CSI, Apple Stores, GPS, BlackBerry and more debuted less than 10 years ago.
If Wednesday’s list of the 11 Most Disappointing Movies of the 2000s is any indication, this is going to be quite a month for this website. I knew there’d be debate, but didn’t expect the volume of comments… or the passion of those comments.
Today’s decade-in-review list shouldn’t draw quite so much rage (most likely because I’m not saying Tropic Thunder, Wedding Crashers and The Departed were big disappointments like I did on Wednesday)… but is one that, hopefully, everyone will have ideas to contribute to. Because it’s an endless set of possibilities.
I got the idea for the list when I was researching a decade-in-review music list and realized that, on February 26th, 2000, the number one song in the U.S. was I Knew I Loved You by Savage Garden. A song by Savage Muthafukin’ Garden hit number one this decade.
So I stopped working on the music list and switched my focus to things from the 2000s that feel like they’ve been around forever. Stuff I can’t believe has only been around for 10 years or less.
The basic ground rule for the list: These have to be things that actually debuted in the 2000s… not things that debuted in the ’90s or earlier but only became popular in the 2000s. (For example: Napster, Law and Order: SVU, TiVo, Grand Theft Auto, Google, lower-back tattoos, hybrid cars, Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, HDTV, the new shitty Cleveland Browns and the Atkins diet.)
These are in no particular order… ranking 11 things on their “shockingness of debut date” level is crazy, even for someone as insane as me. But I did pick the 11 I felt were the most surprising and separate them out from the honorable mentions.
1 | CSI (debuted October 6, 2000)
It’s hard to believe that CSI has only been around for this decade. It feels like their pseudo-science, model-level-attractive science nerds, forensic techs who get to conduct interrogations, and “zoom in and enhance” magic computers have been part of our lives since at least the ’90s. You know, back when Enemy of the State came out and introduced us to ITS revolutionary computers that could take footage from a single camera and rotate it.
2 | Apple stores (debuted May 19, 2001)
Apple started making its rise from the ashes in 1998 when it rolled out its line of Skittlebrau iMacs. The Apple stores were the next step.
They filled a necessary void. Not only did they serve as a gathering spot where the rapidly-growing Apple cult-mmunity could come and smell their own farts… but they also served as the one place that would employ people with asymmetrical haircuts and a penchant for Hypercard.
3 | BlackBerry smartphones (debuted 2002)
I can’t imagine a world without the BlackBerry. Frankly, I’m not sure how business — or I — got anything done without one.
The first BlackBerry was a two-way pager that debuted in 1999; the first smartphone was the BlackBerry 5810, which came out in 2002. It could do calls, wireless e-mail, wireless Internet, a calendar… and spawned an entire generation of business people who would much, much, much rather be hunched over their tiny little cell phone than actually talk to their co-workers or family members.
Cell phones have made unreal leaps and bounds over the past decade — I got my first cell phone in August of 2000 and it was a Sprint PCS phone with a monochrome screen. Now I have a BlackBerry with a comparable processor and more storage (2 GB) than the desktop computer I took to college.
4 | Game Boy Advance (debuted June 11, 2001)
Back when the decade started, the most sophisticated Game Boy was the Game Boy Color. The Game Boy Advance was a huge revolution at the time… let Nintendo know that people were big enough suckers to buy every new piece of handheld hardware they would release… and eventually led to the Nintendo DS later in the decade.
Nintendo’s had a very interesting decade — basically, the Game Boy Advance kept them alive as a hardware company until they could gamble the entire company on the Wii (essentially splitting 6s against a 10)… and win.
Side note: The top three best-selling games for the GBA were all Pokemon games. Three of the next four best sellers are ports of old Mario games (Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3). Didn’t exactly set the world on fire for an original library… but still remains the fifth-highest-selling game console ever (behind PS2, old school Game Boy, Nintendo DS and PS1, just ahead of the NES, Wii, PSP, Super Nintendo and N64).
