From Parasite making history at Oscars to Taylor Swift's surprise albums, a list of iconic internet moments in 2020

From cringe-binge, Zoom cast reunions to Yashraj Mukhate's Rasode Mein Kaun Tha, here are the pop culture moments that defined the year 2020.

Ragini Daliya December 20, 2020 14:21:53 IST
From Parasite making history at Oscars to Taylor Swift's surprise albums, a list of iconic internet moments in 2020


If I would have to personify 2020, I would write it off as grouchy, unpredictable, popular for party-pooper skills. While most of the year felt like a blur of terrible pandemic news, bread-making, Instagram reels, and election anxiety, an amount of other pop cultural moments took place in between.

Here's a rundown on some of the iconic Internet moments from 2020 that defined our year.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exit British royalty 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sent shockwaves across the world in early January when they announced they’d be stepping down from their roles in the British royal family. In an Instagram post, the couple said the decision was made after months of 'reflection and internal discussion.'  The statement read, “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen.”

A year into the surprising move — dubbed as "Megxit" — the couple has made numerous virtual appearances to spotlight issues like gender inequality, racial injustice, voter suppression and veterans affairs. They’ve also slowly started building their budding media empire with major deals with Netflix and Spotify, all while establishing their new charitable foundation, Archewell.

From Parasite making history at Oscars to Taylor Swifts surprise albums a list of iconic internet moments in 2020

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Facebook

The important and major wins at awards season

The 2020 awards season was definitely one for the books.  Parasite made history this year becoming the first non-English language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. In a landmark moment, the film had snagged a total of four wins — including the Best Director award for Bong Joon Ho. However, the most heartwarming moments came with the director's honest speeches where he made it a point to give a shout-out to the rest of the nominees.

In September, Zendaya created history at the 72nd Emmy Awards by becoming the youngest winner of the best lead actress in a drama trophy for her performance in HBO series EuphoriaSchitt's Creek, the little Canadian show about a fish-out-of-water family, was finally recognised when it made history to win in all four comedy categories during the 2020 Emmys.

Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston's wrist-grab reunion

Former couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston had a reunion of sorts at the backstage of 2020 SAG Awards, triggering a surge of nostalgia, and keeping the internet ablaze for days. While both the parties had big nominations and eventual wins, nobody had expected there to be a photo of Pitt holding on to Aniston's wrist as they greet one another. Yes, that set the internet on a swoon mood.

Nine months after their sweet reunion, the duo participated virtually to recreate the iconic pool scene of the ’80s classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High for COVID-relief charityPrior to the reading, the duo exchanged niceties, chummily calling each other by their last names. “Hi, Aniston!” “Hi, Pitt!” “How you doing?” “Good, honey, how are you doing?” “I’m all right.” Aha! 2020! 

The Zoom boom

Online video conferencing apps became a popular means of communication during the lockdown, especially Zoom. For most working from home, Zoom calls replaced meetings, business travel, school work and also parties. However, it eventually gave rise to the culture of Zoom memes — from hilarious fails during online meetings to bizarre backgrounds being used in the app. With Zoom rapidly becoming the video call of choice this year, we were also treated to on-screen reunions from the cast of Mean GirlsLegally Blond and Parks and Recreation among others. 

John Krasinki debuts Some Good News

In late March, John Krasinski launched his web series, Some Good News,  solely dedicated to feature uplifting stories from the lockdown. From a reunion with Steve Carell, the Office cast's re-creation of Jim and Pam's wedding dance scene for two fans tying the knot and a cameo from weatherman Brad Pitt, the show had plenty of relief for the grim times. However, the series sparked a considerable amount of outrage when it was bought by ViacomCBS.

Everything is really a cake

After a popular online recipe channel posted a video on Twitter showing everyday objects like crocs, a houseplant, paper towels and even a bottle of hand sanitizer all turning out to be hyper-realistic cakes, the line of reality and fiction seemed blurred. While it did render hysterical memes online, these cake fakeouts severed as pure escapism from the crumbling realities.

Nature is healing. We are the virus.

Early this year, with most of the world indoors, under the lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus, many reports of lower pollution levels and increased wildlife sightings in urban areas had emerged. While some were true, others - like news about dolphins returning to the canals of Venice - have been debunked as fake. Hence, netizens chose to counter fake news by parodying the viral posts. Nevertheless, wildlife did return to claim their space, dinosaurs made their way to the Lisbon's streets and rivers became crystal clear only to serve us the best, pick-me-up memes of 2020.

Yashraj Mukhate, Danish Sait and those viral catchphrases

From Parasite making history at Oscars to Taylor Swifts surprise albums a list of iconic internet moments in 2020

Image from Twitter. 

Lockdown did keep many content creators busy, as they conjured up witty and viral trends. The one stood out was sound engineer Yashraj Mukhate's kitchen rap, 'Rasode Mein Kaun Tha'. Mukhate combed through archives of television serial Saath Nibhaana Saathiya and picked a set of dialogues to create a catchy rap song. The result of his autotuned miracle? It set everyone on a laughing riot, and even finding a place on Tinder bios. (Go figure!)

Danish Sait created compilations of the different kinds of conversations Bengaluru’s residents were having during the national lockdown, drawing heavily on local vocabulary and obsessions. Using various everyday objects as handsets and props, Sait’s usage of the phrase ‘bewarsi kudka’ (drunk bastard) made it to a punchline among Indian Twitter users.

Taylor Swift's surprise albums

2020, an otherwise shitty year, has definitely been a good one for all the Taylor Swift fans out there. For the singer dropped two gorgeous surprise albums this year, modestly proclaiming that it was a creatively fertile year for her, "We just couldn’t stop writing songs".

Folklore, which was recorded in secret during the coronavirus lockdown by Swift and collaborators including Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner, earned both critical and commercial success after its release. Evermore, billed as a sister companion to Folklore, was released in early December.

The cringe-binge

2020 will be remembered as the year of scrapping into the barrels of OTT to cringe and binge. From Karan Johar's 'makeover' telly What The Love, Sima Taparia finding the 'tall, fair and good matches' Indian Matchmaking to witnessing a glimpse into the lives of four Bollywood wives with The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, the shows were the ultimate guilty pleasure of the year. We could hate it, dissect it, analyse and pin down thousands of op-ed pieces — and yet remain hooked. So bad, that it's good!

Elf on the Shelf challenge closes 2020

A bizarre yet hilarious Christmas meme to close out the year! Elf on the Shelf challenge began when the Real co-host Garcelle Beauvais posted an Instagram of a photoshopped meme of herself sitting atop Pharrell Williams with the caption, “You’ve heard of Elf on a Shelf, now get ready for this". To spread the holiday cheer celebrities like Priyanka ChopraReese WitherspoonGal Gadot, Elizabeth BanksMadhuri DixitNimrat Kaur and many others have hopped on the bandwagon.

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