As we look back on the most iconic moments of 2020, we took it upon ourselves to write one last article before we never speak of this year ever (EVER!) again.
2020: though it still wasn’t able to capture the epic high’s and lows of high school football (sorry, Archie), it certainly had a unique range of super-highs, super-lows, and super-what-the-absolute-fuck-am-I-looking-at-right-now-s. This year, many at Bwog decided to indulge themselves into the depths of the brain-rotting World Wide Web, coming to the conclusion that the relationship between being able to see friends and spending time scrolling through the Internet is perfectly indirect. In short, after staying inside for nine months, we all spent an obscene amount of time on the Internet. It’s getting to be concerning.
On the bright side: a couple of us have decided to give you, the reader, one last gift for the year. What started out as a way to procrastinate writing essays and studying for finals became this wonderful recap before you. Yes, we have decided to rank (and describe) the best 100 pop culture moments of 2020.
So, without further ado:
Bwog’s Official Top 100 Iconic Pop Culture Moments of 2020
100. Sir Ian McKellen gets the Pfizer vaccine — YOU SHALL NOT PASS… COVID-19 to Ian McKellen! One of 2020’s very, very few bright spots was seeing Gandalf himself getting protected against COVID-19. We were blessed enough to get photographic documentation of this historic event, and everything about it was fantastic. The scarf. The thumbs up. I did not predict how much this would do for my mental health, but I have been noticeably happier since. Here’s hoping the rest of us mere mortals will get to join the vaccination club sooner rather than later.
99. Michael B. Jordan is crowned People’s Sexiest Man Alive — People had seriously eroded my trust in the institution of the SMA after fucking Blake Shelton got it that one year, so I was worried about 2020. After all, everything else this year had gone pear-shaped. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised at this year’s recipient of our nation’s highest honor. Michael B. Jordan’s got everything: class, sass, and yes, ass. It’s been a long time coming, but better late than never, right? Now do Dev Patel, cowards.
98. Nikkie Tutorials comes out as trans — In what was probably the last good news of 2020, Nikkie Tutorials came out as trans! In a short video titled simply “I’m Coming Out”, Nikkie laid out the facts, plain and simple. The reason for her coming out was less-than-great: apparently someone blackmailed her and threatened to out her to the public. But the reception was overwhelmingly positive—showing how far we’ve truly come in terms of trans rights, Nikkie didn’t lose millions of followers, gossip channels were largely respectful, and all-in-all everyone was pretty cool about it.
97. The Rockefeller Christmas Tree went through it — In a way, this small moment became the icing on the cake for all of us entering the final month of 2020. At our homes, firmly planted in the ground, we seemed fine and, dare I say, alright. But THEN, once you take away that natural barrier and put us on display in the city again, after 9 whole months of mental, emotional, and physical gymnastics, we begin to fall apart, looking like we’re holding on by three twigs and a heavy-duty forklift. It was almost poetic how perfect this tree—a highly anticipated, gargantuan Norway spruce—modeled our journey through this pandemic, fallen bits and all. Oh, and it’s also ugly. Like, the best word to describe this tree is “balding evergreen.”
96. KJ Apa joined TikTok, did a lil’ dance number, got bullied off the platform, then pretended that wasn’t him — First, it’s time to face the facts: TikTok user “fifisqueen” is, in fact, Riverdale star, KJ Apa. On July 6, Archie Andrews creates a new TikTok account, wears blue shorts (and nothing else), and belly dances at 2x speed, all while looking like he was stranded on a desert island for four years after his one-man canoe crashed into a rock. He makes uncomfortable eye contact with the camera, committing Matthew-Morrison level crimes against humanity in the process. In a few words, this man was spiraling, which…who can blame him? However, he had so much fun with this one TikTok, that he posted another one on his Instagram story with the caption, “I’m addicted to it!” Unfortunately, no one else was, and TikTok had a field day ripping his comments section and artistic project into pieces. And that was that! “fifisqueen” was almost immediately abandoned, and even though every post is still there, the account was left untouched by Apa. But it’s still not over: his episode then gets funnier after the fact that he kept denying he was the broken man belly dancing terribly for the views.
95. “Larry, I’m on Ducktales.” — Some people are just living in completely different worlds. Community alum and Ducktales star Danny Pudi gave an interview with Larry King, who asked him what luxury he can’t live without. However, “coffee” and “good socks” were inadequate for King, who insisted those weren’t luxurious enough. Defeated, Pudi punted the question back to King and was met with “a private plane.” Pause. Does he really think- “Larry, I’m on Ducktales.” Disney might be taking over the world at an alarming rate, but we can be pretty sure that they don’t pay their actors enough to fly private.
94. 100 gecs brings 3OH!3 back from the dead — Just when we thought the aesthetic of obnoxious-core was over, 100 gecs and 3OH!3 roped us back into the belly of the beast, gifting us with “LONELY MACHINES” as the first song of a new era for the early 2000s rock band. It’s been awhile since anyone heard from 3OH!3 (four years, to be exact), but now after their collaboration with 100 gecs, they got updated Spotify profiles, a Christmas song, and an active Twitter account. All in all, exciting stuff for this band, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’ll happen next! Now, bring back Cobra Starship, Laura Les and Dylan Brady.
93. A girl secretly made fun of her 90 year old husband on Twitter — There’s gold digging, and then there’s this. Twitter user @BeansHype (account now deactivated) worked at a senior living center where she met Lee Hopkins, a very old widower who she started a relationship with, and later ended up marrying in October. Coincidentally, she then became the only person set up to get his inheritance. This would have been a lot on its own, but over the course of their relationship she frequently took to Twitter to mock his declining health, replying to other peoples’ thirst traps with things like “so when i’m widowed do u want me” and responding to a joke about Hopkins finding out with “whats he gonna do? forget?” She deactivated her Twitter the day after their marriage announcement, so we’re not sure where she is now, but I’m not sure if I even want to know.
92. Big, ugly TikTok baby is big and ugly — Yes, it’s a baby that went viral on TikTok simply because it’s gargantuan. That’s it. It was 58 inches tall in that TikTok, it’s hairless, and it grins into the camera like Chucky. As you can imagine, I hate looking at it, I hate talking about it, and as a relatively small person with the capability of birthing children, all I see is pain. The mom and dad are also of Amazonian height, so hopefully it wasn’t that painful welcoming this raw empanada into the world. However, the mom did ask all of us to stop being mean to her ugly baby on the Internet, so maybe I’ll take some notes. Maybe.
91. “Cumminggate” — Dominic Cummings, the British Prime Minister’s most senior adviser, traveled around Britain for his wife’s birthday and personal vacations the entire spring of the COVID pandemic, coincidentally when the PM was on his deathbed from COVID. He was then called to resign from his top position because…well, he broke the law, but he did find support from many cabinet members, including ol’ Boris Johnson himself. Furthermore, this event gets really funny because the BBC kept calling this messy ordeal “Cumminggate” with straight faces the entire time it was unfolding, and I have the humor of a 12 year-old sometimes. Nothing really happened with this guy (he apparently didn’t back down from his non-Parliament position), but many conservative members of Parliament did resign in protest, just to show Britain that maybe the guy who looks like and is named after jizz isn’t the person to listen to when it comes to following the law.
90. Happiest Season and all the discourse — It’s not queer culture if there aren’t twenty thousand Twitter takes about it. 2020 saw the first mainstream lesbian Christmas rom-com, and pretty much immediately after it started streaming, my timeline was FULL of people saying Abby should have run away with Riley. There were also more intellectual discussions about where mainstream queer representation is heading, whether we need to push for more radical storytelling, and when we’re going to move past every queer story being a coming out story á la Love, Simon. But at the end of the day the movie was fine and Clea DuVall got a pretty big check, so all’s well that ends well.
89. The “Cremated” eyeshadow palette and photoshoot — What do a perpetually-canceled beauty YouTuber, an average-quality eyeshadow palette, and a hot pink hearse all have in common? Poor taste! Yes, Jeffree Star decided that May of 2020—I repeat, May of 2020—was the perfect time to announce and release his brand new eyeshadow palette titled “Cremated.” If that theme was already a bold statement, make sure to check out the “Cremated” photoshoot, where Jeffree Star is striking a pose in front of and inside a hot pink hearse. At this point, Star doesn’t even try to care what’s going on in the world lately because in the spirit of Ms. Vanessa Anne-Hudgens, Jeffree Star didn’t care that your grandma died from a deadly pandemic. Funnily enough, though, two good things came out of this poor choice of makeup theme: first, the product was subpar, and second, we got a second “apology” (but not really, of course) video from Jeffree. Now, speaking of Jeffree…
88. Jeffree Star apologizes for being racist? Without apologizing for being racist? — Alright, reality check: we cancel Jeffree Star every two years, but that makeup titan keeps coming back with a new average-quality palette a lot of people want to buy for some reason. This year, in light of the whole Shane Dawson/Tati Westbrook/James Charles epic, Jeffree Star was roped back into the eye of the hurricane of “Dramageddon.” However, because all this beauty community stuff is happening at the same time as the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests, seasoned veterans in the ‘cancel Jeffree Star movement’ decided to dig up every instance Jeffree Star was racist, and boy, were there a lot. From saying the n-word, to making derogatory jokes, to drawing and posting swastikas and making Nazism a makeup thing in 2004, Star has cemented himself (again) as a terrible person. In order to save face and catch the same getaway train Shane Dawson jumped on (and then fell off miserably), Jeffree Star uploads “Doing What’s Right” on July 18th, donning a fluffy, pink Star-branded bathrobe all while sitting on a gaudy yet luxurious-looking gold couch. Points were certainly made, even if they weren’t the ones the viewers were looking for. In this section of the apology video, he drones on and on at how much everyone loves to gossip and throw gas into the drama fire, but not once does he mention that he fully accused James Charles of being a predator in 2019 and put up multiple red flags when he tweeted (out of nowhere) that he has secret information on everybody. He sidesteps all the allegations of blatant racism and misogyny, and basically says “Someone has to do something about our police brutality problem!” instead of, “Sorry I am a flaming racist; I will take accountability now.” So yeah, if you were looking for an apology, you didn’t get one. But if you were looking for high performance art, heavy implications that Jeffree Star is Big Brother, and zero fucks given about anything, it’s the video for you.
