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Turn of the Millennium
aka: Noughties
"We are the youth We'll take your Fascism away.
We are the youth apologise for another day.
We are the youth and politicians are so sure.
We are the youth and we are knocking on death's door.
Never knew we were living in a world with a mind that could be so sure.
Never knew we were living in a world with a mind that could be so small.
Never knew we were living in a world where the world is an open court.
Maybe we don't want to live in a world where innocence is sold short.
We'll make it up to you, in the year 2000."

Silverchair, "Anthem for the Year 2000"

The Year 2000. Flying cars, androids, faster-than-light space travel... oh wait, we don't have any of that yet. On the plus side, our computers didn't explode, after all. While New Years' 2000 came in with a bang, attitudes from The Nineties pretty much lingered for the first year. For the United States, the decade culturally started on September 11th, 2001 with the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, which not only launched the United States into two wars, but continues to be a lingering specter in global politics. It is possible this decade may have ended culturally in late 2008, which saw the start of the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression, followed two months later by the election of Barack Obama as President.

See The War on Terror for the major wars of this decade. Note that, since The War on Terror has defined American and NATO-sphere foreign policy for almost all of this time, this decade has marked the arrival of Middle Eastern civilizations as societies to know about. For example, the Persian Gulf city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, went through its boom during this decade.

The decade was a hard one for the United States, whose population suffered from, in quick succession: a controversial presidential election where the winner didn't win the popular vote, but did win in the electoral college; its worst ever terrorist attack; the Patriot Act undermining their civil liberties; two somewhat unpopular wars; the worst electrical black out in American history; another controversial presidential election; the catastrophic flooding of New Orleans thanks to Hurricane Katrina; the failure of the federal government to properly respond said floodin; the worst gas crisis since The Seventies; the gradual transformation from the largest government budget surplus in American history, to the largest government budget deficit in American history; and the start of the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression. This naturally lead to growing feelings of cynicism and insecurity, which is reflected in the growing trend towards Darker and Edgier entertainment.

Of course, on the other side of the coin, a lot of the decade's entertainment instead went in the direction of escapism. Much of the decade's culture can roughly be described as a retread of either The Eighties or The Fifties, depending on who you asknote . As if overcompensating for the insecurity they now felt, the American public took comfort in materialism and conspicuous consumption. The "McMansion" became the dominant paradigm for new homes, and enormous SUVs, after getting their start in the late '90s, came to rule over the car market, despite oil concerns, and forget electric cars. Seriously, forget they ever existed and buy an SUV. In fact, the car companies were so eager to make the consumer forget about electric cars that those produced in The Nineties were not only canceled, they were repossessed by car companies and crushed, lest one get away to make the rest of their cars look badnote . It wasn't until 2011 and the debut of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf that electric cars would return to the roads. The tax breaks that, under Clinton, would've gone to electrics, now under Bush went to the heaviest cars, and the SUVs of this decade were certainly heavy cars. Every genre of music, from Glam Rap to Post-Grunge, idolized lifestyles of excess and debauchery, with songs about how great it is to get drunk, have sex, and waste money ruling the air waves. If you couldn't afford a new flat-screen and surround sound system, then you could just buy it on credit and pay it off later, especially if it was that Segway scooter that George W. Bush can't drive, and, while it wasn't the only cause of economic meltdown, it certainly didn't help. Media technology continued to evolve. CD gave way to MP3 in the music sphere. DVD put VHS out of business early in the decade, only to have Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, in a re-enactment of The Eighties VHS vs Betamax debate, battle it out over who got to replace DVD at the end of the decade. Blu-Ray won.

Reality took over TV, with Survivor and American Idol in the US and Big Brother and Pop Idol/The X Factor in Britain launching hundreds of imitators across an ocean of reality TV subgenres, helped along by the explosion of cable and satellite television as a major outlet for original programming. Celebrity came to be defined not by an entertainer's accomplishments as a musician, actor, athlete, etc., but by the number of paparazzi following his or her every move and the amount of tabloid press that he or she had. It was something that could be achieved for seemingly nebulous reasons, as shown by the inexplicable rise to superstardom of such people as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, who built media empires on their status as socialites and reality TV stars. The societal implications of this were not lost on the world, with Charlie Brooker in Britain, the Chaser in Australia, and The Soup and The Daily Show in the US leading a wave of shows and blogs that satirized and parodied the decade's culture.

And speaking of blogs, this was also the time in which the internet really became a part of society at large, instead of being limited to computer geeks and Usenet groups. Everyone got connected, with many people owning media storage devices, having access to the internet, etc. If you didn't have a computer with internet access, you were left behind. Technology was always getting better and less expensive via Moore's law, and you could walk into a department store and buy a computer which was at least a million times more powerful than the ones that put man on the moon. Video games finally started to gain mainstream recognition, especially near the end of the decade, with the release of the Wii. Games became Darker and Edgier, with much more mature storylines and realistic plots, although how mature and realistic they are is subject to debate (some see it as a repeat of The Dark Age of Comic Books). Meanwhile, the sports gaming industry was effectively monopolized by Electronic Arts.

