Culture / People

18 pop culture moments from 2022 that have altered our brain chemistry forever

pop culture moments 2022

Looking back on 2022, I'm surprised any of us are still here. This place is deranged and yet somehow, despite all the face slapping, conspiracy theories (some fun, some downright QAnon material), memes, and billionaires buying social platforms, we're soldiering on. Even if that means hiding under the blankets for the final few days of the year.

In a lot of ways, it felt like the internet was at its most viral this year, and at times we couldn't tell if it would be it or our brains that would collapse first. Anyway, we're here to dredge it all up again, so we can forget about it once and for all – except for the occasional bedtime when you remember Heidi Klum as a worm.

Think of it as exposure therapy. Below, the most memorable pop culture moments of 2022.


Julia Fox


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When that Interview story did the rounds just after the New Year, the world was divided. But with distance from ye-who-must-not-be-named, Julia Fox has has won us all over, one DIY outfit and candid TikTok at a time. She's remained a constant in the news cycle; whether it was people on TikTok being cringe and miming the way she says "Uncut Gems" or through her podcast Forbidden Fruits. Honestly, she's just an all-round queen and we can't wait for her to continue her reign in 2023.



Okay so do you all remember when you lost your minds over this simple little word game? Because truthfully I forgot. Which is insane given how much time we spent talking about it. Have I touched the app, or any of the imitation games, since? Not at all. Yet there has to be someone still addicted because publications continue to post the daily answers. Show yourself!


The Slap (I'm sorry)

Apologies for bringing it back to this, but Will Smith did slap Chris Rock at the Oscars this year. When the comedian made a joke onstage at the expense of Jada Smith, who has publicly spoken about her experience living with alopecia, Will leapt to his feet and shouted "keep my wife's name out your fucking mouth". Naturally the line went viral on TikTok and everyone had a hot take, the best of all coming from Daniel Radcliffe who said he was "just so dramatically bored of hearing people's opinions about it".


Dare we say, Depp v Heard

Look, we're not about to go deep on what happened here. But let us just say if Julia Fox's rise was the best thing we got from pop culture in 2022, this was the worst. If we could send it back we would. The absolute vitriol and blatant misogyny levelled at Amber Heard across social media was disgusting and depressing. This was one of those times when you wanted to drown your technology in the kitchen sink.


The cursed Little Miss Memes

We love memes. But above all we love funny memes, and the Little Miss brand of humour was deeply unfunny. "Little Miss loves a wine" is the dregs of internet humour. Let us not speak of it again.

Remember the insanity around the Met Gala?


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2022 was the year we hit peak Met Gala. Armchair experts all across TikTok couldn't get enough, and we could barely take in the looks over the chorus of "thAt DrEsS iS nOt on ThEme". Then there was the whole Marilyn Monroe dress fiasco. Kim Kardashian lost a lot of weight to fit into the blonde bombshell's "Happy Birthday" dress, and when she returned it to Ripley's damaged, fashion historians were outraged.


Pete Davidson

We have to talk about it. 2022 was also the year Pete Davidson was passed around like a grape-flavoured vape. From Kim Kardashian to EmRata, there's still time to send in your dating predictions for 2023.


Beyonce's Renaissance

If Beyoncé is up to something, we'll only find out when she wants us to. That being said, the Beyhive has never let a closed door get in the way of sniffing out her next move. And when they got wind of her seventh album, it was all over. Although, when it leaked back in July, they held out for the official release, and promptly after BREAK MY SOUL sounded out on every dance floor and everyone was trying to learn the dance to CUFF IT on TikTok. The internet can be so pure at times.


Jeremy Allen White

We have to thank Hulu for allowing us a moment of innocent, unadulterated simping after The Bear star Jeremy Allen White. You've helped us in more ways than you can imagine.



We may have fallen off the wagon, but BeReal is definitely a fond memory of 2022. And we'd like to thank it, in turn for storing so many of our own fondest memories. Proof that social media can be a source of joy... for a little while at least.


Lea Michelle can't read

@leamichelelol ♬ original sound - Tik Toker

Do we actually think Lea Michelle can't read? No. But we've got to say it's the best conspiracy theory to come from the internet this year (even though it first took off in 2017). And we appreciate it when a celebrity can join in on the fun.


The whole Queen Elizabeth II and Trisha Paytas thing

Queen Elizabeth II died this year, in case you weren't forced into numerous periods of mourning. But what really heightened the stakes on the internet was news that Trisha Paytas had gone into labour, and that the late Queen would be reincarnated into Paytas' baby, something that had been predicted months prior. Turns out it was too good to be true, and Paytas made a video clearing it all up, but not before we all milked the memes for all they were worth.


"Darling, we're worried"

@russhmagazine So… the Don’t Worry Darling premiere looked fun. #dontworrydarling #harrystyles #florencepugh #chrispine #oliviawilde #missflo #oliviawildeharrystyles #venicefilmfestival ♬ Sia - Xeptemper

Has someone checked in on Olivia Wilde recently? We need to know how she's holding up after the chaotic Don't Worry Darling press tour, which hit its PR crisis peak at Cannes Film Festival. Will we ever know if Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine? Or what the musician-cum-actor really thinks of the film, besides that it "feels like a movie"? I don't think so. But it's probably best left that way.


Adam Levine

Social media is a precarious place if you're a high profile person sliding into civilian's Instagram direct messages, but much more so if you're married to an equally high profile person. And when Instagram model Sumner Stroe posted on TikTok drawing attention to the year-long affair with the Maroon 5 singer, leaking text messages between them after he asked for permission to name his baby after her, chaos ensued. "That body of yours is absurd" and "I may need to see the booty" were memefied to hell.


Heidi Klum as a worm



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The ex Victoria's Secret model gave us a look at her 21st annual Halloween party that truly was for the citizens of the internet. Her worm costume, which took more than 10 hours to complete, was inspiration, more importantly it summed up how many of us truly felt by the time October 31st rolled around.


That very horny viral clip of Emma D’Arcy

@hbomaxbr Emma D'Arcy falando "negroni... sbagliato... prosecco..." não sai da minha cabeça há 3 dias #ACasaDoDragão #HouseoftheDragon #Rhaenyra #Alicent HBO Max Brasil" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">♬ Aceitas um negroni sbagliato - HBO Max Brasil

When many of us were thirsty for Emma D'arcy, the House of the Dragon star gave us the perfect cocktail to sip on instead. "A negroni...sbagliato...with prosecco in it". We'll take twelve please. Stunning.


Just Stop Oil

Teens terrorised by the looming threat of climate change, decided to terrorize some art galleries instead, throwing cans of soup on van Gogh's Sunflowers and gluing their heads to Vermeer's Girl With The Pearl Earring. Were the upper classes enraged? Like clockwork. Do the protestors have a point? You bet.


The end of Twitter

Mark 2022 as the year a mass exodus from Twitter to less appetising platforms like Mastodon or fresh-from-the-dead Tumblr unfolded. Ever since Elon Musk bought the platform for US$44 billion on October 27, a noticeable amount of users have packed up and left the platform for good. Godspeed, we say. And now the news is reporting Elon Musk is no longer the richest man in the world...

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