Blog Posts by Year In Review Staff

  • Obsessions: #5 Honey Boo Boo

    If 2012 taught us anything, it was that the world belongs to Honey Boo Boo, and we're just living in it.

    The 7-year-old Georgia pageant princess first burst into the public consciousness on an episode of "Toddlers & Tiaras."

    Her penchant for an energy-boosting cocktail of Mountain Dew and Red Bull (dubbed "go-go juice") and a knack for coining memorable phrases ("Honey Boo Boo is her own") launched Alana Thompson into Internet history.

    TLC subsequently launched a spinoff, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," attracting 2.2 million viewers for its premiere. (The Onion A.V. Club called it a "horror story posing as a reality television program.")

  • Obsessions: #4 "The Hunger Games"

    "The Hunger Games," the first novel in the best-selling young-adult trilogy of the same name, became must-see viewing for American moviegoers. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the film version of Suzanne Collins's 2008 novel grossed more than $400 million at the box office domestically and more than $680 million worldwide since its March release.

    Hard-core fans of the book were initially wary about the casting of Lawrence, because they thought the 20-year-old—who was fresh off an Oscar-nominated performance in "Winter's Bone"—was too old to play Katniss, the book's 16-year-old protagonist.

    But Lawrence proved them wrong, receiving rave reviews for her portrayal of the teenage heroine.

  • Obsessions: #3 Mega Millions

    The record $656 million jackpot offered by Mega Millions in March spurred unprecedented sales of lottery tickets in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. A tough economy and belt-tightening didn't discourage people from paying a buck, at odds of 1 in 176 million. The jackpot was divided among the holders of three winning tickets sold in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.

    A similar flurry was seen in November, when the Powerball lottery jackpot hit a record $588 million. According to the USA Today, the Powerball website was overwhelmed with traffic when the winning numbers were drawn.

    Winning tickets were sold in Arizona and Missouri, where Mark Hill, a mechanic, and his wife, Cindy, claimed their share. The couple said they would opt for a lump-sum payout of $192 million before taxes.

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  • Top Searches: #4 Kate Upton

    Kate Upton bounced into the national consciousness in 2011 the old-fashioned way: posing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. The blonde parlayed her form in viral videos and in two small movie roles ("Tower Heist," "The Three Stooges"). She cemented her online status with a vaunted S.I. cover shot in a tiny Kathleen Bruening two-piece that barely covered her merits.

    The bikini shot wasn't her only claim to fame: Like Kim Kardashian before her, Upton has deployed social media to savvy advantage: "I studied this," she told The New York Times, which described how she cultivated a YouTube following, made herself a "largely self-created Internet phenomenon," and parlayed that fame into modeling. Although she doesn't fit the usual mold of supermodels, her numbers (as in her ranking or YouTube audience) proved to doubters that she has plenty of appeal. As her so-called superagent described her, "She’s the Jayne Mansfield of the Internet."

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  • Obsessions: #2 Political Polls

    In a year marked by a long, grueling, often volatile presidential campaign, it's understandable that Americans became obsessed with the election and what seemed like an endless string of political polls that went with it. Just how obsessed? Consider that on election night, Nate Silver, the New York Times' polling guru, was trending on Twitter and, for a fleeting moment, received more searches on Yahoo! than either of the presidential candidates.

    In fact, roughly half of the people visiting the Times' website on Nov. 6 searched for "Nate Silver." "They weren't coming for the rest of the Times," Executive Editor Jill Abramson said recently. "They came for him."

    Silver's model uses a number of measurements, with attention given to state polls, according to Bloomberg News. Silver, who for weeks drew ire from conservatives for his prediction that Barack Obama would win the Electoral College vote and a second term as president, correctly predicted the result in every state, prompting the

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  • Top Searches: #3 Kim Kardashian

    Celebrity archetypes—the reality star, the cover girl, the comeback queen, and the recovering train wreck—returned to the Top 10. Kim Kardashian, a staple since 2009, reached the height of her online popularity as the most searched person in 2012. (In 2011, she was second only to the notorious Casey Anthony.) Much of the attention stemmed from her ongoing divorce saga with Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries and her current high-profile relationship with hip-hop singer Kanye West. Her brand image took some body blows with the breakup and lawsuits over controversial endorsements, but the Kardashian name remains lucrative, with a three-year renewal for "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," another fragrance and the debut of the Kardashian Kollection with sisters Khloe and Kourtney.

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  • Top Searches: #2 iPhone 5

    Anticipation for the iPhone 5, in a post-Steve Jobs era, helped fuel the smartphone's record-breaking sales: More than 5 million were sold within three days of its Sept. 21 launch. That, plus an iPod touch reboot and the iPad mini, helped solidify Apple's status as the most valuable company in history.

    As with all devices, there were glitches. Previously, the iPhone had problems with its antenna (and the so-called death grip). This time, ire centered on the decision to swap Google Maps in favor of Apple Maps, in which transit routes and entire towns were reportedly missing. Apple promised better things would come, and one employee may have lost his job over the debacle. The iPhone even became the target of a countersuit by Samsung, which claimed that the design infringed on its patents—the suit was filed after the Korean electronics company was ordered to pay Apple $1.05 billion for its own patent infringement.

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