Illustration by Dave van Patten

The Diet of an Actor Gaining Weight for a Role is Really Revolting

And everything else we learned about pop culture this year

Let’s get all of the gross stuff out of the way first. Namely, the lengths (i.e., chugging pints of microwaved ice cream topped with soy sauce and olive oil) De Niro, Damon, Bale, etc. have gone to gain weight for their most famous roles. Their diets truly were nauseating. And we’re not without guilt for rounding up all of the fat-tastic details and putting them in one place — as well as for reminding you about it a couple of months later.

But what can we say? Our curiosity got the best of us.

The same could be said for a lot of our other pop culture coverage in 2016 — to much more appealing results. For instance, we answered the question as to why avowed Chicago boy Cameron Frye wore a Detroit Red Wings jersey — the mortal enemy of his hometown Blackhawks — in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Similarly, we tracked down one of the few men to beat former WWE and UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in a legitimate sporting competition in order to see what it feels like to defeat the baddest man currently on the planet. (Speaking of professional wrestling, we also uncovered all of the batshit-crazy FCC complaints viewers have filed about Monday Night Raw.) Further, we spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out why the careers of some actors who ruled Hollywood for a brief shining moment (Val Kilmer, Ed Norton and Hugh Grant chief among them) seemed to flame out rather than continuing to burn bright. And finally, we determined exactly who was choosing the music for the women’s floor exercise during the Olympics.

On a much more serious note, we attempted to find out what happened to the lost children who appeared in the music video for Soul Asylum’s 1993 smash hit “Runaway Train.” And we scratched our heads when everyone else was mocking Corey Feldman’s September appearance on the Today Show — it seemed to us at least that if anyone deserved a little empathy, it was Feldman. We were intrigued by the career change of another child star as well — Maitland Ward from Boy Meets World, who after disappearing from the public eye for the better part of the decade, has become a slightly unlikely sex symbol.

While we’re on the topic of sex, no one made us laugh harder this year than Dan Sexbang and Ninja Brian of the band Ninja Sex Party. Songs about dicks and boners never sounded so good.

Okay, that’s not totally true.

The idea that Beavis (aka the Great Cornholio) was secretly woke was pretty funny, too.

The Best of Our 2016 Pop Culture Coverage: