Less than 12 hours away from the dawn of 2017 here in the United States, many people have one question in mind when recapping the past year of scandals, politics, and batsh*t-crazy moments—wtf? There has been a lot of controversy and mud-slinging these last 12 months and most people would like to forget this year even existed. But before we wipe #Election2016 and Harambe memes from our memories, let’s recap some of the most dramatic moments of 2016.
1. RIP Harambe
Nobody really understands why a gorilla, who was killed in May at a zoo in Cincinnati after a young boy fell in his cage, has become an object of internet obsession. Many animal rights activists were upset by the zoo’s decision to shoot the beautiful beast, but the dark holes of the internet took it to a whole other level. Harambe took over social media in the form of memes, launched a collection of products, and even gained 11,000 votes in the presidential election. Harambe’s legacy as a legend of internet stardom exemplifies the internet’s wacky idea of humor in 2016.
2. Everyone Went Crazy for Hamilton
A musical about Alexander Hamilton seems like a snooze, but throw in some rap battles and killer lyrics and the whole country will go nuts! The show, written and directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, gained so much fame that it’s sold out until next year. Not even One Direction could sell out that many shows. Celebs the likes of Michelle Obama are obsessed (although Trump and Pence aren’t huge fans). The creators of the musical released a Hamilton mixtape, starring A-list musicians like The Roots, Usher, and Alicia Keys. Will this trend of combining history and entertainment into a musical sensation continue? We hope so.
3. The Brangelina Split
2016 seemed like the ultimate year of breakups and broken hearts. The most shocking of all was the end of power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Brangelina, as they were affectionately called, had been together since 2006 after Brad said “see ya” to then girlfriend Jennifer Aniston. They adopted and had 6 children together and Brad officially put a ring on it in 2014. The split came as a shock to everyone, including Brad himself. The whole country mourned the end of such a powerful love story. Will 2017 help us believe in love again?
With our own controversial election on our minds, some Americans didn’t really think Brexit was going to change much. That is until the whole world, including many Brits, realized the consequences of the historic vote. The Brexit referendum decided that Great Britain would leave the European Union, causing member countries like Austria and Belgium to give it major side-eye. No one really expected this to happen (sound familiar, America?), and the decision helped solidify 2016 as a year of wtf-just-happened political decisions.
5. Pokémon GO Got People Outside (Kind of)
When people should have been outside enjoying the sun this summer, everyone was glued to their phones on the hunt for Pokémon instead. Suddenly, people were deciding where to eat, sleep, and hang out based on whether it was a Pokéstop. Stadiums began hosting huge Pokémon Go days, some people went to pretty extreme lengths to catch ‘em all, and the game was even banned in several countries, like Saudi Arabia, which issued a fatwa against it.
6. Kim K Was Robbed at Gunpoint
The Kardashians are always on the news, but in October their publicity took a dark turn when Kim was robbed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel room. The scandal unraveled over several weeks as new witnesses and information came to light while Kim hid from the paparazzi. People were surprised that a celebrity who is constantly surrounded by an entourage and big strong bodyguards could be the victim of such a heist. The most shocking part of this story? How Kim’s traumatic experience became a sick joke about wealthy women. This certainly was a big year for the Kardashians—but probably not their best.
7. The Cubs Broke the Curse
If you’re from Chicago, this was easily the highlight of your year. Scratch that—your life. After not winning a World Series in 108 years (yes, you read that correctly), the Cubs took the Indians to a 7-game series—and won. The final game was even the most watched baseball game since 2004 and it was a classic tale of the underdog team rising to the top. Plus, the videos of cute old men getting so excited about their final win that they cried helped even non-baseball fans feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
8. Samsung Gave Us Exploding Phones
Apple’s main competitor exploded—and not in a good way. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which was becoming more and more popular, suddenly became a safety hazard as the phone started spontaneously combusting. Not exactly what people mean when they said they want the “hottest” phone. The phones became so dangerous that they’ve even been banned on most major airlines. While Samsung suffered, America laughed at those who hadn’t joined the iPhone revolution.
9. The Election of the Century
This is easily the most insane part of the past year. No matter who you voted for, I think we can all agree that the 2016 presidential election had more aggression, allegations, and Twitter feuds than any election in the history of the United States. Obviously Twitter didn’t exist in the 1800s but still, sh*t hit the fan. And the results were even crazier. Mainly because pollsters were so far off the mark in projecting that Hillary would win by a landslide. Whether or not this is the new norm of the American political arena, this election really captures the roller coaster that was 2016.
Here’s to a calmer, more loving year in 2017! And in the words of John Oliver, f*ck 2016.
by Allie Lewandowski