O.J. rules the Emmys, Britain leaves the European Union, Beyoncé reinvents the music video, and Ken Bone captivates the country (as do Chewbacca Mom, Ryan Lochte, Melania Trump and Pokemon Go).
Those are a few of the standout moments and personalities of 2016, according to the annual recap of pop culture from Los Angeles-based Pitch Agency, which presents its curated choices as screen-printed artwork on top of gourmet sugar cookies. (Check out 2015's here.)
The agency has been creating the oversized holiday treats for a decade now, and expects you to do a little work to figure out the references. The famous faces, events, passings and mashups are crafted as riddles to be solved, and some are more obvious than others.
You don't need to be a big sports fan, for instance, to know that "Holy Cow!" emblazoned in blue and white commemorates the long-awaited World Series win for the Cubs. The eggplant emoji plus picket fence? Think about it in terms of a disgraced former New York politician.
"We try to capture the mood of the year," says Rachel Spiegelman, Pitch's CEO. "We start compiling ideas in January, and we keep going through early December, so we can be as up-to-date as possible."
The agency, with a roster that includes Burger King, Pepsi, Netflix and Waldorf-Astoria, uses the baked goodies in lieu of an end-of-year promotional recap or video, doling them out to clients, vendors, press and friends. "They're good conversation starters," Spiegelman says. "There's a game in figuring them out."
And there are rules in winnowing the initial 50-odd ideas to the 20 finalists, she says. First, no repeats from year to year. (Donald Trump made the 2015 batch as "The Political Apprentice," and he's back in deed but not name this time around. Meow!) Second, the sweets must represent a cross-section of culture. Otherwise, 2016 could've been overwhelmed by politics.
There's everything from the Rams' return to Los Angeles to the exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7. On the poignant side, there are cookies dedicated to a few beloved characters we lost: Prince, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali and Harambe the gorilla.
"We try to poke the right amount of fun on some cookies and give you a moment of reflection on others," Spiegelman said. "We go for the emotional peaks."