The 2000s were a memorable time in history. Between fashion, makeup, pop culture, scandals, and celebrities, it surely made its mark. An impactful part of the 2000s was the television shows and movies that are still watched greatly today. The list of movies and television shows from that eventful decade is endless, however, there are a few that stood out, and remain extremely popular to this day. Some many movies and shows have been incredibly important during the 2000s, winning awards and impressing critics. But some works simply incorporate everything that made the 2000s so special, meaning drama, romance, and fashion.
First things first, let's take a look back in time at what are arguably the most memorable television shows of the 2000s, more specifically, teen television shows.
1. Gossip Girl (2007 - 2012)
Launching in 2007 and ending in the early 2010s, Gossip Girl can be referred to as one of the most influential and popular television shows. For those who are not yet familiar with this show, first of all, how? And secondly, it takes place in “the city that never sleeps”, known as New York City,“ which already indicates that whoever watches it is in for a very interesting ride.
The show focuses on the lives of Manhattan's Elite, the richest and most influential of them all. The four main characters of this captivating show are Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), Serena Van Der Woodsen (Blake Lively), and Nate Archibald (Chase Crawford). As the show begins, the audience is introduced to Gossip Girl, an anonymous website that posts all about the scandals and turmoils of the inner circle of these four characters. Throughout the six seasons, the identity of Gossip Girl is always out of reach, urging viewers to watch more in hopes that they will uncover the mystery of this secretive gossip that is tarnishing the characters’ lives. The never-ending drama and the insight of the most luxurious lifestyle one can dream of, offer audiences an opportunity to dive into an untenable world yet an exciting one.
Between all the shocking twists and turns of the plot, Gossip Girl also offers special guest appearances ranging from singers such as Lady Gaga, actresses like Hillary Duff, broadway actors such as Aaron Tveit (who plays Tripp Vanderbilt, Nate’s cousin), and people in the fashion world such as Alexa Chung. To say this show has it all would be an understatement. It supplies scandals, drama, romance (including the famous phrase “three words, eight letters, say it and I’m yours”, which I'm pretty sure we’re all still swooning over), fashion, and talents of all types. For those interested, Gossip Girl is streaming on HBO Max!
2. Gilmore Girls (2000 - 2007)
Gilmore Girls launched in the year 2000, making it the perfect show for this list. Offering a stark contrast from the aforementioned Gossip Girl, this show takes place in the quiet town of Stars Hollow. Gilmore Girls follows the lives of Rory and Lorelai Gilmore, a mother and daughter pair who are practically inseparable.
Lorelai Gilmore is the daughter of the prosperous Richard and Emily Gilmore, when she was 16 years old, Lorelai got pregnant and had her first and only child, Rory. She decided to move out of her parent’s house and make her own life for her and Rory. As for Rory, she is an incredibly dedicated girl, and she earns her spot at Chiton, a prestigious private school. Instantly, Rory does not fit in with the rest of her classmates, as she does not understand why they all focus so much on money and reputations. This can teach audiences how money isn't everything, and sometimes, having a loving family and friends is the best gift one can have.
This show, which is available on Netflix offers heartwarming, comedic, and comforting content, and the characters are extremely likable, making it the perfect show to binge-watch - especially during fall and winter with a warm cup of the Gilmore Girls’ favorite drink; coffee! It can teach a lot about life, love, and family, something else to add to the pile of why watching it is so worthwhile. But don’t be fooled, just because it takes place in a small, welcoming town does not mean it lacks drama. Gilmore Girls possesses one of the most famous love dilemmas of all time, with fans being torn apart between three very special love interests in the young Rory Gilmore. Everyone that watches is either a team Jess, Dean, or Logan, and there is no in-between.
3. One Tree Hill (2003 - 2012)
One Tree Hill is yet another teen television series that is closely related to the 2000s. Starting in 2003 and having its final season release in 2012, this show lasted a long time, and there's a reason for that. The show revolves around two half brothers, Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) as they live in the small-scale town of Tree Hill.