5 | Airport terminals for passengers only (debuted September 12, 2001)
College-age people may not even remember this — but before September 11th, you didn’t need a boarding pass to go into an airport terminal. You used to get off the plane and, assuming neither you nor the people closest to you were dicks, you’d have a family member or significant other waiting for you right there at the gate.
Of all the ways that air travel changed after the terrorist attacks, at-the-gate pick-ups seem like the most distant memory.
I get the feeling that “free checked baggage” will be on a future version of this list. Along with “flights under $500” and, based on current obesity statistical trends, “flights where you didn’t have someone else pouring over and under the armrest and into your seat.”
6 | In-car GPS (debuted May 2, 2000)
It’s kind of amazing we were able to get from point A to point B before. Trips used to take so much pre-planning — maps, atlases, frantic phone calls to AAA.
Now, when we’re going anyplace, we just jump in the car and let our GPS do the work. Whether it’s to meet friends in a neighborhood we don’t know that well or it’s a cross-country trip where we want to see a lot of “world’s largest”-type roadside attractions and really get to know ourselves, all we need to know is whether to turn right or left out of the driveway.
There were limited GPS devices in the previous two decades (and some GPS devices for boaters and hikers) but, in 2000, a Bill Clinton executive order went into effect which opened up full GPS signals to all civilians. In-car GPS devices as we know them now really started rolling out a few years later.
It’s crazy how far navigation has come this decade. I mean… back when I first moved to L.A. in 2001 everyone still had these books in their cars called Thomas Guides that had maps of every part of the city. Books. Of maps. In all of our cars. Now I have free Google Maps on my phone that uses the built-in GPS to take me wherever I want to go, show me the traffic along the way, AND let me find all the Dairy Queens along the way.
7 | Windows ME (debuted September 14, 2000)
I mean… I guess it makes sense that Window Millenium Edition (or was it just MillEnnium) came out in 2000 as the consumer-level follow-up to Windows 98. But it FEELS so long ago, because Windows has been through more ups and downs this decade than Tiger Woods’s penis. (Topical!)
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and even Windows 2000 all made big splashes — both good and bad. Windows ME is kinda the forgotten Windows of the decade, like Breyer when you ask someone to name all nine Supreme Court justices, or U-God or Masta Killa when you ask someone to name all nine Wu-Tang Clansmen.
I actually had it installed on my computer, about six or seven computers ago. Yeah, that’s a lot of computers for one decade. I burn through computers like John Paul Stevens through legal briefs or Ghostface through dope rhymes.
8 | The new $5 bill (debuted May 24, 2000)
Remember when all our money had smaller, centered photos of the Presidents? Before we decided to rip off Brazil and Parker Brothers and make our beloved green money a whole mess of bright, sassy colors?
The new $100s, $50s and $20s all rolled out in the late ’90s; the new $5 bills… with a giant Lincoln head (as if you entered the giant head code in NBA Jam) and a giant purple “5” on the back-right corner… didn’t show up until this decade.
9 | Reality TV on the networks (debuted May 31, 2000)
Reality-based television has been around since TVs were black-and-white, 400 pounds and emitted enough radiation to mutate a small turkey. MTV’s Real World and Road Rules were reality shows that existed long before this decade.
But “Reality TV” as we know it — all over network TV and keeping 20-25 smaller cable channels alive — didn’t happen until Survivor debuted on CBS as a summer show in 2000.
Think about that: Until this decade, you couldn’t turn on a network in prime time and watch reality shows. By 2005, you couldn’t turn on a network in prime time and NOT watch reality shows.
Few debuts better sum up this decade — the decade where Americans all lusted to be plucked from obscurity and thrust into overbearing, TMZ-worthy fame — than the advent of reality TV. (Though YouTube, MySpace/Facebook/Twitter, sex tapes, “funny” t-shirts and, yes, professional blogging, are all nice contenders too.)
10 | Red states/blue states (debuted November 7, 2000)
The late Tim Russert coined this term during coverage of the Bush-Gore election. Really makes you miss the days when we weren’t defined by colors and we could all just simply refer to the “others” as rednecks or hippies.
