There aren’t as many good New Year specials as there are Christmas specials, for obvious reasons: New Year just doesn’t have the same depth or meaning as Christmas. Still, there’ve been a few, and two of them particularly come to mind.
The first is Happy New Year from Phineas and Ferb: the first episode of the fourth and final season. This shows the PnF characters all celebrating New Years Eve in their particular way: Phineas and Ferb decide to make a giant New Years ball to drop from space while hosting a party inside, Candace has made a resolution to stop trying to bust her brothers and decides she has time for one more desperate attempt before midnight, and Doctor Doofenshmirtz intends to change everyone’s resolutions to ‘Obey Doofenshmirtz.’ All typical Phineas and Ferb zaniness.
But, also typical of Phineas and Ferb is that there is a lot of heart to it. In particular, we get to see Candace trying to move on and mature, while maybe being not quite ready. She’s excited to be at her first ‘adult’ party – so excited that she and Stacy are giggling like schoolgirls – but not really prepared to let her old obsessions go, showcasing the tension between good resolutions and the lure of the familiar. Her story here ends on an ambiguous, but comforting note. Likewise, Doofenshmirtz’s plan goes down in probably the funniest way possible, but concludes with him shrugging it off and enjoying the night with Perry.
Of course, it’s very funny, creative, and features a really great song that is absolutely perfect for New Year.
Then there’s New Years Retribution from Sonic Boom. I’ve talked about this show a few times before, and it’s definitely in the ‘guilty pleasure’ category. I can’t really argue that it’s good, but it has a definite charm to it that makes it, for me at least, more enjoyable than some objectively better shows.
Anyway, the story of this one is it’s New Years and Dr. Eggman is in a funk because he failed to keep his resolution to beat Sonic at least once. He then gets the idea to create a machine that slows down time to give himself one more chance to finally best the hedgehog at something: anything.
This is definitely one of the better episodes. The humor is on (Eggman regarding a slow-cook roast: “It too is just a sad, yet succulent reminder of how quickly everything else in life moves”), and the story is really quite solid. Eggman’s the villain, but we still feel for the guy as he desperately tries to find something, anything that he actually can win at. His and Sonic’s interactions here are surprisingly charming: they’re less like mortal enemies and more like coworkers who don’t like each other, but can still sympathize with one another. It all comes together in the ending, which features a really sweet moment of shared humanity (for lack of a better word).
Two very different shows, but both get me into the New Year spirit.