BSR Web Staff: Favorites of 2016
Written by Web Staff on December 31, 2016
In our final collaborative piece of the year, the Black Squirrel Radio web staff wanted to highlight some of their favorite pieces of pop culture this year. With no limits on topic, several web writers acknowledge the media and pop culture figures that made 2016 a little more bearable.
Conor Battles: 2016 was a year in dire need of escapism. Whether it was the evening news, the deaths of so many beloved celebrities, or the Cleveland Browns, there was a lot of ugliness to go around this year. Thankfully, one man with a soccer mom’s haircut and a pair of really cool gloves was there to drop a Phenomenal Forearm on 2016’s worst. Wrestling is kind of dumb at times, but also kind of great at other times. When AJ Styles, one of the greatest technical wrestlers to ever step into the ring, made his WWE debut this year, there was a very good chance that the world’s largest (and frequently lamest) sports entertainment company would squander his red-hot potential. Thankfully, these fears went totally unfounded, as his performance since then both in the ring and on the mic made for some of the best entertainment to be found anywhere this year. The man hit a springboard 450 through a table with his ass literally tearing a hole through his tights and still looked incredible. And in a year so densely packed with bad news, it’s satisfying to see that at least one thing can be so, well, phenomenal.
The release of Formation
Akii Butler: The beginning of 2016 belonged to none other than the Queen herself, Beyoncé. In February Queen Bey pulled, well a Queen Bey and released her lead single “Formation”. The release of this song caused so much controversy and it didn’t help that she put on a showstopping performance of it at the Superbowl. This lead to many conservatives whining on national tv and that itself was a blessing
My Brother, My Brother and Me 286: Coyotes Ate Our Dad
Erik Svensson: My Brother, My Brother and Me is described as “an advice show for the modern era” at the beginning of each episode, usually directly after a disclaimer tells listeners to never follow the advice of the three hosts, Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. The introduction also rightly warns listeners that kids should NOT listen to the podcast, especially this episode. It is one of the funniest episodes of the year, featuring the brothers’ answering audience questions about surprise parties and dealing with old people at banks, and answer Yahoo questions about sending memes to girls and a coyote who wants nothing more than to be a dad to some terrible boys. It is my favorite piece of media of the year because of the pure joy the McElroys manage to bring into the world, often through gross and nonsensical interpretations of the questions sent in to them.
“Closer” The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey
Erin Keller: “Closer” is no doubt THE catchiest song of 2016. The T-Mass remix is also gold. The Chainsmokers and Halsey faced criticism for their pitchy MTV Video Music Awards performance, but seemed to redeem themselves with the help of Travis Barker at the American Music Awards.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Brooke Forrest: I’m sure many would agree that 2016 was one of the worst years on record. With continual mass tragedy and an election season that was so absurd it still doesn’t feel real, the world needed some escapism. There was luckily a lot of worthy entertainment in music, film and television but sometimes what we really need is some harsh truths in our entertainment. Luckily we got the hero we needed in Samantha Bee and her new show, Full Frontal. Bee should be familiar to many political comedy fans; she was a Daily Show vet and one of the longest running correspondents in the show’s history. In my opinion, she was the obvious choice to take over after Jon Stewart’s departure, but much like every other office, her male counterparts were able to come and go – ending up with their own shows or being promoted to in-term or full time Daily Show hosts. Bee ended up being that faithful backbone taken for granted, but after seeing her take the lead in her own program, it is apparent she’s long been ready for this gig. Since the very first show her justifiable anger, coated in biting humor and legitimate information, has been an important voice of reason in a year that we really needed it. Her wit was able to traverse an election cycle that stumped ‘serious’ journalists. Much like her fellow political comedians, she is openly more on the liberal side, but on Full Frontal no candidate was totally safe. She sought to treat all sides with the frustration and judgement they deserve without that bogus version of being free from bias by treating unequal people as equals. The current landscape of political satire has some strong suits – John Oliver is the closest competitor to Bee, creating some truly impressive and always hilarious in-depth pieces on highly important topics – but Bee is something else entirely. Her show delivers the best of all worlds, with some of the most absurd and impressive correspondent pieces and interviews from a much needed perspective. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is exactly what the world needed in 2016 and I look forward to her sharp commentary for years to come.