Every year leaves behind it a legacy of crazes and must-haves that Americans briefly felt they could not live without. Now that 2010 is officially behind us, its time to reflect on some of the top fads that took the nation by storm. The most talked about, controversial and unexpected trends were the five that you didn’t have a chance of escaping (whether you were a willing participant or critical spectator).
After gaining attention for her hilarious part as Grandma Annie in The Proposal, Betty White was once again a household name. Betty then starred in a Snicker’s Super Bowl commercial that went viral, and was officially back.
2010 was a busy year for the 89-year-old actress. She became the oldest person to ever host Saturday Night Live, guest starred on the hit television series Community, made appearances at every award show from the Emmy’s to the Teen Choice Awards and earned the 46th Annual Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Betty is still relevant and very witty,” said hospitality business sophomore, Patty Anton. “Her age only adds to the hilarity. Most of what comes out of her mouth is so ridiculous for someone who is 89 years old that it is totally unexpected. I think that is what makes her so appealing.”
Best known for her roles in Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Love Boat, the surprisingly funny actress does not seem to be going away any time soon, having recently signed for another season of TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland.
Although the show Glee may be about a group of misfit teens struggling for popularity, the pop culture sensation and hit television series has proven itself to be anything but.
Shortly after its premiere in 2009, Glee had already become more popular than even its own producers had predicted. In 2010, the show only continued its success, earning a loyal following of “gleeks”, topping charts and receiving raving reviews from critics.
According to sophomore, Katelin David, it may be the originality of the show that makes it so popular. “With reality shows and train wreck television becoming increasingly common, Glee’s consistently hilarious and interesting plot is refreshing,” said David. “When you combine that with the fact that Glee gives new life to old hits, you’re bound to have a really popular show.”
Although a trend, Glee’s popularity might be more than temporary. Its recent episode that aired after the Superbowl broke records, bringing in an astounding 26.8 million viewers.
Despite what the name might suggests, there is nothing silly about the tremendous amount of money made by the shaped rubber bands that took America by storm last year.
Silly Bandz come in nearly every shape and color imaginable. Although the bands were originally marketed by a Japanese company as an office product, it was not until the bands were thickened and sold as a children’s accessory that the trend took off.
According to chemical engineering major, Dexter Gregg, “The Silly Bandz fad was really short lived, but I think they were popular because of the fun shapes and bright colors that they came in.”
Not surprisingly, Silly Bandz are most popular among elementary and middle school children, commonly used as a both a fashion statement and a source of entertainment.
“Trading them gave kids something to do in school and another way for them to compete with each other,” said Gregg.
Perhaps this magical combination of fashion and fun is responsible for the mass success of a product that costs up to 5 dollars for a pack of 24.
When looking back at fashion trends for 2010, jeggings (leggings that look like jeans) topped the list. Half legging, half jean, the pants are commonly made of a denim and spandex blend, making them slightly more flexible and comfortable than jeans without losing the denim look.
In early Feb. 2010, Jessica Alba took to the streets wearing a pair of denim leggings by Black Orchid, causing an explosion of inquiries as to where the starlet had purchased her pants. Soon more A-list celebrities were donning the recent trend and every store from Pacsun to Nordstroms was carrying the new fad.
Jessica McGregor, communications major, said, “I think they were popular because they were comfortable. When I roll out of my bed and attempt to go to class, I always think, ‘How can I look cute and feel comfortable?’ Pulling on tight skinny jeans to go to my 8 am is not comfortable; but I still want to look cute so I reach for my leggings.”
McGregor said she thinks the same idea applies to jeggings.
“We want to feel comfortable but give off the impression that we made an effort to get ready in the morning,” said McGregor. “Jeggings are perfect for that.”
The widely controversial and popular alcoholic beverage, Four Loko, first made a name for itself on college campuses for its low price and high alcohol content. The brand was created by three friends and an Ohio State University alum in Aug. 2008. The 23.5 oz. “blackout in a can” made national news in late 2010 after being blamed for a series of hospitalizations.
Claudine Van Duinen, a therapist with her M.A. in social work, has spent years working with teens with substance abuse and dependency problems.
“The popularity of a drink like Four Loko most likely comes from the fact that it gets you drunk quickly, is cheap and comes with an added element of danger and excitement due to the fact that it has been banned,” said Van Duinen.
The drink itself was originally named Four Loko because of the four following main ingredients: alcohol, caffeine, guarana, and taurine. Due to the recent health concerns that the product brought to surface, each can came with seven different warning labels that reminded consumers to drink responsibly.
Regardless of such warnings, Van Duinen said the product’s popularity amongst students to be neither coincidental or undesired.
“These kinds of products have a targeted age they are marketing to. When you consume Four Loko, you feel like you’re getting ‘more bang for your buck’- a quality that the money challenged student is bound to find very appealing,” said Van Duinen.
Each year brings around new trends ridiculous enough to prove that America’s fast-moving and demanding consumer culture is a hard force to fight against. With most of 2010’s trends already considered “old news”, those who are constantly on the lookout for the “next big thing” are guaranteed to find products to top them, and leave behind an even more interesting legacy for 2011.