Game of Thrones has taken over just about everyone’s free time. We've dealt out the extra cash for HBO or searched for the scandalous low-quality bootlegs on YouTube. We’ve obsessed over the interweaving storylines and who was going to die next. The inventive fantasy plots have devoured our attention in ways we never imagined possible. Who would have thought that we’d ever fall so hard for dragons, white walkers, and an ensemble cast dressed like the crowd at a Renaissance Faire?
But the funny thing is that we have focused our attention on much sillier things in the past. Fads and trends come and go, and when we find a new one, like GoT, we totally forget the old one. This article is a throwback to the fads that we left behind, which came out before HBO's Game of Thrones took over or during the show's fabulous run. Some of these random things are hilarious or strange, and all seemed to vanish even faster than they spread.
Here’s a silly trend that began before memes took over. Memes are still huge and have evolved into gifs, and social media has become saturated with the nonsense. The meme hasn’t vanished yet, but a certain subject has. The trend was called Dog Shaming. Remember this one? Who doesn’t love making fun of their dog? They are the kindest, most innocent creatures on earth, and they screw up in the most hilarious ways. When innocent dog mishaps occurred, people would write a sign and put it next to the dog or even on a string around the poor pet’s neck. This made the situation even more pathetic, awkward, and funny. The trend died out as people took a cruel turn. The fad devolved into baby shaming and even child shaming, and the poor kids' images are still lurking online.
Oh, my goodness, we forgot all about this one. But, our memory still hears that infectious beat. It’s packed way back in our psyche and springs to the forefront by just reading the title. Gangnam Style. Nobody even knew what the style was, right? Was it the trotting around like you’re on a pony? Or was it just dancing around like a goofball in general? The song’s lyrics were spoken in Korean by South Korean native PSY. The only English words were "baby" and "sexy lady." Interestingly enough, the translated lyrics are quite classy and poetic. The guy is talking about his dream girl and how she’s attractive without having to bare her skin. He’s saying he’s a man who’s seen a lot in the world and values bulging ideas over bulging biceps.
Apps come and go. They are as aloof as the breeze, it seems. One game can have you in a trance for a week, but then you pick it up again and it’s boring. But no such game rose as high as Angry Birds. This sucker took off like a rocket. Grandmas and grandpas were playing this. Toddlers could even pull back the slingshot and have a go. A deep, dark hatred manifested for those ugly little green pigs. The app expanded into other forms. More and more bird variations were invented. Pretty soon, the damn game had its own film released, and that was the dawn of the downfall. Movies about fads can kill the audience. After seeing it up on the big screen for two hours and paying to watch, you suddenly realize how dumb the whole idea really is. Sure, it was a fun game. But a film? Then you feel exploited and tricked, and the game gets buried on the last page of your phone never to be played again.
Tebowing was a big deal at one time; even bigger than the Mannequin Challenge and began long before kneeling in a football uniform carried a whole different connotation. Tebowing meant taking a knee to pray. How that knee has now evolved into a political stand against Trump is a whole 'nother story. The kneeling was a little more postured for Tebow. The arm met the knee, and the fist met the lowered forehead. The trend got out of control. Pretty soon, people are far from praying. Instead, they are mocking the whole pose. Tourists would snap pictures of tebowing at Mt. Rushmore, and Disney characters like Buzz Lightyear showed up online on a knee. The mockery continued and then faded away. Tebow is still trying to get that fame back. He won two championships with Florida and the Heisman trophy. But after he went pro, surprisingly, his athleticism wasn’t good enough. He recently quit football and joined the minor league baseball team for the Mets.
So, how many of you are parents? How many are aunts or uncles? How many of you know some kid on your street who had a serious addiction to crafting? How many of you set foot in a Michael’s store and were mystified by one product that made up half of the store’s inventory? The Rainbow Loom was a monster. It devoured the crafting business, chewed it up, and spit it back out. Allegedly designed by an orthodontist with thousands of extra rubber bands for braces laying around, the trend involved stretching bands across a line of pegs, which miraculously formed a multi-colored wrist band. The rubber bands were soon found in every color, and every kid, especially grade school girls, wanted two bags of each hue. Then, the Rainbow Loom box got spilled and mini rubber bands covered the living room rug. Or people bought the brittle knock-off bands. The trend disappeared quickly.
Oh, man this one is rather embarrassing. Here is a political movement that somehow gained traction, without ever having a prominent figurehead. Sure, we mentioned the NFL kneeling protest, and Colin Kaepernick is credited with heading that. But who started Occupy Wall Street? Nobody knows! It showed up in over 950 cities and 80 countries, but there was no unifying member who rose to the lead. And that’s why the movement was a failure. It soon became some bummy-hippy camping trend where dudes would just show up to score some weed. People weren't there to protest anymore. They were there to say they partied overnight in a public park. What began as a protest of unethical banking and the rise of economic inequality sadly, and with dark irony, turned into a makeshift homeless shelter.
Okay, does this one still happen? We hope not. This trend seemed like a practical joke that was taken way too far. Here we had a group of people who all conspired beforehand to meet up and dance, sing, or even have a pillow fight. Sometimes, the group would number in the hundreds. They might even wear overcoats and then disrobe to reveal a bright matching outfit. They would dance and scream and cause a commotion and then disband and go back to the normal routine. The trend was a popular way for people to propose or announce another major life event. The fad even had its own reality show, which duped people into the middle of a mob, secretly led by a dear friend or relative. The trend devolved into flash robs, which involved looting stores. And soon after, the fad faded away.
