Announcing the Winners of the The 2020 Peely Awards for the Worst in Pop Culture

After two weeks of voting, here are the winners you – the members of the Avocado – have voted for in this contest of the worst pop cultural product of 2020.

But first, permit me to talk a moment about Quibi.

If 2020 – a year marked by a deadly virus, uncontrolled conspiracy, gross, selfishness, and unjustified arrogance, than there was no arrogance greater than that of Quibi, the failed “all on your phone” channel. I know that’s the case, because you all voted for that! Jeffrey Katzenberg’s attempt to revolutionize television boiled down to the conceit of “people watch things on their phone,” and proceeded to make a channel you could only watch on your phone. A channel that spent billions upon billions so creators, any creators – from brilliant to absolute garbage – could create whatever they wanted with no oversight or consolidation. A channel that had one of my favorite shows of 2020 occupying space with a show whose pilot is so punishingly amateurish that its existence is still unbelievable. Quibi was a Libertarian dream, and like most Libertarian dreams, it crashed in ways comical, tragic, and pathetic.

Quibi did not get a great showing at this event. Largely, because we ended up with categories that did not support it, and partially because barely anyone here watched them. But I want to highlight it. It deserves its own pilloring, because it is the truly perfect failure of pop culture in the past year.

But it wasn’t Quibi alone. The theme of 2020 was “bad,” and the weakest cultural products lived down to a generally miserable year. Companies exploited and ignored the needs of a world under threat of a pandemic. Too many works of art punched down, while others lauded ambitions and themes drowned in caricature. We have for you a smorgasbord.

Here are all forty-three winners, alongside the runners up (nine for Worst Film, four for all others, and adding ties). I apologize for the size, but WordPress has decided to cut spoiler tags. To note, final tallying – double nominations included – was done between midnight and 2:30 Eastern. Thank you so much to Lovely Bones and LibraryLass for helping with the writing, construction, and presentation of these awards. All notes in the awards are from Bones and myself.

1. The “I’M JAHVERHT” Award for Worst Performance (Owen1120)

  • Christopher Walken doing a career-ruining performance in Wild Mountain Thyme (15)
  • Gina Carano, The Mandalorian (10)
  • Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (5)
  • Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (3)
  • The entire cast of Cloudpunk (3)

2. The Indescribable Award for Event That Children Won’t Believe Actually Happened Twenty Years from Now (Demyx)

  • Rudy Giuliani’s anti-democratic press conference in front of Four Seasons Total Landscaping, between the crematorium and the dildo store (79)
  • The sitting U.S. president aggressively advocating for Americans to kill a virus by drinking bleach (58)
  • Armed protests about the right to patronize chain restaurants and Wal-marts while maskless in the middle of a pandemic (34)
  • CHAZ, in which the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone was occupied [NOTE: we found this significantly more positive than… basically everything else in this award; it’s included for being shocking, not bad] (20)
  • Rudy Giuliani. Just in general (19)

3. The Stuck at Home Award for Worst Media to Gain Popularity because of Quarantine (Otakunomike, LoveWaffle)

  • Tiger King (53)
  • Video compilations of things that don’t look like cake but actually are cake (29)
  • Zoom (10)
  • OnlyFans [NOTE: we have mixed personal feelings about this site’s inclusion with these nominees] (7)

4. The Trying Too Hard Award for Worst Attempt At Trying To Tell People We’re “All In This Together” (Tigercat919)

  • The “Imagine” video (49)
  • Support for Black Lives Matter… from Gushers?? (27)
  • Shell’s tonedeaf campaign about how they’re totally serious about climate change (18)
  • During a time when the short lifespan of the US Confederacy was being memed, Kotaku ran the article “Even the Wii U lasted longer than the Confederacy” (9)

5. The End Zone Dance Macabre Award for Weirdest Thing in Sports to Adapt to COVID (El Santo) 

  • Cardboard cutouts in the stands for MLB games (35)
  • Related, mannequins at MLB games (12)
  • Premiere League adding fake crowd noises and cheering (10)
  • ESPN airing eSports 24 / 7 (6)
  • UFC Fight Island (4)
  • The totally fucking awesome AEW wrestling match that took place across a depressingly empty football stadium (4)

