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Our Favorite Pop Culture Odds and Ends of 2017

By Pajiba Staff | Guides | December 21, 2017 |

By Pajiba Staff | Guides | December 21, 2017 |

This is the time when we celebrate another year coming to a close by cheering (and jeering) the best and worst in film, television, and all the things. But lost amid so many top ten lists are the odd little baubles of pop culture or social media that brought us such glistening joy. So this year, we toast these too. It might be a podcast episode, a TV show’s curious tease, a wild video or a bonkers book. Anything’s fair game. Here are the odds and ends that thrilled us in 2017.

April Fools Day 2017, or as I’ll remember it: the day that Rick and Morty unceremoniously dropped their eagerly anticipated season 3 premiere to zero fanfare, during a time when chances were good that fans would expect it to be a hoax. But it wasn’t. The show’s prank was that it DIDN’T prank us at all. And then people caught on that it really was airing, and word spread, and more fans watched the premiere… and THAT’S when we got pranked. Because we all had to wait another few months to see the rest of the season. Nice job, assholes.—Tori Preston

Hamilton, Hamilton, Hamilton, yeah yeah you know we know everybody knows. But still. For the next year, one of the lights of our darkest hour, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is sharing Hamilton Mixtape-type tracks and the first Hamildrop that came out last week is my center right now. I’m currently reading Walter Isaacson’s fantastic Benjamin Franklin biography, so it was the perfect time to also welcome The Decemberist’s “Ben Franklin’s Song” into my life. Hearing Colin Meloy belt out “Do you know who the fuck I am? I am 76 and I’ll still kick your ass fucking Franklin” is just … well … happy holidays, bitches.—Seth Freilich

Over Thanksgiving, my brother recommended I check out Radiolab’s “Oliver Sipple.” All he’d tell me was that the podcast episode was about the man credited with saving President Gerald Ford from an assassin’s shot, and the grief his heroism brought him. I listened, and learned Sipple’s story is shocking, tragic, and important. “Oliver Sipple” poses questions about the role of the press, in a way I wish The Post had dared. And it refuses to offer easy answers for such challenging questions. So, as an American, a reporter, and a queer woman, I was left informed and conflicted. I can’t recommend enough you give it a listen. As food for thought goes, this is a feast. And look, I know you’ll want to google his story. Don’t. Just listen. This is masterful, thoughtful storytelling you don’t want to miss.—Kristy Puchko

I know I talk about the McElroy bothers a lot (like a lot a lot), but I need you to watch this. Because they are exactly right. That is the appropriate response to finding out that you can just call the effing Knights Templar on the phone like they’re your local Chili’s. The Knights Templar should not be listed. The Stone Masons should reside only in underground lairs, and respond by ravens. One does not just call secret organizations, and ask what’s up. It’s an affront to the very essence of being a powerful, clandestine organization, and we should all be offended by their easy access. This is the equivalent of just strolling up to Beyoncé’s house, telling them you’re “Jam Bagington” and here to hang out, and they just let you in. Don’t just sit around being willing to associate with the little people, higher beings. Have some respect for yourself.—Emily Chambers

Priestdaddy was easily the book of the year for me: A tragi-comic memoir of poet Lockwood’s father, a Catholic priest who balances casual bigotry with drinking in his underwear, and the ‘too weird to be made up’ hijinks of moving back into the family home as an adult. Anyone familiar with the author’s poetry will be familiar with the deftly bonkers ways she balances laugh out loud humour with crushing heartache, and Priestdaddy is no exception as it paints a portrait of a strange, abrasive, and often aggravating figure who Lockwood loves but struggles to like. It’s the best book of the year featuring a chapter dedicated to discovering cum on your hotel bed.—Kayleigh Donaldson

I don’t know why I love this commercial, as I usually despise them AND I’m a Bears fan, but Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews in their State Farm ads? THEY HAVE BEEN MY EVERYTHING FOR THE PAST FEW MONTHS. I know that Matthews singing Nelly Furtado’s I’m Like A Bird needs to be my ringtone and “Correction, BEST FRIEND” needs to be my text alert. The whole ridiculous situation and the ridiculous personalities attributed to the two Packers future Hall of Famers is enough to melt any anger I may have had before watching it. —Jodi Smith

