Say goodbye to sexy M&Ms; Swifties in the Senate; Just another Tuesday for Pearl; Brendon Urie’s breaking up with Brendon Urie; Gym creeps or just gym bros? 

M&Ms is flopping right now … In January of 2022, Mars aimed to “reflect the more dynamic, progressive world we live in” by adapting their six iconic M&M characters. Changes included “modern looks,” “nuanced personalities,” and “an updated tone of voice.” This shift drew criticism from both sides of the aisle: left-wingers pointed out Mars’ ongoing child slavery lawsuit and the fact that this mostly meaningless change could have been replaced by more impactful actions, while right-wingers went to the new un-sexy (and “now a lesbian, maybe?”) female M&Ms. For the characteristically sensual Ms. Green, who modeled on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues, this was quite a switch. The largest opponent, however, was Tucker Carlson. In the year since the announcement, Carlson has done countless diatribes on the sexiness of M&Ms: now, “you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them.” A recent report by Carlson has gone viral on TikTok, with thousands of young people in suits lip-syncing about plus-size and lesbian candies. On January 23, Mars gave into Carlson’s complaints about the new iteration of M&Ms — by scrapping the figures altogether. “Even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing,” they wrote. “We have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies.” Instead, comedian Maya Rudolph will be representing M&Ms. Since Monday, Gen Z has memed on the end of the candies’ reaction to Rudolph, the memories with Ms. Green, and the death of the sweets. SNICKERS even joked about the brand spokesperson debacle. The only conclusion from all of this? M&Ms lost the battle. 

Who could’ve expected the number of Swifties in the Senate? On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began hearing anti-trust discussions with Live Nation Entertainment. 13 years ago, Ticketmaster (a ticket retailer) and Live Nation (a venue and promotion company) merged. In the years since, they’ve been called out countless times for penalizing venues and artists that don’t use both services and for monopolizing the concert and festival industry. In 2019, the company promoted 40,237 concerts and festivals. Ticketmaster currently controls almost 80 percent of the US ticket market. The hearings attracted Gen Z because of the Eras Tour ticket debacle (documented in our November 22, 2022 edition), after 2.4 million fans faced glitches, hours-long queues, and exorbitant ticket prices. Senators like Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal quoted Taylor Swift; The New York Times even compiled the lyrics used. One Twitter user joked, “i can’t wait for the snl skit on the ticketmaster/live nation senate hearing.” Many others pointed out the bipartisan efforts behind pursuing antitrust negotiations with Live Nation Entertainment. Maybe this redeems the Senate after the Kevin McCarthy debacle …? 

If you haven’t guessed by now, the Oscars did as badly as every other awards show we’ve reported on. The top nominees were “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (11), “The Banshees of Inisherin” (9) and “All Quiet on the Western Front” (9). Variety showcased 24 movies that deserved to be on the list of nominees. Four of the year’s biggest films — “Decision to Leave,” “Nope,” “Pearl,” and “The Woman King” — were entirely snubbed for Oscar nominations. In @virgosophy’s words: “It’s just another Tuesday” for them. One of the most contentious categories was Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress; Viola Davis, Mia Goth, and Keke Palmer were all denied nominations. @sewerwolfs pointed out a shot from “Decision to Leave” that alone should have pushed them into the awards scene. In Oscar fashion, Black women and horror movies were excluded from being nominees. One piece is good news was that Angela Bassett, for Best Supporting Actress, is the first actor, actress, and Black woman nominated for an Oscar in a Marvel Cinematic Universe role. Read that again: the FIRST ever nominee from the MCU! To see the full list of nominees, check out the Oscars site. @abbytheprince is how we all feel right now: “I give my yearly ‘the Oscars are trash speech and have no merit’ and then tune in next year hopeful again.” Here’s to the 2024 nominations! 

After a (very rocky) 20 years, Panic! At The Disco is breaking up. Older Gen Zers have grown up with the band after its founding in 2004. Known for songs like “Death of a Bachelor” and “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” the group of four started in the rock genre and moved towards pop (and dropped members!) as it grew older. In 2006 bassist Brent Wilson was fired from the group; later, in 2009, guitarist and backup singer Ryan Ross and replacement bassist Jon Walker left the band to form “The Young Veins.” In 2013, drummer Spencer Smith, the last original member of P!ATD, left due to his fight with alcohol and drug addictions. In the 10 years since, lead singer Brendon Urie effectively performed as a solo artist under the P!ATD name. Urie has had his fair share of disputes, as well. Beyond using the P!ATD name as a method to boost his own fame after going solo, he has been embroiled in controversy. The hashtag #BrendonUrieSpeakUp originally trended as a call for Urie to fire a bodyguard who was a sexual assaulter; it then morphed into young people speaking about their own experiences of pedophilia and sexual assault with the singer. Urie also said at a concert, “I wish I was born Black so I can wear the clothes I wear without getting made fun of.” At another performance, he announced, “If I see you after the show, I’m gonna f*ck you. And I don’t care if you want it.” Ex-fans took last week to meme on the singer, from joking about Urie being solo to displaying their excitement at the announcement. In the words of 2014 Tumblr users, he’s Panicked his last Disco (thank God). 

If you’re on GymTok, you’ve probably seen some kind of “interacting with a gym creep” video. TikToks by @sam_raex0, @ezaramaefit, and @jessicafrndz have all received countless likes — and countless amounts of backlash — for videoing people without their consent, falsely accusing men at the gym of objectifying them, and using the interactions for social media clout. The tag #gymcreep currently has 30 million views on TikTok; though it began with pointing out truly frightening experiences, the hashtag has been co-opted by users milking normal gym experiences for likes. @morganisawizard quipped, “women seething because a man briefly glanced at them for .7 seconds in the gym while they film a video they hope will be seen by thousands on tiktok will never not be funny to me.” Others have pointed out that this hysteria diminishes the experiences of those actually experiencing harassment at the gym. An important note is that most of those recording “gym creep” videos are white women who accuse Black and Brown men. @scorched_water joked that “White women in sports bras & Spandex literally think everyone in the gym is obsessed with them.” Gym etiquette tip: don’t record people without their permission; if you do, don’t insubstantially call them a creep. 


✨ Calling all “The Office” fans! Dwight’s (slightly creepy) rules song is going viral on TikTok. Though it’s currently used to discuss boy problems, this sound has the potential to cover any unsaid rules for your products. Check the sound out here

✨ Everyone loves to hate RapTV! Their iconic red-and-white graphics have made them an evergreen presence in Gen Z’s mind. Inspired by their posts, accounts like Coolmath Games and @reddeadpronouns made their own (humorous) versions. 

✨ How’s your rizz face? The rizz face, or light skin stare, is an expression paired with Chrishan’s “Sin City.” Characters from Shrek to Megamind are gaining internet clout for their faces. Make your own to rizz up follows! 

Screenshot of the Week 

If you grew up in the ‘00s, you know Kenny Ortega. Or, at least, his work. Ortega directed films like the “High School Musical” series, “Hocus Pocus,” and “Descendants.” He also choreographed “Pretty in Pink,” “Dirty Dancing,” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” In terms of cultural impact, he has got to be at the top of the charts. The next time you watch Ferris lip-sync “Danke Schoen” or Ryan play piano in a pool, thank Ortega. 

Harmonie Ramsden