The Winners of 2017

2017 was a rough year, but there were still some winners out there.

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2017, we bid you a luke warm adieu. You probably weren’t the worst year ever, but you definitely felt like it. And now, as we look back at a year that more often than not resembled a raging dumpster fire rolling down a mountain with the passion of a vengeful avalanche towards a small town full of some of the gosh darn nicest effin’ humans you ever met, real salt of the earth folks who hold doors for people and refrain from cursing in public, we’d be remiss to not at least take a stab at acknowledging some winners of 2017.

The winners are there. Trust me.

And no, a winner is not Donald Trump, no matter how many times he says it. I mean come on, we’ve lost a lot of what we hold dear this year, but facts are facts and facts are facts because they’ve been proven as facts. Saying something over and over again doesn’t make it true. If that were the case, I would have grown tired of saying I’m just a tick under six feet tall and not somewhere around 5’6″.

But okay then, let’s talk winners.

LeBron James

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In September, our dear leader uninvited the Golden State Warriors, champions of the National Basketball Association, from attending the White House.

For context purposes, it should be noted that Curry had said he probably wasn’t going. So to that effect, Trump was essentially uninviting someone to the White House who likely wasn’t coming anyway. Now that’s a boring and uninspiring way of summarizing that situation, which is where LeBron comes in.

Yeah, he definitely summed things up better.

He also did so to significantly more people than I ever could. Just look at the stats. Trump’s tweet was retweeted 63,710 63,551 times, liked 211,827 211,694 times. He received 103,237 103,052 replies (somehow all of those numbers have gone done as I was writing this,) which is generally not a good thing. The rule of Twitter is that you want retweets and likes, not replies, which is what happened with LeBron’s tweet.

James’ now infamous U Bum Tweet was retweeted 658,373 times and liked 1,503,270 times. Those are heady numbers man. Advantage: LeBron.

The tweet was noteworthy also because it featured arguably the most recognizable professional athlete in the country, if not the world, calling the President of the United States “a bum.” That would be considered a pretty big deal regardless of the parties involved and it is a big deal because let’s be honest, something on that scale has never happened before. Athletes have sent shots across the bows of presidents before, but never on this level. Even Kanye’s “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” moment pales in comparison given the stakes here.

LeBron didn’t win a championship in 2017 and he lost his most talented teammate (Kyrie Irving,) but hey, he’s a winner in Giddy Up America’s eyes.

Fuller Goldsmith

Tuscaloosa’s Fuller Goldsmith will test skills on ‘Top Chef Jr.’

Goldsmith was a contestant on this season of Top Chef Jr and that down home, Tonka truck was a true warrior and an easy person to root for and that was before you knew that he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2007 when he was 3 and has gone through the medical ringer in the decade since the diagnosis. Yet there he was, cooking his heart out.

Dude put a dab of butter inside a burger at one point and the rivers of salivation running from the mouth’s of viewers gushed like rapids coming south out of the mountains at the start of spring.

Unfortunately health concerns plagued Goldsmith’s run on the show, causing him to miss competitions or dip out early. It reached a point where the show’s schedule proved too much and he chose his health and well-being over the competition, a gut-wrenching decision for him and one that clearly had an impact on his fellow chefs, all of whom were visibly effected by his sudden departure.

Robert E. Kelly’s Children

Kelley was being interviewed about political upheaval in South Korea but the real story became his fantastically adorable children who decided to crash the interview. First it’s his daughter, strutting her way in with admirable swagger and style. Kelly does his best to stay focused, political upheaval in South Korea is important stuff, and does a Dad swat to brush his child away.

But uh oh, in comes Kid no. 2 followed by Kelley’s diving wife. Kelley’s wife responds with the kind of parental urgency usually reserved for a child taking too many risks on the big kid playground and if you don’t tip your hat to her, you have no soul.

Women

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The Women’s March in Washington D.C. (MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES)

We might not have a woman president right now, but at least we have women saying enough with this horseshit and holding dudes accountable for their actions.

Andy Mills

Andy Mills/NJ Advanced Media

Mills is a photographer for Advanced Media in New Jersey and with the state of New Jersey in the middle of a government shutdown this past summer, Mills was up in a helicopter, taking pictures of crowded beaches on the 4th of July weekend. One beach that wasn’t crowded was Island Beach State Park, closed because it was just that, a state park. However, while the beach wasn’t crowded, it also wasn’t empty. One crew had set up shop and really looked to be enjoying themselves.

The crew was the family of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and while the picture certainly wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to the outgoing governor’s popularity (or massive lack-there of) in the state, it all but demolished any chance of people viewing him as anything other than a joke going forward. It reinforced every joke, every stereotype made about Christie, a person who had become known as someone more than willing to flaunt his executive powers for his own personal gain.

It was also a big time dick move.

Kate McKinnon

With Alec Baldwin’s Trump having worn out its welcome and Aidy Bryant’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders failing to become more than a cheap sight gag, it’s been the always-reliable McKinnon who has been left to carry the load when it comes to Saturday Night Live tackling politics this season. Her take on Kellyanne Conway has had some hits, but her real winner has been her portrayal of Jeff Sessions, weasel tail and all.

You know a SNL performer has hit a sweet spot when you get excited every time you see them and that’s where McKinnon is now. Even outside the political realm, she’s become the alpha on the show. All that is left is for her to dance with resident weirdos in Kyle Mooney & Beck Bennet and appear in one of their ten minutes to 1am sketches. It’s the final piece of the puzzle.

