January 2011

2010: A Year In Review

Author: Courtney Hampson

Illustration by Matt Anderson

If you are like me, every bleary-eyed New Year’s Day you begin the annual ritual of taking stock of the previous year. You question what you’ve accomplished, you curse what you wish you had accomplished, and then you prepare the all too familiar (meaning the replica of last year’s) list of resolutions.

2010 was a rough year.

Our country is at war and more than 500 American soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice in 2010. The Gulf oil spill threatened our ecosystem, the fishing and shrimping industries, and the economy. As many as 4 million homes received foreclosure filings. More than 15 million Americans remained unemployed at year’s end. Locally, non-profit organizations have been scrambling to meet the increasing needs of our neighbors who have been impacted by the economic downturn.

Yet, as I ponder the year’s news, I realize that we were most interested in the headlines that stole the real headlines. For a child of the ’80s, it was a devastating year, as we bid adieu to our favorite TV family members—you know, actors and actresses who actually played characters on TV as opposed to playing parts in the reality TV revolution.

What’chu talkin’ ’bout Willis? Well, I’m talking about Gary Coleman and his untimely death. I believe that the biggest surprise on this one is that Todd Bridges is the last standing Different Strokes cast member in the game of life. I didn’t see that one coming.

Nor could I have predicted that Michael Seaver’s Growing Pains sidekick Andrew Koenig, a.k.a “Boner,” would pass so young. He made millions of teens and tweens giggle through the 1980s every time he walked on set and into our living rooms. I mean, with a name like Boner…

And, Corey Haim, the cute Corey, whose poster donned the closet door of my bedroom for much of the late eighties. There is indeed a Teen Beat reunion going on in heaven these days.

We also witnessed the passing of legends, George Steinbrenner, the meanest man in baseball, whom we all got to know via Seinfeld and one quirky George Costanza; J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author whose novel The Catcher in the Rye tackled the topic of adolescent alienation and became required high school reading; and Tony Curtis, whose acting credits spanned 60 years.

And lest we forget… Blanche Devereaux, that saucy minx. She made it okay for women to be loose and wild at any age. She was the first cougar, and for that we thank Rue McClanahan. Rue, thank you for being a friend.

When I think about what got people talking in 2010, I remain miffed by the shock and awe over a killer whale at Sea World killing someone. Um, it was a killer whale. I am pretty certain that it got the name “killer” for good reason.

Bedbugs were a whale of a story in 2010. When you get hundreds of different people sharing the same hotel room over the course of a year, something gross has got to give. To respond to the hysteria, the first ever bedbug industry summit was held in Chicago in the early fall (seriously). No stunning breakthroughs were made, therefore we will continue to get the heebie-jeebies every time we slip between the sheets in a hotel room. The good news is, the bedbug carries no disease, and its bites have no effect on one-third of victims. So you have a one in three chance of being just fine. Sleep tight.

Speaking of sleeping in other people’s beds, Tiger Woods apologized to his wife for being a cheater in front of the whole world. She up and divorced him anyway. And then Howard Stern invited all of Tiger’s mistresses to compete in the Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant. Jamie Jungers took home the $75,000 prize.

Bristol Palin was tapped for Dancing with the Stars. (I wonder if she wrote her dance steps on her arm?) I’m sorry. If your mom runs (unsuccessfully) for vice president, you automatically become a “star”? I’ve been trying to convince my mom to get on the POA board which should definitely secure me a spot on American Idol.

As if the table-flipping Real Housewives of New Jersey didn’t do enough to tarnish the reputation of Jersey girls everywhere (this one included), then the brilliant executives at MTV thought a show dedicated to the summer at the Jersey Shore was just the ticket. For the record, everyone in the cast was from North Joisey (not the shore) or New Yawk!

Illustration by Matt Anderson

WTF? Healthcare reform was a BFD for Vice President Joe Biden, who in his excitement over the March bill signing was caught whispering, “This is a big f***ing deal,” into President Obama’s ear. Mr. Loose Lips’ exchange was just loud enough to be picked up by the microphone and quickly made its way onto cable TV and into cyberspace for all the world to hear.

The iPhone continued to stun us with applications to make our life much less personal but oh, so much easier. Don’t have time to type an e-mail? The Dragon Dictation application translates your voice into text, so you can simply dictate your message and then send the text, taking that pesky typing chore completely out of the equation. Of course, if you were going to say it anyway, how about picking up the phone and calling? I’m just saying…

Lady Gaga was certainly looking to simplify things in 2010. She yearned to go back to the times of yore when animal husbandry was the career of choice. So much so that rather than buy a dress at a store like the rest of us, she had one made—of meat—with matching accessories. No really, this was actually news.

Conan O’Brien boldly ended his 7-month stint as host of The Tonight Show, on principle. As a part of his deal, he had to walk away quietly and wasn’t allowed to address his departure on television. So, he turned to Twitter and began making his first public statements since leaving. In an hour, he gained 30,000 followers; 30 minutes later he reached 50,000. After 24 hours, O’Brien had well over 300,000 followers. Today, he has more than 2 million.

While we are talking about tweeting, it seems that the “twitterverse” is all akimbo with the tweet revolution. I don’t know about you, but I don’t care what you ate for dinner, how long it took for you to digest your dinner or how many squares it took to end the cycle. Less is more people. Less is more.

However, since we are on the subject of social media, let’s address the fact that my mom joined Facebook this year! Your mom probably did too. I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a predicted outcome.

Illustration by Matt Anderson

Just like I am fairly certain that Elmo didn’t think he’d see Katie Perry’s boobs at a Sesame Street taping. Well, it was Elmo’s lucky day (and I am sure his giggle could be heard on set), because no one else got a peek, as Sesame Street scrapped the episode after the revealing segment was reviewed by editors.

Speaking of boobs, the TSA instituted the “Free Feel-Ups” at the airport policy, which should make travel in 2011 just titillating. Unless of course, you are filmmaker/actor Kevin Smith, who, last year, was deemed too fat to fly. Yet, in an ironic twist, the fat guy I always get stuck sitting next to made the cut.

Locally, there remains only one way to get on and off the island. Unless you fly. In which case, you can entangle yourself in the “is the runway at the Hilton Head Airport long enough?” debate. Maybe not, but the lines at Starbucks are, so if someone would please add that to our 2011 county agenda, that’d be just great. In all seriousness, wherever your travels take you in 2011, may you be safe and smiling.

My New Year’s resolution? Smile more, bark less. I give it a week.

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