The Pop Culture Moments We're Thankful For In 2019


Written by Lindsey Cook and Steph Wu

Thanksgiving week is here, which means it's time to reflect on what we are thankful for. Here at White Rice, we know that 2019 blessed us with many great pop culture moments. From iconic memes to the end of several popular TV shows, these are the moments we will remember and always be thankful for.

Steph's Moments

White Claw Summer

No laws when you’re drinking the claws! As with every year, the bliss of summer came and went quickly, but White Claw was there for every second. Especially in LA where the summers are nice and toasty, the refreshing hard seltzer was the perfect staple beverage. With so many flavors to choose from, except never pick lime, the fun just kept flowing—that is until there was a shortage. Don’t you fret, I was not personally affected. Only 100 calories and gluten free, this drink was the perfect choice to stay cool in the summer. Thank you, White Claw!

Andy from the Fyre Festival Documentary

Remember when there were two documentaries released about the failed Fyre Festival at the same time from Netflix and Hulu? Yeah, that was earlier this year! I only watched the Netflix one, please don’t judge me, I know it’s not an ethically produced documentary, but it still brought one of the most incredible moments in entertainment this year. You already know which person I’m referring to. None other than Andy King, who was ready to go to any length to save Fyre Festival. There really isn’t much else to say because he said it all and was ready to do it all. We salute thee, Andy!

Keanu Reeves Playing Himself in Always Be My Maybe

Keanu Reeves really had quite a year huh? From John Wick 3 to Toy Story 4 to an upcoming video game, he was everywhere. His dominance would continue though in the Netflix rom com, Always Be My Maybe. Viewers were already clued in as his cameo appeared at the very end of the trailer. However, it wasn’t until I actually saw the movie that I realized he was playing himself. I screamed. You have to love a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously. I mean honestly, I’m not even sure why he wasn’t this year’s Sexiest Man Alive. Nevertheless, Keanu really did own this year and just so happy to be a witness. Now please give me a new John Wick every year from here on out.

The Oscars A Star Is Born Performance

A Star Is Born came out back in October 2018, but its relevance would continue through 2019 because of awards season. But most importantly, because we all knew, “Shallow" would have to be performed live by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. There was honestly so much drama with this performance. At first, the Academy wasn’t going to have every nominee perform, then they said they all could but with shortened versions, and on and on. But at the end of all the hoopla, we got our performance. The tension and the beauty. I am still shaken up. I am truly far from the shallow now and forever.

Popeye's Chicken Sandwich

It’s weird to think Popeyes never had a chicken sandwich prior to this moment. It just makes sense they would, you know? So I first heard about it from SB Nation’s Harry Lyles Jr. on Twitter as he proclaimed it was better than Chick-fil-A’s. So, I ventured out with a friend to try one of these. Little did we both know the ensuing chaos that would happen as Popeyes ran out of the sandwiches for months. Anyways, to confirm, I do believe Popeyes’ chicken sandwich is superior. The breading and thick pickles are top notch. If you’re looking to try one, I personally recommend the spicy version over the regular one.

Lindsey's Moments

Fleabag's Hot Priest

Fleabag was a gift for many reasons: the Fleabag Jumpsuit, a wildly unhinged Olivia Coleman, a satisfying story that still left me wanting more. But most important of all, Fleabag gifted us with Hot Priest. Hot Priest is Hot in many ways. He’s a priest, aka Taboo Hot, because he isn’t supposed to have intimate relationships. He’s played by Andrew Scott, who is Hot, so that’s Hot. Crucially, he listens, which is Hot because at the end of the day, isn’t that all we want out of our relationships? Someone who sees us for who we are and understands? Anyway, strive to be more like Hot Priest, men. And thank you, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Andrew Scott, for gifting us with this beautiful bounty of a character.

Sorry To This Man

With four words, Keke Palmer brought down the GOP and old white men in general...okay, maybe that is wishful thinking, but she did create an iconic meme that I will continue to quote for years to come. Let us all channel Keke Palmer’s incredible energy come 2020. That’s it, that’s my new year’s resolution.

Week To Week Television

At the height of the “streaming wars”, I have found myself a) stressed over which streaming services I need to subscribe to versus which ones I can live without, and b) stressed over the sheer volume of television that I want to—and cannot—keep up with. In this time of bingeable content, I find myself admiring traditional week-to-week models more than ever. I’m keeping up with a decent amount of network shows and haven’t logged into Netflix in months. Um, is this what getting old feels like?

More than just being thankful for the week-to-week model for my sanity (it is so much easier to devote one hour of my time each week to catch up on a show than it is to devote a whole day to binge watch a show, in fear of spoilers, or, worse yet, being left out of the cultural conversation. GASP!) I am thankful because the weekly cadence allows me to think about a show in more depth and have conversations with people about each episode.

When I think about my favorite shows of 2019, there are a few that I’ve binge watched, like Fleabag and Looking For Alaska, but shows like Succession and Watchmen have stuck in my mind for months now because each week I have a little bit more to think about. I talk about these shows with friends and speculate what will happen each week. Even shows that I didn’t really enjoy, like Four Weddings and a Funeral, occupied a larger part of my mind because I watched week to week and had weekly conversations with friends about the boneheaded moves the characters made.

As the television landscape continues to change into the new decade and beyond, I’m thankful for this classic model, and I think streaming services are starting to realize that a weekly model may be beneficial for them as well. Even though the reviews have been less than stellar, I’m hearing a decent amount of chatter surrounding The Morning Show thanks to weekly installments, and Disney+ is using the model to drop new episodes of The Mandalorian.

So thank you, television, for finally recognizing that just because Netflix is popular it doesn’t mean their model of new releases is the best, or only, way of doing things.

The End of Game of Thrones

Yeah, you heard me. Look, I will always be thankful for Game of Thrones in that it gave me something to talk about year after year with friends and family, and it really did mean a lot to me through the first couple of years. But after season 6, I found myself more anxious than anything about how the show would end, and I guess my nervousness was on the money because, uh...that ending.

There will probably never be anything quite like Game of Thrones again in our lifetimes. Television just doesn’t operate that way anymore. But maybe that’s okay. It was so frustrating to see such a huge fandom let down by a pair of careless showrunners, and upsetting that we were more thankful to be finally out of our misery than we were thankful for the great journey we had. Maybe the real Game of Thrones was the friends we made along the way, bonding over our mutual hatred of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss? Sorry to those men.

What pop culture moments are you most thankful for this year? Let us know, and Happy Thanksgiving!