The Niche Dramas We Couldn't Stop Talking About in 2022

The Niche Dramas We Couldn't Stop Talking About in 2022

Random celebrity feuds, British WAGs feuds, athletes feuding with mascots: 2022 gave us so many lovely little dramas for us to discuss over happy hour.

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For everything the internet and social media takes from us (time, sleep, sanity) it truly gives us so much: infinite memes, funny little jokes we can send each other, and plenty of insight into dumb and random feuds that makes us feel better about the drama in our own lives.

These aren’t the entertainment stories that dominate the news cycles (there will be no mention of that movie)—these are the one-cycle stories that you chuckle at during their brief, sparkling moment in the glow of your iPhone light before they drift from your memory forever. In you missed any of the best ones, we’ve compiled the Jezebel staff’s favorite niche dramas from 2022 that had a chokehold on our brains.

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Devin Booker vs. Toronto Raptors’ Mascot

Devin Booker vs. Toronto Raptors’ Mascot

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Photo: Getty Images

As I write this, it’s December, meaning the events of January feel like last year. Yet, I remember the feud—and subsequent reconciliation—between Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker and the Toronto Raptors’ dinosaur mascot as vividly as if it were yesterday. Allow me to set the scene: The Suns are up by just one point with 6.5 seconds left to play; Booker is at the free-throw line to potentially put his team up by an additional point. The stadium is empty due to Canada’s strict covid policies at the time, with the only Raptor fan in the building being the team mascot. And boy did he (she? they?) make a splash, jumping and flailing and waving behind the hoop to distract the Suns’ starter as he tried to score. Booker successfully made his free throw, but was visibly upset by the mascot and complained to the refs, who put the mascot in time-out.

The internet proceeded to go crazy, subjecting Booker to some well-deserved clowning that eventually prompted him to bury the hatchet with the dinosaur. Within a couple of days, Booker told reporters of him and the mascot: “We hashed it out. We’re homies now.” Shortly after that, Booker changed his Twitter profile picture to a photo of the dinosaur. Who doesn’t love an enemies-to-lovers arc?? —Kylie Cheung

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Dimes Square

Dimes Square

What is Dimes Square? Is it a burgeoning community of young artists nestled into New York’s Lower East Side, akin to the Chelsea Hotel scene that gave us Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe and Nico? Is it a loose collective of rich kid dropouts with enormous egos and middling creative talent who get their kicks off hoodwinking establishment journalists? Is it overrun by high-chasing gig workers in big pants who dabble in anti-woke cultural commentary? Do fascists and Catholics roam free there? Does Dimes Square even exist?

I do not know the answer to these questions, but not long after the “Vibe Shift” was announced, as we struggled to define “the culture” after the worst of lockdown, I loved watching the internet get huffy about the Dimes Square scene. I don’t think Dimes Square matters; I do think a lot of people woke up in mid-2022 feeling hopelessly old, though, and Dimes Square’s existence—dubious as it may have been—sure as hell didn’t help with such existential dread. This particular drama, niche to both Twitter and New York, was a classic example of a generational gap, except in this case, the youths were actually annoying and maybe bad. A triumph for grumpy millennials: Presumably we grumped about Dimes Square so much it either no longer exists, or it went further underground to avoid our sheer uncoolness. —Sarah Rense

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Candace Cameron Bure vs. JoJo Siwa

Candace Cameron Bure vs. JoJo Siwa

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It started with JoJo Siwa briefly calling out Bure on TikTok as the “rudest” celebrity she’s ever met. Then Bure stepped in to recount a “great conversation” she subsequently had with Siwa about her allegation, presenting a one-sided account of her victimhood and Siwa’s current feelings, which included reported remorse over the TikTok that yielded the feud (never mind that Siwa’s initial comment was a response to feeling swept aside as a kid when she encountered Bure on a red carpet). “I think the lesson we can learn is to be mindful that no matter how many followers you have, even a 10-second trending TikTok video can do damage because our words matter and our actions matter,” said the Full House alum-turned-scold.

