Pop culture review of 2009

Jan 162010
Authors: Matt Montoya

As the year comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on pop culture in 2009. It was a year packed with celebrities, scandals, cultural phenomena and surprises.

Vampires ruled the box office and TV ratings as “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” (along with the subsequent endless Facebook statuses for “Team Jake” or “Team Edward”) and HBO’s “True Blood” captured the country’s attention.

Look for the entertainment business to keep up with these types of programs as the revival of the vampire genre opens the door for countless imitations.

The Black Eyed Peas ruled the charts with their album “The E.N.D.,” but even though few can likely explain just what a “boom boom pow” is, the enthusiastic and energetic rap beats breathed life into a tired mainstream hip-hop world.

Kanye West had another big year of controversy as he took the stage from America’s new sweetheart Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards. Swift continues to dominate pop and country charts and award shows as West’s reputation took a hit that will likely be remembered until his next big hit.

The little film that could, “Slumdog Millionaire,” won the hearts of viewers worldwide, and the Academy Award for Best Film, giving the indie feel-good genre a nice revival in the mainstream movie scene.

Jay Leno changed time slots and got rid of his desk on NBC. Oprah Winfrey announced she was quitting after the next season. Ellen Degeneres will replace Paula Abdul on the next season of “American Idol.” The talk show world continues to evolve as different personalities switch it up, but controversy is still abundant among them as David Letterman got caught up in a cheating/extortion scandal that was hardly worth making a laugh about.

Relationship scandals continue to dominate the tabloids and entertainment news shows as Jon and Kate Gosselin’s public and messy situation was broadcast for anyone to see on TLC. Celebrity attention fiends such as Lindsay Lohan and Jude Law drew strict scrutiny for their public relationships, fulfilling the public’s fascination.

The biggest pop culture piece of news in the last year is almost certainly the untimely and unfortunate passing of pop icon Michael Jackson in June. From the elaborate tribute of a funeral service before thousands of people to the speculation about his health at his death, Jackson’s passing hasn’t been fully grieved by the media or public just yet.

Finally, stars that shock seemed to be a theme for the year. Lady Gaga captured the country’s attention last year with her hit “Just Dance,” but became an icon this year with her ever-flashy outfits and shocking performances. Likewise, the latest product of the “American Idol” competition, Adam Lambert, is pushing the cultural envelope a little farther each time he hits the stage as he establishes himself as this generation’s glam rocker extraordinaire.

Those events only cover a few of the bases of 2009, but this pop culture critic is pleased. If 2010 is half as satisfying and juicy as 2009, we are in for another exciting year in the entertainment world.

Entertainment columnist Matt Montoya’s column runs every other Wednesday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to verve@collegian.com.

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