Raise your hand if you’re ready to leave 2020 in the dust.
As has been repeated by me, you, your friends, Netflix and everyone between, this year has been pretty horrible. But we all know that when the clock strikes midnight on Thursday night, the tragedy won’t magically disappear. The pandemic won’t turn into a pumpkin. Vaccines are on the way, but we have a long road ahead.
But there is power in the symbolism of toasting 2020 goodbye. If there weren’t we wouldn’t celebrate the new year at all. My hope is 2021 will bring us all renewed energy in our fight against COVID-19 – the energy to just keep going, continue staying home, wearing masks, keeping our distance and helping one another – until we are able to reach some semblance of normal life in the new year.
A lot of things changed because of the pandemic, but New Year’s Day will bring one thing it always does: Hope.
My best wishes for safe, distanced celebrations this week. Pop some Champagne, throw confetti, bake a ham. You deserve some lightness amid these dark times. And get ready for 2021 to be just a little bit better.
Good things happened in 2020. Really.
As we look back on 2020, there are plenty of tragedies to see. But there are also a few good things. Out of coronavirus came creativity. Out of quarantine came bonus time with family. Out of activism came changes for the better.
This is not meant to minimize the harsh reality of an incredibly difficult year. Many lost loved ones. Many are struggling. Many feel sad, scared, frustrated and broken.
But while this year seemed especially hard, one thing we can try to do is to remember the good. Maybe this list will help. From small acts of kindness to new albums that got us dancing, the USA TODAY Life staff, led by social media editor Amy Haneline, managed to come up with 100 good things that happened in 2020. Here are a few I wanted to highlight for you all.
Vaccines! Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the FDA and are being distributed to the most vulnerable populations.
Dolly Parton. She helped fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine research, gave us a Christmas album and TV special, and saved her young co-star. She is a national treasure.
To infinity and beyond. NASA named its Washington headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, its first Black female engineer.
Oops! Zoom flubs brought comedic relief, like this ABC reporter who forgot to put on pants.
Foliage friends. This opera company performed to a beautiful audience of houseplants and then donated the plants to health care workers.
See the full list of good things here.
Today’s best of the year list: TV
As a TV critic, I can’t let the calendar flip to 2021 without remarking on the wonderful TV of 2020.
My list of the 15 best TV shows of 2020 published yesterday, and I want to share with you because I’m proud of what I’ve written and because I know that so many of you have also found solace and escapism in stories like these.
Here are a few series I felt you would enjoy:
- “The Baby-Sitters Club” (Netflix): The rare kids’ show with just as much to entertain adults as preteens, “Baby-Sitters” was a delightful surprise in a dreary summer. Effortlessly updating the 1990s classic middle-school novels for the modern era, the Netflix series balanced the serious with the silly, with plenty of jokes and a sparkling group of young stars.
- “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+): Apple’s goofy, heartwarming series about an American football coach who heads to London to lead a soccer team is one of the most surprising series of the year. Jason Sudeikis transformed a cringe character created for a commercial into one of the most endearing on TV. There aren’t too many series on TV brave enough to be so unabashedly sentimental.
- “Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV): The sixth and final season of the cult comedy was both a superb ending for the sweet sitcom and simply another season of great television from co-creators Dan and Eugene Levy. In a year with so much tragedy, no series celebrated love, happiness and family more than “Schitt’s.”
Read my full list of 15 shows here.
I refer to all dogs as “buddy,” but here’s a good boy who claims it as his name.
Meet Buddy the Beagle. “He is 10 years old and in his mind can still chase squirrels but his body is slowing down a little,” says human Bart Baker. “His favorite treats are ice cream on cheat days and carrots during the week. He always meets you at the top of the stairs hoping for treats.”