And the weirdly specific award goes to ... 2016's best in GIFs

(CNN)Pack up the tents, folks! The circus is leaving town.

This madcap presidential election will come to an end on Tuesday, pulling up stakes after a protracted season that delivered delight and disgust, laughter and long groans, without pause for the better part of two years.
And while there's still time for one last faulty trapeze wire to snap, or another clown car to blow a tire and careen wildly into the audience, the story of 2016 is all but written.
    So as we await the grand finale Tuesday, let's take a look back at the good, the bad and the ... unspeakably weird of the past 18 months.

    Best recovery from a very publicly failed fist-bump attempt

    Sen. Bernie Sanders sat down for a series of conversations with rapper and political soulmate Killer Mike and, despite a few awkward exchanges, went on to succeed in launching a campaign -- and political movement -- even his biggest early backers could have never predicted.

    Most emotionally complicated low-five on a debate stage

    Donald Trump spent the first few months of his campaign mercilessly mocking former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, calling him "low energy" and other mean things. So it was fitting, if a little uncomfortable, to watch Bush respond to his tormentor's offer of a low-five with a such a fiery slap.

    Best (and worst) livestreamed haircut

    Gov. Mike Pence led (and trailed) this one-horse race from start to finish.
    And while the Internet found the show oddly enthralling, the barber seen here snipping his way into American political history was less impressed. How so? Well, it turns out he was unaware of his star client's identity.

    The photo opp most likely to exist forever in campaign managers' nightmares

    Presidential candidates: they're just like us! Or so they have long been dedicated to having the public believe. One popular way of proving it? Tossing around the old pigskin. Marco Rubio played the game in high school and college -- a mixed blessing, as at least one Iowa child can attest.

    Most over-the-top entrance to an campaign event

    Like you had any doubt.
    Trump gave the academy a lot to work with, leading to a deadlock -- unable to choose between his gilded descent into the campaign muck (above, at his announcement event) and the scene as he took the stage in Cleveland during Wrestlemania (or was that the Republican National Convention) this summer.

    Most confusing confused candidate moment

    Ben Carson is literally a brain surgeon. But even he got tripped up by the stagecraft at a GOP primary debate back in February, when he waited ... and waited ... and waited in the wings after not hearing his name announced.
    It wasn't until ABC News moderator David Muir called his name again -- asking Carson to "please come out on the stage" -- that the candidate emerged.

    Best use of aviator shades, red wine and high-waisted pants

    One is on his way out and the other is has been out of work for a while, so we'll offer this as a parting GIF (ha!) to President Barack Obama and former House Speaker John Boehner.
    It might be their most memorable joint accomplishment.

    Most evocative facepalm

    In case it wasn't clear enough, South Dakota's Isaac Latterell, seen here at the RNC, did not vote Trump and was not pleased when his state delivered its delegate bounty to the eventual nominee.

    Best use of shoulders to convey disdain for opponents/delight at their missteps

    Tuesday is shaping up to be close, but Clinton wins this one in a landslide.

    Most unlikely dance move of the year, governor's category

    While Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Bush each showed off their dad-liest dance moves over the course of the campaign, the silverware goes to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry who joined the cast of "Dancing with the Stars" with this award in mind.

    Best use of time during what had clearly become a dead-end campaign

    Kasich's was a lost cause way before he arrived in New York ahead of its April primary. But the governor, in keeping with his oddly entertaining campaign trail persona, took a memorable bite out of the Big Apple.
    (Note: This is, of course, a terrible way to eat a slice of pizza. And Kasich was roasted for it. But the body of work here -- notably this gut-busting performance in the Bronx a week later -- won us over.)

    Best control room director malfunction

    Some people wanted to the award to go to the cameraman. But this zoom was not meant for live TV audiences. So here's to you, trigger-happy control room director. You cut to the two-shot just in time to create something like a promo for NBC's new mockumentary "The (Oval) Office."

    Most historically-politically effective use of a pocket constitution

    These things aren't just coasters or coffee table conversation pieces. Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who ripped Trump at the DNC, sending the Republican nominee into a damaging tailspin, unleashed the campaign-altering power of the pocket Constitution to historic effect.

    Best six-second medley of facial expressions

    Tell us how you really feel. (No really, please, Mr. Trump -- tweet us or call and explain what is happening here.)

    Best thing to happen to American psychoanalysts and psychologists -- ever

    This campaign is surely driving Americans to their shrinks at a record pace. Enjoy the beach house, doc.