11 | Jared from Subway (debuted January 1, 2000)
Shit, I don’t just feel like Jared’s been around since the dawn of time, I feel like his buddy Clay Henry has been also.
And now… for the honorable mentions!
- iPods (October 23, 2001)
Hardest thing to exclude, but it really doesn’t feel like we’ve had them forever… and we all still have a functional DiscMan lying around to prove it.
- The XFL (February 3, 2001)
Can’t believe it’s only been 8+ years since this exploded out of the gate then plummeted and crash landed back down to Earth.
- Google text ads (April 2003)
It’s hard to remember the days when websites made all of their money off of pixelated 468×60 banner ads.
- Mel Gibson, anti-Semite/pariah (2004)
In 2000, Gibson starred in What Women Want and continued charming the pants off all American women of all religions.
- Christina Aguilera, dirrrrty phase (October 29, 2002)
At the 42nd Grammy Awards in February of 2000, sweet, wholesome, blond Aguilera won Best New Artist. The next year she did Lady Marmalade but didn’t get into full-on hooker mode until her album Stripped came out in 2002.
- eHarmony.com (August 22, 2000)
Hey, unlike Match.com, at eHarmony you only have, like, an 85 percent chance that you’ll end up on a date with a married guy.
- Crocs (2002)
Before 2002, the ugliest shoes you could buy were British Knights.
- Bluetooth earpieces (~2002)
Debate: Most obnoxious invention of the 2000s… or most obnoxious invention ever?
- Adult Swim (September 2, 2001)
Resurrected Family Guy and remains the only definitive proof that males 18-24 actually watch television.
- Spike TV (August 11, 2003)
Before it was Spike it was The Nashville Network (and then, briefly, The National Network when they wanted to distance themselves from the whole country thang). Anyway, Spike is definitive proof that advertisers can be fooled into thinking males 18-24 will watch television shows with names like Manswers.
- Satellite radio (Sirius: March 12, 2001; XM: September 25, 2001)
Remember back when the only way to listen to a bunch of over-opinionated fame-whores screaming on your radio was to tune in to every single AM station?
- Kanye West (2004)
He was producing before a while, but didn’t enter the public consciousness until his debut album came out in 2004. It sure does feel like he’s been telling us how great he is forever, though.
- The Segway (December 3, 2001)
Exactly eight years and one day later and I’m still holding my breath, waiting for this to change transportation forever.
- Listerine breath strips (Summer 2000)
Sure, they felt slimy on your tongue and only bandaged your bad breath temporarily… but it sure beat the old-fashioned methods like brushing your teeth.
- Heely roller skate shoes (late 2000)
Did someone really need to invent something that would make today’s kids even more reckless?
- Gmail (April 1, 2004)
At this point, don’t you give someone a suspicious look if they tell you they have a Hotmail address?
- Euros (January 1, 2002)
And it was only met with minor resistance.
- American Idol
I didn’t include this on the list because I included reality TV as a whole… but American Idol has become an unreal institution in its eight years. It made some huge music stars… and even bigger stars out of Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest.
- The Sims (February 4, 2000)
It’s the best-selling PC game in history. So I guess it had a pretty good decade.
- The WCW/WWF merger (2001)
It’s hard to remember an era when Vince McMahon had competition. It’s been so long since he had to TRY to make wrestling good. As someone who loved the two previous pro wrestling booms (late ’80s and late ’90s), I’m eagerly anticipating the next golden age.
- The Da Vinci Code (April 2003)
- JetBlue (February 11, 2000)
And I’ve flown it exactly once. But it was a really good ride.
- MINI Coopers in America (2001)
Really put the final nail in the coffin of the Dodge Omni.
- BitTorrent (July 2, 2001)
You can trace back the origins of every great modern technology to porn.
OK… so what did I miss? Remember — it had to debut after January 1, 2000… not just get popular this decade.