Let’s face it, 2016 is a bit of a dud. A few of our biggest icons passed away (RIP Bowie, Prince, Snape), the climate keeps showing us who’s boss and looks pretty much fine with getting rid of us humans all-together. Then we finished it off watching one of the nastiest political campaigns ever, which, even after the votes were counted, continues to bring out the worst in us and continues to try and tear us all apart from one another.
But in all that sadness, tragedy and nastiness, there were a few highlights of note. Here are some of the best ones I saw…
Iguana vs Snakes vid
Planet Earth’s Iguana vs Snakes video is unreal. So good that it’s perfect. You can’t make it better. It’s impossible. Or is it? @tonyszhou’s version of the video, ripped with the score from Mad Max, does the impossible task of making something perfect so much more so…
— Tony Zhou (@tonyszhou) November 7, 2016
Sometimes text doesn’t cut it. I’m not sure about you, but I’m finding many of my text convos have evolved into gif convos and it pleases me.
These short visual clips bring levity, emotion and tone to a conversation that plain ol’ words cannot. Trust me.
Plus, sending a visual that can communicate your tone in a text message usually keeps this from happening…
Art videos make the list every year. The paint mixing videos by Annette Labedzki will mesmerize you.
HAWAIIAN PUMPKIN FOLLOW ❤👉 @annettelabedzki #mixedmediaart #art #painting #artistic_share #paintmixing #colors #modernart #contemporaryart #creativeart #worldofartists #spotlightonartists #pastel #arts_help #paper #artist #instagood #abstract #canadianartist #paint #galleries #artstudio #artcollectors #oilpaintings #expressionism #mixedmedia #expressive #vancouverartist #acrylic #artistic_unity_ #abstractart
These unsatisfying situations via @fubiz will bring a chuckle.
— Fubiz (@fubiz) November 3, 2016
And this realistic animation by Nicolas Deveaux via Colossal will delight you.
Honestly, put Leslie Jones in anything and I’m in. But there were three things she was a part of this year that slayed me: Her live tweeting/snap-chatting the Olympics, her live-watching Game of Thrones with Seth Myers and, more recently, her cameo with Chance on Jingle Barack. Slay all day, Leslay!
When you work in tourism, you see a lot of beautifully shot videos. This video by Tourisme Québec is no different, but the story, as told by Danny Kean, a blind man from New York, shows us that the most essential things in life are felt, not seen. Danny and this video left me a blubbering mess by the last frame.
Carpool Karaoke with Gwen Stefani
Carpool Karaoke was such a hit in 2016. From out of nowhere, James Cordon’s fun concept took off and everyone was sharing their favourite ones left, right and centre. I loved Gwen’s stint mostly due to her breakdown of the lyrics to The Sweet Escape. That woman has skills for days.
Dené’s snow creature
#mbstorm is a juggernaut in Manitoba when there is any sort of inclement weather. It’s the best thing to follow for road conditions, amazing weather photos and some classic Canadian humour. This year, my favourite #mbstorm content came from the snow creature that began to take shape on Dené Sinclair’s back porch railing. Watching it progress from a lump of snow to a thing that defied gravity and all logical sense was something to behold. I think there were many who poured one out when that crazy sucker finally fell.
Still Processing podcast
Hands down, Still Processing is the best new podcast of 2016. Not only are Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham two wonderfully introspective and interesting conversationalists, their voices are like buttah! They’re also lively and kind and I cannot get enough of their culture convos. In their December episodes they were taking questions from listeners on what to buy loved ones for the holidays. When one person called in to share his sad, heartfelt story of his mother’s recent passing, you could hear Wesley and Jenna tear up as they empathized by sharing their own stories of handling grief during the holidays.
Also, Wesley wrote one of my favourite reads of 2016, Last Taboo: Why Pop Culture Just Can’t Deal With Black Male Sexuality and so did Jenna, Is Social Media Disconnecting Us From the Big Picture?