So um, is Whiterose building a time machine in Mr. Robot? The narrative arc for the character in the most recent third season seemed to encourage a prevailing fan theory that the leader of the shadowy hacker group the Dark Army is ultimately pursuing a way to manipulate and master our linear understanding of time. A mysterious project that needs to be moved to the Congo, where it could be more hidden. A lover who commits suicide, but promises to see Whiterose again in another life. The constant references to Back to the Future, portrayed as the favorite movie of protagonist Elliot and his dead father, Edward, who manifests in his mind as Mr. Robot. And poor, broken Angela, shattered by how Whiterose promised a reunion with her mother — who died of cancer so many years ago — and then reneged on her offer after she got what she wanted out of Angela. If this show transforms from being about revolution-wanting hackers fighting back against shadowy elites to the leader of those shadowy elites trying to build a damn time machine, I honestly won’t be mad. Bring it on, Sam Esmail.—Roxana Hadadi

This is really stupid. I’m just saying that upfront. It’s daft and pointless and it’s nothing. But when I started thinking about what to contribute to this post, I tried an experiment: Rather than pondering things for a long time I would pluck the first memory that jumped out at me. And, well, it happened to be this little video showing a surreal slice of Northern English life that became, for me and a few of my friends, one of the most quoted things of 2017. Make of it what you will, but in a year as mad as this, sometimes it’s the little things that you latch onto. —Petr Knava

Twin Peaks: The Return was a glorious exercise in thwarted expectations. You got what you wanted… but rarely in the way you wanted it. The return of Agent Cooper was a season-long endeavor, so that’s not really a “moment” — but his first sip of coffee? As Dougie? With a tie on his head? Then spitting it out with a look of joy and pain on his face? That is a moment I will never forget. —Tori Preston

Baby Groot totally steals Guardians of the Galaxy 2, whether he is dancing to Mr Blue Sky, eating popcorn in a crisis, or trying not to press the death button, but my favourite moment has to be when Groot tries really hard to fetch the fin. This is essentially just a montage of Groot being cute and not too bright, but the comic timing is flawless, as are the reactions from Yondu and Rocket, veering from bemused to frustrated to horrified. Whether he is offering up his chosen item with a look of delight on his face, or reluctantly wearing a hat, Groot remains adorable. The severed toe reminds you that even though he’s teeny, he can still do some damage, and the whole daft scene perfectly sets up Groot’s scene with the bomb at the end. —Hannah Sole

I had literally never listened to an audiobook in my life until 2017, because I thought it was something for which I should feel ashamed, and I’m still a little hesitant to mention it aloud. But strapped for “reading” time, I started listening to audiobooks at the gym, in the car, while doing yard work, while making dinner, and got hooked in a huge way. It’s like a whole different, wonderful experience. I’m bingeing on them now, trying to catch up after losing so much ground when the twins came along. The success of a great audiobook can often be attributed nearly as much to the narrators as the writing, and there were a couple of standouts for me this year: Rosario Dawson elevated what I thought was an otherwise mediocre Andy Weir novel, Artemis, and Carrie Coon is fantastic in Tom Perrotta’s equally fantastic Mrs. Fletcher. I should also note that I’m a much bigger fan of Neil Gaimman’s novels when he reads them aloud. — Dustin Rowles

One more. Sailor J’s “Contouring 101”. I’m not much for make-up tutorials. I strive to look less tired, and even the effort of that exhausts me, because 2017, amirite? But here, in a blaze of glory, this make-up master and comedy queen created a video we can’t stop watching. And now quoting. Because, “If men find out we can rearrange the bones of our face, we’re finished. We might as well pack in our bags and go to the nunnery because there will be nothing left for us here,” is a big mood of this flapping asshole of a year. —Kristy Puchko

What are your favorite Pop Culture odds and ends of 2017?