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Unintentional Period Piece / Turn of the Millennium

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh is mostly free of such moments, but there are some jokes that make little sense nowadays. Like Chiyo-Chan, a Child Prodigy, having no knowledge about how to use a computer, or Osaka making a reference to Yoshiro Mori, a prime minister that had been recently voted out.
  • Despite being set 20 Minutes into the Future, an episode in the first season of A Certain Magical Index where the whole world goes through a body swap has Shirai Kuroko switching with what is clearly Barack Obama (complete with her saying "YES WE CAN"), who had just become the President Elect at the time and was just about to become the 44th POTUS. In addition, the series has everyone with flip phones.
  • The second season of Darker Than Black, the first episodes of which were set in Vladivostok, quite firmly pins itself in the winter of 2007-2008, because the city has since experienced a building boom that radically changed its skyline just a year later.
  • While Hiromu Arakawa has sworn up and down that they're based on the Ainu people she grew up next to as a farm girl in northern Japan, the Ishvalans of Fullmetal Alchemist and their parallelism to Muslims in the early (and very xenophobic) days of The War on Terror makes some people wonder. The politicization was then taken Up to Eleven in the 2003 anime adaptation, thanks in part to its director, Seiji Mizushima, having an obsession with being "topical". The Middle East references are laid on much thicker (the opening arc has the town of Lior changed from a geographically-vague mountainous region to a Middle Eastern desert, for starters), overt references are made to the rape and torture of prisoners and civilians at the hands of the military (likely inspired by the real-life cases of military abuses making headlines at the time), and much more attention is given to Edward and Dante's atheistic views (at a time when speakers like Richard Dawkins had gained large cultural relevance).
  • Genshiken became a snapshot of the Japanese otaku subculture as it was during the early 2000s before it was Un-Canceled with Nidaime. The references are contemporary, and it notably deals with the Moe boom and (to an extent) the "mainstreaming" of otakudom around the start of The New '10s. The gap between the old guard and the new generation is increasingly evident in Nidaime, where the idea of "otaku" has gone from something of an internalized, somewhat shameful identity to a (relatively) unstigmatized descriptor of someone who enjoys their hobbies with a shameless, fiery passion.
  • The infamous English Gag Dub of Ghost Stories was recorded in 2005, and boy does it ever sound like it. It's filled with references to the George W. Bush administration as well as the then-current political landscape of the USA (particularly Texas), the then-still-powerful Fundamentalist Christian groups, Hurricane Katrina, Lindsay Lohan being called attractive unironically, Scientology, certain now-long-dead memes, and name-dropping of several prominent media personalities. One particular Cold Open that, in the original Japanese, had been silent, was given some Lull Destruction in the form of a news-radio broadcast that culminated in referring to popular CNN anchor Anderson Cooper as a closeted homosexual. This became Hilarious in Hindsight a few years later when Cooper actually did come out.
  • Lucky Star's anime aired in 2007 and was quite reliant on mid-to-late 2000s anime, manga, and gaming references, most notably to Haruhi Suzumiya which was at the peak of its popularity during that time.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Many of the conflicts in the show are heavily based around real-life ones that had been in the news at the time (the anime, unsurprisingly, was directed by Seiji Mizushima). Caricatures of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are featured as the first and second presidents of The Federation. Amusingly, the show directly featured the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers (an insurrectionist group in the Sri Lankan Civil War) despite being set 200 years in the future; by 2009, only two years after the show premiered, the Sri Lankan government had quelled the insurgency.

    Comic Books 
  • Batwoman's origins as a former soldier who was kicked out under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" dates her series to before that policy was repealed in 2010.
  • The Cartoon History of the Universe: The final two books, titled The Cartoon History of the Modern World, were completed during the George W. Bush administration, and it shows. The Professor makes a few references to controversial political issues of the era, including criticizing Private Military Contractors and "freedom fries," while covering events from hundreds of years ago.
  • Due to the author being a New Yorker and featuring plenty of Scenery Porn, the Girl series such as Girl- The Second Coming nails it as a pre-9/11 NYC with shots of the Twin Towers still intact and the city being nicknamed, "Rudy's shooting gallery" referring to previous mayor Rudy Giuliani.
  • Marville hasn't aged well at all. There are numerous references to AOL Time-Warner, portraying it as a powerful Mega-Corp that rules the world in 5002. There are also "jokes" about Marvel's staff and comics in the early 2000s, for example, showing Peter David, who was making a bet with Bill Jemas to see who could sell more comics, as a poor man (David won the bet). And the title and issue #1 references Smallville, which had recently come out. But it isn't even a good representation of the 2000s because of errors like Ted Turner and Jane Fonda being married (and somehow still alive) in the year 5002, when they were divorced at time of publication.
  • Runaways Vol. 1 can be firmly placed as being set between 2003-2004, due to its clothing styles, cell phones, and references to Saddam Hussein and the Iraq War.
  • Numerous Marvel Comics characters have ties to World War II. Primary examples are Nick Fury and Reed Richards, who fought in it, and Magneto who was in a concentration camp. For some reason, only Captain America had to be frozen in ice in order to be brought into the "modern" age (the '60s). Nick Fury's relative youth continuing well past the '60s was explained by a serum he was given that keeps him young, but there has been no explanation for why Reed Richards still looks maybe 50 at the oldest and Magneto is a white-haired older man. The idea that Richards is a WWII vet was quietly dropped later in that decade.
    • Tying a character to a war in general tends to do this. Professor X is supposed to be a veteran of The Korean War, where he and Cain Marko stumbled upon the Gem of Cytorrak, turning Marko into Juggernaut. Neither character is portrayed or drawn as being anywhere near old enough to have been a soldier in that war. The Punisher's history as a Vietnam vet is vital to his character, but it would mean he's somewhere in his sixties at this point, and yet he's never drawn looking older than a very youthful 40.
  • The entire Ultimate Marvel line has this going for it. Created in the early 2000s, a part of its appeal was that it averted several superhero tropes at the time and "modernised" several elements of Marvel lore. However, the way it went about this was to apply copious amounts of 2000s superhero tropes (Darker and Edgier interpretations of characters, Bloodier and Gorier moments galore, Beware the Superman being prominent, Superdickery from everyone, Civvie Spandex or Movie Superheroes Wear Black costumes almost exclusively and lots of sex), which have retroactively dated the entire line (aside from Spider-Man). When you see the leather clad Ultimates and Ultimate X-Men murdering people while casually talking about their sex lives, it's very clear what era they're from.
    • For a more specific example, The Ultimates Volumes 1 and 2 are very much products of The War on Terror. The story begins with "What if Captain America was resurrected during the 2000s" and goes from there. Cap himself in this continuity is pretty much the living embodyment of post-9/11 "national unity", his infamous "You think this letter [A] on my head stands for France?" was supposed to be a jab at France-bashing after the country opposed the invasion of Iraq. Bush himself even appears in a few scenes. Hawkeye and Black Widow's inflitration of an office building is straight out of The Matrix, Thor's Conspiracy Theorist characterisation and the shape-shifting Chitauri are both inspired by David Icke, and Volume 2's plot revolves around the Ultimates being made to fight terrorism in the Middle East and winding up in the crosshairs of an anti-American super group known as the Liberators, who's members include two Chinese agents, an Azerbaijani and a North Korean. And Loki.
  • The Boys is about a black-ops group tasked with keeping the psychopathic, hedonist Smug Supers of the work in check. It's also an indictment against super heroes and the state of the comic book industry. A such, the comic relied a significant amount on how things were back when it was published between 2006 and 2012. Perhaps the most glaring example of this are Payback, the resident stand-in for The Avengers. The whole joke about them is that they are a second-rate team perpetually living in the shadow of The Seven, the Justice League analogue, and are considered disposable by their bosses. A pretty spot-on assessment of the position of Marvel's Super Heroes team at that time. Nowadays, though, with the smashing success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers are as or even more popular than the Justice League, as far the public is concerned.

    Comic Strips 
  • While The Boondocks was launched in 1999, its turn for the political after 9/11 firmly welded it to the zeitgeist of The War on Terror, particularly the opposition to it. Its presentation of African-American culture is likewise very much of its time, especially with its hatred of BET, which became a major focus of criticism by black leaders in the 2000s. Riley's personality was already dated by the mid-2000s, hence why the animated adaptation changed his character and look so much. This trope is also true of the animated series, to a lesser extent.

    Fan Works 
  • Diamonds in the Desert goes to show it was made and takes place in 2007. Todd uses a PDA (these had only just begun to be displaced by smartphones) for various purposes such as electronic music and going online with a hacked external wireless modem. Nowadays, hardly anyone remembers PDAs anymore, and everything his fancy customized device can do would be possible out of the box with a smartphone.
  • The very first episode of Dragon Ball Z Abridged has a gag where Piccolo checks his MySpace page. The series began in 2008, when MySpace was still all the rage and Facebook was only beginning to take off. However, the joke still somewhat works if you interpret it as Piccolo being so lonely and isolated that he still uses MySpace. Lampshaded in a later episode when he says he upgraded to "Spacebook".
  • Eddie Rath's Naruto Filk Song rap "Gaara The Sand Assassin" gets dated to the 2000s with the line "Caramelldansen is the same as Cascada—they're both fucking annoying". The song was written when Caramelldansen Vids were most popular and Cascada fanvids were epidemic in the Naruto fandom.
  • Even ignoring the fact that Cori Falls wrote fanfiction of the Orange Islands and Johto seasons of Pokémon, it's abundantly obvious that her story "Heroic Hearts" was written shortly after the contested 2000 U.S. presidential election: the villain is a very obvious stand-in for George W. Bush, who goes by "W. Shrubb", referencing two of his nicknames that were only really common in the very early 2000s, and who Cori's heroes argue only won the mayoral election through corruption — an accusation that was certainly most prevalent immediately after Bush v. Gore. In addition, Shrubb's speech contains word-for-word copies of the original Bushisms, and mention is made of a website that is a parody of the long-defunct "Bush or Chimp".
  • The Merry Go Round Broke Down is a Who Framed Roger Rabbit? fan-sequel themed around the contemporary popularity of CGI cartoons and the decline of traditionally animated cartoons. It is from 2008 and it shows. For example, Bugs Bunny is a Racist Grandpa because he hasn't had a show in years. 3 years later, The Looney Tunes Show came out. Another example is Arthur and Buster worrying about Arthur being cancelled. The show was still going ten years after the fic's release.
  • In addition to being a pre-Book 7 Harry Potter fic, the infamous My Immortal has a Present-Day Past dated to the 2006-2007 years in which it was written:
    • Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff have yet to be displaced by Miley Cyrus, and Twilight is conspicuous by its absence, as is Fall Out Boy, arguably the biggest "goff" (then emo) band of the 2000s. There's even a mention of Hilary Duff dating Joel Madden, dating the story to the two years (2004–2006) in which they were together.
    • Another giveaway comes in if you're a My Chemical Romance fan (since they tend to be the band mentioned most in the fic), as most of the songs by the band mentioned in the story are singles off of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, MCR's second album and their first big mainstream release. Amusingly, the story never mentions any songs off of MCR's more obscure first album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, which came out in 2002, showing that even Tara sticks dominantly to mainstream "punk" and "goff" bands. The story makes no references to any songs off of their even more successful third album The Black Parade, released in late 2006, either, meaning most of the story was likely written prior to its release.
  • A Pikachu in Love takes place during the Johto arc of the Pokémon anime, with no subtle nods or mentions of anything that would come after it to indicate that the story was written later. Even with that though, there's still some minor things that point to its age, such as its unconventional font, being only found on Pokémon Towers (a website that in itself is a time capsule to 90s / early 2000s web design), and unironically has Pikachu worrying about the fact that one day Ash will grow up and possibly leave him in the process. Considering Ash would eventually become one of the most infamous cases of Not Allowed to Grow Up in anime history...
  • The Rainbow Connection is from 2005. You can tell it's prior to cellphones becoming commonplace by Alice asking to use the payphone at a restaurant. In a more subtle case, Stormy mentions that she's been looking for Alice for twenty years. Rainbow Brite came out 20 years prior.
  • When Rocket Member began, Pikachu from the Pokémon anime had an Ambiguous Gender. A popular theory was that it was female. Pikachu in the comic is a girl, but since then the anime has confirmed Pikachu as a male.
  • Despite the Star Wars setting, you can easily tell that the Sith Academy series was written between 1999 and 2001. People rent movies from Blockbuster and have CDs, VCRs and dial-up Internet. There are also numerous pop cultural references to things like boy bands, the Spice Girls, Teletubbies, Furbies, The Blair Witch Project, and Ally McBeal, along with stories about Y2K and the contested 2000 US Presidential election.
  • This trope was part of the motivation for the Sonic X: Dark Chaos rewrite. The original, which was started in 2007, included several references to Internet memes and games from that era (most notably Team Fortress 2). It also had numerous Take That! jokes aimed at 4Kids Entertainment, which ended up going bankrupt soon after the story was finished.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 2005 Judd Apatow comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin is almost defiantly a product of the early-to-middle part of the 2000s. The electronics store where the main characters work (the two products we see them pitch are a combination VCR/DVD player and a bulky, pre-LCD big-screen TV), Trish’s business selling other people’s items on Ebay, the extended PT Cruiser driving sequence, the low-rider-jeans-and-sequins-heavy fashion, the pervasive trans- and homophobic jokes… all point blatantly to the turn of the millennium. On the other hand, Andy’s fanboy-ish interest in classic nerd properties like Marvel Comics and Star Wars, his interest in computers and the fact that he rides a bike instead of a car—while intended to show how pathetic and undesirable he is—would hardly be marks against him in The New '10s.
  • The 2006 satire American Dreamz. The plot revolves around a US president based heavily on George W. Bush deciding to read the newspapers for the first time, causing a nervous breakdown as his black-and-white worldview is shattered. To get him out of his funk, his Chief of Staff (based heavily on Dick Cheney and Karl Rove) books him as a guest judge on the finale of the titular talent show, a parody of American Idol hosted by a Mean Brit in the vein of Simon Cowell. The show's two finalists are a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Farmer's Daughter who exploits her boyfriend, a wounded veteran of the Iraq War, to win the sympathy of viewers in Middle America, and a jihadist who infiltrated the show to launch a terrorist attack after his mother was killed in a US bombing in the Middle East — and now realizes that he can nail the President in that attack. Every single point in that plot description firmly ties it to the era when reality TV ruled the airwaves and The War on Terror dominated the political agenda.
  • An American Carol takes place in a pre–Barack Obama USA. The entire plot is about supporting the Iraq War, which ended three years later.
  • Antitrust was filmed at the height of the dot-com boom of the late '90s/early '00s and hit theaters in 2001, only a short time after the bubble started leaking. As such, the hacker and geek culture this film portrays is an excellent snapshot of the salad years of the bubble in 1999-2000, when one could literally program a good idea in a garage and be able to get millionaire venture capitalists ready to front money on almost a moment's notice once they saw it. The film's use of a parody of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates as the Big Bad, together with the heavy amounts of Product Placement for Apple that the film carried, also reflects the widespread public antipathy that existed among tech geeks towards Gates and Microsoft at the time, with Microsoft seen as a monopolistic Mega-Corp that would destroy the nascent free internet and Apple seen as a plucky underdog rival that was used by creatives, schools, and almost nobody else. Nowadays, their reputations have completely flipped. Gates, having long since retired from Microsoft's day-to-day operations, has rehabilitated his reputation through his charity work, while Microsoft's products are now seen as Boring, but Practical rather than The Antichrist. Instead, it was Apple, having turned itself around in the '00s under a returning Steve Jobs, that became the go-to point of reference for writers satirizing the modern Silicon Valley Mega-Corp due to its dominance of the American smartphone market (and its overall influence in the industry) and the "walled garden" ecosystem it created on its App Store — one that, incidentally, resembles the closed-off network that Gary Winston and NURV planned to reshape the internet into in the film.
