The Pop Culture We’re Most Thankful For This Year

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

This week:

While I eat 47 slices of pie on this holiday, my Daily Beast’s Obsessed and entertainment team colleagues have graciously stepped in to offer their picks for the pop culture they’re most grateful for this year. I am also very thankful for them. Happy Thanksgiving!

My Daytime Girls

I don’t know if I would have made it through this year without my best friends, Kelly Clarkson and Drew Barrymore. I remember when both of their daytime talk shows were announced. As much as I love them both, they seemed like random choices as hosts. I should never have doubted them. Clarkson’s “Kellyoke” performances are like little hugs from God every day, and her enthusiasm with her guests is infectious. On Barrymore’s show, meanwhile, I rarely have any idea what’s going on. It’s all so silly, and yet shockingly emotional. It’s the kind of well-intentioned chaos that’s fitting for our time.

– Kevin Fallon

Trying

I admittedly did not start watching the first season of this delightfully sweet and uplifting—and yet still somehow laugh-out-loud hilarious—British comedy until the third season was premiering on Apple TV+ (thanks to a recommendation from Obsessed’s Kevin Fallon). But once I did, I couldn’t stop, mostly because it was such a calming respite from the horrors happening elsewhere on TV and in the real world. As a messy couple trying to get their act together enough to adopt a child (or two!), Rafe Spall and Esther Smith are pitch-perfect in their roles. But the biggest joy is seeing Imelda Staunton get the chance to be a much fuller human as their relentlessly optimistic adoption agent Penny than she ever gets to be as the Queen in Season 5 of The Crown.

– Matt Wilstein

Jackass Forever

2022 has provided few avenues of escape from horrible news, so it was with great joy that we were able to welcome Johnny Knoxville and his merry band of pranksters back into our lives courtesy of Jackass Forever, the fourth installment in the troupe’s long-running franchise-de-inanity. A joint production between Knoxville and his old-guard buddies and a new generation of injury-courting daredevils, director Jeff Tremaine’s sequel didn’t try to break new ground or forward any socio-political agenda. Instead, it simply reveled—as before—in the sheer, unadulterated recklessness and absurdity of its cast of characters, who risked life, limb and valuable private parts in comedy bits that were as mad as they were hilarious. The Theater of Cruelty has rarely been this disgusting, demented, and deliriously entertaining.

– Nick Schager

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The Garvey Sisters from Bad Sisters

Bad Sisters is the most underrated delight of the year. For all of us only children, Sharon Horgan’s black comedy excelled at making us all jealous of the loving bond between siblings—especially when they come together to take down the worst in-law of all time. This holiday season, I’ll be longing for Christmas with the Garvey sisters, gossiping about the recently deceased Prick while having healthy pours of red wine. If you’re struggling to stay cheery with a tricky relative while visiting home for the holidays, Bad Sisters will remedy that by giving you the best advice of all: Just kill them! Easy, peasy. Gather your four smartest family members and murder the black sheep of the family. It’s not that hard, right?

– Fletcher Peters

Chris Pine Rolling His Eyes Through Venice Film Festival

Has anyone captured ennui quite like Chris Pine sleepwalking through Don’t Worry Darling’s press circuit at the Venice Film Festival? They have not. It started with those photos of him snoozing and rolling his eyes toward the sun while wearing a headset and looking like a delegate to the UN. It peaked with spit-gate, in which the world looked at videos and photos of his acting-challenged co-star sitting next to him and (maybe? possibly? most definitely not, actually?) spitting on him. What was Chris Pine thinking through all this? “Get me out of here,” perhaps? “Yes, worry, darling”? If quiet quitting is the trend of 2022, Chris Pine is its best mascot.

