While 2021 was a little dull, 2022 blessed us with some pretty big pop culture moments. Now 2023 is just around the corner, but before we take a step into the future, we need to review all that has happened and recap the highs and lows for the year. In pop culture, it seemed like every month there was something new and crazy happening. Here are the biggest moments from 2022 we couldn't stop thinking about.
Modern-day Robin Hood
The world became fascinated with Russian scammer Anna Sorokin, aka Anna Delvey, as a German heiress set to inherit over US$60 million on her 25th birthday. However, she tries to scam her way into New York City's social elite, eating at the finest restaurants and staying at the finest hotels, conning people out of nearly $275,000. In 2019, Sorokin was facing between four and 12 years in prison. In February, Netflix released the nine-episode series Inventing Anna created by Shonda Rhimes and featuring Julia Garner in the role of Sorokin. It was the most top-watched programme on the platform the week it was released.
The Slap Heard Round The World
This doesn't need much introduction. Back in March at the 94th Academy Awards, Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett's shaved head, calling her GI Jane. In 2018, Jada actually announced she was diagnosed with alopecia. Although husband Will Smith initially laughed at the joke, Pinkett obviously was not too pleased. A few seconds later, Smith was shouting at Rock to keep his wife's name out of his mouth. He then climbed on stage and slapped Rock. Despite his outburst, Smith still won an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard. However, as a consequence of his actions, he was banned for 10 years from attending any events hosted by the Academy.
The Met Gala is popularly regarded as the world's most prestigious fashion event, and American socialite Kim Kardashian seemed to make the most of it. At the Met Gala on May 2nd, Kim was adamant about wearing Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday Mr President" dress. Several people criticised Kim's move. The designer of Marilyn's dress Bob Mackie also didn't appreciate Kim wearing it. He said: "I thought it was a big mistake. Marilyn was a goddess, a crazy goddess but a goddess. She was just fabulous. And it was done for her. It was designed for her. Nobody else should be seen in that dress." And no one will ever understand why the museum actually allowed this to happen.
Heard vs Depp
In a 2018 op-ed piece, Amber Heard referred to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. The livestream of the resulting defamation trial between Heard and her former spouse Johnny Depp captured everyone's attention. Throughout the trial, Heard received the brunt of social media's backlash and ultimately ended up losing most of the claims to her ex-husband. For some, this was all simple celebrity gossip. Others viewed it as a confirmation of where society stands in the post #MeToo era. All that's for certain is Depp has several jobs lined up while many Hollywood insiders say Heard's career in blockbusters is effectively over.
Behind The Flash
Since the start of 2022, promising Hollywood nonbinary star Ezra Miller has been the subject of multiple legal disputes. They were arrested twice in Hawaii, first for a physical altercation at a karaoke bar and then for injuring a woman after they threw a chair at her. Several more incidents have sprung up since then, from reportedly harassing a woman to housing another woman and her three children on a gun-riddled Vermont farm. Miller's controversies have left Warner Bros in limbo over the status of their leading role in the upcoming movie The Flash. On Aug 16, Miller released an apology acknowledging they were suffering from mental health issues and had begun treatment.
Kate Bush Renaissance
In early June, the first part of the fourth season of Stranger Things dropped on Netflix. The show is one of the platform's most popular series. Stranger Things was credited with starting Kate Bush's Renaissance because her song Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) was featured in an episode. Shortly after, the music video doubled in YouTube views and the song was inescapable on TikTok over the summer. Because Stranger Things made the song viral, Kate Bush earned her first Top 10 in the United States 37 years after Running Up That Hill was released. "I feel deeply honoured that the song was chosen to become a part of their roller-coaster journey," Kate Bush said, referring to the show's cast and crew, on her website. "It's all starting to feel a bit surreal."
Don't Worry Darling
This is one of those cases where people talked more about the drama surrounding the movie than the movie itself. The film in question is Don't Worry Darling, which was directed by Olivia Wilde. It starred Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine and Wilde.
Throughout promotions, the personal drama surrounding the film was such that it felt like a new story was coming out every day. Back in September 2020, Harry Styles was cast as the male lead replacing Shia LaBeouf. This proved to be the kiss of death for Don't Worry Darling because it was the catalyst for two years of drama mainly surrounding a supposed affair between Styles and Wilde.
Besides the drama, Wilde was also accused of lying about firing Labeouf when he actually quit the film. The rest of the month was filled with moments that fuelled more drama over the relationship between Styles and Wilde and the onset of conflict between Wilde and Pugh. It's been reported that after two years of dating, Styles and Wilde have broken up, putting an end to the melodrama that many people found more entertaining than the film which caused it all.
The Dragon Returns
After Game Of Thrones' abysmal ending in 2019, fans were welcomed back to the world of Westeros in House Of The Dragon, a 10-episode series on HBO. To put it briefly, it's about the Dance Of Dragons, a civil war during the Targaryen rule of the Seven Kingdoms, a war of succession between Aegon II and his half-sister Rhaenyra over their father Viserys I's throne. The show's characters Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen were among the most popular fictional characters of the year. Overall, fans seemed to enjoy House Of The Dragon more than Game Of Thrones in its entirety, just because the source material was already completed.
It was really a huge accomplishment to have been able to draw in people who swore that they would never watch another show in the Game Of Thrones universe, because of how upset they were by the ending of the original series. House Of The Dragon actually had HBO's highest premiere to date, with almost 10 million people tuning in.