Culture

A Reminder Of All The Things That Actually Happened In 2020, So We Can Finally Move On

It's time to take one final look back at 2020, before we lock it away and never speak of it again.

2020 things you forgot happened

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We did it, y’all. With only a week of the year left, I think it’s safe to say we officially survived 2020.

But from March feeling like it dragged on forever to December literally zooming on by, it’s hard to really remember anything that happened — which is probably just a coping mechanism our brains have automatically installed to help us cope given the year’s events.

So to help jog your memory, here’s everything that actually happened in 2020:

January

  • WWIII memes took over: After American forces killed Iran’s Major General Qasem Soleimani on January 3, the world was certain that we were headed for World War III in 2020. To cope, everyone just made a whole lot of memes.
  • Celeste Barber raised over $50,000,000 for bushfire relief: Also on January 3, after posting a Facebook fundraiser for the NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades Donations Fund, comedian Celeste Barber somehow managed to raise $49,970,000 more than her original goal of $30,000.
  • Megxit rocked the world: While it feels like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the Royal Family years ago, they actually only announced their departure from their duties as senior royals on January 8.
  • Netflix’s Cheer was released: Even though watching the ups and downs of the cheerleaders at Navarro felt like it happened in another lifetime, the series only actually came out on January 8 too.
  • Canberra was destroyed by a giant hailstorm: Following weeks of bushfires, Canberra was hit with hail the size of golf balls, which resulted in major property damage on January 20.
  • Kobe Bryant and his daughter tragically died: On January 26, the world was rocked when news of Kobe and Gigi Bryant’s death — by helicopter crash — was confirmed.
  • Brexit finally happened: On January 31, three and a half years after the UK voted to leave the European Union, the UK officially withdrew after a 47-year membership .

February

  • Shakira’s tongue at the Super Bowl became a meme: On February 3, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performed at the 54th Super Bowl, where Shakira’s tongue became a very strange meme.
  • Parasite won at the Oscars: To show you just how long this God forsaken year has been, Bong Joon-Ho won an Oscar for Best Director and Parasite bagged Best Picture on February 10.
  • Love Is Blind premiered: It feels like we were introduced to Jessica’s sexy baby voice and the cast’s oddly vague job titles years ago, but the show actually only came out on February 13, 2020!
  • Quaden Bayles was bullied and went viral: On February 19, Quaden Bayles became a household name when a video of him crying after being bullied went viral. Then debunked conspiracy theories that Quaden was “actually 18” started to spread like wildfire after $400,000 was raised for the child to go to Disneyland.
  • The Great Baboon Escape: On February 25, three wild baboons ran amuck at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred hospital parking lot when they escaped during vasectomy surgery transport.

March

  • The Chats unearthed the Succulent Chinese Meal man: On March 6, The Chats recruited the Succulent Chinese Meal man for their ‘Dine N Dash’ music video, which basically sent Australia into a spin.
  • Coronavirus was declared a pandemic: While it does feel like coronavirus has been knocking around for years, WHO only declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11.
  • Harvey Weinstein was finally sentenced: After accusations of harassing more than 80 women, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on March 12.
  • Gal Gadot and co. sang ‘Imagine’: In the world’s most tone-deaf video, Gal Gadot gathered all her very rich friends to sing John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Imagine’ in response to COVID-19 on March 19.
  • Tiger King dropped on Netflix: Turns out Joe Exotic’s mullet and Carole Baskin’s flower crown have only really been public knowledge for about four months. Yep, the big cat docuseries only came out on March 20.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released: In the midst of the pandemic — aka also on March 20 — Nintendo released New Horizons, which gave people a much needed mental break and spurred on a bunch of memes. Hell, even Elijah Wood started visiting people’s islands to sell his turnips.

General things that also happened throughout March, the longest month that has ever existed in the history of the world: People became obsessed with making Dalgona whipped coffee and everyone got hooked on using Houseparty during lockdown.

