The Year That Was, 2013 is far too large of a topic to tackle all at once, even when only focusing on the pop culture aspects. Breaking things down month-by-month feels like the smarter call. We'll be working our way through the year one month at a time, remembering the songs, films, TV, and other fun/horrifying stuff that we may well have already forgotten.
The #1 Song
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis dominated the Hot 100 chart all month, bumping off Bruno Mars on Groundhog Day and riding the top spot all the way through our shortest month with "Thrift Shop." Of course, the think-pieces on Macklemore and cultural appropriation and straight guys rapping about gay stuff would persist the whole year through.
The #1 Movie
Melissa McCarthy only needed three weeks to solidify her status as a legitimate box-office force, defying terrible reviews to bring Identity Thief in as the month’s big box-office triumph. McCarthy would return later in the year with a far better film in The Heat, and make even more money with that one, proving that sometimes, we can have nice things.
Identity Thief nearly doubled the box-office take of its February competitors, although it should be noted that second place was held by Safe Haven, wherein a pre-blackface Julianne Hough gives herself a terrible haircut, goes on the run from … something, and engages in the single most fantastic/hilarious plot twist in all of 2013.
The Month in TV
Netflix grabbed all the headlines in the first part of the month by releasing all episodes of its original series House of Cards to the streaming masses. David Fincher's directorial flourishes would eventually win him an Emmy, and the initial rush of praise for Netflix for delivering a real TV show with major actors (Kevin Spacey! Robin Wright!) and high production values managed to do a decent job of masking the fact that the show itself was a highly watchable, Washington-lacquered piece of absolute junk.
The month's other premieres weren't quite as well-received, though the odd little pockets of hate-watchers and hate-to-love-watchers managed to receive the second-season return of Smash with enthusiasm, if not significant numbers. Also bombing was ABC's Zero Hour, which combined all the excitement of fighting the Nazis with all the excitement of clockmaking. In order to make room for these two sterling examples of the televisual medium, we had to sacrifice one of our own to the volcano-god that is television, and unfortunately, that show was Bunheads. Amy Sherman-Palladino's hyper-verbal ABC Family series about ballet dancers and female friendship and delightfully unexpected impersonations of Tommy Lee Jones aired what would end up being its final episode on February 25th. Weeks and months of silence and ill-advised hope would follow, but this was the end.
RuPaul's Drag Race aired it's annual "Snatch Game" competition on February 26th, giving us the gift of Jinkx Monsoon's Little Edie Beale impersonation, as well as the gift of feeling superior to Roxxxy Andrews and Coco Montrese, who couldn't have picked Little Edie out of a lineup of Kennedy cousins.
Other memorable episodes this month:
- Saturday Night Live: The Justin Bieber-hosted episode was mostly unremarkable, except for the late-breaking "Glice" sketch, which featured Taran Killam in one of the finest bits of aggro lunacy the show delivered all year. [2/9]
- Girls: "One Man’s Trash," the episode that saw Lena Dunham's Hannah spend a day hooking up with, falling for, and ultimately breaking up with Patrick Wilson, all in one day, igniting a firestorm of mean comments, denunciation of said mean comments, and the latest round of opinion pieces about how we treat female protagonists on our TV shows. [2/10]
- The Good Wife: "Red Team Blue Team," wherein Alicia and Cary teamed up against Will and Diane in a mock trial that served as a prescient look at the schism that would rock this current season. [2/18]
Seth MacFarlane hosted the 85th Academy Awards, delivering an informational seminar to the women of Hollywood on the subject of their boobs and which ones have been bared on camera. Ben Affleck turned out to be the night's big winner, despite not having been nominated for Best Director. His moment of triumph instead came in Best Picture, and from the podium, he was able to satisfy old grudges and inform his wife that being married to her is the best kind of chore.
There was also a Super Bowl in this month of event programming. Beyonce performed at halftime, Michelle Williams stumbled, and the lights went out in the second half. I believe the team from Ravenswood triumphed.
The Grammy Awards were also held on February 10th, where things almost certainly happened.