Let's Rank: 2021 Pop Culture Trends
Well fans, as we say every January, last year was a heck of a year. Truly though, 2021 had a lot of ups and downs, and the major pop culture trends tell the story of the year as a whole: what we were excited about, which shows were we watching, which old oceanic art forms regained popularity—it’s all there. Allow us to lead you through some of 2021’s pop culture highlights.
Sea Shanty TikTok
“There once was a ship that put to sea/The name of the ship was the Billy of Tea”. Why did we suddenly act like sailors on a long voyage across the ocean? It could have been the isolation, feeling cooped up, needing to express ourselves, a desire to jam out with other people, or maybe the tune was just particularly catchy. Whatever it was, the Wellerman came and stuck around for a good while, getting built up piece by piece until a whole symphony was playing and singing this ol’ ditty. The ear worm of the sea, that one was.
The Ship Blocking the Suez Canal
Continuing the theme of seaborne trends was the little ship that really, really, really couldn’t. The sheer amount of chaos this one ship caused just by getting stuck in a major global port was staggering and the entire world couldn’t look away. The supply chain may have been thoroughly blocked, but the memes were flowing.
Lady Dimitrescu is Very Tall
The Internet has a strange rubric for what it likes and doesn’t like. One thing it liked a lot: how tall the dev team for the Resident Evil Village video game made the character Lady Dimitrescu. For the record, she is 2.9m (about 9’6”). Very, very tall. The internet loved this so much that they couldn’t stop drawing her, making memes about her, or talking about her for a little while. Big vampire lady big.
Bending Time and Reality
If you really step back a moment, messing with time and reality was a central theme of a lot of media in 2021. In video games, there were time-loop-based mechanics like Loop Hero and Death Loop (and the continued popularity of Hades), and in movies and TV we had things like Spider-Man: No Way Home, Loki, WandaVision, a new Doctor in Doctor Who, and more. Actually, speaking of Loki and WandaVision...
Disney+ Hits its Stride
Sure, Disney+ may have launched in late 2019, but 2020 was its first full trial year. Minus The Mandalorian (season 1: Nov. – Dec. 2019, season 2: Oct. - Dec. 2020), the original content wasn’t really there yet. That changed in 2021, when Disney+ really upped their existing library and put out a number of successful releases, including two juggernauts: WandaVision and Loki. They also integrated their in-theatre releases and their online releases in a much more cohesive way, which seemed to pay off.
Again, 2020 was supposed to be a big year for the MCU, but with everything going on, a lot of that got bumped to 2021. This made the eventual return of major MCU releases feel all the more significant. A brief list of the all the releases we checked out in 2021: Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Eternals, Spider-Man: No Way Home, WandaVision, Loki, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, What If…?, and Hawkeye.
Who could have predicted that a deathmatch of children’s games would capture our hearts this much? The recipe was simple, but the execution (see what we did there?) was focused and effective. From the stylistic elements like the giant red light, green light robot, to the uniforms, to the colour scheme, the whole look and feel of the show was captivating. We rooted for characters that eventually fell one by one, until only one was remaining. What a ride.
In-Person Events are Back
Speaking of things that came back in 2021: in-person events. They may not have looked the exact same as before the pandemic, but it was amazing to see fans coming together again to have a safe and fun time. We prepped, we adapted, and many of you had a chance to return to a FAN EXPO event in your area.
The good news? We’re doing it again in 2022, so stay tuned!