Unless you want to discuss
politics over your turkey dinner this Thanksgiving (please, God, no), you’ll have to conjure up some other conversation topics. Pop culture seems like a safe bet…until you realize that your Uncle Al probably has no idea who’s trending on Twitter (or what Twitter even is). Thus, you’ll have to explain a few phenomena involving the rich and famous, as well as those downright weird topics that you can’t seem to escape on social media.
To help kick-start the small talk, we’ve rounded up 10 pop culture stories that really caught the internet’s attention this year (annoying though they may be) and offer up a shorthand for explaining them to your clueless relatives.
Cover Photo: Jason Kempin / Staff (Getty Images)
Thanksgiving Pop Culture
After a whirlwind, PDA-filled courtship, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker put a ring on reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian’s finger. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if she hadn’t been on-again-off-again for 10 years with three-time baby daddy Scott Disick – who allegedly proposed once, but never got down the aisle. Now, the happy couple is known as Kravis – and their wedding, and subsequent sexless marriage, can’t come soon enough.
Pete Davidson’s Sex Appeal
Pete Davidson, the bug-eyed, tattooed, kooky dude from SNL, seems to have something the ladies can’t resist. Among his celebrity exes are knockouts like Kate Beckinsale, Ariana Grande, and Phoebe Dynevor. Rumor has it he might be courting Kim Kardashian now. How does he bag all these beauties? We honestly don’t know. Is sense of humor so rare nowadays in dudes that it trumps physical attractiveness?
We can't even begin to explain the rigmarole that is the conservatorship of Britney Spears and the subsequent court battle over it that has dominated the headlines this year. Instead, let us direct you to Britney's Instagram, where the former pop star has been freeing the nipple on a regular basis for reasons that are equally unclear.
Kim Kardashian's Met Gala Outfit
The Met Gala is known for outrageous outfits, and Kim Kardashian did not disappoint in her wardrobe selection this year. It literally covered her from head-to-toe and was so spooky strange that it was turned into a Halloween costume. We don't know what it meant, but it sure did get our attention.
Photo: Raymond Hall (Getty Images)
Proving once again that you can’t predict what Netflix series will be trending next, this dark and violent series about a big group of broke people in Korea who sign up to play sinister versions of children’s games in a cash-grab competition captivated the whole world. Think
The Hunger Games crossed with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory crossed with Schindler’s List and you have some semblance of an idea of what you’re in for.
Lil Nas X’s Pregnancy
The rap world is highly competitive, so we can’t blame hip-hop artists for resorting to outrageous stunts to nab and keep listeners’ attention. But Lil Nas X really went all out when he posed as a pregnant man for the release of his album “Montero.” No, he isn’t the first pregnant man, but he is the first male pregnant rapper we’ve ever seen. That takes some balls.
Bernie Sanders Inauguration Memes
We’ve all had to sit through boring events that we didn’t want to attend but felt obligated to. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders completely captured that vibe at President Biden’s inauguration in January, and a pic of him unhappily enduring the proceedings in a parka and handmade mittens was Photoshopped into a gazillion other scenarios that kept us laughing throughout the winter.
Matt LeBlanc Setting Off Irish Twitter
Friends reunion was the entertainment highlight of the year – but no one moment got people talking more than that of Matt LeBlanc sitting with his arms crossed and a bemused smile on his face. Irish Twitter (which we didn’t even know existed until now) went nuts for his “Irish Uncle” vibes, and had plenty of hilarious memes to pass around with trademark punchlines. Photo: Twitter
Celebrities Not Showering
Somewhere, celebrities got the idea that soap is bad – so they stopped using it, and started abstaining from showering so as to preserve the purity of their skin. Everyone from Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher to Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell came out against the evils of excessive hygiene.
The Weeknd’s Face
In a perfect example of Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong, the once chubby-faced musical artist known as The Weeknd went under the knife – and came out looking like a chiseled freak. Here's hoping his surgeon gives refunds.