Picking Teams: 12 Pop Culture Debates

by T. Mack

It came to my attention recently that there are certain battles within pop culture, specific disagreements among fandoms, particular debates that have no definitive answers. These topics divide the masses in a friendly, yet passionate way, and will likely do so forever.


I hadn’t really thought about the existence of these divides within the culture, but once I did, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Because I realized that I have a firm opinion about many of them. And furthermore, I’m staunchly ready to defend my position on these topics. At some point, without realizing it, I picked a side. I chose a team and didn’t even know it. So today, I’m claiming my colors and proudly proclaiming my stance on the really important issues, such as…

1. Pacey vs Dawson

Pacey_vs_Dawson 4For those old enough to remember, Dawson’s Creek represents the nostalgia and wonder of our epic 90’s teen angst. We dug everything about this show, from the over-dramatic theme song (which we still love to this day) to Joey’s crooked little smile to the back and forth of her love story featuring two very different friends. And it’s this last point that we focus on today. Because even though the show eventually strayed far from it’s roots, it eventually looped back around in the end to make certain it settled this last point once and for all. Who would it be for sweet Joey? Ambitious filmmaker, Dawson or suave and confident Pacey?

For the record, I am TEAM PACEY all the way, now and forever, since the beginning to the end of time.


I mean, sure, Dawson was a nice guy. But for one thing, he took waaaaay too long to wake up and see his friend as anything more than that. Also, if I remember correctly, that guy had more mood swings than a pendulum. Also, he just wasn’t Pacey. He wasn’t cute and fun and funny like Pacey. He wasn’t confident and smooth and handsome like Pacey. He didn’t know what he wanted like Pacey. He didn’t go for what he wanted like Pacey. Did I mention he wasn’t good-looking like Pacey?

In the end, Joey made the right choice. And even though I hadn’t actually watched the show in several years by its end, I tuned in for the final episode to make certain she chose correctly.

2. Gale vs Peeta

Gale_vs_Peeta 2

The Hunger Games is a love triangle with which more modern audiences are familiar. Katniss Everdeen, a heroine I adore for a plethora of reasons, is a girl who has two possibilities for love, but frankly has too much to do to worry much about either one. Except that she does care in her own way for both the hunky guys in her life. And for various reasons, she also desperately needs them both. What’s a girl to do? There’s simply not enough time in the day to save your sister, save yourself, save your friend, keep one beau alive, not hurt the other beau’s feelings back home, stave off PTSD, and lead a revolution. So much to do. So little time.

For the record, I am TEAM PEETA completely, wholeheartedly, no reservations or doubts about it.


While Gale was a great friend to Katniss and might have been a good match for her without the hunger games as part of her life, he was never what she needed once she’d experienced the horror of the games. Gale was, in his own way, militant, ready to fight, almost waiting for a rebellion before he even knew there was one. However, after Katniss experiences the games, she doesn’t need someone to help her fight. She needs someone to help her leave the fight behind. She needs a calming presence, someone who can help ease the storm inside her, and remind her that the horror of her past will stay there–in the past.

From the moment Katniss volunteers for the games, Peeta is exactly what she needs. After that moment, he never stops being what she needs… ever. It simply takes Katniss a while to realize it. And by the time she does, she’s pretty damaged. But it’s okay, because Peeta isn’t going anywhere.

3. Rachel vs Ross

Ross_vs_Rachel 1.jpg

It’s the age-old question: Were Ross and Rachel on a break? Here’s the thing, though… The question isn’t actually if Ross and Rachel were on a break. They obviously were. Rachel said they were and Ross agreed. So the question isn’t the existence of the break, but what the break meant to each of them and what his actions meant as a consequence. Rachel thought the break was a pause in the relationship, like a comma in a sentence. Ross was under the impression it might have been a period, signalling the end of the relationship instead.

For the record, I am TEAM RACHEL on this, though it’s taken me years to come to a definitive decision on this issue.


When the truth comes out and Rachel discovers that Ross slept with another woman, there are a few things to indicate that Ross doesn’t really believe sleeping with Chloe was okay, despite his “break = break up” claim. First, he hid it from Rachel in the first place. Second, he ran around town making extra efforts to continue hiding it from her. Third, he referred to it as cheating during his argument for her to take him back. Fourth, he showed remorse and guilt as one who has cheated on a significant other during a relationship, not one who does not see any wrong in their actions. Fifth, despite his efforts, he was not able to say he’d be okay if she’d done the same thing during their brief separation.

