Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Fising in the Discount Bin - Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!

Here we are again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie and blog about it.  You know the drill.  I've been doing this for eight years now!  Anyway, this time out, I'm doing the classic TV special Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!.  This was in my notes at December 7, 2019.

As I've blogged before, I don't think there's any other comic character who's had as successful a second career in animation as Charlie Brown.  A lot of his animated TV specials have become mainstays, and I like this one, one of the lesser-known ones, Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!

I have really strong memories of watching it when I was a kid.  As it premiered in the mid-80s, I have no doubt I probably watched it when it originally aired.  I was delighted when it started making a comeback in recent years...you'll always be able to find it on TV in that dead week between Christmas and New Years.  And capping off the perfection is when I saw that parts of the plot were recycled into The Peanuts Movie.  I'd been wanting to get it on DVD for a while, but finding it took some doin'.  It's only available as a bonus feature on the lesser-known Christmas special I Want A Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown.  I should finally watch that, as I've watched Happy New Year... twice now. 

It's the last day of school before Christmas vacation, and because God hates Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown gets the mother of all homework assignments:  he has to write a book report on War and Peace.  (The in-joke here is that Charles Schultz frequently cited War and Peace as his favourite novel.)  Complicating things, though, is that Peppermint Patty is planning a big New Years Eve blowout, and Charlie Brown and the gang get all swept up in the preparations. 

Of course, Charlie Brown tries to take the easy way out with his book report, heading down to the corner store to see if there's any movie adaptations, comic book adaptations, and (because this was starting to become a thing in the 1980s), a video game adaptation.  He sees no other option but to read the book, and so he begins. 

But there are distractions aplenty.  Peppermint Patty signs up the gang for dance lessons, which leads to this adorable music number, and quite the earworm. 

Because I'm the kind of nerd who looks up this stuff, the singer of that song is named Desiree Goyette.  She was the songwriter, too.  She did a lot of the songs for Peanuts and Garfield TV specials in the 1980s.  Dabbled in some voice acting, too, doing Nermal on Garfield and Friends and Danse -- the choreographer and lead back-up dancer for Jem and the Holograms. 

With all this going on, Charlie Brown works up the nerve to invite his perpetual crush, the Little Red-Haired Girl, to the party.  This leads to an embarrassing situation where he gets his hand stuck in her mail slot. 

But it all leads up the big night.  Charlie Brown decides to put the book down and partake in the fun, but he eventually sneaks away to a quiet corner to try to get more chapters read.  And that's when all hell breaks loose.  The Little Red  Haired Girl does arrive, but Linus forgets the bro code, and spends the whole night dancing with her.  Midnight comes, but Charlie Brown is so engrossed in his book that he doesn't notice.  Peppermint Patty doesn't get to kiss Charlie Brown at midnight, so she's pissed.  And Charlie Brown just gives up.

And then our denouement.  Charlie Brown turns in his book report, and gets a D-.  So as a make up assignment, he has to do a report on Crime and Punishment.  Who the hell assigns these books to elementary kids?

Anyway, I just adore this one.  It's one of the lesser known Peanuts specials, but it's good times, and a good way to ring in the new year.

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