2016 Pop Culture Memories You May Have Forgotten
by Mary Grace Garis

While the not-over-soon-enough year of 2016 still feels like a perpetual harbinger of doom, it's hard to declare it'll be forgettable. So many miserable tales dominated the year, with 99.9 percent of them being Donald Trump-related. Try as you might, this one is for the goddamn books. Still, if you dare to look back, there are plenty of pop culture releases, moments, and phenomenons from 2016 that have already slipped from your memory.

Or, OK, I'll be more specific, there are at least 41 things I personally forgot happened, despite dedicating many hours (professionally and otherwise) to them earlier this year. Besides David Bowie to Carrie Fisher, I can't recall every death. Between Brangelina and the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard ugliness, I don't know every breakup. And from Cursed Child to Fantastic Beasts, I can't keep up with every time J.K. Rowling disappointed me (love you, bb).

It was a lot. And I'm sure you can admit with this year's craziness, you may have forgotten certain facets of huge on-the-forefront-of-your-mind occurrences.

Though memory lane seems to be comprised of a bed of hot coals, let's take in the pain (and occasional pleasure) for old time's sake. These are some of the big events of 2016 that you've either lost in the mix, or subconsciously blocked out of your memory.


Zayn Malik Becoming A Solo Star

It's not that Zayn wasn't everywhere this year, it's just that from the "Pillowtalk" music video, he was everywhere as an entity in a separate direction from 1D. "Pillowtalk" and the beginning of 2016 marked a coming out party for the singer, a bar mitzvah after leaving One Direction. It's the Timberlake factor, where you forget for long stretches of time that he was actually birthed from a boy band.


The 'X-Files' Revival

It was another great year for capitalizing on nostalgia, and with that, came the X-Files revival. Which, despite my undying lust for David Duchovny, I only just remembered watching the first episode at a pizza place several months back. I can't keep up with how many vintage series are getting brought back from the dead, dude. There's just so much money to be made.


Rihanna Released An Album

I mean, look, it's several hundred million views fine. It's just not Beyonce-level iconic. Next.


"Grease Live!", Which In Retrospect Was Aggressively Fine

You all know that I think the 1978 film adaptation is the greatest movie of our time, but looking back, this didn't completely offend me.


Larry David As Bernie Sanders

Bernie bros still probably weep over this SNL skit. It was a simpler time.


'The Life Of Pablo' Was Released Exclusively On TIDAL

Kanye West was making shocking headlines all year, as is tradition, so I'll just keep this brief. Among all the drama unleashed during the TLOP era, let's never forget that all of us without a TIDAL subscription (read: most of us) were unable to stream the album in it's early aughts. Rude.


Ariana Grande Changed The Title Of Her Album

We all know it as "Dangerous Woman" now, but that was a last minute switch-up, with "Moonlight" being the original moniker.


Leonardo DiCaprio Won An Academy Award

Emerging victorious through a sea of Tumblr memes, DiCaprio finally clinched the Oscar and I didn't see it. I did, however, call my roommate and listen to DiCaprio's (incredibly classy) acceptance speech through the phone. It was one of those rare moments in 2016 that united us all as a nation.


Anton Yelchin Died In A Car Accident

Icon after icon after icon left us this year, and while no life is more significant than any other's (Bowie aside), there are some tragedies that still slipped through the cracks of our mind. Cut to me this morning wondering, "Who was that sweet boy from Star Trek with the unique name, didn't something awful happen?" Yup, freak car accident, 27 years old. Sorry to bring the room back down.


Batman & Superman Finally Met On Screen

... and it was decidedly meh. Like, an event that was a long time coming, technically a big box office win, and yet it was still you're fifth favorite superhero film this year, if that.


The 'Power Rangers' Stiletto Controversy

You know what, I even wrote about how the dark and gritty Power Rangers film was going to get sexy by adding some heels and boob cups to the uniforms. And then for months, I suppressed that memory until the trailer popped up during Rogue One previews and I let out a disgusted "Oh, God."


The Release Of 'Alice Through The Looking Glass'

It was sort of the low-key bomb of the year, or at least I hear it was. I didn't see it.


That 'Orange Is The New Black' Ending

It feels like a century since we last visited Litchfield, and yet I easily spent a week post-watch reading article after article about the events following the penultimate episode. Our girls are going to war post-Poussey, and yet we still have to wait another few months to see it. Ugh, such is the nature of Netflix.


Chewbacca Mom

Such unfiltered joy right there.


'Suicide Squad' Mania

Look, I get that Suicide Squad was unavoidable for months and months and months, even after its onslaught of underwhelmed reviews. However, once Halloween retired all those awful Harley Quinn costumes, I had at least a solid month where I didn't have to think about the film, now recently ruined with the stacks of Blu-Rays I had to look at post-Christmas shopping.


Pokémon GO & That Beautiful, Short Time When We All Felt Connected To The Universe

"Mary Grace, you're still playing Pokémon GO?" Shut up, sometimes when I have to go on long walks, it doesn't hurt to pull the app up and catch a Squirtle or two. Clearly the golden era of strangers organizing Pokémon meet-ups and exploring their community, eyes glued to a screen, is over. It was great while it lasted, though.


