ESPN’s epic Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance, gave us the best memes of 2020, the most hellish year ever.
Twenty-twenty will surely be remembered as one of the worst years of all time. The coronavirus upended everything we might’ve had planned going into the new year; our government actually believed that the majority of the country’s citizens could stretch a one-time $1,200 check beyond a month (and expect them to do that again with yet another check that’s half the first one); the concept of mask-wearing to protect not just ourselves but those around us actually became a point of contention among the country’s most ignorant; and celebrities offered empty gestures instead of opening their purses (we didn’t forget, Gal Gadot).
And, yet again, memes were here to comfort us. Memes have become integral to the fiber of internet culture; it’s its own language, helping to convey and translate how we’re feeling at any given moment in a way that many people resonate with. Memes are also absurd, but we needed the comedic absurdity of memes this year in a way that we haven’t needed before. Those bit-size laughs that help us get through a moment or maybe even a day. Memes helped us get through this hellhole that was 2020.
There was one particular cultural moment this year that not only provided a distraction for us during the early months of the ‘rona because of its content and because of the memes that it birthed. I’m talking about The Last Dance documentary, the 10-part miniseries that chronicled the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls during the team’s championship-winning 1997-98 season.
The docuseries was well-received for the deep dive it provided on such an important moment in sports history. From Jordan’s legendary “Flu Game” to Dennis Rodman’s 48-hour vacation in the middle of the Bulls’ 97 season, plenty of ground was covered throughout. And although Scotty Pippen may not have been a fan of the series, a lot of basketball fans were, with The Last Dance averaging 6.71 million viewers.
But the legacy of The Last Dance isn’t just in its storytelling and how it filled a much-needed void for sports fans, but in the memes it unintentionally created. The series led to the creation of a handful of memes that are still being used as the year comes to an end. Of course, the first one of these that comes to mind is of Jordan looking at an iPad screen exasperated. The moment came from a scene where Jordan watched Detroit Pistons guard (and long-hated rival) Isiah Thomas explain why the Pistons left the court after Game 4 of the 1991 playoffs against the Chicago Bulls without shaking hands. Prior to this, the “Bad Boy” Pistons were the heavyweights in the Eastern Conference during the late ’80s, and they got there by being overly physical with their opponents.
“During that period of time, that’s just not how it was passed,” Thomas said. “It just wasn’t. You can go back and look at any of those old games or whatever. When you lost you left the floor.”
In response to Thomas’ comments, Jordan looks on in disbelief at the screen.
But that wasn’t the only Jordan-holding-an-iPad meme that came from the series. In another episode, Jordan was given an iPad where he proceeds to watch a clip of Gary Payton talking about guarding Jordan during the 1996 finals between the Bulls and the Seattle Supersonics. Recounting the matchup, Payton said that he didn’t back down from Jordan (unlike other players) and tried to tire him out. In response, Jordan once again offers another look of disbelief before offering a slight change and breaking out into laughter.
“The Glove, I had no problem with The Glove,” Jordan said in response, using Payton’s nickname. “I had no problem with Gary Payton. I had a lot of other things on my mind.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair, director Jim Hehir spoke about the Payton moment, saying:
I expected him to defer to a poker face. And to maybe say, off-camera, “Hey, you know, I wanted to laugh out loud when I saw Gary Payton saying that.” But for him to be so candid and so unguarded and so honest in those moments — I mean, if you listen in the mix, you can hear the camera crew laughing, because part of it is just the humor of watching him respond the way he responds. And part of it is the pure joy of seeing that this is going to be documentary gold.
Alongside these was another standout that became one of the best memes of 2020 — the “and I took that personally” meme. Jordan uttered a version of that phrase throughout to describe a slight, like when ex-Seattle Supersonics head coach George Karl didn’t exchange pleasantries before a Finals game or pretending that LaBradford Smith told him “Nice game, Mike,” as motivation.
Other notable people within Jordan and the Bulls’ orbit also contributed to The Last Dance‘s collection of memes, such as eccentric figures like Rodman and John Michael Wozniak, the latter of which was Jordan’s security guard.
In a notable scene from the third episode of the documentary, Rodman breaks down how he mastered the art of rebounding — from having his friends shoot from different distances and parts of the court to watching how professional players released the ball on their shots.
“I’d just sit there and react, react. I just practiced a lot about the angle of the ball and the trajectory of it,” Rodman explained in the scene. “You got a Larry Bird, it’s gonna spin. You got a Magic [Johnson], it’ll maybe spin. When Michael shoot over here, I position myself right there. Now it hit the rim, it’s boom. Click, go back this way. Boom, here, here. Click, go that way. Boom, that way. Click here, this way. So basically I just start learning how to put myself in a position to get the ball.”