6. The Stink, Stank, Stunk Award for Worst Advertisement (Worst Media Poster [not a commenter, a literal poster], Worst COVID Advertising) (Zeussical, Owen1120)

  • Planter’s Death of Mr. Peanut and Baby Nut Campaigns (53 votes)
  • Disney World Welcome Home commercial (24)
  • Kelly Loeffler campaign ad too racist for us to recap (19)
  • The entirety of “in these unprecedented times” (18)
  • Nintendo News’ hilariously bizarre “Turn up for turnips!” promotion of games with turnips (6)

7. The Crisp Autumn Air as You Relax in a Café Award for Thing You Miss Most from the Before Times (Captain Video) (Captain Video)

  • Eating at restaurants (47)
  • Having a job (38)
  • Seeing movies in theaters (33)
  • Live venues for music (22)
  • Physical contact (20)

8. The Sensation of Grasping Your Phone – Of Course You’re Using Your Phone; There’s no Reason to Wear a Watch at Home – as You Struggle to Hold Through a Movie that Will Just Not End, Endlessly Plodding Through Asinine Plot Point after Asinine Plot Point. And Why Can’t the Director Just Realize that the Limitations of Time are a Central Aspect of Strong and Coherent Storytelling? Please, For God’s Sake Just Think… The Rest of Speil Award for Entertainment that Could Have Been Sizably Cut for Time? (Owen1120, KingKat)

  • Wonder Woman 1984 (31)
  • The New Mutants (6)
  • Murder by Numbers (6)
  • Enola Holmes (5)
  • The Last of Us Part 2 (4)
  • Ryan Murphy’s The Prom (4)
  • Alex Garland’s Devs (4)

9. Consistently and Thoroughly Is The Award for Worst Attempt at Being RADICAL (Shit-Master Slootfass)

  • Zach Snyder announcing that Batman will say the fuck word in his Justice League miniseries  (56)
  • Artemis Fowl (42)
  • Cyberpunk 2077’s penis / genital customization (24)
  • The KFConsole (6)
  • The somewhat gratuitous cursing in Final Fantasy 7 REMAKE (6)
  • Bloodshot (4)

10. The Pretentious Fraud’s Award for Most Egregious Awards Bait (Sir Simon Milligan, Merve, Wolfman Jew)

  • Hillbilly Elegy (52)
  • The inexplicable existence of Wild Mountain Thyme’s FYC screeners (9)
  • Puzzle game The Almost Gone awkwardly, clumsy fitting in every kind of trauma into its story (6)
  • #FreeRayshawn grossly using actual Black people killed by police as props for its story (4)

11. Huh, So What is a “Quibi?” Award for Best Show Locked Away on a Streaming Service You Don’t Want (LoveWaffle)

  • Ted Lasso, Apple TV+ (23)
  • Doom Patrol, DC Universe and HBO Max (21)
  • The Mapleworth Murders should not have been on Quibi (12)
  • The Mandalorian, Disney+ (8)
  • The Expanse, Amazon Prime (8)

12. The Maybe Try Harder, Again Award for Worst Well-Meaning Representation in Media (SadClown)

  • Ronald Reagan respecting your nonbinary pronouns when telling you to do a warcrime in Call of Duty (Black Ops Cold War) (50)
  • Ready Player Two’s attempts to highlight nerd culture “for girls,” i.e. mostly Sailor Moon and John Hughes, the latter of which had already been done to death in the first book (35)
  • Ryan Murphy telling an LGBT acceptance story for a straight audience out of 2002, in 2020, a.k.a. The Prom (26)
  • Jolene the black best friend, The Queen’s Gambit (13)
  • The new nonbinary members of Marvel Comics’ New Warriors, Safespace and Snowflake (9)
  • Ghost of Tsushima featuring multiple queer characters but making all their stories tragic and their tragedy inherently linked to their queerness (9)
  • Shonda Rimes’ Bridgerton marketing itself to gay audiences and then only featuring a single very minor gay character in support to straight leads [NOTE: this show apparently also features a scene where a white woman rapes a Black man while he’s asleep to get herself pregnant?] (9)

