2020 joy

Some Things Did Bring Me Joy in 2020

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2020 has absolutely, positively sucked. I’m not denying it, and I never will. But there were some things that brought me joy throughout this mess, and so I want to celebrate the things that made this terrible year a little more bearable. Some are new, some are old, and some the internet just collectively grabbed hold of, so let’s see what I actually had fun with.

Birds of Prey

(Warner Bros.)

Prior to the world shutting down and everyone showing their true colors, we did get to see Birds of Prey. The movie meant a lot to fans of Harley Quinn and Black Canary, and my Helena Bertinelli-loving heart was full. That joy still remains even after the rest of 2020 broke us all because it was just a fun comic book movie with a bunch of badass women at the head of it.

Robert Downey Jr. movies

Robert Downey Jr. in Less than Zero

(20th Century Fox)

I love a good journey through a filmography, and for most of this year, I’ve been trucking through Robert Downey Jr.’s movies. Whenever I felt too overwhelmed, I’d either pick a new one or go back to a favorite and just watch it to calm down. Because that’s what I think was really important about 2020. We all found what made us happy and gave us a bit of a break and we clung to it (albeit desperately).

The Mandalorian

touch the face


Last year, we all loved The Mandalorian but it came when the world was still functioning and we had another Star Wars property out and about. This year, it just hit differently. Every week, we all longed for the new episode and waited until we could finally watch what was going to come next for Din and Grogu. The show brought us weekly joy and reminded us of the importance of finding your family and being there for them and honestly, it’s only been a week but I don’t know what to do without it right now. It genuinely made 2020 a more manageable thing.

Netflix Marvel shows


I had watched the Netflix Marvel shows for the most part, but I fell behind. Since I was stuck inside with nowhere to go this year, I decided to start them from the beginning again, and getting to relive Daredevil and Luke Cage and Jessica Jones was a wonderful adventure that got me excited for the new Disney+ Marvel shows coming our way.

Pedro Pascal’s Twitter account

din djarin face baby


It’s the little things for me, and logging on to social media to see what Pedro Pascal posted brought me joy. It isn’t much deeper than that. I just think he’s fun. So getting to see him online made me happy and I would smile for that brief moment and that’s a good thing, right?

Random TikTok videos

@dancinchaz#duet with @likeagiapet we’ve solved the deficit problem! #nevertrump #biden2020 #bidenharris2020 #trumplost #chazssnackchats♬ original sound – Gia Erichson

Late at night, I’d find myself just scrolling through TikTok and laughing at the things people came up with because it isn’t just about pop-culture or your close group of people. It’s about everyone and sometimes, we need to just laugh with each other and that’s really where TikTok came through this year.

Rahul Kohli’s Twitter account

(The CW)

Much like Pedro Pascal’s Twitter, I enjoyed seeing what chaotic energy Rahul Kohli brought to Twitter this year. Often talking about Star Wars or taking down TERFs, Rahul Kohli was a bright spot in whatever the flying f**k is happening around us, and I think we all honestly owe him a cake. Just all the cake.

David Byrne’s American Utopia


Let me tell you, David Byrne’s American Utopia was a life-changing experience. I was going to see it when it came back to Broadway this fall and then … you know, 2020 happened. But watching the filmed production on HBO Max was a nice consolation prize. David Byrne feels so deeply with his music and you can tell and watching this collection of immigrants come together and create a beautiful show? It was cathartic and I cannot recommend it enough!

Tom Holland and his chickens

I don’t know what happened to these chickens, but Tom Holland’s brilliant idea for eggs at the beginning of the lockdown was to BUY CHICKENS, and watching as a group of twenty-something boys tried to navigate owning chickens was honestly one of the best moments of this sh*t year.

Friday Night Lights


I’d never seen Friday Night Lights. It was always on my list of shows to watch, but I just never got around to it. Being quarantined with my mom, she decided to start it one night, and every night for a month, our excitement was tied to Coach Taylor and the Dillon Panthers and what was going to happen in this small Texas town. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t LOSE BABY.

Rewatching Zodiac when the world got too much

(Paramount Pictures)

Zodiac is my comfort movie. Always and forever. I love it, I love watching good men do their jobs, and I love a good movie about a murder, so I turned to it more frequently than normal this year. But it just soothed me in a way that no other movie really can. I just enjoy it and honestly, if I could watch Zodiac on a loop for forever, I would.

The 2015-2017 show Narcos


Look, I’m not ashamed; I wanted more Pedro Pascal. So, I decided to start Narcos and quickly decided that I would die for Javier Peña. The joy this show brings me is strange and I don’t care. I literally watched it baby-sitting my 3 month old niece cause … gotta start them somewhere, right? But there’s just something about Narcos that is … so good? Like, it’s truly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and I’m really upset I slept on it for this long.

Zoom meetings with my friends


This year has been hard on families, hard on friendships, and hard on relationships in general. But my friends have used Zoom to stay connected with readings or game nights or just fun little moments to connect with each other when everything was terrible. I feel such joy when I see their faces and we all try and play some game with internet lag. I feel happy knowing that they’re all safe and we have this brief moment together and it does make me long for the world to come back to normal but at least I know I’ll still have those I love with me when it is all said and done.

Again, I’m not acting like 2020 was easy for anyone. It was far from it. But looking back on what brought us a little joy is maybe good for us all.

(featured image: LucasFilm, NBC, HBO Max, Warner Bros., Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.