This title is a mash-up of what people used to watch before Game of Thrones took over. On television, people loved to obsess over Duck Dynasty. Remember those dudes? The Louisiana brothers were all bearded as hell, crazy about hunting. And somehow, they actually became famous. They were already rich from inventing a duck call, and the show launched their bank accounts even higher. The show broke every ratings record that A&E ever had and brought in millions of revenue from cheesy merchandise. Then the patriarch, Phil, spat anti-gay remarks in an interview, and the downfall began. Meanwhile, in film, the rise of the Dystopian genre took over. Everybody was raving about Hunger Games and a future setting that did not look so bright. Then came Looper, Elysium, The Purge, Divergent, The Giver, and more. As recent depressing events have unfolded, the genre finally seems to be on its last legs.
Look at this goofy feline. Why in the world was this cat even popular? But you’ve got to admit, that scowl is one of a kind. Even for a dog lover, Grumpy Cat could make you smile. But just how popular this cat became is amazing. The cat’s real name is Tartar Sauce, and after images of her went viral on Reddit, the sky was the limit for the goofy pet. Soon, she appeared on the talk show circuit and shows like American Idol and WWE Monday Night Raw. The cat published a book of photography, which made the New York Times bestseller list. She starred in a Cheerios and a Friskies commercial. Her likeness was even patented as Grumpy Cat Limited. She won meme of the year and starred in a couple movies. Then, we finally decided that we were sick of her.
If you like infomercials, then this is one of the best. Every once in a while, an infomercial has the power to transcend its retail purpose and actually become a part of pop culture. The odd products are easily remembered. How about the Oxy Clean guy? He was nuts, right? Or the Sham-wow commercial? Remember the old people alert system, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” That one was a riot. But for this article, we’ve chosen to focus on the Shake Weight. Its rise and fall all took place during the Game of Thrones run, which was easy since the popularity lasted about a month. People couldn’t believe that such a device existed. Well, they believed it, but maybe as a bedroom toy, not an exercise device. The thought of people using the Shake Weight as the means of toning up those arm muscles was a ludicrous idea. Images of old ladies and sweaty men holding the phallic device and the awkward looks on their faces were just priceless.
We’ve discussed the Duck Dynasty show and the Hunger Games and the dystopian setting, but another pop culture movement was the whole Jersey Shore thing. Thank goodness this one finally died. The Kardashians are one thing. They have a sense of style that is provocative and showy, but they look like the definition of class compared to some of the tacky styles inspired by the Jersey Shore. For a while, people wanted to basically look as gaudy as possible. They did their hair with cheap hairspray, stuffed their bust into the tightest, cheapest dress, sprayed their skin orange, and walked down the freakin’ aisle. This was complete madness inspired by Snooki and the gang, which lasted way, way, way too long.
There’s a certain level of popularity that you never want to reach. It’s kind of like McDonald's. We’re pretty sure that was a great restaurant before there were like millions of them across the globe. The movement got too big, and the quality plummeted. Now, compare that to twerking. Surely, the inventors of the dance move totally knew how to do it right. They probably made a lot of money and blew some minds at the gentlemen’s clubs. But then, too many people started to do it. Anybody with a butt tried to shake it, and the quality of the dance dissolved, which brings us to Miley Cyrus. One day, she decided to dress up like a raw Thanksgiving turkey and shake her thin wedgied behind like a crazy person. The twerk was considered dead immediately.
There was a saying that took over popular culture—you only live once or its initials, YOLO. This may be one of the most annoying and overused expressions, which has finally dwindled in use. For a while, the term showed up everywhere. Weekday morning talk show hosts were using it, which you know meant that its downfall was close. Then Macy’s and other stores printed it on every tween clothing merch available. Drake even tried to get a piece of that revenue, claiming he had coined the term in his rap song, The Motto. However, he never claimed any income since it was proven that the star of a popular reality show, Average Joe, had said it years before. Also, the indie rock band The Strokes titled one of their songs with YOLO before Drake's Motto. The term is never said anymore, unless you have a really old out-of-touch aunt who gets drunk and tries to be cool.
It has been proven that planking is a great core exercise. You take your body and hold it as still as can be for as long as you can. The idea is similar to yoga. Many people still practice the exercise at the gym, propped up on their elbows or their outstretched arms like a push-up that doesn’t move. It kills your ab and back muscles and tones them up well. That is the whole point. The point is not to look like a bad-a*s or a fool, but somehow, that’s what happened to the trend. People would plank across two dumpsters or in-between two buildings. They would plank a ramp and have another idiot skateboard down their back. This was an annoying YouTube trend that was even less impressive than parkour, which somehow still exists. Thankfully, planking has already faded into history.
Ah, yes. How can we forget the Ice Bucket challenge? While we were busy watching Daenerys Targaryen effortlessly strut her bare body through the flames, an internet charitable cause thrived and then faded away. You know you got wet on this one. It was for a good cause, right? The weird part is that somewhere along the way, this fundraiser for ALS turned into a masochistic phenomenon. Everybody wanted to dare their friend to suffer, if only for one chilling moment, and document it in video and posted onto social media for the world to see. Why did everybody do this to themselves? Kids were getting soaked; grandmas were joining in. Some people would give a speech first, and others would douse themselves in humble silence. People filled giant dump trucks with ice or dropped wheelbarrows, and along the way, many slipped and hurt themselves in a hilarious America’s Funniest Videos blooper. It was a good cause, though, and the most simple of dares that nobody could deny.
Sources Forbes, BusinessInsider, Newsweek, CrazyFads, Wikipedia