character so much that Pig Pen did not appear for eight long years. While Pig Pen may not have been Charlies Schultz’s favorite character, he is one of the most recognizable Peanuts kids, and had some stand-out funny moments over the years.
10 “Pig Pen – Origin Story”
The origins of Pig Pen are explored in this introductory Peanuts strip. When Patty meets Pig Pen for the very first time, she asks the little guy what his name is. He hesitates, noting that he’s usually called mean things, until he finally reveals what most people call him: Pig Pen. No other name has actually ever been given for Pig Pen, first or last, so while this name may not be the sweetest nickname, it’s all audiences have to go off of. In all fairness, Pig Pen shares responsibility in his nickname, taking pride in his filthy, dirty appearance.
9 “Class President”
Most people can agree that politicians are not renowned for their high morality; this Peanuts strip pokes fun at the widespread reputation, using Pig Pen as its politician. Despite a classmate bemoaning Pig Pen as a class president option, because he’s a mess and has no dignity, he ends up winning the election. This was a rare foray into politics for Peanuts, which generally depicted an apolitical worldview. It is understandable given that children, a beagle, and a bird are the main characters of the Peanuts strip, and all these populations are not known for their love of politics by any stretch of the imagination. Well, maybe Snoopy, but being a beagle prevents him from taking part in any sort of democratic process.
8 “Where Did He Go?”
A cloud of dust is one of Pig Pen’s biggest trademarks. He even has an affectionate name for his dust cloud, “the dust of ancient civilizations.” He calls it that because Charlie Brown comforted him once, saying that the dirt on Pig Pen comes from the dust of far away places and times, with all of it settling on him. Many dislike Pig Pen’s lack of hygiene. However, for Peppermint Patty, it’s just another reason to love him. She has a major crush on Pig Pen, and dances with him at a school dance. She is very impressed by Pig Pen cutting a rug. However, he dances up a storm of dust, and eventually disappears into his dirt cloud.
7 “Some Hope For Him After All”
Patty is not always the nicest to Pig Pen, frequently making fun of his dirtiness alongside Violet. As evidenced by this strip, Patty has had enough of Pig Pen’s uncleanliness and is resolved to give him a good scrubbing. To her surprise, she thinks he has already washed up, seeing him clean. The thing is, it’s only half of him that’s clean. Who knows how or why only half of him is clean, and the other half is the same, old dirty Pig Pen everyone has come to know and love. Regardless of how he got that way, it gave Pig Pen a break from Patty’s verbal jabs about his appearance, for once.
6 “Cleanliness Is Next To Impossible”
Pig Pen is known for one defining trait: being filthy. He is so dirty that he is forever marked by dirt smudges and dust clouds. The very few times that Pig Pen is even fractionally clean, he manages to get dirty again in a blink of an eye. It is this predicament that leads to Pig Pen’s response when Charlie Brown suggests the old adage, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” For the perennially grubby character, it is a miraculous feat for him to get clean. Charlie Brown would have better luck getting Snoopy to listen to him than getting Pig Pen to be clean for any longstanding amount of time.
5 “Dust Of Countless Ages”
Charlie Brown may be a stick in the mud, but that doesn’t mean he likes dirt. In fact, he was often seen getting frustrated with Pig Pen for his griminess in the earlier days of Pig Pen. For example, in this strip, Pig Pen’s cruddy appearance has got Charlie Brown at the end of his rope. Luckily, Pig Pen’s delusional ability to think he has the dust of ancient civilizations on him helps to ward off any hurt feelings he would have from such scolding. While this strip showed Charlie at odds with Pig Pen, as the years went on, Charlie became much more tolerant of him. He is one of select few Peanuts characters who accept Pig Pen for who he is, dirt and all, with the pair eventually becoming very good friends.
4 “Nice To Be Free Again”
It isn’t a mystery as to why no one would want to hug the crusty, muddy Pig Pen. Yet, Pig Pen can’t help but want some hugs himself after seeing the adorable Snoopy receive a loving embrace. As a result, Pig Pen is told that if he gets clean he will maybe get a hug. He should have paid attention to the “maybe” part, because the aforementioned hug never came to be even, after the kid scrubbed and scrubbed. One to roll with the punches, Pig Pen accepts this and wasted no time in getting filthy again. Himself again after he has reapplied the dirt and muck back onto him, he feels free once more. Being caked in dirt is not everyone’s idea of freedom, but to each their own.
3 “Even Germs Get Tired”
Pig Pen at times could be known for twisting what people said to fit his own unique point of view. When someone berates him that his lack of hygiene could mean he is spreading germs and sickness to everyone, he puts his own spin on the term “carrying germs.” As in, physically carrying, like someone would carry a bag of groceries or give a piggyback ride. This term causes Pig Pen to see his germ carrier status as admirable. In his mind, he’s helping out all these germs and transporting them where they need to go when they’re tired. It wouldn’t be the first time Pig Pen indulged in some delusions about his dirtiness.
2 “Immaculately Clear Conscience”
Pig Pen may be dirty on the outside, but he is squeaky clean on the inside. According to him, at least. Violet is a frequent bully to Pig Pen, always pointing out his dirt and grime. In this strip, when she lists off his many sullied attributes, Pig Pen points out that one part of him is exceptionally clean, immaculate even: his conscience. It was the perfect response to Violet’s remarks, seeming like the two girls were surprised into silence. Given Pig Pen’s history, he backs up his clean conscience statement with his actions. He always treats others well and is kind to everyone, even if it isn’t reciprocated.
1 “Clean Pig Pen”
A clean Pig Pen is an anomaly. He is almost never clean, instead usually spackled with mud and dirt. The Peanuts children hardly ever see him totally clean. Consequently, the kids don’t even recognize him when he is clean for once, as this strip shows. Charlie Brown is the only one to recognize him, just one of the several reasons that he’s Pig Pen’s best (and probably only) friend. Pig Pen got all clean and dressed up for a birthday party, only to be denied entry because no one could tell it was him. Little did the Peanuts gang know, that they missed out on a momentous occasion; Pig Pen being clean.