  • Bandslam came out in 2009, and features teens taking pictures and recording videos via digital cameras as opposed to smart phones. There's also Will's mother's attitude towards the kids at his old school bullying him –- she doesn't ignore it but it's treated as something they must live with, and no one ever intervenes to stop it. The band promotes themselves through MySpace and there's barely a mention of social media otherwise. Charlotte was once considered cool because she has her own Wikipedia page, and that's where Will finds information on her, as opposed to Facebook. He finds out about her father's sudden death from a teacher and wouldn't have known otherwise, when in the days of social media and smart phones being the norm, there surely would have been a status update about it or well wishers posting on her Facebook page.
  • The Beach reveals the time of its creation right off the bat, and not just with its Y2K-era soundtrack and style. It opens with the protagonist Richard describing Southeast Asia as a place where "dollars and Deutsche Marks get turned into counterfeit watches and genuine scars". Two years later, Germany would retire the Deutsche Mark as its currency upon the introduction of the euro. A later scene also has Richard imagining that he is in a video game — specifically, a PlayStation 1 game, complete with a filter designed to make the film resemble the blocky, primitive 3D graphics of the time. The closing scene takes place in an internet cafe with a long row of G3 iMacs, a computer whose bubble-like design was then on the cutting edge of The Aesthetics of Technology but which is now seen as a time capsule of early 2000s computing (Apple itself moving on to its more famous aesthetic not long after).
    • Most importantly, however, Sal's effort to keep her island paradise a secret could only have worked in a time before smartphones capable of remotely uploading pictures directly to social media, and with it the attendant "influencer" culture of Instagram et al., became the norm. Françoise is seen using a disposable camera in one scene, while Richard makes a call on a pay phone; today, both of them would be using smartphones for such. This last point arguably makes Sal even more of a Tragic Villain, as a modern-day viewer knows with the benefit of hindsight that, despite all her best efforts, her island will eventually be discovered and exploited by the outside world. Tellingly, this is in fact what ultimately happened to the actual island that the movie was filmed on, largely because the film turned it into a popular tourist destination, such that the government of Thailand had to restrict access to it to help restore the environment.
  • The 2004 action-thriller Cellular starring Kim Basinger and Chris Evans was one of the first films to acknowledge the popularity of cell phones and to use it as a plot point. However, because technology is the film's driving force, it was destined to become dated very fast. The movie rested on the idea that the movie's kidnapped heroine (Basinger) would have a working, active landline that she could finagle and use to communicate with the outside world. According to Forbes, landline phones were still fairly common at the time of Cellular's theatrical release. Today, however, the majority of American households don't use them at all. The heavy reliance on a Nokia 6600 phone (a clunky, proto-smartphone with a tiny screen, a grainy camera, no wi-fi, and no lights) also made the film age really fast. Had Cellular been made at least five years later, then Kim Basinger's lifeline would no doubt be an iPhone or even an Android.
  • Cloverfield stands as an example of a Post-9/11 Kaiju Movie, the monster's rampage through New York explicitly designed to call to mind the 9/11 attacks and the state of emergency that New York was under at the time. Furthermore, its portrayal of New York was of a city in the middle of the Bloomberg era's gentrification, with the days of The Big Rotten Apple long behind it but the twenty-something protagonists still being able to afford apartments in Manhattan. And finally, there's the fact that the entire film is shot on a traditional camcorder, with cell phones only used to send and receive calls and text messages. Even though there was a scene where bystanders were taking pictures on their cell phones of the decapitated head of the Statue of Liberty, they still used flip phones as opposed to a smart phone.
    • Notably, the sequels have built the series up as being set in something of a 2000s Retro Universe, particularly The Cloverfield Paradox, released in 2018 but with the plot kicked off by the search for an alternative energy source in the midst of a Post-Peak Oil energy crisis, a major hot-button issue in the latter half of the 2000s due to rising oil prices before the fracking revolution of the 2010s opened up massive new sources of petroleum.
  • The 2005 film Cry_Wolf deals with high school students spreading rumors about a serial killer on the loose. Their main method of doing this is via emails and AOL instant messages. It's quite obvious that this was made in a pre–social media era, as the kids having phones that can access AOL is meant to show that they're richer than average – before cell phones in general and eventually smartphones became everyday devices for average teens. Additionally there's a scene where Mercedes sends a photo via her camera phone to Lewis, and he has to wait for it to load.
  • Cursed is an example of a film that became dated right out of the gate as a result of its Troubled Production. The protagonist Ellie works as a production assistant on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, with the late night host making a cameo in one scene. By the time the film was finally released in 2005, after two years of delays and reshoots, Kilborn had left the show and been replaced by Craig Ferguson.
  • The James Bond film Die Another Day tries to avoid dating itself by making the bad guys a faction of the North Korean military that's extreme even for them, but still manages it because one of the main characters is a sympathetic NSA agent, meaning it could've only been made prior to that agency's reputation collapsing in The New '10s after its warrantless wiretapping scandal was made public.
  • Dracula 2000. As if the title alone wasn't enough of a giveaway, Dracula's Matrix-inspired Badass Longcoat, the Nu Metal soundtrack, and the Product Placement for Virgin Megastores (which has since pulled out of the US with the decline of record stores in general) all take what was intended as a modernization of the Dracula story and leave it feeling arguably more dated than a film that was made in 1931.
  • The early Fast and the Furious films were a loving revue of early-mid 2000s extreme sports culture, especially tuner/car racing culture. Later films in the series (starting with the fourth) tend to be less obvious about it beyond the characters' choice of Cool Cars, and seem to be more of an homage to the era. It may seem a bit bizarre that the original film's main conflict is over the theft of DVD players, which mostly (but not completely) went out of style a decade later in the face of emerging next-gen media formats like Blu-Ray.
  • In the original Final Destination, the under-reaction to a guy saying a plane is going to explode, especially when it turns out to be true, clearly shows that the movie was made before 9/11. The two agents investigating Alex and the other survivors do suspect that he had something to do with the crash given that he knew about it in advance (thanks to his premonition), but they never once use the word "terrorism"; had the film come out just two years later, they most certainly would have. To drive it home, in Final Destination 5 (made in 2011), the police having the same under-reaction to the opening disaster as the agents in the first film is one of the ways in which it's foreshadowed that the film is a Stealth Prequel.
  • Freaky Friday (2003):
    • This one doesn't seem very contemporary with the outdated technology that Dr. Tess Coleman uses so frequently. It's used to suggest she's a workaholic who keeps herself on call much more often than she should for the sake of her family, a theme that might be harder to convey with a simple smartphone that would replace all of those gizmos had the movie been made even ten years later.
    • Her daughter Anna performs in a rock band whose music is in the pop-punk style that was emerging in popularity back then.
    • On a lesser note, the House of Blues venue she dreams of playing in and does in the climactic concert scene has moved to a different building nearby since this movie was made.
  • From Justin to Kelly, a 2003 fame vehicle for American Idol first-season winner Kelly Clarkson and runner-up Justin Guarini. It portrays the internet as something that only nerds used, an idea which was hilariously outdated even in 2003. Also, the film's whole MTV-styled Spring Break premise also dates it. MTV has a looser grip on pop culture than it did even in 2003, and the Great Recession has made the idea of such a glamorous spring break seem less believable. The whole setting comes across as Totally Radical now.
  • The Girl Next Door drops the bombshell that Danielle is actually a former porn star about half an hour in, after Eli had to search around and find a film. The movie came out in 2004, before the internet was a vital part of a teenager's life, and there's no mention of social media at all. The third act involves them shooting a home porn movie that's actually a sex education video and having to distribute it via video tapes. If the movie had been made in The New '10s, they could have done so digitally or at least had DVDs made instead.
  • Somewhat amusingly, Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) tried to modernize the Xilien aliens for audiences in the 2000s when it brought them back as the villains, after they hadn't been seen since 1965's Invasion of Astro-Monster. Instead of the form-fitting, Raygun Gothic–inspired Space Clothes that they originally wore, they get shiny, monochromatic black trenchcoats with Goth-inspired hairdos... which are pretty obviously inspired by The Matrix. Ironically, the Xiliens' "modern" look is arguably more dated than it was in 1965.
  • 2002's Halloween: Resurrection tried very hard to be "modern" by bringing the Halloween series into the world of Reality TV and the internet. Instead, it winds up badly dating itself to the early 2000s. Survivor, The Osbournes, and Pulp Fiction are name-dropped or otherwise referenced by the characters, and more importantly, the film's then-slick portrayal of the era's technology is now positively antiquated — most notably with how the film treats text messaging and mobile email as something novel and revolutionary (the Final Girl being the only character with a cell phone/PDA that can do that).
  • While it was intended to reflect the period, Michael Almereyda's 2000 film version of Hamlet is better as a retro period piece than as the ultra-contemporary vision it was at the time of its release. Every communication device that existed back then gets its turn with Shakespeare's words, including the cell phone, fax machine, answering machine, computer, and video camera. The posh New York home of ruthless CEO Claudius, trust-fund brat Hamlet, and the rest of the characters carries a stronger air of doom now that we know the political and economic events on the horizon. In hindsight, even the Blockbuster store where Hamlet gives his most famous soliloquy is headed for death.
  • The 2003 Chris Rock vehicle Head of State fell into this pretty hard. It's a comedy in which the whole premise is that a black guy is president. Yeah, how crazy would that be? That would NEVER happen!
  • The entire High School Musical series. The fashion, styles, and music in the film trilogy seemingly go out of their way to mark them as being products of the mid-2000s, almost as though they were Grease-esque nostalgia trips made for the decade as a whole.
  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is a 2007 Adam Sandler comedy that can't decide whether it wants to support gay rights or make fun of gay people. If this film had been released even five years later, it would surely be seen as homophobic.
  • Jennifer's Body is a time capsule of the mid-late 2000s emo scene. The film's soundtrack is filled with emo-flavored alt-rock and indie rock, most notably with the Fake Band Low Shoulder that sacrifices Jennifer in the first act and serves as the Greater-Scope Villain; the main joke about them was how a band that makes such whiny, simpering music was in fact worshiping Satan like they were an old-school metal band. Furthermore, save for the titular Jennifer, most of the cast, particularly the Final Girl Needy and her boyfriend Chip, are portrayed as stereotypical Emo Teens, especially in their fashion sense.
  • Josie and the Pussycats acts as a perfect time capsule of the early 2000s for many reasons:
    • The film takes place in a world where boy bands and girl groups are the biggest things in pop music, the major labels wield near-supreme control over what becomes popular, MTV is still thought of as a music network first, and everyone gets their music from brick-and-mortar record stores. File-sharing isn't even mentioned, despite the fact that Napster was at the peak of its popularity and infamy when the film came out.
    • One of the main Running Gags in the film concerns an over-the-top parody of Product Placement, with virtually every setting being utterly plastered in brand names/logos and many lines of dialogue littered with mentions of specific brand names. It turns out to be a major plot point because, as explained by MegaRecords CEO Fiona, the United States government has conspired with the music industry to add subliminal messages as backing tracks to pop music in order to brainwash teenagers into buying consumer products, hence the over-the-top array of Product Placement throughout the film.
      • In a manner not unlike Blade Runner, quite a few of these brands have faded from relevance, most notably Moviefone (while still technically active today, its original use during that era has been rendered obsolete by the internet), America Online (rendered obsolete by high-speed internet), and the Sega Dreamcast, which had just been discontinued a week before the film's premiere.
    • The film also updated the titular band's sound to Pop Punk, which was on the ascent in the early 2000s. While Josie, Melody, and Valerie's outfits and videos are reminiscent of Destiny's Child and early Britney Spears, the actual music sounds more like Avril Lavigne or Good Charlotte. On a similar note, it also predicted how that style of pop-punk would sweep aside the bubblegum teen pop that was at its peak at the time the film was made, with the Fake Band DuJour (a parody of the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC) quite literally going down in flames at the start of the film, to be replaced by Josie and the Pussycats as MegaRecords' new superstar band.
  • Kick-Ass with its many references to MySpace, which had already become dated between the time the movie was filmed and when it was released. It wasn't as dated in the source material, which had been released in 2008.
  • Linda Linda Linda does generally a good job in avoiding being a period piece, but the scenes set in the music classroom show it having posters of bands that only were popular in that period, such as The Music.
  • Love Actually:
    • The Prime Minister's opening monologue openly references the 9/11 attacks, which happened just two years before the film was released. When watching it after 2010 or so, it's pretty clear that the monologue was written when the attacks were still in recent memory.
    • Bill Nighy's character (an aging rockstar) elicits stunned reactions from a talk show audience when he claims to have slept with Britney Spears. The movie was made in 2003, during the last window of time when Spears was widely viewed as a sex symbol; within about a year of its release, she began having some widely publicized struggles with mental illness, which mostly turned her into a punchline in jokes about "crazy" celebrities.
    • Though unnamed, the fictional US President in the film (played by Billy Bob Thornton) is pretty clearly a parody of George W. Bush, and the (fictional) Prime Minister's subplot is partly based on the public perception of Bush's relationship with Tony Blair at the time. The subplot ends with the PM standing up to the President after feeling disrespected by him, which earns him enthusiastic applause from a crowd; at the time, much of the British public was upset about Bush (arguably) taking the American-British military alliance for granted after his decision to invade Iraq, which was highly controversial.
      • Not to mention, the PM's list of 'great things about Britain' includes references to David Beckham's right foot (and left foot). In 2003, he was captain of the England football team, and overall an important figure in English sport as a player. In 2006, he stepped down as captain, and retired from international football in 2008, before retiring from football altogether in 2013.
    • Billy Mack's entire storyline is based around releasing a track and getting to the top of the Christmas Top 40 music charts (a very big deal in the British music business). But The X Factor started the year after the film's release, and between 2005 and 2008note , the winners of that show always got the UK Number One.
    • Ant and Dec appear in one scene As Themselves, where they interview Billy Mack in front of an audience of teenagers. The movie was made when the duo still primarily hosted kid-oriented programmes, though they stopped shortly before the film was released.
  • The 2003 John Whitesell film Malibu's Most Wanted is essentially two hours of Jamie Kennedy mocking hip-hop culture while portraying a wannabe white rapper who embarrasses his upper-class family with his attempts to pass himself off as "ghetto". Even if the music, slang, and fashion weren't clearly dated to the early 2000s, its portrayal of the Culture Clash between the upper-class white denizens of Malibu and the lower-class black denizens of South Central L.A. definitely would be. Considering the lingering effects of the Great Recession and the national conversation surrounding racially motivated Police Brutality in the following decade, it's hard to imagine a movie playing such a subject for laughs a decade later.
  • The Master of Disguise not only has a soundtrack that's filled with early 2000s pop songs, but is stuffed with references to many things like Shrek, Malcolm in the Middle, the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, The Olsen Twins, and (in a deleted scene) All That.
  • Matchstick Men ends with a dramatic plot twist where the main character's long-lost teenage daughter is revealed to be a con artist posing as his long-lost teenage daughter. The twist is foreshadowed in an early scene where Roy and Angela first meet and exchange contact information, and she gives him a number for her "private line"—providing a cozy excuse for why she and Roy's ex-wife have different phone numbers. The movie came out during the last window of time when it was considered rare for teenagers to own cell phones. If it had been made even five years later, Angela would presumably have just given Roy her mobile number, and the issue of her "mother" having a different phone number than her wouldn't even have been an issue.