Gaming's turn towards realism was reflected in speculative fiction. There was a great demand for more "realistic" depictions of what happens if we were to actually meet aliens or fight robots. If we are higher tech, there is a good chance that Humans Are the Real Monsters, and when we have the inferior tech, don't expect to come out of the situation alive or overcoming against bad odds. This shift is perhaps best exemplified by LOST and the remake of Battlestar Galactica, two of the defining sci-fi shows of the decade, which were both heavily focused on character-driven drama, philosophy, and gritty realism (the latter especially in BSG's case).

A lot of humor consists of Crossing the Line Twice, and things which would have caused the Moral Guardians to have strokes just a few years earlier are now seen as just mildly offensive. As such, an obsession with Japan and awareness of East Asian affairs (especially with China's rapid rise as a world power) is becoming popular in the US once more. Movies tended to be more about adventure and self discovery than action and blowing things up. Of course, when you consider what started the decade off, it's kind of understandable why.

Note that this was only named as such because few can decide on what to call the 2000-2009 period. In Britain and Australia, this decade is often called the Noughties, as the word "nought" is another word for "zero." However, the word "nought" has faded from American English, which means that, to American ears, the term "Noughties" sounds like the more snicker-inducing "Naughties." note  As a result, Americans are more likely to refer to this decade as "The two-thousands" or "The double-o's".

See Also: The Edwardian Era, The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, The Forties, The Fifties, The Sixties, The Eighties, The Nineties and The New Tens.

Now has Useful Notes and YMMV pages.

Tropes associated with the time period:

  • All-CGI Cartoon: Disney and other animation companies abandoned traditional animation during this decade, though towards the end of the decade there was some hope that the two might coexist. Of course, anime is stronger than ever before and still averts this trope for the most part. Furthermore, this form finally began to break down the All Animation Is Disney stereotype beginning with Dreamworks Animation hitting the big time with their 2001 smash hit CGI feature, Shrek, becoming the first real feature animation company to challenge Disney over the long term, although it would have a period of artistic decline until it came roaring back in 2008 with a new quality commitment in 2008 with Kung Fu Panda.
    • Interestingly, Stop-Motion animation has also received a re-invigoration, as it's become apparent that some aesthetics are better suited to Stop-motion than CG (one of the best examples being Flushed Away, which had the character designs of an Aardman Animations character, but were CG - audiences generally said the animation looked weird because of it.
  • The Alleged Car: The SUV of this decade got this reputation for much the same reason as cars from The Seventies did, because they were overweight gas guzzlers being sold during a Gas Crisis. One example that stands out is the Ford Excursion. The combination of its curb weight of 7230 lbs, and it's 6.8 L V-10 engine, make for the ultimate gas guzzling SUV, getting only 9.6 mpg.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Became less powerful due to the success of adult-oriented animated TV shows like South Park and Family Guy, and a large wave of adult oriented anime, but still exists to some extent.
  • Auto-Tune: Existed before this decade with songs like Cher's Believe, but grew in popularity around the mid 2000s thanks to rappers like T-Pain, and soon spread to other artists like Rihanna and Snoop Dogg, as well as genres like pop and R&B.
  • Boy Band: Boy bands like **NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys remained a 90's holdover, but generally faded away by 2002 or so.
  • But Not Too Black: Many of the Black Celebrities at that time, specifically the women like Beyonce and Rihanna and Alicia Keys.
  • Post-Grunge: Most of the mainstream rock music of this decade falls into this category. In fact, it was one of the few genres that wasn't Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, or a derivative thereof that saw major airplay on mainstream radio. (Not counting oldies or classic rock stations of course). Though by The New Tens, this genre had worn out its welcome.
  • Shaking The Rump: This was quite common in many hip hop music videos at that time.
  • Stripperiffic: Just about every female pop star was expected to do at least one video in a bikini's worth of clothing or even less, and street fashion in real life sometimes imitated this.
  • Tsundere: The concept existed before this point, of course, but really seemed to take off in this decade, becoming a prominent character type even in Western media.
  • Who Forgot The Lights?: The Great Northeast Blackout of 2003, the largest in North American history, left millions in the United States and Canada without electricity for days, which happened during the US war with Iraq, and caused many to believe that America was under attack.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Was one of the main genres of The Sixth Generation of Console Video Games thanks to the popularity of Grand Theft Auto III and its sequels.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Most of the biggest celebrities in the 2000s like Paris Hilton.
  • Uncanceled: Increased during this decade, especially after Family Guy was brought back thanks to DVD sales.
  • Zeerust: All those science fiction movies taking place in 2000 look so old now.

Works that were made in this time period:


Congo WarsHollywood HistoryThe War on Terror
Multiple Demographic AppealImageSource/Newspaper ComicsWalking Spoiler
The FortiesThe EightiesPac-Man Fever

alternative title(s): The2000s; The Two Thousands; The Noughties; Noughties; The Oughties
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