Entertainment 2012: The year of 'meh'

Story highlights

  • Year's entertainment events seldom stood out
  • Many seemed to repeat themselves: Lindsay Lohan's issues, new boy bands
  • Year was marked by tragic deaths, including that of Whitney Houston
  • But in general, pop culture recycled so fast the new quickly became old

There are years of shockers. There are years of groundbreakers.

And then there are years of "meh."

2012 was one big stream of meh.

"Meh," as defined by The New York Times Magazine (which features a weekly "Meh List"), describes "all those things in life that exist at the top of the fat middle of the bell curve of taste." They don't inspire wonder or excitement. They don't arouse fury or contempt.

As the Times puts it, they're "not hot. Not not. Just meh."

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So consider 2012. Lindsay Lohan allegedly drunk, in a car accident, arrested? Whatever. "Call Me Maybe" and all of its YouTube parodies? Next. "The Dark Knight Rises"? It was OK.

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It was the kind of year in which buzz faded quickly -- if it ever started at all. Not even Justin Bieber could shake things up. (See? You yawned when I mentioned "Justin Bieber.")

Pop culture is being made, remade, remixed, rebooted and churned up so fast that, sometimes, the only reaction is a slightly exasperated, seen-it-all-before sigh.

There were exceptions, of course. Jennifer Lawrence blossomed into a major star with her performances in "The Hunger Games" and "Silver Linings Playbook"; the fact that she describes herself as "just really boring" bodes well for her career (as an actress, not a tabloid staple). Comedy Central's dynamic duo -- Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert -- seldom missed when skewering the hypocrisies of an over-the-top election campaign.

Moreover, a number of the year's deaths caused us to catch our breath, including the tragic passings of such notables as Whitney Houston, Levon Helm and Dick Clark.

Usually, though, events went by with the weight of a breeze. "Gangnam Style" was fun the first million or so times you saw it; by the time its YouTube counter passed 100 million, it was time to ask Psy, what more do you have? One Direction is packing them in, but so did the Jonas Brothers, New Kids on the Block and the Bay City Rollers. Honey Boo Boo may be a sign of the reality TV apocalypse, but there's a new one of those every six months.

Sure, it's the nature of pop culture. Once Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton ruled the planet; now they're the subject of a much-mocked TV movie.

Still, it's striking how little from the entertainment world's 2012 will likely be remembered in a year or two. Before long, the year will be the subject of one of those History Channel specials, sandwiched between a Hitler documentary and "Ax Men."

And then we'll glance up, grab the remote and say, "Meh. What else is on?"