  • The 2001 Disney movie Max Keeble's Big Move shows its age not only from obvious factors (i.e. the music, fashion, etc.), but also by having a plot point involving the theft of a Palm Pilot PDA from antagonist Dobbs and showing an iMac G3 computer in the bedroom of title character Max.
    • If you want a specific example on music featured in the movie, the leitmotif of Max's crush Jenna is the Britney Spears song "...Baby, One More Time", which plays almost every time she appears onscreen.
    • The opening dream sequence features a cameo from Tony Hawk, giving more proof that the movie came out during the early 2000s, when Tony Hawk was at the height of his popularity and extreme sports were in the pop culture spotlight.
  • Mean Girls.
    • It's telling that, in a Deconstructive Parody of high school cattiness and how even nice people get caught up in it, cyberbullying is never mentioned once, despite it becoming a hot topic by the end of the decade. Gretchen's cell phone (which only shows up in one scene) is a then-cutting-edge flip phone that's used to demonstrate how rich she is, the characters interact with and spread rumors about each other almost entirely through "low-tech" means (such as the "Burn Book", which is a physical, pen-and-paper journal as opposed to a private webpage or online group), and a "three-way calling attack" could only work in a time when landline phones were commonplace. In the early-mid 2000s, even teenagers were just starting to get used to the internet and cell phones being omnipresent forces in their lives as opposed to novelties — MySpace had been launched just nine months before the film was released, and had yet to really take off — and this film's portrayal of technology marks it as a clear product of that immediate pre-Web 2.0 time.
    • The showcasing of Regina George and her family's materialistic life, while meant to show how empty and hollow her life truly was even in 2004, also marks the film as having been made before the Great Recession, when flaunting immense wealth was in style. While the scene of Regina's little sister shaking her booty to trashy hip-hop-infused pop still resonates with the popularity of Miley Cyrus, electro-urban pop and twerking in The New '10s (and the fact that said sister is named Kylie) is Hilarious in Hindsight, the fact that she's shaking it to "Milkshake" by Kelis definitely doesn't. (Forever Young Adult even called the film a "2004 musical time capsule" in their retrospective.) Regina's mom is also shown wearing 'youthful' clothes in an attempt to be hip... which, in 2004, meant garish Juicy Couture sweatpants and tracksuits that, in hindsight, make her look even more pathetic.
    • The portrayal of the Ambiguously Gay Cool Losers Janis and Damian illustrates how attitudes towards LGBT people among teenagers were evolving in the early-mid 2000s. Regina suspecting that Janis is a lesbian was enough to get her to kick Janis out of her social circle and spread rumors about her sexuality, leading to her present outcast status, while the Plastics list Janis in the Burn Book as a "dyke" and Damian as "too gay to function". This sort of casual homophobia on their part was shown as a sign of their Alpha Bitch tendencies even in 2004, but characters with such tendencies in 2014 would be portrayed as downright bigoted rather than merely callous, given that nowadays homophobia is seen by teenage girls as roughly on a par with racism (at least in the American Midwest where the film is set). It illustrates how, while tolerance of LGBT people was growing, full equality and acceptance was still a ways away (this was the year when Massachusetts became the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage, an occasion that sparked controversy and moral panic), and being gay, or even Mistaken for Gay, could make somebody an outcast.
    • The scenes of Coach Carr's health class, in which he hysterically warns his students that they will die from STDs and pregnancy if they have underage sex, are a parody of abstinence-only sex education, which was pushed heavily by religious conservatives in the '90s and 2000s but has largely vanished as sexual activity has notably decreased among young people.
  • Mission: Impossible II, released in 2000, opens its credits with music by Limp Bizkit, a band that became Deader Than Disco (and the same can be said for Nu Metal, the genre that the band is primarily associated with) practically the day after the film's premiere.
  • The 2006 zombie film Mulberry Street is a time capsule of New York in the middle of the Bloomberg era that uses its Zombie Apocalypse as a metaphor for gentrification. The protagonists are a group of working-class people who find themselves slowly being pushed out of their apartment on the titular street in Manhattan's Little Italy, watching their community grow increasingly unrecognizable as their local bars crawl with yuppies and hipsters and their rents keep rising.
  • Napoleon Dynamite weaves in and out of this trope thanks to taking place in an Idaho town that is several years out of date where "modern" pop culture has yet to reach. As a result, the film's fashion, music, and overall aesthetic make it resemble a place where all the used, worn-out, "retro" hand-me-downs of The '80s gathered together and kept right on going, with songs from the '90s and 2000s sticking out like sore thumbs and used for deliberate effect. Kip's internet is also a pay-by-the-hour dial-up service. While broadband was spreading rapidly by the mid-2000s, it was still a luxury in many rural areas if it was available at all. Ten years later, even the most remote places were guaranteed to have access to at least DSL on computers (which is carried through phone lines) and 4G LTE data on cell phones, with the remaining dial-up providers existing mainly as legacy services for older people who didn't want to upgrade. A modern version of that scene would have Kip worrying about data usage.
  • The New Guy. The Alpha Bitch Courtney getting Tony Hawk (making a cameo As Himself) to show up at her party is presented as a sign of how cool and popular she is, one major scene takes place in a now-defunct Sam Goody record store, and Creed is portrayed unironically as a band popular enough to get people to turn out for a homecoming concert to see them. The protagonist's ruse also would've fallen apart in a day if he'd tried it in the age of social media.
  • The film Old School, released in 2003, begins with a scene of Mitch (Luke Wilson) being held up at airport security after inexplicably triggering the new security measures. At one point a man from the National Guard is summoned, pointing his rifle at Wilson while he is scanned. While most of the post-9/11 security measures are still in place, the National Guard was a fairly temporary measure.
  • Odd Girl Out does deal with cyberbullying, having come out one year after Mean Girls, but still dates itself to the mid-2000s, especially with regards to how social media never comes into the equation. All of the bullying is conducted via instant messages, and the Girl Posse create a website specifically to mock Vanessa. Likewise, one stunt is telling Vanessa there's a party on somewhere when there isn't. In the age of Facebook, when almost everything is done with an Event Invite, Vanessa would have likely found out before she arrived at the empty building. Furthermore, she's recorded getting taken into the ambulance by a guy with a video camera, rather than a smartphone. Finally, a minor plot point is the bullies not getting outright punished because the principal can't prove that they're behind the threatening messages (thanks to them using screen names), with the Beta Bitch ultimately getting off scot-free; by the end of the decade, bullying was taken a lot more seriously.
  • One Hour Photo was released in an era where film photography was already starting to be replaced by digital photography. These days, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who regularly needs to get film developed. This makes the main character even more pathetic, knowing with the benefit of hindsight that he's devoted so much of his life to a dying industry.
  • Phone Booth was released just as the last phone booths in New York City were beginning to be removed. Even five years later, the plot would have been impossible. Phone booths still exist (and some were even put up in the 2010s) but they're much rarer then they were at the time of Phone Booth's release.
  • The 2002 film adaptation of Queen of the Damned attempts to give a Setting Update to the original 1984 novel by having Lestat's band play contemporary Nu Metal (which the studio had hired Jonathan Davis of Korn to write) as opposed to '70s/'80s hard rock (Anne Rice specifically cited Jim Morrison as inspiration when writing). However, not only was Nu Metal on its way out by 2002, but the filmmakers didn't update the rest of the setting to match, leaving a film that grew painfully dated to the early 2000s as time went on.
  • Rambo IV was starting to look like this post-2010 when Myanmar finally took tentative steps towards political freedom... but then the government was accused by numerous humanitarian organizations of committing similar war crimes and ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people in late 2016. Sadly, this is an example of a film premise that everyone wishes would become dated and obsolete, including those who filmed and produced it.
  • Saved! is a satire of Christian youth culture in the 2000s, a time when evangelical Christians had reached the apex of their political and cultural power. It's most apparent with the attempts by the school's youth pastors to appear "hip" to their students, and in the subplot involving Mary's boyfriend Dean being outed as gay and sent to reparative therapy (a treatment that is nowadays extremely controversial, and in a number of states banned for people under 18) in a failed attempt to turn him straight.
  • Saw VI, released in 2009, is notable for having a plot far more political than any other films in the series. The Jigsaw killer's main victims in the film are workers at a health insurance company that denied people (including Jigsaw) coverage for having pre-existing conditions, while the opening victims are two predatory lenders who gave out bad loans to people who they knew wouldn't be able to pay them back. As such, it's a clear relic of a time when health care reform and the subprime mortgage crisis were both at the top of the American political agenda.
  • The Scary Movie franchise, over the course of its long run, parodied such pop culture touchstones as Bullet Time, Budweiser's "whassup?" ads, Nike sneaker commercials, celebrity sex tapes, Michael Jackson's sex scandal, the original iPod, and more, as well as whatever films (horror or otherwise) were popular in the time when each movie came out.
  • A major feature of the Scooby-Doo movie was its snarky jabs at the slang, music, fashion, and general behavior of college students around the late '90s and early 2000s... except that what they were mocking was, for the most part, already on the way out by the time the movie was released in 2002.
  • In School of Rock from 2003, Dewey Finn's ploy could not work in a world with the internet/social media. A glance at his friend Ned's Facebook or a YouTube video of Dewey with his first band would immediately tip the school off.
  • Each of the works in the collective oeuvre of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg (except for Vampires Suck, which was released in 2010 and focused on one work in particular) is one of these not only to the Turn of the Millennium, but to the specific year in which it was released, such as:
  • The French action movie Skate or Die, from 2008, whose entire plot hinges on the year's mobile phone technology level: Most phones were able to film short videos but are not yet able to upload them by themselves.
  • In Snakes on a Plane, an important plot point hinges on the fact that the Rich Bitch Mercedes is the only person on the entire plane who has a Cell Phone that can both take pictures and send them without plugging into a computer first. Mercedes herself is a parody of Paris Hilton and other socialites, particularly with her purse dog Mary-Kate, while the rapper Three Gs is a parody of mid-2000s bling-era rap.
  • Snow Day has a soundtrack that's filled with many turn-of-the-millennium pop singers like Hoku and 98 Degrees.
  • Southland Tales. It's next to impossible to tell just what in the blue hell the film was actually about, but one thing is for certain: its depiction of a dystopian near-future, one where a nuclear terrorist attack turns America into a Police State dominated by Mega Corps while energy shortages lead to the creation of an alternative fuel source that may destroy the fabric of reality, was very much informed by the "Bush-era America" time in which it was made.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The scene where a bunch of New Yorkers come to Spider-Man's aid and one shouts "You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!" definitely serves as a reminder of the post-9/11 patriotic sentiment prevalent at least until it turned out al-Qaeda exaggerated their claims (it would disappear by 2006 as the conflict turned against the West). Especially given that that particular scene was added in post-production, after the attacks had occurred.
    • While the pop soundtrack ages as all pop soundtracks do, the appearance of pre-backlash Nickelback and the cameo by Macy Gray are standouts.
  • Stop Loss is obviously set towards the tail end of the Iraq War (it came out in 2008) and the scene where Brandon finds out he's been stop-lossed has him say "the President himself, he says this war's over". He's also asked if he's "gay or pregnant" when he protests being sent back to Iraq. This references the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policynote  which was abolished in 2011. The soldiers also make their home movies with video cameras, all the cell phones are flip phones, and Brandon has to use a payphone at one point.
  • The Sum of All Fears is based on a 1991 novel about Arab terrorists detonating a nuclear bomb on American soil and misleading the US government into thinking that they were attacked by Russia. The film would have remained surprisingly on point, had the execs not decided that Arabs pulling this stunt was unrealistic and that it was more believable to use a secret cabal of Fascist-leaning European businessmen as the villains. If you are surprised to see the film here and not in The '90s section, it's because it actually hit theatres in 2002, and was already dated upon release.
  • S.W.A.T. came out in Fall 2003, right at the height of the Bush era — and it shows. Tellingly, the villain is a thoroughly despicable French criminal who's repeatedly subjected to anti-French epithets (back when the French were still Acceptable Targets because they opposed the invasion of Iraq), while the Latina Token Girl on the S.W.A.T. team is called "J. Lo" at least once (back when Jennifer Lopez was still a household name, and before Gigli put her career on the decline). But far more telling is the portrayal of the rough-and-tumble methods used by the S.W.A.T. team. LL Cool J's character bashes a civilian for her "liberal" views after she dares to criticize him for roughing up an African-American perp in South Central, and there's an extended scene where the two main characters mock a S.W.A.T. candidate because he's never had a civilian complaint against him, and prides himself on handling every past situation nonviolently. Considering the large-scale controversy and protests against Police Brutality and the militarization of police in The New '10s, which made police reform a hot-button issue, these scenes couldn't possibly have passed a test audience a decade later.
  • Team America: World Police. Much of its humor is directed against targets like Michael Moore, Kim Jong-il, the films of Michael Bay, anti-war celebrity activists like George Clooney and Sean Penn, and America's gung-ho behavior in The War on Terror, all of which were political and cultural touchstones of the year (2004) when the film came out. Now that America's (mostly) left Iraq and terrorism has faded from the agenda, it can feel rather dated, especially with Kim Jong-il's death in December 2011.
  • The Terminal shows us 2004, an era in which people still buy books from Borders, still buy expensive trinkets and gadgets at Brookstone, still use payphones and only use their cell phones to make voice calls.
  • Transformers is unmistakably from 2007, given the Product Placement prominently on display. The Autobot ranks notably include a GMC Topkick and a Hummer H2; you'd probably recognize that the idea of portraying those colossal gas-guzzling status symbols as protagonists had been increasingly unattainable for over one year and would become totally unfashionable the following year, with both the Topkick and H2 being discontinued in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
  • Tropic Thunder has a few items that date it to the late 2000s: One of the leads (Tugg Speedman, played by Ben Stiller) is a washed-out Tom Cruise-like action star who had recently made an uplifting, yet undeniably awful Sundance-style film, another one (Kirk St. Lazarus, played by a [then-recently recovered] Robert Downey, Jr.) is an Australian in blackface (a parody of the then-commonplace "race-lifting" practice as well as of method actors in general), and the other (Jeff Portnoy, played by Jack Black) is popular for starring in raunchy comedies in the vein of Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy or the Wayans Bros. Needless to say, neither of them would find much work during the following decade. Furthermore, Alpa Chino is not only a "glam" rapper, but he's actually gay, much to the surprise of his castmates. Not to mention the cameos by Tobey Maguire, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Tyra Banks.
  • Undercover Brother's main plotline follows an African-American general played by Billy Dee Williams, who plans to run for president and the villainous scheme to prevent him from entering the White House. This aspect of the film (just like the Chris Rock film Head of State from around the same time period) naturally became dated the moment that Barack Obama actually became America's first black chief executive in the White House.
  • Underworld, with its central "Vampires vs. Werewolves" premise, seems to have been conceived (in part) as a modern update on the old Universal Horror films of the 1930s and 1940s. So instead of black velvet evening gowns and spooky organs, it featured a whole cast of characters in Matrix-inspired black latex trench coats, and its soundtrack prominently featured Evanescence's Amy Lee just as she was becoming a goth icon. It still maintains a pretty loyal cult following (there's a reason it spawned four sequels, after all), but most of what made it seem "modern" in 2003 now makes it seem nearly as dated (if not more) as the old-fashioned horror films that it was updating.
