James Franco Was the Wonderful Wizard of March

Our month-by-month retrospective of 2013 continues with March, a month a packed with Justin Timberlake, James Franco dollar bills, and the Harlem Shake, which you'd thought you'd forgotten.

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The Year That Was, 2013 is far too large of a topic to tackle all at once, even when only focusing on the pop culture aspects. Breaking things down month-by-month feels like the smarter call. We'll be working our way through the year one month at a time, remembering the songs, films, TV, and other fun/horrifying stuff that we may well have already forgotten.

March 2013

The #1 Song

The song of March was truly a flash in the pan. Though we had declared the "Harlem Shake" meme dead back in February, Baauer's song that served as the background track for countless YouTube clips dominated the Billboard charts in March. Of course, the song will always be remembered for those videos—may they rest in no peace whatsoever—the song was also notable for bringing the genre of trap music into the mainstream. Still, it was mostly about those videos. To commemorate its significance in this merry month of March, get some sort of crazy costume and, well, you know.

The #1 Movie

In March, a bunch of people were off to see the wizard. That is, they filed into movie theaters to see James Franco play the wonderful wizard in Oz the Great and Powerful. Franco seemed totally unenthused to be in this tale of the witches of Oz in a world pre-Dorothy, which also starred Mila Kunis as (spoiler alert) the green one. Of course, Sam Raimi's movie was not so wonderful, but that didn't stop it from becoming the first true blockbuster of the year, ultimately grossing upwards of $200 million.

The Month in TV

This was the month of late night deja vu. At the beginning of the month, a report emerged that NBC was looking to once again replace Jay Leno with a younger, sprier Tonight Show host, this time Jimmy Fallon. Then came news that Leno was warring with NBC's Bob Greenblatt. And finally, the wars ultimately manifested themselves on TV with Leno waging an anti-NBC offensive on his own show. The transition would finally be announced in early April and everyone hugged and made up. We guess.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon hosted Justin Timberlake on his show for an entire week, and Timberlake joined the Five-Timers Club on Saturday Night Live.

We were forced to say goodbye to Enlightened, which was canceled in March after two lovely seasons. Girls finished its second season run, delving into dark places we never really expected the series to go. (Cough, cough, the Q-tip episode.) Those voids were ultimately filled, though, since by the end of the month, Game of Thrones was back on our TV sets. ABC also launched its show Red Widow, but no one really remembers that, and Mark Burnett's The Bible on History was ratings gold. It also featured a devil which conservatives thought looked like Obama.


Timberlake's nearly ubiquitous TV appearances this month weren't all for naught, as he released his long awaited album 20/20 Experience, and it was sort of underwhelming. Rob Thomas launched theVeronica Mars movie Kickstarter and incited a debate as to whether normal people should fund projects for famous people. Finally, the literary world mourned the loss of Chinua Achebe.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.