2017 was a bit of a mess politically and socially. Trump’s tirades, several terrorist attacks, and an onslaught of sexual assault allegations were just some of the difficult moments we faced on a global scale this year. Although it’s important to find a balance between caring enough for the world’s struggles and taking note of your own self care, I’ve always loved entertainment and pop culture because of the relief they provide from sad or negative things.
Despite all of its negativeness, 2017 had plenty of moments that made me happy. I wanted to share my favorite pop culture moments of the year, so get ready to go down memory lane!
1) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get engaged
Guys, this love story is a made-for-TV movie come to life! But, seriously, I’m hoping for another perfectly cheesy Lifetime flick about them a la William and Kate. Until recent months, I never knew much about Meghan Markle, but I definitely liked the sound of her and her relationship with Harry. After watching their adorable engagement interview, it’s clear that they’re truly in love and that Meghan has already begun a seamless-looking transition into royal life. Try not to smile watching that interview.
2) Hoda Kotb becomes a mother
When I think of brave women, Hoda is one who instantly comes to mind. She’s survived a divorce, breast cancer, and once settling for the reality that she was never going to have biological children. Not only did I get emotional when she announced her adoption of a baby early this year, I definitely cried when she returned to TODAY and talked more about the decision to make the dream of motherhood come true in her fifties. Good things just don’t happen to genuinely good people enough, so Hoda’s journey with her baby girl really just thrills and inspires me.
3) William and Kate are expecting Baby #3
I was desperately hoping for this to happen, and it seemed like every British press outlet believed a third Cambridge baby would never happen because of the family’s move to London and William and Kate taking on more royal duties. The idea that a new baby will arrive one month and Harry and Meghan will get married the next is so exciting. Who doesn’t think about how ecstatic Diana would be in times like these?
4) Aaron Tveit sings the national anthem at a Yankees playoff game
I don’t think I’ve fully expressed my love for Aaron Tveit on this blog very much. Needless to say, the man has been my most consistent celebrity crush since I was 17 and first saw him in the Les Mis movie (I won’t count my thing for Jimmy Stewart as the longest lasting this time). That led me to discovering his theater background just in time to see his career take off with TV shows, a live televised musical, and him joining social media. If you read anything about this guy, you can probably tell how pure-hearted he is and, dare I say, what an old soul he is. I’ve had my fingers crossed for his return to Broadway for years, but seeing him perform the national anthem at a Yankees game this fall was a lovely holdover. Plus, he has an incredible head of hair.
5) Mindy Kaling is pregnant
I’ve said this before, but Mindy Kaling is one of my heroes. Like with Hoda, I always admired her for powering through with a fulfilling, great career when creating a family life wasn’t working out. Now that she’s doing more film acting and producing shows, I’m thrilled for her finally having this moment, especially since she’s talked about wanting it in the past.
6) Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty screw up at the Oscars
Honestly, we should’ve taken this as a sign of how weird and unpredictable 2017 would become. Clearly, Hollywood was always meant to have a crazy year, and while this turned out to be the most innocent scandal in the film world this year, it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime incident.
7) Sterling K. Brown wins an Emmy
This footage was always a little cringe-worthy because of Sterling’s speech getting cut off, and now it’s a little extra icky because Kevin Spacey pops up, but I just loved this moment for Sterling’s victory and the exchange between him and Milo Ventimiglia (and he did get to finish his speech backstage). I can’t be the only who feels so attached to actors when they play characters that continuously tug at your heartstrings and make you cry. I was rooting for Sterling so badly, and like with Hoda, it was just another example of good people getting good things.
8) PBS and BBC announce a new Little Women adaptation
Little Women is such a perfect classic novel, and I adore the 1994 film, but I was so excited for the announcement of a PBS miniseries adaptation. And this cast! I love that they cast relatively unknown actresses as the sisters, but the adult cast is on fire – Angela Lansbury as Aunt March and Michael Gambon as Mr. Laurence, guys! I can’t wait for this to premiere next year.
9) Peter Kraus wins over my heart on The Bachelorette
I’ve never been into the Bachelor franchise as much as I was this past summer. I covered Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette for Her Campus and had a hilarious group chat for it with three college friends. While most of our conversations were basically all of us drooling over runner-up Peter, we also had deep discussions about race and relationships based on moments on the show. Like most Bachelorette contestants, Peter’s intentions have come across as a little sketchy post-show, but for the few weeks that the season aired, he was essentially Prince Charming. Crushing on a Bachelorette guy is a favorite summer tradition of mine, and Peter was a worthy fling for the time being.
10) Austin the bartender dominates Jeopardy
I’m a huge Jeopardy nerd, and one of my favorite parts about living back at home has definitely been getting to watch it with my dad almost every night after dinner. Earlier this fall, the victorious reign of quirky New York bartender Austin Rogers made the show particularly enjoyable. I live for Alex Trebek’s snarky moments with contestants, and he finally seemed to meet his match in the delightfully odd Austin. Just a few weeks after he was finally bested, he was back on the show for the annual Tournament of Champions, ending up in a pretty entertaining final with Buzzy Cohen (who may be my new nerdy crush, because I’m obsessed with his Twitter) and Alan Lin. Someone even made a highlights reel of Austin on YouTube. Not only did James Corden dedicate a segment to him, but he’s even friends with Jimmy Fallon and appeared on his show. You have to be a pretty special Jeopardy contestant to make it on late night!
What about you? What pop culture moments made you smile this year?