13. Mank Award For Most Glaringly Inaccurate Pop Cultural Take on History (Wasp)

  • Gal Gadot saving Arabic-speaking children from a missile, Wonder Woman 1984 (21)
  • The Mongols losing in Ghost of Tsushima (16)
  • All of Mank (12)
  • The Crown constantly mixing up well recorded dates of events and Thatcher demanding the Queen dissolve Parliament (11)
  • The Great for turning tsarist Russia into an anachronistic place and turning Catherine The Great into a Girl Power icon (9)

14. The Edgar Winter’s Scientology Proselytizing Award for Worst non-Musical Output by a Band / Artist, or Similarly Worst Transitions between Mediums (Shit-Master Slootfass)

  • The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum changing their name to Lady A to be less racist, but doing so without clearing with the Black artist Lady A who’s been using the name for decade, then suing her (64)
  • J.K. Rowling’s pivot from racist novels to transphobic thinkpieces (48)
  • President candidate Kanye West (17)
  • Is Van Morrison’s rampant COVID-denialism / anti-lockdown rants too tied to his musical output to count here? [NOTE: it is not!] (11)
  • Smash Mouth’s COVID denialism (11)

15. The C’mon, Pal Award for Worst Part of an Otherwise Good Work (Merve)

  • Tetsuya Nomura’s continued refusal to let Kairi do even one thing, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory (18)
  • Carrion, an otherwise good exploration-focused game, not having a map (10)
  • The bit in Color Out of Space where Nicholas Cage accurately describes the color in question, then remembers it’s supposed to be indescribable and has to backtrack (7)
  • [STAR WARS CHARACTER’S] triumphantly random appearance, The Mandalorian (7)
  • Love, Victor‘s Bebe Wood being forced to spout dreadful “Instagram teen influencer” jokes written by clueless adults (5)

16. The 5 / 10 Award for Most Average Content (Owen1120)

  • Wonder Woman 1984 (17)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (9)
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King (8)
  • The Old Guard (8)
  • Enola Holmes (7)

17. The Crocodile Fucking Award for Dumbest Moment that’s Still Fun in a Lizard Brain Kind of Way (Wolfman Jew) 

  • “You want to bet on a guy fucking an alligator? Money Plane” – Kelsey Grammer, Money Plane (23)
  • A random British woman wishing for The Troubles, Wonder Woman 1984 (20)
  • Digitally de-aged [STAR WARS CHARACTER] saving the day, The Mandalorian (18)
  • Andrew Rannels ending homophobia in The Prom by [CERTAIN MEANS] (11)
  • The cast of Riverdale performing Hedwig and the Angry Inch (9)

18. The One Who Holds Things Together Award for Best Performance in a Bad Production (Malkatraz)

  • (Tie) Amanda Seyfried, Mank (13)
  • (Tie) The cast of Wonder Woman 1984, (13)
  • Robert Pattinson, Tenet (7)
  • Kelsey Grammer, Money Plane (7)
  • Jurnee Smollett, Lovecraft Country (7)

19. The “You’re Tearing Me Apart, Lisa” Award for Worst Line Reading (Merve)

  • Jaime Dornan sullenly telling his slowburn love interest that he is [THE ONLY INTERESTING FEATURE IN THE MOVIE], Wild Mountain Thyme (14)
  • Josh Gad growling “FEEDING TIME” (and digitally unhinging his jaw), Artemis Fowl (12)
  • Half of RDJ’s lines in Doolittle (6)

20. The [Spoiler Redacted] Award for Worst Character Death (Sir Simon Milligan)

21. The “Where’s Firefly?” Award for Worst TV Show Cancellation (Sir Simon Milligan, upvote moneydog). This category was very difficult to tabulate and tally, as many people added repeat mentions of their favorite, sadly killed shows. Because of that, and because we want to honor the shows we all deeply love, we’d like to simply name the series people in this community already miss:

  • Camp Camp
  • Drunk History
  • GLOW
  • High Fidelity
  • Kidding
  • Lodge 49
  • Mindhunters
  • On Becoming a God in Central Florida
  • One Day at a Time
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj
  • Perpetual Grace, Ltd.
  • Stumptown
  • Teenage Bounty Hunters
  • The Venture Bros.

