If those misinterpreted predictions of the Mayan apocalypse somehow end up being true, we can't say we weren't given any warning. Just look at what passes for popular culture these days: Adultery, theft, addiction, divorce, death, infidelity, hearsay, revenge and that silly horsie dance. Good thing The Juice* was paying enough attention to again identify the best of the worst.
2010 JUICE*Y PERSON OF THE YEAR
If ever there were a poster child for the uncoveted prize Juice*y honor, it's troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan. She's perennially in the running, being just beaten by the likes of a Britney Spears or a Justin Bieber or a Lady Gaga or a Charlie Sheen. But much like Albert Pujols in the St. Louis Cardinals' run to the 2006 World Series title, this was a career year for Lindsay.
She kicked off the year with nude photos inspired by Marilyn Monroe in Playboy, which apparently was a big enough deal (except for the nude photos she already took in 2008 aping another Marilyn shoot) that it helped the magazine break sales records. Then she helped Saturday Night Live get its second-highest ratings of the season in March when she hosted the show, albeit to mixed reviews. Then even the good stuff wasn't helping much.
An appearance on Glee was criticized as being brief and meaningless. She starred in Richard Phillips' art film First Point, but no one saw it. She filmed scenes for the softcore thriller The Canyons and Scary Movie 5, which apparently required a lot of pull from her pal Sheen. Then came her big comeback role, playing Elizabeth Taylor in a Lifetime biopic called Liz & Dick, which no one liked, mostly because it seems no one told Lindsay she had become the punchline in her own life — and had no business playing Elizabeth Taylor.
And that was just the professional stuff. She was accused of hitting a man with a car. She fought at nightclubs. She hit a semi with a Porsche, then allegedly lied to cops about being the driver. Her mother Dina fought with LiLo over money so much, dad Michael called the police from Florida. Speaking of Michael, who was arrested in Tampa last year for domestic abuse, he was revealed to have fathered an illegitimate child with another woman while still married to Dina, so now Lindsay has a 17-year-old half-sister whom she ignores.
In a particularly astonishing 12 days between November and December, she was faced with the harsh realities of her failed TV movie, an arrest for allegedly punching a West Palm woman in a New York club, three more charges in her June car crash and the IRS freezing her bank accounts over unpaid income taxes. Even Katt Williams can't keep up that pace. Now her probation in her 2011 jewelry theft case will be revoked and she faces eight months in jail. But that's okay, because she reportedly can't pay her rent, anyway.
Lindsay's 2012 could be anyone's 2012: A long, uneven slog marked by flat wages, deferred dreams, endless arguments, a lack of progress, a tidal wave of negativity and the sinking feeling that no matter what she does, there will be a disaster at the end.
We hope that Lindsay will come to her senses, realizing the only way for her to recover the lost years of her childhood is to avoid a family that has nothing in her best interest and a career that will lead only to failure as long as she maintains her current course. We hope she will pack a bag, move to Montana and not talk to anyone for a long, long time, until she is older and wiser, and has arranged a payment plan for her tax bill. Then she can rise, phoenix-like from the ashes and be the star we all know she can be.
But until then, all we can offer her is the dubious distinction of being the 2012 Juice*y Person of the Year.
THE GOOD GIRL GONE BAD AWARD
Rihanna loves Breezy
Things were going so well for Rihanna. She was making music, going on tour and posing naked on the cover of GQ. But whispers surfaced earlier this year that she was getting back together with her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown. You know, the man who punched her, slammed her head into a car window and bit her fingers when she tried to defend herself in a 2009 beating that would make Ike Turner blush. But oh, they're friends, they say. Ask Breezy's now-ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran, whom he dumped right before he gleefully announced his singlehood over Twitter, whether they were just friends. And thanks to Instagram, we got to see photo after photo of RiRi and Brown back together, daring the world to take offense. And here we were hoping she'd find a new man who would take care of things — preferably the way Halle Berry's fiance Olivier Martinez took care of Gabriel Aubry. Perhaps the scariest of all is Brown's pack of Twitter followers, who never seem to get upset when he trashes a TV green room or tells a comedian she should service him. No, it's all the media's fault, for making Brown look bad when he loses his temper and destroys property or threatens violence. Time to wise up, Rihanna. Even Katy Perry realized Russell Brand wasn't right for her, and he never laid a finger on her. The surest sign this union will portend the end? She finds out she's pregnant before the year is out.
TAY ZONDAY MEMORIAL INTERNET ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Psy's 'Gangnam Style'
Korean rapper Psy had a couple of things going for his single Gangnam Style this year: A ridiculous dance anyone could do, and a music video so awesome in its randomness, you couldn't help but be entranced, to the tune of almost a billion YouTube views. This generation's Macarena was so catchy, so over-the-top, so simultaneously entertaining and unlistenable, you just knew he was going to hit it big when the video caught on in late summer. He became such a big hit, he rescheduled an appearance at 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball in Tampa to perform at the White House. But the one-hit wonder was so gracious, he arranged an appearance at University Mall, just to please all his newfound fans. The haters may hate, and we may never see him again after the new year — especially given recent revelations he took part in a couple of anti-U.S. demonstrations in the past decade (for which he has since apologized) — but the inescapable course to the end has been set. In a country afraid of socialized medicine, sports where you don't use your hands and food that doesn't come on a bun, the people embraced a star singing a song featuring only a half-dozen words in English.
THE TROUBLE WITH TWITTER AWARD
Spike Lee abuses his Twitter feed
Florida already was in a pretty harsh spotlight for the Trayvon Martin shooting in February, but then outspoken Twitter user Spike Lee decided he needed to get in on the act. The director in March retweeted to his 240,000 followers an address he thought to be for George Zimmerman — the Sanford man who shot the teenager — in apparent retribution for what Spike believed to be the unjust killing of a 17-year-old black youth. Lee's Twitter followers relished sending poison pen letters and death threats to the address, heaping tons of unwanted attention on the residents there. Too bad the residents were David and Elaine McClain, a couple in their 70s who both worked for the Seminole County school system. "I deeply apologize to the McClain Family for retweeting their address. It was a mistake," Lee posted as a retraction. "Please leave them in peace." Lee eventually settled out of court with the couple for an undisclosed amount. But realizing anyone, anywhere could get death threats just because some mouth-breathing Twitter followers take matters into their own hands? That's not something we think will be getting any better.
THE TICKLE-ME-OH-NO! AWARD
Kevin Clash likes them a bit too young
Even though we didn't grow up with Sesame Street's Elmo, The Juice* had a soft spot in our heart for puppeteer Kevin Clash, going way back to when he played Splinter the mutated rat sensei in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in 1990. Of course, that was before we learned Clash had an apparent habit of picking up teenage boys in Internet chat rooms, plying them with money and booze, then having alleged sexual relationships with the minors. At first no one wanted to believe the first accuser, now-24-year-old Sheldon Stephens, when he said Clash liked to manipulate more than puppets back when Stephens was only 15. But Clash took a leave of absence from Sesame Street and denied the allegations, so when Stephens recanted and settled out of court for $125,000, saying the relationship was consensual and he had been of age, we breathed a sigh of relief. Then a second accuser stepped forward. And a third. And a fourth. And they all sued Clash. Even Stephens lamented he'd been forced to sign his settlement. And while Clash left Sesame Street, leaving Elmo to his apprentices, every parent is still left explaining yet another awkward scenario sure to mark the arrival of the four horsemen — why their favorite Muppet was on every newspaper, Web page and TV screen in the country, but mommy and daddy wouldn't let them look.
THE RUINED CHILDHOOD AWARD
Disney's purchase of 'Star Wars'
Not content to simply print money from theme parks, movies, television shows, cable networks, toys, food products and overpriced Happy Meal toys, Disney decided they needed to exploit even more cultural touchstones when they bought the rights to Star Wars from Lucasfilm for $4 billion in October. Granted, George Lucas had already squeezed almost all of the blood he could find in that turnip, doing a pretty good job of leaving those fond childhood memories a smoking ruin all on his own, but now the Mouse House was involved. Early signs were encouraging, with the likes of Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan and X-Men scribe Simon Kinberg being named among the creative teams for three new movies, and rumors fling the new trilogy may focus on tertiary characters in the Star Wars universe instead of trying to derail a mythology already shaken by the prequels. But then it turned to the dark side. How dark? They're talking about bringing back Darth Vader. Yes, that dark.
THE GREAT ESCAPE AWARD
Katie Holmes runs for the door
In a daring plan straight out of a Mission: Impossible movie, Katie Holmes made a break for it in June, moving into a New York apartment under cover of darkness with daughter Suri to flee the clutches of Tom Cruise while he was in Iceland filming Oblivion. At least, that's what we surmise, because Katie hasn't been talking one little bit about it. Avoiding a prolonged legal battle, the couple settled within mere days, with Katie getting full custody and $400,000 per year in child support, a pittance for a man rumored to be worth $250 million. All we were left with is endless gossip about Hollywood marriage contracts expiring, mind control losing its grip and whether Tom's adherence to Scientology had anything to do with it (Katie enrolled Suri into a Catholic school almost immediately, we'll note). Tom did seem genuinely surprised by the move, which is a shame, but he did sue In Touch Weekly for $50 million for saying he abandoned his daughter. The most apocalyptic thing about that is the fact we agree with Cruise.
