Best ___ Of 2016: Some Really Specific Superlatives

Well folks, here we are. The flaming dumpster fire that was 2016 is over, and we’re all here in 2017 hoping it can’t get worse than last year. But there were some good things that come out of 2016, and just like last year, we’re highlighting a few super specific things we loved from 2016, that don’t necessarily fit into any general Best of categories.

Best 2000s television reunion of 2016: Gilmore Girls

Ironically, Gilmore Girls also made our Best of 2015 Superlatives list, but this time it’s for an entirely different reason. The show made a big splash in pop culture ever since the revival was announced back in 2015, and the hype was at a high this year, crawling back into the zeigesit in the weeks leading up to ThanksGilmore (we were guilty too). But as OG Gilmore fans, we had been waiting nine years to find out how Amy Sherman-Palladino wanted to end her series the way she truly wanted. When the four episodes dropped that fateful Friday, we were transported back into the world of all things Gilmore – where the town weirdo runs a janky Ooober service, the locals have to hide a secret bar from the selectman, and the phrase “I smell snow” elicits very real emotions that induce crying. For us, this feeling of comfort – of feeling back how in Stars Hollow – was what we wanted from the revival. While it did produce the perfect example of Your Fave Is Problematic #RoryGilmore, overall, we were so glad to have those adorable Gilmore girls back in our lives once again.

Best Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Cameo of 2016: Parenthood Cast (as a whole)

Speaking of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, there were many a cameo throughout all four mini-movies that made me squeal with glee. But none more so than three very special appearances from Lauren Graham’s other TV family, the Bravermans. First, we knew her Parenhootd daughter Mae Whitman was going to be in the revival, but seeing her interact with Lorelai Gilmore and not Sarah Braverman made our hearts explode, but the fact that she always interacted with Rory?! Our brains explode too. And then came summer, when I lit’rally screamed out loud after seeing Jason Ritter pop up as the park ranger. MARK CYR FOREVER AND ALWAYS. And THENNN Peter Krause aka Adam Braverman aka Mr. Lauren Graham as park ranger two?! I DIE. I DIED. Thanks, 2016.

Best Ham4Ham performance of 2016: The Hamilton Mixtape

I feel like it’s unfair to call this a #Ham4Ham, but the Hamilton officials called it that, so we’ll go with it. HamFams have been waiting about a year to hear the mixtape that Lin had been promising, and boy it did not disappoint. In the most epic release party, they held a #Ham4Ham inside the Richard Rodgers, with a few artists from the mixtape doing live performances of their Hamilton covers. AND it was live streamed for the interwebs. The Roots, Regina Spektor, Andra Day and Ashanti and Ja Rule + more – it was “LIT AF” as the kids say. I got emotional (like I usually do) watching it, realizing that this joining of forces between contemporary artists singing Broadway covers on a Broadway stage opens the doors for so many more people to be introduced to theater in a brand new way. It’s the way life and art should be – accessible and enjoyed by every one.

Best Hamilton Happy Trails of 2016: July 9th, 2016

Hamilton may have opened in 2015, but it reached a fever pitch in 2016. A month after winning 11 Tonys, four of the OG cast members, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom Jr., Ariana DeBose and the maestro himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda, took their final bows. Saying goodbye to one OBC actor is hard enough, but four is even more difficult if you’re HamilTrash. Luckily, a live stream was provided and we were able to watch as their tears synced with our own. The kicker? Alex Lacamoire stealthily adding in The West Wing theme for number one fan Lin (I lit’rally just rewatched that on mute and I’m STILL crying over Chris Jackson pushing Lin back out to take his own bow).

Best Beyonce Live Performance of 2016: MTV VMAs

Beyonce was one of the shining lights of 2016 thanks to her kind of surprise album drop with Lemonade, but what made it epic was the entire HBO movie special she made as a vehicle for the new music. After going on her Formation tour (equally epic), she blessed us with a 20 minute performance of Lemonade on the VMAs. God. Is. Good.

