This is it. This is the last look back at the year that was 2016, known in some circles as one of the worst years ever and known in others as a year that was not that bad. Years are like coins, there are always two sides of them. I’m on the side that 2016 wasn’t that great of a year. It definitely wasn’t the worst or even one of the worst though. I kind of feel like if there isn’t either a world war, a plague that wipes out thousands of people or some other major catastrophe, the year isn’t that bad. It just can’t be.
Yet despite the pitfalls, 2016 did have some redeeming qualities and because it did, we wrap things up with Giddy Up America’s ten favorite things of the year.
10. Kim Kardashian West Calls Out Taylor Swift
2016’s resident wild card Kanye West made a lot of noise when he dropped his album The Life of Pablo, but some of the loudest noise came from the track “Famous,” where he raps about his frenemy Taylor Swift. “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous.” The Swiftian Horde descended on ‘Ye, as did feminists and the like, saying the line was disgraceful to American royalty. ‘Ye quickly countered that Swift was hip to the line and was cool with it so you, the American public, should also be cool with it. So for a minute we were. That was until Swift’s reps responded, contradicting ‘Ye’s claims, saying Swift never knew about the line. Of course we, the American public, were going to believe Swift. Why wouldn’t we? Yes, we all knew very well that Swift was essentially a fembot and existed within the confines of a strictly and meticulously constructed image but…hold on, good God that’s Kim Kardashian West’s music! KKW took to Snapchat on what I think was a Sunday night and didn’t just out Swift as a liar, but provided evidence. And there’s nothing that we, the American public, appreciate in a scandal more than some sort of recorded proof of a transgression. And just like that, with few snaps of chat, the walls Swift had built up around started to crumble and for the first time we, the American public, were able to catch a glimpse behind the curtain and just like those traveling hillbillies in The Wizard of Oz when they caught a glimpse of the real Wizard, we were not impressed. Of course the year ended with Kanye having a meltdown and cozying up with our President-elect, but that’s for another day.
9. David Ortiz Goes Out (Almost) On Top
Red Sox slugger and folk hero David Ortiz went into the 2016 season having announced that it would be his last. Big Papi had had a remarkable run with the Sox, dating back to his signing with the team in 2003. In his time with the Sox he won three World Series, hit a bunch of home runs, a good amount of which were clutch, and provided the city with a rallying cry following the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013.
In a season where not a whole lot was expected from him, Ortiz hit 38 home runs, drove in 127 runs and hit .315. He was an anchor for a young, but talented Sox team that rebounded from a last place finish in 2015 to a American League East title in 2016. The season ended on a down note, with the Sox getting swept out of the playoffs by the Cleveland Indians, but it wasn’t enough to spoil a great last ride by a Sox legend.
8. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Covers the 2016 Presidential Election
The Presidential Election definitely hit a point where nothing was funny anymore, but before that, there was plenty of material sitting there for comedians and while there is a lot to choose from, I’m going with Hulu & Funny or Die Present Triumph’s Election Special 2016, a collection of clips from Triumph hitting the campaign trail with a fake Barron Trump, fake reporters and fake ads. If Triumph is sitting in first place for comedians who killed it during the election season, I’d have Jordan Klepper from The Daily Show and Kate McKinnon from Saturday Night Live rounding out the top three.
7. HBO’s Sunday Night Block: April to August
You don’t really realize how great something is until you don’t have it anymore. Or to put it another way, it’s gone. And while that’s usually the case, HBO’s Sunday night programming from mid-April until the end of August was so great that it was impossible to not fully appreciate just how great it was while it was happening. It really was the Golden State Warriors of television programming – just a murder’s row of talent. First was Game of Thrones into Silicon Valley and Veep and then they followed that up with The Night Of and Vice Principals, with both runs being capped off by another great season of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Westworld was cool and all, but it paled in comparison to the shows that preceded it.
