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Commentary: 2012 showcases trash TV, suffers breakups and boy band makeups

Courtesy of MCT

From a hurricane that threatened our country’s biggest and brightest city to a painfully addicting Korean pop song that smashed Internet records, 2012 was a whirlwind year in pop culture. Let’s take a look back and reminisce about some of the year’s greatest sensations and juiciest headlines.  

Television

HBO’s “Girls,” the hipster version of “Sex and the City,” which chronicles the lives of three straight-talking New Yorkers, premiered in April.

The Summer Olympics broadcasted live from London, and the U.S. led the world pack with 104 medals, but it doesn’t really matter because judging by her facial expression, American gymnast McKayla Maroney is still not impressed.

Reality talent shows realized their contestants weren’t actually their biggest draws, so they started recruiting big-name celebrity judges: Britney Spears and Demi Lovato joined Fox’s “The X Factor,” Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban signed on for “American Idol,” also on Fox, and Usher and Shakira are slated to replace Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera on the next season of NBC’s “The Voice.”

MTV announced the last season of “Jersey Shore” and, sadly, Hurricane Sandy followed suit by wrecking the familiar Jersey Shore pier, tearing it to shreds during the course of the storm’s week-long assault on the U.S.’ East Coast.

A feisty ball of energy sporting a sequined tutu and calling herself Honey Boo Boo hijacked TLC’s airwaves in August, leaving viewers with memorable catchphrases like, “you’d better redneckognize.”

Lastly, “Boy Meets World” stars Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel signed on to star in a Disney spin-off show called “Girl Meets World,” but no word yet on whether Mr. Feeny will follow suit.

Celebrities

Some relationships blossomed and some crumbled. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West made their debut as Kimye, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt got engaged, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake got married, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise divorced and Taylor Swift split with about half the population of male celebrities under the age of 35.

Ryan Gosling was robbed of another Sexiest Man of the Year award from “People” magazine, losing to chiseled “Magic Mike” star Channing Tatum. But there was no shortage of Gosling once the wise-cracking Tumblr “Feminist Ryan Gosling” went viral.

Lindsay Lohan attempted a career comeback by starring in the Lifetime movie “Liz and Dick,” which premiered in November, but it was deemed a disappointment and Lohan has been off the radar ever since.

We also said goodbye to some great icons in 2012, including musicians Whitney Houston, Adam Yauch, Etta James, Donna Summer and Robin Gibb, astronaut Neil Armstrong, TV personality Dick Clark and actor Michael Clarke Duncan.

On a happier note, it was announced in December that Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant, putting an end to the speculation that began the moment she and Prince William said, “I do.” No word yet on whether the royal birth will air live on NBC.

Viral Hits and Cultural Obsessions

One Direction became the leading cause of hyperventilation among teenage girls in the U.S. as it rekindled the boy band craze. The quintet even sold out U.S. shows scheduled for a full year in advance.

Pretty much every female with a set of eyes and the ability to read sunk their teeth into “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the novel that quickly became a guilty pleasure.

In a bizarre turn of events, “My Little Pony” became the cartoon of choice for a quasi-cult of guys who call themselves “Bronies.”

Obama might have won this year’s election, but he definitely wasn’t the only president getting attention this year – Abraham Lincoln was seemingly everywhere, from the Steven Spielberg classic “Lincoln” to the perhaps less prestigious “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

Carly Rae Jepsen’s painfully catchy tune “Call Me Maybe” was the song of the summer, but it was soon overshadowed when Korean pop took the U.S. by storm and PSY’s “Gangnam Style” became the most watched video of all time on YouTube with 884 million views as of Tuesday.

The iPhone 5 debuted in September looking a little taller and slimmer. 2012 was also the year of visuals – apps such as Instagram and Snapchat exploded onto the scene.

And whether it was technology, reality TV or Bronies and Korean pop threading through popular culture in the U.S., 2012 was undoubtedly a year to look back on and in some respects one to be proud of.

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