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Commencement 2022: Four years in a review

| Friday, May 13, 2022

Maggie Klaers | The Observer

Fall 2018 — “Mo Bamba” vs. “Sicko Mode”

“Alexa! Play ‘Mo Bamba.’”

“No, Alexa! Play ‘Sicko Mode!’”

“Alexa, stop! Play ‘Mo Bamba!’”

“Grrr. Alexa!”

March 25, 2019 — The leggings problem

A Notre Dame mother is concerned about leggings and literal protests ensue. And memes — so many memes.

Apr. 15, 2019 — Notre Dame is on fire

The other one. The Parisian symbol of art and culture goes up in flames; the world mourns.

April 26, 2019 — “Avengers: Endgame”

The final installment of Marvel Studios’ gargantuan cinematic project delivers a satisfying conclusion to the 22 films that, beginning with 2008’s “Iron Man,” reimagined superheroes for the 21st century. Please snap.

May 9, 2019  — The end of “Game of Thrones”

The final season of television’s biggest show tyrannizes the Sunday night Twitter feed throughout the spring of 2019. No fan favorite could escape the writers’ wrath, and no viewer could hide from rogue spoilers as they materialize in cyberspace without warning, ready to assassinate everyone’s enjoyment Arya-style. 

Also, a lot of people hated it! But don’t cry for HBO: Between “Succession,” “Euphoria” and “Chernobyl,” they’ve still got all the best TV.

Summer 2019 — Hot girl summer!

Following the example of Megan Thee Stallion — not the last time she’ll appear on this list — everyone is encouraged to go out and live their best life under the sun. For what it’s worth, these three or so months are also the peak of my human existence. It is only downhill from here.

Fall 2019 — The Notre Dame music scene rages on

In backyards, basements and living rooms, students gather to rock the f*** out. Bands like Felix Rabito (later St. Dismas), Basement Boxers, The Shifties and Almighty Loaf put on shows that we won’t soon forget. To any non-seniors, come join the scene.

Oct. 5, 2019 — “Parasite

It’s the first foreign-language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture, and deservedly so. Scene liked it so much, we reviewed it multiple times. No, literally

Jan. 26, 2020 — Billie Eilish rules the Grammys

The 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” sweeps the Grammys, making Eilish the first woman and only the second person in history to win all four of the top categories. Based on this year’s Grammys, she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Spring 2020 — Quarantine…

Do we even need to explain? Everyone’s watching something called “Tiger King,” TikTok isn’t cringey anymore (“Say So” by Doja Cat, anyone?) and Zoom is suddenly a noun (and then a verb again). How unprecedented!

Summer 2020 — Black Lives Matter

The killing of George Floyd, amongst others, sparks a nationwide reckoning with racial injustice and police brutality. Black Lives Matter isn’t a new movement, but in summer 2020, the culture begins to change.

June 17, 2020 — “Punisher” 

Calling all Pharbz! Acclaimed singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers releases her second studio album and I cry. Scene later names it the best album of the year.

July 24, 2020 — “Folklore

While “Folklore” would later win Album of the Year, this spot is essentially the Taylor Swift grab bag. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Scene loves Taylor Swift. Like, a lot. She follows up “Folklore” with “Evermore” and later, a re-recording of “Fearless.” Did we mention “Red (Taylor’s Version)”? With its own short film, it almost deserves two spots on this list. And does “Bridgerton” count? It’s Taylor’s world, and we’re just living in it.

Aug. 7, 2020 — “WAP”


Aug. 28, 2020 — Chadwick Boseman passes 

Predominantly known for his work in “Black Panther” and as the first black actor to headline an MCU film, Chadwick Boseman raised the bar for racial equity in the film industry. He is memorialized as a hero, on and off-screen, after passing from a quiet and grueling fight against colon cancer.

Jan. 15, 2021 — “WandaVision

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) becomes the Marvel Television Universe (MTU) with its first Disney+ show. Theories and spoilers dominate Twitter for months — maybe even to the series’ detriment

Mar. 26, 2021 — “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)

Lil Nas X goes from riding horses in “Old Town Road” to riding a pole down to Hell in “Montero.” With the release of his intentionally avant-garde music video, Lil Nas tells his haters that he embraces his sexuality wholeheartedly.

May 21, 2021 — Sour

Olivia Rodrigo writes the breakup anthems of a generation. Thanks to TikTok, Gen-Z and rumors about her “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” co-star, it charted #1 on the Billboard for five weeks, won a Grammy and Scene’s album of the year.

Summer 2021 — #FreeBritney

Spears’s 13-year-long fight for freedom finally comes to a climax. After a New York Times documentary, TikTok uproar and several conservatorship court hearings, Britney finally gets “her life back.” 

Aug. 20, 2021 — “Solar Power

Lorde makes a triumphant return from hiatus with some summer beach bops. While some fans thought the “sad girl gone glad” was overrated, she didn’t leave Scene’s mind for a long time.

Fall 2021 — YikYak returns

Tap into campus culture with YikYak. (Literally.) Now, every Notre Dame student can satisfy their “Gossip Girl” dreams with the anonymous messaging app’s return. From lonely hearts shouting into the void to the latest party details, YikYak certainly gives a voice to everybody — for better and for worse. 

Sep. 17, 2021 — “Squid Game

It’s like “Parasite” but in a binge-able Netflix fashion. The series essentially updates “Battle Royale” for a modern audience, complete with the same violence and critiques of mindless consumerism.

Sep. 24, 2021 — DeBartolo Performing Arts Center reopens

After a strict lockdown, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center reopens with a visit from Matthew Morrison. A night with the Broadway star, turned “Glee” teacher, turned cyberbullying victim was truly an unforgettable way to kick off the return of live performance.

Oct. 22, 2021 — “Dune

Dune or dune not, there is no try. Sci-fi fans rejoice with the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s beloved book series “Dune.” With a stacked cast of A-list actors, it looks like this series will shape up to be this generation’s “Star Wars.”

Mar. 27, 2022 – 94th Academy Awards

“CODA” sets a precedent as the first all-deaf cast AND streaming-service movie to win Best Picture. “Encanto” and “Power of the Dog” win animation and technical awards. Do we even have to mention the slap heard ‘round the world

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About Claire Lyons

Claire is the current Viewpoint Editor for The Observer. She is a senior from Fort Worth, TX with majors in Honors English and political science. She is interested in fostering free speech on campus, the latest non-fiction essay collections and Sufjan Stevens.

Contact Claire