Credit: VH1

VH1’s latest wallow in very recent nostalgia is, by nature, a silly exercise: On Saturday, the five-night anthology will end by celebrating the long-ago year of 2009—you know, that dark age when The Simpsons was only in its 21st season, and commuters who wanted to play Angry Birds had no choice but to do it on the iPhone 3GS. Those suckers didn’t even have iOS 7!

If it’s going to be done, though, it might as well be done right—which is why there was something vaguely disappointing about the pop-culture milestones celebrated in the miniseries’ fifth and sixth episodes, covering the years 2004 and 2005. Some of the movies, TV shows, celebrity scandals, and assorted other ephemera that came up were legitimate phenomena (Mean Girls, Livestrong bracelets, Brokeback Mountain). Others… weren’t. To wit: Polar Express? Renée Zellweger and Kenny Chesney’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it marriage? Burger King’s omelet sandwich? Weezer’s “Beverly Hills,” which is a perfectly fine song but hardly a cultural touchstone?

Part of the issue is that VH1 has nostalgia-ed itself into a corner: In 2008, before the decade had even ended, the cable network aired another nostalgia anthology called I Love the New Millennium. The earlier show covered Napster and American Idol and trucker hats and Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction—in other words, what immediately comes to mind when you think “things that happened in the aughts.” As a result, I Love the 2000s is at an inherent disadvantage. (It’s unclear as of yet whether the 2008 episode will itself celebrate I Love the New Millennium, which might cause the universe to collapse in on itself like a dying star.)

That said: There’s no excuse for not covering Anchorman (released in 2004), or The Office (which premiered in 2005), or Lost (premiered in 2004), or Usher’s “Yeah!” (released in 2004), or Motorola Razr phones (debuted in 2004)—or Facebook, for crying out loud (went live in 2004). And that’s just off the top of my head. Here’s the stuff VH1 chose to highlight instead:



Pimp My Ride

Desperate Housewives

The Swan, notable mostly for giving us this incredible SNL sketch (“Yeah, I farted. Jealous?”)

I Want a Famous Face, a.k.a. The Swan, but even more depressing

Entourage (Panelist Christian Finnegan’s summary of every single storyline: “Vince might not make it to the party. Hey, Vince made it to the party!”)

Friends (a.k.a. “The Last One”)


White Chicks

Saw (in which “the twist at the end is what made it a great movie, which is why they made like nine of them”)

The Notebook

Napoleon Dynamite (including commentary from the guy who played Pedro! Also worth noting: Man, Jon Heder has a lot of upcoming projects)

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, which might actually be the most important item on this list, considering it launched Neil Patrick Harris’s career resurgence

Mean Girls


“Lean Back,” by Terror Squad

“Tipsy,” by J-Kwon; did you know he was only 18 years old when this song came out?


George W. Bush’s reelection

Howard Dean’s campaign-ruining scream (Panelist Edwin McCain’s amazing summary: “He didn’t yell right, and we don’t like that”)

“Designer dogs,” which apparently became a thing in 2004

Livestrong bracelets

George Takei’s Oh My moment of 2004: The Passion of the Christ earning huge box office numbers despite controversy

Nelly’s Hotties of 2004: Elisha Cuthbert (“Jack Bauer’s hottie daughter”), Thandi Newton (“necromonger hottie,” which is a reference not to the Academy Award-winning Crash, but to The Chronicles of Riddick), Portia de Rossi (“Arrested Development hottie”)

The Year in Spears: The gradual downward spiral begins: Britney marries Jason Alexander (not that Jason Alexander) in Vegas in January, quickly gets the marriage annulled, then marries Kevin Federline in July

Michael K. Williams’ Anti-Hero of 2004: Gregory House (“Dr. House was always the smartest guy in the room. And the highest. Definitely the highest.”)

Bret Michaels’ Guilty Pleasures of 2004: Halle Berry’s Catwoman, Ashlee Simpson (and her lipsynching), Laguna Beach (which, for the record, also came up in I Love the New Millennium)



How I Met Your Mother, which is apparently Biz Markie’s favorite show

Hell’s Kitchen

SNL‘s “Lazy Sunday” (standing in for the rise of YouTube, covered in I Love the New Millennium)

Jim Cramer’s Mad Money


Brokeback Mountain

Mr. and Mrs. Smith, though the real star of this segment is Press Tour Brad’s horrible bleached hair

Polar Express and motion capture, a technique that was “almost ready to not give you nightmares. Almost

Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake


“Since U Been Gone,” by Kelly Clarkson

“Trapped in the Closet,” by R Kelly—and featuring Michael K. Williams as policeman James! I take it back; watching this show was worth it to find out that Omar’s in Trapped in the Closet

“Collide,” by Howie Day’s haircut

“Beverly Hills,” by Weezer; after watching these video clips, I’m not entirely convinced that Fred Armisen and Rivers Cuomo are two different people


Terrell Owens

Ann Coulter

Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney—specifically, their marriage and quick annulment


Heelys, which apparently come in adult sizes now

Bluetooth headsets

Parkour, a.k.a. “a superpower you got if you drank enough Mountain Dew Code Red”

George Takei’s Oh My of 2005: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s split, followed by the emergence of Brangelina

Nelly’s Hotties of 2005: Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives hot”), Natalie Portman (“Luke Skywalker’s hottie mom”), Jessica Biel (“Esquire‘s sexiest woman alive hottie”)

The Year in Spears: Britney and Kevin: Chaotic, a.k.a. the most important TV program of our time, premieres; also, Britney’s first child is born

Michael K. Williams’ Anti-Hero of 2005: Tommy Gavin of Rescue Me

Bret Michaels’ Guilty Pleasures of 2005: “Don’tcha” by the Pussycat Dolls; Dancing With the Stars; Burger King’s omelet sandwich (which, again—what?)

I Love the '00s
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