22. The EA Spouse Memorial Award for Worst Labour Abuse in the Entertainment Industry (Merve) 

  • Crunch at CD Projekt Red to produce Cyberpunk 2077 (38)
  • Warner Bros largely not communicating with directors, stars, agents, etc. before announcing its its plan to put all its 2021 films on HBO Max (35)
  • Rampant sexual harassment and abuse at Ubisoft (27)
  • Keeping movie theaters open and potentially exposing employees to COVID (26)
  • The Ellen DeGeneres Show (14)

23. The Defective Bread Award for Most Egregious Corporate Malfeasance (Merve)

  • Tyson Chicken having a betting pool over which employees will die of COVID (48)
  • Amazon doing next to nothing to stop the spread of COVID through their warehouses (39)
  • Gamestop [and the WWE] trying to brand itself an “essential service” to defy lockdown orders (34)
  • Technically not corporate, but how about the Postmaster General ordering thousands of sorting machines to be dismantled? (28)
  • Epic Games deliberately violating the terms of their contracts with Apple and Google, and having a lawsuit and a fan campaign (from a huge, impressionable audience largely comprising children) ready to go when Apple and Google brought the hammer down (20)
  • Corporate-owned long-term care homes doing nothing to beef up their infection control protocols between the first and second waves of COVID, resulting in hundreds of preventable deaths (20)

24. Most Accidentally Offensive Moral / Message / Theme (Owen1120)

  • “The Irish people are a decent, simple, wholesome lot who only care about farming, possibly having sex with animals, and being kind, you decadent New Yorker,” Wild Mountain Thyme (19)
  • “You should forgive your emotionally abusive partner if they say ‘I love you’ after hurting you,” Happiest Season (16)
  • “Wishing for things is inherently self-deceptive,” Wonder Woman 1984 (16)
  • “If you stalk a wild animal, destroy its home, attract predators to it, the animal is now your friend,” the documentary My Octopus Teacher (13)
  • [“VIOLENT MURDER CAN BE WICKED FUN”], 13 Reasons Why Season 4 (11)

25. Most Purposely Offensive Moral / Message / Theme (Owen1120)

  • Poor people are poor because they can’t make good decisions, Hillbilly Elegy (49)
  • “Reagan rules, Latin America drools,” Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War (31)
  • You can leave your house during a deadly pandemic and nothing will happen to you, Songbird (8)
  • Hulu making A Teacher (8)
  • Fantasy Island‘s treatment of bullying, which leads one to think that the bullied person probably kinda deserved it (6)

26. Selfish, Indulgent, It’s the Award for Worst Fan Service [NOTE: not for sexual fan service] (kevzero / Mr Ixolite)

  • Digimon Adventure 2020 rewriting the entire series around two characters, because everyone loved Matt and Tai, right? (9)
  • Fantasy Island pandering to the world’s Tattoo fans in bizarre fashion (4)
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon bringing the “previous saga’s” main characters back in major roles (2)

27. The Not Understanding TikTok Award for Worst New Word or Phrase Added to the Cultural Lexicon (Merve)

  • “In these troubling times, [BRAND] is with you” (42)
  • Almost instant appropriation and misuse of the “Karen” descriptor (30)
  • “Un-renewal” (7)
  • Distinct from the winner, “uncertain times” (5)
  • Zoombombing (4)

28. Throwing Caution to the Wind, this Person Had the Most Unjustified Arrogance (Merve)

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg honestly thinking Quibi was going to change the industry and blaming the failure of a streaming service on folks being unable to go to work to “watch it properly” (56)
  • Christopher Nolan and how Tenet was going to “save” theaters (49)
  • Trump’s pandemic response, (28)
  • CD Projekt Red’s executives (11)
  • NBA star Rudy Gobert touching and licking everything post-COVID (6)

