Ahh, the early 2000s. An era that exudes an odd amount of nostalgia for a time where many of us were toddlers. Maybe it’s the lack of social media and all the negativity surrounding it, but stepping back into the beginning of such a decade is truly a breath of fresh air.
These five, teen-oriented shows are the few that flourished before the introduction of the supernatural. Don’t get me wrong, shows like The Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf are phenomenal, but seeing young, relatable adults like ourselves trying to pave their way through life hits a little different.
They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
- The o.c.
The O.C goes down in history as my favourite show of all time. I’m not sure if it’s the alluring Orange County lifestyle, the irresistible wit of Seth Cohen or the unbreakable bonds found within, but there’s something about The O.C. that has carved out a California-shaped piece in my heart.
The show follows Ryan Atwood, a teenager from a broken home in Chino, California who’s taken in by his criminal defence lawyer Sandy Cohen and his family in Newport Beach.
With themes circulating addiction, depression and family trauma, The O.C. demonstrates that all the glitz, glam, wealth and status in the world can’t dismantle one’s inner demons. Through witty banter and a whole lot of bagels (iykyk), the series shows that where you come from isn’t nearly as important as where you’re going.
With halter tops, layered tanks, juicy sweatsuits and a criminal amount of bronzer, The O.C. is the epitome of Y2K fashion. An era I will commend for its bold style choices, the early 2000s and this show exuded certain fashion combinations, makeup choices and accessories that, here in 2021, are better left admired than actualized.
If The O.C. taught me anything (besides the fact that I belong in Orange County) it’s that family isn’t always blood-related. After watching the Cohen’s celebrate Chrismukkah, talk about cream cheese (again, iykyk) and support one another unconditionally, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.
- One tree hill
Tree Hill, North Carolina; no vampires, no werewolves, just a lot of low-rise jeans and lipgloss. Featuring a young Chad Michael Murray, One Tree Hill is filled to the brim with teenage drama and all the Y2K fashion trends we love to remember but shall never repeat.
Following two half-brothers whose only commonalities include a love for basketball and a deep hatred for their biological father, One Tree Hill quickly takes on many forms, from love triangles to psycho nannies to fashion empires and the NBA. With the nine seasons and an uber-talented cast, One Tree Hill takes you in as one of their own.
Simply put: this show is about small-town kids. Kids with family issues that pierce your heart; kids with dreams that make your eyes widen and kids with no plan b. Driven by passion and fuelled by those they love, each character on One Tree Hill develops right before your eyes, leaving you feeling like a proud mother by the end of its ninth and final season.
This show is also about family and friends who become your family. Simple yet profusely complex, One Tree Hill doesn’t shy away from life’s unfair tribunals and heartbreaks, yet refrains from denying how beautiful life and love can truly be.
- Gilmore Girls
Is it really fall if you’re not re-watching Gilmore Girls for the fifth time? My forever comfort show, Gilmore Girls is the equivalent of a warm pumpkin spiced latte on a chilly autumn night. Nearly 21 years after its release, Gilmore Girls continues to inspire aesthetics, spark debate (team Jess for the win) and be at the heart of every fall vision board.
A timeless series with characters that quickly feel like family, Gilmore Girls follows the lives of the blue-eyed, coffee-loving, mother-daughter duo that is Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Premiering in 2000 and going on for seven seasons, Gilmore Girls takes place in the charming fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut – a heartwarming location where there’s a festival every weekend and enough love to fill a million Luke’s Diner coffee cups.
The simplicity of the early 2000s seeps out of this show with the flip-phones, the Uggs and the complete lack of social media. Gilmore Girls brings you back to the days where cell phones were solely used for phone calls and a Friday night-in meant picking out a movie at the video store and ordering Chinese food.
With witty dialogue that moves at the speed of light and a flawless mix of love, humour and drama, whilst instilling coffee addictions and fall obsessions, Gilmore Girls compels your attention, warms your heart and is worthy of your time.
- dawson’s creek
The show that kicked off the phenomena of late ’90s/early 2000s teen dramas, Dawson’s Creek is one for the ages.
Set in Capeside, Massachusetts, Dawson’s Creek follows the lives of childhood best friends Dawson and Joey, Dawson’s bestie Pacey and the town’s new girl Jen. Defining the legendary WB network, its premiere drew in 6.8 million viewers, the highest in The WB’s history. Introducing the idea of love triangles to teen dramas, fans of the show ate up the continuous relationship drama that kept the series running for six seasons.
Dawson’s Creek launched the careers of James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson and Michelle Williams, and whether you were a nerd like Dawson, a tomboy like Joey, a joker like Pacey or a rebel like Jen, there was a character for everyone.
Dawson’s Creek was a simple show with extraordinary reception. There were no glamorous undertones or supernatural elements, it was merely a show about young adults growing up, and its honest nature was appreciated by its loyal fanbase. Seeing a reflection of yourself on screen was a special feeling and one that Dawson’s fans everywhere got to experience weekly.
- the simple life
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are the epitome of Y2K. With juicy couture sweatsuits, hot pink everything and dogs as accessories, the era belonged to them.
A show truly like no other, the reality series The Simple Life aired from 2003 to 2007 and featured a rather different version of Hilton and Richie. Giving up their bedazzled flip phones and beloved credit cards, the show followed the duo as they took on manual labour jobs in the hunt for “the simple life.” Never having worked a day in their lives, the affluent socialites tried out various jobs throughout 55 episodes.
Given a reality show merely three years into the decade, The Simple Life credits the duo as the original Kardashians. With fashion as iconic as their catchphrases, it’s safe to say Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are the founding figures of the Y2K aesthetic.