Chad Michael Murray is an actor that was very present during many 2000s movies such as “A Cinderella Story”, “Gilmore Girls”, and “Freaky Friday.” When one thinks of the 2000s and its pop culture, his name surely pops up. The two half-brothers compete on the basketball court, playing for their school's basketball team. The plot follows the characters' lives, as well as the lives of their friends and romantic entanglements, which leaves quite a lot of space for drama.
With mostly high ratings, including 4.9/5 stars on the overall audience rating, this show, which can be watched on Netflix has amounted to quite a lot of popularity during the time it was on the air; and today, it still has its fair share of fans. Overall, the great casting, humor, drama, and romance of this show are undoubtedly entertaining, and it is safe to say that it is worth watching.
4. The O.C (2003 - 2007)
Last but certainly not least on the list of teen television shows that made an impact on the 2000s, is “The O.C.” The show started in 2003 and it came to its closing in its fourth and final season that aired in 2007. This show takes place in sunny California, and like all the other shows on this list, it revolves around the lives of wealthy high school students.
It all starts when Ryan Atwood (Ben Mckenzie) and his brother are arrested for car theft, having been a minor, Ryan receives help from Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher). Sandy, who is a public defender, offers to take young Ryan to his mansion in Orange County, where he meets his newfound family and friends. The Cohen family, Sandy, Kirsten (Kelly Rowan) and teenager Seth Cohen (Adam Brody, who is now married to Leighton Meester) quickly embrace Ryan into their family. As he starts living with the Cohens, Ryan meets people who will soon become his close friends, this includes Summer (Rachel Bilson) and Marissa (Mischa Barton). The show revolves around the lives of Ryan, Summer, Seth, and Marissa as they tackle family, high school, drama, and romance.
Overall, The O.C offers an entertaining plot with characters that people can easily relate to and romances that they can get attached to. Between humorous and romantic scenes' *spoiler alert* (and yes - I am talking about that spider-man-inspired kiss between Seth and Summer), the show offers content that can be enjoyed by mostly everyone. It is also important since the show touches on topics such as friendship, family issues, and mental health, only adding to the reasons why this was an interesting must-watch back in the 2000s and still is now. The O.C is not available on many platforms, but it can be watched on GloboPlay.
All these shows stated above have had a great impact on the 2000s, and everything about them embodies the decade, from the amazing cast to the outfits worn by the characters. Of course, the decade had many other shows that were incredibly well known, and to mention them all would require a long time, therefore, these four are just the tip of the iceberg when mentioning the 2000s.
Now that we’re done with television shows, let’s head over to what are arguably the top four movies that people think of when talking of the 2000s.
1. Mean Girls (2004)
Arguably one of the most talked-about 2000s movies to this day, “Mean Girls” hit theatres in 2004. From gossip to catchy lines delivered by the characters, this movie has it all. It follows the story of Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), who was at the height of her Hollywood career, earning jobs left and right, a teenage girl who had been previously homeschooled while living in Africa.
Cady and her parents leave Africa and the movie starts on her first day in a real high school, where she meets the other characters that will be playing an important role in this movie. She meets Janice (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese), two outcasts who take her under their wing.
As she heads into high school, Cady meets another group of people. North Shore High Schools’ Mean Girls. The little mean group consists of Gretchen Wieners, whose hair is “full of secrets,” Karen Smith, one of the dumbest girls anyone will ever meet, and final, evil incarnate, Regina George.
The movie follows Cady as she tries to destroy the group of Mean Girls from within, a sort of spy if you will. However, as time goes by, she starts to become more and more like the girls she once hated, creating more drama than one could ever imagine.
2. Legally Blond (2001)
The next movie on the list is “Legally Blond.” A classic. If you haven't watched this movie already, chances are that you’ve at least heard of it. This movie has been so incredibly successful that it was even turned into a broadway musical, as was the previously mentioned movie, “Mean Girls.”