29. The Wild Mountain Thyme Memorial Award for Most Nonsensical Plot Twist  (Shit-Master Slootfass)

30. The Gross, Gross, No Award for Worst Fan Behavior (SadClown)

  • Cyberpunk 2077 fans sending a journalist seizure-inducing videos disguised as support for daring to report on the game causing seizures (51)
  • Homophobes, transphobes, and misogynists starting a hate campaign against those who worked on The Last of Us 2 because the game dared to feature queer and trans people, and muscular women (40)
  • Disney fans who demonstrated outside the gates of Disneyland to protest the COVID induced park closure (38)
  • Trump supporters planning to abduct and likely execute the governor of Michigan (38)
  • DCEU fans being so obnoxious that WB greenlit the “Snyder Cut” as a four hour miniseries (25)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 stans harassing Gamespot’s Kallie Plagge for giving the game a 7 / 10, insisting she didn’t play enough of the game, despite the fact that she actually played more of the game than many other reviewers (and, in a twist, some of them immediately making “Kallie was right” a meme once they found the game to be bad) (25)

31. The Stephen King Award for Worst Ending (upvote moneydog)

  • Supernatural series finale (19)
  • The climax of Doolittle being a dragon enema (9)
  • Agents of Shield simultaneously shoehorning in an Avengers: Endgame reference that rendered most of the season moot and ignoring most of its larger ramifications, ultimately challenging its own assertions about being a part of the MCU (7)
  • Kuntergrau fridging one of its gay leads in the series finale, aka “the Supernatural” (6)
  • After seeming to forget it was a ghost story, The Haunting of Bly Manor adding a malevolent creature at the end to finally put some scares in a ghost story (6)
  • Complete status quo reset, Season 3 of Aggretsuko (6)
  • Just stopping after its…unique interpretation of the ending of its source material, The Turning (6)

32. Worst Facet of Cyberpunk 2077 (Cohen, justiceforbreonna, KingCrow, Wolfman Jew) NOTE: the sheer wave of evil produced by the game and its publisher means that, tragically, its many more hilarious failures did not get enough votes

  • The toxic, shitty fanbase that harassed journalists for lukewarm reviews and reporting on epileptic triggers (23)
  • CDPR’s manipulation of the review process: Only sending out PC keys (and only five days before the embargo lifted), not providing console keys until the day before release, and prohibiting reviewers from using their own screenshots and video footage in reviews (21)
  • The game failing certification, being granted a waiver, the game’s issues not being fixed, and a CDPR executive admitting this in an investor call – potentially breaching an NDA and causing legal issues for Sony and Microsoft (19)
  • Both its transphobic fetishistic ad and, after it was called out, the game’s advertising team actively leaning into transphobia as a way of catering the rightwing shithead gamer crowd (19)
  • Causing epileptic seizures (16)
  • People using the older consoles have the worst experience, while people with a brand new PS5 or a top-of-the-line gaming PC have an enjoyable experience, this all being a perfect encapsulation of the social commentary the game is supposedly making (16)

33. The Schadenfreude Award for Most Satisfying Comeuppance or Self-Own in Pop Culture (LoveWaffle, KingKat, Wolfman Jew)

  • Tucker Carlson (57)
  • Ben Shapiro admitting he can’t get his wife wet vis a vis the song “WAP” (54)
  • Donald Trump’s yearlong campaign against voting, pandemic responses, and trust in government institutions very likely having killed his chances of snagging the Electoral College (34)
  • Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination becoming a superspreader event (32)
  • Greta Thunberg’s use of Donald Trump’s words against him after he began losing the presidential election (31)

34. Worst Piece of Pop Culture from 2019 that did neither Won nor Got a Finalist Nomination in Last Year’s Peely’s (Wolfman Jew)

  • Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (7)
  • Harriet (6)
  • Contra: Rogue Corps (2)
  • Ma (1)