  • The 2005 adaptation of The War of the Worlds, much like the Cloverfield and Spider-Man examples above, is an example of a Post-9/11 Terrorism Movie that isn't explicitly about terrorism. The aliens in Steven Spielberg's version of the story are very obviously meant to be a metaphor for 9/11 and America's feelings of helplessness and insecurity after the attack, and the film employs heavy use of imagery from the disaster to drive that point home. Meanwhile, the "we're all together in this" stance would soon be a thing of the past, as the scales of the War on Terror began to tip against the US.
  • Whip It's soundscape is a loving review of popular indie rock music in the late 2000s. There's barely any mention of social media, and the roller derby team promotes themselves through a dedicated website rather than Facebook. Bliss also finds out about Ollie's exploits through his band's website — and has to use a payphone to call him at one point.
  • A minor example is the 2008 road movie The Yellow Handkerchief. Set and filmed in Louisiana in the same year, the setting contains many references to Hurricane Katrina. There's constant references to the storms, public transport gets suspended and overall the movie captures the feeling of Louisiana's people trying to put their lives back together. More superficially Martine's cell phone is a 2000s flip phone, Gordy takes pictures on a disposable camera (which he gets developed at a one-hour-photo place) and the two teenagers don't mention social media once.
  • You, Me and Dupree is from 2006 and firmly implanted in an early.mid 2000s setting. Lance Armstrong is frequently referenced in adoring terms and even makes a cameo appearance as himself, something unimaginable after his disgrace. A minor plot point involves a video tape collection of porn, which even a couple of years later would be at least be lampshaded as not being on DVD or the internet (in fact the internet is not mentioned at all.) The soundtrack includes Coldplay's then brand new song 'Fix You'. Molly's wealthy father is involved in a massive housing project, placing it before the 2007-2008 financial crisis.


  • While Cloud Atlas is meant to transcend all of time as a parable of the human condition through the ages, The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish became dated quickly. Supposedly set in 2004 at the book's publication, no references are made to cell phones or social media, not even in a "kids these days" style rant. Also, Timothy's business as a vanity publisher is getting replaced more and more by self-publishing, which the book does not acknowledge at all.
  • The Millennium Trilogy manages to date itself thanks to Stieg Larsson's insistence on giving detailed specs on Lisbeth Salander's computer. He had intended to make her sound like a cutting-edge hacker with top-of-the-line equipment. Nowadays, she would come off as a Luddite with an Apple fetish.
  • Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon is a 2004 book about the popularity of Pokémon. As the name implies, it also documents the supposed "fall" of the franchise. The book was created shortly after the release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire in 2002. Pokémon was seen as "dying" during the late Gen 2 period and throughout Gen 3, though what was really occuring was that the fad was dying. The merchandise and games were still top sellers, but Pokémon wasn't quite as rabidly popular as before, so the book cited it as a "dead series". Popularity Polynomial came into effect just a few years later during Generation 4 just another two years after the book came out, and the series was boosted back into the gamer spotlight, where it's remained since.
  • A minor bit near the end of The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch has Ponder Stibbons shocked that the London Natural History Museum keeps its statue of Charles Darwin in the North Hall cafeteria. (Ridcully takes the view that this ensures everyone's going to see it.) This dates that scene (other Roundworld scenes are set at various points during Darwin's life) prior to May 2008, when the statue was returned to the top of the staircase of the main entrance hall to celebrate his upcoming bicentenary.
  • Jay Asher tried to defy this trope when he wrote 13 Reasons Why. He deliberately chose to have Hannah record her suicide note on cassette tapes, as these were already an obsolete technology by 2007 (which gets lampshaded by Clay)note  and would prevent the story from aging out as quickly as if she'd recorded it on a more high-tech medium. This was also the reason why he had Tony drive a classic Ford Mustang, instead of a more modern sports car that would date the book to the mid-2000s. That said, it doesn't fully escape this. Much like the Mean Girls example above, the mere concept of cyberbullying is never mentioned in a Teens Are Monsters story, chiefly because people were only just starting to face its implications, something that Asher noted in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. The TV adaptation, made in 2017, had to alter the story to include cyberbullying as part of its Adaptation Expansion.
  • The first Twilight book came out in 2005 and it shows with the technology. The internet was becoming popular but it wasn't the cornerstone that it was to become in a few years. Bella doesn't use computers much and her dad still has dial-up. The characters also use CDs and CD players to listen to all their music.
  • World War Z. The Zombie Apocalypse is supposed to begin at an unspecified point in the early 2010s, and while the book makes some decent guesses as to what the world would look like by then, other guesses stamp it with the mid-2000s time in which it was written.
    • References to The War on Terror abound. A huge part of the reason why the Zombie Apocalypse gets so out of control is because the American intelligence apparatus was virtually discredited in the wake of the "Iraqi WMDs" debacle. Jamie Lynn Spears is referred to as a big enough celebrity to have a line of sneakers, marking the book as having been written before her Teen Pregnancy scandal destroyed her career. Several minor characters are also thinly veiled expies of personalities such as Howard Deannote , Karl Rovenote , Colin Powellnote , Ruben Studdardnote , Bill Mahernote , Ann Coulternote , and Paris Hiltonnote , all of whom enjoyed their greatest cultural prominence in the early-mid 2000s, while there's also a reference to Larry the Cable Guy and his "Git-r-done!" Catchphrase (rendered as "Get it done!").
    • Max Brooks correctly predicted that touch-screen and voice-assisted computers would exist by 2013, but he completely missed the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, which are conspicuous in their absence; instead, we see desktop PCs using those technologies (and that's to say nothing of the reference to the Nintendo GameCube, when by the real 2013 it had been succeeded twice over). More importantly, he greatly underestimated just how big the online media, and social media especially, would become, something that actually plays a role in the story on more than one occasion. The only online news sources mentioned are 2ch in Japan and AOL in the US, and one interviewee states that, in the run-up to the Zombie Apocalypse, alternative media outlets were scorned as untrustworthy and appealing either to an elitist, "latte liberal" PBS/NPR audience, or to paranoid fringe sorts that would never be taken seriously by the mainstream. A version of the story written in the '10s would likely portray the opposite scenario, with misinformation about the zombie plague running rampant online and making the Great Panic worse.
    • In the book, the core of many national survival/continuity of government plans involves a retreat to an easily defensible safe zone where the government and military can get enough breathing room to reorganize. The US' safe zone is the West Coast and the Rockies, Britain's safe zones include northern Scotland and the Isle of Man, and Ukraine's safe zone is centered on... the Crimean peninsula. Following Crimea's vote for independence and union with Russia in 2014, the chapter on Ukraine easily falls into this trope.
    • In the book, the US' embargo on trade and travel with Cuba allows that country to dodge the first wave of American refugees during the Great Panic. This gives it vital time to prepare before the boat people start trickling in from Florida, eventually emerging from the zombie apocalypse almost unscathed and, in fact, in better shape than before the war. Today, with the US and Cuba (as of 2015) reestablishing diplomatic relations and trade links, this section of the book is very much a product of the embargo era of US-Cuba relations.
    • Brooks predicted that Iran would have nuclear weapons by the early '10s, as evidenced when the refugee crisis caused by the zombie outbreak leads to a nuclear war between Iran and Pakistan. Iran's nuclear ambitions were a subject of much debate and punditry in the 2000s, as many people feared that their acquisition of The Bomb would destabilize the balance of power in the Middle East... and they remain a subject of much debate and punditry into the present day, with Iran, as of 2018, still not being a nuclear-armed state.
  • In Skeleton Key (2002), the third Alex Rider novel, the Big Bad is an embittered former Soviet colonel who wants to return The New Russia to its former glory by orchestrating a coup d'état against the Russian government. In hindsight, the book was pretty clearly written early in Vladimir Putin's reign, before his reputation as a global powerhouse really became established. The President of Russia is a blatant No Celebrities Were Harmed parody of Boris Yeltsin, and Russia itself is portrayed as a chaotic post-Soviet Republic that just wants to embrace democracy and move past its old rivalries with the West. That portrayal became pretty outdated by the end of the decade, after Putin's aggressive policies actually did return Russia to superpower status, his increasingly authoritarian leadership caused most Western pop culture to portray Russia's government as a dictatorship, and the country's antagonism with the West went back to square one after Putin was accused of (among other things) conspiring to influence the 2016 United States Presidential Election.
  • Captain Freedom dates itself to the mid-aughts with jokes about Kazaa, the War on Terror, and the "dinosaur flatulence" theory of climate change. There's also references to "Mad Moses", a Bible-obsessed former judge turned supervillain, who was obviously inspired by Roy Moore, who was still a judge back then.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24, being a Post-9/11 Terrorism Show that ran until 2010, it was arguably an example of this while it was still on the air. By the time it finished its final season, America was well into its withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and was just a year away from finally catching Osama bin Laden.
  • In Arrested Development
    • In the third season, the references to the Iraq War are so specific that they tie the show to that exact time period. For example, GOB's wife is shown posing a la Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib infamy, and one episode has Michael meeting a group of Saddam Hussein lookalikes that wound up jobless after Hussein's then-recent capture. There are also several references to the Enron accounting scandal, and William Hung from American Idol makes a cameo in Season 3.
    • In the fourth season airing in 2013 (a full decade after the first season aired), the writers gleefully took advantage of the Time Skip to lampoon The New '10s just as mercilessly as they had the previous decade. To whit, the Housing Crisis turns out to be a big plot point in Lindsay and Tobias' story, drone warfare turns out to play a major role in Buster's story, Michael gets a job driving the Google Street View camera car at one point, and a No Celebrities Were Harmed stand-in for Herman Cain is a major supporting character.
  • Band of Brothers is a strange example. While it is an actual period piece — about the real life exploits of the 101st Airborne in World War II — certain things in the present day portions of the episodes date it to the early 2000s. For example one of the interviews in the first episode says "our country was attacked" to rationalize why so many people volunteered. The episode in question aired two days before 9/11. The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue talks about the people who are still alive — or were back in 2001. Dated History also comes into play, as the show depicts two things that were widely thought as true (and had been reported in the book on which the show was based) — namely that Joe Liebgott was Jewish and that Albert Blithe died of his wounds in 1948. Those two facts were debunked by the real life family members of the men after the show aired - Joe Liebgott was actually Catholic and only assumed to be Jewish by his comrades, and Albert Blithe lived for another twenty years but just never showed up to reunions (making everyone assume he had died). Such facts would be considerably easier to find out with most veterans having Wikipedia pages and multiple books written since, showing the miniseries was made in a mostly pre-internet age.
  • Birds of Prey featured a great deal of recent inventions (PDAs, portable CD players, wireless earpieces) that look considerably low-tech ten years on. In particular, the supposedly high-tech enormous computers that Oracle uses look laughably old-fashioned, although this could be put down to budget constraints. The soundtrack also counts, especially the final episode which contains a t.A.T.u. song.
  • Chappelle's Show can be very topical for its time frame, with jokes about Howard Dean's outburst, the Tom DeLay anthrax attack, Diddy's Making The Band, and R. Kelly's scandal.
  • Cold Case. In case doing the math with the interviewees ages isn't enough, there are episodes with references to the Iraq War, the Catholic Church's pedophile scandals, or the one with a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of young Barack Obama.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
    • A number of early episodes featured killers who were Armored Closet Gays, willing to commit murder to safeguard their secret. Now that the LGBT community encourages coming out to a much greater degree, this being a motive for murder seems almost narmy.
    • "Deep Fried and Minty Fresh" (2009) has a moment when Hodges says that he believes that a certain anti-copy measure in dollar notes is actually used by the government to track people from satellites in outer space. Langston sarcastically replies: "Yet we can't find Bin Laden".
  • House, of all characters, dismissed the idea of there being a Black president in an early episode.
  • A number of FX Network shows had this problem.
    • Nip/TuckHearts 'N Scalpels was a Grey's Anatomy rip-off, and the final season began with an episode that outright references the 2008 recession.
    • Rescue Me was firmly based around the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. The men of 62 Truck had lost four of their brothers on 9/11, and the finale aired just four days before the tenth anniversary of the attacks, which came up throughout the final season.
    • While The Shield was usually good about avoiding this, only making a few references to current events, it still slipped and let its 2000s-ness show on occasion. One of the characters nearly loses her job after she makes racist remarks to an Arab woman whose husband was killed by a racist after 9/11, references are made regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming governor of California, and there's a reference to the housing crisis in the last couple of episodes of the series.
  • The George Lopez Show has a problem with this, especially with plots regarding the children:
    • Several episodes have revolved around Carmen's (and less often, Max) instant messaging causing problems for her. At the time, social networks had not quite caught on and there still were fears that online chatrooms were full of child predators.
    • Another sign of the show being a product of the 2000s was its episodes about George's father-in-law Vic, and his (Vic's) background as an emigrant from Castro-era pre-Thaw Cuba. Many episodes have Vic and Angie speak of Castro in the present tense, especially when discussing his rule over Cuba. One episode in particular has George, Ernie and Vic attempting to rescue Vic's brother Octavio after Castro refused to allow him (Octavio) to leave the island. Another episode has George buy Angie tickets to Cuba to see her grandmother's village. Angie tells George that she promised her father that she would not visit Cuba unless Castro was out of power. Both of these episodes were released in 2003, which clearly date the show to before Castro's stepping down in 2008 and death in 2016.
  • Gossip Girl
    • The show's first couple of seasons uses the fact that the principal casts have cell phones that can send pictures as a way of showing how rich and privileged they are. It's very telling that the eponymous columnist operates from a website rather than a social media account. Social media would probably make it hard for Gossip Girl to even exist, as the teens could probably just tweet the gossip themselves. With social media, it would make Serena's sudden disappearance to boarding school at the start of the series a little harder to take — it's easy to not return Blair's calls but ignoring her on social media would be tricky (MySpace is mentioned, but it wasn't as widely used as Twitter or Facebook would be), and Serena would not have been able to completely avoid her friends that way.
    • Additionally Jenny is a budding fashion designer and has to pay her dues sorting thumbtacks at an internship - whereas in the age of social media she could easily promote her dresses through Facebook. She does have a brief storyline in Season 2 where she and a model called Agnes try to market her dresses online, but they need Agnes's photographer friend to take high quality pictures. Overall the flamboyant lifestyle reeks of a pre-2008 recession age. More superficially, the soundtrack is comprised of the most notable pop hits of the day.
  • Video game documentary series Icons obviously contains multiple dated references. However, some episodes really stand out. For example, the one where Everquest is hailed as the biggest MMORPG, when by the mid-2000s it had been overthrown by World of Warcraft, or how their Insomniac Games episode focuses heavily on pre-third party Spyro the Dragon and ends on the new Ratchet & Clank (2002).
  • VH1's I Love the New Millennium. It was made in 2008, before the decade it was supposed to be nostalgically looking back on was even over. This, of course, presented some problems in hindsight. The show is fascinating now as a time capsule for what people thought would be memorable and lasting about, say, 2007; some things apply, but some look laughably dated, even just a year or two down the road. And yet, it's almost more apt for the sort of nostalgia the show was made for. VH-1 made up for this in 2014 with I Love the 2000s.
  • Pick out any episode of any MTV reality show from the 2000s, and you will find an encapsulation of the decade's flashy pop culture.
    • Becoming featured fans remaking the music videos of their favourite artists. While some of the artists imitated have endured over the years (Britney Spears, Eminem) a lot of them quickly faded away like O-Town, B2K, Dream - and it was a time when Justin Timberlake was more famous for being part of N*Sync. The show is essentially a time capsule of what music was popular in the early 2000s.
    • MTV Cribs was a show built entirely around exploring the lifestyles of the rich and famous by exploring their homes. Not only did its existence speak to the worship of luxury and celebrity that helped define pop culture in that decade, but the style and technology in the homes was often so 2000s it hurt.
    • My Super Sweet Sixteen also hearkens back to an era, pre-Great Recession and Occupy movement, when flaunting immense wealth was in style and something it was thought there was even a point-and-laugh audience for.
    • Ditto for Pimp My Ride, whose aesthetic was a mix of The Fast and the Furious and mid-decade Glam Rap. The titular Pimped Out Cars all resemble something out of one of its host Xzibit's music videos, with giant rims, bright paint jobs, massive sound systems, and video game consoles (all from the Sixth or Seventh Generation) installed. Watching it today, viewers often have to pinch themselves to remember that, yes, this was once considered the pinnacle of coolness.
    • Meanwhile, Teen Mom would become a relic of the "teen pregnancy epidemic" of the 2000s, a time when underage sex was constantly in the news.
  • Nathan Barley is overwhelmingly an example of Values Resonance, since Nathan's obnoxiously over-featured mobile phone and vocation as a minor internet prank video celeb turned out to be well ahead of his time, rather than the passing fad the show's creators were expecting his lifestyle to be. However, it's weird watching bell-bottom low-slung jeans coupled with boxer shorts an inch below the armpits, transparent technology, and the extreme sports and anime aesthetics coexisting with characters that appear like modern hipsters, the overall feel coming off like a Retro Universe version of The New '10s as imagined by people in the 2000s who have had that decade's culture described to them but not shown. The most obvious anachronism is Dan's horrid style magazine, Sugar Ape, which represented an industry and young contemporary art scene that (thanks to the Recession and the internet) stopped existing only a few years after the show aired. Nathan's conspicuous consumption and limitless (implicitly parental) money supply is also something you would not see in a modern hipster portrayal, who, even if they were moneyed, would be trying to appear guilty about it. (A second series with a more 'Millennial' tone, showing Nathan being cut off from his money and trying to get a house, was floated but never made.) What really jumps out is that the Hosegate idiots are shown to be doing what they do as self-expression rather than an exercise in branding or getting clicks — even the sleazy magazine boss seems to feel part of a legitimate art scene.
  • Never Did Me Any Harm — a short-lived British documentary series where a father forces his four boys to conform to 1950s style discipline — is instantly recognizable as a 2000s show. The oldest boy Theo is instantly recognisable as a 2000s death metal lover, social media is never mentioned, the family's TV is analogue and the games consoles they have all look outdated. One hilarious sequence has The Dandy of the family Joe enduring a Traumatic Haircut to get a short Edwardian-style cut worn by "Teddy Boys". He whines about it looking "so old-fashioned", when those haircuts came back into fashion a few years later.
  • A lot of 2000s shows on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel are becoming this, especially ones from the early 2000s. Technology in the 2000s changed rapidly, so you can tell when a show was made by what they're showing.
    • Hannah Montana, being a show about a white teenage female Idol Singer in a blonde wig, not only dates itself via Hannah's (and Lilly's, Oliver's, heck, nearly any teenage character present) mid-to-late 2000s fashions and the notion of "pop princess" as being like Hilary Duff, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera in image, but through including then-current pop culture references to the likes of Orlando Bloom, Lady Gaga, guest star Jesse Mc Cartney, American Idol, Katy Perry, Coldplay vs. Radiohead (though both bands were from The '90s), Dr. Phil, the gossip culture of the day (such as Perez Hilton and TMZ), Barack Obama and Kelly Clarkson, among others, and well as the then-fellow-stars of the Disney Channel.
    • iCarly looks dated to around 2005/2006 due to its long time between production of series one and the airing in 2007. This happened because of the in-universe response of it being "crazy" and unexpected that the characters could create, film, and have their videos go "viral" and that tens of thousands of people will watch them. By 2007, YouTube had already established the YouTube Partnership program which enabled popular web stars to make a lot of money via YouTube advertising and by the turn of the 2010s there were new viral videos and memes being hatched weekly.
    • While avoiding (or at least, parodying) many of the traditional tropes of the tween-coms of the era, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide is still an obscenely mid-2000s time capsule thanks to the lack of social media or the scarcity of cellphones in the middle school environment, along with lacking modern technology schools use.
    • The Brothers Garcia, to the point that it almost feels like a That Nostalgia Show in the style of The Wonder Years for the early 2000s. The TV set is analog, VHS and CDs are used, the kids use the house landline rather than cellphones, Carlos' Spiky Hair was all the rage with teens at the time, and Lorena freely references the hottest pop stars of the time (Britney Spears, Macy Gray, Mandy Moore, and Janet Jackson). Likewise, the video game technology contains Bland Name Products versions of the Playstation 2 and the Game Boy Color, and an episode has George fantasizing about a Lara Croft Expy at the height of her presence in pop culture.
  • The Office (US) is one for the mid-late 2000s/very early 2010s, especially with regards to the technology and pop culture references. In season two, the most coveted gift at the office secret Santa exchange is an iPod 5G (and understandably so: Ryan remarks that it costs $400). Jim and Pam's wedding in season six is an extended Shout-Out to a then-popular YouTube video. Characters are frequently shown using Blackberries and flip phones, and several storylines center on Dunder-Mifflin's declining sales in a world full of big box retailers, and later on, the rise of online shopping and the increasing move towards being more "paperless". On a darker note, much of Michael Scott's behavior toward his female subordinates, while always Played for Laughs in the show, would not fly well at all after the #MeToo movement and the continuing exposure of workplace harassment and abuse since the Harvey Weinstein revelations in 2017.
  • S Club 7 and their TV show has several plots that date it to the 2000s.
    • The main premise - a struggling pop band trying to make it in America - and the group don't market themselves online, through YouTube or Facebook. In the first season, they're easily conned and tricked into working for what they think is a luxury hotel in Miami, when a quick Google search could have told them it was a dump. There's a lack of cellphones among the group, which causes entire episodes involving them getting stranded somewhere or separated from everyone else.
    • An episode of LA 7 has Paul getting them to make a movie, and the joke is that he shoots it all on a cheap video camera. Fast forward a few years when home technology has advanced, and that would actually be a rather sensible idea. And in LA 7 and Hollywood 7 the group try to find a manager and then shoot their first video - whereas with today's technology they'd try to shoot their own videos first in the hopes of attracting a manager.
    • The movie Seeing Double also has as its plot a mad scientist trying to clone the pop stars of the world. S Club in particular have their clones trotted out on stage while the real ones are stranded in Barcelona. Such a thing would be harder to pull off in the days of smart phones and social media, and the group could have exposed the ruse much sooner. Among the pop stars cloned include Gareth Gates, (runner-up to the first season of Pop Idol), Michael Jackson (who passed in 2009)note  and Posh Spice (who was still sort of releasing music at the time before she ultimately focused on her businesses instead). The film also has a Take That! to Tom Green who was still mainstream at the time. The movie also references "President Bush".
  • One Scrubs episode centered around The War on Terror when a soldier previously wounded in Iraq was admitted to the hospital and his presence caused a rift between pro-war and anti-war hospital residences, and Dr. Kelso's attempts to control the situation. At one point, Kelso also attempts to control the situation by bringing up the then-recent news that Pluto had been downgraded from planet to dwarf-planet. Oh, and at the end of the episode, The Janitor says that he believes the US should look for (then at large) Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
  • Skins will always be rooted in that time in the mid-late 2000s when teenage sexual mores in Britain were almost at a national crisis point and chlamydia was a standing joke; the expression "Skins party" left the lexicon almost as soon as it arrived. Interestingly, they actively tried to avert this by refreshing the core cast every two seasons; instead, this resulted in each generation feeling even more specific to its own period. (Cook's episode in season 4 frequently features Rock Band 2, something Tony would never conceive of and Nick would consider passé.)
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "11:59", Janeway mentions how the Y2K problem was nothing to worry about, and neglects to mention anything else notable around the beginning of the 21st century, such as the World Trade Center attacks, or the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise is clearly a product of the early Aughts. Two of the main characters are strongly reminiscent of George W. Bush, Trip physically and Captain Archer in mannerism. The main villains of the first two seasons are the subtly named "Suliban". The third season opens with what could accurately be described as 9/11 in space, and contains a subplot where alien terrorists attempt to deploy a biological WMD in the United States (reminiscent of the 2001 Anthrax attacks). Another subplot involved Vulcans contracting the psychic equivalent of AIDS and included an overt PSA during the final commercial break.
  • Armando Iannucci has repeatedly said that he will never make any more of The Thick of It despite requests because it belongs to a 2000s age of political discourse, when there was still a curtain to hide things behind, and still a general feeling that the political system worked despite its many flaws. Even the fourth series, which features the Coalition (a result of growing resentment of the political class) and an increased role of social media, comes off as charmingly dated in the 'dumpster fire' political discourse of the mid-2010s.
  • That'll Teach Em — a British reality show about modern teens enduring 1950s schooling — dates itself immediately as a 2000s show. For one, it was made during the height of Point And Laugh Shows that involved bratty teenagers being punished on a routine basis. The trend died out as soon as the decade ended and there was a collective backlash against what pretty much amounted to child abuse for entertainment. More superficially the teens wore then-current fashions which look slightly dated now. Hilariously the boys all have to get "Teddy Boy" short-back-and-sides haircuts, most of whom complain about them looking so old fashioned. Said haircuts would come back into fashion during The New '10s.
  • 30 Rock:
    • If you ever need a refresher on what was happening in 2006-2007, watch the first season. A particularly good example is in the episode "The Fighting Irish", when Pete tells Liz that "you look like that lady astronaut who tried to kidnap that other woman." This refers to a then-headline news story involving Lisa Nowak, which you either forgot about or never heard of.
    • The first two seasons make several jokes about the Bush administration and the upcoming 2008 election. They even managed an accidental It Will Never Catch On joke when Jenna hears that Barack Obama is black and sarcastically dismisses the idea that he has a chance of becoming president.
  • Much like the Genshiken example above, Train Man (2004) screams early-to-mid 2000s Otaku culture in Japan. Various stores that appear in the background at scenes that take place in Akiba, most notably electronic stores, have since been replaced by game centers and anime related stores that have been prevalent as the Otaku culture was being de-stigmatized. The lack of smartphones and social media is also telling. In fact, part of why the culture was de-stigmatized has to do with the success of the franchise.
  • The bullet time scenes in Walking with Beasts (2001) immediately peg the series as having been produced soon after The Matrix (1999) hit theatres. The fact that this gimmick was copied in a Nature Documentary on prehistoric life produced by The BBC, of all places, is the perfect example of how much impact this movie had at the time.
  • Although The West Wing doesn't technically take place in our timeline, being a political show, its episodes often focus on politically relevant topics of its time (the late 1990s and early 2000s). At the same time, a lot of the topics are still relevant today. For example:
    • The Lowell Lydell storyline in the first season (1999) is clearly supposed to be Matthew Shepard, the young man who was murdered in 1998 for being gay.
    • The subplot about the space shuttle Columbia in the 1st season finale (in 2000) is definitely Harsher in Hindsight considering that in 2003 it disintegrated while coming back to Earth, killing everyone on board.
    • One early episode focuses on the US military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gay people serving in the military. This can easily be dated to when it was made, since the policy was overturned in 2010.
    • Like the Spider-Man example above, the attacks on 9/11 came just before the third season of The West Wing began. The first episode was a Very Special Episode hastily written to address the anti-Muslim sentiments in the aftermath of the attacks, and the third and fourth seasons in particular are heavily influenced by 9/11. Watching these episodes ten years later, you almost have to remind yourself that this was how people felt at the time.
    • Many of the characters are Expies of real life politicians of the era: Governor Ritchie is George W. Bush, Dr. Jenna Jacobs is Doctor Laura, Matt Santos is Barack Obama (two years before he ran for President, mind you).
  • The Wire:
    • Technology dates it pretty firmly to its 2002-08 run. In Season 1, the detail's investigation into the Barksdale Organization is driven by cracking their network of pager signals to justify wiretaps on payphones the gang uses to communicate. By Season 2, the street has transitioned to burner cell phones ("the latest in yo-tech" in Kima's words) — to the surprise of many cops (who don't realize how cheap phones have gotten), and the Greek is using text messages on a BlackBerry. As the series goes on, the crooks get more sophisticated in using mobile technology — and the cops get ever more sophisticated in using the technology to track them down. It's also dated to the 2000s by the absence of two key technologies: true smartphones and social media.
    • Starting in Season 3, there's increased reference to the Police Department's "ComStat" system for tracking police performance (a fictionalized version of the CitiStat system actually implemented in the early 2000s, based on New York's CompStat). While data-driven policing is still a thing (and CitiStat still exists in Baltimore), the arrests-driven approach is definitely an artifact of the 2000s, before more recent policy trends towards criminal justice reform.
    • Season 4 makes heavy reference to the "No Child Left Behind Act" and its effects upon the education system.
    • Throughout the series, street level dealers gave their product topical brand names like "Troop Surge", "WMDs", and "Pandemic" (i.e. bird flu).
    • Several figures are slightly time-shifted versions of late 1990s-early 2000s Baltimore pols:
      • The most prominent is Tommy Carcetti, a white councilman who becomes Mayor of Baltimore and then Governor of Maryland, who is a pretty obvious stand-in for Martin O'Malley. O'Malley did the same thing 1999-2007, although to his credit, O'Malley served two full terms as Mayor before seeking the governorship rather than skipping out after two years like Carcetti.
      • Council President (and Carcetti's eventual successor) Nerese Campbell appears modeled on Sheila Dixon, who was Council President during O'Malley's term as Mayor and eventually succeeded him.
      • The unnamed antagonistic Republican governor is pretty transparently supposed to be basically the same as Bob Ehrlich, who was governor during O'Malley's second term as mayor.
  • Certain episodes of Reba make it pretty clear it was made during the Turn of the Millennium. Not only do the characters occasionally refer to what year it is, one of the major characters during the first couple of seasons gets a lot praise from Laugh Track audience because she was on American Idol, and game system such as the Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and Xbox get mentioned semi-frequently. Though, oddly, there's no mention of the PlayStation 2. Apparently Reba's not a Sony fan...
  • The Street (which aired on Fox in 2000) firmly dates itself to the pre-decentralization of Wall Street by having the characters reference it as something that's totally new and alien to them. One episode has a Writing Around Trademarks-knockoff of Viagra (only this time, it's a gender-flipped equivalent) that's played up as the hottest thing to hit pharmaceuticals in decades. Additionally, it has several moments of Technology Marches On (characters talking up Palm Pilots) and references to works like Gattaca and Xena: Warrior Princess.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?, by nature of being an improv show, dates strongly to the era it was filmed in—especially the American show. The ABC version with Drew Carey was filmed between 1998 and 2001 (the last filming date being a few days before 9/11). And as expected, it's full of Clinton jokes (especially references to the Monica Lewinsky scandal). Also, there are references to the Firestone tires debacle, South Park, The Blair Witch Project, Britney Spears, boy bands, Survivor's explosive popularity, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (there was even a game based on it), and jokes about George W. Bush's pop cultural perception as a dunce. And the choice of artists used in Greatest Hits often dates to the time as well. And the endless jokes about Friends, which aired opposite from it on NBC. The CW revival will soon be dated as well, in the same ways.