The plot of this movie follows Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) as she tries to succeed in Harvard law school. What inspired her choice of career? Well, her boyfriend Warner (Matthew Davis) broke up with her because he wanted someone more intellectual. His ill-mannered reasoning in believing she is dumb is related to the prejudice that blonds face. When Warner breaks off their relationship, Elle utters the iconic line; “so you’re breaking up with me because I’m too blond?” In an attempt to prove him wrong and win him back, Elle applies to Harvard law school, a school that Warner attends, and she buries her nose in books.
As the plot moves along, Elle makes friends in unlikely places and she finds that law is something she had quite a passion for. It isn’t all easy though, for she has to prove all the assumptions people have of her wrong as she helps in a murder case that went to court. This movie provides interesting storylines, humorous moments, romance, and most of all, it inspires people to do what they want and not to listen to negative words that people say about you. From the cast to the costumes, this movie has everything that made the 2000s so impactful in movie history.
3. Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)
This particular movie was released late into the 2000s, but it still has a very special place on this list. Following the pattern from all the other movies on this list, this is, once again, a romantic comedy, and this movie was based on a book. “Confessions of a Shopaholic” follows the life of Becky Bloom (Isla Fisher), who is a - you guessed it, shopaholic!
Unfortunately for her, Becky’s favorite pastime, and addiction, ends up leaving her knees deep in debt. When she loses her job, Becky tries for an interview at a fashion magazine, but by some sick twisted fate, she ends up working at a financial magazine called “Successful Savings.” If you didn't see the irony in this, allow me to enlighten you: a shopaholic who had shopped her way into debt is now advising people about how to save money.
Somehow, she becomes quite a success, and she can charm her way into her boss, Luke Brandon’s (Hugh Dancy) heart. However, her problems are still not over, for her bank manager Derek Smeath, is determined to catch her in her lie and force her to pay off her debts.
“Confessions of a Shopaholic” is a lovely movie to watch during downtime. It provides a large number of comedic moments that will have you smiling, and the movie also has its fair share of romantic moments. It also provides a life lesson; don’t shop if you can’t pay for it.
4. How to lose a guy in 10 days (2003)
Lastly on the list is “How to lose a guy in 1o days,” a romantic comedy that aired in 2003. This movie is extremely popular for its amazing plot, hilarious moments, and impeccable casting. The main characters for this stellar movie are Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) and Benjamin Barry (Mathew McConaughey). These two actors are impeccable in their roles, making the audience laugh and slowly fall in love with their personalities.
Andie is a journalist working in a women's magazine in New York City, which seems to be a recurring theme in the 2000s romcoms. She wants to write something different, that will challenge her more. With the help of her female colleagues, Andie comes up with an article idea. She decides to name it “How to lose a guy in 10 days” which will give an insight into everything that men despise in relationships. The only issue? She first needs to find a man to get him to dump her. That’s where Benjamin comes in.
Benjamin wants in on a big deal at his job that could potentially lead to more opportunities in his career. However, the deal is with a diamond company and his co-workers argue that he has no experience when it comes to taking care of a woman, as he rarely dates for a long time. He then places a bet that if he has a girlfriend by the time a work event, which is ten days away, takes place, he will be able to work on the deal.
Thus, fate and a little bit of foul play bring Andie and Benjamin together; both blissfully unaware of each other's devious intentions. As Andie terrorizes Benjamin by being clingy, whiny, and possessive, he has no other choice but to stick around with her. The deadline inches closer, tensions rise and the characters have to figure out a way to get what they want, but maybe, just maybe, what they want is hidden in their hearts.
These movies and television shows only highlight a brief part of the 2000s. But they can incorporate just how special and memorable this era was in pop culture. Whether we are talking about fashion, one-liners, romance, or comedy, these movies and shows have it all, and they can incorporate these aspects perfectly. The faces of the actors in these movies and shows bring a nostalgic sense since they have all done their part in making memorable works that will continue to be enjoyed years from now.