What the country was talking about this year

1 BRAD AND GWYNETH No one saw Seven Years in Tibet. They’d all just seen Two Years in the Tabloids.

2 HANSON The year’s surprise hit. The record company took a chance and hired a band with no prior convictions.

3 ER LIVE They’re already working on next year’s ratings stunt. George Clooney will save a man who’s injured while zipping up a batsuit.

4 TIGER WOODS The highest-paid golfer in the world. If you don’t count Michael Jordan.

5 STAR WARS A 20-year-old film can get people to leave the house. But anyone with home movies could tell you that.

6 SEPTUPLETS The lead story for weeks on The Itty-Bitty, Itsy-Bitsy Nighty-Night News With Tom Brokaw.

7 MEN IN BLACK Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones save the entire planet. And most of the jobs at Sony.

8 BEANIE BABIES The collectible toys taught kids life lessons. Like how to be greedy, calculating, and possessive.

9 LANDING ON MARS If we can put a rover on the red planet, why can’t we get satellite shots of nude celebrities?

10 SEINFELD SALARIES The cast asked for a million an episode. Or what Bill Gates made while you read that.

11 CLONING We’re a step away from cloning humans. China can stop worrying about not having enough people.

12 HEAVEN’S GATE The cult who left their ”containers” to join Hale-Bopp. Too bad they were no deposit, no return.

13 MARILYN MANSON Some cities wanted to ban him for promoting Satan worship. How provincial can you get?

14 VIRTUAL PETS Why pay $15 for something that needs constant attention when you can get a husband for free?

15 FRANK GIFFORD He was tricked into a hotel rendezvous. They told him he was going to meet Marv Albert.