Best Michelle Obama Speech of 2016: Democratic National Convention

We’re really going to miss all the Obamas, but Michelle has been such an inspiration to all women (and humans) during her reign as first lady. She is poised, classy, articulate, smart, compassionate, caring, funny, etc. etc. And while giving her speech at the DNC this summer to show support for HRC, she yet again left us in awe and tears, but mostly left us with something to aspire to – when they go low, we go high.

Best Carpool Karaoke of 2016: Adele

In what is arguably his best carpool karaoke yet, James Corden’s ride along with Adele has raked in over 143 million views since it was released last January, and it’s obvious why. Maybe because I’ve accounted for at least 43 million of those? Nah, probs because Adele is a badd ass bitch who raps Nick Minaj better than Nicki Minaj.

Best Political SNL Sketch of 2016: Hallelujah

The Worst Week of 2016 aka Election Week ended with the great Leonard Cohen dying (because #2016), and in what was reminiscent of the way they handled the first ep back after 9/11, SNL knew exactly how to bring meloncholy and levity to homes across the U.S., by having the wonderful Kate McKinnon, as Hillary Clinton, sing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Cue the tears.

Honorable MentionsMelaniade, Hillary Actually, Voters for Trump, Black Jeopardy with Tom Hanks, A Day Off (KellyAnne Conway)

Best SNL Non-Political Sketch of 2016: Haunted Elevator

Any questions?

Honorable Mentions: Christmas Candle, Crucible Cast Party, Wells for BoysTidal, Supermarket Spree (Cut for Time – ft. host Melissa McCarthy)

Best Mannequin Challenge of 2016: Black Lives Matter

I’m over the mannequin challenge (I was never under it), but this one was worth all the other silliness from everyone else.

Best Obama Girls Moment Of 2016: The Ryan Reynolds Double Thumbs Up

In this moment, I am somehow able to imagine what it would be like to be both a teenager attending my first state dinner and talking with a handsome male movie star, and the big sister of a teenager attending her first state dinner and talking with a handsome male movies star. Meet our era’s Schuyler sisters.

Best Bill Clinton Moment of 2016: Bill and Balloons

Forget what came after for a moment and just focus on Bill Clinton, the man who served as leader of the free world for eight years, still getting a kick out of balloons … and even more of a kick out of his wife’s presidential bid.

Honorable Mention: When you could see Bill mouth the words “that’s my girl” during Hillary’s concession speech, or his death grip on Chelsea’s husband during Chelsea’s speech at the DNC. You know what? They’re all winners.

Best Olympics Moment of 2016: Michael Phelps’ One Last Timerio-olympics-michael-phelps-39d4425bd7852cb5

It feels like so long ago now, but 2016 was a Summer Olympics year, our favorite TV/sporting spectacle and feel-good obsession. Nobody made us prouder to be Americans that golden boy Michael Phelps, who did his last Olympics right by earning his 23rd gold medal.

Honorable Mentions: So many! The Final Five’s overall brilliance – how much do we love Simone and Laurie?! – and Katie Ledecky’s astonishing performance, and the US and NZ runners who helped each other finish after crashing on the track … we could keep going.

Best children’s movie for adults of 2016: Zootopia

Zootopia was great: funny, clever, touching, and with a really beautiful and necessary message. I went with kids, but I would have gone as a single adult just as proudly.

Honorable Mention: The Secret Life Of Pets

Best new Netflix series – drama of 2016: Stranger Things

Stranger Things gripped audiences nationwide with its loving tribute to the 80s horror/children’s adventure film, but it did it in a singularly modern way as a short, streaming series. The series spawned memes, catchphrases, national sweethearts (Barb!), a whole lot of Halloween costumes, and the coolest troop of child actors around.