THE WE DIDN'T NEED TO SEE THAT AWARD
Hulk Hogan's sex tape
Just when we'd thought Hulk Hogan's life was getting back to normal, just when we'd shipped his ex-wife Linda off to California and daughter Brooke to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and son Nick to wherever he went, Hulkamania was thrust back into the spotlight. Gawker somehow procured a sex tape of Hulk and an unidentified woman in flagrante delicto and posted clips of the event, complete with the Hulkster complaining he'd eaten too much and felt like a fat pig. Charming! But there was something familiar about the woman, because it turned out she was Heather Clem, wife of Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge. Eventually it was revealed that Bubba had shared his then-wife with all the little Hulkamaniacs six years ago and somebody recorded it. Now, we're not saying Bubba or Heather recorded it, because legalese prevents us from saying that, but it did lead to a quickie court battle that resulted in an undisclosed settlement that apparently stopped the distribution of the video. Just in time for Hogan to promote the opening of his new beach shop in Clearwater! That's almost convenient as Hogan and his pals continuing to act as the region's ambassadors, showing the world that come Judgment Day, there's no better place to find adulterers, betrayers and bearers of false witness than good ol' Tampa Bay.
THE DON'T ASK, DON'T SELL AWARD
John Travolta's private life
There have always been rumors John Travolta was a little light in the loafers, and not just for his Tony Manero days in Saturday Night Fever. But that gossip hit fever pitch in May when a masseur sued him for sexual battery for allegedly asking for the happy ending. He denied the allegations, but a second masseur said the same thing had happened. Then a writer claimed he liked to frequent gay bathhouses, and his former pilot said they had sexual relations for years. So far, none of it has stuck: The battery lawsuit was dropped and the writer of the book, who had sued Travolta for libeling him by basically saying he was a hack, had his lawsuit thrown out and was forced to pay Travolta's legal fees. But the worst part of the whole scenario? That people care enough to constantly wonder whether Travolta really is gay.
THE UTTER LACK OF SELF-RESPECT AWARD
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart stay together
As if the unwavering popularity of the Twilight series wasn't enough for the uninitiated, we all had to deal with something even more irritating than the Team Edward or Team Jacob nonsense. When Kristen Stewart actually landed a job in another movie, Snow White and the Huntsman, it seemed as if any slack-jawed acting school reject could score a Tinseltown career, make millions and get the pasty leading man in the end. Then in July she was caught on camera smooching on her Snow White director, Rupert Sanders, a 41-year-old, married father of two. It wasn't that boyfriend and costar Robert Pattinson was heartbroken so much as he seemed embarrassed by the news. He and Kristen had finally broken news to their Twihard fans that they really were dating offscreen only three months prior, if you believe that's true in the first place. The typical media digs at Stewart soon followed, ostracizing the 22-year-old for being a homewrecker and a (gasp!) bad girlfriend, while giving Sanders a pass as his marriage to fashion model wife Liberty Ross crumbled around him. But worst of all, the affair derailed marketing plans for Breaking Dawn Part II! No need to fret, dear Twilight fans — Pattinson and Stewart reunited from a brief breakup just in time for the promotional tour. That wasn't the sign of the rapture, however; sitting through 115 minutes of that final movie was.
THE WHO IS THAT, ANYWAY? AW ARD FOR OUTSTANDING TAMPA BAY CELEB EVENT
Tie: Spring Breakers vs. RNC
In one corner, you had Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and James Franco. In the other, Kid Rock, Jo n Voight and Clint Eastwood. It was a Hollywood battle the likes of which Tampa Bay had never seen, with the tween-star-filled shoot of Spring Breakers in and around Pinellas County beach communities in March and the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in August. Both threatened to tear the bay area apart with their respective harbingers of the apocalypse. Spring Breakers brought Justin Bieber to town to visit his then-girlfriend Gomez, battling paparazzi the entire time. The RNC had Victoria Jackson selling her books. The movie featured Franco as a cornrowed, drug-dealing pimp garnering Oscar murmurs. The convention culminated in Eastwood berating an empty chair in front of millions on national TV. Which is the true herald of the end of days? Flip a coin. Just don't tax it.