That happened this year?!?

2020 has been 97 months long, so here’s everything you forgot about in this memorable year.

WHEW. We finally made it to the end of 2020. We’ve spent most of the year focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. presidential election, but that’s not all that happened. With so much time spent at home, we read books, wrote critical essays, learned new skills and kept sourdough starters and new plants alive all year.

Just kidding — we spent the whole time watching TV and browsing the Internet. And considering we can barely remember what month it is now (it’s March 237th, isn’t it?), we forgot about some things that made us cringe, laugh, cry or do all three at once.

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Nature is wild

We haven’t been able to go outside much this year, but the natural world is still there, even if we forgot some of its major story lines. After all, if there’s one thing we can rely on Mother Nature for, it’s the reminder that the world stops for no one. At least until the inevitable heat death of the universe. But that’s a worry for 2021!

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(Filip Singer/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

October

It’s raining moon water

Scientists found evidence of water on the moon! Okay, so they’re just individual molecules that are so spread out they can’t even form ice or liquid water, but it’s 2020 — we’ll take what we can get.

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(Elaine Thompson/AP)

May

Murder hornets are...a thing

The good news about murder hornets is that they don’t murder humans, although multiple stings could cause death. The bad news is that they could literally destroy U.S. honeybee populations, which we’re told are important to plants or something.

August

Baby panda alert

In a surprising twist that the National Zoo’s chief veterinarian compared to a “Hail Mary pass,” 2020 gifted us a new baby panda! Mei Xiang, a 22-year-old panda at the zoo, gave birth to her fourth cub in August. He was named Xiao Qi Ji, which means “little miracle.”

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(Smithsonian’s National Zoo via Getty Images)

Cringeworthy celebs

Not every celebrity can be like Dolly Parton, all right? In fact, some can be downright wince-inducing. Here are some of the rich and famous who caught the Internet’s ire these past few months.

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Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

May

What’s in a name?

Elon Musk and Grimes named their baby X Æ A-12. (Then they changed it to X Æ A-Xii to comply with California law). Honestly, we think it could have been weirder!

Instagram screenshots

March

Imagine what they were thinking

About one week into America’s stay-at-home period, celebrities seemed to get restless and turned to social media. We wish they hadn't. Something about the supposedly affirming messages and not-quite-heartwarming renditions of “Imagine” they were posting seemed to rub people the wrong way. Maybe it was the trappings of wealth constantly visible in the background.

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Andrew Harnik/AP

Summer

Reality check

Ellen DeGeneres, who also posted a regrettable quarantine video, may have lost just as much of the public’s esteem as cruise ships did this year. A series of minor controversies culminated in a BuzzFeed News investigation of her television show. (She’s back on the air, sans live studio audience.)

May

What’s in a name?

Elon Musk and Grimes named their baby X Æ A-12. (Then they changed it to X Æ A-Xii to comply with California law). Honestly, we think it could have been weirder!

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Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Instagram screenshots

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Andrew Harnik/AP

At least we have the memes

Ah yes, the one shining light in this mess: memes. What better interruption between bouts of doom scrolling? We could honestly fill an entire page with just this section, but here are a few highlights that made us chuckle. Or at least type out variations of “I’m in hYsTERiCS," “HELP" or “!!?@?$?2/3/@#?” while staring at our phones with a straight face.

(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

October

12-foot Home Depot skeletons

Perhaps it was appropriate that the year’s hottest garden ornament was a 12-foot skeleton with glowing eyes, considering everything else that was going on. The $300 Halloween decoration sold by Home Depot was out of stock virtually everywhere, allowing people to practice the patience they would need to buy a PlayStation 5 in November.

September

Da Vinki??

These twins, who are professional wrestlers, captured our hearts with their TikTok “himbo” act (yes, they know who Leonardo Da Vinci is) in September.

September

The year's chillest TikTok

The most accurately titled video on the Web is just called “morning vibes,” and we could watch it all day long, cranberry juice in hand. “I didn’t think people were gonna vibe to it on a level like this,” the creator, Nathan Apodaca told a Washington Post reporter.

Everything is cake

Remember this summer when everything was cake? This section was cake THE WHOLE TIME.

At least we have the memes

Ah yes, the one shining light in this mess: memes. What better interruption between bouts of doom scrolling? We could honestly fill an entire page with just this section, but here are a few highlights that made us chuckle. Or at least type out variations of “I’m in hYsTERiCS," “HELP" or “!!?@?$?2/3/@#?” while staring at our phones with a straight face.

(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

October

12-foot Home Depot skeletons

Perhaps it was appropriate that the year’s hottest garden ornament was a 12-foot skeleton with glowing eyes, considering everything else that was going on. The $300 Halloween decoration sold by Home Depot was out of stock virtually everywhere, allowing people to practice the patience they would need to buy a PlayStation 5 in November.

September

Da Vinki??

These twins, who are professional wrestlers, captured our hearts with their TikTok “himbo” act (yes, they know who Leonardo Da Vinci is) in September.

September

The year's chillest TikTok

The most accurately titled video on the Web is just called “morning vibes,” and we could watch it all day long, cranberry juice in hand. “I didn’t think people were gonna vibe to it on a level like this,” the creator, Nathan Apodaca told a Washington Post reporter.

Everything is cake

Remember this summer when everything was cake? This section was cake THE WHOLE TIME.

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Please stand by for these films...

We did get to watch “Emma” and “The Invisible Man” at home this year (and “Wonder Woman 1984” will be available Friday), but most of 2020′s most anticipated features were delayed to 2021. There’s plenty to unpack about how the movie industry was hit by the pandemic, but Twitter was more concerned with a very important question: Does this mean “Sonic the Hedgehog” has a shot at winning Best Picture?

