Along with the turn of the year comes A.) a potential hangover (be responsible, kids), and B.) the bittersweet relief of putting another twelve months of events, trends, and entertainment behind us. 2012 was, frankly, all over the place, so how about we make this retrospective a little easier by narrowing it down to ten things?
Mull them over, make your peace, and move along. Here was our 2012…
10.) Attack of the TV Dramas
Comedic sitcoms fell to the wayside this year as serial dramas kicked some contextual ass with some heavy subject matter and incredible performances. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but everyone and their mother has been after me to start watching it. Breaking Bad, currently suspended mid-season five until this coming summer, tends to regularly send my Twitter feed into an uproar. Downton Abbey is most definitely Americans’ new favorite British addiction, and The Walking Dead continues to make zombies a legitimate apocalyptic device, even while the cast and crew struggle through some changes with the powers that be. And Mad Men made its way well into the ’60s, heralding the Rolling Stones, LSD, sensationalistic violence around the nation, and the most brilliantly written pitch (shown above) since The Carousel in Season 1.
9.) “I moustache you a question… but I’ll shave it for later.”
I don’t know where it came from, but the graphic moustache just managed to beat out the cartoon owl and ironic colored feathers for the spot as the top symbolic fad in fashion (and, consequently, novelty stores) this year. It actually seemed like a bright, amusing idea for about two seconds before it became the new Hipster Emblem. (Funny, don’t those two things usually happen the other way around?)
8.) EDM Overload
When we weren’t listening to Taylor Swift cheerfully whine about another ex (seriously, find something else to write about), you may have noticed that listening to Top 40 stations on the way to work lately has been more like going to a club. Thank the current Gods of electronic dance music: David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, deadmau5, Avicii, Skrillex… Their influence has found its way into standard pop radio fare (to varying degrees of success) and has made a name everywhere from alternative music festivals to the Grammys.
7.) A Super(hero) Summer
It’s not a bird, or a plane — it’s a three-hour long epic hero saga that you probably paid $20 to see in IMAX 3D! This summer saw a trio of incredibly well-executed and successful comic adaptations in theaters: The Avengers, the fanbase for which is one of the most, er, passionate I’ve ever seen (hey there, Tumblr fangirls!); The Amazing Spider-Man, which kinda/sorta blew Sam Raimi’s 2002 attempt out of the water in nearly every way; and The Dark Knight Rises, which wasn’t as well-groomed as The Dark Knight, but felt much more like the thrill ride the audience was waiting for.
6.) NBC Takes the Gold in Live Coverage FailIn case you’re not involved in the Twitter community, let me fill you in: The hashtag #NBCFail was created about two days into the Olympic Games, which pretty much says everything. The peacocky network did a veritable hatchet job on the coverage of the London event, saving the popular events for a “live” evening broadcast and only doing actual live streaming via their website. And let’s not forget the cuts made in the Opening and Closing ceremonies, including a tribute to the fallen of the July 2005 bombing attack (replaced with an interview with Michael Phelps) and a performance from Muse, who wrote and performed the official theme for the Games.
NBC’s response? “Our programming is tailored for the U.S. audience.” Aw, they know how much we like being spoonfed…
5.) Grumpy CatBecause no, it’s not photoshopped. And yes, a disgruntled cat actually does make your day better. (By the way, here’s the meme. You’re welcome.)
4.) Battle Royale: White House Edition
The presidential race, of course, during which the only huge difference between the candidates was social policy — and for some reason, middle-aged men decided to make it their business what women do with their ladyparts. It was ugly, but not as ugly as the sheer lack of coverage for the “other” parties, as per usual.
3.) Fifty Shades of Please Gag Me This Book Was So Horribly Written and StereotypicalAhem, sorry — Fifty Shades of Grey. Originally a fan fiction piece based on Edward and Bella’s characters in Twilight, this book (nay, now a trilogy and impending movie franchise) tells the story of a klutzy, virginal girl who meets this ohmygosh-charming and sophisticated guy and ends up entering into a BDSM sexual relationship with him. Except it’s written in a way that perpetuates the absolute worst stereotypes about this subculture: Doms are always scary/violent people with control issues, subs are insecure weaklings with a parent-sized hole in their lives, etc. (A heartfelt pout to the actual BDSM community. This has to suck.) Not to mention that, much like Edward and Bella, Christian and Ana have such a dysfunctional emotional relationship that it actually meets several criteria for an abusive partnership.
Cheerful Note: If you want to “read” the book without reading it, do what I did — check out this excellent woman’s chapter-by-chapter reviews and die laughing as she picks apart all the horrible, terrible, ridiculous things written. Start with 50 Screams of Hate and work your way backwards.
2.) PSY Teaches Us How to Ride a Horse
That’s right. “Gangnam Style.” I’ve reached the point where I don’t even bother changing the radio station when this comes on. I just surrender. And pretend that he’s singing “Open condom style!” because it’s hilarious. No, but seriously, we haven’t been this enraptured with a song/dance since the “Macarena.” Either way, stop pretending you never broke it down to this song at least once. And watch that video above while you quiver in awe at his ferociously energetic Korean audience — because you can’t hear him over the noise.
1.) Apocalypse Now… Or Not
Hey, remember that time a couple of weeks ago when people actually thought the Mayan-predicted apocalypse would go down? Me too. You know what it actually did? Provide the witty people of the Web ample opportunity to make end-of-the-world jokes like there was no tomorrow.