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2012's Best Pop Culture Moments

It's been quite a year for those of us entertainment junkies. To start, 2012 birthed us (quite literally) Blue Ivy Carter, while also presented us with the ever-troubling Liz & Dick. Our year-end round-up features the people, the moments, and the internet
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It's been quite a year for those of us entertainment junkies. To start, 2012 birthed us (quite literally) Blue Ivy Carter, while also presented us with the ever-troubling Liz & Dick. Our year-end round-up features the people, the moments, and the internet memes that made the year what it was.
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There were very few new series that made quite as large a splash as did Lena Dunham's quirky brainchild. As Girls' four eclectic leading ladies navigate all of Brooklyn and two-thirds of Manhattan, we'll be eagerly tuning in on January 13 for the HBO show's second season. We know we can't wait for more Robyn-fueled dance scenes.

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McKayla Is Not Impressed

If this year's Olympics taught us anything, it's that now 17-year-old vault phenom McKayla Maroney is not satisfied with an uncharacteristic second-place finish. These addictive memes brought us Not Impressed with President Obama, Not Impressed on Noah's Ark, and Not Impressed at MTV's Music Video Awards.

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Aside from coining one of 2012's best catchphrases ("Argo f**k yourself"), Ben Affleck's third directing project was stellar — and that includes Ben's rocking '70s 'do. Although we all knew how it ended, this film was the definition of a nail-biter.

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TomKat's Break Up

It was the breakup heard 'round the world — and the World Wide Web. Once the news broke that Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Scientology front man Tom Cruise, no one could focus on much of anything for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, we're just thankful that this gave famed blog Suri's Burn Book a whole new wind.

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The Future Royal Spawn

Let the baby name speculation begin! Kate Middleton was first reported to be carrying a royal heir (and in the case of some pregnancy rumors, royal twins) more than two years ago, and the comments hadn't died down until a palace spokesperson confirmed her recent pregnancy on Dec. 3.

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Frank Ocean

We're not sure whether it's his thick, romantic voice or his old school R&B acoustic, but we haven't been able to stop listening to his debut album, Channel Orange, since it was released in July. And with a resume already featuring collaborations ranging from Kanye to Nas, we can't wait to see what Mr. Ocean will do next.

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Britney Spears Turned Judge

Seeing Brit on Simon Cowell's latest TV venture is much like a long-awaited reunion with an old pal. Her thoughtful and often emotional critiques make watching The X Factor week after week a happy obligation. Plus, she got to coach 13-year-old prodigy Carly Rose Sonenclar.

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The Hunger Games

This highly anticipated post-apocalyptic film broke box office records while also spawning a hot new hairstyle: the "Katniss" side braid. How are we supposed to wait until November 2013 for Catching Fire? May the odds be ever in our favour, we suppose.

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Mitt Romney Wanted to Fire Big Bird

Mitt Romney revealed during the first debate that he wanted to cut funding for PBS, meaning the end of Sesame Street and our eight-foot, feathered friend with it. An angry America fought back with countless memes, an SNL appearance, and even a visit from the bird himself at a Texas voting location on Election Day.

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Blue Ivy Carter

Power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z gave birth to their little bundle of joy, Blue Ivy Carter, in January, and the nationwide obsession with the child hasn't yet died down. Bey and Jay tried to get her name trademarked, and she even lent her "voice" (i.e. cries) to Jay's song Glory — this baby is off to a fantastic start.

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Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

We're not sure whether it's Alana's outrageous catchphrases ("redneckognize", for one) or her mother June's equally dysfunctional nature, but this TLC series has had everyone talking. Barbara Walters even named the energetic seven-year-old one of the year's 10 most fascinating people.

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Many critics have dubbed Skyfall the best Bond yet, and we'd definitely have to agree. Not to mention, Adele's eponymous track, on repeat for months, is too sexy for its own good. Plus, it gives us another movie to look at Daniel Craig and his perfectly tailored suits.

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Are you an Amaro or Valencia gal? Whatever your preference, our Instagram feeds are now filled with everything from nail art to food and landscapes to selfies, making the most mediocre of subjects appear interesting after one of Instagram's many filters. Let's just hope 2012's rise of Instagram isn't followed by the 2013 fall of the app — what with an ongoing Twitter war and frustratingly new terms of service, we wouldn't exactly be surprised.

