Over/Underrated 2013: Part One

1 Jan

Yes my friends and fellow trollers over the internet, it is that time once again for me to live out my fantasy of being an Entertainment Weekly editorialist and recap for you the most over/underrated bits of pop culture in the past year. As with last year’s posts (which begin here, in case you missed them), I’ll be helped out by my fellow snarkist (and an actual journalist) Brook (@brooklynhofstad).

In addition to all things over and underrated, we’ve decided to comment on the things that were on pointe in the world, i.e. things that lived up to their hype. We wouldn’t be covering all our bases, then, if we didn’t also touch on a couple of things that were off the mark and failed to meet our incredibly high standards.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Overrated

“Blurred Lines” Controversy

— Brook

As Mindy Kaling put it earlier this year, “(feat. Pharrell Williams) is the best parenthetical of 2013.” While this a statement I feel inclined with which to wholeheartedly agree (Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was easily one of the best songs of the year), his “WOOs” and “Errbody get ups” were not enough to save Robin Thicke’s summer monstrosity.I’ll admit it. When I first heard the song, I thought it was a catchy little ditty. Then I listened to the words. Then I watched the video. Then the internet collectively lost its damn mind.Not long after the song came out, it became embroiled in a controversy of being “rapey.” With such problematic lyrics as, “I know you want it,” it’s easy to see why people had such a problem with it. And Thicke didn’t help matters when he was quoted in a magazine as saying it’s fun to degrade women.I’m not defending the song, and I hope Mr. Seaver wouldn’t either, but, “rapey” or not, folks seem to like it. With over 245 million views on Youtube and several weeks spent at the top of the charts, it seems people are quite keen to join Thicke in his quest to be misogynistic.

The problem, however, is not that the song is “rapey.” Make no mistake, I would never agree that a woman who wears a short skirt is “asking for it,” but the problem is that we ever talked about it at all.

As with all things of a notorious nature, talking about them just makes them more infamous. Did everyone think that Robin Thicke made this song and then everyone reacted the way they did and that was the first he heard of the offensive nature of the song? Hell no. And anyone who thinks that is an idiot. He knew full well what he was getting into when he made the song and video (why else would he have supposedly asked his wife for permission?). And while we were all so intent on calling him woman-hater, Thicke laughed all the way to the bank.

A relatively unknown artist until this year, Thicke had people in an uproar. And anyone who thinks that wasn’t intentional needs to spend some time with Miley Cyrus, an anomaly worth her own post. As with most pests, we need to patiently ignore them and hope they’ll go away.

Do we need to continue to address the position of women in the US and around the world? Of course. Should we demand higher quality from our artists? Obviously. Can we reasonably expect change when songs like “Blurred Lines” are glorified at least in part by the very critics who seek to decry them? I hate to say it, but I don’t think so.

Blurred Lines

Underrated

’90s Nostalgia

–Andrea

As I say farewell to 2013, it won’t be the past year I feel wistful for. It won’t even be the past decade. No, my friends, while the rest of the world may be missing the year that made “selfie” a semi-acceptable noun, I’m still mourning the loss of the ’90s. There was a time when I sat solo and embarrassed at my “Missing the ’90s” table. Thankfully, 2013 made missing the ’90s the cool thing to do, and I could not be more excited about it.

On a broad spectrum, I could comment that ’90s style pop music is coming back into fashion. (Hello boy bands, it’s nice to see you again.) But on a more specific level, 2013 was overflowing with specific ’90s references aching for a comeback. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here are a few of my favorites to jog your memory.

There’s a reason I won’t let my husband downgrade our cable, and it’s not because I’m worried about missing out on the last season of Mad Men. I absolutely refuse to be without the Disney Channel in 2014. I would rather stop buying groceries than not have the first opportunity to view Cory and Topanga’s triumphant return to television. That’s right, folks, the ’90s couple that first made me believe in love (and, apparently, gave me unrealistic expectations) is returning to television in Disney Channel’s spinoff series Girl Meets World. Fan fervor over the show was so prevalent in the past year that Entertainment Weekly included the cast of Boy Meets World in its beloved Reunions issue. To say I am thrilled about this spinoff is a gross understatement. Clearly, I am not alone in this as the entire series of Boy Meets World was conveniently released as boxed set just this past November. I guess I know what I’m binge watching this summer.

Still don’t believe that it’s cool to love the ’90s? Well what if I told you that one of the 90s hottest frontmen was reunited with his band this summer on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and that said hottie was just as hot now as he was back when he actually did have a mullet? Trust me, it’s true. Case in point:

 

The only time I got more excited about a musical act this past year was when *NSYNC reunited for about ten seconds at the VMAs.

Did I mention that *NSYNC skyrocketed to celebrity status in the ’90s?

I could devote an entire blog series about why loving the ’90s is amazing, but because I only have one entry I’ll leave you with just a few more of my favorites. PBS has returned Carmen Sandiego to her fans (sort of), and everyone’s favorite timesuck Buzzfeed has a beautifully wonderful assortment of ’90s related lists, including (but not limited to) 31 Awesome ’90s Toys You Never Got, But Can Totally Buy Today, 32 Reasons Why Christmas Was Better In The ’90s, 25 Times ’90s Teen Heartthrobs Photos Failed and 27 Reasons To Love the ’90s. Enjoy, World. The ’90s are back, and better than ever.

On Pointe

Acts of Kindness

— Andrea

Let me start by saying that it is always, always on pointe to do kind things for others. It’s something that we unfortunately don’t see enough of in our world. I’m not saying it’s not out there, because it is. People out there are doing wonderful things every day for no other reason than their kindness of spirit. What I am saying is that we don’t see enough of it. Our news broadcasts are typically dominated by negative images rather than the positive. I’m happy to say that 2013 did a fantastic job of highlighting the positive, and the two stories I’m about to showcase were worth every second of airtime they got.

If you had asked me a year ago who my favorite superhero was, I would have said Batman without blinking an eye. Not a comic book fan myself, it was always the Batman movies that I found to be most entertaining. On Friday, November 15th, 2013, my answer changed. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the city of San Francisco, five-year-old Miles Scott got to live out his dream of being Batman. Dressed in Batman’s signature suit and equipped with his very own Lamborghini Batmobile, Scott spent the day rescuing damsels in distress, capturing the Penguin, and basically being fucking awesome. Batkid captured my heart and the heart of our nation, and he proved to us all that when it comes down to it, there is more good in this world than evil.

Batkid

There are very few things in this world that would cause me to pay homage to Canada. While I appreciate our neighbors to the north, I generally choose to hide my jealousy with mockery. I can’t, however, deny that the Canada’s WestJet Airlines knows how to lift the spirits. The airline garnered much deserved props from the media (and yours truly) when they played Santa Claus, literally, and showered unsuspecting passengers with their exact Christmas wishes. Talk about your Christmas Miracle.

In times of doubt and crisis it’s easy to look at the news and wonder what it all means. These two stories serve not only to tug on our heartstrings at this sentimental time of year, but remind us that the positives in this world are just as important, and far more numerous, than the negatives. Even better? It’s regular old folks like you and me that make them possible.

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