Honorable Mentions: The OA (possibly my best, but I’m only halfway through it); The Get Down

Best new Netflix series – documentary of 2016: 13th

It’s not exactly a secret that Ava Duvernay is a fantastic filmmaker, but she did something really special with 13th. She took an issue most Americans who are paying attention already knew about – the consistent and disproportional incarceration of black men used as a type of modern servitude in the prison industrial complex – and presented it in a clear, gripping, impossible-to-ignore way.

Best New TV Series That Your Mom Would Like Too of 2016: This Is Us

We love This Is Us. So do most of our friends (30-somethings). So do a lot of older baby boomers we know. This series appeals to the nostalgia of young(-ish) adults who grew up in the 70s –  90s, as well as their parents who were raising kids at that time. It’s not a cheap nostalgia trip, though. This Is Us is a relatable and incredibly touching family story for anyone who has siblings, or parents, or feelings. Plus, let’s not forget how they hooked us all in with that twist in the pilot.

Best Silly Meme of 2016: Arthur Fist 

Speaking of relatable, Arthur’s balled-up fist is relevant to as many life situations in 2016 as it was when you were 10.

Things I’m Willing To Believe About 2016

WOW. That was bad. 2016 was a really incredibly awful year. And it’s not over, either. Here are some totally fake – yet plausible- facts we’re willing to believe about 2016, along with a reminder that we still have over a week left in this dumpster fire of a year so any one of these might come true. See ya later, 2016. You’ve been terrible. We are now willing to believe the following:

9 out of 10 times a person has been taken to a bleak, dismal future Christmas by a Christmas Eve Ghost, it has been to 2016.

A new Texas regulation provides that you must throw annual birthday parties for your aborted fetus until it would have been 18 years old, complete with tiny party hats.*

Taylor Swift attempted to bring the three children from This Is Us into her squad but Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia shot that idea down real quick (TSwift then secretly tried to hit on Milo but to no avail).

Someone you know who really didn’t deserve to see Hamilton saw it before you.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took part in a hottest politicians who are also boxers calendar (for charity). He’s Mr. October.

Most popular Spotify playlist of 2016: Songs For When You Realize Every Human Is Pure Trash But Ran Out Of Alcohol And It’s 11pm And Can’t Get Tequila Delivered

Cool Pope Francis announced an initiative to upgrade all Catholic churches to stadium seating by 2025. This move gained acclaim from short Catholics who just want to see the damn pageant. Vatican spokesperson Monsignor Vincent Deeney clarified, “we’re still weird about, you know, gay stuff and women stuff.”

Olympic figure skater and eternal meme Ashley Wagner helped Team North America win the gold medal at the inaugural 2016 KOSÉ Team Challenge Cup, but hit headlines with teammate Gracie Gold after they partied a little too hard after all-night partying in Spokane, Washington. They made a pit stop at a local Taco Bell, where they claimed they were harassed by a group of teenage girls who were eager to pick a fight with them in the parking lot. Ashley immediately took to Snapchat to tell her followers what happened, but many fans noted she looked very inebriated when ranting and threatening to press charges over the girls’ alleged actions. The story made its way to mainstream media, and she had to clarify to the press the next day that she made the entire story up and was so drunk she didn’t even remember posting to Snapchat. Or going to Taco Bell (where there was video surveillance of her and Gracie doing their routine in the parking lot and talking to a wall). Ashley later competed in Worst Cook In America: Celebrity Edition.*

When asked how to explain rising sea levels and melting polar ice caps if not by global climate change, oil chaplain Pastor Eddie Vaughn replied “easy, y’all are making God cry.”

Little known fact: the person who started the creepy clown trend is the grandson on Bozo the Clown.

Banking on the success of Fuller House, Amazon Prime has ordered a full season of Family Matterings. It features an adult Laura, her husband Keith Mattering, and their children dealing with the nerdy kid next door whose dad is – you guessed it – Stefan Urquell (who never managed to change back to Steve Urkel). Test audience reactions included feedback like “not technically good,” “I can’t stop watching even though I want to,” and “needs more winking into the camera.”

