The phrase "c',mon—it's not the end of the world" rolls so much more sweetly off our tongues this week now that 12-21-12 has arrived without torrents of brimstone or Magnolia-style frog showers. Nice work staying alive, planet! To celebrate, we're marking 10 of the things we're most happy to see outlast the Mayan calendar and allow us to consider feeding our pop culture habits as if all that desperate stocking up on water, batteries and Powerbars (just in case!) never happened.
1. Nicholas David, The Voice Loser: For our money, the soulful bronze medalist from the recently ended season of The Voice is the one with the real golden throat. History has shown that losing on a big-time talent show isn't necessarily a career killer (see: Clay Aiken, Katharine McPhee, et al), and now that we've skirted doomsday, we look forward to hearing a lot more from our man Nick outside of the prime-time TV grind.
2. Cat Power, Funny Person: It wasn't too long ago that the idea of Chan Marshall having a sense of humor would itself have seemed like a sign of the apocalypse. Yet the artist mostly known as Cat Power's self-spoofing Funny or Die clip, in which she gets all dark and existential in front of a bunch of elementary schoolers, remains online and bloody hilarious on repeat viewings.
3. New The Great Gatsby Trailer: Not only is it safe to think about tomorrow, it's also safe to look beyond the current slate of Oscar bait and get all giddy about summer 2013 blockbusters. Top of our list is Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, especially with a brand new trailer to drool over. The two-and-a-half-minute teaser is loaded with ostentatious party scenes, to-die-for period wardrobe pieces and Leo DiCaprio looking godly as ever.
4. Game of Thrones Beer: Toasting the non-arrival of the apocalypse deserves a special brew. We think it's worth holding off until March, when New York's Brewery Ommegang plans to partner with HBO for the launch a new Belgian-style blond ale created in tribute to Game of Thrones. It's mostly a wacky promo for the show's upcoming third season, but we support any tactic that'll make our fantasy of sharing a flagon with Tyrion Lannister seem all the more real.
5. Believing in the Golden Eagle Kidnapping: For a minute there we had cause to believe that the fulfillment of Mayan prophecy might involve vicious raptors swooping down and carrying us off into oblivion. And in all honesty, it sounded kind of awesome. So we're a little disappointed that the super-viral video (25 million views in less than a week!) turned out to a student-produced fake. Still, like most Internet hoaxes, it'll continue to be taken as truth by a sliver of the population—whom we now envy.
6. Defending The Hobbit: Any brush with Armageddon tends to put things in perspective and make us value our most dearly held convictions even more. And so it is with a renewed sense of duty this week that we feel compelled to say: Seriously, you guys. The Hobbit didn't suck as bad as people are saying it does.
7. Empathy: Yes, there's been plenty of politicized shouting and sermonizing in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. And yes, we may never truly make any meaningful sense of why it happened. But beneath all the shock and the anger and the despair, there's also been a lot of empathy going around this past week, from our Facebook timelines to our front stoops.
8. Yo La Tengo's "Ohm" Single: The stalwart indie rock trio from New Jersey has survived not only 12/21/12 but nearly 30 years as a band. Whereas we briefly feared that the driving new single "Ohm" would be the soundtrack to mass destruction, we can now enjoy listening to it another 90 times in anticipation of the new album, Fade, which drops in mid-January.
9. Jersey Shore Closure: Some might say the cancellation of MTV's cologne-drenched East Coast reality binge was an offering to the Mayan gods, the figurative laying of Snooki upon a sacrificial altar in hopes of staving of the end times. And hey…it worked! Now we can get all wistful about those bygone days when we were still getting to know Sitch and the gang one rubbernecking one-liner at a time.
10. Miss Universe, Nerd: Can there be a "We Survived 12/21/12" parade? And if so, can the new Miss Universe—who happens to be an ex-Miss USA and self-described "cellist nerd"—ride in the convertible pace car? Olivia Culpo is a class act and a stone fox, as you'd expect from any Miss Universe title-holder. But the fact that she calls herself a nerd makes this pageant powerhouse all the more endearing.