April

  • People started stanning Kim Jong-un’s sister: After not being seen in public since April 11, reports started swirling online that North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, had died. In response, people begun to stan his sister, Kim Yo-Jong. Thank God that stopped.
  • The Giant Baby broke the internet: On April 21, the Giant TikTok baby made its way to Twitter and absolutely horrified people who couldn’t figure out the child’s size, age or real purpose.
  • The Normal People series dropped: On April 26, Sally Rooney’s show adaption of Normal People made its way online and everyone quickly fell in love with Connell and his dumb little chain.
  • UFO videos were released: The Pentagon literally released three declassified videos, captured by navy pilots, that showed unidentified flying objects on April 27. And no one blinked an eye, which shows you how numb 2020 has made us.
  • Britney Spears burnt down her home gym: Britney Spears announced she burned down her home gym with two candles on April 29. Iconic, honestly.

May

  • Grimes gave birth: Billionaire Elon Musk and musician Grimes had their baby on May 4 and controversially, and stupidly, named him X Æ A-X12. But to follow Californian law, the couple ~updated~ their son to X Æ A-Xii for legal reasons later in the month.
  • Monkeys on motorcycles kept terrorising children: Yeah, May 2020 was a weird month. Also kicking off on May 4, videos of monkeys on tiny motorbikes either plowing over children in the streets or trying to kidnap them kept going viral.
  • Channel 7 sacked Pete Evans: Even though Pete Evans has been on his ridiculous shit for ages, Channel 7 only sacked him from My Kitchen Rules, and the network, on May 7.
  • Alison Roman and Chrissy Teigen started beefing over food: Also on May 7, food influencer Alison Roman did an interview with The New Consumer, where she criticised Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo for capitalising on their brands, despite doing the very same thing herself. This kicked off 2020’s most unseasoned beef yet.
  • People accused Hilary Duff of sex trafficking her son: Wild conspiracy theories involving Hilary Duff started to swirl online on May 23, when the actor accidentally shared — and promptly deleted — a photo of her son on her Instagram story.
  • A YouTuber “rehomed” her adopted son with autism: On May 27, YouTuber Myka Stauffer made headlines when she shared that she “rehomed” the son she adopted from China when his special needs became too much for the family to handle.

Other things that happened in May: George Floyd was killed by police and sparked worldwide Black Lives Matter protestsMurder Hornets scared people in the US and 50 Cent fought with a Melbourne graffiti artist all month long.

June

  • K-Pop stans used their powers for good: Despite stan culture often doing more bad than good, K-Pop stans banded together, from June 1, to take down snitch police watch apps and even eventually totally tank Trumps Tulsa rally with TikTok teens later in the month.
  • “I yield my time, fuck you!” went viral: Following the protests seeking justice for George Floyd, the LAPD held a public Zoom call to address questions from the public on June 2. As expected, they were dragged to absolute filth, but Jeremy Frisch’s searing 28-second “I yield my time, fuck you!” call went viral for obvious reasons.
  • Everyone got very horny over 365 Days: Netflix dropped 365 Days on June 7, and it spurred on the horniest month of 2020. Between Massimo’s “babygorl”, that boat sex scene and all the TikTok teens turning it into one big horny joke365 Days shot into Netflix’s top three in over 25 countries.
  • Sohla El-Waylly exposed Bon Appétit for pay inequity: All anyone could talk about in June was how Sohla deserved more. After photos of Bon Appétit’s then-editor-in-chief in brownface resurfaced, Sohla blew everything up by admitting she was only earning $50,000/year on June 9. Bon Appétit haven’t uploaded a video since.
  • Officer Karen cried over a late McMuffin: Deputy Stacy Talbert went viral for all the wrong reasons when she shared a tearful video to her Facebook account on June 17. Being dubbed Officer Karen by the internet, the cop thought the inconvenience of having to wait three minutes for her breakfast order was essentially police abuse and signs of food tampering.
  • Shredded Cheese Wife Guy was torn to (cheese) shreds: Jason Vicknair and his wife became the laughing stock of the internet when Jason tweeted about poor food service mid-pandemic on June 28. Upset over the lack of shredded cheese available for his fajita-loving wife, memes about shredded cheese, or rather the lack of, rounded out the month of June.

