F*ck You, 2016, For Stealing Our Favorite Artists And Actors

by Christine Burke
itsmejust / iStock

Dear 2016,

On behalf of all of humanity, I’d like to extend a giant “What the fuck?” to you and your shitshow behavior this year.

During a year when we needed our beloved icons more than ever, a year dominated by angry politicians and Russian espionage, we needed to feel secure in the knowledge that we could turn to the music and shows from our youth for comfort and escapism. We needed Florence Henderson to gather us up into a hug and tell us that we were all going to be okay, that playing ball in the house wasn’t going to cause us to lose our television privileges.

But, no, you had other plans for us.

You decided that you were going to systematically pick off our favorites and, almost monthly, gut us with yet another beloved celebrity taken too soon. You bitch-slapped us, and you took away our security blankets when we needed them the most.

Seriously, 2016, go home, you’re drunk.

Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

Prince and David Bowie literally defined us as a generation. Their music was the anthem that played when we wore our ’80s fashions and had jacked-to-Jesus hair. We lost our virginity to their songs, and we defied our parents with their lyrics. Now, more than ever, we needed them to be here for us, and yet, 2016, you snatched them from our lives. Again, fuck you.

And was it really necessary to take Carrie Fisher? Really? The badass gun-toting Princess Leia was an icon for every little girl in the ’80s. We all wanted to be her, with her sharp tongue and characteristic side buns, dammit. And as she grew up, her writing made us feel normal: Her battles with substance abuse and mental illness brought those issues to the mainstream in a way that made us smile through our tears. And, dammit all, her portrayal of Marie in When Harry Met Sally was the best supporting actress role in the history of ever. We’ll never get over her leaving us, that’s for sure, 2016.

You took Alan Rickman from us, too, goddammit. Those obsessed with Harry Potter and his character, Snape, cannot read the books without tears falling on the pages when we think of him being gone from this planet. And now we can’t watch Love Actually without sobbing into our pillows because we miss him so. Thanks for that, 2016.

Get your shit together, 2016. We’ve had it with you.

And, to be clear, it’s not as if other years haven’t taken away leaders and celebrities who have endeared themselves to our hearts. Every year, the list of actors and actresses who have defined pop culture is long and distinguished, for sure. But it just seems like this year has been a never-ending parade of celebrity funeral processions, and I think I speak for most of the Willy Wonka generation when I say you could have at least spared Gene Wilder. He didn’t need his golden ticket to heaven this year, 2016. Honestly.

Really, 2016? Really?

This year has been tough on all of us. Truly. Our relationships with our friends and family are fractured and, in some cases, damaged beyond repair after an election like none other in history. Hatred and racism are running rampant, and people are freaking the fuck out about the state of our country. Common decency has flown out the window, and in times like this, we turn to our shared experiences, whether in movies or television shows to find some sort of common ground that keeps us from decking our neighbors.

We needed Alan Thicke to still be in the Growing Pains kitchen, serving up sage advice as his wife juggles the demands of being a mom and a successful businesswoman. We needed to know that Garry Marshall would still give us movies like Pretty Woman and shows like Laverne and Shirley so that we could escape from the doldrums of polling and the threat of nuclear war. Dammit, 2016, we needed to know that Abe Vigoda was still alive and kicking. Is nothing sacred to you?

I know that Hollywood isn’t real life, that the actors behind our obsession and admiration are real people with real problems. And I don’t mean to diminish their achievements or their struggles blithely, but in the name of Hello Kitty and all that is holy, 2016, just knock it the fuck off already. We can’t handle losing another Doris Roberts (has someone checked that Betty White is safely ensconced in bubble wrap?), and we can’t lose yet another American hero like John Glenn (has anyone checked on Buzz Aldrin lately?).

We can’t take much more of your shitshow ways, 2016. And 2017, f you are listening, you are on notice. We aren’t strong like Muhammad Ali was, and we don’t have the grace to accept challenges like Nancy Reagan did. We are begging you, beseeching you to give us a much-needed celebrity death reprieve.

We’ll even keep Kanye. He’s had a shit year too. And if one hair on Queen Elizabeth’s head is harmed, we will come after you with pitchforks, 2016. You’ve been warned.


An Angry Nation