It’s the latter half of that quote — “Click, go back this way. Boom, here, here” — that was transformed into a meme, with the clip being used in a number of ways.
As for Wozniak, his meme transformation came about in the series’ sixth episode, when the security guard plays a game of quarters against Jordan and wins. Not only does Wozniak proceed to beat Jordan on the first try, but he also hits the athlete with a flawless imitation of Michael Jordan’s famous shrug. The meme also doubled as a tribute of sorts to Wozniak, who had passed away in January this year from colon cancer.
So, The Last Dance didn’t only birth the next great Jordan meme after “Crying Jordan,” but also was behind the best memes of 2020. But, of course, there were some other standouts, too, and as we honor them we can only hope that next year brings some levity to the chaos of this year, and that the next batch of memes that come only add to that.
The wife of the late legendary rapper Christopher”Big Pun”Big” Rios spoke out. Liza Rios and her attorney Lita Rosario-Richardson Esq spoke with hosts O’God and SamAnt. During the interview, Liza gave her perspective on the situation involving Joseph”Fat Joe” Cartagena and Big Pun. Liza’s attorney cleared up the rumors that have lingered for more than a decade. Especially, as it relates to the alleged $1 million dollars.
Will Liza Ever Recover Pun’s Music Rights?
Some people were wondering what really happened between Big Pun and Fat Joe. And, throughout the years we have been given different accounts. There is Rios’s account, and there is Fat Joe’s. I was always told, that the truth lies in the middle. With that being said, Rios shared she never accused Cartagena(Fat Joe) of stealing any money. But Liza mentioned in the interview that the alleged $1 million Cartagena gave her never happened. In fact, Rios admits she asked Cartagena to provide receipts. And, he never did.
It does appear that something went on back then between Rios and Cartagena that was problematic. Especially, since Rios (Big Pun) did not get royalties for songs. And, Rios (Big Pun’s wife) is fighting so that her husband can be paid what she believes he is owed. According to Rios attorney Rosario-Richardson, they are working to get Rios Masters. Of course, the process of a music artist owning their masters is very complex. Rios is a woman on a mission to protect her husband’s legacy as well as his ownership. Who could blame Rios for advocating for her children’s legacy? Hopefully, Rios will be successful.
Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
Netflix’s ultra violent Korean TV series Squid Game is the most streamed original series of all time on the platform, surpassing Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton. Photo Credit: Noh Juhan/Netflix
Fall TV’s expansive lineup of topics and settings are sure to invigorate you. Here are 16 TV shows you should stream this fall.
After a wacky year in which the entire entertainment industry was shaken up due to the pandemic, we can officially say TV is back. Beyond the appetite for TV has growing in 2021, it’s also become a pivotal part of everyone’s lives since millions of people are working from home. Broadcast networks and streaming platforms have taken note of this and have been shelling out options ranging from comedies to dramas to projects based on real-life experiences.
Regardless of which types of episodic series you plan to queue up, this season’s lineup of TV shows doesn’t disappoint. Fall TV’s expansive lineup of topics and settings are sure to invigorate you and pique your curiosity. Since cold weather is almost in full swing it’s refreshing to have a consistent queue of new Netflix options that are binge-ready. But for those who prefer selections that drop each week, there’s room for you too.
Here are 16 new TV shows you should check out this fall.
Impeachment (American Crime Story)
Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story returns to paint a picture of the messy Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal. The cast is stacked with heavy hitters: Sarah Paulson (Linda Tripp), Clive Owen (Bill Clinton), Beanie Feldstein (Monica), and Edie Falco (Hilary Clinton).
Netflix’s ultra violent Korean TV series Squid Game is the most streamed original series of all time on the platform, surpassing Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton. The premise: In order to win millions, players must partake in an assortment of childhood games. Each of these games have a twist, if you lose, you die.
Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar shared hints that COVID-19 would be looming when last season ended. Now, sheltering at home has ended, and — for the sixth season — the Bordelon family is out and about living their lives as normally as they can amid the pandemic. For Charlie (Dawn Lyen-Gardner) that looks like continuing to explore a relationship with her ex-husband. Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) and Darla (Bianca Lawson) are preparing for the baby while Nova (Rutina Wesley) is battling with the backlash of being a truth-teller and community activist.
Sex Education, by Laurie Nunn, has been serving up some of the wittiest and funniest TV centering sex in recent years. In season three, Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Maeve (Emma Mackey) are battling it out with a new headteacher who is cutting out all forms of sexual expression and also individuality at Moordale. Jean (Gillian Anderson) is counseling again, but she’s also pregnant and figuring out co-parenting. The new season also digs a bit into Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) exploring his life as a Black gay high schooler.
