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Greatest popular culture moments that received us by means of 2021


Taylour Paige in “Zola”

Long live the Taylour Paige side eye.
Aggravated, bewildered, frightened, disgusted — Paige’s eyes communicate volumes in regards to the horrors of driving round central Florida with a scheming new buddy and her menacing, er, “roommate.” Whether or not the Academy will rightfully give Paige what’s hers stays to be seen, however we at CNN’s Tradition staff are DELIGHTED to current her with a spot on this equally revered and under no circumstances foolish listing.

Greatest 10-minute efficiency in a movie

Zendaya appeared extra in sand inheritor Timothée Chalamet’s hallucinations than she did in plot-relevant sequences of “Dune,” however she made probably the most of these vivid blue contacts for the handful of minutes she was onscreen. As Chani, she had the primary and closing phrases of the movie — take that, Timmy! — and nailed a searing takedown of Chalamet’s Paul when she lends him her prized crysknife. Carry on Half Two, Denis Villeneuve, and put our gal entrance and middle subsequent time.

Greatest surprising movie star couple

Zoë Kravtiz and Channing Tatum

Kravitz and Tatum are merely the most recent in an extended legacy of lovely Black ladies with males who don’t attain their ranges of hotness (see additionally: Jodie Turner-Smith and Joshua Jackson, Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian, uh Zoë Kravitz and her ex-husband). Historical past apart, Tatum and Kravitz have been our favourite hipster Brooklyn couple this 12 months, trying glamorously unglamorous as they rode bikes, grabbed groceries and simply walked round — making us mere mortals shake. Even when it was simply all a paparazzi ploy, we ate it up.

Greatest-worst excuse for not getting the Covid-19 vaccine

Nicki Minaj

Who else may create worldwide havoc over Covid-19 vaccine misinformation? None apart from Nicki, whose declare — based mostly on the assuredly unerring account of a buddy of a cousin of a… we’ll cease — that the vaccine precipitated swollen testicles and impotency resulted in a number of nationwide leaders stepping in. Misinformation is at all times a celebration foul, however thanks for the memes, Nicki.

Greatest cause to not cancel cable

The Oprah/Meghan/Harry interview

"What? WHAT??" - Oprah
This was primetime appointment viewing the likes of which we’ve not seen in years. quaint bombshell bonanza. It additionally gave us this excellent response to the unbelievable.

Greatest early 2000s revival

Britney Spears, post-conservatorship

In a crowded subject that included the return of Tony Soprano, Ben Affleck and J.Lo’s reunion, the “Gossip Woman” reboot and the low-rise denims renaissance, it was Ms. Britney Jean Spears who had maybe probably the most eventful 2021 — and the happiest ending. Not solely is the “Poisonous” songstress free from a 13-year conservatorship that by all accounts was severely restrictive, she’s now engaged to a man that after performed a wordless “Attractive Santa” in an HBO Max unique collection. Bravo, Ms. Spears, for taking what’s yours!

Greatest superhero film heartthrob

Tony Leung in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Marvel’s “Shang-Chi” might have been most notable for showcasing the primary Asian American superhero within the MCU, however who may overlook the one, the ONLY, Tony Leung, stealing the present (and our hearts) in each scene. In opposition to his piercing gaze and ripped forearms, we have been powerless. Thanks, Tony, in your service.

Greatest Instagram heartbreak

Alex Rodriguez

When Alex Rodriguez took to Instagram following his break up with Jennifer Lopez, it was certain to be devastating. As the previous baseball star turned comfortable boi panned by means of joyful pictures of him and J.Lo, with unhappy anthem “Repair You” by Coldplay spinning within the background (one in all many pink flags), he set a brand new bar for public mourning and heartbreak. Unhappy individuals in every single place, take observe.

Runner Up: Ben Affleck throwing away his life-sized Ana de Armas cutout in entrance of paparazzi. We love a scene!

Greatest pink carpet-to-sleepover match

A$AP Rocky, AKA Mr. Rihanna

A$AP Rocky gets it.
Rocky knew this 12 months’s Met Gala was going to be middling at greatest, so, in opting to wrap himself on this piece by Cali-cool model ERL, he got here ready for a sleep ought to he want one. Consolation over model any day.

Greatest accent work

Kate Winslet in “Mare of Easttown”

Winslet, a born Brit, seamlessly slipped into the voice of a vaping Pennsylvanian with brassy roots and sufficient emotional baggage to energy her to an Emmy, possibly. Even when she would not win the highest prize, we’ll at all times have her saying “wurtur” and “hewgie.”

