The Overlords Weigh In On What Pop Culture-Related Things We Are Thankful For in 2017
“This year I’m thankful for cartoons. From the third season of Rick and Morty, which was both perfectly distracting and perfectly cathartic, to the reboot of DuckTales, which is like a warm quilt for my eyeballs, cartoons have been my escape pod for life. We need to take our small pleasures where we can find them, these days. And my small pleasures are apparently animated. I would also like to give thanks for Carly Rae Jepsen. Just, like, in general.” — Tori Preston
“I am thankful for the new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I’ve always turned to MST3K and Rifftrax when days are darkest and my brain is screaming doom. Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, Patton Oswalt, Baron Vaughn, and Hampton Yount teamed with creator Joel Hodgson to give me even more terrible movies and riffs to shut my brain up. I would not have made it through this year without all episodes, new and old.” — Jodi Clager
“I’m thankful for Aya Cash being an alive person who I get to watch with my eyeballs. I’ve still been unable to properly process the season finale of You’re The Worst because I haven’t been able to watch the end without crying. In what will sure been seen as faint praise, Cash’s performance is what crazy women everywhere strive to be: raw, funny, endearing and legitimately scary all at the same time. You were right to choose yourself, Gretchen. Everyone would.
I’m not sure if that last bit is too spoilery, but also, the episode’s been out for a week. If you can’t watch a show within six days, you don’t really love it. Get it together, hippies. — Emily Chambers
“I’m thankful it only shattered in one place. I’m thankful I ever woke up at all. I’m thankful for having one dog yet. For the warmth of friends, the fire of love, the blanket of family. For a life in which my job is to wake up every morning and decide what I feel like reading and writing. For all the flights to the ends of the earth. For the first sip of coffee in the morning, and the last words read before the light goes out. For this place.” — Professor Wilson
“I’m thankful for some some cracking TV adaptations of books, which put women’s stories front and centre. The Handmaid’s Tale was really hard to watch, but beautifully told. Big Little Lies was brilliant, and introduced me to Michael Kiwanuka’s music thanks to the theme tune. Apple Tree Yard was adapted really well. The adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s White Princess is looking great too. I love a good historical drama, don’t judge. For chuckles, I’m thankful that Red Dwarf XII was fricking hilarious. And for Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer. Finally, a shout out for dragons and Baby Groot. And amazons.” — Hannah Sole
“The Good Place has offered us a cornucopia of delights over the past year, from a charismatic cast to tightly knit jokes, and that what-the-fork finale reveal. But of all the goodness The Good Place offers the best bit is undoubtedly Janet, who is not a human, not a robot, and yet the most compelling character on the show.
In season one, D’Arcy Carden’s ever-smiling sidekick was hilarious precisely because she seemed delightfully distance from all the drama of human emotion.
But with 800+ upgrades, season two has Janet experiencing the feels, sparking two of this groundbreaking series strangest and most stirring episodes yet. In “Janet and Michael,” the not robot and demon spent most of the episode in one room, talking about their emerging—and rule breaking—friendship. Then in “Derek,” we not only got a relatable (while bonkers) tale of heartbreak, but also Jason Mantzoukas as Janet’s manifested rebound beau. Janet is the not robot that keeps on giving! And if Carden’s not on your Pajiba 10 shortlist for 2018, you need to reconsider all your life choices because you have strayed from the light. — Kristy Puchko
I’m thankful for Your Name (“Kimi no na wa”), which combined gorgeous animation, science fiction, romantic comedy, and a killer original soundtrack by RADWIMPS (which I may or may not be listening to right this second) into an absurd, hilarious, heart-wrenching, uplifting experience. It’s the only film I’ve watched multiple times this year.