The star-studded first season of Apple TV+’s The Morning Show was a wild ride. In it, Alex Levy (Jennifer Anniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) left things nearly unfixable for the network when they exposed them for sweeping unsavory misconduct under the rug. We’ll be watching the new season to see how the network addresses the co-hosts’ attempt at dragging their name through the mud.
Streamers love a reboot. One of this season’s newest is The Wonder Years. Set in Montgomery, Alabama in the ‘60s, a Black family is the center of this scripted series from Saladin K. Patterson. The show is told from the eyes of teen Dean Williams (Elisha E.J. Williams).
Netflix’s Dear White People, created by Justin Simien, decided to take the musical route for its fourth season. Previously coined as a satirical series, its highly anticipated return centers around the star students performing with dance numbers no one asked for. College after all is only four years, so it appears Siemen and co-showrunner Jaclyn Moore wanted to end the series with a bang. We’ll be sad to say goodbye to Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson), Coco (Antoinette Smith), Reggie (Marques Richardson), and Troy (Brandon P. Bell).
50 Cent is the executive producer of Starz’s BMF. He seeks to tell the story of two figures that are forever ingrained in hip-hop culture, the fashion community, and the drug game: Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and his brother Terry “Southwest T” Flenory. The primetime show starts in Detroit and follows the duo as they rake in money, success, and go after their biggest dreams.
Based on Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid, this gripping Netflix adaptation stars Margaret Quallay as a single mother on her journey rising out of homelessness. Her road is also met with pushback from a violent ex who is the father of her daughter.
For their fourth season of Netflix’s On My Block, the group is officially back to share a new chapter of their East LA lives. The latest season picks up where things left off when Monse (Sierra Capri), Jamal (Brett Gray), Ruby (Jason Genao), and Cesar (Diego Tinoco) were heading into their last year of high school.
Over the last decade the opioid epidemic has taken over both local and national news station coverage. Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America seeks to tell a story about a doctor (Michael Keaton) in a Virginia mining town who had first hand interactions with patients who became addicted to OxyContin.
The Waystar Royco family’s return is something that has been widely anticipated since the end of season two in 2019. Middle son Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) is once again aiming to take his father down with corporate scandals. This wealthy family is back to its old ways: sneaky alliances, screaming matches, and loyalties being questioned.
Issa Rae’s creation, the HBO Emmy-winning series Insecure, has captured the hearts (and ears) of many since 2016. For its fifth and final season, the show will focus on Issa as a budding entrepreneur and also will give us answers on if her and Molly (Yvonne Orji) plan to rekindle their friendship or call it quits. The cliffhangers that last season left behind will obviously take up space when the show returns. Prepare to see cast favorites like Lawrence (Jay Ellis), Kelly (Natasha Rothwell), Tiffany (Amanda Seales), and even Seqouia (Courtney Taylor).
Have you heard the story of the Manhattan psychiatrist Isaac Herschkopf (Paul Rudd) who upturned the life of his wealthy Long Island patient Martin Markowitz (Will Ferrell)? This new dark comedy pulling from real-life events explores exactly how Markowitz was manipulated out of money, a home and more by his trusted psychiatrist.
Did we need a series about a family running a private-prison scheme? Paramount+ thinks so. The first trailer for Mayor Of Kingstown is volatile and violent. The main cast features Jeremy Renner, Kyle Chandler, Dianne Wiest, Taylor Handley, and Hugh Dillon. Mayor of Kingstown was written and executive produced by Yellowstone’s Taylor Sheridan, Dillon also receives an exec producer credit.
It’s Tariq Saint Patrick’s (Michael Rainey Jr.) world and we’re just living in it. For the second season of Power Book II: Ghost is caught up in the investigation of his former professor’s death. We’re ready to see the chain of events following this major death and Monet Tejada’s (Mary J. Blige) ongoing power struggle with her son Cane (Woody McClain).
James Michael Tyler, best known for his role as Gunther on the iconic sitcom, Friends, died Sunday at 59-years-old. The actor had suffered from Stage 4 prostate cancer.
Tyler’s passing was announced in a statement from his representative Toni Benson.
“The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh “Friend”), from the hit series Friends, but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband,” Benson wrote. “… Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once you made a friend for life.”
Paul Zimmerman / Getty Images
Tyler revealed his cancer diagnosis on NBC’s Today Show back in June, explaining that it was discovered during a routine physical when he was 56. Prior to his death, cancer had spread to his bones leaving him unable to walk.
Tyler’s character, Gunther, served as the manager of the Central Perk coffee shop, a primary location in the series. He also acted in Scrubs, Modern Music, and more.
“Warner Bros. Television mourns the loss of James Michael Tyler, a beloved actor and integral part of our FRIENDS family,” the Friends Twitter account tweeted. “Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and fans.”