Another year, another internet rock bottom.
As if the trends from years past couldn’t get worse, somehow they always do.
This year, TikTok had us in a chokehold — we couldn’t escape the echoing sounds of “good soup” or yet another “challenge.”
Looking back, we can say with 100% certainty that these were the most ridiculous trends of 2021.
Otherwise known as non-fungible tokens, NFTs are one-of-a-kind pieces of digital content linked to blockchain that people can own.
Now, people can purchase an NFT of the first text ever sent or the Rockefeller Christmas Tree (not that anyone wants it anyways).
So, what’s the big deal about owning a digital image or a social media post?
Really, not much. The beauty, and the humor, of the NFT ecosystem, is that anyone can screenshot or photograph the media you “own,” as one Twitter user pointed out. So is it really yours to keep?
2. Scarf Tops
How does anyone wear this shirt? (Trust me, I tried.)
After seeing the likes of Kylie Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski rock this top, I mistakenly thought I could, too. Cue: nip slips and catcalls.
It was all the rage this hot girl summer, but for the average-sized woman, it may be best for poolside lounging, not midday brunch in the smothering city heat in July. After all, we don’t have celebrity-scale fashion tape or stylists to keep us in place all day long.
3. Meme stock
If you’ve been keeping up with the crypto boom this year, you’ve probably heard of meme stocks, like Dogecoin, which are inspired by, well, memes.
If it sounds silly, it’s because it is. The founder of Dogecoin even said he made it in “2 hours” as a joke and sold his holdings years ago. Now, Dogecoin is the sixth most valuable cryptocurrency.
The crypto craze might be considered ridiculous with its volatile nature, mostly due to whatever Tesla CEO Elon Musk says on a given day. Musk has the cryptocurrency market in submission, even making a Christmas-themed dog currency soar 3,500 percent.
“Soaking,” a Morman teen sex act, took over the internet this year, being used as a loophole to the religious “celibate” lifestyle.
It’s best described as “penetration without thrusting,” but adolescent Mormons are getting creative with ways to move that aren’t “thrusting.”
One TikToker described it as “jump humping,” where someone else shakes the bed somehow to create friction “down there.”
If that’s not the ultimate friend goals, then what is? But maybe don’t make it a trend on TikTok with more than 24 million tags.
5. Alabama RushTok
Are you on #BamaRush TikTok? If you weren’t, you probably lived under a rock — or simply not spending enough time on TikTok.
As new “get ready for rush with me” videos popped up, haters of #BamaRush took over the tag, mocking the University of Alabama freshmen showing off their sorority recruitment outfits.
In a totally serious video, one TikTok user and her friends shared their #OOTD, otherwise known as their “outfits of the day.”
But because of the joke videos taking over everyone’s feeds, one user commented, “I can’t tell if these are real anymore.”
In the trolling videos, TikTokers donned outrageous outfits and talked in a heavy (and fake) southern accent to really take the joke home.
Speaking of meme stock, GameStop stock surged in January, baffling hedge fund bros everywhere after a Reddit thread took the stock “to the moon.”
When big-name investors began buying shares of GameStop, the Reddit chat forum “WallStreetBets,” who are self-proclaimed “degenerates,” confused Wall Street firms who shorted the company, along with others such as AMC.
To no surprise, the gains were short-lived. Despite investors on Reddit standing firm behind GameStop, the company’s stock plummeted in the weeks and months following its soaring numbers.
7. Joe Byron
What do you want to say to Joe Byron right now?
The chaotic “Bing, bong!” sound, brought to life by the people of Coney Island by the popular YouTube channel “Sidetalk,” circulated for the final months of 2021.
While the sound is ridiculous, the love for the “Joe Byron guy” isn’t.
He’s actually a homeless man named TJ, who has been picked up by fan accounts online. Now, there are GoFundMe efforts raising money for him to get off the streets.
As of December, the internet raised more than $30,000 for TJ, and with it, came online stardom.
8. Inverted TikTok filter
Leave it to TikTok to unearth our insecurities.
When the platform released the inverted filter for videos, with it, a new challenge came to fruition.
Users started to record themselves not using the filter, then recording their reactions while using it — it’s safe to say they weren’t happy with the results.
The inverted filter shows users any asymmetry in their faces, which highlighted their insecurities.
It also shows what they look like to other people, but because we aren’t used to seeing ourselves that way, it can be alarming.
9. Saying blonde is cheugy
Bad news for blondes everywhere: This year, Gen Z declared blonde “cheugy.”
The term, which means uncool, outdated and trying too hard, also spawned from 2021.
While some things declared as cheugy just speak to the changing fashion trends — we’re looking at you, skinny jeans and side parts — denouncing an entire color of hair seems far-fetched.
But it didn’t stop people from taking it to heart. Blondes flocked to hair salons in a frantic race to transform into brunettes.
10. Low rise jeans
Dear Gen Z, please let this trend die. Y2K is all the rage recently, but we can all agree low-rise jeans were not it, even back then.
While Gen Z may not remember the horrifying red carpet looks of the early 2000s, Millennials certainly do — and those low-rise jeans trigger their flight or fight response.
