It’s been quite the year for breakups — Nick Viall and Vanessa Grimaldi, Carmelo and Lala (and the Knicks), America and the illusion of democracy — but some of 2017’s most concerning moments happened when two or more parties collaborated to make something so horrible that neither could do it alone.
Sharing is caring, but 2017 made a strong case for staying in your own lane (and perhaps not inviting others into it). This year presented a veritable cornucopia of bizarre collaborations, so we decided to round up some of the most unfortunate, offensive, and just plain bad instances.
Katy Perry and Migos
I’m so old that I can remember when Katy Perry teamed up with the Migos to make the first song in history to ever point out that some foods are kinda like vaginas. Spring 2017 feels like forever ago — a better time when our chief musical concern could be Katy Perry’s album rollout — but “Bon Appétit” is still one of the most confounding artifacts of the year. First came the goofy food-sex innuendos and one of the early instances of Quavo being shoehorned into a pop song; then came the music video, in which Perry literalized the metaphor (as though the lyrics were too cryptic?) by casting herself as a piece of food that is floured, seasoned, and baked; then came her performance on Saturday Night Live, when she did this:
I … I don’t even know. Perry’s Witness was a stunning collection of misfires — a good companion piece to Taylor Swift’s Reputation — but “Bon Appétit” was particularly glaring. — Andrew Gruttadaro
LeBron James and the Arthur Meme
LeBron James is great at a lot of things: excelling at his job, calling the president a bum, being an athlete-activist, throwing birthday parties, drinking wine. One thing he’s not good at: posting the memes.
LeBron has taken over the Arthur fist meme — maybe inadvertently — and made it his own after teams, teammates, and other players from around the league started using it with his interpretation. Bad collab, but it’s also pretty impressive. — Nicole Bae
Giada De Laurentiis and Pizza (and Nicole Kidman)
On one May episode of Ellen, De Laurentiis did not do anything right. She prepared a “pizza” using focaccia bread, fennel, and a clementine (???). She seemed genuinely stressed out on the show, as if she doesn’t habitually appear on Food Network emphatically pronouncing Italian words. And worst of all, she was snippy to fellow guest and flawless human Nicole Kidman.
It was only right, then, that De Laurentiis’s Franken-pizza was met with absolute disdain from Ellen DeGeneres and Kidman, breaking the typical host-guest etiquette for cooking presentations. Kidman, who has won several acting awards, took it out of her mouth with a grimace. “I know you’re not meant to criticize, but it’s a little tough,” she said, winning a second Emmy in the process. De Laurentiis lamented, “I don’t even know why I bother,” which is an incredible way to close out a cooking segment.
Next time, Giada: Be polite to royalty, and learn how to make a proper pìzza. — Miles Surrey
Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky
Never had I ever seen a movie at a commercial screening that ended with the entire audience booing in unison, until one afternoon in September when I saw Mother! It was a cathartic, oddly neighborly experience to realize among complete strangers that we’d all hated this movie that, in turn, seemed to hate us back (I don’t think I’ve ever seen another movie with as much open disdain for its viewing audience, and I am a Lars von Trier completist). It was like a budget trip to Cannes. As the credits rolled, a man near the front row stood up, turned to the audience, and asked, “She got paid $20 million for that?” (She hadn’t, but I saw his point.) “Awful, awful movie,” agreed a pair of elderly women before exiting the theater in disgust. Said a man to his buddy, loudly enough for the whole theater to hear, “OK, OK, I’m sorry, the next movie’s on me.”
Mother! was (I guess) a parable about a male artiste whose bombastic creations overpower his female partner’s creative energy, which is to say that, in retrospect, Mother! was maybe a documentary. Darren Aronofsky and Jennifer “#jenlawrence” Lawrence were a share-each-other’s-lollipops-level item while filming and promoting the divisive movie, but according to recent reports they have since split up. I would never wish a breakup on anyone, but from a purely aesthetic perspective as a filmgoer, I believe that this one is for the greater good. Lawrence is too effusive (and frankly too good) an actress to function as a pawn in one of Aronofksy’s feature-length chess games.