87. r/relationship_advice reveals how wild other people’s private lives are — Reddit can be a cesspool. But sometimes it gives us beautiful things, like possibly Grimes ranting about Elon Musk being a shitty boyfriend on a huge public forum in this now-deleted post? It’s not clear if it was actually Grimes, but enough people thought so, and regardless, r/relationship_advice has become a fascinating window into strangers’ interpersonal lives. Where else can you read about people’s gripes with their boyfriends, mother-in-laws, and anime body pillows?
86. Sia decides to make a movie, making other terrible decisions in the process — A short summary: 44 year-old Australian singer decides that making a Christmas EP wasn’t the weirdest thing on her resumé and decides to make a movie titled Music. Well, this movie’s got everything: Leslie Odom Jr., original songs by Sia, dancing, reformed drug dealers, and Maddie Ziegler (the Dance Moms girl and longtime muse) playing the protagonist… who also happens to be autistic. Naturally, that ‘artistic’ decision received a lot of backlash, especially from autistic actors who are often at a disadvantage in the Hollywood industry for getting roles against neurotypicals. Sia, in light of all these critiques of her movie, decides to respond in an interesting way, to say the least. To one austic actor pointing out the problem with not hiring autistic people for autistic roles, she replies in a tweet, “Maybe you’re just a bad actor.” To the general public, she decides to go feral and tweet, “Grrrrrrrrrr. F–kity f–k why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY.” So yes, choices were made in the making of Music, and I guess we’ll have to wait until its release to see how much more of a trainwreck it could become!
85. Christie Smythe’s Hail Mary to get Martin Shkreli back on the phone — A last-minute entry to be sure, but I cannot stop thinking about the Elle article heard ‘round the world. The whole situation is absolutely WILD. Journalist Christie Smythe actually had the balls to sit down and talk to a reporter about her questionable journalistic ethics in falling in love with and defending her source Martin Shkreli while writing articles about his trial, having their first kiss in a prison that smelled like chicken wings, and finally getting ghosted by him when he learned she was being profiled. Yes, Martin Shkreli. The guy who went to prison for fraud, the guy guilty of price gouging fucking HIV medicine, the guy who joined Columbia Buy/Sell Memes to make sexist jokes about Barnard students. No accounting for taste I guess. Of course the “knife-twist” at the end of the article is that the entire reason she’s talking to a reporter is that “she wants Shkreli, and hopes putting their love on the record might at last give her some power in the relationship.” Then in his statement it looks like he basically broke up with her through a spokesperson!?! But once you get over all that, more questions come to mind about the reporting itself. Some noted the obvious issues of sourcing unreliable narrators, and others are also pointing out that Jane Malcolm would absolutely have some things to say about this entire situation. Personally, I would love to ask the Elle editors why the people apparently really needed to know this. But their gamble clearly paid off because now I do know about it, I’ve read all the updates, and I don’t think I’ll ever sleep again. She froze her eggs for Martin Shkreli!
84. Harper’s BAZAAR’s “Food Diaries” series on YouTube gets WEIRD — Celebrities…they’re just like us! Or not, according to this YouTube series. Here’s the premise: Harper’s BAZAAR invites celebrities to sit in a white room and describe what they would eat on a typical day, giving us details on their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now, you’d think this would be the driest web series ever to exist, especially since it’s just asking celebrities to talk about being a normal person. However, that’s absolutely not what we got. Instead, this year we got unhinged eating habits like Tyra Banks dramatically reenacting how she scoops out her bagel dough and semi-melts cream cheese in the microwave for her bready moat every morning, Grimes drowning couscous and vegetables in vegan mayonnaise and sriracha (the iconic “Sludge”), and Kylie Jenner becoming the advocate for drinking two jars of bone broth all day everyday (with lemon and lavender for extra flavor, of course). This web series left us with no words or appetite, but at least we got some baffling new evidence that celebrities are most likely aliens with colons beyond repair.
83. Grimes legally changes her name from “Claire” to “C” — This has been such a year for Grimes! First, Miss Anthropocene gets released and becomes one of the best albums of the year. Second, she gives birth to an alien baby; third, she stars in and writes the soundtrack for the most-anticipated video game of the year, Cyberpunk 2077. And now, she gets a legal name change! There’s nothing that remarkable about this moment except for the fact that her name is now a substitute for 3×108 m/s (the speed of light, for the non-STEM people). However, it’s funny because what else would you expect from super pop star, Grimes?
82. Shane Dawson “quits” the beauty community despite not even being in it — “Attention seeking, game playing, egocentric, narcissistic, vengeful, two-faced, ticking time bombs.” Is this talking about me? Not this time! This excellent string of adjectives was written by none other than Shane Dawson after the Tati Westbrook drama resurfaced and accused him and Jeffree of being the Team Rocket of YouTube. In a Notes App “apology” of some sorts (it was so out-of-pocket, that I don’t even know if it’s considered anything), Dawson feels obliged to share his “final thoughts on the beauty world,” tweeting that he will no longer be involved with the beauty side of YouTube. The catch: he was never in the beauty community in the first place. Sure, he made a couple shitty documentaries about Jeffree Star, and he did collaborate on the “Conspiracy” eyeshadow palette, but that’s like…it. His makeup skills were terrible, and he never did anything beauty-related for his channel (his face painting days, along with his career, have been left to the racist sands of time). Thank you for that, Shane; “welcome to the circus” indeed.
81. Jojo Siwa is cool again — With the most unexpected cultural comeback of the year, Nickelodeon poster child Jojo has rebranded herself as cool and relatable. Without the glitter and the bright colors, it turns out she’s just a normal (perhaps slightly hyper) person, and TikTok is really into it. Seeing Jojo lacking her signature bow, with no makeup, and wearing non-neon clothes was definitely a shock at first, but she seems pretty self aware of her reputation as a teenage toddler and even makes videos joking about it. Maybe she’s just an unproblematic queen; you go Jojo!
80. SM6 exists — “Don’t flinch challenge go!” Is there really anything else to say? SM6 is proof that the internet is truly a random place, and anyone can go viral for anything – six homeschooled kids standing in front of a honking truck was definitely not what I would expect to blow up, but boy did it. This group united 12-16 year old girls across TikTok as they collectively decided to pine over Adam, the second to oldest boy in the group. Convinced that he was being held hostage (or something?) in the family, the hashtag #saveAdam got incredibly popular, and so did the whole family. Oh, and they also make music! Check out their terrible cover of “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish, or their original “Oddity” about being an…oddity. Fun fact: the SM in SM6 stands for Summer Monkeys. For some reason.
79. Someone gave Trisha Paytas a TikTok — As you would expect, results were uh, not great. @trishlikefish88 gave us a lot to work with in 2020, and I’m still not sure how this one is gonna end, but the highlight reel so far: danced in an “Egyptian” costume to the song “King Tut” with the now-iconic caption, “Will prob delete. Prob offensive,” and caught a lot of heat for it; converted to Judaism, in a borderline Antisemitic way (which sounds weird to say but uh, just watch the TikToks). The whole converting thing is wack for many reasons but mostly wack because she seems like she actually committed to the bit and is showing no signs of going back ; voted in the election, but admitted that she is only voting for TikTok views; and had beef with every celebrity imaginable including…
78. Trisha Paytas has beef with the D’Amelio’s over snails — The entire D’Amelio family, looking to expand their video dynasty, launched a YouTube channel, where they posted a video of Charli and Dixie trying “weird” food, namely escargot. To be fair, gagging at food your private chef makes you in your mansion is probably not the relatable content the D’Amelios thought they were making, but that’s almost beside the point. Trisha decided the world needed her perspective on the matter, and basically posted a long rant calling the sisters out for being “entitled”. Seemingly all of TikTok immediately turned on Trisha and ran to Charli’s defense. James Charles (who also can’t seem to stay out of drama) stepped in and called Trisha out for being a 30 year old woman bullying teenagers. Dixie did the renegade to a Trisha song where Trisha says the n-word, which is, in my opinion, a clapback for the ages. Not sure who won this round, but Trisha’s PR person definitely does not get paid enough.
77. Fall Out Boy knows who 100 gecs is, and they make a great song together — What do four 40-something year-olds in a band that was at the center of early 2000s alternative rock and an emerging hyperpop band of two young adults have in common? Why, the “hand crushed by a mallet” remix, of course! This song brought a pop punk spin on the original 100 gecs song that came out in 2019, reminiscing on the good ol’ days of heavy guitars, loud drums, fast-paced rhythms, and the soulful, powerful voice of Patrick Stump. As a fan of Fall Out Boy back in the day (ok…still a fan, but not as intense as I was in 2015), it was certainly jarring to see their feature in a 100 gecs song, mostly because I had no idea anyone above the age of 25 knows who or what 100 gecs is. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the remix was, requiring several listens on the day it came out on my end, as well as a motivation to dust off the Fall Out Boy discography and revisit the most important band of my middle school days. Way to keep it real, Pete Wentz!
76. TIME Magazine announces Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as “People of the Year” instead of essential workers — Now, I get it; we’re all pretty stoked that America didn’t spiral into 1930s Italy with the re-election of Donito Trussolini. But, if you think about it, did the old, white guy from Scranton and the cop really do anything except promise to not be a crazy fascist? Especially in a year in which doctors, nurses, first responders, etc. have been overworking in hospitals for the majority of the year in order to mitigate the pandemic no one at Capitol Hill bothered to care about? I guess when you think about it, old people saying “I see you; I hear you,” could be more important than the person hooking you up to life support, at least according to TIME.
