49 Things We’ll Miss About the Fifty Shades Franchise

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How much do we love the Fifty Shades franchise? Let us count the ways. The ludicrous erotic thriller–cum–love story has done much to liven up the short, dark days of mid-February with its glossy love scenes, off-kilter line readings, and general sense of unreality. You’ll laugh, and you’ll gasp, but maybe not at the exact moments that the movie wants you to. (Or maybe it does? Figuring out what percentage of the joke Fifty Shades is in on is one of contemporary cinema’s greatest quandaries.) To celebrate the impending release of the trilogy’s grand climax, Fifty Shades Freed, we’ve rounded up our favorite 49 things about the first two installments of the series, Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker. Warning: Our tastes are very … singular.

1. Everyone’s incredibly ham-fisted names: Christian Grey. Anastasia Steele. Mrs. Jones. Taylor (no last name). Jack Hyde. Wanda (Ana’s car). Bob Adams. Welch (no first name). Mr. Roach.

2. The faces Dakota Johnson makes that implies her participation with the franchise has become an inside joke she shares with only herself.

3. Thrilling surprises, like that time Christian showed up in his apartment to find his entire family worried he died in a helicopter crash, and he acted like he just casually walked all the way home to Seattle from Oregon and it was no big deal.

4. The bleak-as-hell set dressing in every scene, which is always hilariously empty and gray and minimalist in a “the least-appealing prefab room in IKEA” sort of way.

5. Christian Grey’s fully outfitted private gym, where every day is pommel horse day.

6. The barest hints of full-frontal nudity, which happen so fast you’d almost swear they were spliced in afterward.

7. All the bad wall art.

8. The fact that Jamie Dornan has the same enormous pupils as the “This is fine” dog.

9. The truly endless behind-the-scenes drama, which included, but was not limited to, the first director claiming she’d never watch a single installment due to her clashes with the author; the screenwriter revealing she had never seen her own movie; and intense on-set conflicts over jellyfish.

10. Everyone but Dakota Johnson just biding their time until they get to play the hot parent on a CW show.

11. The introduction of corporate-thriller elements once it became clear that whips and chains would not be enough to sustain an entire trilogy’s worth of plot.

12. All those awkward silences in the middle of otherwise perfunctory dialogue that go on for just one beat too long, so you’re not sure if Ana and Christian heard each other, or someone missed their line.

13. Soundtracks full of surprisingly great bangers.

14. “If you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week.”

15. The very concept of getting fingered to Van Morrison.

16. Dakota Johnson throwing a cocktail in Kim Basinger’s face.

17. Marcia Gay Harden slapping Kim Basinger’s face.

18. Wondering if we’ll see more of Rita Ora onscreen and then always realizing, “Oh, no, of course we won’t.”

19. When a crucial emotional scene was staged in front of a Chronicles of Riddick poster.

20. “Kinky fuckery.”

21. The fact that every single one of the posters looked like a poorly executed perfume ad.

22. Christian’s driver, Taylor, who’s just doing his best.

23. Fifty Shades Darker’s extended attempt to make “boating while a Taylor Swift song plays in the background” seem like a sexual experience in any way.

24. Whenever Dakota Johnson walks through the streets of Seattle, which are clearly the streets of Vancouver, and sulks, as indicated by the fact she has bent her head forward only slightly.

25. Ana’s roommate dating Christian’s brother, because this is a version of Seattle that has a population of, like, 12.

26. Ana dragging the comforter off the bed all the way around Christian’s empty apartment.

27. When Ana orders a quinoa salad at a steakhouse.

28. How Ana orders white wine everywhere she goes, including at the steakhouse.

29. When Christian reveals that Ana looks like his dead mom, which is why he gets off on hurting her, and Ana promptly moves in with him.

30. Thinking, “So, it is okay not to shave my legs before sex!” after the weird backlighting that highlights Ana’s leg hair in the first sex scene.

31. The exactly two (2) black women.

32. Ana’s physics-defying lipstick, which stays on Christian’s chest throughout an entire masked ball, underneath a stain-free dress shirt.

33. When Ana explains the internet to her publishing company and everyone is like “holy shit!!!”

34. “I’m fifty shades of fucked up.”

35. Clayton’s Hardware Store, and that early-aught’s trope of a cool normal girl — Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride, Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses — having a hardware-store upbringing.

36. Ana’s superhuman ability to choose the frumpiest, ugliest flannels because it’s Seattle and she’s supposed to be a normal.

37. “Laters baby.”

38. Watching these movies and remembering how good Jamie Dornan is in The Fall.

39. Those great kitchen scenes: Ana making breakfast (for the hungry boy) after they have sex for the first time in Fifty Shades of Grey, and Christian chopping peppers in Darker.

40. A pair of great Beyoncé remixes: “Haunted” and “Crazy in Love.”

41. The gift-giving: Christian gives Ana the first edition Tess of the d’Urbervilles, a new laptop, a phone, and a car before they even go one single date.

42. Later, he gives her $24,000, by forcefully depositing it into her bank account.

43. Ana’s friend José Rodriguez, who inexplicably has a clear and lasting crush on Ana that she awkwardly refuses to ever acknowledge.

44. Thinking, “Maybe we’ll get full frontal Jamie this time?” even though we know this franchise would never be so merciful.

45. Wondering if another one of Christian’s former subs will show up with a gun and carry out a home invasion, only to be pacified by gentle hair-stroking and then promptly dismissed from the story.

46. Thinking of all the hours Ana’s former superiors and now employees at her job must spend venting about her over drinks because her boyfriend bought the company and then she became the boss after about 15 minutes of being an executive assistant. (You just know there’s a secret Slack channel devoted entirely to complaining about her behind her back.)

47. The way Ana appears to be continuously surprised by her life, like she just got dropped into it anew in the middle of every single scene.

48. The contract scene, which is a masterpiece in comic timing.

49. Hoping for more long, arduous, uncomfortable, passive-aggressive press tours with Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Thanks for the memories, you two.

49 Things We’ll Miss About the Fifty Shades Franchise