2007: The Year in PopWatch

The phrase "guilty pleasure" has long outlived its usefulness. If you really like a song or a movie or a TV show, no matter how cheesy the conventional wisdom says it is, you should feel free to say so without guilt, and to defend your appreciation vigorously. That’s one reason why I (and, judging by the number of comments, you as well) enjoy reading Mandi Bierly’s PopWatch Confessional columns. They get at how important entertainment really is in our lives, and they open the emotional floodgates for readers by reminding you of things you’d forgotten you loved.

It was this sort of writing — passionate discussion of things individual writers cared deeply about — that marked the best of PopWatch for me in 2007. Whether or not you shared Michael Slezak’s enthusiasm for Fergie, or his appalled feelings over The Bachelor, you had to enjoy his writing about those subjects, maybe more than the subjects themselves. Same for Annie Barrett on The O.C. and reality TV, or Adam Vary on American Idol tapings and Transformers toys, or Simon Vozick-Levinson on hip-hop, or Chris Willman on country music and Bruce Springsteen, or Marc Bernardin on sci-fi, or Whitney Pastorek on music festivals and indie film, or Ken Tucker on Friday Night Lights, and too many others to name.

Looking back on my own writing this year, I found myself writing far too many obituaries — we lost too many talented people in 2007, and it’s tough to sum up the life’s work of an artist you admire in two or three paragraphs punched out on deadline — but I also found they led to some of my most passionate, and most warmly received items. (Credit here properly belongs to those who inspired me.) I also got worked up writing about such issues as free expression, the hijacking of pop culture for partisan political purposes, and the war on film critics, all of which are, of course, linked.

That these continue to be issues of contention saddens me, and it’spartly our fault as critics and journalists for not doing a better jobof explaining what the stakes are. That’s why I am so grateful to havebeen part of PopWatch in 2007, to have a forum to raise such issues andstart a conversation. So while I want to thank all the writers,editors, photo mavens, tech wizards, interns, and celebrity guest bloggerswho helped put together PopWatch in 2007, I especially want to thankyou, the readers, for your lively, intelligent, and civil commentary.We posted nearly 2,500 blog items this year, and you responded withmore than 110,000 replies. That kind of response is incrediblygratifying to us, whether or not you agreed with what we wrote, becausewe relish our ongoing conversation with you. Hope you’ll continue tocomment as fervently in 2008. Look forward to hearing from you.

Comments (48 total) Add your comment
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  • Thank YOU Popwatch

    couldn’t make it through the work week without you!!!!!!!!!

  • Snarf

    Whether Popwatch brought a smile, a chuckle, or a laughing fit (not to mention the occasional quizzical head tilt “whaaaaaaaaaa?”) it’s brightened my day. Looking forward to more in 2008.

  • Anonymous

    seriously don’t know how i would get through the weeks without you guys!

  • Houstonian Jen in DC

    Susman, what a great tribute to your colleagues and the readers! Thanks to all of the bloggers and readers who have kept me entertained this year.

  • Ceballos

    Can’t get through my work day (or any day that I’m near a computer) without checking in with you guys.
    I know you get your fair amount of darts thrown your way (a few by myself), but you guys do a fantastic job and I’m grateful. Thanks for keeping me and others entertained.

  • Caitlin

    i heart popwatch and ew.com. you guys had me at hello.

  • RightNextToMarsDotCom

    Thanks for all the wit, talent, and keen culture-observing you bring to us everyday. You became a resource and a forum for exploring all the music, tv, books, news, and movies I loved in 2007.

  • Cara

    I don’t know of a more accurate, moment-by-moment stream-of-consciousness source of entertainment news anywhere. Reading this blog is like having a live feed of all things entertainment sent straight through my head. The articles are snappy, goofy, and relevant, and the writing is always sharp. I appreciate everything you guys have done to keep me informed–look forward to seeing you in the new year!

  • t3hdow

    To Popwatch:
    Thank you for all the entertainment, heated debates, lamenting obituaries and hilarity that ensued over this blog over this past year. I look forward to another annual conglomerate of pop culture topics that’ll spark off that excitement yet again in 2008. Have a nice new year, EW Popwatch bloggers.

  • wildecat

    I can’t get through the day without checking PopWatch at least once. Thanks to all the writers and P-Dubs who make me smile, laugh and think. Love you guys!

  • Kai-

    Thanks to the EW team for a great year and to all my fellow pop wachers…It’s been fun reading your comments. My day isn’t complete until I check this column.

  • daisyj

    You know, I’m beginning to think this “blogging” thing just might catch on.
    Happy New Year, everybody!

  • Matthew

    I think that Popwatch should have their own section in Entertainment Weekly. That would be awesome. And Gary, those obituaries are probably the most sentimental and best tributes to all deceased artists. You always manage to pay tribute to anyone, no matter how little their talents or how little known they were. Hell, you even made a kind tribute to Anna Nicole Smith.
    VIVA LA POPWATCH! I can’t wait for some more pop culture madness in 2008.

  • Pamela

    I’d like to say a great big thank-you to all the Popwatch bloggers and readers. I only came late to the party – started visiting only in October – when I found I had time on my hands in my new “work from home” job. Popwatch, and its cousin Hollywood Insider, have now become an almost (can’t quite get here every day) daily delight of interesting, funny, intelligent and thoughtful posts and comments. Long may it all continue.
    A Happy New Year to all.

  • Kirsten

    It is wonderful to have such a rich, constant source for entertainment news written by talented and invested individuals. Too many people dismiss offhand the relevance and importance of pop culture in relation to the “real” issues of the world. PopWatch provides a forum for people who know better, and can tell the difference between gossip and the actual industry. So thanks back to you!

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