Our Top 10 Most Popular Stories of 2014 (…or "I’ve never meta diary I didn’t like")

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Once, not very long ago, a little-known internet humor writer sat at his computer reading the “Worst Episode Ever” series of recaps at i09.com.

“Gosh, I wish someone would write recaps like this for every show, every week, all season long,”  he said aloud to himself, because he had not taken his medication that day. “It’d be my favorite website ever, and I visit it every day.”

The handsome internet writer had some experience recapping movies, but it never occurred to him that he might be the one to start a snarky TV recapping site of his own. Then one day he was getting a chuckle from his favorite mommyblog/nest of vipers Wonkette when he saw this notice:

POP CULTURE SITE FOR SALE.

GUARANTEED TO LOSE MONEY.

PRICE: $47 + A SANDWICH

“Wow, what luck!” he exclaimed, making a mental note to go to the pharmacist that night. “With a baby on the way, this is the perfect investment opportunity!”

And so our dauntless hero wrote to the great and powerful Wonkette about his plan to create a humor site filled with TV industry news, criticism, and recaps—all dripping with gratuitous amounts of sarcasm and liberal sanctimoniousness.

“Sounds great,” Wonkette replied. “But you know the $47 thing was a joke, right? This site’s going to cost your real money. And a sandwich. I was totally serious about the sandwich.”

And so it was agreed! And as promised, the site has lost money ever since.

But this is not the end of the story. Happy Nice Time People has built an amazing team of contributors over the past five months. In 2015, we’ll continue to grow and evolve, adding more original humor essays and expanding the roles of several writers. Our mission will always be to provide more and funnier content every month. And some day, maybe, just maybe, we’ll break even. It’s been an awesome and educational journey so far. We thank you for joining us, and we encourage you to let us know what you’d like to see more of in the coming year.

And now, Happy Nice Time People’s most popular articles of 2014* and what we’ve learned from them.

10. Doctor Who Recap: Deep Breath (Season 8 premiere)

Do you read recaps of shows you don’t watch? I do—and I enjoy the more than the ones for shows I’ve seen. But I know I’m in the minority. Our goal is to make our recaps funny and entertaining enough that they’re a great read even if you can’t ever imagine watching the show itself.

9. HBO promises a giant leap towards killing cable with a la carte channels

People don’t like the cable companies. Who knew, right? I’ve been encouraged to see that people do actually care about industry news and not just bashing rightwingers and celebrities.

8. Learn to be a better black person, the FOX News way!

There are so many sites dedicated to making fun of the idiocy at FOX News—and they do such a great job at it—that we deliberately try to stay away. That boat is filled to capacity already. Still, when the mood strikes us, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves.

7. Painful Memories, or Learning When to Stop Watching The Simpsons

Kaleb Horton was the first person I reached out to see if they’d write for the site, and he produced some amazingly creative essays for a few weeks before being pulled away to write for Vice. This is a perfect example of what I hope we’ll be doing a lot more of in the coming year.

6. Cee Lo Green would like women to know why it’s okay when he rapes them

Condemning celebrities for outrageous behavior is sort of shooting fish in a barrel. It’s easy, fun, and attracts an audience. And since we’re a humor site, there’s a big temptation to start making catty remarks about all sorts of minor infractions just to be funny. But that’s a cop out. If we don’t actually care, we won’t actually report on it. I think that’s the best standard to keep the site meaningful as well as funny.

5. 6 “Good Guys” Who Got Away with Being Terrible People

Lists, for lack of a better word, are good. Lists work. Internet readers can’t get enough of ‘em. More than half of the HNTP team was involved in creating this particular list, so I’m excited that it got such a huge reception. We’re going to be doing a lot more of this type of thing in the future.

4. Star Trek’s Jeri Ryan has boobs! Tales from Dragon Con 2014

Wonkette teased this story on her website by heavily implying that Jeri Ryan’s boobs might be exposed therein. I always wondered if readers were disappointed to discover nothing of the sort. If so, they had the grace not to say so in the comments. However, it was an important lesson on the importance of implied nudity.

3. Did you forget Bill Cosby is an accused serial rapist? Hannibal Buress didn’t.

This was our first Bill Cosby article, and it quickly captured a lot of attention. What followed was countless hours of agonizing over how to make rapes stories work on a humor site. I think we found a good balance, but it’s a serious challenge every time.

2. 19 Kids & Counting Recaps

Holy shit, you guys luvvvvvv to hate the Duggars. If we were to separate out each of the 19 Kids & Counting recaps into separate entries on this list, there’d be little else. They’d take up 10 of the top 14 spots, including numbers 2-3, 5, and 7-13. These recaps were among the most popular articles on the site before the changeover, and no doubt they’ll continue to be into the far future.

1. Why Republicans should never be allowed around money or any money-making enterprise

Never underestimate the power of a title. I’m thrilled that this is the site’s most popular article to date because it’s an original opinion piece that mixes humor, politics, economics, and television. I think it’s a great example of what the site aspires to be, and apparently the readers agree. Very encouraging!

*Post-changeover.

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  • Historicat

    Rick – you’ve really done some good work this year. I am amazed at the number of talented, funny writers here and I always look forward to new posts. Here’s to even more good stuff in 2015! (So, what kind of sandwich sealed the deal?)

    • Hey, much appreciated!! (A Panera gift card, actually)

  • mtn_philosoph

    Hey Rick! Just a note to say how much I like Happy:TNG. I really liked TOH overall but had the impression that it couldn’t quite make up its mind about what it’s core focus should be. I welcome the decision to concentrate on Teh TeeVee and related topics and your approach to the whole IdiotBoxVerse. Everything you listed above was awesome, and putting out that much WIN in just your first (partial) year is impressive. Keep it up, man — you’ve got me hooked!