Even before the results of the election, 2016 was a tough year. It seemed like every time you turned around, another important figure had died.
The artists we lost this year had an impact on a large number of people, from David Bowie, and Alan Rickman to Gary Marshall and Gene Wilder. Even beyond artists, we lost many other living legends. Morley Safer was a journalist who reported on the front lines of the Vietnam War and who later joined 60 Minutes. John Glenn was the first astronaut to orbit the Earth.
But despite most of this year being a dumpster fire of epic proportions, there were a few good shining moments and people that got me through.
All I could write or talk about this summer was Ghostbusters. It wasn’t even something I knew I needed. I watched the films when I was younger, but I never wanted to be a Ghostbuster or dressed up as one for Halloween or anything like that. But watching this film and seeing these women kick ass and take on the world, I was suddenly nine years old again and so desperately wanted to be a part of the team. Other female friends I talked to also had this experience while watching the film.
Plus it brings me to the second highlight of 2016.
Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones’ friendship
I watched a lot of the Ghostbusters press interviews and Leslie and Kate were always paired together. They are freaking hilarious and adorable and so supportive and complimentary of each other. It makes me so happy.
I mean, just look at them.
Okay, this is kind of cheating because Kate McKinnon goes on this list as well. But how could you not fall for her Hillary Clinton or Ruth Bader Ginsburg or her weird and wacky characters like the one in the alien abduction sketches or Olya Povlatsky.
This was the year of Kate McKinnon, after all, because she finally won that Emmy!
Okay, okay, we get it, Lauren. You love Kate McKinnon. Who doesn’t?
Fine, moving on.
Pamela Adlon’s Better Things
This show is so deceptively simple, but secretly multi-layered and darkly hilarious. It’s about life as a working mom, except Sam is no regular working mom, but an actress. There’s no glitz and glamour here, though. Instead, it shows the realities of raising three daughters, aging in Hollywood, dealing with elder parents, and generally being a woman in today’s society. Watch it. You won’t regret it.
Tig Notaro’s One Mississippi
I love television that is able to create a universe that you want to inhabit. For me, that’s not escapist fare like Game of Thrones or Westworld, but instead those shows that have a foot firmly planted in reality.
One Mississippi, created by Tig Notaro and based loosely on her life, is one of those shows. The odd thing about being attracted to these types of universes on television is that they are often occupied with completely fucked up people. (Transparent‘s Pfeffermans spring to mind.) Here, Tig struggles with her family’s history, namely her mother’s death and Tig’s own past abuses. She also struggles with her current family, mostly her stepfather Bill, who is closed off emotionally (and that’s an understatement.) While airing out the family’s dirty laundry, Tig seeks love and understanding, both romantic and familial. It’s these universal emotions and themes that make the show so relatable and inhabitable, as it were.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
There’s a lot of mixed opinions on this one, but I’m glad it happened. It was so nice to be able to return to Stars Hollow for a long weekend (a year in Gilmore time) and revisit these characters and this town that I’ve loved since I was 16.
Gilmore Girls is a show I often return to, because again, it’s got one of those universes that I wish I could actually inhabit. Sometimes I just watch an episode or two, as a pick me up. Sometimes for longer marathons and it always amazes me at how great the storytelling is here. The broken familial bonds between Richard and Emily and Lorelai are deep and the wounds still tender.
I honestly could go on and on about how I think Gilmore Girls is underestimated as a quirky show about a mom and daughter who have a close bond and drink a lot of coffee. It’s about a lot more than that.
I just finished Lauren Graham’s memoir and found it completely delightful as well. Would recommend for Gilmore Girls (and Parenthood) fans.
Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal
Serenity now. Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal has provided an amazing forum for her and a much needed place of solace for those looking for the next Daily Show or Colbert Report. I’d even go so far as to say that Sam has filled the Jon Stewart sized hole in our hearts.
One of my favorite sketches of hers was not even about the election, but this piece about the Seattle Seawards.
Thank you, Sam. Please don’t leave us for Canada.
Without a doubt, this year I am so proud of Hillary Clinton. As she’s said herself, she may not have broken that highest, hardest glass ceiling, but she’s broken so many in her 30 years of service to this country. I know she will keep fighting for us, even if she’s not in the White House.
She’s endured criticism for the past several decades and she hasn’t let it break her. This woman is made of fucking steel. I’m so proud to have voted for her.
Michelle Obama showed that her husband isn’t the only one with great oratorical skills. Her speech at the DNC this summer brought down the house. I know she has said that she’s not interested in a political career, but I wish she would reconsider. No matter what, I’m glad that we have the Obamas and Hillary Clintons of the world fighting for us. That makes me incredibly proud of our country.
Kamala Harris is the new California senator and after November, I’ve taken a lot of solace in her words. I know she will continue to fight for the values that so many Californians need. She is the second black woman (only the second black woman!) and first Indian American to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Ever since I was little, I’ve been a bookworm. I remember hiding under the daybed in our living room and reading all the American Girl books (and Babysitters Club and R.L. Stine and Judy Blume, etc.)
I joined Book of the Month Club this year, which has me reading at least one new book a month, although I sometimes splurge and buy two. This has spurred me into reading more often instead of waiting for that next BOTM Club box in the mail. I read a lot of fiction this year, which is unusual for me.
In the non-fiction world, I finally read Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies. I’ve been single most of my adult life and although most of my friends are still single, this book definitely made me feel like less of a weirdo and more valid in choosing my single life. There’s just so much stuff I want to do on my own first! It also made me feel warm and fuzzy about my city life (both New York and Los Angeles) and the incredible groups of women I know in both locations.
Happy Galentine’s Day everyday!
So thanks, 2016. Maybe you weren’t so bad after all.
Haha, who am I kidding.