Oh, and Dave Grohl. But that’s not unique to this year. — Dan Hamamura
“In the hellscape that is 2017, I am thankful for Hasan Minhaj’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner. His one quote specifically comes back to me, time after time: “Meanwhile everyone in Latin America & the Middle East is like ‘oh, a foreign government tampered with your election, what is that like?” That’s as light-hearted as I get these days. Sorry! hahahasooooooob. I am also thankful for potatoes.” — Ursula Scully
This year has been a sad and depressing shit show, so I’m thankful to all the comedians out there still doing their best to make us laugh while also, maybe sometimes, digging a little deeper. Whatever your flavor of comedy is, from Jen Kirkman (Just Keep Livin’) to Mike Birbiglia (Thank God for Jokes) to Maria Bamford (Old Baby), there are a ton out of outlets (HBO and Netflix in particular) doling out hour-long salves for the soul. Special shoutouts to Tracy’s Morgan’s wonderful return in Staying Alive, Hasan Minhaj’s out-of-nowhere gangbusters Homecoming King and Patton Oswalt’s hilarious and heartbreaking Annihilation. — Seth Freilich
“I’m thankful for, in no particular order: Serena Williams for dominating pregnancy and marriage the same way she dominates every other damn thing. Thor: Ragnarok for showing us the comic book movies can be pure joy and still be smart and fulfilling, and Logan for showing us the comic book movies can be brutal, crushingly sad, but still beautiful. Zeal & Ardor’s ‘Devil Is Fine’ for pushing the boundaries of music. Colin Kaepernick for starting a movement by standing up while kneeling down. Seanan Maguire and Melissa Olson for consistently writing wonderful, fun and smart female-led fantasy that defies all conventions and tropes. Ava Duvernay for kicking down doors left and right. The staff of Pajiba (except Seth, never Seth) for refusing to taking their feet off the gas and never giving up, and teaching me something new every day. DC Superhero Girls for a kickass message in a show that my son adores. And Prince, who we lost last year but so what, he’s fucking Prince, and we should never stop being thankful for him.” — — TK
“I’m thankful that Kaep took a knee. It’s helped make things clearer for millions of people. Also, I’m thankful for every hopeful second since Robert Mueller was appointed. I’m thankful that ‘The Good Place’ in general was shockingly consistent and surprising and charming inside of a format that felt perched on the edge of disaster at all times. Janet is a revelation and the sneaky-best network TV character in a long time. I’m thankful for the expertly crafted jokes of ‘Brockmire’. I laughed so hard that I woke up Lady C two floors away. Tono Romo, thankfully reinvigorated the broadcast booth in 2017, . I’m thankful that I got to spontaneously drive across half the country with Dustin. I’m thankful for Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres. I’m thankful for Lady Lyanna Mormont and how hard Tormund loves Brienne. Sometimes, when I want to get fired up, I’ll watch this performance from the Kinjas. It kicks so much thankful ass. The Pajiba Community came together to make THIS PLAYLIST of international hits and it’s absurdly good. I’m thankful for the many musical directions it’s sent me in. It sounds like I’m a broken record, but Amazon’s Patriot is a masterpiece. I’m thankful that we live in a golden age of television where you can still get floored by something. I’m thankful for the brilliant Pajiba staff and the smartest, funniest commentariat on the internet.” — Lord Castleton
As an Iranian American who has spent every day since Election Day 2016 low-key terrified, I’m thankful for the people who stepped out of the shadows and into the forefront this year, who saw a need for leadership, representation, and inclusion and seized it. I’m thankful for Linda Sarsour and Kumail Nanjiani and Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan and Nadiya Hussain and Hasan Minhaj and Riz Ahmed and Aziz Ansari, for the real and fictional brown people who refused to let anyone choose any kind of path for them and who worked to tear apart the stereotypes so prevalent in our world about Muslims, Iranians, Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis, Syrians, Middle Easterners, and any other this-side-of-tan communities. Those things make me proud.
And I’m also pretty thankful for Keanu Reeves’s cheekbones in John Wick 2, how Walton Goggins wears a bowtie in Vice Principals, the extreme hardness of Dafne Keen as Laura/X-23 in Logan, and all of Aubrey Plaza’s facial expressions in Ingrid Goes West. Those things make me happy. — Roxana Hadadi
“I’m thankful for Wendi McLendon-Covey as Beverly Goldberg on The Goldbergs, who never fails to make me laugh as she continues to put her own spin on playing the traditional sitcom mom. I’m thankful for Speechless, which not only features characters who are rarely ever seen on television and allowed to be both three-dimensional and funny, but has reminded me why I started crushing on Minnie Driver and why that isn’t going to stop anytime soon. I’m thankful for Impostors, a darkly funny and incredibly well-written crime drama that flew under the radar of many and is for anyone who finds comfort in reading the novels of Elmore Leonard. I’m thankful for Michaela Coel, who proved with Chewing Gum that she’s a comic genius and I can’t wait to see what she does next. I’m thankful for the exact moment when Eleanor learns the truth about The Good Place, and for Michael’s response, which is both chilling and hilarious. And I’m thankful for everything about Wonder Woman, especially Gal Gadot, Chris (The Best Chris Out Of All The Chrises) Pine, and director Patty Jenkins.” — Brian Richards
“I’m thankful for Twin Peaks. No, not the return. The original. I am not exactly the most up-to-date person when it comes to television. I still haven’t watched the bloody Sopranos fer chrissakes. Movies I can keep up with, just about, but television? That’s an ordeal. There’s only so many hours in a day, and the older I get the less of those I feel able to use for escape, for cultural consumption. But this year, somehow, almost by accident, I ended up watching Twin Peaks. I’ve been a David Lynch fan for years, so I’m not surprised that I am enjoying it—but I am quite taken aback by just how much. There is something so beguiling about the crossroads of genres on which Lynch’s show sits; something so endearing about its dedication to character and unashamed milking of soap opera tropes. Something so encouraging and admirable about Agent Cooper’s calm, Zen-like acceptance; his methodical-yet-off-kilter process of navigating every obstacle in his quest to discover who murdered young Laura Palmer. 2017 has been a year where escapism has felt, at times, more necessary than ever. Twin Peaks has provided for me in spades. Even though if, let’s be honest, in a year in which we get to witness the Trump Presidency unfold, the show’s surrealism feels slightly less mad compared to real life than it might’ve once had.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the flipside of escapism as another thing I’m thankful for. Because 2017 was also the year that played host to a truly remarkable summer. Certainly over here in Britain, where out of the horror of Tory austerity and a disastrous, self-serving Brexit vote, came something miraculous: A resurgent left, led by a man who this year became something like a hero, a Prime Minister-in-waiting, as through him the once disparate worlds of old-school socialism and youth-led pop culture collided. Suddenly, as the infrequent British sunshine beat down, we had hope again. Suddenly we felt like we could act, confront things head on and make a change, instead of just escaping. And for that, more than anything, I am thankful for.
