What Was I Doing in the Early 2000’s?

13 Apr

2000 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS

Ever since Gilmore Girls was added to Netflix a few months ago, I’ve been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls. Not only do I love the show, but it has made me reminisce about some of the most formative years of my life – the early 2000’s. Every critical scene includes the soundtrack of a song that narrated my late teens and early twenties. Something pivotal will happen to Rory and I’ll think, “Oh, I remember driving around listening to this song with [insert name of good friend I’m still good friends with because I live within miles of most of my best friends in the city I grew up in. Cuz that’s how we roll up in the MN!].” Or there will be some random pop culture reference to something or someone I haven’t thought about in 15 years (that’s some sad math I just did). They also make living in a teeny tiny town and drinking coffee in the same diner every day seem so appealing, but that’s a completely different blog post for another time.

Gilmore Girls coffee 1Gilmore Girls coffee 2

We know that Rory was watching movies with Dean, or listening to music with Lane, or having the most amazing mother/daughter relationship with her cool, fast talking mother. But here’s the important question you should be asking – what was I doing in the early 2000’s??? (I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about me. Stop being such an egomaniac. It’s really unattractive).

1. Watching hilarious television with my friends

One of the many things I loved about my group of friends is that while other young people were off drinking at bars with their fake ID’s, or going to parties so they could make out or dry hump (I’m so naive, were people having sex outside of their high school sweetheart that they’d been dating for 4 years in their early 20’s?), my friends and I were eating junk food and watching Blind Date. My best friend and I had an apartment that was appropriately named “Uteri Manor,” while our guy friends had an apartment nearby called “Fort Safety.” They originally lived in a different apartment named “Fort Awesome,” but a crazy tenant tried to kill them, so they had to move and their new abode was named for the safety and security it brought to their young lives. Much lower ceilings or a crazy person threatening bodily harm in the night? Sophie’s choice, really.

Anyway, Fort Safety ended up being a meeting ground for our friends to gather and watch horribly good television. One of those shows, as I mentioned, was Blind Date, hosted by that sly charmer Roger Lodge. This was a groundbreaking reality television program where a camera would follow around a couple on their first blind date, and the writers would add commentary to make everything funnier. Hilarious things would happen like they would go to a winery and the guy would take a sip while making a disgusted face and then a little thought bubble would pop up and say, “This isn’t Miller Lite!” Or they would go ballroom dancing and the girl would trip and the thought bubble would quip, “I should have worn better shoes!” Hysterical material such as that. And then that delightful Roger Lodge would throw out something like, “Looks like Gina has two left feet. Let’s hope she’s better at hot-tubbing!” Classic Rog.

Sometimes "Therapist Joe" had to show up to keep it real.

Sometimes “Therapist Joe” had to show up to keep it real.

My tastes matured over the years, and one of those roommates and I started drinking cheap red wine (only my viewing tastes had matured, at that point. My wine palette was still at $5 Yellow Tail) and watching Arrested Development every Monday. Do you know how much red wine we would drink? A lot. And do you know how hard we laughed at Arrested Development? Even more than the amount of wine we drank. I still think A.D. is one of the smartest and funniest shows ever written. I unfortunately tried to watch the fourth season that was on Netflix and did not know what the hell was ever happening, so that ruined it a bit for me. But to this day, when I’m trying not to cry, I imagine Gob doing his chicken dance and it helps me to contain the tears until I’m alone. So it has basically made me emotionally healthier!

Gob chicken dance

Then there were the nights with my girlfriends when we would watch marathons of Sex and the City; or special nights of the West Wing (yeah, we were cool enough to order pizza and watch a solid political drama every now and then), Curb Your Enthusiasm, or Da Ali G Show (“I’m sitting here with Boutros Boutro Boutros Ghali”). Then there were my many evenings spent alone watching Family Guy (“Do you guys have any books on potty training?” “Well, here’s our most popular book, ‘Everybody Poops,’ and here’s our less popular book, ‘Nobody Poops but You.'”).

Any way you cut it, I was not wasting my 20’s out in the bars, because I could just watch people hanging out in bars on television!

