The Best News Stories of 2021: A Pop Culture Review

A collection of funny news stories that'll make you smile

Happy New Year! You're probably back at work today, possibly still hungover from the festive season and feeling like a discarded Christmas tree; once glorious and glamorous, but now consigned to the dustbin.

But it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom, because we've got one last word from 2021 - our pop culture year in review...

As you know, at Bubblegum Stuff we're always on the lookout for things that make us laugh. And during 2021 there were plenty of incidents that did just that. So here are our favourite pop culture stories from the last 12 months to remind you it ain't all bad...


The Suez Canal Shipping Crisis

Rolling the calendar all the way back to March when the world was gripped by the story of the whopping great container ship stuck in the Suez Canal. The Suez Crisis 2.0 starred the Ever Given, a 400m super container, and a tiny digger.

By March 2021, we’d spent nearly a year in lockdown. The closest thing we had to excitement was waving to the DPD man every day as he dropped our parcels off. So it’s no surprise when a massive cargo ship got stuck in a canal, we all went bonkers for it.

Someone set up a website, a Twitter account for the digger, and the memes flowed like, well, not a canal blocked by a big ship - but like Blossom Hill during locky d!

Sadly, though, for the watching world (not for us, we couldn’t get our stuff shipped for love nor money!) after just 6 days, the ship was freed. The sweet relief provided by a non-Covid news story quickly gave way to the realisation: had we “ever given” a sh*t about shipping news before?!?

Cakegate - The Baking Bad Scandal

Hot on the heels of the Suez Canal blockage was Cakegate: a scandal that arguably had more legs than its predecessor.

Another David vs. Goliath story of sorts, this one featured upmarket M&S in one corner and thrifty Aldi in the other. The beef? M&S reckoned their caterpillar cake named Colin had been ripped off by Aldi’s Cuthbert.

Dubbed the “trial of the century” by some observers, Colin vs. Cuthbert walked all over Solange vs. Jay-Z, Cardi B vs. Nicki Minaj and even Rebekah Vardy vs. Coleen Rooney in terms of raw intensity.

But were Aldi guilty of being copycat-erpillers? Well, their social media team gave M&S a good licking in the court of public opinion: the #FreeCuthbert campaign went viral. And as for Cuthbert himself? He was last seen still gracing the shelves of your nearest Aldi. The only thing he’s guilty of is being delicious.

Squid Game conquers the world

Undoubtedly the event series of 2021, this Korean drama told a tale of societal dysfunction and the human condition, all played out through gruesomely lethal versions of children’s games.

Squid Game logo

Credit: Wikimedia Commons, license

The spoiler-free simple synopsis is… 455 heavily indebted individuals are challenged to play six games for a huge jackpot that can only be won by one contestant. All others will be “eliminated”, which during the first game (Green Light Red Light) we quickly learn means instant death.

It’s fluid, slick and colourfully unique. It’s one of those series, like Breaking Bad and Ozark, that you can’t help but talk about with your mates. It’s even got a bit of gratuitous violence thrown in - if that’s your thing.

Squid Game definitely has elements of other dystopian dramas like The Hunger Games movies, the Japanese film, Battle Royale - and one of our faves, Arnie’s The Running Man! But the way it deals with humanity, especially in the context of class, success, status and economic equality, feels uniquely Korean (see the Oscar-winning Parasite, if you haven’t already).

Britney freed

Britney in concert

Credit: Wikimedia Commons, license

She’s finally free! Britney’s conservatorship battle with her dad is probably the most talked-about controversy of 2021.

The #FreeBritney campaign had become way more visible this year, with documentaries like Framing Britney Spears and Britney vs. Spears. Her loyal fans wouldn’t let up either. And who knows, that all might’ve had an impact on the judge’s decision to relieve her from the 13-year court order in November.

The wider drama hasn’t ended yet, but for Britney and her fanbase, they’re just glad the conservatorship “circus” is over, the “toxic” arrangement is done, she’s come out “stronger”, and now she can get back to “work (bitch)”.

BS News

Like Sonya in EastEnders, we like to blow our own trumpet. This means sharing with you some notable stories involving Bubblegum Stuff in 2021. We battled multiple shipping crises, Covid, material shortages, Chinese power cuts, Covid again, and numerous other micro-challenges this year to make an overall success of things.

Here are some of our little wins…

Play Creators Awards finalists

Our first-ever Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign took place this year, and it was built around our desire to work with our crowd to create a product and put it directly in their hands. The product in question was Plant-Based Riot, and it was fully funded with plenty of time to spare.

We were absolutely chuffed to bits when our efforts were recognised by the fantastic guys over at Mojo Nation. They shortlisted the Plant-Based Riot design team for the final of the Game Designer of the Year Award in the Party Game category.

To be shortlisted next to such fantastic names as Hasbro, Big Potato, TOMY, Professor Puzzle, Big G Creative, Under Where Games and Ginger Fox was an honour.

You can’t put a price on good publicity

We’re always flattered when people post about our games on their socials. Sharing good times is what got us into this business in the first place. And satisfying customers is always our number one aim. 

But when @hunsnet reposted a story on Instagram about two of our games we were gagged. We’re longtime fans of Hunsnet so this was like Nigella retweeting your recipe for meecro waavay beans on toast with a pint of wine.

Hunsnet repost on Instagram

We also took away three important things from this… hard work gets recognised, our games pair perfectly with a night in with your mates and a bottle of prosexy, and - at 9p each - there is still such thing as an absolute bargain, dallyns!

Good Morning plant fans

As part of their Best Stocking Fillers for 2021 feature, Good Morning featured our No. 1 best-selling product of the year, Plant Life Support!

Good Morning featuring Plant Life Support in their secret santa gifts segment


This little houseplant self-watering gadget has been flying off the shelves and keeping plants refreshed and their parents relieved throughout 2021.

This product also represents a step towards sustainability for us - the packaging is made from 100% recycled paper. We're committed to factoring sustainability in to all our products moving forward. And we're also hoping Plant Life Support continues to sustain urban jungles well into 2022 - and beyond!

New Product News

Sticking with us for just a bit longer, we’re also pretty chuffed with some of our new gaming content. We unleashed the following titles on the world in 2021, and we’re hoping this collection of word games, party games, picture games, flashcard games and true or false trivia games continues to spread the joy into 2022.


Gamophobia is the irrational fear of marriage. But it’s also a comically confusing phobia-based card game.

Gamophobia card game word game party game

How well do you know your fears? How good are your performance skills? And what’s your short-term memory like? Because you’re gonna need all three in this wild and wacky party game.

If you’ve got an ear for a fear, you’ll be just fine. But if not, you’ll find yourself shouting out some embarrassingly nonsensical non-words - it’s enough to make your palms sweaty!

Throwing Shade

Throwing Shade party game

Throwing Shade is the hilariously insulting party game where you’re rewarded for being mean to your friends. Cards contain salty insults in a “Who’s most likely to….” format. Your task is to use them in combinations of 3 to create weapons-grade shade that’ll have your victims running for cover.

If your friends can match the shade with the person, you score points. Score the most points, win the game… and the title of Shadiest of the Shady.

Name That Bumhole

Name that bumhole flashcard party game

Name That Bumhole is a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek take on animal trivia. It’s a collection of bums, questions and fun facts relating to all walks (and crawls, slithers, flies and swims) of life, from domestic dogs and cats to wild wolves, turkeys and turtles. How much do you know about the lesser spotted part of the animal anatomy?

Biden’s Blunders

Biden's Blunders card game

Separate the truth from the lies in this fake news presidential party game for people that love politically incorrect quotes-based trivia. Containing statements from U.S. President Joe Biden and statements from other gaffe-prone sources, you’ve gotta work out what ones he said and what ones he didn’t say.

Tru or Faux

Tru or Faux card game

Work out whether the story is true or false in Tru or Faux - the fake news game based on Justin Trudeau’s most spectacular faux pas. He might have the boyish good looks to suggest butter wouldn’t melt, but he’s racked up a rap sheet of controversies longer than his… tenure as Canada’s leader!


Coming in 2022

Death By Coconuts

We’re really excited about this death stats betting race. It’s got everything: risk, reward, interesting facts, shortcuts and hazards - all wrapped up in a retro 50s Americana design. It’s gonna be BIG and it’s coming soon to Kickstarter.

Death By Coconuts board game

Wishing you a Happy & Healthy 2022 

So that’s the year in review - our year. Sure, a lot of other stuff happened, but if you want to read about all that you should head over to an actual news outlet, not a gift and games company!

So now we're back, we hope you all had very Merry Christmas and you're looking forward to a happy and healthy New Year ahead!

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