Greatest Adele track to mourn your ex to

“Love is a Recreation”

In her first album since 2015, Adele lastly got here again this 12 months, able to soundtrack all our late-night sob periods with “30.” The album, which partly chronicles the singer’s divorce and the following revelations, is ripe with unhappy songs, however the most effective one will be the almost 7-minute lengthy nearer. “Love is a recreation for fools to play,” Adele croons, leaving us to choose up the items of a coronary heart we did not even notice was damaged. Adele, why should you damage us so?!

Greatest drama queen

The ship that received caught within the Suez Canal

The Ever Given gave till it may give not. For some cause, we have been all glued to the drama of the drained ship that received lodged in one of many world’s most important commerce routes for nearly every week and would not budge. “Would immediately be the day the Ever Given lastly provides in and permits 400 different ships to go?” we mused. “Why do I establish with this ship who simply gave up on its work and disrupted a whole international economic system?”

Greatest ‘stache

Ted Lasso

The stache in question
From his quirky sayings to his unbelievable sneaker assortment, Coach Ted Lasso (of the hit Apple TV present “Ted Lasso,” and performed by Jason Sudeikis) is an icon. However there are few issues extra praiseworthy than his epochal mustache, a luscious chevron ripped straight from the ’80s. You realize he moisturizes. Bravo, Coach.

Greatest age barometer

The return of Steve from “Blue’s Clues”

Keep in mind when Steve — now bald however nonetheless wearing his signature inexperienced striped rugby shirt — visited our Twitter feeds with somewhat message on how happy with us he was since his abrupt departure from the present in 2001? Your response to it gave the remainder of us a good suggestion of how outdated you have been. Touched and teary? You have been both a mum or dad of a child who cherished “Blue’s Clues” or stated child. Unaffected and creeped out? Both too younger or too outdated to take pleasure in Steve’s run on the present.

Greatest kitchen equipment you may use, like, possibly twice

Air fryers

Your mother has one. Your neighbor has one. Heck, even your roommate who would not cook dinner has one. Air fryers have been round since 2010, however have someway develop into ubiquitous within the final 12 months, identified for making something — from Brussels sprouts to frozen rooster nuggets — style crisp and freshly fried, with out all of the work. In fact, an identical impact could be achieved with a normal oven, however we digress.

Greatest cause to nonetheless watch ‘SNL’

Bowen Yang

Bowen Yang as the iceberg that sank the Titanic, left, and Colin Jost, blessed to be in the presence of genius.
Yang is the type of once-in-a-generation expertise who can land a spot amongst Individuals’s “Sexiest Males Alive
” and play the iceberg that sank the Titanic with such conviction that you just’re rooting in opposition to the boat. Could he proceed to grace us along with his TITANIC abilities for years to return.

Greatest superstars who will make you are feeling outdated

TIE: Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X

Oh, to be young and successful.
She had a few of the most streams on Spotify, visited the White Home, and broke Ticketmaster when her tour went on sale. He has a cosign from Dolly Parton, trolls Drake, and created one of the vital memorable music movies of all time. And neither of them are older than 25 — Rodrigo is just 18 (and simply received her driver’s license, who may overlook), whereas Lil Nas X is simply 22. And but, these infants are working the music trade — and shortly, possibly, the world.

Greatest couple we could not look away from irrespective of how laborious we tried

Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly

It is the age-old story: Boy (rapper, affiliate of Pete Davidson) meets lady (gifted deadpan actress and mom of three), lady tells boy he smells like weed, boy says “I’m weed,” they go their separate methods solely to cross paths on a movie set years later and dive headfirst into a really public, very PDA-packed relationship that you just both cringe at or wholeheartedly help or a mix of each. Even when their love would not final, we’ll at all times have their delightfully unhinged British GQ interview. You realize the one.

Greatest android-witch love story

Wanda & Imaginative and prescient in Disney+’s “WandaVision”
Theirs is a love story for the ages. And the multiverse, probably.

All of us take care of heartache in several methods. And for Wanda, when her android-boyfriend Imaginative and prescient is killed by an alien dictator (not cool, Thanos), she creates an alternate actuality to stop herself from coping with the grief of a love gone too quickly. We are able to all relate! From their quirky consuming habits to their literal magic exhibits, Wanda and Imaginative and prescient have been a delight on our screens. We’ll be sobbing over “What’s grief, if not love persevering?” eternally.