75. Elon Musk is ready to colonize Mars, even if his rockets aren’t — Elon Musk, to put it simply, is a really weird dude. This is a man who sold “s3xy” booty shorts for $69.42 and $250 tequila in the span of a summer, all after publicly endorsing Kanye West for President in exchange for new business ventures suggested by Mr. West himself. And yes, while these happened this year, these three stunts were only the introduction to the crowning jewel of Musk Moments: getting his precious rocket blown up on live television (the baby name was more of a Grimes moment). Now, I am first thankful that this was an experimental rocket, and that no one got hurt in the explosion. However, this moment made me burst into laughter as soon as I saw it, specifically because I had just finished reading the last Tweet he just published seconds before the launch, reading, “Mars here we come!!!” He was so ready for this rocket prototype to work so that he could get to colonizing and living out his fake Star Trek (more like USS Callister, if you know what I mean) pipe dream, and it just…didn’t work out! This man gives himself so many L’s all the time; it gives me second-hand embarrassment. He did just become the second-richest man in the world, though, so… great for him, I guess.
74. John Mulaney gets investigated by the secret service after hosting SNL — John Mulaney hosted SNL twice this year, and both were momentous occasions (of course)—the first being February 29th, a leap year, and the second being Halloween. Now in the former show, Mulaney naturally cracked a joke about leap years in which the story of Julius Caesar correcting a calendar was told. I think we all know the other story of Julius Caesar. Alongside outraged conservative journalism sources (which, as he says in the Kimmel interview, seemed to appear out of nowhere) that came after the man was the Secret Service, who now have a file open on him. Mulaney didn’t explicitly state that he thinks senators should stab Trump to death, but he was right in saying it would be interesting. (Note: Mulaney has been cleared by the Secret Service.)
73. Rudy Giuliani’s year culminates in COVID-19 — Rudy’s been a busy bee. From getting caught in the act by Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat 2, to having a literal meltdown in a press conference to passing gas in court hearings, the man does not know when to stop. Maybe catching COVID-19 (how did he last this long?) will at least keep him from making the news for a few weeks. But despite all the buffoonery and all the gaffes, it’s important to remember that what he’s been doing behind all that is actually quite concerning if you care about the rule of law. I genuinely do hope he gets better because you can’t do all of this embarrassing, dangerous shit and then get to dip at the end. Rudy should have to live with his democracy-undermining cringe moments like the rest of us.
72. Celebrity Collab Part 2., Black Lives Matter Edition — After this happened, I never wanted to hear the word “enough” ever again. Like, ever. Similar to the Gal Gadot “Imagine” video, celebrities were at it again, this time thinking that they could end racism with some fake tears, a black-and-white VSCO filter, and intense music. Oh, and by staring into the camera and saying “Enough!” in the most stern way possible. And like one would expect, absolutely no one found this stunt useful to the Black Lives Matter movement at all. Now, I’d get all, “Why weren’t they at the frontlines? Why aren’t they donating to BLM charities? Why aren’t they doing anything?”, but that’s a monologue for another time, and I just want to make fun of this event for what it was. All this video symbolized in the grand scheme of things was that celebrities will never be “just like us”, and most of them can’t be bothered to care about real issues affecting the everyday American. Anyway, this was a “Death to celebrity culture” moment for the history books, kids.
71. The Zodiac Killer’s 340 Code Was Finally Cracked — Ted Cruz, spell “paradise” right now. Jokes aside, after decades of trying, codebreakers finally figured out what the fuck this serial killer was writing down in his longest cipher. However, if I’m allowed to be honest, it was kind of anticlimactic. He spent all that time making up a fake language, leaving notes in the most melodramatic way, avoided capture, and THAT is what he had to say? His message, with glaring spelling mistakes, made absolutely no sense, and now I’m going to have to spend the next several decades trying to figure out what the fuck “I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradice all the sooner. Because I now have enough slaves to work for me where everyone else has nothing when they reach paradice so they are afraid of death. I am not afraid because I know that my new life will be an easy one in paradice death,” means.
70. Stephanie Meyer rewrites Twilight in Edward’s point of view, jumpstarting the Twilight Renaissance — When I think of things I needed in 2020, Midnight Sun certainly was not on the list. Sure, Meyer gave us every single thought that popped into broody, sparkly, vampiric, Spanish flu-victim Edward Cullen’s head, but did we really need to know? Like actually? Anyway, it was not the book that I want to talk about (I’ve never touched a Twilight anything in my life), but rather the onslaught of complete enthusiasm for the bizarre movie adaptations. In a span of a few months, my Twitter feed was spammed with funny lines, awkward screencaps of Robert Pattinson, and “Hey look, Bella! A worm on a stick!”, just to name a few. 2020 got people thinking about Twilight again, from its killer soundtrack, to its bold acting decisions, to the infamous baseball scene that is better than anything in the 4-hour window in The Irishman. In short, a revisit to this popular yet polarizing franchise from the early 2000s gave everyone a newfound appreciation for the weirdness of the Twilight experience, as well as an unspoken acknowledgment that Robert Pattinson is the ‘White Man of the Year.’
69. Mr. Peanut dies, and Baby Peanut is born – In January, Planters, to hype people up for their Superbowl commercial, decides to air a commercial in which Mr. Peanut, the logo of the company since 1906, accidentally drives his car (“the Nutmobile”) off a cliff and falls to his death onto the exploding car in front of two other characters. After this commercial aired, the company tried to convince the audience that the Superbowl commercial would be centered around a funeral for Mr. Peanut, which would have been extremely morbid if you really think about it. Then, in the actual Superbowl commercial, out of the ashes pops out a tiny, baby Mr. Peanut, attempting to symbolize a rebranding of the company. The Twitter account was overtaken by this lil’ guy, and everything is written in-character, including responses to other Twitter users’ replies. Was this sudden creation of Mr. Peanut lore created to compete with The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda? Was Baby Peanut an attempt to outstage Baby Groot? Who knows! In retrospect, this whole ordeal was just a symbol of corporations just trying to get people to empathize with characters that had no intention of ever having a personality/lore. Like, no one cared about a dumb peanut, Planters; you didn’t have to commit so much to the bit.
68. Davinky!? – Two twins, one trivia quiz, what could go wrong? I can’t quite tell if these two goobers are actual people or some cooked up simulation that blended MMA fighters with Scrat from Ice Age. Regardless, they gave us a pretty long-living meme for a good chunk of summer quarantine, and really, what more could you ask for?
67. Schitt’s Creek sweeps the comedy Emmys – Look, I’m happy for them! I personally think Insecure should have been nominated and should have won for best directing, but Schitt’s Creek has been one of the only things getting me through quarantine. It was lovely to see Catherine O’Hara finally get the win she’s deserved since the show’s inception, and Annie Murphy’s portrayal of Alexis Rose has been one of my favorite comedy performances I’ve ever seen. The flex of the cast and crew getting to celebrate together because Canada stung a little bit, but I felt their joy from across the border. Yay, David!
66. @ArmasUpdates Twitter account gets into a fight with Ana de Armas – 2020 was a tough year; not only because of everything bad, but because of the fact that most of us were asked to carry on with our daily lives—with some minor changes—more or less as normal. Essential workers masked up for work while those who could work or study from home adapted to virtual meetings and attempted to stay focused. However, there was one hero who showed every pound of 2020’s weight on his face in some truly iconic photos: Ben Affleck. However, it wasn’t always COVID-compliance and rainbows for Affleck and Ana De Armas, his girlfriend and the breakout star of 2019’s “Knives Out.” Several times early on in the pandemic, Benana (as they are known as a couple) were photographed without masks, leading one prominent stan Twitter account, @ArmasUpdates, to adopt a more confrontational tone in its captions of paparazzi photos. The last straw seemed to be when ArmasUpdates captioned a benign photoset with “Ana de Armas & Ben Affleck walk their dogs outside instead of praying for the pandemic to go away on Easter Sunday. (April 12, 2020).” The account’s next tweet: “BREAKING: Golden Globe nominee and movie star Ana de Armas has recently blocked us!” Despite pleas from stans across the Twittersphere for @ArmasUpdates to abandon de Armas and stan another celebrity, @ArmasUpdates eventually redoubled its commitment to de Armas but promised to be less snarky in the future. Affleck, meanwhile, continues to outwardly express what so many of us are feeling. One simply must stan Benana.
65. Travis Scott Burger – McDonald’s employees had to deal with teenagers pulling up to the drive-thru blaring Sicko Mode and saying “you know why I’m here” for too long. I’m pretty sure the meal is just a Quarter Pounder with bacon, fries, and a Sprite (Straight up!) Nonetheless, the burger ended up in short supply in locations across the country. There was even a bunch of Cactus Jack x McDonald’s merch up for bidding on StockX. It’s lit!
64. We all unanimously agree Chris Pratt is the worst Chris, and every Marvel man gets mad – This all started when a random Twitter user posted four images of different Chrises (Pratt, Evans, Pine, and Hemsworth) asking their followers to decide in the replies which one of them was the worst. Obviously, everyone picked the right-wing, radical Christian as the objective least favorite, making it almost laughable at how inferior Chris Pratt is compared to his other Chris counterparts–especially Evans–who have been known in Hollywood to be genuinely good people. This completely not serious post gained a lot of backlash, though, specifically from other actors from Marvel movies who have worked with Chris Pratt before. This was…certainly a battle to pick, even though it definitely wasn’t the correct one. People like Robert Downey Jr. got especially offended at the Battle of the Chrises, denouncing Twitter accounts for not recognizing how “good” Chris Pratt is. All I have to say is: give it a rest, buddy. Chris Pratt is still the worst Chris.
