Remember When: A walk through the pop culture of the last 4 years

In the summer of 2016, Pokémon GO took us all by storm and got us outside and exercising on our quests to “catch them all.” (Photo via Flickr Creative Commons)

In the summer of 2016, Pokémon GO took us all by storm and got us outside and exercising on our quests to “catch them all.” (Photo via Flickr Creative Commons)

Assuming you never stepped on the seal and you’ve been in college for just four years, you started all the way back in the year  2015, when “Hotline Bling” was just becoming popular. It may not seem like that long ago, but when you think about all the things that have happened since then, in your own life and in the world of pop culture, all the trends really start to add up. As you graduate, “Old Town Road” may be playing in the background as your fellow graduates whisper “Endgame” spoilers, so taking a look back at the pop culture of the past four years may be a breath of fresh air and a nice stroll down memory lane.

2015

Jon Snow’s death

Right before you started college you may have been reeling from the death of Jon Snow. One of the most famous “Game of Thrones” cliffhangers of all time, fans had to wait a solid 10 months to learn that Jon wouldn’t really be leaving the show, but rather would be revived to become a contender for the Iron Throne.

Caitlyn Jenner

Bruce Jenner’s Olympic career may have been before our time, but when Caitlyn interviewed with Diane Sawyer we all quickly learned who she was and who she had been. Changing representation for the transgender community dramatically, she dominated conversations surrounding the LGBTQ+ community.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Just one of many franchise reboots we’ve seen recently, “Star Wars” took the leap, bringing back old characters and introducing new ones, giving our generation its own unique piece of the “Star Wars” legacy.

2016

“Hamilton”

After Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit captured the attention of history nerds and theater geeks, everyone else got on board with it, too. Winning 11 Tony awards, this hip-hop-heavy, historical-yet-diverse musical had everyone scrambling for tickets and gave a new meaning to that guy on the $10 bill.

Pokémon GO

Remember that one summer when you would just see random groups of people wandering around in parks and the streets and the woods looking for gyms? Something most of us may have associated with childhood and trading cards, “Pokémon” made a real comeback that nobody could stop talking about.

Ryan Lochte

That was the same summer when Rio de Janeiro hosted the Olympics. Everybody’s eyes were on the American women’s gymnastics team, Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky. Meanwhile, Lochte told everyone he had been robbed at gunpoint, which turned out to be an embarrassing and confusing lie.

Bonus events: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt broke up, Kim Kardashian actually was robbed at gunpoint in Paris, Beyoncé released “Lemonade,” Leonardo DiCaprio finally earned that Oscar, David Bowie and Prince died, “Full House” and “Gilmore Girls” came back, Harambe, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series and Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump became an SNL sensation.


2017

“La La Land” at the Oscars

After winning an obnoxious number of other awards, “La La Land” winning Best Picture didn’t really seem like a big deal. The real shock came halfway through victory speeches when confusion passed across the stage with whispers of “Moonlight” and we realized we’d been lied to; “Moonlight” was the real winner and they had just been dissed real hard.

Solar Eclipse

Summer of 2017, when you were doing that internship, or wasting time or bussing tables, everybody was probably talking a lot about the Great American Solar Eclipse. It was supposed to bring the country together, at least for a little bit, in a moment of natural beauty. Maybe it wasn’t that great in Connecticut, cause you had to wear those protective glasses in order to see anything unusual, but it was something for sure.

Kendall Jenner in the Pepsi commercial

Another big mistake from famous people, Pepsi tried to use Jenner as the face of resistance in a commercial. Using a rich white supermodel to represent the Black Lives Matter Movement or the Women’s Wave or any other movement about ending oppression seemed ironic to say the least. After immediate backlash, Pepsi pulled the ad.

“13 Reasons Why”

This was also the year we all got mad about the first season of “13 Reasons Why” coming out on Netflix. I mean, sure, everybody binged it, but immediately afterwards the critiques came hard and fast. Graphic sexual assault scenes and glorifying suicide isn’t always a great idea.

Bonus events: The first Women’s March took place in Washington D.C., Beyoncé announced her pregnancy like a true queen, “Wonder Woman” hit theaters, Taylor Swift came out with “Reputation,” Lady Gaga went wild at the Super Bowl halftime show, fidget spinners popped up everywhere and Ed Sheeran made his appearance on “Game of Thrones.”


2018

“Black Panther”

While “Infinity War” was also big for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2018, “Black Panther” was big outside of the MCU. The first Marvel movie to feature a predominantly black cast, “Black Panther” received a lot of positive hype for its cultural significance in addition to the fact that it was a great movie.

Yodeling Kid

If I had known as a kid that all you had to do to be famous was yodel in the aisles of Walmart, I’d be living a very different life right now. This kid’s iconic song earned him a place in our hearts, and at Coachella. There’s nothing like listening to the 10-hour EDM remix of this song while studying for finals.

IHOb

Perhaps one of the most clever marketing tricks of the decade, IHOP had us real spooked when it pretended for a while that they were changing their name to International House of Burgers. Luckily, this scare was just a false alarm, similar to Hawaii’s missile threat scare of the same year.

“Queer Eye” Reboot

There are few celebrities more loved than the Fab Five. When Jonathan, Antoni, Tan, Karamo and Bobby strutted onto Netflix to change the lives of other men for the better, they changed all of our lives for the better. While few people from our generation may actually remember the original “Queer Eye” series, this reboot fared very well.

Bonus Events: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married, Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande met and got engaged and broke up, kids started eating Tide Pods, some people heard “yanny” and some heard “laurel,” Ariana Grande released “Thank U, Next” and “The Incredibles 2” was incredible.


Alex Houdeshell is the Managing Editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.houdeshell@uconn.edu.