The feud reignited more recently when Bure made a comment to the Wall Street Journal about the network she recently signed with, Great American Family, focusing on “traditional marriage” in its Christmas programming. In the words of Stephanie Tanner (AND JoJo Siwa for that matter): How rude! Siwa, who is gay, told People in response to Bure’s exclusionary proclamation, “We have not [talked], and I don’t think we ever will again.” Good! Don’t! Words matter and so does your time! (But selfishly, I don’t want this drama to ever end.) —Rich Juzwiack

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Pickleballers vs. Communities Everywhere

Pickleballers vs. Communities Everywhere

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A sport that I only just learned about in 2022—which seems to basically be tennis but with a different name—made headlines this year for all the havoc pickleballers were wreaking on their communities in their search for a place to play pickleball. In both San Francisco and the West Village in NYC, pickleballers desperate for an asphalt surface butted heads with non-pickleballers who wanted to use the asphalt surfaces for things like letting their kids ride bikes and—wait for it—playing tennis.

I have no idea whose side I’m on here. West Village kids have just as much of a right to ride their bikes as West Village adults have to play their outdoor not-tennis game. I think? And tennis players in San Francisco should be allowed to use their tennis courts to play tennis? Right? Or is that elitist? Or just, not generous? Maybe the real question is why does pickleball—a sport that Google says has been around since 1965—have such a shitty marketing team?

I could not find updates on whether or not these nomadic pickleballers have found a home. Here’s hoping that 2023 has more answers than 2022 had questions. —Lauren Tousignant

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Rebekah Vardy vs. Coleen Rooney (AKA Wagatha Christie)

Rebekah Vardy vs. Coleen Rooney (AKA Wagatha Christie)

Coleen Rooney, left, and Rebekah Vardy
Coleen Rooney, left, and Rebekah Vardy
Photo: Getty Images

Imagine if NBA wives were unhinged yet interesting. That’s how I describe the WAGs and the Wagatha Christie trial over the summer. It has everything: manipulating Instagram Close Friends list, millions of dollars in lawyers’ fees, and a phone falling into the North Sea. —Caitlin Cruz

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Lea Michele vs. Reading

Lea Michele vs. Reading

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When Lea Michele joined TikTok in September, the newly-crowned Fanny Brice was quick to poke fun at herself over the renewed suggestion that she maybe can’t read. (The conspiracy theory started as a joke in 2017, with two podcasters discussing a Michele anecdote in Naya Rivera’s memoir, Sorry Not Sorry.) Her second-ever TikTok was a video of her on the phone with the text, “Calling Jonathan [Groff] to read me the comments on my first TikTok.” This delighted me way more than it should have—but what delighted me even more was that after Michele appeared to gleefully (lol) be in on the joke, TikTokers ran to her comments to help “translate” compliments into emojis.

On one Tiktok of Michele in a slinky gold Michael Kors dress, TikTokers wrote things like, “girl u ate,” alongside the girl, pointing, and dinner plate emojis. “I love that dress!!” was accompanied by the eye, red heart, and blue dress emoji. “You slayed!” was translated using the black-haired girl and snow sled emoji. Another: “You killed it sis!!!!” alongside the pointing, gravestone, open hand, and two girls emojis. I lost hours scrolling through her comments, chuckling to myself. It doesn’t take a lot to make me laugh, but I thought this was one of the funniest, dumbest stories to happen this year. —LT

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Olivia Rodrigo vs. Joshua Bassett vs. Sabrina Carpenter

Olivia Rodrigo vs. Joshua Bassett vs. Sabrina Carpenter

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I know we’ve more than moved on from the Olivia Rodrigo-Joshua Bassett-Sabrina Carpenter love triangle drama by now, but I’ve always been one to hold onto things longer than I should. I’ll be the first to admit that my loyalty to Livie influenced my choice to not listen to Carpenter’s new album, emails i can’t send, when it first came out in July. But I finally caved a few weeks ago, and what started as a reluctant anti-listen turned into me realizing I might have to call myself a Sabrina stan.