63. Shrek is a culturally significant movie now – We cultured people already knew this masterpiece was high art before 2020, but now the Library of Congress handpicked this specific movie to be one of 25 films inducted to the National Film Registry, which is a pretty big deal. To get an idea, Shrek now has the same amount of cultural and artistic prestige as classics such as Purple Rain, Brokeback Mountain, Titanic, Jurassic Park, The Breakfast Club, Funny Girl, The Shawshank Redemption, and others. Did we, generation Z, have a direct role in putting Shrek in the cinematic hall of fame after making meme after meme of this one cartoon character? Possibly—but one cannot doubt that funny jokes, a transcendental soundtrack, and some of the most memorable characters also contributed to the well-deserved recognition and esteem Shrek now has. So now whenever a film bro tries to woo you with trivia about Pulp Fiction, your critical analysis of Shrek will be just as, if not more, intellectually based.
62. The fly on Mike Pence’s head – SNL kind of killed the joke, but like ZDI Twitter, everyone had a collective field day when, during the Vice-Presidential Debate, a housefly landed on Mike Pence’s head and just… stayed there. Did he not notice? Did no one want to tell him? The Biden campaign seized the merchandising opportunity with “truth over flies” fly swatters, which of course sold out immediately.
61. Harry Styles’ Vogue cover and ensuing “discussions” of masculinity in crisis — I genuinely do think we’re long overdue for a cultural reckoning with what we want masculinity to mean. I think it’s about time we take a thoughtful, critical look at what about the institution of masculinity works and what we want to leave behind. This… was not it. Harry Styles became the first man on the cover of Vogue this year, and the Official Bwog Position is that he looked great and good for him. Some of right-wing Twitter disagreed, somewhat performatively claiming that Rome was about to fall again because Harry Styles wore a dress. Did that many people actually think this? Probably not, but if right-wing Twitter knows how to do anything, it’s going viral for a few wackjobs getting dunked on over things that just aren’t that important in the long run, like a Vogue cover. Eventually, as always, people just moved on, leaving genuine and less genuine discussions of masculinity for another day.
60. Rudy Gobert “proves” COVID-19 doesn’t exist…and then gives everyone COVID-19 – Back in March when all this was just a two-week lockdown, this member of the Utah Jazz went viral after he made a huge gesture of how little he cared about the COVID-19 pandemic and all the new regulations by touching every microphone at the press conference. However, his righteousness didn’t last long after Gobert and other teammates tested positive for COVID-19, demonstrating that yes, even superstar athletes can get sick from a highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease. This is also a “yikes” moment simply because Gobert was out for approximately a month, even coming back months later to tell the press that he has lingering respiratory and cardiac complications.
59. Adele is Jamaican now — Adele came back into the scene, but not with new music. On one hand, she had recently revealed her journey in weight loss, and by the looks of it, she seems very happy with her new self, and I’m happy for her! However, this does not excuse the “tribute” to Jamaica Adele decided to post on Instagram while dressing up for Notting Hill Carnival. Donning a bikini with the Jamaican flag, a neck piece (collar?) with bright, yellow feathers, and the bold choice of blonde Bantu knots, Adele was severely criticized for blatant cultural appropriation. Of course, she replied with the excuse of a ‘celebration of Caribbean culture’ and ‘a call for interracial tolerance’ (per the purpose of the Notting Hill Carnival), but girl. We know what we saw: Cynthia from Rugrats pretending foggy London is a Jamaican resort.
58. Ratatouille TikTok musical — “Reeeemy, the Ratatouille, the rat of all my dreeeeeams.” It started as a joke, but suddenly all of TikTok was creating a fake musical based on the movie Ratatouille. People were choreographing, writing scores, acting out dialogues. It got pretty intense. And then Broadway, like the actual real Broadway, picked it up. Get your tickets, because this professionally-produced (?) TikTok musical is gonna be out in January.
57. Animal Crossing takes over the world in the first few months of quarantine – POV: you’re quarantined with nothing to do, but Nintendo has just released the next Animal Crossing game. Soon enough, you’re begging for bells and repaying your debt to the Pacino-esque Tom Nook. Tom Nook owns your firstborn now. You don’t know how to tell your wife. You’ve ruined this family. With everyone shut inside, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was inescapable in the early months of quarantine as players fled to a much rosier digital reality. Twitter was full of jokes about getting the good villagers, Elijah Wood visited some islands, and we all pretended 2020 wasn’t happening. Nintendo had the perfect storm for such a smash hit, and it’ll be a long time before we see something on this level of cultural ubiquity again. Hopefully.
56. Tati Westbrook drags old James Charles drama back out – First off: girl why? We all thought we were done with this, why must we keep bringing it up? There’s not enough time or space here to lay out the events of the 2019 Tati/James drama, suffices to say that the two have a spat about hair vitamins that almost ends both of their careers. Cut to a year later, Tati releases a 40-minute YouTube video titled “Breaking My Silence…” detailing how she was actually manipulated by Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star to do what she did. With a lot of veiled threats and references to lawsuits, along with a lot of crying, the whole video is frankly bizarre. I guess it kind of cleared her name? She’s back to reviewing makeup now, as God intended.
55. Barack Obama on the “ethereal bisexual” he tried to woo in college – A lot of CC boys probably felt a little too seen reading about Obama’s attempts to look worldly and educated to impress girls in his book A Promised Land. At the same time, ethereal bisexuals everywhere had a grand old time changing their Twitter bios in celebration of one of the weirder things Obama has ever put on paper. I haven’t read the book, but from what I’ve heard, he kind of starts to… drone on after a while.
54. The Zoom Dick Incident and the ensuing Twitter jokes – Okay, the actual incident was pretty bad. I don’t know WHAT Jeffrey Toobin was thinking. It was a serious breach of workplace ethics, and it was really gross. But the jokes were so, so, so good, probably because everyone was shocked it took this long for someone to get busted for masturbating over Zoom. I’ve missed ZDI Twitter since. I happened to subscribe to the New Yorker the day it happened because I somehow forgot, but I’m glad they fired him. Also, I really want to know who leaked to Vice.
53. Everyone remembers how good Avatar: The Last Airbender is – Netflix carries so much cultural influence that it can bring a decade-and-a-half-old TV show back into the limelight simply by making it available to stream. Old fans fell back in love with the world of Avatar while new watchers finally got to see that flying bison everyone makes stickers of. But above all else, the storytelling skill of Avatar still holds up. Zuko’s redemption arc remains the definitive example of such a storyline, Aang’s resolve to choose peace rings just as true today as it did fifteen years ago, and Katara still ranks as one of the most complexly and carefully portrayed female characters in modern media as she struggles with wanting revenge for all her trauma while having to take care of her family practically all by herself. Seeing a bunch of young people navigating a fundamentally broken world felt a little too true to life, but Avatar: The Last Airbender was essential watching this year, and its influence shows no signs of waning.
52. Claudia Conway becomes a Tik Tok icon – The 15-year-old daughter of senior counselor Kellyanne Conway begging for emancipation on TikTok was not something I thought I was going to write down in some kind of statement. Back in the heat of the pandemic and the beginning of the BLM protests, Claudia Conway (a loud 15-year-old who looks older than I do) becomes viral on TikTok for calling out her mom and the Trump administration for being heartless people who care more about themselves than the American people. She makes several points that she’s a hardcore Leftist and disagrees with everything her mother preaches on the news, and she was so loud, her mother deleted her TikToks (plural, because Claudia kept making new accounts after the previous ones got deleted) and supposedly arrested her. However, after Claudia publicly claimed she was going to try to get emancipated from her mom and leaked information to her Twitter that everyone on Trump’s campaign team got COVID-19, she fell out of the public view. Case and point: I have no idea whether or not she actually emancipated herself and/or got arrested, and I really don’t care. Oh, and there’s also this huge debate as to whether or not she was playing a character and dedicated to performative activism (but that’s like…every 15-year-old, really). But like I said, do I really care that much to know?
51. A YouTube couple adopts a child for clout, which goes about as well as one could expect – As reported in a fantastic feature from The Cut, YouTube family vloggers Myka and James Stauffer adopted a kid from China basically for the views and were wildly unprepared for the kid’s special needs. This resulted in the kid getting “rehomed” and a teary YouTube video from the Stauffers. Their trial in the court of public opinion was swift and decisive, with adoption advocates calling them out and many people realizing holy shit family vloggers really are out of control. The lesson is clear: adopting a human child is a much bigger deal than getting people to like and subscribe. You wouldn’t think this was a lesson that needed to be learned, but you would apparently be wrong!
50. The Chainsmokers have a concert in the middle of a pandemic – I don’t know what’s more embarrassing; the Chainsmokers being so culturally tone-deaf that they don’t know a Black Plague-esque pandemic is happening, or that thousands of people voluntarily risked their lives to go to a Chainsmokers concert. Choices were made here, and none of them were good, and after a quick search, very, very illegal. Like, ‘organizing a non-socially distanced concert on New York public property without the proper permits, resulting in a $20,000 fine from the state government’ type of illegal. Will not be getting pulled closer in the backseat of your rover any time soon, Chainsmokers.
49. Jada Pinkett Smith’s affair with August Alsina reaches Will again – At a Red Table Talk in July, Will Smith spoke openly about his relationship with his wife Jada, admitting that the pair had split up in 2015 to reassess their priorities. Well, that’s where August Alsina comes into the picture. In that small window during the separation, Pinkett Smith and Alsina apparently entered into an “entanglement” for a while, unknown to Will Smith until she decided to end it with her newfound lover and return home. But that was 2015! Everything’s good and stable now, right? Well, no. In June Alsina decides to dig up the buried treasure of memories and publicly claim that this 2015 affair was known to Will Smith, and that he actually gave the pair a blessing to mash parts (my words, not Alsina’s), contradictory to Smith’s characterization of the event as an “entanglement.” However, like most moments, this debacle pretty much ended where it started: at the Red Table Talk. The pair eventually talked through what happened in 2015, coming to the same conclusion that the past is the past, and the Smiths are stronger than ever. Compared to other moments in 2020, this scandal was relatively tame, even though it definitely was iconic.
