You have turned into the textbook middle child of holidays, stuck between Halloween (not an actual holiday but try telling that to children hyped up on Almond Joys and king sized Kit Kats) and the Prodigal Son of the Year – Christmas.
You don’t even get your own month: November is the start of the “Christmas season”. Hallmark starts rolling out their holiday movies that always end with fake snow drifting through the sky and landing on Sam Heughan’s old hair. Does Target’s Dollar Spot sport little turkeys and miniature pilgrim place-card holders?
But there are tiny flocked trees for your desk, Rudolph cozy socks that you know you’re going to wear past December, and a Santa puffer vest for dogs.
Don’t even get me started that businesses have to remind customers that their employees are from families too, and deserve to spend at least one day with them rather than watch you push an old man down to the ground just to get some Beats earphones on sale.
But Thanksgiving is a time to gather with those we love, reflect on the year, and totally forget that this holiday was started because white people, in exchange of necessities like corn and animal pelts, gave Native Americans the gift of contagious diseases including syphilis.
Now, 2016 has been a year that many of us want to burn in the fires of eternal damnation.
From the loss of musical geniuses like Prince, David Bowie, and Leonard Cohen to the recent passing of my shero and one of the last true journalists Gwen Ifill, we’ve been forced to say goodbye to people who make us want to shake our fist at this year and ask, “Who’s next?” and fear the answer. 2016 is the year that we said, “Thanks, Obama,” and sincerely mean it as Donald Trump and his
regime presidency “Make America Fear Great Again.” Starbucks decided that their holiday cups needed to be green. (Just kidding about this last one because I honestly couldn’t give a shit about this. Just make my damn skinny peppermint mocha.)
But 2016 is also the year that brought us a few smiles, a little bit of excitement, some shows to binge watch, and more than enough watercolor talk.
So as I say “peace out” to 2016 by testing my caloric intake with a second, maybe even third helping of green bean casserole, here’s just some of what I’m thankful for in the world of 2016 pop culture.
The Return of Zooey Deschanel on New Girl
“Who’s that girl? Who’s that girl? It’s…Megan Fox?”
New Girl returned for its fifth year this past January with news that made diehard Jess fans almost rip their knitted scarves to shreds: Zooey Deschanel would be on maternity leave for six of the twenty-two episode season. And who would be her replacement? Megan Fox. Because when I think of Zooey Deschanel, my mind always goes to Megan Fox.
Okay, I’ll admit: Megan Fox’s Regan was a good temporary (that’s right, temporary) addition and serves as a road block in getting Nick and Jess back together. But the adorkableness was missing as well as the ballet flats and J.Crew cardigans that I lusted after.
But before I could start my letter writing campaign for #FreeJess, she returned like the prodigal dork and with it, my love for the show.
Welcome back, Zooey Deschanel. Never do that to me again. Never.
Jason Momoa’s Instagram
There's to many people to thank for all their hard work JL. Tonight is our wrap party. I am so thankful for my cast and crew. I love you. I have never in my life missed a wrap party But as you all know I'm a huge fan of the food and merriment!!!! ???????????????Unfortunately I prepare for the north. For those that will be there. I WON'T let you down Shaka aaalllooohhhaaa see u Monday xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx aquaman
If you’re reading this, chances are you are one of Jason Momoa’s 1.6 million Instagram followers. Better chances are you have screen shot more than one of his posts, sent it to a group of your friends followed by the eggplant, peach, heart eye face, and tongue emojis.
And if you haven’t visited the WWOM (Wonderful World of Momoa), go ahead and treat yo’ self, but be warned. There’s no going back after this and everything you find to be real and true will be tested.
Whether it’s him throwing a tomahawk…
…proving that CrossFit is for the weak…
…being a dad that you wished would show up to PTA meetings so you could have something pretty to look at while Sue drones on about the Spring Bake Sale…
Jason Momoa is proof of a higher power and that higher power wants you to experience pure lust and spontaneous combustion.
Justin Timberlake’s Trolls
Is there anything Justin Timberlake can’t do? Okay, so he can’t rock a denim tuxedo complete with denim cowboy hat.
He’s only human.
But this year, he once again graced our radios and sparked thousands of YouTube dance videos with his song that is on every wedding dance mix playlist, “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”
Try to listen to it without smiling. It’s like sneezing without closing your eyes.
But it was his duet with Trolls costar Anna Kendrick of “True Colors” that made the top my 2016 playlist.
To be honest, I’m not a cover fan: give me the originals any day of the week and it will be when hell freezes over that I take a cover over an original.
Well, get me some skates and teach me how to ice skate because it happened: I actually love JT’s “True Colors” more than Cyndi Lauper’s version. I know. Don’t tweet me your hate, or I’ll tweet you back the song’s lyrics.
The song proves that Justin Timberlake is still one of the greatest musicians of our generation and that we all want to either be Anna Kendrick or be her best friend. Their harmonizing is what you wish you could sound like when you sing along with JT in your car, blasting “Mirror.” And its message of being true to yourself still resonates with all of us, even if it is sung by animated trolls.
For me, November 8th, 2016 is a day that caused me anger, incited fear, and gave me horrible heartburn. It may have also inspired me to drink an entire bottle of pinot noir on my own. Wine glass completely optional.
But it was the feeling of being lost, of being confused that dominated my emotions. Luckily, Steven Colbert was there to step in and speak for not only me, but for almost 10 million people.
His election response didn’t ignite anger but inspired hope and gave us a moment to breathe. He reminded us that although the election may have divided a nation, it is what brings us together that’s essential: hating work email, eating Kit Kats in segments, and the belief that veggie pizza is redundant.
And the next day, when half of the country awoke and prepared their passports to move to Canada, it was Stephen Colbert who stopped me from becoming an expat with this advice:
“I can understand why Canada is so attractive. You’ve got the free healthcare and a prime minister who looks like the prince from Tangled. But listen up, everybody out there who’s saying, ‘I’m gonna move to Canada’: You don’t get to flee when things get rough here. Being an American citizen is like family. You’re in it whether you like it or not.”
Let me just put this out into the void and see where it goes: Colbert 2020.
Forget Woman Crush Wednesday. Kate McKinnon is Woman Crush on Days That End in “Y.”
This was the Year of Kate. No matter what you thought of the reboot of Ghostbusters, almost everyone agreed that it was McKinnon’s Holtzmann who made us wish for a sequel and inspired little girls to swap the princess costumes for a proton pack and goggles this past Halloween.
Her Emmy acceptance speech after winning best supporting actress for SNL made us both laugh and cry:
“To my father who’s not with us anymore but he made me start watching SNL when I was 12, so thank you and I miss you, Pop.”
But it was her impression of Hillary Clinton that made our Saturday nights worth staying home.
Whether it was going toe-to-toe with Larry David’s Bernie Sanders or sparing with Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump, her Hillary Clinton represented what we all truly believed HRC really wanted to say during the debates. This past week, in a unique twist, SNL cold opened on a more somber note, with McKinnon dressed as Clinton, playing Leonard Cohen’s masterpiece “Hallelujah”:
Thanks, Kate McKinnon, for making us laugh in 2016 when we needed it the most.