11. Lube as primer
This makeup trick is too slick. Amateur beauty gurus on TikTok took the platform by storm to show off their latest “hack.”
Namely, TikToker Rady gained traction online while using Durex lube to set a base for her foundation. Because of its slick nature due to the propylene glycol, it creates a seamless makeup finish, but at a potentially sticky cost.
12. Celebrity doppelgangers
A chorus of A-list lookalikes flooded the internet this year, some earning modeling gigs and internet stardom due to their celebrity features.
But at what point are there too many doppelgangers?
Elon Musk and Taylor Swift and Brad Pitt, oh my! And don’t forget about Scarlett Johansson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Cardi B, Jennifer Aniston and Amy Schumer.
13. Instagram story stickers
Did you really think posting a photo of your dog would get a tree planted?
The viral sticker on Instagram Stories, which reads, “We’ll plant 1 tree for every pet picture,” cropped up on feeds earlier this year.
At its height, more than four million stories were shared using the sticker — but can four million trees really be planted?
At first, it wasn’t clear who “we” was, but later the account @plantatreeco claimed it. They immediately deleted the sticker after creating it, realizing the potential it had.
However, it didn’t stop millions of people from participating, posting a picture of their pets for an adorable but ultimately useless purpose.
14. Urban dictionary name trend
No one cares what your name means on Urban Dictionary.
The trend, which took over social media this fall, involved people looking up what their names meant — untraditionally — on Urban Dictionary, which is typically only used to look up NSFW terms.
From humorous to flattering, the bizarre name definitions shared online were really only a result of internet boredom.
One person named Brandi tweeted her name definition. “Illest and dopest chick you’ll ever meet,” the submission read. “She’s very sensual and affectionate. Non-materialistic and she picks her friends like she picks her fruit. She is hard to anger, but once angered, beware.”
But many were quick to dub the trend as “self-congratulatory,” with one user saying, “No offense but absolutely nobody is reading ur urban dictionary names.”
15. Dry scoop challenge
The internet is constantly churning out ridiculous challenges, but this one is a new low.
Doctors warned against the dry scoop challenge on TikTok due to possible heart attacks. The “challenge” involves swallowing a heaping spoonful of pre-workout powder, followed by a sip of water, before hitting the gym.
After one influencer succumbed to a fatal heart attack because of the trend, parents and medical experts worried about the young people participating in the online craze.
16. “Squid Game” trends
After the premiere of one of the biggest streaming shows on Netflix, “Squid Game” merchandise and trends took off.
Cryptocurrencies, home light shows, costumes and other knick-knacks spawned seemingly overnight — but one really took the cake for more ridiculous.
The “Squid Game” makeup trends flooded TikTok, with users posting tutorials showing eerily real looks that mimic characters from the series.
17. The Backyardigans
The viral TikTok sounds, featuring sound clips from Nick Jr.’s show “The Backyardigans” — “Castaways” and “Into the Thick of It” — were reimagined for people 16+ on TikTok.
Users created dances to “Into the Thick of It” with a bit of extra chutzpah, while others tried to perform the song with perfect timing.
But the content for “Castaways” took a different turn. TikTokers attempted to mimic the Backyardigans’ iconic dance number from the animated show.
18. Milk crate challenge
TikTok apparently can’t get enough of harm-inducing trends, including the milk crate challenge.
Instead of people completing the crazy “challenge,” — which involves conquering a treacherous race across stacked milk crates — most daredevils fell off the harrowing mountain of plastic.
Despite potential bone breaks or joint sprains, trend participators seemed unfazed and undeterred, hellbent on cascading up and down their own Tower of Terror, set right in their backyard.
19. Whole face waxing
The most harrowing part of these whole face waxes might be the hot wax on eyelids and eyelashes.
Hot wax is smeared all over the face — with no part left out — and once dry, is ripped off.
The ridiculous and painful trend has led to viral videos of people subjected to the hair removal process, leaving them smooth but at the cost of their skin.
20. Rubbing your tongue
In this NSFW trend, women on TikTok rubbed the underside of their tongue with one finger after being told it feels like male genitalia. Yes, you read that right.
After rubbing the large vein that runs underneath their tongue, the women in the videos were shocked, with some joking that they did it when they “missed their boyfriend.”
21. Blow drying your eyelashes
Beauty gurus online felt a little bit of heat after showing this “hack.”
To give their eyelashes an extra lift, they used a blow dryer on their lashes.
Just like hair, users wet their lashes and blasted them on the “cool” setting, according to one expert named Sophia. After using primer, she repeats.
Even though the dryer is “cool,” experts warned this popular trend could lead to skin damage like corneal abrasions or excessive dryness.
Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death
Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.
Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.
Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.
Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”
Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.
ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”
Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.
Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.
Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”
Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence
MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.
But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.
“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’
McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.
Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.
Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.
That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .
When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.
Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”
Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.
“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.
“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’
The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.
Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.
But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.
“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’
The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.
No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.
“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’
Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers
When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.
Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.
This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.
The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.
Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.
To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.
There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.
The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.
Baby steps, though.
Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.
Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.
Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.
Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.
And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.
Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.
Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.
Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.
“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.
On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.
That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.
That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.
It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.
If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.
The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.
“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’
A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.
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