48. Omg, new animals just dropped – So, while people (for the most part, unfortunately) huddled up indoors and conducted daily business from their desks, animals crawled out of the deep wilderness and made themselves known to us! On one end, we discovered new species of primates, each more adorable than the last. Some made their comeback performance of the century; for instance, dolphins reappeared in Venice after people stopped polluting and commuting on the waters. However, most famously, at some point in April, a new species of killer wasps made their way around the world, first spotted in Japan and then in the West Coast a few months later. Mark “deadly insects with a lust for human blood” on the BINGO chart for 2020.
47. People thought that World War III was definitely something to make memes about – It’s hard to remember what happened in January, especially since the false threat of World War III happened on the third day of the new year. This all began when American forces killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, the leader of what Donald Trump formally declared a “terrorist organization” (it was the Iranian military, Don). Then, social media users read this news, and, in response, decided it was all too similar to the beginnings of both World War I and World War II. There were a lot of memes about the possibility of World War III, centered around either dodging the draft (girl TikTok was especially funny in jokingly accepting housewife culture), or solving conflict by teaching the Iranian soldiers how to dance the Renegade. No, World War III was not upon us, but it, as a concept, was still a wild, out-of-pocket loop in the rollercoaster that was 2020.
46. Laura Dern claims she knows Baby Yoda personally – A red carpet interviewer for Variety asked Laura Dern if she’s seen Baby Yoda yet (most likely referring to the show The Mandalorian), and she says “Yes, I did. I think I saw him at a basketball game the other day.” The interviewer looks obviously confused, and she adds, “That’s all I’m gonna say.” She can sense the apprehension, so she clarifies “it was NBA.”
45. Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscars Acceptance Speech – The best place to preach veganism is when you’re in front of a bunch of millionaires and accepting an award for playing the Joker in Joker. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Joaquin Phoenix; however, I was nothing but absolutely frightened of his graphic description on how we “feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.” He also got very Luther-esque at one point, confessing how much of a “scoundrel” he is, and how he’s trying to get better at being a good person. Like, what the fuck, man? Are we doing this now?
44. Destiel, the popular ship of Supernatural, Gets Confirmed (Four Times) Against the Writers’ Wishes – So, Supernatural finally ended after 15 seasons of mostly filler episodes and plot lines. Did I care? Not really; I never got into that show. But, I was on Tumblr the whole time it was popular, and holy shit was it a mess. First, in episode 15×18, Cas (the angel) finally looks Dean (demon hunter, white man, idk) in the eyes, and all teary-eyed, he says “I Love You” to his emotionless best friend (boyfriend?) after fifteen seasons of intense queerbaiting, making fun of the fans directly, and just being victims of the writers being absolute dickheads to the audience since 2010. THEN the angel IMMEDIATELY gets slorped (yes, black goo is present) to super, turbo hell for being gay, getting the most homophobic “bury your gays” treatment in television history. This caused Tumblr to explode for the entirety of the 5th of November, and it seemingly all happened at the same time as a hint of a confirmed season five of BBC Sherlock, the US presidential election (specifically Blue Georgia and Pennsylvania), Stacy Abrams outing herself as a massive fan, and the breaking news of Vladimir Putin stepping down due to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s (and then stating he wasn’t stepping down hours later?). Also, this event was so huge in the Tumblr community that most of the users who have now moved onto Twitter got the episode trending on Twitter, making it more popular than the live commentary on the presidential election. But it doesn’t end here! The next episodes, until the finale, are all basically undoing the confirmation of the ship, mostly pointing out that Dean never said “I love you back”, getting impaled by a rusty nail after fighting a gang of vampire clowns and dying of tetanus, and reuniting in heaven with his Chevy Impala (a car) and brother who was a vessel of Satan at some point in the earlier days of the show (and not a literal Angel of the Lord). BUT WAIT, a few days later, all the international dubs of Supernatural air, and every single one has Dean say “I love you too” to Cas, confirming that the gay ending was the original ending, but the American editors cut it out. The editors then un-confirmed it again, only for it to be re-confirmed by a rogue writer and the main cast members of the show, who now hate Supernatural. Destiel 2020 was the gift that keeps on giving.
43. The FBI raided Jake Paul’s mansion – If you thought that after 2019 your timeline would be Jake-free, you were living in blissful denial. This time around, Jake got into like, actual legal trouble. The warrant for the raid is not available to the public yet, but FBI members were spotted removing firearms from Jake’s massive mansion. This all comes after the summer scandal where Jake was caught on video encouraging looting and basically used the BLM protests for vlog content. Was the FBI raid related? Possibly. Last time I checked, it was very illegal to incite rioting.
42. The Weeknd’s After Hours doesn’t get any Grammy nominations – Long story short: this album is objectively very good, and it broke a lot of records/got a lot of accolades (just read the Wikipedia entry to get a vague idea on how successful After Hours was this year). However, the Grammys aren’t real and don’t recognize talent when it bashes them over the head and gives them a nosebleed! Yes, robberies happen almost every year (looking at the Melodrama and Norman Fucking Rockwell snubs), but this crime—the Grammys not giving The Weeknd a single nomination for anything—happened before the man could even step foot on the Grammys Red Carpet. However, the Canadian singer did not remain silent for too long; after the long list of nominations was released, he went to Twitter and demanded complete transparency for the nomination process, accusing the Grammys of having a long history of corruption. And though the Grammys spoke out against these accusations, many fans and normal people who thought he would surely get at least one nomination were still confused at how coldly they treated the singer. There is talk of an apparent political motive to snubbing The Weeknd, as his Superbowl performance in 2021 must have upset the Grammys, who demanded exclusivity in a performance from the singer. Yes, it’s petty to refuse to “recognize excellence” for a man who clearly deserved it but didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to sing at the fucking Superbowl instead of the Grammys, but that’s what happened here! They took away his chance at getting an award and decided to nominate Post Malone’s 2019 album (which wasn’t that good, if we’re going to be honest here) instead. Anyway, Kanye West was right to piss on his Grammy.
41. #FreeBarronTrump – This event of 2020 certainly happened… and there’s a lot. So, let’s break it down! #FreeBarron can be considered to have first been an extension of earlier years’ public trends with public trends, possibly as a GenZ reclamation of the child in response to some offensive comments made by media, comedians, and experts alike questioning whether or not Barron is a special needs child. Thus, at its core, #FreeBarronTrump was a trend created by GenZ to just…leave Barron Trump alone. After all, he’s just a preteen with no control over what his father does, and he’s not doing anything objectively terrible, unlike his siblings. He was even kind of adorable in a tall, round way, according to the Japanese media. Next, even though Barron Trump’s hentai-inspired art gallery surfaced in 2017, we took this year to delight in his love for big boob anime girls and his secret Roblox account (“JumpyTurtlee”) that announced that he loved Kpop and anime! Here’s where it all gets absurd, though. In response to finding out that Barron Trump is just a boy, the #FreeBarron tag began to project its own interpretations of events and twist this tall, doughy preteen’s persona into anywhere between a gay Kpop stannie who feels the Bern (and settled for Biden) and a future Romeo who holds the world in his hands. On the first end of the spectrum, Barron Trump is just a simple boy trying to get out of the closet, waiting for his dad to leave office so that he can live his carefree, gay lifestyle–and play Fortnite with Joe Biden! Others claim that Barron “respects women” and “100% secretly hates his dad’s opinions,” even starting a change.org petition to “free” him from the White House so he can be a Leftist in peace. Some cracked a few jokes about a forbidden romance between him and Natalie Biden. However, most of the hype around the #FreeBarronTrump tag on social media was just genuine infatuation with the 14 year-old, giving us POVs, fancams, imagines, and loud edits over 100 gecs’ “money machine.” If there’s anything we can learn from this, it’s the fact that GenZ can’t resist making a celebrity out of a person in front of a camera, even if that person just minds his own business and carries on with life like a normal, weeb-y preeteen. Hopefully, Barron doesn’t commit crimes in the future!
40. Letitia Wright outs herself as an anti-vaxxer – This was a very small blip in Twitter history, and she ended up deleting all her Tweets, but we all saw it coming after she kept tweeting super far-right, Christian claims about the Devil living among us and possessing the Democrats. Like, the red flags were there; we just chose to ignore them until now. Essentially, she got into Twitter fights with random people about her insecurity about the new COVID-19 vaccine, and it’s fine to be wary of a vaccine, but not publicly, especially when there’s nothing to worry about. The data showed that it’s relatively safe, and yeah, it’s okay to be nervous about a new thing scientists are putting in your body, but we are in an international crisis, Ms. Wright! We don’t have time for you to tell people the “demonic” vaccine will kill you because Oh My God it will not do that! Letitia Wright got bullied off Twitter for that, and wow, was it funny to watch!
39. Sam Smith posts their mental breakdown on their Instagram…on the second day of quarantine – I’m sorry, but if you’re a celebrity who lives in a 12-bedroom mansion and has a big pile of cash, you’re not allowed to lose it on the second day of quarantine. Or think posting it on your social media is a good idea. In a wise, rich woman’s words, “[Sam], there are people that are dying.” Sam Smith took massive amounts of heat for crying like a baby because they didn’t want to partake in “self-isolation”, especially when most Brits have been raising money for the NHS and those who need help surviving during a global pandemic. However, since this occurred almost too closely to another celebrity quarantine video, the news about Sam Smith kind of flew under the radar, allowing this celebrity to get buried in the back of all the other celebrity drama. And like most events that happened this year, when I saw this headline in the Twitter news section, I only had one reaction: “Sure, yeah! This is happening!”