  • Several songs which came out shortly after the 9/11 attacks, including a great deal in the often-patriotic Country Music genre.
    • "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" by Toby Keith. This one has a fair bit of Narm Charm, and someday Americans will look back on it and swear that it must have been a parody. (Heck, some have thought that from the beginning.)
    • "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)?" by Alan Jackson is a subversion, in that it's framed as a look back to that important day.
    • "This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag" by Charlie Daniels.
    • Taking a detour into Hip-Hop Protest Song territory, "Makeshift Patriot" by Sage Francis, a critique of the media and government response to 9/11.
    • And bridging the gap between it and the Iraq War was Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?" It can be jarring to hear him singing "And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout Bin Laden" in modern times, which few people really said at the time. The most cringeworthy line is about vowing to "get what's behind bin Laden"- meaning Saddam Hussein. In a few years we would discover that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, and his involvement with al Qaeda was mainly turning a blind eye while they operated training camps in Iraq. And that's all that will be said about that. But there's a reason why you don't hear this song anymore; the US pulled out of Iraq in 2011, and it's hard to "worry 'bout bin Laden" anymore now that he's dead.
  • A less polemic example from Worley is the late 2004-early 2005 "Awful, Beautiful Life", which despite otherwise being a fairly Slice of Life song, contains the line "We said a prayer for cousin Michael in Iraq / We're all aware that he may never make it back..."
  • Similarly, Phil Vassar's 2002 hit "American Child" has the line "My grandfather would've been 80 today / But in '45 he fell down beside an American child..."
  • "1985" is a song mocking a woman who was raised in the '80s and is still stuck in that era. The song contrasts her tastes with supposedly modern trends like Nirvana and Limp Bizkit. The song was originally recorded by SR-71 in 2000, but it was Covered Up by Bowling for Soup in 2004, when the "modern" references had already become quite dated.
  • The Beastie Boys' album To the 5 Boroughs, with its numerous criticisms of George W. Bush's first term, falls squarely into this territory.
  • Big Time Rush's "Boyfriend" contains references to both late-2000s hit films Slumdog Millionaire and Twilight.
  • The Black Eyed Peas' song "Boom Boom Pow" features the instantly regrettable line "I'm so three-thousand-and-eight, you so two-thousand-and-late!"
  • Eminem:
    • "The Real Slim Shady" is quite obviously a product of its time, with references to Pamela Anderson, Tom Green, Fred Durst, and Will Smith's musical career.
    • "Mosh" is a protest song that was released as a single prior to the 2004 US Presidential election, and its lyrics heavily reflect that. Mention is made of Bin Laden still being considered a terrorist threat, Em voices frustrations about the Bush administration by saying that then-president George W. Bush should go fight in the Iraq War as a way to "impress daddy" (George Bush Sr.), and the final lyrics are of Em saying "Mr. President! Mr Senator!", referencing the candidates of the 2004 US election (the aforementioned Bush, and Senator John Kerry). The music video even had two versions made (mainly just with different endings) and both are also equally as dated. The first one, released before the election, shows people showing up to vote between Bush and Kerry, and then the second version, released after the election, shows protesters breaking into the US Capitol Building while Congress is in session, with signs saying stuff like "Down with Bush!"
    • "White America" references Total Request Live in its chorus, firmly planting it in the early-2000s.
    • "Without Me" references Dick Cheney, how the FCC tried to take him off MTV (which has long since died out due to Network Decay and the internet), and then makes a series of Take Thats to artists who haven't been relevant in years, specifically Chris Kirkpatrick, Limp Bizkit, and Moby (even stating the latter as being 36-years-old). All of this screams 2002, the year "Without Me" was released.
      • Moreover, one of the pot-shots issued at Moby was the lyric "Nobody listens to techno". It was pretty accurate in 2002, when Electronic Music was a very niche thing in America (to the point that American DJs and electronic musicians had to go abroad to find success). Come The New '10s, where EDM has become the sound of youth and has permeated several different genres, DJs are hailed as the new rock stars, and EDM festivals can pull in crowds numbering at over hundred-thousand. Moby himself later noted in a 2016 interview how that particular lyric would be Hilarious in Hindsight later on.
    • "Ass Like That" mentions Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who haven't been very mainstream in several years, plus they're mentioned to be young adults. Even more noticeably, it mentions that Hilary Duff is underage.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's 2003 song "Couch Potato" (a parody of "Lose Yourself" by Eminem) references many shows like Fear Factor, The Sopranos, and 24 that were popular at the time of its release, but the vast majority have since then either ended or greatly declined in popularity. It also boasts about his TV "being HD-ready", a feat that was much more impressive at that time, as HDTV became publicly available the previous year.
  • Alan Jackson's 2000 single "www.memory", in addition to its title referencing the explosion of the Internet at the turn of the millennium, also features very 2000-looking graphics advertising an "" site created as a tie-in to the single, plus a female protagonist driving around the video in a Chrysler PT Cruiser, a car model that was very popular at the time but faded from public consciousness a decade later (aside from currently having a reputation as an absolutely godawful used car or unwanted hand-me-down now that its initial novelty has long since faded).
  • Joy Electric's Favorites at Play, released in 2009. It's a Cover Album, except instead of covering the songs he considered influential (which would have resulted in yet another '80s nostalgia album), Ronnie Martin covered then-recent songs he liked. So the album is a weird little time capsule of songs that got played on the radio between 2003 and 2008.
  • Ministry's trilogy of albums protesting the George W. Bush administration.
  • Nine Inch Nails' 2007 Concept Album Year Zero, and its accompanying Alternate Reality Game, was firmly a satire of contemporary American politics, positing a dystopian 2022 where an America controlled by the Christian Right and the military has destroyed civil liberties and turned The War on Terror into a Forever War.
  • Brad Paisley:
    • His 1999 debut "Who Needs Pictures" is an example of this. The song is about a man who discovers an undeveloped roll of film and declines developing it in favor of cherishing the memories of the pictures taken. Only a couple years later, those photos would probably be on a digital camera's memory card instead (still justifiable if he has no means of reading the card), and only a few years after that, they'd be trivially easy to access on a smartphone.
    • Defied by his 2007 single "Online", which originally contained the line "Go check out MySpace". In concert, he now changes this line to the more timely "Go check my Facebook page".
  • Train's "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)" mentions Tae Bo, a "cardio-boxing" program popular in the late 1990s/early 2000s.
  • Gothic industrial band Lucid Dementia's 2008 album Trickery has a lot of Protest Songs, most of which relate to the Bush Administration and thinly veiled references to the Iraq War. It's especially noticeable when listening to their next album, released in 2013, which is mostly horror themed and very light on politics.
  • Weezer's "Pork and Beans" has a music video that references a bevy of internet memes, none more recent than 2008. The various references just scream, "Hey, remember when YouTube was still new?"
  • Good Charlotte's hit "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" immediately dates itself with the lyrics "There's no such thing as 25 to life as long as you got the cash to pay for Cochran."
  • Gym Class Heroes' "New Friend Request" is filled with MySpace references, including Tom and the Top 8.
  • Blackhawk's 2000 single "I Need You All the Time" has the line "A call takes a quarter and dime". Payphones were raised from 25 to 35 cents in 1997, and they were already pretty much on their way out by the time the price jumped further to 50 cents in 2001.
  • System of a Down's album Toxicity happened to be the number one album the week of 9/11, and its political views date it to its pre-War on Terror release. The most notable are "Deer Dance", which references the anti-WTO protests in 1999, and "The Prison Song", which is dated by (a) the fact that prison reform and ending the War on Drugs have become a lot more mainstream since 2001, (b) the statistics are woefully out of date ("Nearly two million Americans are incarcerated in the prison system of the US." OK, sure...) and (c) the line "Utilizing drugs to pay for secret wars around the world", which is almost quaint, since the US has been fighting very expensive and very public wars since the album was released.
  • In the patriotic fervor of the year following 9/11, New York City-based Hardcore Techno artist Omar Santana released the Sept. 11, 2001 EP under the alias American Hardcore Alliance featuring mixes by himself and fellow Americans Dre Hectik and DJ Sabotage of a gabber track that notably samples George W. Bush's address to the nation on the night of the attacks. Santana would later use his American Hardcore Alliance alias again in 2004 for the Nowhere To Hide EP celebrating the capture of Saddam Hussein by Coalition forces 4 months prior.
  • "The Last Ten Years (Superman)" by Kenny Rogers, released in 2006, relates a lot of pop culture related to the decade prior to its release, including Y2K, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina (2005), the Oklahoma City bombings (1995), Bill Clinton's run-in with Monica Lewinsky (1995-96), the rise of cell phones, the dot-com boom and bust, reality television, rising gas prices, satellite radio, hybrid cars, and so forth. It also references the deaths of Charles M. Schulz (2000), Ray Charles (2004), Johnny Cash (2003), Minnie Pearl (1996), Ronald Reagan (2004), Dr. Seuss (1991), George Harrison (2001), Pope John Paul II (2005), June Carter Cash (2003), and Christopher Reeve (2004). It also contains the line "The best golfer's black, the best rapper's white, and it's about damn time", a line that may sit uncomfortably with some after Tiger Woods' infidelity fiasco in 2009.
  • The Wilkinsons recorded the song "1999" in 2000, based around a "get with the program" hook of "This ain't 1999". It still could probably work if the target of the song is depicted as being very behind the times.
  • The Herd's most political songs, 77% and The King is Dead, are both diatribes against former Australian PM John Howard, and you can place both of them to the year they were released without any trouble; 77% is about the Tampa affair of 2001, and The King is Dead celebrates Howard's election loss in 2007.
  • Ludacris' first single in 2000, "What's Your Fantasy", mentions the Georgia Dome, the then-home stadium of the Atlanta Falcons. With the Dome's demolition and replacement by Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017, this song became a period piece.
  • The video for the Matthew Good Band's song "Hello Time Bomb" features the lyric "My devil's on sugared smacks, down at the radio shack". This references the (then) well-known electronics chain Radio Shack, which is even shown off in the video (complete with a sign that says it's "Canada's Electronic Store"). At the time this video was released, the chain was already falling on hard times, closing off most of its concept stores and new locations in the late 90s and early 2000s. Fast-forward a few years, and the chain finally went bankrupt in 2015 in the face of stiff competition and mounting. While there are still a handful of locations around (known as "The Source"), Radio Shack is functionally gone from the public consciousness. Younger viewers of the video may not even know what the chain in question actually was.
  • LeetStreet Boys' song "Yuri The Only One" is an almost perfect time capsule of the anime and gaming fandoms circa 2008. It consists of copious references to Chobits, Fullmetal Alchemist, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Playstation 3, Wii, Ranma ½, Final Fantasy, and other things that were most relevant during the late-2000s.
  • FM Static's "Definitely Maybe" is a Break-Up Song about a guy trying to date a girl with a cheating boyfriend. It has the line "I saw what happened all those times he went for water when we were at the movie theater watching Harry Potter", which dates it to when the films were still coming out.
  • MC Lars' song "iGeneration" refers specifically to the earlier half of millennials, the ones that were in their late teens and early twenties in the 2000s (although the iGen moniker would be later used to refer to the centennial generation). It's also a pre-MySpace song with references to DVDs and the internet, but no social media or YouTube.
  • Minor example from "I Wanna Do It All" by Terri Clark. An early line in the song mentions "jotting things down on a Krispy Kreme sack", which seems like a generational-specific reference, given that Krispy Kreme had its explosive international growth around this time before overexpansion and Executive Meddling caused the chain to withdraw severely.
  • The Arctic Monkeys' debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not contains several lines and references that date it easily to the mid-2000's:
    • The opening track The View From The Afternoon has the line:
      When she's pressed the star after she's pressed unlock
    Which is a reference to the key sequence for unlocking several models of then-hugely-popular Nokia mobile phones. Only a few years later, Nokia's dominance would start to fade with the rise of the iPhone and (outside of Norht America) Samsung smartphones, and using a PIN, pattern or even biometrics to unlock a phone began to take over.
    • Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured name-drops 'Smirnoff' Ice' and 'Tropical Reef' as drinks. Again, very popular for a few years, before disappearing almost entirely.
      • In general, many of the songs reference things common to the 'binge drinking' culture that reached its height in the mid-2000's.
    • A Certain Romance describes the targets of the song's ire as wearing:
      Classic Reeboks, or knackered Converse, or tracky bottoms tucked in socks
    Which was briefly fashionable amongst some groups of people when the album was released. The song also derisively claims that
    There's only music so that there's new ringtones
    Ringtones of or sounding like popular songs was a trend that faded out towards the end of the decade.

  • The 2006 Stern World Poker Tour is a reminder of just how popular Poker (especially Texas Hold 'Em) was in this decade.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Robin Williams' 2002 comedy special Live On Broadway encapsulates the zeitgeist of the post-September 11th/pre-Iraq War period, with Robin discussing different topics such as the security measures enacted after the September 11th attacks and the war with Afghanistan, as well as gags about Lance Armstrong, the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, and the Enron scandal.
    • His final special, Weapons Of Self-Destruction in 2009, focuses on the first year of Barack Obama's administration, which includes humorously recapping the events that took place between Live On Broadway up to and including the beginning of the Great Recession, and ends with a joke delivered by Robin playing Walter Cronkite, who'd recently died.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Age of Aquarius Second Edition is easily identifiable as "so 2000s". Or, as Russians are more likely to identify periods, as "so Putin's first presidency". Certain events in the NPCs' backstories reference dates such as 2003, and the police still spells its name with a "mi" (which means it's not the Medvedev presidency which started in 2008). The first edition is so 1990s.

    Video Games 
  • The Ace Attorney series is set between 2016 and 2027, but a lot of things in the game point to its 2000 to 2001 development cycle. Cell phones are depicted as the small plastic rectangle design of early 2000s phones, particularly Nokia.note  The English localizations also tend to reference pop culture of the time, such as Apollo's mention of The Grid and Godot's outburst of "Know your role, and shut your mouth" dating them to the mid-2000s easily. On a meta level, the concept of corrupt prosecutors who will do anything for victory in the court room was a then-valid complaint about the Japanese justice system, which the games were designed to bring light to. The inclusion of juries in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney was due to the reappointment of lay judges, which had been in "suspension" since 1943.
  • The 2002 game Aggressive Inline not only has the obligatory period "extreme sports" soundtrack (late '90s/early 2000s Pop Punk, Ska Punk, and Hip-Hop in its case), but one of the characters you can play as, a woman named Chrissy with blonde pigtails and a sexy schoolgirl uniform, is pretty obviously based on a young Britney Spears from the video for "...Baby One More Time".
  • Animal Crossing came out in 2001 and it's obvious it was made during that period between the fifth gen's end and the beginning of the sixth. It was fine on the original Japanese Nintendo 64 version, however the international version was the rerelease on the Nintendo Gamecube. Over a decade later, the "Pokémon Pikachu" is an obscure handheld and the fact that the in-game characters only use the Game Boy Color is made noticeable by the fact a real-world Game Boy Advance is needed to unlock the Island.
  • Bad Day LA, a parody of disaster movies combined with a stab at satire on life in America and Los Angeles during the Turn of the Millennium. The protagonist is an expy of Dave Chappelle, other supporting characters are parodies of Paris Hilton and George W. Bush, the Wanted Meter is based on the color-coded (and oft-mocked) Homeland Security Advisory System instituted after 9/11 and quietly replaced during the Obama administration, and much of the humor is based on the fears and political controversies of the mid-2000s, including terrorism, Latin American immigration, and same-sex marriage.