July

  • Everything was cake: The month of July was taken over by hyper-realistic cakes that looked like everyday objects. While the first video of these super convincing cakes was shared on July 9, the entire month was quickly turned into cake month — where no one could trust anything, or anyone, for that matter.
  • QAnon thought a furniture company was sex trafficking children: On July 9, QAnon followers started to speculate that Wayfair was sex trafficking children because storage cabinet prices were high and “named after missing girls“. Wayfair, of course, denied the claims and explained their pricing reflected their industrial-grade products and the names were just coincidence.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith and August Alsina revealed their “entanglement”:  Jada Pinkett Smith had t0 take herself to the Red Table on July 11 to confirm that she and singer August Alsina had a romantic “entanglement” around four years ago. Smith was forced to address the claims after Alsina spoke about the secret relationship a week earlier, and “entanglement” quickly became a huge meme.
  • The Ellen show was exposed for having a “toxic” work culture: On July 16, BuzzFeed News published a report with ex- and current employees of the Ellen show, that detailed experiences of bullying and racism on set. As a result, WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation into the allegations.

August

  • The Beirut port explosion devastated Lebanon: On August 4, 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate accidentally detonated after six years of improper storage, causing a huge explosion at Beirut port. The explosion caused an estimated $15 billion USD in damage, left 300,000 homeless, killed over 200 and injured 6500 more.
  • Sydney debuted their new asbestos ferries: Debuting a fleet of 10 new Sydney ferries on August 24, everyone couldn’t stop laughing because they were not only too large to pass under bridges, but three of the boats contained asbestos, too. 
  • Magda Szubanski called out Pete Evans and his fat-shaming fans: On August 25, national treasure Magda Szubanksi called out Pete Evans’ deadshit fans after the celeb chef accused the actor of “brainwashing” Victorians by starring in a coronavirus safety ad.
  • Chadwick Boseman sadly died from colon cancer: In a day that crushed the world, Chadwick Boseman’s family announced that the Black Panther star had lost his battle with stage IV colon cancer on August 29.
  • Adele was accused of cultural appropriation: Wearing a Jamaican flag bikini paired with bantu knots in a throwback Instagram photo on August 31, Adele was quickly called out for cultural appropriation. She was pretty unfazed, however, as the photo in all its strange, strange glory is still up on her page.

September

  • A couple’s gender reveal worsened horrific wildfires in California: Over September, California joined Australia to record their worst-ever wildfire season. This was all made so much worse when the fire department confirmed that a pregnant couple had decided to ignore fire warnings and set off a gender reveal pyrotechnic on September 7. So, as expected, the internet tore into them with memes.
  • Chris Evans leaked his own nudes, and the internet rallied to protect him: While uploading an innocent game of Heads Up to his Instagram story on September 13, Captain America himself accidentally showed his penis and a meme of himself that read ‘GUARD THAT PUSSY’. In response, fans of the actor wholesomely flooded hashtags with photos of Evans and his dog to drown out the NSFW screenshot.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg died: Supreme Court Justice RBG died on September 18, at age 87, after losing her fight with pancreatic cancer. Naturally, as soon as the news was announced, tributes to the heroic figure started to pour in.
  • The cranberry-drinking ‘Dreams’ skater taught us what a vibe really is: On September 25, Nathan Apodaca gave the world a much-needed boost of serotonin when he decided to skateboard along to ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac — all while chugging down some Ocean Spray Cranberry. In the three months since his viral moment, Apodaca has been gifted a car and was able to buy himself a new home in all-cash.

October

  • Donald Trump confirmed he had COVID-19: After months of downplaying the severity of coronavirus, Trump announced on October 2 that he and the First Lady had both tested positive for the virus. In a beautiful case of irony, the news of Trump’s diagnosis came less than three days after the president mocked Biden for wearing masks everywhere.
  • Claudia Conway was hailed as the “whistleblower of our time”: The 15-year-old daughter of Trump’s former counsellor, Kellyanne Conway, sent the internet into a spin on October 3, when she made a TikTok confirming her mother also had COVID-19. From this, people suddenly decided that Claudia Conway was a whistleblower, who would somehow lead us in a resistance that she wanted no part of.
  • Rudy Giuliani was caught with his hands down his pants: On October 21, just before Borat Subsequent Moviefilm dropped, a leaked clip showed Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, in a hotel room with Borat’s “15-year-old daughter”. In the clip, Giuliani had his hands down the front of his pants and called the image “a complete fabrication” and “doctored”. Luckily for him, when the film came out it became clear that, while the attorney was flirting with the girl, he was indeed fishing for his microphone cord and tucking his shirt back in.
  • Kanye West organised a deep-fake hologram of Kim Kardashian’s dead father: On October 30, for Kim K’s birthday, Kanye decided that the best gift would be a hologram of the late Robert Kardashian. While well intentioned, the hologram spoke about pussy farts and was programmed to mention that Kim had married “the most, most, most, most, most genius man in the whole world”.