35. To You, The Supporter, Best Peely’s Category That Didn’t Make the Cut (Lovely Bones)

  • Most Anticipated 2020 Media That Was Rescheduled to 2021 Due to the Pandemic (20)
    • This category would have included works like In the Heights, Dune, The Green Knight, and Candyman
  • Worst Thinkpiece (15)
    • Previous Peely’s winner J.K. Rowling would have been joined by a deeply classist David Sedaris essay and an article on games critics that could have potentially energized abuse
  • Worst Aspect of Quibi as a Streaming Service (12)
    • Being created to dodge union rules, their weird center framing, cutting what are essentially movies into bite-size length arbitrarily, throwing money at literally anyone to make a show, actually having Emmy wins but not for their actually good shows, the very existence of Agua Donkeys
  • Worst Joke in a Comedy (12)
    • Largely, we’re thinking of Doolittle here
  • Most Underserved Ignored Show (12)
    • Teenage Bounty Hunters and Kidding were particular favorites

36. Worst thing the Avocado Watched in a Live Show this Year (Wolfman Jew)

  • Rapsittie Street Kids (21)
  • Following on from the next runner up, Doogal (6)
  • Delgo (5)
  • Kirby Jenner, the Quibi show about a fake Kardashian influencer who is operating under the support and permission of the Kardashian-Jenner family, some of whom SHOW UP IN THE SHOW ITSELF (4)
  • Curse of Pirate Death (4)

37. Worst Title for an Eric Roberts Movie Released in 2020

  • 6 Rounds of Chloe (19)
  • Asteroid-a-Geddon (15)
  • Exodus of the Prodigal Son (9)
  • Dust Nuggets (6)
  • Anatomy of an Antihero: Redemption (6)

38. Worst Video Game of 2020

  • Cyberpunk 2077 (28)
  • The remake of XIII that jettisoned the one thing people know, love, and remember most about that game by far: it’s cel shaded art style (9)
  • Marvel’s Avengers (8)
  • Warcraft 3: Reforged (7)
  • Cooking Mama: Cookstar (4)
  • Fast & Furious Crossroads (4)
  • Kentucky Route Zero Act V and Finale (4)

39. Worst Album of 2020

  • Tory Lanez’ nonpology album for shooting Megan Thee Stallion, which also blames the illuminati(??) among other things (23)
  • Justin Bieber, Changes, which is neither Yummy nor does it have a heart full of equity (7)
  • Eminem, Music to be Murdered By Volumes 1 and 2 (5)
  • Green Day, Father of All Motherfuckers (4)
  • Bush, The Kingdom (2)

40. Worst Television Season of 2020

  • “Whatever Ryan Murphy was up to this season,” a super list featuring both Hollywood and Ratched, Murphy’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest prequel (25)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow’s The Goop Lab (12)
  • Agua Donkeys, a show so utterly, shockingly poor and cheap and amateurish in production that it alone is one of the most inexplicable aspects of Quibi (8)
  • Star Trek: Picard (8)
  • Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story (4)
  • The Vow (4)
  • The Floor is Lava (4)

41. Worst Book of 2020

  • Ready Player Two (36)
  • The book full of health care executive orders that Kayleigh McEnany showed to Leslie Stahl (9)
  • J.K. Rowling’s Troubled Blood (3)
  • The Death Note standalone manga chapter about Donald Trump (3)
  • Divided We Fall: One Possible Future (1)

42. Worst Film of 2020

  • Hillbilly Elegy (33)
  • Tenet: [NOTE: this film is not included here because of its quality; many posters voting for it, including the one who submitted it, think it’s ultimately mediocre. Its presence here is solely due to Christopher Nolan’s and Warner Bros.’s insistence in releasing it during COVID, and Nolan’s own arrogance in the face of the pandemic (30)
  • Doolittle (18)
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (18)
  • Verotika (14)
  • Artemis Fowl (14)
  • Force of Nature (Mel Gibson and Emile Hirsch in the dogwhistleiest film of 2020) (14)
  • Bloodshot, which got its sequel greenlit solely by video on demand sales (13)
  • Wild Mountain Thyme (6)
  • Jiu Jitsu (6)
  • Scoob (6)
  • Fantasy Island (6)

Thanks for reading, and again, apologies for the length.