Honorable Mention: Cecily Strong’s Cathy Anne

Michael Che’s neighbor doesn’t show up on ‘Weekend Update’ all that often but when she does, she makes a heck of a lot of sense.

Portugal. The Man

Hey guess what? These dudes from Oregon via Alaska had the song of the year with “Feel It Still.” It’s true. It wasn’t “Despacito” and it wasn’t “It Ain’t Me.” It also wasn’t something by Calvin Harris and definitely not something by Taylor Swift. Nope. It was this song, which was everywhere.

It was playing at the store when you were doing your holiday shopping, on the radio when you were driving home and on a commercial you overheard while wrapping presents. As for radio, a song becomes part of the fabric of our lives when it’s able to appear on numerous stations, regardless of what the format is. “Feel It Still” was on radio stations, pop stations, college rock stations and probably even a hip hop station or two. It’s also a song that’s impossible to get tired off.

Mr. Met

The New York Mets didn’t have a terrible season, but they didn’t have a good season either. They basically had one of those seasons that happened and then it was over, with not many memories made in between. One of the memories made however seemed to sum up the simmering frustration felt by every baseball fan when their team is toiling away in mediocrity.

In the middle of a game in late May, with the Mets playing the Brewers (and eventually losing 7-1,) the Mets’ mascot looked like a person who had had enough, as he was caught flipping off a group of fans on his way off the field. This mascot is not a loser though, even if it feels like maybe he should be. Why? Dude got to keep his job! Also, he became a symbol for dejected Mets’ fans the world round.

That’s a twofer of good luck right there.

The Gracious Gents of Late Night

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There was plenty of focus on the declining ratings of late night darling Jimmy Fallon this year, as well as continued contempt for the hair tussle heard around the world. But instead of shining the glaring light of scorn and criticism on Fallon, the spotlight of admiration and gratitude should be pointed in the direction of Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert.

Meyers continued to assume the mantle of the Next Jon Stewart, breaking down the day’s events with a combination of disgust, annoyance, sarcasm and pointed comedy in his reoccurring segment ‘A Closer Look.’ He also employed other great segments, such as one where his writers tell jokes Meyers couldn’t and ‘The Check In,’ where Meyers caught up with some of Trump’s more questionable appointees.

Kimmel, who had previously steered relatively clear of politics, twice interjected himself in national conversations about two big time, hot button topics. First it was health care, where he used his newborn’s son heart condition as a jumping off point in a fight to defend the Affordable Care Act and then, in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, he made a passionate case for gun control, with both moves drawing praise from the Left and predictable cynical-ridden eye-rolling from the Right.

Colbert didn’t have the viral moments that either Kimmel or Meyers had, but as he has continued to regain his footing, he has become a reliable voice of sanity in the vast wilderness of the Trump presidency.

Honorable Mention: Samantha Bee, Jordan Klepper

Patriots’ Fans

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Okay, I get it. Everyone who is not a Patriots’ fan hates the Patriots. I get it. I do. I live in New Jersey, surrounded by Brady and Belichick hatred. The fact that everyone hates your team is one of the main reasons why the Pats have become a sneaky, underrated team to root for. The hate is real, folks.

But here me out here. If we are really talking about winners of 2017 and if you want to name a fan base, which I do, it’s hard to not bestow this honor on Pats Nation. They endured the bullshit caravan of absurdity that was Deflategate and were able to get the best dish of revenge ever served as the Pats came back from being down 28-3 to the Falcons in the Super Bowl to win in Overtime, which was also a big win for all football fans because it was an amazing game.

Fast forward to August and the Pats aren’t just predicted to make it back to the Super Bowl, but to do so having not lost a game, something they almost achieved ten years ago when they went 18-1, the one lost being the Super Bowl. Of course the Patriots proceeded to lose their first game, throwing an undefeated season out the window and on top of that, looked borderline terrible throughout September.

As has happened before, the teeming masses of haters filled their shovels with dirt, ready to bury the dynastic champions from New England. As has also happened before, the Patriots turned things around, rattled off 8 wins in a row and are now on the cusp of another postseason, in good position to be the AFC’s top seed and are a favorite to repeat as champions.

I understand the hate, but you have to then understand this, no fan base had it better in 2017 than the Patriots.

1989 by Taylor Swift

Wait, 1989 came out a couple years ago? That’s what you’re asking yourself right now and it’s a fair question. However, Reputation came out this year and even though critics seemed to like it, the album was a hard lefthand turn from the pop majesty of Swift’s previous album. It was in fact, such a harsh departure that it managed to make everyone appreciate 1989 more than they already did. Probably not what Swift was hoping for, but then again, maybe it is. Maybe she is that much of a diabolical genius?

Netflix Subscribers

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If you’re one of the thousands and thousands of people out there who either are a loyal subscriber to Netflix or even better, the friend of a subscriber, than 2017 was a good year for you. Netflix dropped an insane amount of original programming into our laps this year. So much so that a lot of it came and went and nobody noticed. But don’t worry, you will eventually. That’s the long con Netflix is playing by dumping all of this content on us. The hope is that some sticks right away, but that it all sticks in the long run. Talk about diabolical, huh?

But when it comes to stuff sticking right away, Netflix had a hell of a year. Stranger Things 2, the second season of Master of None, Mindhunter, the Keepers, The Crown, Ozark, The Defenders, Narcos and more made 2017 the year Netflix didn’t nudge big dogs like HBO off the top of the mountain, but definitely kicked FX, AMC and others out of the lodge you hang out in before making that final descent.

 

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