Mala’s Best of 2021 Pop Culture Round-Up

I thought 2020 was long, but 2021 felt endless. The infinite slog. So I’m pretty proud of myself for tracking my media consumption through the never-ending muck. I’m someone who barely remembers what she ate for lunch the day before, so this is top-tier organization as far as I’m concerned. I hope you enjoy my year in pop culture. And, well, if you don’t, at least I have it all recorded for posterity!

Favorite Books (out of 100 read)
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Memorable Movies
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Black Widow
Love Hard
Raya and the Last Dragon

Favorite TV Shows
The Big Leap (FOX)
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (The CW)
Good Trouble (Freeform/Hulu)
Starstruck (HBOMax)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV)
Queens (ABC)
The Wilds (Amazon Prime)

Favorite Ensemble: the Unsinkable Eight from The Wilds; the Coterie from Good Trouble; the “family” from Black Widow; the Nasty Bitches from Queens.

Favorite Lead Actors: Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso; Billy Magnussen, Made for Love; Tom Hiddleston, Loki; Aasif Mandvi, Evil; Martin Short, Only Murders in the Building.

Favorite Lead Actresses: Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision; Queen Latifah, The Equalizer; Bellamy Young, Prodigal Son; Bitsy Tulloch, Superman & Lois.

Favorite Supporting Actresses: Shannon Dang, Kung Fu; Florence Pugh, Hawkeye; Olivia Cheng, Warrior; Mary Wiseman, Star Trek: Discovery; Brook Kerr, General Hospital.

Favorite Supporting Actors: James Patrick Stuart, General Hospital; Ray Romano, Made for Love; Rahul Kohli, Midnight Mass.

Favorite Scene Stealers: Kelly Thiebaud as Britt, GH; Shayan Sobhian as Behrad, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Greg Rikaart as Leo, Days: Beyond Salem. and A Very Salem Christmas; Thomas Doherty as Max on Gossip Girl.

 Days’ Hall

Best Soap Villains: Deidre Hall, Stacy Haiduk, Eileen Davidson, and Bill Hayes as the Devil on Days of our Lives; Avery Kristen Pohl as Esme Prince, GH.

Worst Soap Villain: Wes Ramsey as Peter August, GH.

Favorite Soap Twists: GH’s Sean’s wake is actually a WSB test for Annie Donely; Days’ Doug isn’t a doddering perv, he’s just possessed by the Devil!

Worst Soap Twists: GH retconning Shawn’s incarceration plot so none of the white characters were complicit; B&B’s Sheila is Finn’s mother; Y&R’s Stitch kidnapping Mariah; GH’s Peter not dying yet (this is currently evergreen).

Best Soap Opera Recasts: Days’ Zach Tinker as Sonny Kiriakis, Days’ Raven Bowens as Chanel Dupree; GH’s Nicholas Chavez as Spencer Cassadine.

Worst Soap Opera Recasts: that guy who played nuLucas on GH for five minutes; Confederate Chance on The Young and the Restless.

Most Wasted Pairing Potential: Carter and Quinn on The Bold and the Beautiful.

Most Surprising Soap Pairing: GH’s Sonny and Nina. How am I rooting for this? I have no idea. But here we are. 

2021’s Pop Culture Crushes: Scott Foley as Nick on The Big Leap; Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova in Black Widow and on Hawkeye; Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent on Ted Lasso; Olivia Swann as Astra on Legends of Tomorrow. 

Biggest Pop Culture Disappointments: The fact that Hollywood kept expecting us to go to actual movie theaters DURING A PANDEMIC; Legends of Tomorrow having to give up John Constantine and therefore writing him and Zari an incredibly lackluster breakup.

Best Pop Culture Surprises: Mark and Lexie showing up together in Meredith’s coma dream on Grey’s Anatomy; the Fear Street trilogy on Netflix; Marlena getting re-possessed by the Devil on Days of our Lives; Ted Lasso just Ted Lassoing all over the place, as it deserves!

Favorite Ships: GH’s Valentin and Anna; Good Trouble‘s Dennis and Davia; Law and Order‘s Stabler and Benson; GH’s Sam and Dante; GH’s Austin and Maxie; GH’s Brook Lynn and Chase; The Big Leap‘s Nick and Gabby; Gossip Girl‘s Aki, Max, and Audrey; GH’s Spencer and Trina. (My soap had a good year for new couples, okay?)

Favorite Social Media Account: @AshDylanLit never fails to make me laugh and their account was a much-needed balm this year.

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