Chrissy’s snapchat game is on point. She’s hilarious, knows how to weave a story, and had one of the best snapchat influencer campaigns I’ve seen.
Oh, and her AMA for Thanksgiving was hilarious and full of helpful cooking tips…
Prince’s guitar gently weeps
Prince was cool for decades. And that’s a feat in itself…everyone stops being cool at some point. But I had no idea he was a master on the guitar until I saw this video shortly after his passing. The solo starts at around 3:30, but watch the whole thing, it’s stellar. That look on his face when he really gets going…bliss. That’s the look you have when you know you’re killing it and you know everyone else knows you’re killing it. Iconic. It’s a damn shame he’s gone.
Oh, and if you can figure out where his guitar disappeared to when he tossed it in the air, let me know. The man was a mystery wrapped up in purple and paisley.
When they go low, the memes go high. The American election was gross on all accounts, and when politics is insane, the humour is often utterly brilliant. The Obama and Biden memes, SNL’s Black Jeopardy and Conan’s Trump calls Obama videos are little moments of comic relief to surround ourselves in while the world burns around us.
Golden Girls song
That’s gold, Dorothy! Gold!
Lion King cam
Supposedly this is a thing and it is majestic. Oh, and I still haven’t watched The Lion King. 22 years and counting!
The list of “things everyone has done, but will never, ever admit”
I admit it. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Once in a while, a BuzzFeed list crosses your path and it is a piece of perfection. I’ve liked a lot of their lists, but this one had me in stitches. I never, ever take clear nostril breathing for granted anymore.
Pay👏 attention👏 class.👏 The 👏 clapping 👏 tweets 👏 were👏 everywhere👏 in👏 2016. 👏
It was fun for a moment. That moment is now over.
This is your brain on drugs, any questions?
Plenty! And this little bit of content brilliance by CBC’s Teghan Beaudette answers those questions smartly and succinctly. I’ve seen plenty of articles pop up on fentanyl over the last few months — it’s a huge fear/problem currently hitting our city — but this is the only piece of content I saw that didn’t just report the news story, but doled out some good learning, which is extremely helpful to the general public. Also, cool graphics.
2016 saw a Bob Ross resurgence. Netflix added the old Joy of Painting series to their lineup and life got a little bit sweeter. Thing is, it wasn’t painting Bob was selling. It was kindness. In the 80’s there were plenty of painters on TV, especially PBS — they lived for that crap — but Bob brought more than his mad painting skills. (Don’t laugh, it’s hella hard to paint a full landscape in 30 minutes.) He brought a bevy of life skills, a sweet chuckle every time he cleaned his brushes, and the odd time (very odd) an orphaned squirrel in the pocket of his old baggy jeans.
Not gonna lie, I’ve been streaming those old shows frequently over the last year and letting his lovely comments wash over me yet again. I also found a great little Twitter account that shares the best of Bob…
Falling down is an accident– staying down is a choice. — ˗ˏˋ Bob Ross ˎˊ˗ (@tbhbobross) December 5, 2016
Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will change. — ˗ˏˋ Bob Ross ˎˊ˗ (@tbhbobross) December 3, 2016
Don’t forget to live a little every now and then. Work is important but not as important as your happiness. — ˗ˏˋ Bob Ross ˎˊ˗ (@tbhbobross) October 10, 2016
Those little snippets of joy are 1000 times nicer than most of what you will currently find on Twitter.
Plizzanet Earth vid shorts
Snoop: Good. Planet Earth: Good. Mash them up: Damn good, cuz. These Kimmel vids were filmed way more than a year ago, so not officially a 2016 thing, but they’re still tops in my books. You need a quick laugh, watch Snoop try to figure out what this cold-blooded seal is up to…
Or give advice to young parents on leaving their babies at home unprotected…
Or see what happens when your boys stick together…
Seriously, National Geographic should hire him to do some nature work with them.
That’s it. That’s my best of list for 2016. What did you see over the last year that had you in stitches or tears or both?!