Netflix Announced They Were Getting Every Disney Movie

... released from 2016 onward.


The Fuss Over "Becky With The Good Hair"

This all surrounded the dissection of Lemonade and the horrified speculation that someone could cheat on Beyoncé. Who did we originally guess? Was it Rachel Roy? Who's that again? Whatever.


All The New 'Ghostbusters' Backlash

This dominated newsfeeds for months with discussion of "ruined childhoods" from insecure dude-bros. And then it finally came out. And it was... fine. The discussion has certainly since died down, and that's comforting.


Lin-Manuel Miranda Left 'Hamilton'

You definitely wouldn't know this if you've been trying to get Hamilton tickets for the past year, so if you're wondering how the renaissance man is able to be all over the place recently... that's how.


Ryan Reynolds’ Face At Taylor Swift's 4th Of July Party

A look that spawned a thousand memes, and yet we pushed it out of our memories until Deadpool himself explained his expression this December.


Swift & Tom Hiddleston Being A Thing In General

It was a rough year for her, and somehow the three-month ballad of Hiddleswift is only a blip on our collective memories (even though their rock kiss was internet-shattering at the time).


We Got Winona Ryder Back

I'm just gonna say this: You posers out there are gonna act like you were all "Wino forever" during the dark years of the early 2000s, when really it took Strangers Things to welcome her back into the Hollywood fold and hearts of millions, capping off a comeback she'd be working on since Black Swan. But I was always there. I'm stoked the rest of you caught up to her magnificence, but I was always there. Don't try to act otherwise.


A New Britney Spears Album Came Out

There was at least one angry person on Twitter that griped at me for thinking her best work was from two decades ago, but I'm willing to bet Glory didn't become the soundtrack to your 2016 either.


And She Performed At The VMAs

At least it was better than "Gimme More"?


A Time Before Knowing The Major Twist In ‘This Is Us’

Dude, that was the most watched video on YouTube, and yet nobody expected the show to throw that curve ball at the end of the episode. And now? The Pearsons have become a second family to us. Such a brilliant twist.


Anna Kendrick Releasing A Book

This one is actually just a personal reminder to check that out if I come into possession of a belated Barnes and Noble gift card.


The Spongebob Caveman Meme

It's fine, I just I don't see it as much in my newsfeed.


Liev Schreiber & Naomi Watts Breaking Up

Of all the celebrity breakups, both utterly unimportant and universally devastating, this one was a weird kind of blow. Like, it's too Hollywood A-listers (B+ listers?) that you're not entirely emotionally invested in, but you like seeing them together, so their news of their separation was received with an earnest "aww" and then promptly forgotten about.


The 'Hey Arnold!' Jungle Movie Was Announced

Oh yeah, we're going to get to learn what happened to Arnold's parents, that's a cliffhanger we've been stuck on for the last decade and a half.


All Those Jon-Benét Ramsey Specials That Made Us Feel Totally Uncomfortable.

And, after all that, didn't really solve a 20-year-old mystery.


A Myriad of Forgettable Sequels

I don't really have time to recap, I'm just gonna throw it out there that Zoolander 2 happened this year.


All Those Mentions Of A Spice Girls Reunion

It was their 20th anniversary this year, so I kept one eye on these claims, getting slightly excited every time. And then finally when Scary Spice started saying it might just be three of them, I just had to stop dedicating the emotional energy to the idea.


One Direction Breaking Up Like, For REAL

They were already in a indefinite hiatus sort of state, but once all the remaining members decided to pull a Zayn and fly solo, it was all over. Don't let any optimistic tween on Twitter tell you otherwise. It is done, fam.


Drake Released A Short Film

We waited on Views for so long that nobody is going to forget that. However, the dolled up extended music video (again, it's fine, it's just no Lemonade) "Please Forgive Me" is lost to the recesses of our minds. Apologies.


Patronuses, Patronuses For Everyone!

Oh hey, remember when you had to dig out your old Pottermore password to find out your spirit animal was a salmon? I don't, because I couldn't find it, couldn't retrieve it via email, and got too frustrated with the whole process.


And 'Fantastic Beasts' Announced Four More Sequels

[aggravated sigh] You probably still know this, I try to not think about it because it makes my blood boil and I start clutching my wallet protectively.


Kim Kardashian Was Robbed

Regardless about how you feel about the reality star, there was way too much gross victim-blaming following the incident. Incidentally, while this was very much the all-encompassing news of the day, we've since had like six other major scandals and tragedies from that family. So, you know.


Ken Bone

For whatever reason (maybe something about that red cardigan) the internet fought to make this man a hero, the true winner of the presidential debates. Anyway, his Reddit history cut his 15 minutes of fame short, and now we're just left dealing with the upcoming Trump regime. Sigh.


'The Simpsons' Reached 600 Episodes

See, half of you are probably still amused that The Simpsons is still on the air. It is. It's the only thing I love that hasn't been taken away from me.


The 'Gilmore Girls' Revival

JK, nothing could make me forget the year of the Gilmores... not to mention Stars Hollow the Musical.