A holiday isn’t complete without watching a classic holiday film. In this case, a good Charlie Brown special always seems to suffice when I need one more pick-me-up before the holidays are over.
In Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (1986), the film is reliant on the same themes as any other Peanuts special. We see Charlie Brown struggle with some serious time management issues, and the typical antics of his friends getting in the way of his plans.
Peppermint Patty invites Charlie Brown to her New Year’s Eve party because, well, she’s Peppermint Patty. We’re not sure what she may be infatuated with: Charlie Brown’s spineless dispositions or with his lack of attention to social manners. As an audience though, we’ll take it.
There’s only room for lots of one-way love. Charlie Brown’s little sister, who is in love with Linus, will stop at nothing to get a dance from Linus at the party. Between little jumps in the air, she proclaims, “I just know my sweet babboo will ask me.”
“I am not your sweet babboo!” Linus retorts, “And I wouldn’t invite you to a chicken race!” Comedy gold, if you ask me.
On top of all this, Charlie Brown is assigned a book reading during the winter break. He has to finish the entirety of War and Peace, a book that seems too vast in vocabulary for a kid of his maturity. You can’t blame him for sulking—and at least procrastination isn’t on his list of things to do this winter break. Charlie Brown, who usually lives up to the name “block-head”—seems decently prepared this time.
Charlie Brown even makes it so that he arrives at Peppermint Patty’s party with the book in hand. Peppermint Patty, the face of candidness, hits him on the arm and insists that homework doesn’t seem to get in the way of his feelings for her.
Since his intimate emotions for her are non-existent, he has to let her down easy, for which she replies: “Chuck! You drive me crazy!” The ultimate backlash from a woman scorned.
Although it’s Christmas time for the majority of the film’s timeframe, we skip right over it and land on New Year’s at the end. Maybe because what this film is really about is the theme of starting a new year. A new year means new parties, new books, and new ways to solve our problems.
Charlie Brown lives in a world that seems to work against him. In reality though, from the outside, it doesn’t always look like the favours are turned against him. Maybe he’s the symbol of the everyman—a kid who’s aware of his misfortunes. If you can identify your weaknesses, then you’re halfway to solving them.