No matter what you may cover or love you can’t watch everything. You can’t watch every movie. You can’t watch every TV series. It’s almost impossible to listen and truly appreciate every major album release (well, maybe that’s a bit easier). 2016 is a year I’d like to forget (too late), but there were some memorable entertainment moments along the way.
Obviously, this is a personal list. And, yeah, it’s a bit gay, but don’t expect any of us to go quiet into the night about that over the next four years. In case you missed my top 10 movies of 2016 you can find them here, but let’s check out 11 other artistic achievements and favorites worth mentioning from the collective pop culture zeitgeist.
Joanne the Scammer
If you haven’t discovered Joanne the Scammer yet you truly aren’t living. Well, maybe you’re living in your Caucasian Home, but you don’t noderstand it yet. Braden Miller’s alter-ego is often more social commentary than outright comedy even if Miller doesn’t always realize it (at least based on this in-depth interview), but that’s what sometimes makes great art. And, in what would only warm Joanne’s cold, calculating heart, that’s what makes the character “iconic.” Joanne is a true scammer who recognizes a con when she sees it (hello, 2016 presidential election) and has no filter.
2016 election: the ultimate scam
— Joanne The Scammer (@joanneprada) November 9, 2016
In 3rd grade I won the spelling bee with the word, embezzlement.
— Joanne The Scammer (@joanneprada) July 30, 2016
If you listen closely, you can hear drama in the air.
— Joanne The Scammer (@joanneprada) July 24, 2016
Teaching a 6 year old how to lie, I’ll text you later.
— Joanne The Scammer (@joanneprada) July 18, 2016
Just got back from a random wedding. I stood up right before they kissed and said “I object” everyone looked, and I promoted my Instagram.
— Joanne The Scammer (@joanneprada) May 25, 2016
Considering 2016 may have been the “ultimate scam,” we can’t wait to see what Joanne does in 2017.
Emotion Side B
Yes, there were some great albums over the past year (more on that in a second), but nothing hit me harder than Carly Rae Jepsen’s 8-track companion to 2015’s critically acclaimed “E-MO-TION.” An impressive work on its own, “Side B” was filled with heartbreakers like “Roses” and infectious plays such as “Higher” and “First Time.” Fans might have gone a little overboard on “Store” (the weakest of the bunch), but in a year of stress and turmoil no album moved me more.
Can an album be timely and ahead of its time at the same time? Beyonce’s sixth studio album became a cultural milestone immediately following its release, but eight months later its political themes come through the brilliant compositions of personal pain and defiance. Rihanna worked, Frank Ocean reiterated his brilliance, but Beyonce soared. And that’s not even taking into account the stunning and hypnotic visual album that had her contemporaries and cinematic voices gushing.
It may be hard to forgive Lorne Michaels for letting Trump host “SNL” in the middle of a presidential election in Nov. of 2015 and the last Trump/Clinton sketch before the election was questionable, but the current incarnation of the show simply wouldn’t survive without the iconic contributions of McKinnon. She’s worked her way up to legendary status on the show constantly surprising (her interpretation of KellyAnne Conway outside of the public eye works on numerous levels) and moving us in ways we never thought “SNL” could.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2”
Coming off a “comeback” eighth regular season (see next entry) fans were looking forward to seeing some of their favorite former contestants compete in a second “all stars.” They had no idea the twists and turns the show’s producers would have in store or the drama that would then ensue. It didn’t hurt that all the contestants came with their A-game delivering runways that would make the show’s fashion world fanbase gawk and week after week of knockout lip-sync battles. Ratings were an all-time high for the show (the VH1 simulcast didn’t hurt) and if it can’t get an Emmy nomination for this it may never. There are few late seasons which are the perfect introduction to a reality series, but this is the clear exception. This sequence shows the artistry, competition and drama in just one five minute segment.
Bob the Drag Queen
In theory, there should only be one “Drag Race” mention here, but the season 8 winner’s accomplishments cannot go unmentioned. Not only did the popular New York City comedy and performance queen sail through the competition with a final rallying cry that should be taught to children (“Take whatever you love about yourself, and walk into the world #PurseFirst.”) But in the wake of the Pulse tragedy Bob (aka Christopher Caldwell) used her platform like none before her reminding the gay community to not let this tragedy shake our activism and need to celebrate who we are. Sometimes speaking loudly and “showboating” speaks volumes in the best way possible.