Peaks & pits of 2018-19 pop culture

The Lifestyle Editors discuss the best and worst of this year’s pop culture

Josh and Ally are pop culture experts.
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The 2018-19 year in pop culture has been nothing short of eventful. From band reunions to star-studded scandals, each week has brought something new to gab about. 

It’s time we break down the year’s most important moments in pop culture, both good and bad. 

Peaks

Jonas Brothers are back

Ally: Like three drool-worthy phoenixes rising from the ashes, the Jonas Brothers have returned to bless us all with their sweet tunes. Although a lot has changed over the six years since their 2013 split, the JoBros still put smiles on the faces of young girls everywhere. Clearly, I’m still a “Sucker” for them. 

Josh: Some critics have tried to rain on the band’s reunion parade by calling their new single a rip-off of the band Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still.” But when most pop songs already sound like musical cousins, we can't fault the Jonas Brothers for giving us another good version of a great song.

Captain Marvel makes history

A: I’ll be the first to admit I chose to watch Five Feet Apart in lieu of Captain Marvel last weekend. That said, I’m ecstatic that Brie Larson brought her acting chops to Marvel’s latest superhero film, showing girls everywhere that women can kick ass. Though I haven’t seen it yet, the flick is on my 2019 must-watch list. 

J: Captain Marvel finally gave young girls and women everywhere a leading Marvel superhero they could see themselves in. The next step is creating more representations of female superheroes so that girls can grow up with just as many diverse and fearless role models as boys.

Netflix revives the classic rom-com

A: Netflix has been a kind and reliable friend to me over the past year. It’s provided me with a slew of new romantic comedies I can watch whenever I’m in need of a quick escape from reality. The platform’s rom-com revival has also introduced the world to Noah Centineo, who will continue to grace our screens in Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 2 and The Perfect Date.

J: There was a sizeable stretch of time where our society forgot the value of a classically structured rom-com. There’s an immensely comforting quality that comes with knowing a movie will have a happy ending. Netflix understood this and brought the genre back with increased diversity and wacky meet-cutes, creating various crowd-pleasers along the way.

Pits

Mac Miller passes away

A: The world was shocked when Mac Miller died abruptly at the age of 26 in September. His death came at a time when he was poised for a new tour, a growing fanbase, and a musical breakthrough. 

J: At the time of his death, Miller had just released his fifth album, Swimming. The work was a thoughtful ode to the gradual process of healing, and included some of his best work. It’s devastating we’ll never get to see Miller reach the end of that process, but he left some amazing music to keep us company.

College bribery scandal

A: Actress Lori Loughlin—better known as her Full House persona, Aunt Becky—let us all down last month. As one of the major stars who paid big bucks to get her daughters into college, she showed the world that money talks even when it really shouldn’t. Going forward, we can only hope that universities revise their admission processes to better reflect students’ hard work, not their bank accounts.    

J: The various components of March’s admissions scandal make it seem more like an SNL skit than news. There are bribes, rowing teams, courtroom drama, and even a castmate from Desperate Housewives. The whole ordeal is equal parts entertaining and disappointing, showing that even processes specifically designed to ignore its applicants’ financial statuses are still susceptible to corruption.

Facebook raises security concerns

A: If I’m being honest, I mentally left Facebook in 2012. Though I still have the account I made in sixth grade, I don’t know the ins-and-outs of the platform like I used to. But, just like other users, the thought of my information being quietly stored and shared gives me the willies. Hopefully, the platform will find a solution that takes everyone’s best interests into account.  

J: I’ve also slowly backed away from Facebook in recent years, which makes it even more troubling that the social media outlet was continuing to exploit my data. From its executives downplaying privacy issues to letting Netflix read personal messages, Zuckerberg and company seriously lost my trust in their site—though I wouldn’t mind having some better tailored show recommendations.

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