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(Universal Pictures)

“F9”

May 22, 2020

May 28, 2021

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(Universal Pictures)

“No Time To Die”

November 2020

April 2, 2021

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(Universal Pictures)

“Minions: The Rise of Gru”

July 3, 2020

July 2, 2021

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(Paramount Pictures)

“A Quiet Place Part II”

Sept. 6, 2020

April 23, 2021

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(Paramount Pictures)

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Dec. 23, 2020

July 2, 2021

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(Sony Pictures)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

July 10, 2020

June 11, 2021

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(Warner Bros.)

“In The Heights”

June 26, 2020

June 18, 2021

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(20th Century Studios)

“The King’s Man”

Sept. 18, 2020

March 12, 2021

MovieRelease date
“Dune”December 2020Oct. 1, 2021
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”Oct. 2, 2020June 25, 2021
“Candyman”June 2020Aug. 27, 2021
“Black Widow”May 1, 2020May 7, 2021
“Eternals”Nov. 6, 2020Nov. 5, 2021

Our (brief) TV show obsessions

Stop asking me if I’m still watching, Netflix. We all know I am. The sagging indent on my couch knows, my “work from home” sweatpants know, and my “how to play chess” search history knows. We’ve probably racked up more hours watching TV this year than is strictly healthy, but at least we’re not pronouncing “Emily in Paris” like it rhymes.

January

“The Good Place”

Remember when we all cried about the ending of “The Good Place”? That was THIS YEAR! But since it took place before the pandemic, it might as well have been 100 years ago.

(NBCUniversal)

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Sportball!!

Believe it or not, the Weeknd is currently planning his performance for the next Super Bowl halftime show in less than two months. Remember when attending sports events in person was a thing? If you need me, I’ll be re-watching Beyoncé’s 2013 halftime show for the 73rd time.

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(Kevin Winter/Getty)

February

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez perform at the Super Bowl

J-Lo and Shakira teamed up for America’s biggest sports event, becoming the first two Latina singers to perform together during a Super Bowl halftime show. It was a spectacle that ran the gamut from pole dancing, to a zaghrouta, to...an accidental Ali G impression by Bad Bunny? Whoops.

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(Mark J. Terrill/AP)

March

NBA closes down and reopens in a “bubble”

Back in March, the NBA season seemed at real risk of being completely canceled, but a restrictive bubble based out of Disney World saved the day. But even the happiest place on Earth couldn’t quite erase the sting of months-long isolation for reporters and players.

November

Sarah Fuller makes college football history as Vanderbilt kicker

The Vanderbilt senior became the fourth woman to play in a major college football game and the first to appear in the Power Five. And if that wasn’t enough, Fuller had just won the SEC tournament championship with the women’s soccer team less than a week before her football debut. Talk about overachieving!

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(Hunter Dyke/Mizzou Athletics via Getty Images)

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(Joseph Guzy/Miami Marlins via AP)

November

Kim Ng becomes Major League Baseball’s first female general manager

The Miami Marlins’ new general manager is Kim Ng, and she made history as the first female general manager in Major League Baseball. Ng’s extensive résumé and stellar reputation raised only one question: What took so long?

Our fave quarantine games

When lockdowns first started, there were a few things that suddenly became harder to come by: toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and … Nintendo Switches? (Little did we know the Switch shortage would simply be practice for the launch of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.) But with so many people at home, a lot of us suddenly had time to spare, and video games were there to distract us.

March

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” saves the day

We’ve rechecked our star charts and still can’t figure out why we were so fortunate to get “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” at exactly the moment we needed it most. The Nintendo game was perfect for lockdown because unlike us, our virtual characters could leave the house, have lavish weddings, not worry about a global pandemic, go trick-or-treating, high five their friends, promote real-life presidential candidates, visit other islands and make millions and millions of bells on the stalk market.

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(Nintendo)

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(InnerSloth)

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(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

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(Supergiant Games)

What a wild ride. 2020 has been a slog of a year, but hey! At least we’re done with the entire concept of time, right? ...No? There’s another year? Jeez how many more of these things are there.

Well, no pressure or anything, 2021, but all eyes are on you. Here’s to more TV obsessions, celebrity oopsies and memes.

More 2020 coverage

Take a look back at the topics this project didn’t cover politics, the novel coronavirus, etc. with these stories from the newsroom.

2020: An extraordinary year in photos

Notable deaths of 2020

An oral history of coronavirus: Testimonies about the pandemic

‘Exhausting,’ ‘surreal,’ ‘dumpster fire’: How our readers described 2020

2020 Photo Issue: Nine photographers capture a pandemic, an uprising and a country divided

Voraciously: Our favorite cookbooks of 2020

Best books of 2020

About this story

The following stock images and patterns are from iStock. Jungle leaf patterns by Lyubov Ivanova. Cake by MariaTkach. Sports and ad sections’ retro patterns, and “please stand by” illustrations by filo. Basketball by Anna Valieva. Football by LisLud.

TV image by Flickr user remmac licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Topper illustration by Shelly Tan, using patterns by iStock’s Softulka. Collage photos from Netflix, Elaine Thompson/AP and Kevin Winter/Getty.

Shelly Tan is a graphics reporter and illustrator specializing in pop culture. She designs and develops interactive graphics.
Joe Fox joined The Washington Post as a graphics reporter in 2018. He previously worked at the Los Angeles Times as a graphics and data journalist.