Nationwide, iris recognition identification has been failing at alarming rates. Biometric engineer Freidrich Martens has determined that the algorithm doesn’t account for the “gleam of sadness,” “overall loss of hope” or “diminishing light” in many Americans’ eyes.

The mom from the Waltons died on Easter.* , *

With Thanksgiving occurring only weeks after the most contentious election in recent memory, hospitals faced a 90% spike in injuries from “aggressive wishbone pulls.” Dr. Jake Richmond of the Cleveland Clinic reflected, “it’s almost like these fights weren’t really about the wishbone at all.”

According to a recent poll, 87% of Trump voters believe that Hillary Clinton’s house has a dungeon where crisis actors live preparing to stage 5-10 mass shootings a year.*, *

The number of 2016 celebrity deaths is so high that Academy Awards and Grammy producers are considering putting the In Memorium in a separate broadcast so the show doesn’t run over.

Internet OTP Zalfie aka Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes aka Zoella and Pointless Blog optioned the rights to their YouTube channels to the Pop Network, and now they’re working on a pilot for a scripted series about two vloggers who fall in love. TBD on if they’re also starring in it.

One of your college friends who never cared a ton about Prince or David Bowie wrote a long, navel-gazing reflection on the death of Prince or David Bowie.

Dove Cameron accidentally revealed the identity of her new boyfriend on her Insta story after taking a selfie in the mirror, where she had a photobooth pic up of her kissing her new man.

A reboot of one of your favorite shows completely excised the soul of the show. It was a shell of its former self. (Does not apply to Gilmore Girls. At least we had that.)

A young journalist from Northern Virginia has earned upwards of a quarter-million dollars in YouLogy, a database where celebrities can access, vet and fact-check the pre-written obituaries major news outlets have on file for them. The company expects to go public by the end of 2017.

The Onion has completely given up on its entire M.O. after the high percentage rate of its fake headlines started becoming real. Now they’re more hard hitting than The New York Times.

“Julie Andrews alive please” and “Bill Murray not dead RIGHT” were both trending autocomplete searches.

After the election, someone told you one of the following statements:

  • The sun will still rise tomorrow.
  • We’ve been through worse than this.
  • I don’t understand why people are protesting.
  • We need to wait and see what happens before we get upset.
  • Everybody is overreacting.

… and he was a white, straight Christian man.

16% of Trump supporters only voted for him because they’re really big The Apprentice fans. *

Speaking of which, DT announced he’s recruited George Ross, one of his two boardroom advisors on The Apprentice, as the ambassador to Genovia.

A group of magicians in Walla Walla, Washington decided to do their respective tricks when filming the mannequin challenge, but it went awry when someone’s fire caught on to the extra-long handkerchief chain hanging from the sleeve of the illusionist next to him. He luckily only walked away with burnt pride, but it was all caught on camera.

The cast of the OG Scream movie celebrated its 20th anniversary by holding a “house party at Stu’s” for die hard fans of the film. There was even a photo booth where you could fake your death in a garage door.

Trump just found out he’s been in cahoots with a robot Vladimir Putin like on Westworld for all these years.

In August, the Prep School Pussy-Grabber made headlines when he went to trial for kidnapping housecats across his  Connecticut neighborhood; at least 36 cats have yet to be recovered, but it doesn’t look great for them. Judge Wallace Wenthill released the Ivy League-bound teen without punishment because “those cats should have stayed indoors” and also “he was an Ivy League-bound teen.”

The bad news is your company went to a mega-high deductible health insurance plan; the good news is you met it because you had a bunch of weird health stuff.

World Book Encyclopedia, which still exists, is locked in a heated debate regarding the featured image for its article on the year 2016. Top contenders are the Arthur fist meme, a dumpster fire, and a rat eating a cockroach as a predatory pigeon swoops down on the both of them.

White House photographers caught a picture of Donald Trump’s list of ideal cabinet picks when he visited President Obama. Items included “Ivanka in a wig, nobody will know” and “an immigrant who hates himself.”