– Laura Bradley

The Vow Season 2

At this point, the NXIVM story has been swallowed, digested and nearly expelled—only to be regurgitated at the last minute—by premium networks in search of an unchewed morsel in the pile of ejecta that was “Executive Success Programs” and its related groups. There was last year’s incessant trial coverage of cult leader Keith Raniere, who was eventually sentenced to 120 years in prison for running a sex cult masquerading as a life/business/volleyball coaching service. There was a Showtime show, I guess. And now there’s Season 2 of The Vow, which manages to excavate new lows of human behavior. We learn about a woman in her early twenties who was brainwashed into staying in a room for two years as “punishment” for kissing a man other than Raniere. She did it, even though the door was unlocked the whole time. How terrible. And then I watch the next episode.

– Adam Manno

Britney Spears’ Full Year of Freedom

I know some haters and conspiracy theorists and body shamers will keep arguing that Britney Spears’ social media presence is too weird, too unstable, and too messy to believe everything’s OK in her world. Who knows if that’s true, but as a forever Britney fan, I’m choosing to celebrate the wins from her full year as a free woman following the end of her 13-year conservatorship last November. She got married this year! She scored a book deal this year! She danced to one of her best deep cuts, “Get Naked,” this year! And, for heaven’s sake, she released new music this year (“Hold Me Closer” with Elton John, which is her highest-charting single in a decade)! May 2023 be even better and brighter for Brit—she deserves it.

– Madeline Roth

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The r/Deuxmoi Subreddit

Deuxmoi is over—or at least, “she” should be. The celebrity gossip Instagram account, which posts user-submitted, anonymously sourced rumors and sightings, is a lesson in how not to do journalism. Not that the woman behind Deuxmoi is a journalist; she’s just a no-name with incredibly boring cultural taste and a terrible podcast. But I need to get my gossip fix somewhere, which is why I’m thankful for Deuxmoi’s unaffiliated subreddit. Also known as r/Fauxmoi, r/Deuxmoi is a place where users can critique the account’s badly curated posts while also having intelligent, provocative, and snarky conversations about what’s going on in celeb culture. It’s a well-run rumor mill as much as it is a gigantic group chat with your savviest friends—the real Deuxmoi could never.

– Allegra Frank

The Bonafide Lohanaissance Over a Decade in the Making

Exactly 10 years ago, those of us who grew up falling in love with the onscreen charms of Lindsay Lohan were strapping in for her her latest film. It was a little Lifetime network stinker called Liz & Dick that premiered the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2012. There was a point when we all genuinely thought it was due to be her major comeback after years of public-facing personal and legal woes. Needless to say, it was merely an awful campsterpiece. We watched Lohan attempt this again and again through the years, her re-ascension never quite taking off because of her proclivity to get in her own way. But after stepping away from the public eye in 2019, Lohan made a genuine return with Falling for Christmas. It might be a cheesy Netflix film, but its press tour—with Lohan looking healthy, happy, and serving look after designer look styled by celeb stylist Law Roach—was the holiday miracle we’ve (OK, maybe just me) been waiting on for a decade.

– Coleman Spilde

“Lavender Haze” by Taylor Swift

Call me basic! I’m grateful for one of the most popular songs on the most popular album on the planet right now, Midnights. I’m slightly embarrassed that “Lavender Haze” is my favorite track on the album—which I believe has 57 songs in total—given that it’s the first song. It makes it seem like I haven’t listened to the entire LP multiple times. But something about the distorted ad libs, Swift’s subtly impressive vocal performance, and the way the song pulsates makes me return to it more than either other track. The lyrics “get it off your chest/get it off my desk” also enter my brain randomly at least three times a day. Despite some of the flack she receives, I love the sound of hip hop/R&B-influenced, Reputation-era Taylor Swift, and I hope she sticks to it for the next four albums.

– Kyndall Cunningham

What to watch this week:

Welcome to Chippendales: A wilder story than you’d expect! (Now on Hulu)

Gossip Girl: Don’t make fun of me, but I actually like this reboot. (Thurs. on HBO Max)

Bones and All: Timothée Chalamet is a very sexy cannibal. (Now in theaters)

What to skip this week:

Wednesday: Just watch Addams Family Values instead. (Now on Netflix)

Willow: Yet another disappointing revival. (Wed. on Disney+)

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This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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