Charlie Brown: Yes. You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time I'm only going to dread one day at a time.
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown is the 30th Peanuts special, originally aired by CBS on January 1, 1986. It later moved to ABC, where it was paired with the 1980 special Shes a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. In 2020, it was acquired by Apple TV+.
Over Christmas break, Charlie Brown is assigned to read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. When Peppermint Patty invites him to a New Years party, he's torn between continuing to struggle with the Doorstopper and attending the party with everyone else. He particularly would like to go with the Little Red-Haired Girl, much to the annoyance and jealousy of Peppermint Patty.
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown contains examples of:
- Achievements in Ignorance: Rerun manages to blow up balloons to be cube-shaped, supposedly because he doesn't know that they're meant to be round.
- Appeal to Worse Problems: When Charlie Brown complains about how hard it is to read War and Peace, Linus replies by talking at length about how difficult it must have been for Tolstoy's wife to copy it seven times by candlelight, finishing with, "And you're telling me you can't even read it once?"
- All Love Is Unrequited: As usual for Peanuts. Charlie Brown fell asleep reading War and Peace, thus missing his opportunity to dance with the Little Red-Haired Girl at midnight. This also left Peppermint Patty without a dance partner. And because Linus danced with the Little Red-Haired Girl instead, Sally didn't get to dance with her "sweet baboo." At least Marcie got to kiss Charlie Brown at the end.
- Artistic License Education: No school would assign a book as long and complex as War and Peace to an eight-year-old, certainly not over winter break.
- Bittersweet Ending: The kids celebrate the new year and Charlie Brown finishes his report though with a bad grade (it's worth it), but he spends so much time reading that he falls asleep before midnight and misses dancing with the Little Red-Haired Girl, who showed up after all, but he does get kissed by Marcie.
- The Ghost: Averted. The Little Red-Haired Girl is shown. She has the same name ("Heather") and appearance that she had in 1977's It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown.
- Help, I'm Stuck!: Charlie Brown's hand gets stuck in the Little Red-Haired Girl's mail slot while delivering Peppermint Patty's party invitation.
- Here We Go Again!: At the end, it turns out that they're reading Crime and Punishment next.
- Hypocrite: Charile Brown's teacher gave him a D minus on his book report for War and Peace because "no 8-year-old could have possibly read the whole thing". This reasoning falls apart for two reasons:
- Last Minute Project: Charlie Brown finished reading War and Peace at 3 AM on the day school resumed. He then wrote his book report, on which he got a D-minus.Charlie Brown: The teacher said it looked like the sort of report that was written after midnight on the last day of Christmas vacation.
Linus: What did you say?
Charlie Brown: What could I say? I congratulated her on her remarkable insight.
- Musical Episode: There are two musical numbers in this one, the first at the dance class, the second at the party.
- New Year Has Come: Obviously. This is a New Years special, as evidenced by the title.
- New Year's Kiss: Shortly after the clock strikes midnight, Marcie gives Charlie Brown a kiss on the cheek.
- New Year's Resolution: See page quote. Also, Charlie Brown earlier told Lucy that he was going to be "strong and firm" in the new year. After she replied that he would always be wishy-washy, he amended it to him being, "wishy one day and washy the next."
- One Steve Limit: A subtle aversion. Peanuts fans will recognize the girl operating the record player during musical chairs as the original Patty. This may be her most prominent appearance in a special featuring Peppermint Patty.
- Recycled Soundtrack: Some source music from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show is used here, not surprising given it debuted two-and-a-half months after the show's second and final season had finished its first run.
- Sadist Teacher: Surely, any teacher who assigns War and Peace to an eight-year-old qualifies. And weirdly, Charlie Brown seems to be the only student who was given this ridiculous assignment.
- Tempting Fate: Charlie Brown worries about getting his hand caught in the Little Red-Haired Girl's mail slot and then someone opening the door on him. Linus tells him that he worries about "the most impossible things." Guess what happens next.
- Terrified of Germs: As always, Lucy is terrified of "dog germs." This time, she thinks she can see them with binoculars of all things.
- With Friends Like These...: Once the Little Red-Haired Girl arrives to the New Years party and Linus invites her inside, rather than trying to find Charlie Brown, who invited her in the first place, Linus dances with her instead before she leaves. Sally snitches on him to Charlie Brown, and Linus looks over her shoulder sheepishly.Linus: Gee, Charlie Brown! I didn't know where you went! ...But, wow! Your friend is sure a good dancer!