We Love The 2000s!

Observer Editors Look Back on Their Favorite Moments of the Past Decade


Published: December 10, 2009

Well, this is it.  We’ve reached the end of the 2000s.  Just 10 years ago, boy bands were everywhere, people actually bought CDs in stores (no iTunes yet!), and no one had heard of Kanye West or Lady Gaga.  From “Anchorman” to the 2009 Video Music Awards, here’s what some of the Observer’s editors remember most about culture in the first decade of the new millennium.

“Sugar & Spice”
Jan. 26, 2001
What happened: Possibly the worst and best of all chick flicks/high school movies. Pregnant cheerleaders robbing a supermarket bank branch with the help of Richard Nixon? Yes, please. It’s ridiculous and amazing, and whenever I can’t figure out what movie to watch, it suffices.
– Ashley Wenners-Herron

“Fear Factor”
June 11, 2001
What happened: “Survivor” started the reality TV craze a year earlier, but it was “Fear Factor” that laid the foundation for the degradation/humiliation format that has come to define the genre. Also, F.F. introduced us to Joe Rogan, and he sucks.
– Rob Beatson

Halo: Combat Evolved
Nov. 15, 2001
What happened: As a gamer, it’s nearly impossible to describe the impact Halo made. Several innovative techniques within its control scheme and multiplayer have influenced nearly every console shooter since.  It’s also mostly responsible for saving the Xbox from going the way of the dodo.  Even nearly a decade later, fans are still anxiously waiting for another chance to stick someone with a plasma grenade.
– Joe Marvilli

“The Fellowship of the Ring” Sets The Pace
Dec. 19, 2001
What happened: The beginning of the classic Tolkien saga coming to life on the big screen. The decade was jam-packed with “bang-and-pow” films that followed in the big footsteps of their “Lord of the Rings” predecessor, which helped set a very high bar for large-scale filming and special effects.
– Tim Jalbert

Britney and Madonna kiss at the VMAs.
Aug. 28, 2003
What happened: Once again, Christina Aguilera is ignored by the general public.  Also, male basic cable subscriptions skyrocket.
– Kelsey Butler

Janet Jackson’s“Wardrobe Malfunction”
Feb. 1, 2004
What happened: This event involved Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson and something that is seriously referred to as a “nipple shield.” What’s not to love? – Liz Bowen

HBO’s “Sex and the City” ends
Feb. 22, 2004
What happened: American women no longer have something to reference throughout their day to help them understand their own dating lives.
– Kelsey Butler

“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”
July 9, 2004
What happened: A whole new level of comedic celebrity is reached when Judd Apatow produced one of the most notable comedies of the past decade. With a new trademark style of writing,  Apatow would help propel such comedians as Steve Carell and Seth Rogen into the spotlight and dominate the comedy scene for the remainder of the decade with such comedies as “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express.”
– Tim Jalbert

Video sharing website YouTube launches.
Feb. 15, 2005
What happened: Getting your daily fix of cute puppies, people falling and hurting themselves or gay men imitating Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance has never been easier.
– Kelsey Butler

“The Office”
Mar. 24, 2005
What happened: Since we commandeered the British mockumentary sitcom and outlasted its two-season lifespan, America hasn’t been able to get enough of forbidden love in the workplace and Dwight’s tech-nerd antics. Now that it’s in its sixth season, we can still forgive the show for its declining plot and cheap jokes because, come on, Jim’s crooked smile-shrug thing is still adorable.– Liz Bowen

Live 8
July 2, 2005
What happened: The Who, Stevie Wonder, Coldplay, Paul McCartney, Madonna, and U2 all on the same stage for free?  Sign me up!  Taking place in ten different locations throughout the world, the concerts were part of the Make Poverty History campaign and featured well over 200 artists.  One of the most noticeable acts was the reunion of Pink Floyd’s classic lineup for the first time in 24 years.  That almost makes the show legendary by itself. – Joe Marvilli

“Brokeback Mountain”
Dec. 16, 2005
What happened: Yeah, the movie was pretty boring at times and way too long. But it was a huge step toward a more prominent homosexual presence in American popular culture, despite the oh-so-enlightened nicknames given to it by ingenious comedians like Rush Limbaugh “Humpback Mountain,” har har.
– Liz Bowen

July 7, 2006
What happened: It was gone, and then he brought it back. ’Nuff said.
– Kathryn Feeney

Martin Scorsese Wins Best Director Oscar
Feb. 25, 2007
What happened: Without a doubt, Martin Scorsese is one of the best directors to ever make his mark in Hollywood.  Scorsese influenced multiple generations with his highly original auteur style and unique cultic sub-genre style of film. However, the Academy never saw him as highly as his fans. Despite being nominated five previous times for the award, it wasn’t until he released “The Departed” that he finally snagged the Best Director Oscar. -Tim Jalbert

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”
July 21, 2007
What happened: After waiting nearly a decade to find out how the wizarding adventure ends, someone scanned the final book online. I stayed offline for the two days leading to the release, for fear I would learn some tidbit before I had my hands on the hardcopy. I succeed and I had my 759 pages of escapism at 12:03 a.m. on July 21. I finished reading by 12:03 p.m. the same day.
– Ashley Wenners-Herron

“Gossip Girl”
Sept. 19, 2007
What happened: The entire nation begins referring to their friends only by their first initials. Also, a conspicuous amount of ridiculous headbands appear on girls’ heads everywhere.
– Kelsey Butler

“In Rainbows”
Oct. 10, 2007
What happened: Radiohead’s seventh album, “In Rainbows,” became the first mainstream digital release with a pay-what-you-want scheme.  Besides being a damn good album, it led to continually growing signs of independent success in the music industry without the help of record labels. It also was the first big release in years to not be online before its official sales date.  As singer Thom Yorke said, “every record for the last four… has been leaked. So the idea was like, we’ll leak it, then.”
– Joe Marvilli

MTV’s VMA Show: Kanye West and Taylor Swift
Sept. 13, 2009
What happened: If you don’t know what happened, you live under a rock. Still, it was the best award show moment of all time!
– Ashley Wenners-Herron