It’s that time of year! A time for the families to gather together. A time that no matter what your age is, it’s okay to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and get a little excited to see a massive inflatable Snoopy pass by 42nd Street. A time for you to lose your sense of human decency as you run over little old ladies in the aisles of WalMart to get to that discounted laptop that any other 364 days in the year wouldn’t get your two cents.
That’s right: it’s Thanksgiving!
Now while some people take this day to give thanks for their families, jobs, health, and the American freedom to enjoy a spirited game of beer pong in their garages without judgement- I’m going to take a different route. Yes, I’m thankful for my family and their well-being, but it would take more than a single day to express that. Boom! Daughter/Sister/Aunt of the year for that!
I’m thankful for the year in pop culture!
The year of 2014 definitely saw some lows in the world of entertainment: we said a tragic goodbye to one of our greatest actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman. (My platonic love affair with him started with The Talented Mr. Ripley.) How I Met Your Mother ended with a finale that still makes me want to punch a dolphin, and I’m a pacifist. Millions watched a Jennifer Lawrence face-plant free Oscar telecast. (She did make it up with her “WTF” face to Jared Leto. Worth it!)
But looking back, it was a pretty damn good year.
So, as we say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015 and all those resolutions that will most likely bite the dust by mid January, here are some of my favorite 2014 pop culture moments!
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
Although my dream husband Jimmy Fallon essentially continued what he was doing during his stint as the Late Show host, his role as the new host of The Tonight Show provided us with some amazing pop culture moments!
How many of us tweeted the show in hopes that it would be selected for his Hashtag Wednesday segments? Write out our own “Thank You” notes on a Friday night? Try to create our own Box of Lies with our friends? Have a Lip Sync Battle anytime in the last few months? Purchase a pair of tight white pants and singing, “I got my tight pants. I got my tight pants on”?
These and other moments are what make this new Tonight Show well worth the space on the DVR. (I tried staying up, but each new year sees my bedtime decreasing. I see a 5 pm bedtime in my future.) But it’s not just these segments that make the show – it’s the host. I may be biased (see my bio), but Jimmy – one day we’ll be on a first name basis – is a fantastic host: willing to subject himself for laughter, energetic for all his guests, and ecstatically banters with his announcer, Steve Higgins, and house band, The Roots.
By the way, if you watch only one segment from this year’s Tonight Show, make it Jimmy Fallon’s first opening monologue. I challenge you not to get teary eyed! (Unless you are a robot and/or have no soul.)
The World Cup
This year’s World Cup saw some of it’s highest numbers in viewers. Now, it could be because soccer is everywhere else’s sport. (Time to catch up, America!) And there is the fact that it happens every four years like an athletic leap year.
But I have a different theory: the men.
I’m the first to confess that I’m not that literate in the world of sports, but I was glued during human hours to The World Cup. Sexy, sweaty foreign guys running up and down a field. Pushing and shoving each other to kick a ball in a net. The passion. The determination. The upper leg muscles that most likely needed a soft rubdown afterwards.
On a personal note, my friend and I were watching a match together, and she actually took this picture of me while watching the World Cup.
That smile doesn’t say, “Go Team USA!” That smile says, “I’m Julie, and I approve those asses.”
Okay, raise your hand if you either went to the Outlander Fan Gathering and/or watched it on a loop on YouTube. Raise your hand if you’ve seen “Talking Outlander” and became excited because Sam Heughan made eye contact with you, making you discover the power of his “Eff me” stare. Raise your hand if you changed your entire cable package just to get Starz before its early release on August 2nd only to cry on September 27th because April 4th is too far away.
If you raised your hand to any one of the following, congratulations. You are a true Sassenach. (Thanks “Talking Outlander” for correcting my pronunciation of Jamie’s term of endearment from what I thought it was: Sasquatch.)
For many fans, this series was over twenty years in the making. And I think I speak for a majority of us when I say to the cast and crew, excellent job! Yes, there were some hiccups (the argument on Claire and Frank’s “dining out” moment in Castle Leoch, a little bit of slow pacing in certain episodes, Jamie’s damn hair), but all-in-all the show not only met fans’ expectations – it exceeded them.
So, let us lift our glass of rhenish (or in my class, Angry Orchard because it was on sale) and say in Gaelic “Cheers” to Outlander. (I can’t say it. It comes out sounding like “Solange Knowles.”)
The Other Jamie: Jamie Dornan
Hello, God. It’s me, Julie. I would just like to give my thanks for Jamie Dornan. I would high five you, but I’m afraid that the power of that epic contact would cause irreparable damage around the world.
For those of you who hated the concept of Fifty Shades and are already tweeting me why I’m wrong about Mr. Dornan, bear with me.
Yes, Jamie is going to be Christian Grey on February 14th in 2015, and his casting raised some eyebrows. I, for one, kept my eyebrows’ height at a standstill. When it was announced that Charlie Hunnam was going to be the sadist in a suit, I was hesitant. I know that the job of a good actor is to transform himself no matter the role, but I couldn’t really see it. So, when he dropped out and Jamie Dornan stepped in, I saw it as a better fit.
But really, Jamie Dornan is a pretty strong actor with the looks to match. No, I have not seen an advanced copy of the movie adaptation of what is basically S&M Twilight. (I have seen the trailers and may or may not have paused my computer on certain shirtless scenes.) I’m thinking of the actor who played a serial killer from the amazingly addicting The Fall. I even remember him from Marie Antoinette. Any man that could make breeches, tights, and an 18th century pigtail look good deserves a high five. (I would prefer it with our bodies, but we all can’t have our druthers.)
If anything, search for him on YouTube. The guy is pretty funny and down to earth. Acting talent, looks, and humor? I may have to change my mind about riding crops.
Everyone has their own definition of what makes a book into a great book. For me, a great book is one that stays with you long after you read the final word.
If you have ever read anything by this talented author, you know it’s going to be an emotional journey filled with laughter, tears, anger, and a tad bit of love. In this novel, she literally takes readers on that journey and the destination is worth it in the end.
Moyes’ ability to switch between differing points of view, create realistic and empathetic characters (from a optimistic, out-of-luck female protagonist to an angst ridden teenager), and establish a satisfying storyline had me recommending this book to anyone with a pulse, over the age 16, and the stamina to read beyond Kim Kardashian’s tweets.
There’s only a few weeks left in the year, and hopefully One Plus One will make it to your personal library.
Taylor Swift’s 1989
What more can be said about Taylor Swift that hasn’t been said?
T. Swizzle is not the first artist to cross musical genres. Anyone remember Garth Brooks’ Chris Gaines? So sorry to bring that up.
But she did make the crossover. And boy, did she do it well. The minute it was released, 1989 became a repeat on most of our playlists. And the great thing about this album? There are hardly any songs to skip.
“Welcome to New York” makes you want to go on Priceline, book a trip to the Big Apple, and put this song on repeat as you walk the streets. You know “This Love” will be on 2015’s wedding reception must have songlist. Listen to “Style” and you are putting on red lipstick and a tight, little skirt. “Shake It Out?” Hello every single spin class in gyms throughout America.
Some people feel she neglected her country roots. Others feel she is the epitome of the “evil” record industry bogged down by corporate greed and lack of talent.
I feel she’s just a savvy entertainer who made a great record. Hats off to you, Miss Swift. You’re my pop culture heroine.
So that’s some of my most thankful 2014 moments in pop culture, and yes there were others but to go on would take me into 2015. (Hello, Serial Podcast! Mockingjay Part 1! The announcement of Twilight’s return!) What are yours? What in the 2014 world of pop culture made you give thanks?