So whether they were on a break or broken up is not really the issue. Because no matter what, Ross obviously felt he’d done something wrong. And so did Rachel. So in that, they agreed. Despite technicalities of language, he messed up. “He done did wrong,” as the old folks used to say. And there were consequences for that.

4. Iron Man vs Captain America (re: The Sakovia Accords)

Iron_Man_vs_Captain_America 3

Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, aka Iron Man and Captain America, find themselves at odds when the United Nations decides it wants to officially oversee superheroes. Tony is all for it, feeling that heroes have overstepped their bounds on numerous occasions and need to be reigned in. Steve believes that heroes cannot be truly effective if they are hampered and hamstrung by politics that may get in the way of achieving true heroism for the people. Other heroes find themselves picking sides. Those that side against the government are classified as criminals and those who side with the government are tasked with apprehending their former teammates. And that’s how Marvel’s Civil War is born.

For the record, I am TEAM CAP on this one, though it’s a very complex issue, especially if you look at the depth of it in the comic version of the story, which is much deeper than even the movie version.

Team Cap 1

This is harder than any of the others on this list because the issue here really is very complex. After all, there is a very fine line between “hero” and “vigilante.” And the argument can be made that the line doesn’t exist. Also, is it really a good idea to have super-powered people running around un-checked, un-supervised, and possibly not properly trained? They could easily hurt as many people as they help. Also, aren’t most of these guys American? What if they accidentally start an international incident because they went to another country and just started punching people without knowing what’s going on politically? That’s why the Sakovia Accords could be good.

However, what if people need saving, but those people happen to live in territory that belongs to a country that we don’t currently consider a friend, or our friend doesn’t consider a friend. If a hero works under the Sakovia Accords, they may not be allowed to help for political reasons. But if they are free of those ties, they can help the people who need it. Also, without the Accords, they can never be used as tools by the wrong people in power to do bad things disguised as good things. (Remember when Hydra was dressed up as S.H.I.E.L.D.?) See? Complex issue. But in the end, I trust Cap over Tony. And if I’m torn on an issue, I’m not torn over which of those two leaders to choose.


Kirk vs Picard

Kirk or Picard 2

Picard, of course! That voice. That demeanor. Just… everything. Picard could still get it. I love me some him. Can’t wait for his new series!

Big vs Aiden

Big or Aidan 2

Aiden was the right guy. Big was a creep. Carrie chose wrong. I believe that and always will.

Marvel vs DC

Marvel or DC

Marvel. Better movies, yes, but more importantly, as a young girl, Storm was a powerful, mainstream superhero that looked like me. And she was a QUEEN! I’ll always be grateful to Marvel for that.

 Star Trek vs Star Wars

Star Wars or Star Trek 1

Star Trek, specifically The Next Generation. I grew up watching that show with my parents. The memories and nostalgia it holds for me outweigh even my current Star Wars fandom.

Gandalf vs Dumbledore

Dumbledore or Gandalf 2

Gandalf. Please understand that this answer is extremely hard for me. I want to side with Dumbledore here. I really do. But in the end, I can’t. Because Gandalf promised an adventure, then delivered on his promise. He also did his best to lead his charges through said adventure and always have their backs whenever possible. He was actually with them on the journey except when he was dead. And even then, he leveled up and came back to save them. Dumbledore, however, put children in the most dangerous situations possible, kept secrets, lied, and basically helped raise Harry as a lamb to slaughter. I LOVE Dumbledore, but he was kind of a bastard.

Best Batman

Best Batman 2

Christian Bale. For me, the modern era of Batman is more significant than the older iterations. Even though I appreciate West for his classic, campy style, it’s not exactly my fave. And although I watched Keaton as Batman, it didn’t mean much to me then. Of the more modern guys, Bale is by far and away the best for me. Even though his Batman voice was a bit ridiculous, I prefer his Bruce Wayne over all the others and enjoyed his take on Batman more than any of the others in more recent years.

Best Doctor

Best Doctor 1

TEN! David Tennant is my Doctor. Period. Hands down. No question. He was clever, funny, kind, sassy, cute, witty, a bit haunted, kinda sexy, sorta weird and quirky, a little bit romantic, totally heroic, he wore a pinstripe suit, and he had an accent. I mean, I’m American so they all do, but you get it. He’s Scottish so it was extra fun. Eleven had arguably better companions, but Ten is definitely the Doctor for me.