38. The K-pop Stans have radicalized – What if we stanned LOONA, but we took all our stanning energy and just fucked with the American far-right? First, they came for the rally tickets, reserving seats in a free Trump rally for the sole purpose of ensuring no one showed up to see him. Then, they flooded every right-wing trending hashtag with pictures and fancams of cute K-pop performers, making the feed practically unreadable to anyone who genuinely wanted to look at discriminatory content. But THEN…THEN they heard that the Dallas Police Department asked the community to upload photos to a new surveillance app to report “illegal activity of the protests.” I have never seen such an easily mobilized, tight-knit unit work so quickly, especially when it came to fucking over some racist cops. In a matter of minutes, the app had crashed, all thanks to hundreds upon hundreds of fancams of BTS, NCT, TWICE, and LOONA. The zeal of the K-pop stans is even attributed to the creation of other, army-like fan communities, most notably Nicki Minaj’s “Barbz.” If anything, this episode in 2020 demonstrated the power of an energetic, active, and passionate community, and it perfectly summarizes the power pop culture has over politics. So, like… stan Jimin, I guess!
37. Steve Kornacki becomes a national celebrity – I come from a family of diehard Norah O’Donnell and CBS News stans, so getting us to switch to MSNBC for our election coverage was a tall order. Nevertheless, I managed to convince my parents and we were rewarded for our conversion. The Kornacki Cam was probably a bit much, but it was hard to look away as we saw this man pull all-nighter after all-nighter just to tell us about the numbers. I remember seeing the pain behind his eyes practically screaming, “JUST CALL IT ALREADY.” And the hype was mostly warranted; I personally don’t really get the thirst as I’ve long maintained that he’s too nerdy to be daddy—apparently People mag disagrees—but he was genuinely great at explaining the data coming in and doing calculations on the fly. He deserves every cent of that raise, and I hope he got a good nap afterwards.
36. Bella Thorne chooses violence with Onlyfans – So, it’s August, and Bella Thorne decides to create an Onlyfans account with the sole intention of getting a lot of money. And she achieves that goal and secures the bag, making $1 million by the end of her first day on the site. However, she was still criticized by, well, everyone, but especially sex workers. She earned all that money with a simple business plan: overcharge customers for nudes, and then don’t sell them nudes, but because of that, Onlyfans changed their donation policy to cap donations. This all made making money even harder for people who depend on sex work to earn a living. After all that, Ms. Thorne claims she was the first person who made Onlyfans cool, and that all people are now on Onlyfans because of her (note: this was after Beyonce mentioned that site in a song). Damn…I didn’t know this pioneer was on the Oregon Trail of cam girl society!
35. The rise, fall, and public disinterest in Bon Appétit – Seemingly the most wholesome company in existence actually sucks; at this point, is anyone surprised? This summer, after every corporation decided to ~show solidarity~ with BLM, Bon Appétit caught some heat for not actually following their loud Instagram proclamation that “Food has always been political”. Underpaying their non-white staff and cooking only Eurocentric food was bad enough, but the final nail in the coffin was a seemingly-endless slew of evidence that basically every white cast member was racist. The cutesy cooking facade all came crashing down, proving to everyone that you really can’t trust a single celebrity. It all culminated with editor in chief, Adam Rapoport, issuing a statement and stepping down from his position. Half a year later, BA is a ghost town; going from millions of views to a few thousand per video. The entire YouTube/cultural empire seems to have faded into obscurity overnight.
34. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vacciiiiiiiiine – Dolly Parton does it all, from writing some of the biggest hits in country music to funding critical advances in public health. News broke back in November that Dolly Parton had invested in the Moderna COVID-19-19 vaccine when it was in earlier testing stages. This vaccine would go on to be one of the most promising vaccine candidates in a crowded field, becoming the second vaccine to receive FDA emergency use authorization. In a year of celebrities making fools of themselves when it came to the pandemic, it was just refreshing seeing someone use their vast money and influence for tangible good. Imagine that, Gal Gadot.
33. Halsey accidentally calls for another 9/11 – The relationship between superstar musicians and the mainstream critics who are often tasked with reducing years of effort into a star-rating or 1-10 score has been publicly tested several times over the past few years. Celebrities have publicly rebuked their critics, however, Halsey elevated this issue to a whole new level after Pitchfork gave a lukewarm 6.5/10 review to her latest album, Manic. Halsey responded with a snarky tweet: “can the basement that they run p*tchfork out of just collapse already.” The problem is that Pitchfork, a Condé Nast property, is run (at least in non-pandemic times) from the same building the rest of Condé’s properties are: One World Trade Center. 9.0/11 tweet, Ashley.
32. Wayfair got into the child trafficking business – Hold on, why is my new, $15,000 cabinet I bought off Wayfair rattling? Wait, do I hear giggles? Is… is there a child in my overpriced Wayfair cabinet? The answer to these questions was never yes, but during the summer, many people on social media were convinced that the furniture website Wayfair was at the center of a convoluted child trafficking ring, with weird glitches with prices, throw pillows you could find for $15 at your local Homegoods, and names of missing children as the only evidence. It was really never clear what had happened or why, when someone would type in the name “Maria”, the price of a $75 dresser would jump to $13,000, and after the first two days of this weird glitch, no one bothered to know! Yes, as the tides ebb and flow, the interest in saving the Wayfair children disappeared almost instantly–probably because everyone took a good look at what they were indulging in and reasoned a furniture company would not be the face of a covert trafficking operation.
31. Vanessa Hudgens doesn’t care if your grandma died – We’re apparently not all in this together, according to the Queen of Christmas, Vanessa Anne-Hudgens. Around the same time of the first wave of COVID-19 (so March/April), Ms. Hudgens made a public demonstration on her Instagram Live, essentially minimizing the death of all the old people in our country because Coachella 2020 got cancelled. According to the former Disney Channel star, people are going to die anyway… like it happens! After all, what’s the worth of your grandma compared to the happiness of Beastly (2011) star? Haven’t you heard that it’s “Sneakernight”?
30. Burlington Coat Factory & “alt” TikTok – Ok settle down because this one is a doozy. Up until March, TikTok contained a mix of types of content: dancing, humorous vine-like bits, storytimes, and other pretty common content genres. The app was popular, sure, but it skewed mostly younger and it was still an up-and-coming social media platform. Then quarantine hit, and all of us found ourselves lonely with a lot more time to be online, and of course, flocked to TikTok. Where before it was just average kids, during quarantine seemingly everyone downloaded the app, from various more “alt” folks to full grown adults. With so many more people churning out so much content, the TikTok algorithm got a lot more data, and got freakily accurate. People’s fyp’s started to look very different from one another, tailored to each person’s exact interests. It began as a distinction between “gay” and “straight” TikTok – members of the LGBT community realized that their fyp’s consisted mostly of other LGBT people and more humor-centered content, while their straight family and friends had mostly dancing videos and Hype/Sway/etc House content. They pointed it out, and it was a meme for a little, but this sexuality divide didn’t last long, and soon TikTok was split into two different sides: “alt”/”deep” and “straight”. Different trending sounds, different types of videos, different memes, different celebrities. It really was like two different worlds, all because of the incredibly accurate algorithm. At the peak of the divide, alt TikTok was characterized by “Burlington coat factory TikTok”: basically, random people choosing to impersonate random department stores, the first of which was Burlington Coat Factory. Videos involved adding emoji eyes and limbs to store logos and making them interact with one another, honestly it sounds crazy when I say it so just watch the videos. Then people started making incredibly strange deep-fried-type content, usually a popular song overlaid onto a distorted video of something random. Popular audios included “beans”, “Xue hua piao piao bei feng xiao xiao”, “are you coming to the tree”, and “gummy bear album”. I think quarantine snapped some fundamental humor threshold for all of us because there were thousands of people that legitimately found all this to be the peak of comedy there for a second. From “retail” and “deep” TikTok emerged the concept of “sides” of TikTok – the question “what side of TikTok is this” and “which side of TikTok are you on” became pretty popular things to comment under videos. People started categorizing the sides within deep TikTok, which seems familiar.The conclusion is, we can’t escape from our roots: from hipster blog vs aesthetic blog war we came, and to deep TikTok vs straight TikTok we arrived.
29. Gwyneth Paltrow releases a candle modeled after the scent of her own vagina – Is that bread baking in the oven? No, just the yeasty smell of Gwyneth’s lady bits.
28. Charli XCX releases how i’m feeling now – Before folklore, before evermore, there was how i’m feeling now. One of the first of the quarantine albums, it was made under a self-imposed deadline and with more collaboration with fans than probably any album that came before it. And the final product was fantastic! “anthems” and “pink diamond” are going to be incredible when we can finally hear them live, and more low-key songs like “detonate” capture the anxiety of spending so much time with the same people. With how i’m feeling now, Charli cemented herself as one of the most innovative and hardworking pop stars around.
27. Cyberpunk 2077 Fiasco – Think “flaming pile of garbage” but randomly turns into a dining table when you meant to jump. When this was announced in 2019, people had three reactions: “Holy shit, this will be incredible!”, “Oh my Gosh, this will be such an interesting adaptation of the tabletop game!”, and (most importantly), “Keanu Reeves!!!” However, 2020 finally came around, and the reception to the highly anticipated video game has not been kind. First, the developers kept pushing back the release date of the game, sending out bright, yellow apology letters to the fans on Twitter (alright, it was basically a notes app apology), to which most people began making fun of the developers for not getting things done on time. HOWEVER, the team took that a little too personally, and news got out that many of the people working on the game have been mistreated, overworked, and underpaid. Then, because everything was so rushed, there were so many glitches in the actual gameplay, leading to some very interesting complaints. For example, many users complained that Cyberpunk made sex scenes “unskippable cutscenes.” Another guy got really mad for the lack of attention to detail, calling out the creators for not having the correct manhole cover for the city streets of Berlin. Oh, and the game is apparently aggressively ableist (there’s an epilepsy simulation?) and transphobic. To make matters even worse for the game, Sony decided to pull the plug on selling Cyberpunk in stores, even offering anyone who bought the game a full refund. Yikes.
26. Herman Cain tweets from the dead – Dead men tweet no tales–though apparently no one told Herman Cain. Cain died at the end of July from COVID-19 complications after attending a Trump rally, but even the great hereafter couldn’t stop him from tweeting and attacking Joe Biden, Gretchen Whitmer, and Kamala Harris two weeks after. The tweets peaked when a month after his death the account tweeted an article from a very unreputable source claiming that COVID-19 wasn’t as deadly as previously thought. Of course, the irony wasn’t lost on anyone. Dude… you died. “Rest in peace” isn’t supposed to be a suggestion.
