Years from now, when the words “unprecedented” and “pivot” have retreated to turns of phrase we seldom use and the term “Zoom Happy Hour” has been permanently stricken from the record, it might be possible that we look back on 2020, dare I say it…fondly.
Now, I can hear you all collectively muttering “she’s bonkers!” under your breath but just hear me out because if you dig a little, you’ll see that some really great things happened during the year that otherwise felt like walking barefoot across a bunch of Lego pieces while being swooped by Magpies as an audio recording of a bag of drowning cats played on repeat.
Here are some of the great things that happened in 2020.
Celeste Barber Made It Rain
Unfortunately not literally, but our favourite comedian did the next best thing when she raised a staggering $51 million for Australian Bushfire relief after appealing to her Facebook followers to help her raise $30,000 for the NSW Rural Fire Service. It’s a testament to both Barber’s popularity and to the world’s love of Australia that donations poured in from all over the globe, amounting to the record breaking total. Although the money became the subject of a court case to decide how the money could legally be spent, the generous outpouring from people near and far was enough to remind us that great things can come from the most devastating of events.
Schitt’s Creek Made History at The Emmys
Series co-creator Dan Levy once referred to his runaway hit series as “the little show that could” and could it ever! The beloved series went from strength to strength over its six-season run, bringing us whip-smart comedy, genuinely touching moments and an idyllic imagining of what a world in which everyone is welcome might look like. Schitt’s Creek cemented its status as a sitcom for the ages when it established a new record for most wins in a single season for a comedy series at the 2020 Emmys.It also became the first comedy to ever sweep the four main comedy acting categories — both lead and both supporting categories — in a single season.
Each of the recipient’s acceptance speeches, at their very own COVID safe event, were more beautiful than the last with Annie Murphy summing it up best. “I’m so proud to be a part of a show that stands for love, kindness and inclusivity and acceptance,” Murphy, who won the Emmy for her portrayal of Alexis Rose, said. “Those are things that we need more than ever right now.”
We Tried New Things
When faced with not being able to leave our homes we got creative with knitting, embroidery, pottery, tie-dye and bread. So much bread. Both the banana and sourdough variety were popular and, like most things today, if you didn’t ‘gram it, it didn’t happen. Not only did this trend mean that we were broadening our minds and skillsets, but the resultant memes were another delightful layer that made lockdown bearable.
Barack Obama Released His Memoir
It’s been a long four years since Barack Obama stepped out of the top office and into civilian life and we’ve missed him every day since. Thankfully, Obama gave us just what we needed in 2020 by releasing his long-awaited memoir A Promised Land. Giving readers insight into his presidential campaign and his first four years in office (not to mention the toll it took on his marriage to Michelle) Obama effortlessly demonstrates that he is just as adept at capturing our attention with his melodic prose as he is with his reassuring voice.
America Got a New President
It might be easy to think that being in our isolated and fairly chilled part of the world means that American politics don’t really affect us. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of flicking through news stories about Trump and the turbulent political landscape in the US, appalled by the absurdity of it all and relieved it “had nothing to do with us.” However, the reality is that what happens in one of the world’s most powerful countries has a lot to do with us, from climate change to trade sanctions to harmful racial rhetoric and what we see as being an acceptable way to conduct politics. Thankfully, the next four years look set to be far calmer as President-elect Joe Biden moves into the White House. Even more exciting in 2020 was Kamala Harris becoming Vice President-elect, making her the first female, first Black, first South Asian US VP in history.
People Stood Up
In June, the world watched in abject horror as four policemen pinned Minnesota man George Floyd to the ground, with one kneeling on his neck, as he told them repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe and subsequently passed away.
Floyd’s death, combined with the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor at the hand of police in March, sparked global protests and demands for change as the world came to realise what the African American community has known all too long: that racial injustice is just as prevalent today as it was 400 years ago.
While the long chain of events that led to this watershed moment is devastating and unacceptable, the solidarity shown around the world as people of all walks of life asserted their commitment to change was incredible to see and a symbol for the unity we found in a gut-punch of a year.
We Checked In With Each Other
Yes, I joked about Zoom happy hours at the beginning of this piece, but the truth is, they were something of a lifesaver. This year I found that not only was I more aware of the need to check in with friends both here and abroad but felt that same love reciprocated.
From fortnightly Zoom Friday nights with my childhood friends in Australia, to weekly FaceTimes with friends in the US, UK and Canada, I weirdly have never felt more connected to or grateful for the amazing people in my life. I’m fine to never have another Zoom trivia night though, just saying.
We Met Lucas Bravo
I’ve saved the best for second to last. Whether you adored Emily in Paris for its fun and frothiness or despised it for its cliches and unrealistic plot, the Netflix show brought us Gabriel aka Lucas Bravo aka the Man Who Saved 2020. Don’t believe me? Check out his Instagram. Case closed.
Margaret & David Made This Video
Need I say more?