  • Blacksite: Area 51, a satirical take on The War on Terror in the form of a first-person shooter, fell pretty painfully into this just a few years after it came out. The plot revolves around a failed Super Soldier program created to fill the ranks of the US military with expendable Cannon Fodder drawn from disenfranchised groups (such as criminals and illegal immigrants) so that they wouldn't need to restore conscription and send the kids of middle-class voters to die in some faraway country. This was an explicit reference to the perception (especially among anti-war liberals and libertarians) that the war was disproportionately hurting the working-class people who made up the ranks of the military, as well as the fears of the draft being brought back that were common among those same groups at the time. Ambrose outright states the former in one scene, asking Dr. Weiss "oh, so it's okay for poor kids to come home in body bags?" when she lays out the goals of the Reborn program. Most of the mission titles are also references to media phrases and quotes from the Iraq War, such as "Regime Change", "Misunderestimate", and "Stay the Course".

    Moving beyond the war, another component of the game's dystopian Next Sunday A.D. setting is gas prices at the exorbitant level of... just over $3 a gallon, which would become quaint just a few years later once gas prices started well surpassing the $4 a gallon mark. The player character also meets a Red Shirt civilian in Rachel, Nevada who chose to stay behind because he had a massive mortgage on his house and didn't want to lose it, referencing the free-wheeling home loans that, even before the Great Recession, were putting many people deep in debt.
  • Brütal Legend mostly avoids this trope, being set in a world rooted in nostalgia for classic Heavy Metal. However, the prologue set in the present day features a Fake Band called Kabbage Boy, a very unflattering parody of virtually every major trend in mainstream rock/metal music in the 2000s. The band's members include an obnoxious jerkass dressed in "street" clothes and a flamboyant frontman with a Phantom mask and what appears to be a T-Mobile Sidekick phone, and their music is an unholy fusion of the worst of Nu Metal, Rap Metal, Emo Music, and Metalcore. (Their genre, according to the game's soundtrack, is "Second Wave of American Tween Melodic Rap Metalcore".)
  • Between the rampant Product Placement, soundtracks with copious amounts of Nu Metal and Pop Punk, obnoxious radio DJs, and general Totally Radical attitude, the Burnout games are as aggressively 2000s as is possible for a plotless Racing Game.
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, set Next Sunday A.D., falls into this partially because of its influence on other contemporary shooters. Call of Duty 4 was released in 2007 and set in 2011, but features a rather standard weapon list (M4, AK, MP5, and whatnot), nothing of which began production later than 2001 and not much different from the real-world guns they were modeled after. By the time 2011 rolled around in the real world, Call of Duty and its ilk were filled with various small arms that were covered in accessory rails and just starting development at the time the games were released, but were treated in the games as total replacements for contemporary weapons in every military present in them because their creators paid money to the developers or because the developers just thought they looked cool (leading to humor when one notices how many games ended up having militaries from the 2020s onward use prototypes of decades-old weapons as standard-issue).

    Above all, however, there's the fact that the Modern Warfare games are Post-9/11 Terrorism Games, especially the first one, the plot of which heavily involved the Middle East. Both fans and critics of the series have described them as, essentially, post-9/11 catharsis, allowing players to personally get revenge on stand-ins for the people responsible for the attacks. Furthermore, as 9/11 fell out of the recent past, the Call of Duty series switched its enemies to such hot-button foes as Russia (invading America and then western Europe in Modern Warfare 2 and 3), China (engaged in a new Cold War with America and indirectly fighting them over various Middle Eastern and European countries in Black Ops II), Venezuela (leading a South American petro-empire in Ghosts), Private Military Contractors (growing out of control and attacking sovereign nations in Advanced Warfare), and eventually the rapid progress of technology itself (cyborg super-soldiers being corrupted by a rogue AI in Black Ops III) before moving straight on to pure fiction, actual period pieces, and battle royale clones before rebooting an earlier series.
    • For a more specific example, there's Modern Warfare 2, which released in 2009. Though ostensibly set in 2016, the first two missions have a pair of details that are hard to notice but clearly date the game to the late 2000s once you do catch them - namely, a reference to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", which was repealed in 2010, and the fact that all of the Rangers using their phones to record an F-15 bomb strike on an enemy-controlled tower have flip-open phones.
  • Captain Rainbow stars several forgotten and C-list Nintendo characters, one of which is Little Mac from Punch-Out!!. This came out just shy of a year before the 2009 reboot game, which propelled Mac back into the mainstream and made him a popular Nintendo character again, enough to become a mainstay of the Super Smash Bros. lineup.
  • The Deus Ex games.
    • {Errant Signal}, in its episode on the original game, examined it with regards to this trope. While it's a science fiction game set in a cyberpunk future, its presentation of the conspiracy lore that its plot is built around is rooted in a very pre-9/11 view of such. Conspiracy Theorist characters are presented in the Fox Mulder mold of the dashing, romantic truth-seeker, the theories in question are of the pulpy, apolitical and actually plausible sci-fi sort that formed the defining image of such in the '90s, and even the anti-government National Secessionist Forces are portrayed sympathetically, largely divorced from the far-right ideology of the real-life militia movement that they were inspired by. The fashions of many of the characters also reek of the time when films like Blade and The Matrix defined the 'hip' counterculture. On the other hand, even with how dated he found much of the game to be, he felt that its portrayal of the future of capitalist society, and of the arguments over globalization, localism, meritocracy, and technocracy, was incredibly prescient.
    • As mentioned on the game's own trope page, Deus Ex: Invisible War becomes dated to the early 2000s simply by the tagline on the boxart alone: "The Future War on Terror."
  • The Emo Game series, an Affectionate Parody of early 2000s Emo Music and culture done in the style of a retraux 16-bit side-scroller. Playing these games is like stepping back in time to 2002-04, what with all the pop culture references, '80s kid show nostalgia, emo treading the line between "underground" and "mainstream", and MTV still, at the very least, basing its reputation around music videos.
    • The spinoff The Anti-Bush Game, as its name suggests, is a political agitprop piece made in protest against the George W. Bush administration. It's firmly dated to 2004 by its references to the impending Presidential election and its endorsement of John Kerry in that election (including a link to his campaign website at the end), as well as political controversies and issues from the early 2000s like the war in Iraq, Bush's tax cuts, Janet Jackson's Wardrobe Malfunction, stem cell research, the Enron scandal, health care reform, same-sex marriage, and the power of the Christian Right. Notably, it doesn't contain any reference to controversies from Bush's second term in office, such as Hurricane Katrina, the housing bubble, or the onset of the Great Recession, due to the fact that none of these had happened yet. The fact that John Edwards, Kerry's running mate in 2004, appears in the game as a populist crusader for economic justice also rings Hilarious in Hindsight given how Edwards' career imploded in a sex scandal a few years later.
    • This trope wound up killing the planned third game in the series, Super Emogame III. It had become one of these to 2005-06, and it even had a demo released, yet it had been languishing as vaporware well into 2007 and beyond as Jason Oda's work commitments making advergames started piling up and eating into his time. It would've taken another couple of years to finish, meaning that, by the time of its eventual release, most of its humor and references (to things like MySpace, Ashlee Simpson, the original click-wheel iPod, and then-current emo bands) would've been very outdated. Any attempts to update the humor would've delayed production for even longer. Realizing this, Oda pulled the plug on it.
  • So many of the jokes in Escape from Monkey Island are based on Turn of the Millennium pop culture that, today, they fall horribly flat. The plot, meanwhile, spoofs a lot of social issues that are far less relevant now than they were in 2000 (such as big corporations dehumanizing middle America). It's like American Beauty: The Game.
  • Eternal Fighter Zero was clearly made in the early 2000s, with all its late '90s and early 2000s references that would go over the heads of many younger ones.
  • The opening cutscene of Fahrenheit, set in a Next Sunday A.D. 2013, features a shot of the Lower Manhattan skyline that prominently includes one of the earlier suggested concepts for the rebuilt World Trade Center by architect Daniel Libeskind. The actual One World Trade Center tower wound up looking quite different (here is a side-by-side comparison of the two), marking the game as having been made post-9/11 but before they started rebuilding the World Trade Center.
  • The Final Fantasy VI hack Awful Fantasy is in the same boat as the Emogame series. It was made in 2003, and it shows.
  • J2e's fan retranslation of Final Fantasy IV is loaded with pop culture references that were nowhere to be found in the original script, some of which (like a Pulp Fiction quote or a few lines of lyrics taken from "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)") firmly date it as being a product of the late '90s-early 2000s.
  • Frontlines: Fuel of War, set in a dystopian near-future 2024 where a worldwide petroleum shortage has triggered economic collapse and World War III, will be forever rooted in that time in the late 2000s when gas prices were hitting then-unprecedented levels of $4 a gallon, which was causing peak oil disaster scenarios like the "Long Emergency" (which is referenced by name in the intro) to get mainstream press.
  • The Interactive Buddy Flash game is obviously a product from around 2004, as the caricatures you can choose to play with (or beat the hell out of) include George W. Bush, John Kerry, Michael Moore, StrawberryClock and Maddox, who were all at the height of their relevancy around 2004.
  • In I Wanna Be the Guy, one of the many obstacles is a fake error message which will drop down and kill the player if they don't realize the trick and move out of the way as soon as they regain control. Naturally, this is a Windows XP error message, dating the game to when XP was the current iteration of Windows, and ensuring no one will be fooled by it if they play the game on a later OS (even Vista, which came out worldwide the year of the game's release).
  • Kirby & the Amazing Mirror features a small cell phone with a large antenna used to call other Kirbys. This has since been displaced by smartphones.
  • The EA Black Box-era Need for Speed games are absolutely steeped in early-mid 2000s tuner culture, following upon the success of the early The Fast and the Furious movies. The slang, dialogue and Excuse Plots are painfully of the era, the cars featured can be customized extensively into something garish, and the soundtracks are filled to bursting with rock, electronica and hip hop of the period.
  • Para Para Paradise was made in the early 2000's to capitalize on the Eurobeat and para para dancing trends of the time, which have since come and gone, not helped by Eurobeat hotspot Velfarre closing in 2007 (though it was re-opened as Nicofarre in 2011, dating the game even more). It even has a song titled "velfarre 2000". Seeing such a machine still running today can make one feel like they stepped back at least a decade in time.
  • Persona 4, released in 2008 and taking place in 2011 Japan, a rare example of a JRPG in an entirely modern setting, can sometimes fall into this:
    • Television, and the influence it can have on the populace, serves as one of the underlying themes of the plot. With the rise of the Internet and smartphones only a few years later - just around the time the game actually takes place - as the main source of entertainment and news for many people in first-world countries, especially for those at the high school age all of the main characters are at, this may seem slightly outdated. It's very noticeable that the Internet is pretty much never mentioned by anyone, and there's nary a computer to be found in the game world. One that's even remarked upon in-game is the rise of HD TVs when most of the characters are still using old standard-definition sets, a few lamenting that they'll eventually have to upgrade. A wall of fancy widescreens sits in the electronics section of local department store Junes, a contrast to the old sets the characters own. Funnily enough, the game itself was released on a mostly SD console a couple years after its HD successor had already come out. Kanji's family upgrading to an HD TV is actually a minor plot point in the sequel, which was released in 2012 and takes place in the same year.
    • On a similar note, a major subplot in the game, as well as a major factor in a number of other subplots and social links, is the opening of a department store chain, the aforementioned Junes, in town and its various effects on the local economy. In 2008, this was a hot topic, even in the US with the rise of "big box retailers" and "Megastores" like Wal-Mart, Target, and others. A decade later, while the Big Box and Megastore age has not died completely, online retail through sites such as Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba, etc. has taken a huge chunk in the business of physical stores, to the point that larger chains such as Macy's, JC Penney's, K-Mart, Sears, and Toys R Us have either closed a huge number of stores or been forced into bankruptcy.
    • The characters all rock simple flip-open cellphones, used solely for calling and texting. The first iPhone was released only a year before the game and smartphones would very quickly begin phasing out older cellphones not long after. It's noticeable that the 2011 anime adaptation of the game retcons this a little, as some characters now use smartphones and there's even a song on the OST that makes an iPhone joke:
    "iBreak! Just might be the new app on your smartphone."
    • Kanji's possible homosexuality is a major facet of his character, and his personal dungeon is a bathhouse with deliberately exaggerated Hard Gay overtones. While a hot button issue and the source of much social commentary and humor (which the game provides both of) at the time, only a few years later the idea of major and entirely-sympathetic gay characters in fiction would barely raise an eyebrow.
  • Resident Evil 4 has a scene where Leon (who works for the US government) confronts Salazar and says that what Salazar and Saddler are doing (kidnapping the US president's daughter and infecting her with a parasite to use her as The Mole in their Take Over the World plan) is "terrorism". Salazar comments "isn't that a popular word these days?", making it obvious that Resident Evil 4 is very much a product of the mid-2000s when The War on Terror was an ongoing, hot-button concern. There's also Ashley's alternate 'pop star' outfit, a Hotter and Sexier ensemble designed to evoke a very specific type of 'pop princess' (Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera in particular) that was at its height in the late '90s and early 2000s.
  • Most of the Serious Sam series clearly give away that they were products of the 2000s simply for the fact that a good half of all the references in the world to Duke Nukem Forever being Vapor Ware for as long as it was came from these games specifically - when there was an announcement that Sam 3's release would be delayed until late 2011, the most common joke about it was that the devs had to essentially rewrite it all to remove the references to DNF-as-vaporware after that game finally released in the middle of that year.
  • Saints Row 2 is supposedly set around 2011, five years after Saints Row, but since the game only actually released two years after it, its setting just screams 2007-2008, especially the fashion, music and cultural references.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Adventure 2 is dated to the very early 2000's due to its product placement of SOAP brand shoes and the use of the term "Weapons of mass destruction" in an E-rated game. Had the game been released a few months later, it might've been seen as shocking in light of the 9/11 attacks and lead-up to the war on terror. Then again, the GameCube re-release Sonic Adventure 2 Battle came post-9/11 and didn't really attract any controversy despite being arguably more popular than the Dreamcast original.
    • Shadow the Hedgehog uses the term "terrorists" to describe the Black Arms, who in most any other time period would have been called "Alien Invaders".
  • The second game of the Tony Hawks Under Ground sub-series (as well as the follow-up game American Wasteland) featured Nextel and Motorola flip phones as the main form of communication for the playable character.
  • The World Ends with You is so full of street slang and references to the pop culture of 2000's Tokyo that the 2018 Switch remaster was marketed as an actual period piece. This isn't as bad as many examples though, as most of the game's Totally Radical slang was always Played for Laughs.
  • Even the Grand Theft Auto-inspired video game adaptation of The Warriors from 2005 falls victim to this thanks to its anachronisms. Yes, it's set in the late '70s and based on a movie from that time period (which was itself inspired by a book from the '60s, for that matter), and for the most part it's pretty good about being period-accurate... until you get to that level set in the South Bronx and see, amidst a bunch of punks with Afro and shag hairstyles, one guy with a very Turn of the Millennium-appropriate soul patch. Plus, there's a comic relief scene set in Brooklyn with a thug mumbling in his sleep and suddenly moaning "I don't wanna ride the pony!" — obviously a Shout-Out to a similar scene in Toy Story (1995), which was still an ongoing film series at the time.

    Web Animation 
  • Broken Saints features as one of its protagonists a programmer who boasts of recently helping to save the world from the disastrous effects of the Y2K Bug, irrevocably dating the work to the early 2000s at best.