6. Obama/Biden Memes
In the days following the election, if you weren’t a Trump supporter, you needed all the humor you could get to prevent you falling into a deep and dark pit of despair. Thankfully memes of President Obama and Vice President Biden ran hog wild across the Internet and in doing so, provided us with something to make us smile. And giggle at. And share with our equally depressed co-workers. And giggle at again. It really was one of those rare times when you really had to thank the good Lord for making the ol’ Internet. Of course that same Internet helped get He Who Shall Not Be Named elected, but you know, it’s that coin thing again – two sides.
5. Rihanna Dumps Drake
For most people that you care about, and I care about My Girl RiRi, you wish them happiness and you hope that they find someone out there that completes them. This does not apply to Rihanna. Rihanna is in a relationship with our hearts and minds and a version of Rihanna in a relationship, especially one with Drake of all people, results in a Rihanna that is not the Rihanna we know in love. She’s not on a boat somewhere in a bikini smoking a blunt the size of a number 2 pencil and she’s not partying here and partying there and looking super dope while doing so. If she’s with Drake she’s posing in boring couple poses and appearing in tabloids, quickly leaving restaurants and clubs with that Constantly Corny Canadian. Rihanna is more fun when she’s single because it leaves so much more to the imagination and it’s in our endless imagination where Rihanna flourishes. Also Drake is a dork. Rihanna:Drake::Lisa Turtle:Screech. Trust me.
4. Atlanta is the Best Show of the Year
Five things that back up that claim:
- You never knew what you were going to get when an episode started or who you would get
- The show’s main character could sometimes be the least important character and it didn’t matter
- There’s a plot, but it’s easy to not give a damn about whatever the plot is
- It is Twin Peaks meets hip hop, but there’s also elements of Seinfeld in there as well as The Wire and somehow it all makes sense
- Everyone who watches the show probably has a different favorite character, but everyone also totally understands why you have a different favorite character than they do
3. A Tribe Called Quest Return and Drop a New Album
The length of time between A Tribe Called Quest albums can vote, buy cigarettes and serve in the military. It had been that long. 18 years! And while there had moments during that time when it looked like a reunion was possible, the passing of Phife Dawg in March of 2016 seemed to all but close the door on the return of one of the most influential acts in music history and yes, acts not just in hip hop, but in all of music. Tribe touched everyone. Yet seemingly out of nowhere, Q-Tip dropped news of a new album at the beginning of November. That was followed by a lead single, a charged performance on Saturday Night Live and eventually the release of We got it from Here…Thank you 4 Your service, and album that almost acts as a tribute to Tribe’s legacy. Q-Tip has hinted at this being more than a one-off moment for Tribe, but even if it is and this is the last we get from them, it’s a killer send-off for a group that more than deserves one.
2. Stranger Things is the Most Entertaining Show of the Year
Yes, Atlanta is the best show and Game of Thrones might be the second best, but the most entertaining show was Netflix’s Stranger Things. The show also came along at the perfect time as the country was being swallowed whole by a massively depressing election, continued instances of police violence and an endless string of celebrity deaths…and not just regular, run-of-the-mill celebrity deaths, but celebrity deaths that really hit home. We needed some serious cheering up and as great as The Night Of was, that show wasn’t going to help in that department. Stranger Things gave us something to think about, something to talk about, something to trigger fond memories of growing up and someone in Millie Bobby Brown that we could collectively pin our hopes on for a brighter future. Also going for it? Eight episodes. Eight episodes is the perfect amount of episodes for a season of television with ten being the notable exception if, and only if, you can swing it. Anything more than that is 100% unnecessary.
1. This tweet
Hey, it’s been a rough year.
OJ on television. The People vs OJ Simpson was one of the best shows and OJ: Made in America was my favorite movie
Seth Meyers assumes the Jon Stewart role in American pop culture
True Crime podcasts flood the uh…podcast waves
The Chicago Cubs win the 2016 World Series
“Cold Water” by Major Lazer, Justin Bieber, MO
“This Is What You Came For” Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna
And finally, a late entry that deserves recognition…
See you in 2017