Pop Candy | Whitney Matheson | December 14, 2009
TATSUMI makes Pop Candy’s top 100 list!
Who were your favorite pop-culture people this year?
Something tells me those Jon and Kate characters don't make the cut, nor do most of the faces who dominated glossy magazine covers.
Personally, I've always been the most compelled by folks who spend their time making high-quality work and/or shaking up a scene. Each year I round up 100 figures who enriched my year with their writing, acting, music and other contributions to popular culture.
We kick off the annual feature with Nos. 80-100; the second installment will be posted Tuesday.
100. Richard Dunn. Fans of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! have embraced the series' resident senior citizen -- so much so that it was a thrill to see him pop up on The Tonight Show, Parks and Recreation and other places this year. As Dunn proves, you're never too old to become a cult figure.
99. Antonio Ballatore. The winner of HGTV's Design Star is everything this series/network generally ignores: funny, daring, confrontational and heavily tattooed. I'd let him nail pink ducks to my mantelpiece anytime (and no, that's not a euphemism).
98. Paul Scheer. When the comedian displayed a kooky painting of Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and a polar bear at Comic-Con's Lost panel, many attendees thought he may have downed some bad Dharma Kool-Aid. The bit turned out to be part of one of the show's most intriguing and creative side projects -- and, along with FX's The League, I'm glad it wasn't the only one up Scheer's sleeve.
97. Normund Gentle. Adam Lamwho? David Archuwhata? The real story on this year's American Idol was of a performance artist who challenged every rule of the show. In my heart, he wears the crown (over his signature headband, of course).
96. Sally Potter. The writer/director forged new ground for cinema with Rage, the first film to premiere simultaneously on mobile phones, the Internet, DVD and in theaters. She also persuaded Jude Law to don a black wig, dress and eyeliner -- I'm pretty sure you won't be seeing that in the new Sherlock Holmes movie.
95. Lisa Hanawalt. Some of my favorite drawings of 2009 were created by this artist, author of the funny and mind-bending I Want You. If you crave an image of a cat's head on a human body -- and who doesn't from time to time? -- she delivers like no one else.
94. Bob Einstein. As Marty Funkhouser on Curb Your Enthusiasm, the comedian cranked out more quotable lines and dirty jokes. He also resurrected Super Dave Osborne, his daredevil entertainer extraordinare, for a Spike TV series. With a little luck, Super Dave will live to see 2010.
93. Bronson Pinchot. The actor's blatantly honest, somewhat shocking interview about his former co-stars made us realize Balki is way cooler than we ever suspected. A Pinchot comeback just might pave the way for a nationwide Dance of Joy.
92. Anna Chlumsky. Almost 20 years after charming us in My Girl, she charmed us again in the delightful In the Loop. Isn't it nice when child stars have happy endings for a change?
91. Adam Richman. The host of the Travel Channel's entertaining and addictive Man v. Food probably ate three times your weight in meats and cheeses this year. For this, he deserves a medal. Or, at the very least, some sort of celebratory meat and cheese basket.
90. Bea Arthur. The beloved Golden Girl left a platinum legacy when she passed away in April. From her wit to her voice to her unprecedented caftan collection, she will never be forgotten.
89. Yoshihiro Tatsumi. The 74-year-old manga master shared his compelling life story in the graphic autobiography A Drifting Life. And at a hefty 840 pages, you can believe no grain of rice is left unturned.
88. La Roux. The '80s-influenced musical duo released an exciting self-titled debut, a couple singles that adhere to the brain and perhaps the most impressive achievement of all: an iconic hairstyle.
87. Jon Glaser. With Delocated, the comedian and former Conan writer created one of the oddest and funniest shows in Adult Swim's arsenal. He also started the whole "bandit hat" craze way before Fantastic Mr. Fox came along.
86. Beck. While we didn't get a new album from the artist, he did deliver covers, DJ sets and more extras on his revamped website. The guy never seems to take a vacation, and I'm taking full advantage of it.
85. Erin Karpluk. The Canadian actress acquired some American fans with her role as a time-traveling single lady on SOAPnet's Being Erica. Now, if she wants to win over the Brits, I've got just three words: Doctor Who crossover!
84. Steve Martin. The comedian focused on his musical career with the release of banjo album The Crow and a tour of impressive music venues, including Carnegie Hall. If his wild and crazy years are behind him, this isn't a shabby second act.
83. John Hughes. The filmmaker who helped us get through awkward adolescences left pains in our hearts when he died. While his work lives on, I think many of us regret never writing him a proper thank-you note.
82. Sharlto Copley. In District 9, the South African actor put viewers on the edges of their seats as Wikus, a citizen fighting alien invasion. (Side effect: Several moviegoers haven't touched a prawn since.)
81. Kathleen Turner. The highlight of Californication's third season was watching Turner play sexually charged agent Sue Collini. I'd insert a Sue-ism here, but I can't think of a single line that isn't NSFW.
80. Zach Gilford. No typecasting here: The actor made a graceful, emotional exit on Friday Night Lights before starring in Dare, an edgy indie about a love triangle involving two guys and a girl.