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That Whole Robsten Situation

Robert Pattinson took her back, but those broad daylight hookup photos of Kristen Stewart and her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders will continue to haunt our dreams well into 2013.

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It's Thanksgiving, Nicole Westbrook

We just have too many issues with this Rebecca Black-esque music video: how singer Nicole Westbrook rhymes "can't be hateful" with "gotta be grateful," how she sings into a turkey leg like it's a bejeweled mic, and how a random man rings her doorbell wearing a turkey suit. We could keep going, but that would mean contributing another view to video's more than 13,000,000 play count.

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Even if you haven't watched an episode of the two season-long series, you're well familiar with Claire Danes' chin-shaking crying face — there's even a blog that documents each time she cries on film. But besides, the show is nothing short of fantastic, and even has six Emmys to prove it.

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Les Misérables

Complete with a ridiculously star-studded cast, an Academy Award-winning director, and a soundtrack often referred to as the best in musical theater, the 2012 Les Misérables revival is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. And we all know that Anne Hathaway's portrayal of a starving Fantine — which required her to lose a dangerous 25 pounds and get her hair chopped off in real-time on film — will likely earn her an Oscar.

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Felix Baumgartner's Live Space Jump

A record audience of more than 8 million people watched the Australian daredevil's live skydive from space, which was shown on a multiple-second delay in case of, you know, a not-so-unexpected sudden death. Thankfully, Baumgartner survived after being in free fall for more than four minutes.

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Ryan Lochte

With TV cameos ranging from 30 Rock to 90201, America has almost forgotten how Ryan Lochte (and his trademarked catchphrase, "jeah") has become a household name. And even with 11 Olympic medals under his belt, we're expecting to see more of the swimmer at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro — which is great because that means we get to enjoy four more years of Ryan Lochte being terrible in interviews.

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Amy Poehler & Will Arnett's Divorce

Is nothing sacred anymore? The news that our favorite funny couple was filing for divorce after nine years of marriage and two children made us weep. If they can't make it, who can?

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Ryan Gosling Snubbed for Sexiest Man Alive... Again

This is still a sore subject for us almost two months later, but how can Channing Tatum beat out the suave, sexy hunk that is Ryan Gosling? Honestly, it's like he's Photoshopped, people. We expect better, more realistic results for 2013.

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Taylor Swift's Red

Tay's three Grammy noms were no surprise after selling 1.2 million copies of her latest album, Red, in the first week. And if her breakup with Jake Gyllenhaal is any indication (surprise — the majority of Red's songs are about Jake!), we're already looking forward to her next album incorporating Conor Kennedy and, preemptively, 1D's Harry Styles' breakup anthems.

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We only hope that this overused carpe diem for the Emoji set will seek retirement in 2013. However, Drake's bumping testament to the saying, The Motto, can stay.

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Louis C.K.

If only going off of Louis C.K.'s hysterical November SNL monologue, 2012 was the funny guy's best year yet. We dare you to watch his stand-up in a public place and not cause a commotion by your laughter. Hint: It's pretty near impossible.

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The Fierce Five

McKayla, Kyla, Aly, Gabby, and Jordyn — five girls who, this summer, became more to America than just gold medal Olympians. We fell in love with the quintet for so many reasons, ranging from their adorable friendship, exceptional athleticism, but, most importantly, how they might possibly be the living Mean Girls.

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Call Me Maybe & Gangnam Style

Call Me Maybe has more than 360 million YouTube views, while Gangnam Style has almost three times as much. So whether you're still excited or now want to hurl something when the two songs start playing during a night out, there's no doubting both tunes' relevance in 2012. Now it's time to look forward to the next impossibly catchy aural sensation.

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Jennifer Aniston's Engagement

The only thing better than Jen getting engaged to actor and screenwriter Justin Theroux is Jen's eight-carat monster engagement ring. Her teary interview with Chelsea Handler soon after the proposal is a close second, though.

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Lindsay Lohan in Liz & Dick

Poor, poor LiLo has had quite the year, and that's not even including her November assault arrest or the IRS seizing her bank accounts. Liz & Dick debuted to hopeful audiences last month, who anticipated that Lindsay's portrayal of the late, great Elizabeth Taylor would score her a possible comeback as a respected, talented actress. Disappointingly, both Lindsay and the film debuted to mediocre reviews.

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