25. David Guetta’s George Floyd Tribute – We did it, Patrick! We ended racism! I don’t know why it took so long for someone to think of remixing Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but I’m glad it worked, and that David Guetta can go down in history as the man who solved systemic injustice. You can have more money than most people will ever see–money that would probably be far better spent on bail and mutual aid funds than fancy DJ setups–but there’s truly nothing that the healing power of music can’t fix. It just took a rich white man to get us there, I guess. Guetta hasn’t tried anything like this since, so we can all assume he’s still working on his bid to end transphobia through remixing Julia Serano’s “Whipping Girl.” Sick.
24. folklore and evermore – reputation was subpar. Lover had some hits but most of the singles were swings and misses. So, who would have thought quarantine would give us not one but two of Taylor’s best albums? Swifties everywhere lost their collective minds when Taylor first announced folklore with barely any notice, and the album turned out to be the moody, pensive turn she needed to move past reputation and Lover. Aaron Dessner’s presence was felt throughout the whole product, with highlights like “my tears ricochet” and “august.” We thought we were satisfied, especially with the follow-up release of the long pond studio sessions live album. But Taylor wasn’t done with us yet: on December 11, not six months after folklore, she dropped its sister album evermore. Spotify crashed, Swifties lost their minds again, and the actual album ranks among her best. The only downside is that now I feel really, really unproductive.
23. Fiona Apple makes a comeback and writes the Album of the Year – Ah, Fiona…we missed you! Like, so much! Fetch the Bolt Cutters, Fiona’s first album, after a seven-year absence from the public view, gets released mid-April, and it became a defining moment in the year in quarantine. With lines like: “Fetch the bolt cutters / I’ve been in here too long”, Apple managed to capture the hearts of old and new fans alike, making her experimental rock album a shining light amidst the darkness of everything else in April. The album did much more than just have parallels to being trapped both physically and emotionally, but we don’t have time to cover all the nuances of such a great album! All we have to do is listen to her clever lyrics and pretend to go to therapy for 51 minutes.
22. Among Us breaks the Internet – Who knew tiny, colorful, murderous beans would be the saving grace during the pandemic? Gathering friends old and new alike, people fell in love with this space-themed version of the classic “mafia” game, this time trying to find a homicidal impostor within the group all while finishing short, fun, menial tasks. With so many people bored, lonely, and looking for social interaction, public Among Us lobbies quickly developed their own culture – the words “sus”, “I did trash”, and “watch me scan” have totally new meanings now. Among Us also launched many streamers into mainstream fame, some prominent names being Disguised Toast, Corpse Husband, and Valkyrae. The game (and those streamers) got so popular they even played live with congresswomen Ilhan Omar and AOC. For the rest of us, it was a fun excuse to get friends together online and accuse each other of heinous crimes. This truly was a fun game to look at, enjoy, and get super excited over (especially with a new map coming soon!).
21. Hamilton Comes Out on Disney+, and Lin Manuel Miranda Is the Worst Actor – Remember when 2016 was the ‘bad year?’ Remember when we all thought that the saving grace of that year was a Broadway musical that combined rap and the Revolutionary War, all centered around some guy that didn’t even get to be president? Simple times! Now, when 2020 became worse by ten billion miles, Lin Manuel Miranda decided that everyone needed to rekindle their love for said musical in order to save the day yet again! Well… it didn’t work. Everyone watched it on July 3rd, but now that the show was finally accessible to a larger audience, we all decided he sucked! Like, he can’t sing, he can’t act—he can write, but he was absolutely outshone by everyone on that stage. Fuck it, after watching Hamilton, I realized Alex wasn’t even the protagonist of his own goddamn musical because Lin sucked so bad. Anyway, it was fucking hilarious how much people bullied LMM in July, from his bad singing, to the abominable demo tapes of Hamilton that are still on SoundCloud, and to that horrendous lip-bite selfie.
20. Justin Bieber argues that if you got that “Yummy”, then you’ll download a VPN and stream his new single 24/7 – First, Justin Bieber releases his first single for his new album titled “Yummy”, and it’s a complete break from his past work. Namely, it’s repetitive, vapid, and, most importantly, terrible. Bieber became disillusioned with the song (mostly because he’s the only person on the planet who thought it was good) and became frantic at how the numbers were not coming out the way he expected. So, in order to deny the reality that he’s in his flop era, Bieber decides to post an infographic on his Instagram, instructing people on how to stream “Yummy” as much as possible to get the song at the top of the charts. Measures included downloading a VPN, playing the song on repeat at a low volume so as to bring the numbers up without becoming tiresome background noise, playing the song while you fall asleep so you forget to pause it, and buying multiple copies of the song through his store. The whole thing was messy and sad, especially when he told his fans who duetted him on Instagram Live that they weren’t real fans unless they bought “Yummy”-related content and streamed that shitty song.
19. Doja Cat is a white supremacist? Or not? – Rapper N.O.R.E summarized it quite succinctly with “She in racial chat rooms showing feet!!!” But here’s the whole timeline: around mid-May, someone procures screenshots of Doja Cat being involved in racist 4chan chatrooms. Some more past interviews surface basically confirming this, and Doja Cat gets very, very cancelled very, very fast. It was huge. News outlets were covering it. People were mad and unfollowing her socials; it seemed irredeemable. And then, like two days later, she got spontaneously un-cancelled. Some people dug up some more screenshots proving she was fine, Twitter largely came to her defense, and she issued a statement on Instagram saying basically like “Hey, I’m literally Black why would I do this?” But all in all, it just kind of went away? And nobody really spoke of it again. The craziest part though is that maybe the whole thing was just revenge from incel 4channers because she didn’t post her nudes on Twitter. Yes, you read that right. Turns out a few weeks before, in a campaign to get “Say So” to #1, she said she would post nudes. “Say So” got to #1, but no nudes arrived, and she ended up tweeting something like “haha gotcha!” Incel twitter (and eventually 4chan) got really mad about it, and started threatening her, which everyone kind of dismissed…and then this happened. Was it really incels who cancelled Doja Cat? Who knows? But it was up in the air there for a second as to if she was going to come back.
18. Shane Dawson is actually cancelled for real this time – After Tati Westbrook released her video, which included a lot of accusations against Shane, he did probably what can be considered the worst PR fumble in history. For some reason, he got on a live instagram, and in less than three minutes managed to completely end his own career. Live-reacting to Tati’s video, when she mentioned being a victim of abuse, Shane rolled his eyes and exclaimed “oh my God”, and proceeded to call her manipulative. He also called her out for “fake crying” and when she mentioned more trauma he tried to one-up her (for some reason?) and say that actually he was molested. All in about thirty seconds. His fiance, in the room with him, clearly realized this was going to get bad, so he made Shane stop recording, but in those few minutes the damage was done. Across all platforms, Shane was condemned, and has not been seen on the internet since.
17. Britney Spears casually just burned down her home gym – April 30th, Britney Spears propped her phone’s camera a few inches above her head to get a full-body shot, looked into the lens, and casually announced on her Instagram that she accidentally burned down her home gym after leaving two candles on and unattended. In her own words, “I walked past the door to the gym and flames BOOM !!!!!! By the Grace of God the alarm went off after that and yippy hoorah nobody got hurt.” She then seamlessly transitioned into filming her workout routine for the fans, which…alright, move on, I guess. In a way, it was very Britney of her not to let the bad things in life get to her, but girl. There was a wholeass fire in your home.
16. Lana Del Rey’s “Question for the Culture” – This classic notes app tweet in typewriter font came as a shock to the public, mostly due to its bad timing, nonsensical complaint, and overall “pick me!” attitude. When I read her “Question” for the first time, I did nothing but eyeroll; I just wanted to grab her and shout, “You’re already famous, and a lot of your songs are already great! That’s enough!” Her comment had some racist accents, reducing Black women’s art to oversexualization and a “shallow” conception of feminism. And if she just said that feminism isn’t only sexual liberation and didn’t compare herself to Black women in the music industry, then that would’ve been fine. Except, she didn’t. She also made this whole argument that her work and relationship with femininity is valuable and sometimes “more introspective”, and like…ok sure but also, no one is listening to Born to Die to learn a valuable lesson about relationships with age gaps. We’re just all sad girls who recognize talent and good music.
15. RuPaul fracks – Yup, that was this year! News broke that RuPaul and his husband own a ranch in Wyoming for fracking, the notoriously controversial practice for oil and natural gas extraction. (In a nutshell: it’s quite bad for the planet.) Let’s be honest though, the only reason this became such a big deal was because people wanted a reason to use the phrase “RuPaul fracks”; you have to admit it’s kind of funny. At least someone was able to breathe a sigh of relief at Biden’s insistence that he wouldn’t ban fracking.
14. Ellen gets cancelled — Americans across America were probably not shocked to learn that Ellen is the devil. An internal investigation of The Ellen Show was conducted after allegations of a hostile working environment arose. Ellen has basically been on thin fucking ice since she revealed she’s friends with former president George Bush (of Iraq War fame) and since The Dakota Johnson Birthday Party Thing, but the formal investigation really pushed her over the edge for many people (read: my mom’s friends). Since news of the investigation arose, people have gone to social media to share questionable clips from the talk show, including one where Ellen essentially corners Mariah Carey into announcing her pregnancy, later causing Mariah Carey to have to publicly announce a miscarriage. Katy Perry and other millionaire celebrities came to Ellen’s defense, though, which did not help her case because she was being investigated for creating a hostile work environment, not a hostile Katy Perry environment.