Oh and also Dave Grohl. Obviously.” — Petr Knava
“I’m thankful for Twin Peaks: The Return, The Handmaiden, The Good Place, T2: Trainspotting, Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood, everything Karina Longworth does on You Must Remember This, the hairdos in GLOW, Taika Waititi’s pineapple romper, the new editor of British Vogue, Christopher Nolan pulling off the miracle of making a Dunkirk movie I wholeheartedly adore, American Gods and its freaky freaky sex, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Lady MacBeth and Florence Pugh’s staggering performance, the Do What You Want zine, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut to the Feeling,” Patty Jenkins’s refusal to pander to male spectatorship in Wonder Woman, Barry Jenkins raiding the Criterion collection closet, Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, Lainey Gossip, BoJack Horseman having hope and Rick & Morty having pathos and pain a lot of its fanbase doesn’t deserve. I’m thankful for my work, for my colleagues and editors who helped me establish myself in a scary new career. I’m thankful for my parents and my sister and my family who knew when to stop being jackasses. I’m thankful for my studies and classmates and teachers for inspiring new ambitions in me and encouraging me to take that chance. I’m thankful that our culture may finally have reached a tipping point regarding abusive men and I’m thankful that people are actually listening.
And I’m thankful that my favourite bar in town makes margaritas just the way I like them.” — Kayleigh Donaldson
“I am thankful for this place. I am thankful for fantastic, insightful new voices like Roxana and Dan, both of whom I had wanted to write for us forever. I am thankful for Genevieve, who has somehow been an every day presence here for eight years now and has a separate fan club from the rest of us. I am thankful for Hannah, who brought a love of the literary back to the site. I am thankful to Tori, who finally filled a hole here that I didn’t think we’d ever be able to fill after Viv left and started out like she’d already been writing here for 5 years. I am thankful for stumbling upon Kayleigh’s work, and for one day being able to say, ‘Kayleigh used to write for Pajiba!’ I am thankful that Rebecca has found her voice, and it is one of the weirdest, funniest voices on the Internet. I am thankful that COURTNEY IS BACK and I hope she never leaves again, unless it is to invariably bigger and better things. I am thankful for the strong leadership role that Kristy has taken on this year and the direction she has helped take the site. I’m thankful that Ursula — someone I’ve long considered a friend though having never met her — is now where she belongs: Writing for us. I am thankful for every word Brian Richards can spare for us, even though it’s never enough (and also his Twitter feed)! I am thankful every damn day for Lainey, in ways that most people will never see or appreciate. I am thankful for whenever Sarah gets a moment to say ‘Hi!’ and that she is doing well in the real world. I am thankful for Petr, a goddamn DaVinci, who more than any other dude I know is the exception to “All men are monsters” rule. I am thankful for Jodi, who we all know is using her rage to hide how much she cares about the world, and how afraid she is for the future of it. I am thankful for Emily, who — you guys! — has gone from struggling student to professional kick-ass career lady with the mouth of Eliza Coupe. And I am thankful to Castleton (and his 18,000 word posts); Professor Wilson (and his magical way with language); TK (who will cut anyone who fucking messes with the staff here); Joanna (who doesn’t even go here anymore, but whose presence is always felt) and Seth (who keeps the lights on): They are genuinely some of my oldest and closest friends now and basically like my goddamn family (especially Seth, with whom I spend every Christmas). And I am eternally grateful to the readers, and to the scores of commenters, many of whom I’d like to call out individually but it would take all day. I am thankful that in 2017 this site matters in some small way, and that you guys keep our asses in line, whether we want it or not. Genuinely, one of the biggest thrills I get is when I see someone on Twitter quote a Pajiba commenter, or suggests that the Pajiba comments section is the only thing that keeps them going these days. You and me both, sister.” — Dustin Rowles
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