Earlier this year I was worried that Mother! would permanently derail her career, but then I read this W Magazine item from last month, headlined, “Jennifer Lawrence Says Darren Aronofsky Would Not Stop Talking About mother! While They Were Dating.” It was then I knew that #jenlawrence will be fine. — Lindsay Zoladz
Ed Sheeran and Music
Listen, I understand that there are people who enjoy Ed Sheeran’s music. They are entitled to their opinion, sure (hi, Juliet).
But 2017 has been a year chock-full of horrors — and the few times I managed to leave my apartment to “commune” with other “human beings” and “cope,” I found myself invariably hoodwinked by the promising first few notes of a dancehall-adjacent track. Moments later, to my horror, it would dawn on me that that the song in question was none other than Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” a song so amazingly unsexy that it functions as an argument for celibacy.
I wish I could accurately convey the disappointment that washed over me every single time this betrayal of epic proportions took place on a dance floor. Imagine going out to eat at your favorite restaurant, splurging on an indulgent meal you normally convince yourself not to order, then bringing the leftovers home in a bag, writing your name on the bag in your neatest penmanship, taking that bag to work the next day, sitting through hours of meetings, opening the work fridge at lunch, and then realizing that someone ate all your food but left the bag and to-go container inside the fridge. Now imagine the person who ate your food is Ed Sheeran. That’s how I felt every time I heard this song with a rum and Coke in my hand.
He doesn’t deserve it, but I’ll end this missive on a positive note: Ed Sheeran can be rehabilitated! All he has to do is let someone else shine.
Louis Vuitton and Supreme
The year was 2004. George W. Bush was president. Season 2 of Fox’s hit teen drama The O.C. was premiering, and every single celebrity worth their salt had a Louis Vuitton accessory to show off in the photos that paparazzi would be snapping. Fast-forward 13 years and the legendary fashion house is of course still around, but it has been replaced by another brand as the chief symbol of celebratory worth. Supreme — the established alpha of the streetwear world — has succeeded LV as the king of the celebrity flex. Fashion sites have devoted entire posts to documenting the many stars who have donned the box logo. Being spotted in one of the brand’s ultra-exclusive, ultra-expensive items has become a celebrity right of passage. It’s how you earn your clout card.
Supreme is fond of collabs (i.e., placing its logo on already-existing products). For example, earlier this month, Wizards forward Kelly Oubre made waves when he wore a Supreme®/Nike®/NBA shooting sleeve on his right leg during a game against the Brooklyn Nets. Supreme’s biggest joint offering of 2017, however, was its collaborative collection with none other than Louis Vuitton. Drake paired his teal Supreme x Louis Vuitton denim jacket with a mostly-empty wine glass. Injured New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. rocked a Supreme x Louis Vuitton walking boot. John Mayer tie-dyed his Supreme x Louis Vuitton T-shirt. Justin Bieber wore his Supreme x Louis Vuitton baseball jersey in a sloppy, Mom, are we out of pizza rolls? look. This year, empty status symbol jockeying of yesteryear met status symbol jockeying of today. The results were, as they almost always are, incredibly favorable. People clamored, lined up, and shelled out for items that look like they could be sold on Canal Street for a fraction of the price. In a word, it was stupid. — Jordan Coley
Master P and Both Sides–ism
A selection from Master P’s October tête-à-tête with noted thought leader Tomi Lahren, during which the two attempted to solve institutional racism:
“There are good police and bad police. There’s good people, there’s bad people. … These are just people in uniform. I don’t get caught up with the police, even if some of them are overdoing it. Maybe they had a bad day. I say, ya know what, I put my trust in God and I just gotta do what’s right.”
Some of them are overdoing it. Maybe they had a bad day. That second part was used as an excuse for unpardonable fuckups recently, for real, in real life. Percy later went on to explain, after getting fried to a crisp once the photo of him and Tammy surfaced online, that sitting down with Tanya was incumbent on him, as a member of the human race. “I feel like how you fight hate is with love.”
We do, obviously, but working together toward any kind of meaningful progress means entering the conversation unburdened by the notion that history is a thing that just happens to people. While confronting your racist uncle at the dinner table this holiday season, also confront your woke cousin, and explain to them that racism is neither down to individual ignorance, nor a difference of opinion, thanks. — Micah Peters