Jess Cagle names his picks for ''2011: The Good, The Bad, And The Scary,'' from Kim Kardashian to Kermit, Daniel Radcliffe to Charlie Sheen, and everything between

By Jess Cagle
December 16, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST

Every year, as we put together our Best and Worst issue, I’m struck by how fast pop culture can evolve in 12 months. Just think: In the wee hours of 2011, Kim and Kris weren’t even engaged yet. I had no idea that getting stuck next to Alec Baldwin or Gérard Depardieu on a plane would be so awful. And if you’d told me I’d be putting Kermit on the cover, I would’ve said you were insane. In this issue our critics and editors bring you the best and worst of the year. Personally, here’s what I’ll remember from 2011:

My Favorite Movies

The Artist; Beginners; Bridesmaids; Crazy, Stupid, Love; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; The Help; Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol; and Moneyball.

TV’s Amazing Fall Season

It brought us some genuine new blockbusters (like Once Upon a Time and 2 Broke Girls), a new guilty-pleasure addiction (Revenge), a haunted-house story scarier than anything in TV history (American Horror Story), a new 24-ish thriller that might actually be even better than 24 (Homeland), and a wicked new political drama (Boss). Even the commercials were good; I sort of want to be adopted by the Hilfigers.

Hollywood’s Gay Bashing

Vince Vaughn called electric cars ”gay” in The Dilemma. Brett Ratner said rehearsals are for ”fags.” And Tracy Morgan joked about stabbing a homosexual. Who knew that these Hollywood elites had so much in common with Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry?

The Book of Mormon

Shocking, funny, sweet, genius. Other unforgettable moments on Broadway: watching Daniel Radcliffe command the stage in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Judith Light’s brittle, witty alcoholic in Other Desert Cities.

The Passing of Steve and Elizabeth

It’s weird living in a world without them.

The Charlie Sheen Roast

So depressing, it still haunts me.


Who could forget the first time they heard her sing ”Someone Like You”?

The Appalling Campaign Coverage on TV News

If only they would plug in the bulls— detector and stop pretending that divisive spinning by politicians and pundits counts as worthwhile discourse.

My Friends and Colleagues

This year I watched in awe as EW’s brilliant and dedicated staff accomplished some amazing things, including the launch of the magazine’s tablet edition and phenomenal growth on It’s a pleasure working with them and a pleasure for us to serve such a smart, demanding, passionate audience. See you in 2012.