Best MCU Chris


Pratt (Star Lord) is funniest. Evans (Captain America) seems like the most grounded. And Hemsworth (Thor) gets you the most man for your buck. He’s the brawniest, is what I’m saying. I’m going with Evans, though honestly you can’t go wrong with any of these choices.

MCU Chrises 2


What teams do you rep in the Pop Culture Wars? Let me know your choices  on any of these or others I left out in the comments below.

Remember… Be kind to yourselves, sisters and brothers. Keep it geeky and stay amazing. ~T. Mack

5 thoughts on “Picking Teams: 12 Pop Culture Debates

  1. You know I’m clueless on some of this, right? Especially the first one or two. I guess to them I’d say who cares :)!

    For the Doctor, my choice would be . . . Mark Sloane (St. Elsewhere). Never seen a Dr. Who

    As for the others: Captain America. Marvel, Pratt, Kirk (he started it all), Rachel (but probably for way different reasons), Gandolf, Bale (but West’s a close second). Star Trek, as I sorta understand it. Never cared for Sex in the City (the show), like Noth though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG T-Mack you’re going to make this hard aren’t you? Lol
    Well I’m going to have to forego the first two questions because I never watched Dawson’s Creek or The Hunger games (yes I know but I was never interested in them, sorry). But as for the rest here are my picks…..

    3. Team Ross – Rachel was vain and indecisive about literally everything. Ross went out of his way to make his feeling known and STILL Rachel was looking for “something better!” Which really would piss me off. I think Ross settled and only because she got pregnant, but I’m forever team Ross!

    4. Team Cap – I’m with you on this one, I’m completely Cap on this. Because of the fact that it seems that Cap has a bit more of a moral compass than Tony. Not that it’s a good thing because when you’re fighting evil in the universe morals can be a hindrance at times. But he’s a good guy deep down and he isn’t above making mistakes. It just seems Stark likes to “think” he doesn’t make mistakes and that is something I’m not very fond of.

    Team Picard – Definitely, although Kirk was the trailblazer for his time, I just happen to think Picard took it to the next level. He’s charismatic, cool headed and a genuine leader. I think Kirk had a bit of a hero complex, thinking he was the only one with common sense when in reality it was his entire crew that gave him all of that.

    Team Aiden – for sure, I agree with you I think Carrie choose wrong so that makes her…..stupid. But then again when has love ever been rational? Even though she choose Big, Aiden for me would have been the better choice.

    Team DC – This is why I think so, I love that Marvel has taken and run with all their comics/movies in such a way that they are diverse and each has their own personality. DC has too, although they do lack more female characters. Sure Wonder Woman can hold her own against the boys, she’s done a hell of a job. But I’m for the underdog and DC against Marvel is the underdog. I’d love to see a Watchman/Suicide Squad film. I mean can you imagine The Comedian AND Deadshot trying to get along? What drama not to mention tension, it almost makes you wonder how these actual anti-hero’s can be actual hero’s! They’re both raw, emotional, and above all show their human side despite their “anti-hero” abilities, which I love. But I’m going to honorably mention Deadpool (Marvel) here, I love him and I actually think he’s in the wrong universe, lol.
    Team Star Wars – Because I grew up with the first three original film trilogy, and that’s all I’m going to say about that, lol.

    Team Dumbledore – I just think he was a great character and because my boys dragged me into watching the Harry Potter films (against my will, lol) but I grew to love them more than the Lord of the Rings films.

    Team Affleck – When they announced that there would be a new actor playing Batman the entire universe was in an uproar. No one thought that anyone could ever touch Bales Batman, but I happen to think the entire universe was wrong. Playing an older version of Batman, a more distinguished, mature and wiser Batman, and Affleck did an awesome job. Even though I loved Keaton’s Batman because he’s the first film Batman that I saw as a teenager. But by far Ben did a better job than even Bale could have, and his Batman voice wasn’t as……if he was trying too hard to be Batman.

    Team Tennant – By far my favorite Doctor, he was just a timey-wimey sexy, smart, sensitive kinda guy and there is no comparison, even though Matt Smith came in a close second. I actually cried when he was regenerated into the Eleventh Doctor.

    Team Pratt – He’s just sexy beyond a sexiness that even Evans and Hemsworth don’t have. Maybe it’s because there’s a vulnerability to him, he’s not super-heroesque and yet he is. He’s a reluctant hero, and he has brains, brawn and comedic abilities all wrapped up in one nice and sexy package (no pun intended) and that’s what makes him so awesome…gggrrrrrr!

    Liked by 1 person

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