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Giving Thanks

By / Posted on 23 November 2011

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, that most revered of distinctly American holidays when we celebrate warmth and gluttony, coupled with the tradition of announcing the things we are most thankful for. Of course we at The Pop Aesthetic are thankful for our friends and our continued health and opportunity, like so many are and should be, but that’s boring and lame, so here are the bits of pop culture we are most thankful for this season:

We’re thankful for

the Muppets

Okay, yeah, new movie, that’s great, time will tell whether it’s the glorious return to pop culture dominance Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop once seemed to hold over a large chunk of the planet Earth or not, but the important thing is the Muppets are back and doin’ stuff again after what felt like an entirely too long absence. The official Muppet Studios YouTube page has seen a plethora of fantastic original shorts over the past couple years, most notably their infamous take on “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Much as it seems as though Twitter was invented specifically as a platform for Kanye West’s self-indulgent and fascinatingly uncensored tantrums, the entire platform of YouTube makes so much more sense as the home of original Muppet shorts than any kitten or nutshot video so far in the internet’s history.

We’re thankful for

Young Justice

This show just keeps getting better. The action half-hour that is blatantly unlike its mega-popular predecessor Teen Titans should be the odd man out on Cartoon Network’s Friday night lineup, tucked away beneath cross-media megahits Ben 10 and Generator Rex and the pop culture behemoth that is Star Wars, but somehow the charm and wit of these teenage superheroes makes it the one animated series we keep looking forward to every week.

Besides, this exchange between Robin and Zatara is adorable:

Skyward Sword

We’re thankful for

the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

We’re only about ten hours into this most recent of Link’s adventures, but we have been so effortlessly charmed by the experience so far. The art direction is a sheer delight, with distant objects becoming abstracted paint daubs rather than the blurred-out fog so many modern games use to create depth and hide draw distances. Every conversation between Link and the colorful cast of supporting characters is so vibrant and full of subtle concern for performance that it looks like it belongs in a classic Disney movie. The pace never lets up, with constant attention paid to the next immediate goal and an urgency in action. The greatly enhanced motion controls mean swordplay actually feels thoughtful and visceral rather than an alternative to button-mashing. New races like the forest-dwelling Kikwi and and Earth-digging Mogma are simply precious. And there are save points for the first time ever! Hard to believe Zelda games didn’t have save points before now. It’s still too soon to say whether this is Link’s greatest adventure yet, but we’re having a blast experiencing it either way.

We’re thankful for

you, our readers.

The past year has been just a ton of fun for us and we’ve been so happy with all of the feedback, especially the snarky ones about some of our negative reviews. We love you guys and hope you’re enjoying everything. Our home internet has been down the past few days, but we’re looking forward to a great December full of looks back on the best 2011 had to offer.

Have a very happy holiday, everybody!

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Derrick Sanskrit has produced critically-acclaimed work as an artist and writer for Nerve, Babble, Pitchfork, The Onion and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, among others. He founded The Pop Aesthetic during the coldest months of his life in 2010.