Review: 2014 in pop culture


alsAs another year began, so did another January awards season. At the Grammys, 33 couples were married on stage during Macklemore’s performance of Same Love; Queen Latifah officiated, Mary Lambert sang, and Madonna showed up for no apparent reason. However, it’s unlikely that anyone actually noticed these heart-warming scenes, as Flappy Bird-mania had just struck the globe. Described as being as addictive as crack cocaine, there was outcry when the game was removed from the App Store this February, before everybody promptly forgot about its existence about a week later.

March saw the debut at the Oscars of “the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem”, or, as the world excluding John Travolta knows her, Idina Menzel. Mr Travolta needn’t worry about his incredibly public mistake; I’m sure Idina will be able to Let It Go. The Oscars also saw possibly the most inspired photobomb of the year; Benedict Cumberbatch took a leap of faith and crashed a shot of the band U2, who have clearly learned a lot about unwanted intrusions in the past twelve months. If anyone can help me get that (frankly terrible) album of theirs off my iPhone, it would be much appreciated.

As winter turned to spring, warring celebrity couples became the talk of the town. Firstly, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow underwent a “conscious uncoupling”, while simultaneously winning the award for the most pretentious breakup of the century. As if that wasn’t enough, footage then emerged of Solange Knowles apparently attacking brother-in-law Jay-Z in a lift, while Beyoncé looked coolly on. The Internet immediately went into overdrive- did this spell trouble in paradise for the world’s biggest power couple? Apparently not considering Bey’s appearance at the VMAs, during which she got both her husband and the incredibly cute Blue Ivy up on stage. If you don’t envy that child just a little bit, you’re lying.

‘Kim Kardashian, having been out of the public spotlight for a whole two days, decided it was time to stage her media comeback’

Summer brought the 2014 World Cup to our screens, with the first shock of the tournament being that the stadiums actually seemed to be completed. Once this had been established, the football could actually get going; special mention should go to Luis Suarez, who really got his teeth into the competition. Sadly, victory was not to be for England, but our sporting disappointment was quickly forgotten when a much more important contest got underway- The Great British Bake Off. The series was not without scandal, with the “Bingate” controversy taking centre stage; a bloke with a beard binned his Baked Alaska after it was left out to melt, and the culprit quickly became the most hated woman in Britain. Our country has never taken soggy bottoms so seriously.

Speaking of being a bit soggy, the summer also saw the rise of the year’s biggest charity craze: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. YouTube became inundated with thousands of clips of people being soaked with freezing cold water, all for a good cause, and it wasn’t long before celebrities began to jump on the bandwagon. Everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Kermit the Frog took part, along with plenty of us ordinary folk- in my case, that involved being ritualistically encircled by six friends with buckets while simultaneously having a hosepipe aimed at my face. Oh, the things we do for charity.

baked alaskaAs we entered into the closing stretch of the year, Kim Kardashian, having been out of the public spotlight for a whole two days, decided it was time to stage her media comeback. And how did she do this? By baring her bottom on the front page of a magazine in an attempt to “break the Internet”. While the web thankfully remained intact, it had a lot to say about Kim’s efforts.  The lady herself commented “And they say I didn’t have a talent”; the media responded by paying much more attention to her “talent” than the fact that a group of scientists achieved the groundbreaking feat of landing a probe on a comet. Maybe they should’ve just tried to balance a champagne glass on it.

Kim may have tried to break the Internet, but there’s only one lady who managed to rule it: the Queen, who caused quite a stir when she sent her first tweet this year. Now that Her Majesty has caught the social media bug, who knows what we can expect from her- regular Instagram updates of one’s royal dinner? Endless Snapchats of one’s corgis? Or perhaps a Tumblr post of one’s favourite quotes from Orange is the New Black? We can only wait in anticipation, and see what the New Year will bring. 2015 promises to be a big one; here’s to a new series of Sherlock, for Katie Hopkins to realise that nobody cares about her opinion, and for a final answer to the ever-pressing question of whether Kim Jong-Un really does have an addiction to Swiss cheese.


Images via Flickr

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