• Pamela Froman

Best and Worst 2017

2017 is over, and it's been a definite whirlwind. From political ups and downs to celebrity scandals, here are a few of the best – and worst – events and stories that made this past year unique!

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a force to be reckoned with. Number 45 was sworn in at the beginning of 2017 and the country remains exceedingly divided over how he is using his term of office. Trump is exceedingly critical of the media and what he refers to as "fake news,” and comedians are having a blast making fun of him for it. Alec Baldwin shines on Saturday Night Live with his spot on impersonation. Then there's the Presidential Show – where a fictional version of Trump, played by Anthony Atamanuik, throws the mainstream media to the wolves and addresses Americans “himself” by hosting a weekly show directly from the Oval Office.

There were more political hurdles this year. Was Russia involved in the 2016 Presidential race? Ask James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. He claims Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump. FBI Director James Comey ordered an ongoing investigation – and got fired for his trouble. So what's the real truth? Stay tuned in 2018, as the answers are still forthcoming.

Another Trumpism was his announcement that the U.S. will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. In the aftermath of this monumental decision, many states and cities all over the country chose to defy the president by declaring that they will continue to follow the climate-friendly guidelines regardless.

But the U.S. isn't the only superpower with a complicated political climate. Over in the U.K. “Brexit” is steadily moving forward, along with its share of controversy. In 2017 the U.K. gave the European Council the official notification that it is invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. The UK will leave the European Union in 2019 and there are plans for a two year "transition" period to smooth the way to post-Brexit relations.

Some comedians have felt the bite of this country's political divide. In May, funny lady Kathy Griffin posed for a controversial photo where she held up a bloody mask meant to resemble the decapitated head of President Donald Trump. It was a reaction, she explained, on the President's headline-making blood-related 2015 comments about journalist Megyn Kelly. Reprisals were immediate – and brutal. While Griiffin issued a heartfelt apology, the damage was done: She was fired from her New Year's Eve hosting duties alongside Anderson Cooper on CNN, lost an endorsement deal with Squatty Potty and saw venues cancel her comedy tour dates. But truly, everyone makes mistakes – and we forgive you Kathy!

The Women's March took place on January 21, with record-breaking numbers all over the world, where many men and women of all races and backgrounds protested peacefully against President Trump's personal and political views. The march celebrated women's rights, and advocated for legislation and policies promoting human rights, reproductive rights, positive immigration reform and civil rights. Celebrities including Jessica Biel, Miley Cyrus and Kerry Washington marched in Los Angeles, while Chrissy Teigen, Katy Perry and Emma Watson took to the streets in Washington. It was the largest single-day protest in the history of the United States.

There were some crazy sexual scandals that came to the forefront this year. Dozens of women blasted bigwig studio executive Harvey Weinstein, with claims he sexually harassed or assaulted them. These include Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Lupita Nyong'o and more who said they were victims of these unwanted advances. Within days, as the claims escalated, the Weinstein Company board fired Harvey.

The high-profile sexual assault trial of Bill Cosby against dozens of accusers ended in a mistrial. After six days, the jury remained deadlocked, unable to come to a unanimous decision. The judge tried to force a verdict, telling the jury to keep talking it out to try to reach a "guilty" or "not guilty" verdict. But it was to no avail.

Two words began to dominate social media in mid-October: "Me Too." The #MeToo movement, which was actually started a decade ago by activist Tarana Burke, emerged anew when actress Alyssa Milano responded to the sexual assault cases that were rocking Hollywood with a tweet. It read, "Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem." She then wrote "Me too" and tweeted, "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet." "#MeToo" has blown up across social media ever since.

Another protest for the record books was the March for Science, which took place on Earth Day of 2017. More than a million people participated, most of them to protest against new policies to defund programs in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This past year offered up some amazing natural wonders. Astronomy lovers were treated to a rare occurrence in 2017, when all of North America gained a front row view of a total eclipse of the sun. It's one of nature's most awe-inspiring sights – and it was visible coast-to-coast for the first time in almost a century. Solar glasses were required of course.

More astronomical feats included the final dive into Saturn’s atmosphere by the Cassini probe after its 19-year tenure. This mission, which was originally planned to be just four years long, was a testament to scientists who dedicated their careers to studying our neighbor in the solar system. NASA also garnered some new and up and coming photos of Jupiter from the Juno probe. Every 53 days Juno completes a close flyby of the massive planet, providing an intimate glimpse into the behemoth.

Whoops! Even celebs make mistakes! And the faux pas at 2017's Academy Awards was a doozy. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway graced the stage at the Academy Awards and announced "La La Land" – the wrong movie – for Best Picture. The actual winner was "Moonlight." Oops!

There were some tragic events that shook us all to our core this past year. One such senseless act was the terrorist attack that struck out at fans at an Ariana Grande's concert in the Manchester Arena. As the audience exited the show that fateful evening, a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing 22 and injuring more than 60 others.

Another horrible and tragic event was the attack in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, when Jason Aldean was performing, A gunman fired into the crowd of roughly 25,000 people with the gunshots raining down for more than 10 minutes. In the end, 58 people were dead and over 500 injured. It was the worst mass shooting in United States history. The gunman was firing from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, and took his own life.

Twins were in the air with many celebrities expanding their families. George and Amal Clooney became parents to twins on June 6. Beyonce and JAY-Z welcomed twins, a boy and a girl, named Sir and Rumi, on June 13. And Madonna adopted orphaned twin girls from Malawi, with the monikers Estere and Stelle.

Suicide is always tragic and this year the music world suffered some devastating losses. Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell was found dead in a Detroit hotel room at the age of 52. The medical examiner's cause of death stated that he committed suicide by hanging. Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington died on July 20. He hung himself as well. The saddest part is that the two musicians were close friends.

Another rock icon we lost this year is Tom Petty. The star died of cardiac arrest on Oct. 2. He was 66. Hope you are “Free Fallin'” Tom.

We may be American, but we do love the royals. And there is plenty of activity in the British monarchy these days! Break out your inner tiara.

Prince William and Duchess Kate are expanding their robust family again with a sibling for Prince George and Princess Charlotte. A new little prince or princess? Cuteness overload! And there's more. The world's most eligible bachelor is off the market! On Nov. 27, Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle are engaged – and she's a L.A. native to boot! The wedding will take place in May 2018 at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

And what about the quintessential American royalty – the Kardashians? (Hahaha...just kidding!) The most famous reality family ever is experiencing a baby boom. Kim is expecting baby number three via surrogate, Kylie is pregnant with her boyfriend of five months, rapper Travis Scott and Khloe is pregnant too! Better break out those designer onesies.

Finally, we lost three cultural icons this year. They will be sorely missed.

Television legend Mary Tyler Moore is responsible for creating one of television's most iconic images – the modern career woman. She died on Jan. 25 after facing a number of health problems.

Hugh Hefner, the sire of the Playboy empire, died at 91 at the famed Playboy mansion. He was a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.

Comic legend Don Rickles passed away at the age of 90 due to kidney failure. This “master of insults” was beloved by fellow comics and celebrities alike.

There's sure to be more excitement in the coming year so stay tuned! Goodbye 2017 and hello 2018!

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