Frieda is a major female character in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. She was the eleventh permanent character to join the Peanuts gang, and was prominently featured in the early years of the strip.
She was a regular in Peanuts throughout the 1960s but, as newer characters were phased in towards the end of the decade, she began appearing less often. She ceased to be a featured character after 1985, making only cameo appearances since then in various television specials. Today she is best remembered as the Peanuts character with naturally curly hair, of which she is extremely proud.
Frieda was first introduced to Charlie Brown by Linus on March 6, 1961. She served as a major part of the comic strip for a brief period of time and appeared in the TV specials. Her first television appearance was in A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965.
Athough blessed with one of the strip's most immediately memorable debuts, Frieda's place as a regular among her neighborhood friends was one of the shortest: a mere 15 years. Her relatively brief tenure was partly due to a one-joke physical characteristic -- her "naturally curly hair".
In her early appearances in the strip, Frieda is presented as a chatter box. She sits behind Linus in class, but due to her constant talking, Linus claimed not to have heard a word that their teacher has said all year.
Frieda is very proud of her "naturally curly hair". She manages to bring up the topic of her hair in every conversation, which is shown to annoy the people around her. This self-love about her hair leads people to believe that she is rather vain. In turn, Frieda believes the other girls are jealous of her hair and becomes disappointed when a girl says otherwise. Frieda also believes people expect more from her because she has naturally curly hair. Nevertheless, enough people in the neighborhood like her that she got thirty valentines one year. She has also admitted that she used to be an avid reader until she started getting too busy.
Frieda Rich, a Minnesota artist whom Schulz knew and the character's namesake, was once asked whether she bore any character resemblances to her cartoon counterpart. She replied, "I recognize myself," adding as an example that while talking to Schulz once about Universalists and Congregationalists, she had jokingly called herself a "conversationalist," and Schulz borrowed that for the strip.
As she always says, Frieda has "naturally curly hair", of which she is extremely proud. In the animated cartoons, her hair is red. She also wears a dress which is colored violet in her animated appearances.
Charlie BrownUnlike Lucy, Patty, and Violet, Frieda is usually a lot nicer to Charlie Brown and seems to be mindful of his feelings. Although she becomes angry with Charlie Brown on a few occasions, she never teases him or puts him down (except for rare moments in the Peanuts television specials). She eventually joins Charlie Brown's baseball team as an outfielder, but refuses to wear a baseball cap because it would hide her naturally curly hair. She seems to be one of the few characters in the neighborhood that Charlie Brown feels confident enough to stand up to. In one strip, Frieda is badgering Snoopy about chasing rabbits and Charlie Brown simply tells her to mind her own business.
Linus was the first character in the comic strip that Frieda met. She is also his classmate and sits behind him in class. From the start of Frieda's appearance in the strip, Linus is seen taking her around the neighborhood and introducing her to the other kids. Not much is shown of their friendship beyond those strips that introduce her, but even early in their relationship, they seemed to look out for each other. In one strip, when Frieda unintentionally hurts Lucy, Linus begs his sister not to slug her. Frieda is one of the few characters who does not see Linus' need for a security blanket as a bad thing, for which he is so grateful that he kisses her hand.
Out of all the characters in the strip, Frieda has the most trouble getting along with Snoopy, to whom she frequently accuses of being "lazy" and "useless." She has strong preconceived notions of what a beagle should be doing with its time; she insists that Snoopy become a working dog and a hunter (especially a hunter of rabbits), instead of spending so much time sleeping on top of his doghouse. She often comes over and tries to goad Snoopy into chasing rabbits with her, either by threat or persuasion. Snoopy is always reluctant to take up Frieda's suggestion. If he does consent to hunt, he will either "sandbag it" and only pretend to look for the rabbits, or if he does find rabbits, he will instead frolic and play with them once he is out of Frieda's sight. In one strip, Frieda reports Snoopy's behavior to the "Head Beagle" in a fit of frustration, which leads to him being found guilty of not meeting his rabbit quota. The other children in the neighborhood get angry at Frieda for turning him in. Frieda even buys a cat (Faron) as a way of motivating Snoopy to get over his laziness.
In the Sunday strip from January 18, 1970, Frieda makes Lucy jealous by leaning on Schroeder's piano. Schroeder seems to dislike her as much as he does Lucy, since she also does not know who Beethoven was (even though Frieda claims that she is hanging around Schroeder because she is a music lover). In the Sunday strip from March 22, 1970, Frieda comments to Lucy that Schroeder is not very friendly. When Frieda is about to kiss Schroeder during his piano playing, she is surprised to find that she has instead kissed Snoopy on the lips. On another occasion, Lucy (with encouragement from Snoopy) actually gets into a physical altercation with Frieda.
Almost as soon as they are introduced, Frieda's relationship with Lucy had gotten off to a rocky start when she brings up the subject of her naturally curly hair. Lucy becomes visibly offended by this, so much that Linus (upon introducing her to Frieda) feels it necessary to beg Lucy not to slug her. Despite Frieda's faux pas, the two girls eventually became friends. When they are playing baseball for Charlie Brown's team, they often spend their time in the outfield chatting instead of paying attention to the game.
Although Frieda was a regular character from 1961 to the late 1960s, her appearances gradually began dwindling. According to Charles Schulz, "I realized that Frieda added relatively little to the strip and had few character traits beyond bragging about her hair and her obsession with getting Snoopy to chase rabbits." Frieda's last speaking role was in the July 26, 1978 strip, although she would sometimes appear as a background character into the 1980s.
Frieda also continued to make appearances in both the animated Peanuts specials and the Saturday morning series The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show - even being mentioned in the lyrics of the latter's theme song. She is also featured as an unseen character in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, being mentioned several times and being yelled to at one point. Also in this show, her characteristic fondness for hunting rabbits is assumed by Sally. In one particular strip from 1994, Patty is seen asking Snoopy to chase rabbits with her, a role that was previously taken up by Frieda. Frieda appeared in 150 strips and appeared for the last time on November 22, 1985.
TV and film appearances
Frieda appeared in several of the animated specials, starting with A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965. She continued to have speaking roles in the specials until she sank into the background.
Her most recent appearance in a television special to date was in Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown in 2011, but it was an extremely brief cameo appearance.
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
- Charlie Brown's All-Stars (1966)
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
- It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown (1969)
- A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969)
- Play It Again, Charlie Brown (1971)
- Snoopy, Come Home (1972)
- Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975)
- It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown (1976)
- Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) [silent]
- Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) (1980) [silent]
- The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show (1983)
- You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1985) [silent]
- Snoopy!!! The Musical (1988) [silent]
- It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown (1996)
- It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992)
- It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown (1997) [silent]
- Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (2011) [silent]
- The Peanuts Movie (2015)
- In the TV special It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown, Frieda is said to be Leland's sister, but this is never mentioned in the strip, and therefore, can not be considered canonical.
- She is one of the many characters to appear in the game Snoopy's Street Fair, in which she owns a "cuddle a cat" booth, which is a reference to her cat, Faron.