As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, I’m reflecting on the things of pop culture I’m thankful for this year. Sure, movies and TV shows, music and books are for fun (and that is okay!!), but often they also have a deeper meaning for us. So let’s talk about the things that have enriched our lives, taught us something new, or just helped us get through the hard spots. I do share a few of these in episode 141 of The Couch Podcast, but this list is the overflow because once I started counting gifts and gratitude, I couldn’t stop!
Here are my top 22 for 2022:
- Audiobooks: I’ve mostly listened to memoirs, and it’s been a great way for me to read more non-fiction. Favorites: I Take My Coffee Black by Tyler Merritt, Hooked by Sutton Foster, As You Wish by Cary Elwes, and Troublemaker by Leah Remini.
- Book club: This year I started a book club in my town, and I joined a reading club as well. Both have been really fun and I’m looking forward to continuing them in 2023.
- Dead Eyes podcast: I was obsessed with this. OBSESSED. Still kind of am.
- Hallmark Channel progress: Watching the Hallmark Channel actually take stands for diversity and inclusion and then take actual steps toward growing in those areas has been encouraging. I’m definitely grateful for it.
- Heardles and Waffle: All those games on your phone? I love ’em. I’m still doing them. Maybe not every day, but lots of days.
- Streaming movies (I Want You Back, The Valet, Secret Headquarters, Better Nate Than Ever): Getting to the theater is hard, so I’m ever grateful for excellent movies that show up on my streaming services.
- Bible Recap app: I’m a billion days behind in my attempt to read the Bible in chronological order, in a year. But I’ve read and learned more than I would have without this app (and the corresponding podcast).
- Mysteries (Only Murders in the Building, The Afterparty, The Flight Attendant, Dead to Me, Finlay Donovan is Killing It, Dial A for Aunties): I’m loving mysteries more than ever and grateful to have so many to choose from, both on the screen and the page.
- Women’s paranormal fiction: These are books available on Kindle, some by well-known authors and some you might not have heard of. All the stories are about women in their 40s or 50s going through major life change that includes something paranormal. And usually some romance and a mystery to solve and a great group of friends. It’s delightful.
- Movie night: This is now one of the many perks of Patreon (join us!), but it’s continued to be a true light in my life. Read more here.
- The Lost City: I adored this romantic comedy adventure starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. ADORED.
- HomeTown show on HGTV: My family of four doesn’t agree on a whole lot. We have different opinions and preferences, and we’re noisy about all of it. But we can always agree on watching a new episode of Good Bones or HomeTown. Thank you, HGTV, for giving us something to share. (We actually love HomeTown so much that we visited Laurel, Mississippi—home of the hosts and the show’s location—on our summer vacation.)
- Family movie night: We haven’t had as many this year, but when we can find a movie all four of us love? Or at least two of us love and one or two others put up with? It’s magic.
- Crime procedurals: And to continue this theme, I’m grateful for the procedural TV shows my husband and I watch together. Is it ridiculous we watch so many crime shows? Maybe. But we like them and we watch together and it’s nice to have something to share.
- Yacht rock on XM: It’s just where I am right now, okay?
- IG accounts to watch with my 8-year-old daugher: I’m talking dad jokes, cat songs, baby animal pics, and hair tutorials. Whenever I scroll through Reels, I make sure to save a couple fun ones to watch with her, and we both love it.
- Ms. Marvel: I loved this Disney+ original soooo much! Creative, inclusive and diverse, funny, moving, All The Things! I rave about it in this podcast episode.
- The Bible Binge: It’s fun and entertaining, sure. But it’s also incredibly educational and kind and gentle and funny, and I can’t get over how much I’ve learned from the hosts of this show or how much I’ve grown and figured out as a result of listening to this show.
- Ben Rector concert: I love Ben Rector and his music and his live performances. Finding time and money and childcare to go watch his concert this spring WAS A GIFT. From myself. To myself. Thank you, self. Thank you, Ben.
- Good second and third seasons of shows: Only Murders in the Building, Derry Girls, and several other shows have had fantastic new seasons and if you’ve watched TV for any time at all, you know that’s not always the case!
- Sharon Says So: Sharon McMahon is a former government teacher (among many other things) who is a freaking LIGHT on the internet. She is teaching us about democracy and decency, while also catalyzing her followers to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help those in need. She is incredible, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for her wisdom and humor and generosity and kindness.
- Beth Moore on Twitter: Speaking of people using the Internet for good…Beth Moore’s tweets make my day on the regular (and are one of the only reasons I’ve found to mess with Twitter at all). If you don’t follow her, you should.
Okay, now it’s YOUR turn. What pop culture are YOU thankful for this year?