13. Elliot Page comes out as trans – We had the highs of Bostock v. Clayton County finally protecting employees anywhere in the US from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. We had the lows of… yeah let’s not get into that. But I’ve never seen trans Twitter in a state of total euphoria like I did when Elliot Page came out. Their statement was absolutely perfect, capturing the joy of self-actualization and the fear of reckoning with the tough reality that many trans people face. Just having rewatched Disclosure (it’s on Netflix), I was ready for a flurry of bad takes, misgendering, and deadnaming. But I was pleasantly surprised to see widespread support and joy for Page. I practically vibrated with excitement at the thought of what Page might be able to do for trans visibility going forward, and I cannot wait to see where he goes next.
12. Pretty much everything about Parasite – Parasite took the world by storm in 2019 and well-deservedly sweeped in both the Golden Globes and Oscars. From having Jane Fonda be genuinely ecstatic to announcing it won the Academy Award for Best Film, to Bong Joon-Ho making his two Oscars kiss, to everyone at every award show demonstrate actual happiness that such an excellent film got all the accolades it needed, this was one of the most wholesome moments of 2020. His Golden Globes speech for Best International Drama was simply his most iconic one, even overshadowing that of the Oscars, in which he won… well, everything. Here, the premise of his speech was to break down the barriers of cinema and to open your own mind to a world of stories outside those of your own country. It’s beautiful and touching to anyone who isn’t from the US and Britain, as it made people (like my immigrant parents) reflect on how they saw movies in their home country and learned about the world through this creative medium. However, when you boil his acceptance speech down to its overall message, it reads: Americans, read some goddamn subtitles for once in your life. Iconic!
11. Kanye West Runs for President – When Kanye announced he was running for president at the VMAs in 2015, I thought he was joking. Sure, in a line on “Facts (Charlie Heat Version)” he says “2020 imma run the whole election” but he can’t be serious. Flash forward to this year, and boy was I wrong. A campaign rally in July ended up turning into a rant about abortion, where he said Kim Kardashian considered aborting North (which also has created problems between the couple, but that’s a whole other story). Running under the Birthday Party (I wish this was a lie) based in Christianity and declaring Elon Musk to be the head of his space program, Kanye ended up getting 60,000 votes and conceding the election. Stay tuned for 2024?
10. Ben Shapiro’s “WAP” Remix – Very few remixes are better than the original. But in this case, there is just something so special about Ben’s nasal little voice rapping about pussy. The flow. The rhythm. The way he says “extra large and extra hard” as if he’s ordering a pizza. It’s so good that after a while, the original starts to feel almost boring. And aside from the fact that the remix itself is a masterpiece, we shouldn’t forget the rest of that video: Ben publicly acknowledging that he is terrible in bed. I guess if you’re going to do some clown shit on main, go hard. Ben really chose the ultimate self-dunk there. This could be said for literally every single thing on this list, but for this especially: if you had told me a year ago that I would happily bop along to Ben Shapiro singing about sex and female genitalia, I would have thought you were an alien. And yet here we are. 2020 giveth and 2020 taketh.
9. “WAP” – We mention it elsewhere in this list, but “WAP” was such a phenomenon that it deserves its own entry. Released in early August, this titanic team-up between Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion sang the praises of “wet-ass pussies” everywhere, forever changing how I think about macaroni in a pot. They probably shouldn’t have bothered with making a clean version because we all knew what this song was about, but somehow the “““clean””” version was even filthier, substituting the original refrain for “wet and gushy” which just packs a lot more sensory detail. Many praised the song for working to normalize talking about vaginas, though of course some were mad that women dared to talk about vaginas on their good Christian internet (see “Ben Shapiro WAP remix”). To sum it all up: Whores? In my house? It’s more likely than you think.
8. Megan Thee Stallion absolutely dominates – We all know what happened to her earlier this year. It was horrible. But Meg came back with tireless energy in spades and the confidence of someone with absolutely nothing to prove. This year, no one could stop Meg. She’s dropped one incredible collaboration after another, from Beyonce on the “Savage” Remix, to Cardi B on the phenom known as “WAP”, to matching Big Sean bar for bar on “Go Crazy.” She’s shown she can admirably carry a track on her own with (the criminally underrated) “B.I.T.C.H.” and “Girls in the Hood.” She’s absolutely bod(odyodyodyodyodyodyody)ied every live performance with joint-snapping dance moves and an unimpeachable stage presence. In short: ignore her at your own peril.
7. Meghan Markle & Prince Harry dip on the Royal Family – Meghan said, “Get that bread, get that head, then leave” and peaced out. If this wasn’t 2020, I feel like this would be the news of the year, but the fact that it got lost in the 2020 sauce is kind of the best part. If you think about it though, the US never really finished what we started with the Revolutionary War, and I think it’s beautiful that Meg decided to topple the British monarchy all by herself. Forget the 1783 Treaty of Paris; this was the closure the Americans needed for their independence.
6. Donald Trump gets COVID-19 – What a night to go to bed early. My mom woke me up and told me the news like a kid waking their parents up on Christmas. I’ll admit, I, uh……was curious to see what would happen to him. But no matter how anyone felt about Trump himself getting it, it was important to remember the carelessness with which he handled everything about this situation, which resulted in him almost certainly transmitting the virus, as well as the carelessness of HAVING A PUBLIC EVENT IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC. No one should have been surprised he got it. It was truly only a matter of time.
5. Grimes’ baby, X Æ A-XII – Writing a description for this turning point in pop culture history is almost as absurd as the baby’s name itself. First, there’s the fact that Grimes had a baby with billionaire Elon Musk, which I will never wrap my head around. Then, there’s the fact that this baby’s name is so ‘Grimes’, that it’s difficult to believe that the name was a collaborative effort between the 30-year-old and her partner (who could be her father given the age difference). Third, she described the “A-12” (at the time, it was spelled A-12 before the baby’s patch update) as Elon’s favorite airplane model, the predecessor to the SR-17, and, according to her tweet, the A-12 is “no weapons, no defenses, just speed.” Lastly, a few weeks after this creature was welcomed into the Earth, they had an official name change, and instead of giving him a normal name after a public roast session, they just changed “A-12” to “A-XII” for God knows what reason. Now, I know what you’re thinking: what’s this baby going to do when it’s time for him to fill out a ScanTron? How the fuck is his name pronounced? Is there like… a nickname we can call him? The answer to all those questions is: we don’t know!
4. Tiger King… happens – This mini-docuseries has everything: polyamory, illegal zoos, a harem, murder, straight people acting gay for meth, smuggling baby tigers in suitcases, GoT-style rivalries, Dancing With the Stars, workers’ rights violations, Las Vegas, arson, mullets, terrible country music, the 2016 election, and over 250 tigers! Tiger King was released on Netflix in the middle of March (right as lockdown began), and it took the Internet by storm. Everyone was talking about this show for an entire month, flooding our timelines with “Carole Baskin killed her husband!”, Joe Exotic getting mauled by a tiger, and so much more. The influence of this show (at the time it was released) was astounding, from getting more evidence to Joe Exotic’s crimes, to inspiring celebrities to write (unnecessary) musicals, to some cool and scarily accurate Joe Exotic cosplay by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, to reopening the case of the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s husband. Furthermore, now with newfound relevancy, Baskin decides to cash in her fame check and compete in Dancing with the Stars, which…well, she doesn’t get very far. The ratings for that show, despite thinking Carole Baskin would cause them to skyrocket, didn’t change, representing, in a way, people’s overall indifference towards Tiger King. All in all, this whole show ended up being forgotten a month later, showing that people really didn’t care about any of what happened, but the media (yet again) really wanted to play up the lives of rural Americans for attention, which, as you can imagine, was mishandled egregiously.
3. Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” – This was the epitome of early quarantine days in the election. Everyone had finally seen Parasite (it’s on Hulu now), and all of Twitter is out for blood! Gal Gadot—a beautiful, rich actress—on like the second week of quarantine thinks it is a great idea to call up all her equally rich, equally famous friends, to sing a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Well, Gal was correct in thinking that it would go viral, but she was dead wrong on how she thought the people would receive it. Long story short, Gal Gadot begins the class war in literally the most off-key way possible! She’s smiling at the camera, making sure we all feel better that a celebrity is “thinking about us”, but we got to admit, the whole thing was tone-deaf, figuratively and literally. She later said it “didn’t transcend”, which, sure, that’s one way to put it.
2. Four Seasons Total Landscaping gets an unexpected spotlight – After the news media finally called the election for Biden, the Trump campaign had an emergency press conference in the least – but somehow also most – likely place. Instead of the lobby of the luxury Four Seasons Hotel as intended, there was a mixup fucking somewhere, and Trump’s cronies had a press conference in the parking lot of a now immortalized locale known as Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Honestly, they should have known something was wrong when a luxury hotel showed up on the map between a crematorium and a sex shop. The fuckup was one of the more emblematic examples of the pure incompetence so central to the Trump campaign, and right on cue, Twitter had jokes to spare. I saw Zoom backgrounds of the iconic parking lot weeks after it happened. Obviously, I hope I survive the impending climate apocalypse for many reasons, but getting to see this incredible, incredible act of stupidity written up in history textbooks is absolutely up there.
1. “Suck my dick and choke on it. I yield my time. Fuck you.” – If someone were to ask me to sum up the 2020 summer experience, I would point them to this. COVID-19 forces everything to be online, including city council meetings, so they are held over Zoom, accessible to exponentially more people. Then, George Floyd protests rock the nation, basically erasing any respect for the government and especially the police. Anger brews. Mix these two things together, and Some Random Dude has the ability to tell the LA city council – the mayor, the chief of police, everyone – to suck his dick and choke on it, with absolutely no repercussions, and with thousands of people watching it happen live. This event has all the characteristics to be featured as a DBQ on a future APUSH exam.
A special thanks to everyone who took time out of their reading week, finals week, and winter vacation to work on this article. Even though this year surely was entertaining, hopefully 2021 will give us even more wholesome (and hilarious) iconic moments in pop culture. Or it could give us a break. We really deserve a break.
Pure, Unfiltered Brain Rot via Solomia Dzhaman