We're not even out of January, and 2020 is already proving to be the weirdest year on record. Not that we expected anything less, but still, we didn't quite understand how bizarre it would get. From assault allegations against sports team mascots to actor-puppet relationships, this year is already proving to be a head-scratcher.
Try getting through this list without screaming, "WHAT!" at least once. I dare you.
Gritty under investigation
In sort of weirdly unsurprising news, Philadelphia Flyers' mascot Gritty is under investigation for assault. Apparently, the giant orange Muppet from hell punched a 13-year-old after a fan photoshoot in November. Chris Greenwell says his son Brandon patted Gritty on the head and walked away after they took a photo. Then Gritty "took a running start" and "punched my son as hard as he could." It's proving hard to write when you simply have no words.
The team claims it did an investigation and found no truth to Chris' claims, and now the police are on the case. I have no idea how this will play out, but how funny would it be if the Philadelphia Police had to fashion a huge pair of handcuffs to take Gritty away?
Mr. Peanut's death
On January 22, Planters announced via Twitter that Mr. Peanut died. Yes, the cartoon peanut with a top hat and monocle. According to the ad they released, Mr. Peanut sacrificed himself after a car crash to save his friends. The announcement was shocking, mostly because of the reactions to it. People loved that Mr. Peanut died. They hope he roasts in hell. Mr. Peanut's death was celebrated all over the internet. There was cheering in the street. I had no idea people cared about Mr. Peanut that much. But that's 2020 for ya.
'The Circle' ...just all of it
Well, 2020 has already peaked. And it's because of The Circle. Have you watched The Circle yet? You gotta watch The Circle. No seriously, it's the greatest television show ever in the history of the world. It's a Netflix reality/game show in which a cast of ridiculous people compete only through a social media app called The Circle, where they can create a profile with limited pictures and information about themselves. That means some people are catfishes, competing with other people's pictures, while others are playing as themselves.
The show is bonkers in the best way possible. Trust me, you'll be invested in Uncle Joey, Shooby, and the rest of the gang by the end of the first episode. Keep watching.
Nudes for Australia
Australia has been dealing with devastating wildfires, and people all over the world stepped up to donate to the cause. But one enterprising woman, Kaylen Ward, went above and beyond by sending nude photos to anyone who donated at least $10 to organizations working to put out the fires. All you had to do was send proof that you donated. And she raised over $1 million. The "Naked Philanthropist," as she calls herself, may have changed the charity game forever.
Mystery drones over Colorado and Nebraska
Sooooo, not to alarm you, but there have been mysterious sightings of swarms of drones in the sky in Colorado and Nebraska. Authorities have claimed that there's nothing weird about the flying objects, which many claim are "as big as cars, flying in groups in grid patterns at night." Terrifying! Conspiracy theories abound. Some believe it's aliens, others are convinced it's the military, and they aren't fessing up. Either way, gotta love when the decade starts with UFOs!
I don't know about you, but I don't think a member of the royal family has ever elected to leave in my lifetime. So when Harry and Meghan decided to step away from the royal family and split their time between North America and Europe, it was fairly shocking. "Meghxit," as people are calling it, seemed to have shocked the Queen as well; their announcement prompted some pretty transparently shade-filled memos from Buckingham Palace.
However, it seems the royal family has worked out an arrangement, and Meghan Markle has never looked happier, so we're ecstatic for them.
'American Dirt' controversy
A non-Mexican author getting a seven-figure book deal to write an immigration novel about Mexican migrants and the subsequent backlash for her irresponsible, cultural appropriative writing seems so much like a 2019 problem. And yet, here it is, taking over 2020. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (an author who identified as white until at least 2016) might be the new pick for Oprah's Book Club, but it has caused an uproar in literary circles.
People are calling the book "trauma porn," and it has reignited a discussion about whether it is ever acceptable to write a story from the perspective of someone unlike you. The consensus seems to be that Cummins did not do the research and does not have the sensitivity to responsibly tell the story she attempted to. The barbed wire centerpieces on display at a party seem to back up that claim. Oy and a half.
Laura Dern and Baby Yoda's relationship
The saga of Laura Dern and Baby Yoda's relationship started toward the tail-end of 2019, but it's still turning heads today. It all started when the multiple-award-winning actress said she saw the adorable Mandalorian puppet at a basketball game. People freaked out because they had no idea what she meant by that. Now, she's pretty much claiming they're an item. Look, it's 2020. Love is love. I hope there's more to this story.
New Year's mileage run to Mexico
On the cusp of 2020, we got a glimpse of just how insane it might be from one Andrew Kimmel, an innocent man who went on a mileage run to Mexico, ended up in jail and without a passport, and somehow made it back in time for some champagne. You can read the whole thing in our article covering the whole thread. Andrew really set the tone for the new year.
Dr. Phil's gothic nightmare mansion
When pictures of Dr. Phil's mansion hit Twitter, everyone's minds exploded. It is...incredible. There's a staircase wrapped in vines, a gun wall, and creepy, cartoonish teddy bear statues all over the place. It was a little disappointing to learn Dr. Phil didn't actually live in the house; his son Jordan lived there and designed the whole thing himself.
Halsey's accidental threat
Welp. Halsey tried to make a "joke" about Pitchfork on Twitter in response to their mixed review of her new album. But because the Pitchfork offices are in One World Trade Center, she inadvertently called for the collapse of the very building that stands on the site where 9/11 took place. She quickly walked back her statement, deleted the tweet, and posted an apology, which has also been taken down. What a way to start the year.
Goop vagina candle
2020 was the year Goop started selling a candle that smells like Gwyneth Paltrow's vagina. So I don't know guys. I don't know what we're doing anymore. The craziest part is that it's $75 and it sold out very quickly. Who wants this?! $75 says it definitely doesn't smell like a vagina. Anyway, if you really want it, you can add yourself to the waitlist on Goop and you'll be notified when it's back in stock.
Brad and Jen reunion freakout
Jennifer Aniston won a SAG Award for her role in The Morning Show, but after the show, all anyone could talk about was the mini reunion she had on the red carpet with her ex of 15 years, Brad Pitt. They seemed genuinely happy to see each other, which led to people absolutely losing their minds. People seemed to forget that Brad cheated on Jen! It's nice that they are friendly with each other, but the way everyone went ape when they were spotted being civil in front of a bunch of cameras was truly crazy.
'New York Times' endorsement of Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar
We don't often get political here at Distractify. But we couldn't help but go, "Whaaaaaa?" when The New York Times inexplicably chose to endorse two wildly different candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, for president. One of the only things they have in common is that they're both women. Seemed like a pretty reductive decision on their part, and lots of people were confused.
The TikTok #SoySauceChallenge
Speaking of confusing, "TikTok Teens Are Dipping Their Balls in Soy Sauce and Lighting Their Houses on Fire." The Gizmodo article with this headline explains that the TikTok #soysaucechallenge has people dipping their testicles in soy sauce because one article claims there are parts of the body other than the mouth that have "taste receptors that are sensitive to umami." Yes, they're trying to taste soy sauce through their balls. Spoiler alert: It doesn't work. Speechless. I'm speechless.
Also, arson is apparently a TikTok trend now. Fire departments everywhere were warned that teens are "using the plug part of a phone charger, partially inserting it into the wall outlet, and then sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs. The result is sparks, electrical system damage, and in some cases fire."
Cool. Cool cool cool. Here's to 2020, the year of nonsense.