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The Year in Pop Culture

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It’s time to look back at the year that was. An era of couch tirades, runaway brides and paparazzi car crashes. A torrential year filled with disasters — the Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and Taradise and plenty of weathermen in raincoats to cover it all. Let’s look at the people, events and news coverage that dominated the pop culture/entertainment world.

There were several themes that rang through the year:

Celeb hookups. 2005 was filled with cinematic couplings that forced journalists into ever more confusing combinatiFans love when celebrities hook up with other celebrities. It is expected. How many stars can you think of who have non-showbiz partners these days? Even D-levelers Even D-levelers were pairing up like Kimberly Stewart and Talan from Laguna Beach.

Celebrity journalism run amok. This is the age of celebrity. There are more magazines, TV shows and Web sites devoted to the stars now than ever before. People are eating it up. We especially love when they are brought down to earth in pictures doing laundry or having meltdowns on VH1 “celebreality” programming. This is all good but the paparazzo needs to chill down (and slow down when driving) big-time. We can live without another picture of Lindsay Lohan entering a club.

Charity ‘R Us. “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” may become the quote of the year. Kanye West made it during the Hurricane Katrina relief telethon. As much as I love New Orleans (I grew up there) and wanted to help with the aid efforts, I can’t help feeling that it was very much pre-packaged. Like there is a template for relief that was created by 9/11 (telethon airing on all networks simultaneously), the Aids effort (in place of red ribbons, celebs wear magnolias to show they care) and hunger relief (an all-star benefit song ala “We are the World” but this time with Sharon Stone!?!)

Showy fashion. 2005 was filled with more ironic T-shirt slogans, furry boots, Jesus chains and other ostentatious “look at me” fashion. It’s like 13-year-old girls possess the minds of the world’s fashion designers.

The year of getting off. Not that way sicko, maybe it’s better worded as the year celebs beat the rap. Martha is freed and gets a TV show. Michael Jackson walks…all the way to Dubai. Robert Blake is good to go “cowboying” as he put it. Now if only Scott Peterson had been a sitcom star or former Mouseketeer.

Good TV. Not everything here has to be snarky, America’s TV in 2005 was excellent. Following on the success of scripted fare like Lost and Desperate Housewives, this year there was Rome, Over There, Grey’s Anatomy and Battlestar Galactica. All were first-rate entertainment worthy of comparison to anything on the big screen. With the launch of the video ipod, more on-demand options and TV on DVD there is a lot of quality and innovation within the TV world.

I will continue to recap 2005, because it was a good year. So good that I await its eventual retro return, probably in 2025 when it will be cool to listen to “Hollaback Girl” again or to remember “Dancing with the Stars” fondly. Meanwhile I will ponder some of the big questions that 2005 brought forth like what the hell happened to Dave Chappelle and why is Anderson Cooper suddenly all over my life?

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About Chip Ross

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Chip — This is a great start, but I’d love to see (at least) brief and specific examples of all the categories you mention. Who hooked up, who was on a tee-shirt, who showed us fashions and what were they, etc.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    This piece has been chosen as a Blogcritics.org Editor’s Pick of the Week, Celery Sticks and the Post-New Year Story Cornucopia edition, congrats!

    You’ve just earned yourself the right to nominate your favorite story (for the period of 1/4 – 1/10) for next week’s Editors’ Picks column. List the link, the story title, and the author in the comments area of this week’s column, and of course tell us why it deserves to be honored!

    Thanks and congrats again ~ EB

  • http://www.culturedrift.com Chip

    Yeah!! Thanks Eric and Editors. Sorry I never added to the column those examples you were seeking. Christmas euphoria took hold.

  • http://www.fotolog.com/butki13 Scott Butki

    Still?

    Great piece, Chip. Bookmarking it to read again when I’m more awake.

  • Scott Butki

    Great year in review piece.