  • Made during the Golden Age of machinima, The Strangerhood, made with The Sims 2, is arguably either this or an actual intended Period Piece. Its first few episodes could have arguably taken place anywhere at any time, but from the sixth episode onward, it quickly degenerated into "let's spoof this or that show from the 2000s for five minutes and see what happens." That Lost was spoofed but Heroes was ignored dates the miniseries even more to early 2006. The American Idol, Desperate Housewives, CSI: Miami, and Alias jokes seal the deal that this show could only have been made from 2004-2006, three years shy of the release date for The Sims 3.
  • Strangerhood creators Rooster Teeth have minor cases of this on flagship series Red vs. Blue, most notably references to Lost and MySpace (says something about the show's longevity that later seasons have references to Game of Thrones and Facebook). Subverted however with "Can you hear me now? Can you hear me? Stupid 4G network.", which does not date the quote with the days 3G was the norm - and in fact the joke still works.
  • Quake the Movie: Escape from the Bastille, first shown at QuakeCon 2001 and later published online, was a Quake III: Arena Fan Film created when machinima existed but had yet to be recognized as a genre, and made for a multiplayer game without scripts or customizable demos (features that the previous games allowed), predating the in-game recording techniques employed by Red vs. Blue. Thus, it was a rendered 3D animation using in-game models — including the Strogg from Quake II — dating it right away. However, it also shows itself as a product of its time when Ranger fights the Strogg hand-to-hand, as it was produced when The Matrix was popular (it had only been out for two years) and thus no one would question why the hero of Quake would suddenly bust out kung-fu moves against the bad guys instead of just dump rockets into them.

    Web Comics 
  • Early seasons of Ansem Retort avoided this by mostly just making jokes about the Kingdom Hearts series itself, but by early season 3 they were referencing 8-Bit Theater (which ended in 2010) and by the final season they were parodying Jersey Shore, which aired from 2009-2012. Topping it off, in the arc where time got completely fucked up, Jack Bauer ended up on the 20-dollar bill and Riku being able to remember that it was supposed to be Andrew Jackson was a major plot point. Not only does the Jack Bauer reference date it to the first decade of the new millennium, as of 2016 there's talk of moving Jackson to the back of the 20.
  • Doubling with Anachronism Stew, the Ciem Webcomic Series was written from 2007-2010. It is supposed to be set in 2020, but depicts technology that dates it to happening between 2004 and 2009, largely due to being made with The Sims 2.
  • Venus Envy is about a transgender high school girl. It began in the early 2000s, where trans people and especially openly trans teenagers weren't discussed often, and it shows in the way characters interact with Zoe.
  • Apart from the topical references in the Arthur, King of Time and Space contemporary arc, one early strip has Morgana refer to cosplay, with Merlin "translating" this for the principal as "hall costumes". A decade later, nobody familiar enough with sf fandom to understand a reference to hall costumes could possibly fail to know that this is also called cosplay.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Chick
    • Her review of My Little Pony is instantly dated to before My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was made. A big part of the review is her comparing My Little Pony to Transformers — in that the latter had recognizable and identifiable characters, whereas the former was made up of interchangeable toys that girls liked to customize. And one of the reasons Friendship is Magic was such a success is because of the developed and fleshed-out characters. What's more is that Lindsay does not mention the "Brony" phenomenon, which would have been a big talking point had the review been done after the show had been made.
    • Her video list of the "Worst (and Least Awful) Female Superhero Movies" shows that it was made before the Marvel Cinematic Universe had really taken off. It was uploaded in mid-2012, right around the time The Avengers was released. Notably, she doesn't talk about the controversy about Black Widow not having her own movie or the fact that she's suspiciously left out of merchandise — or the similar issues with Gamora for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Conversely the Smurfette Breakout of Peggy Carter — who got an expanded role in the comics, a short film and her own TV series — is not mentioned at all. Lindsay also talks about the Development Hell for the Wonder Woman movie — which was finally released in 2017 to worldwide acclaim. Overall the video shows it was made before the likes of The Hunger Games, Divergent, Snow White and the Huntsman and other movies that helped make female-led action movies more accepted by the mainstream.
  • The Onion:
    • Back in 2000, they ran an article titled "Area Man Consults Internet Whenever Possible". The idea was to satirize people who were obsessed with the Internet and made a point of using it for routine tasks. Some of the things Area Man uses the Internet for in the article are checking on movie times, getting directions, getting recipes, looking up colleges, and looking up word definitions — in other words, things that everybody would eventually use the Internet for all the time just a few years later.
    • Their 1999 article "I Don't Even Remember Writing 'The Tommyknockers'" pokes fun at Stephen King's famously huge body of work, suggesting that he sometimes gets his own books mixed up, and doesn't even remember writing some of them. While most of the article still rings true today, there's one line where King claims that he sometimes gets The Dark Half, The Dark Zone and The Dark Tower mixed up, and has trouble remembering which is which. In 1999, the books in the Dark Tower series were among King's least-known works, so it was somewhat believable that he would have easily forgotten about writing them. But since King finally finished the series in 2004, they've become among his best-known, with an accompanying line of tie-in comic books from Marvel Comics and a big-budget film adaptation starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey—and King has stated several times that he considers the series his most personal project.
  • Pure Pwnage wears the mid-2000s online gaming scene right down to its title, with parodies of Red vs. Blue and Homestar Runner, the games shown include Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft, along with references to MySpace. Later episodes involve Team Fortress 2 (pre-hats), Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and even the web series Zero Punctuation. Even the name is dated — "pwned" as slang for getting one's ass kicked hasn't been widely used since 2010 at the latest.
  • Rob Dobi's Your Scene Sucks and How To Dress Emo are encapsulations of the underground fashion trends of the mid-late 2000s. Many of the entries are very dated, often mentioning MySpace and Livejournal as still being popular, as well as the whole idea around the "#1 Pete Wentz Fan", "Crunkcore Kid", "MySpace Whore" (who uses a T-Mobile Sidekick 3, a cell phone that was once hip and cutting-edge but which has been virtually forgotten since the rise of smartphones), and "Hot Topiccore" scenesters lampooned on the site. Since the site last updated in 2011, it's becoming more and more dated as time goes on; for instance, dubstep is mentioned in passing in the latest update dated June 8th, 2011, when it was just starting to break into the mainstream, but that entry has yet to make its presence, even though the dubstep craze has peaked and declined since then.
  • The peak of YTMND's popularity was in the mid-2000s, so most of the pages made for it would have been made around then. Any that are still online today can come across as time capsules containing 2000s memes and pop-culture references. Even the website's founder, Max Goldberg, acknowledged this in 2016, saying that he didn't have much interest in it beyond "good memories". And in May 2019, YTMND was shut down for good.
  • When it comes to longtime YouTubers who commonly do so nowadays, most YouTube videos that don't run at 60 FPS when in 720p or above. This is because YouTube videos running any higher than 30 FPS is a relatively-recent thing in the grand scheme of the site's life (support for it first rolling out in late 2014, just shy of ten years after the site started). For that matter, videos can also be dated just by the resolutions available - most users back around 2007 to 2009 didn't know or care how to get higher resolutions, and a video available above 240p was usually an accident. Nowadays, with the site being more than a decade old, it's rare for there to be a new video that isn't available in at least 720p, usually at 60 FPS as above. Also you'll still find some videos with an annotation telling users where to click to watch the video in higher quality - as some videos would get a button that said 'HQ' before the site changed the system. Similarly, a lot of earlier Youtube videos will reference or joke about features that were eventually removed, like "rating 5 stars" and Video Responses.
  • The Million Dollar Homepage was created in 2005 and very much shows it, with ads for online casinos, Sudoku puzzles, a forum for the recently decided 2012 London Olympics, and very blatantly an ad that says "Free for 2006".
  • One episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series includes basically every meme from the announcement and launch of the PlayStation 3, including "599 US DOLLARS", "Giant Enemy Crab" and "Attack Its Weak Point for Massive Damage", dating it to the mid-to-late 2000's when such memes were still commonly circulating.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen is clearly a product of the mid-2000s. All the characters have cellphones, but they're flip phones. Video stores still exist, with two characters working at them for a long part of the show. Texting is big, but social media is rarely referenced. Illegal copies of movies are shared by selling discs, not online. Also the characters only ever have a little trouble finding new jobs with almost no references, clearly pre-Great Recession when competition for jobs made it harder for high schoolers to find after school work in favor of unemployed adults.
  • As Told by Ginger is obviously set post-1990s but before the late-2000s. There are references to VCRs and pagers instead of DVDs and cellphones (though the richer teens have cells to show how affluent and spoiled they are). The hairstyles and clothing worn by many of the characters is distinctly late 1990s-early 2000s, especially Courtney's hair and wardrobe along with Ginger wearing bohemian-chic clothing that includes cargo pants and baggy jeans. The episode "The Right Stuff" featured a banner for a science fair proclaiming its then-current year: 2000. There is also the Gripling's ostentatious lifestyle (pre-Great Recession) and Mipsy's 13th birthday bash (again pre-recession and more or less similar to My Super Sweet Sixteen). There is absolutely no sign of any social media which certainly would have been a major part of the series if it came out a few years later.
  • The Boondocks. See the Comic Strips folder above for details.
  • Cartoon Network Groovies only use Cartoon Cartoons from the early 2000s and before. The music styles are sometimes dated as well, along with the artists who sung them. For an individual case, the Josie and the Pussycats Groovie shows off musical styles throughout the decades but ends at the late 90s, early 2000s.
  • Clone High has references to celebrities who were most popular in 2002 (Tom Green, Mandy Moore) but not so much since. The music played is a specific variety of pop-punk from that period. Also, nobody uses a cell phone, which became ubiquitous among teens half a decade later. Even for a show about historical characters, the setting is not quite modern enough.
  • Danny Phantom is dated to the mid-2000s by the technology and fashion. Notably, Tucker uses a PDA, which smartphones have long since replaced.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • The first Chip Skylark episode had Vicky watching the concert on Pay-Per-View, which was already in the wane, being replaced by "Video On Demand" services.
    • The TV movie "Channel Chasers" falls into this quite a bit due to the fact that it was meant to parody a lot of television from the era (around 2000-2004). While some parodies are timeless and still fresh (mostly due to the fact that the shows they parodied were off the air), some are just really dated by today's standards. The CGI Christmas special parody is particularly funny, the special it parodies aired twice in 2002 and never again, meaning it was already dated when the special was made. The manga/anime parodies also fall prey to this since the shows they parody have dwindled in popularity with its target audience over the years (even though adult fans still like them). Then there was that parody of Strawberry Shortcake that was sort of a Take That! at the cheap Flash cartoons for girls that flooded the market; shows of that nature have increased in quality since then, so it either leaves you scratching your head or smirking slightly. And then they parodied Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, which, due to Unfortunate Implications re: Bill Cosby, can leave a bad taste in your mouth.
    • The early seasons have a lot of this. Chip Skylark is based on early 2000s boy band singers and even voiced by N-SYNC member Chris Kirkpatrick. That style fell by the wayside in the mid-2000s and newer boy bands have a different aesthetic. The show also features a Britney Spears parody character based on Britney during her popstar days. Early episodes had a lot of internet jokes that were based around how relatively-new and obscure the internet was, before it became a cornerstone several years later. "The Boy That Would Be Queen" makes a big deal out of Trixie being a Closet Geek; however, girls enjoying video games and comics has become more accepted since its release.
  • Family Guy
    • In the 2006 episode "Saving Private Brian", Brian and Stewie attempt to get kicked out of the military by pretending to be gay. "Don't Ask Don't Tell", the law that required the military to discharge openly gay service members, was repealed in December 2010, and the military's ban on gay soldiers was officially scrapped a few months later in 2011.
    • The third act of "Thanksgiving" is about the family and their guests arguing about America's stance in the Iraq War, which ended a month after the episode's premiere.
    • "The Juice is Loose" is about Peter becoming friends with OJ Simpson. Only problem is, it aired in March 2009, shortly after OJ was imprisoned in Las Vegas for armed robbery. Acknowledged with a title card saying this was a 'lost' episode from 2007.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Nintendo GameCube systems (and a Nintendo Wii in a 2007 episode), Game Boy Advance systems (which would become a Nintendo DS later), a Pager/Beeper in one episode (when they're already starting to be displaced by cell phones), and a lot of other technology references make it an obvious product of the mid-2000s.
  • Kim Possible: The early episodes are very early 2000s. Kim's fashion, including her iconic midriff baring attire, are staples of contemporary fashion. It also had a boy band heavily influenced by the Backstreet Boys and N Sync. The theme also contains the dated line "Call me, beep me if you wanna reach me. If you wanna page me, it's okay", when pagers were largely displaced by cellphones by the mid-2000s.
  • King of the Hill: "Lost In MySpace". The entire plot revolves around Hank's workplace getting a MySpace page (which, at the time, had already been overthrown by Facebook) and then having it hijacked by a co-worker who was fired after a flash mob gone wrong.
  • Martha Speaks: When Martha becomes an adviser to the President, both the First Family and the cabinet were clearly based on the early Obama administration.
  • For those not put off by The Nutshack's animation, the show's references are rather dated, especially since they usually rely on mid-2000s youth culture (such as the Pimp My Ride references in "Jeepney" and 2Quack and Snoop Duck are two examples).
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Moral Decay" (aired in 2001) prominently features the gold Sacajawea dollar coin in a plot about Buttercup knocking out bad guys' teeth in a money-making scheme. The Sacajawea coin was only in general circulation in the United States from 2000 to 2001, with a brief revival from 2009 to 2011; otherwise, it has only ever been available to collectors. It doesn't help that Blossom outright calls it "the new Sacajawea dollar" when she first sees it, or that one of the coins clearly has the year "2000" stamped on it.
  • The Proud Family is a victim of this, from references of technology like Napster to its early 2000s fashion.
  • South Park, much like The Boondocks, got its start in the '90s, but its turn towards more pop culture and political humor in the 2000s caused it to grow closely associated with the decade. Its extremely short lead time, with only six days between the writing of an episode and its air date, allows for very precise and topical humor that often becomes dated in less than a year.
    • The episode "Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants" (the first post-9/11 episode) has people worrying about anthrax attacks. Plus, with Osama's death in 2011...
    • Matt and Trey seem to have become aware of this in recent years, and the 2015 season takes some jabs at the show's 2000ish nature as it mockingly "transitions" into the 2010s with an emphasis on "political correctness".
    • One episode from 2001 tries to show how Token's family is wealthy by them being the only people in town with a DVD player.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Idiot Box" is kicked off when SpongeBob buys a brand-new television set so that he and Patrick can play in the box it came in. In the twentieth century, televisions were quite small, and in The New '10s, they are now universally flat, meaning that only in The Noughties were most televisions both large and bulky enough for children to fit inside their packaging.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo? serves as a fairly accurate and realistic look at The Noughties for pre-teens, teenagers and young adults. It also has guest appearances here and there from then-current celebrities, some of whom have since fallen into complete obscurity, and the show's theme song is a Pop Punk tune performed by Simple Plan. It's an unintentional period piece to the early 2000s, for the same reasons that the original Scooby Doo was one to the 1970s.
  • Cartoon Network ran a promotion in 2001 where viewers could vote on pilots to be made into shows, and one pilot was for a cartoon called A Kitty Bobo Show. The plot of the pilot was that the titular Kitty had a new cell phone, he was the only one of his friends to have one, and it was enough to be a status symbol then. Most of the jokes were based around cell phones being new things for more people to own. Also, Kitty calls his friends "homie" a lot.


Example of: