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A definitive bracket of pop culture brackets

To celebrate March Madness, we bracketed a month of brackets.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

As March Madness draws to a close, so does our annual cultural fixation with putting anything and everything into competitive brackets, an online pastime that seemed to reach a fever pitch in 2018. While everything from nonbasketball sports to neoliberal shills have received the bracket treatment, pop culture makes for prime bracket fodder, inviting spirited debate over not just the subject of any given bracket, but the very nature of the bracket itself.

Just look at the Disney vs. Pixar bracket that broke the internet this year, so heinously brutal and weirdly seeded that it’s spawned a litany of do-overs by people who now realize their folly — specifically that the internet is a hellspawn of time-suckage from which no good things arise, only endless emotional labor and exhaustion.

To help combat that exhaustion (or, more honestly, exacerbate it), we’ve compiled this year’s best, weirdest, and most oddly specific pop-culture brackets, presented in, yes, a bracket, to help determine which viral match-up best encapsulates 2018’s Bracket Madness. Enjoy our 64-entry, single-elimination round-up, nonseeded because our masochism only extends so far. And yes, 17 of them are Disney-related. Don’t @ us.

You can download the large version here, and find links to all the original brackets below.

Region 1: Internet Culture & Absurdism

  1. Internet Boyfriends
  2. Best Memes
  3. Bracket Of Completely Random Things That Aren’t Related In Any Way
  4. Dril
  5. Best Place to Keep My Worms
  6. Best Luigi
  7. Vines
  8. Viners
  9. Absurdist Disney/Pixar
  10. The Room quotes
  11. Taika Waititi
  12. “Africa”-Toto
  13. The Bracket Bracket
  14. Bracket Styles
  15. YouTubers
  16. Gay Twitter

Region 2: Arts & Entertainment

  1. Hottest Disney Guy
  2. Parks and Recs 64-Character Tournament
  3. Pop Queen March Madness
  4. Best Rapper in the Game (Under 40)
  5. Anime adaptations of Shounen Jump Manga series
  6. Nintendo vs. Sega
  7. Emo Songs of the 2000s
  8. Kanye Madness
  9. The Rom-Com Bracket
  10. The A24 Bracket
  11. MCU (We’ll let these many MCU brackets duke it out)
  12. Nickelodeon
  13. Doctor Who
  14. Mariah Carey No. 1s vs Singles
  15. Madonna
  16. Broadway Bracket

Region 3: General culture

  1. Men
  2. Cereal
  3. Conflicts in 1994
  4. Trump Scandals
  5. Kardashians
  6. Potato-based foods
  7. Candy vs Chocolate
  8. Porn Stars
  9. Park Snacks
  10. Chain restaurants
  11. YA Tropes
  12. Instagram Engagement Captions
  13. Munch Madness
  14. Best Chris
  15. National Poetry Month poetry bracket
  16. Funny Names, 2018 Edition

Region 4: Disney/Pixar

  1. Original Disney vs. Pixar bracket
  2. Attempt 2: “a 68 movie bracket with seeding based on Rotten Tomatoes rankings”
  3. Attempt 3, takes the Disney vs. Pixar bracket “to the next level”
  4. Attempt 4, “correct seeding for the best Disney/Pixar movie bracket.”
  5. Attempt 5, the “#BetterDisneyBracket,” presented “after much deliberation”
  6. Attempt 6, the “indisputably correct” Disney vs. Pixar bracket
  7. Attempt 7, “I’m emotionally drained”
  8. Attempt 8, “an actually logical Disney/Pixar bracket”
  9. Attempt 9, “for those of you who are frustrated with poor seeding in other brackets”
  10. Attempt 10, “The Official All-Time Disney/Pixar bracket”
  11. The Definitive Disney Bracket (updated from a previous less-definitive bracket)
  12. The Definitive Disney Bracket, attempt 2, in 64-Movie Single Elimination
  13. The Definitive Disney Movie Tournament, attempt 3
  14. The Better Disney Bracket, attempt 4
  15. The Ultimate Disney Bracket, attempt 5
  16. Animated Movies That Made People Furries

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