As it turns out, listening to her counter-narrative was much more entertaining than dissecting any lyrics that Bassett himself could ever write. The album is one bop after the other, but one lyric from the track “because i liked a boy” has been haunting me for weeks now. In the song, Carpenter quite candidly sings about Rodrigo’s “drivers license” and the fan backlash that ensued (being called a “homewrecker,” a “slut,” and describing the “death threats” she received). And in the bridge, she sings, “And all of this for what? / When everything went down we’d already broken up.”

I was so scandalized that I audibly gasped when I heard it. It might be a throwaway line for some, but for me, it breathes just enough life into all of the timeline speculations around the teeny-bopper affair that shook the world. And I’d be happy to keep mapping out its deeply dramatic timeline, so long as its participants keep supplying juicy lyrics. I’ve got my red string ready. —Rodlyn-mae Banting

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Stacey Dash vs. DMX’s Death

Stacey Dash vs. DMX’s Death

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I’ve thought a lot about Stacey Dash learning in September 2022 that DMX died—almost a year and a half after his death. I can excuse the tardiness; there’s a lot of news out there in the world (and in Dash’s case, a lot of “fake news” for her to parse through). But her decision to film herself sobbing over his death—again, a year and a half after the fact—has really stuck with me.

“I’m ashamed, I didn’t know DMX died,” she said into the camera, while disheveled and still in bed. I’m torn between rolling my eyes at the performativity of it all (she hashtagged her own post about his death with #Staceydash) and being touched by the reality that grief isn’t an encapsulated event. Is this way too deep for a year-end round-up of celeb drama? Maybe, baby! But it’s been three months and I can’t get it off my mind.—Kady Ruth Ashcraft

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Linewives vs. Bucket Bunnies

Linewives vs. Bucket Bunnies

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Screenshot: TikTok: heartonthewire/ emilyhosein1/ kyygirl

This is exactly what the internet was built for: learning about the drama of a highly specific community that has no influence, effect, or impact on your own life whatsoever. Linemen are the guys who work on power lines. Line wives are their wives. And bucket bunnies are apparently the groupies the linemen hook up with when they’re out on the road.

All the behind-the-scenes drama was revealed on TikTok in October after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on Florida and out-of-town linemen were called in to help out. Bucket bunnies used TikTok to show how many married linemen were blowing up their Tinder. Line wives used TikTok to lament about their difficult lives and scoff at the bunnies who absolutely do not have what it takes to be a line wife. And that’s about it. I can’t fucking wait for the movie.—LT

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Maren Morris vs. Brittany Aldean

Maren Morris vs. Brittany Aldean

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Maren Morris anointing Brittany Aldean “Insurrection Barbie” after posting a transphobic joke on Instagram just takes the cake for me. And the subsequent “Lunatic Country Person” merchandise—with all proceeds going to GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program and Trans Lifeline—inspired by Fox News’ characterization of Morris marks the move of a god-tier troll. —Audra Heinrichs

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Taylor and Emmanuel vs. Avian flu/Twitter

Taylor and Emmanuel vs. Avian flu/Twitter

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Image: TikTok; @knucklebumpfarms

Taylor Blake, the head of Knuckle Bump Farms, went viral over the summer for her fun-loving and educational TikToks that were constantly being interrupted by her mischievous emu, Emmanuel Todd Lopez. She was featured in The Washington Post. She appeared on The Tonight Show. She was exposed for her history of online racism. 

All the drama came to a head in late October when Avian Flu hit Knuckle Bump Farms and over 50 birds had to be euthanized—except for Emmanuel. Blake posted photos of herself snuggling and kissing the sick-looking emu and Twitter said, “Nope!” But apparently, Emmanuel looked so sick because he was stressed, probably because all his friends died, and not due to Avian flu as Blake said. On December 19th, Blake posted a video with Emmanuel, who was walking by himself again and appears to be getting better and better by the day.

What to make of this story? I have no idea! Except that it was wild and random and...niche. —LT

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