November

  • Trump’s team ran a press conference from Four Seasons Total Landscaping: Easily the funniest fuck up of 2020 happened on November 8, when Trump’s team accidentally booked a local gardening business parking lot for a press conference instead of the hotel of the same name. The kicker? This local business was situated perfectly between a crematorium and sex shop.
  • Kamala Harris smashed a whole lot of firsts by becoming Vice President-elect: On November 8, when President-elect Joe Biden officially reached the necessary 270 electoral votes for the election to be called, Kamala Harris officially became the first woman, first Black and first Asian-American Vice President-elect. And to celebrate, we got the beautifully cursed “We did it, Joe” video.
  • Elon Musk got called a ‘Space Karen’: Proving he is truly one of the most insufferable people on Earth, Elon Musk decided to call out the “bogus” experience he had with COVID-19 testing on November 13. But after peddling some terrible ideas about the pandemic all year, one doctor had enough with the billionaire’s fearmongering, and debunked Musk’s claims before shutting him down with the perfect insult: Space Karen.
  • Pete Evans posted neo-Nazi imagery to his Facebook: Officially going off the deep-end, Evans shared an image of a caterpillar wearing a MAGA hat sitting next to a butterfly with Nazi symbols on its wings on November 16. In response to the rightful backlash, Evans said that “there are many different interpretations” but I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Outta Here, his book publisher and major product stockists all dropped him. Pretty clear interpretation there.
  • Monoliths kept popping up all over the world: While it’s likely just one very big ad campaign, a mysterious metal monolith captured the world’s attention when it randomly appeared in a remote desert in Utah on November 18. Since then, similar monoliths have appeared in locations like Romania, California, the Netherlands, Las Vegas, and England, but everyone’s just pretty much over them at this point.
  • Rudy Giuliani melted during a press conference: Ok, maybe he wasn’t melting exactly, but on November 19 Rudy Giuliani’s sweat mixed with his hair dye and resulted in a brown goo dripping down his face as he tried to claim the election was stolen.

December

  • TikTok decided they just really hate Matthew Morrison: Over November and December, TikTok made it clear that they hate Matthew Morrison, the man who played the problematic Will Schuester on Glee. 
  • Quibi officially shut down: On December 1, Quibi officially shut down, with content no longer being available to stream. After debuting in April, the short-lived mobile-optimised streaming service announced they would be closing down after being unable to reach the necessary subscriber targets or find a buyer for the platform.
  • The TikTok Ratatouille musical went to Broadway: After months of global, online collaboration on a virtual Ratatouille TikTok musical, it was announced on December 9 that the show was headed to Broadway for one night only. Now Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical is set to stream on January 1 with ticket sales benefitting The Actors Fund.
  • Jupiter and Saturn had their “Great Conjunction”: For weeks, rumbles about December 21 being a powerful day for manifestation (and for gaining superpowers, according to Black Twitter) have been swirling. As it turns out, the Great Conjunction’s important because it’s the closest the planets have been in the last 400 years, and it has been 800 years since the event happened at night.
  • Pete Evans was finally booted off Facebook: After countless posts of misinformation about the pandemic, Facebook finally decided they had enough with Pete Evans and deleted his public page on December 23. Merry fucking Christmas, y’all.

So yeah, that was 2020 in a nutshell. Who knows what 2021 will bring? (I mean, hopefully something better.)


Michelle Rennex is a senior writer at Junkee. She tweets at @michellerennex.