Greatest politics and teenage tradition collab

Sen. Richard Blumenthal asking Fb to “cease finsta”
Antigone Davis, the pinnacle of worldwide security for Fb, really stored attempting to elucidate that “finsta” is definitely only a slang time period for the personal “pretend Instagram” accounts many use — not truly one thing the social media firm controls. Nonetheless, the 75-year-old Connecticut senator continued, asking Davis “Will you decide to ending finsta?” in the course of the Fb trial. Blumenthal, although he tried, merely did not get it. The entire thing is a mirror to fashionable societal points, and it might be humorous if it wasn’t so grim.

Greatest time to be a Swiftie

Fall 2021

Whereas neither creator of this piece can attest to being a Taylor Swift stan, we all know 2021 was an excellent time to be one — particularly November, with the discharge of the 10-minute model of the track that turned a legion of younger individuals in opposition to Jake Gyllenhaal. Taylor was additionally nominated — once more, for just like the fortieth time — for Album of the 12 months on the Grammys, a class she received on the final ceremony. Congrats to Swifties in every single place — yearly is your 12 months.

Greatest villain

Pink mild, inexperienced mild doll from “Squid Recreation”

Netflix’s “Squid Recreation,” a South Korean anti-capitalist thriller, captured the world’s imaginations, changing into the streaming service’s hottest present at launch — with greater than 111 million accounts watching in lower than a month. Although a number of moments gave us the heebie-jeebies, none as a lot because the killer child-like doll from the Pink Mild, Inexperienced Mild recreation. We had nightmares for weeks.

Greatest meme your mother appreciated

Bernie Sanders on the inauguration
Sen. Bernie Sanders had places to go and people to see.
The mittens! The informal Burton coat! The sassy crossed legs! Hear, the installment of a brand new head of state is nice and all, however a few of us (primarily, it appears, Sen. Bernie Sanders) had a busy Wednesday deliberate. Can we please wrap this up? The publish workplace closes at 6.

Greatest buzzword to establish annoying individuals by

Spending tens of millions on an NFT of, say, Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, when you could possibly simply Google “jack dorsey’s first tweet” when you needed to see it, is one thing we do not absolutely perceive. However we’re not right here to yuck anybody’s yum, and NFTs have develop into ubiquitous in 2021. From NFTs of a LeBron James dunk video clip to a decade-old “Nyan Cat” GIF, persons are spending hundreds, typically extra, to say possession of those digital belongings. It is nearly like artwork gathering, however within the metaverse? No matter your NFT opinion, the actual fact is, you in all probability have one.

Greatest accent


Greatest onscreen ‘dying’

Natasha Rothwell as Kelli, “Insecure”

Let it’s identified that Kelli, joyously depicted by Natasha Rothwell, is one in all our faves on HBO’s “Insecure.” And when a mix-up led to everybody at her school reunion pondering she was lifeless, we could not cease laughing. “She had the most effective Stanky Legg,” one particular person eulogized, and Kelli exhibits us it is true. Although the incident wasn’t all enjoyable and video games, the group does later give our lady a correct eulogy over pancakes — the best way all eulogies ought to be, when you ask us.

Greatest celeb-food mashup

Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hottie Sauce” at Popeyes

Only Megan could one-up Popeye's chicken sandwich.
Quick meals has apparently changed tremendous eating for all the most popular celebs — as Saweetie, Jack Harlow, and Lil Nas X all, for some cause, spent 2021 endorsing their favourite purveyors of rooster nuggets and tiny hamburgers. However Megan’s “Hottie Sauce,” delightfully candy with a sneaky kick, takes the proverbial cake, if just for the identify. Do not all of us, finally, simply need to be hotties?

Greatest personal info celebrities willingly provided in opposition to our needs

Celebs do not bathe

Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kristen Bell — please, for the love of all issues sacred and clear, cease. We did not have to know.

Greatest Zendaya look

Personally, we expect Zendaya’s look in “House Jam” because the animated Lola Bunny, taking part in sidekick to LeBron, was the most effective the starlet has ever appeared. Buuuut we’ll observe that Zendaya has really by no means missed, and the customized nude leather-based gown she wore to the Venice Movie Competition, full with an emerald necklace the scale of a child’s fist, is a detailed second.

[CNN, HBO/HBO Max series such as “Mare of Easttown” and “Insecure,” and “Dune” movie studio Warner Bros. are all part of WarnerMedia.]


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