2. Using Napster

Napster

Remember Napster? For two glorious years, from 1999-2001, I stole so much bad music from other people. And then one fateful day, the music disappeared, and I was devastated. No more acoustic b-side Foo Fighters songs? Would I have to buy that Santana album now? (The hypothetical answer: yes. The actual answer: also yes).

I was always a CD collector, so I just went back to my old ways. I occasionally bought music through iTunes, but it’s just not the same as stealing. Now I use Spotify, which involves paying a small amount of money each month to feel like I’m not stealing, but I pretty much am, so mentally it’s a win win.

 3. Probably Listening to Shaggy

I actually think that the music I listened to in the early 2000’s was very good. I liked indie, local musicians, or “crybaby cowboy music,” as my friend so aptly put it. I really liked folk artists in my early 20’s. I mean, don’t even get me started on my intense obsession with Ani DiFranco. My friend and I saw her live more times than I care to admit, and I would passionately sing along to all the lyrics about how much I hate you and your untouchable face because I am not a pretty girl, I am actually 32 flavors and then some. This may sound like I’m making fun of both myself and Ani DiFranco, but actually I still love her so much and all my angst comes out when I listen to her old songs. If someone happens to walk by my office door while I’m lip syncing to Ani DiFranco, they might think I’ve been shot because my face looks so pained.

But loving all of this good folk music does not mean that I ever took a break from my beloved pop music. This leads me to my point about how inevitable it was that I was listening to Shaggy for most of my day (side note: do you know that his actual first name is Orville?!?!).

Shaggy1

Shaggy2

 

Do you remember how big Shaggy was? Every song was either sung by him, or featured him as the guest performer. You could not go into a restaurant without hearing “Caught me freaking in the shower (wasn’t me). Saw me digging in the lawnmower (wasn’t me). Found me eating sauerkrauter (wasn’t me).” I visited Nicaragua around the time that Shaggy was dying down a bit in the U.S., and while in a bar, someone requested every Shaggy song ever made. My friend informed me that Shaggy had just become popular in Central America. Shaggy had made his way South, and I couldn’t escape him.

These years were also the beginning of Avril, Alicia Keys, and the continuation of very solid Destiny’s Child songs. And Dido! Remember Dido? This song is so damn good. Still. She totally got me. Almost as much as Jewel and Fiona Apple, but not quite.

4. Still Wearing Delia’s

These days I get a thrill from Stitch Fix being delivered every so often, but in my late teens and early 20’s, it was the Delia’s catalog coming in the mail that got me through the month. In lieu of talking about all the tightly fitted tops and loose pants that I wanted, let’s just have a blogging fashion show. Fashion show online! Fashion show online!

I literally remember this page in my catalog. I wanted the shirt, the necklace, and the trendy pajama pants. And probably the sunglasses.

I literally remember this page in my catalog. I wanted the shirt, the necklace, and the trendy pajama pants. And probably the sunglasses.

 

Oh yeah, tank tops and long flowery skirts? That was my jam. But my body did not look like hers in them.

Oh yeah, tank tops and long flowery skirts? That was my jam. But my body did not look like hers in them.

 

OMG, these awkward fitting button down tops with ill-fitting pants and dirty colored sneakers? Yes, please.

OMG, these awkward button down tops with ill-fitting pants and dirty colored sneakers? Yes, please.

 

If only! And that hair. I wish.

If only! And that hair. I wish.

Delia’s filed for bankruptcy, and I fear that it’s my fault because I no longer wear their clothes. I would like to express my deep grief over their financial woes. I would also like to say that if they do a creative overhaul and start making clothes for 30-year old’s, that I would very much like to buy them. To be safe, just make clothes for 30-50 year olds. That will give us both some longevity.

5. Mourning Kathie Lee’s departure from Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee

Regis and Kathie Lee

It’s embarrassing to say now, because Kathie Lee is currently the sidekick of Hoda who drinks white wine all day, but I used to think she and Regis were hilarious together. I actually still think Regis is a genius, and I’ll love him for always, so I only put my love for Kathie Lee in the past tense. They had that great banter going, and Kathie Lee would be all “Reeeeege,” and Regis would be all, “you’re the worst,” and it was just so delightful.

But then, if you recall, things started to get weird for Kathie Lee, personally. She had that whole sweatshop scandal, and then Frank straight up cheated on her and the pictures of it were all over the tabloids. I was so angry with Frank – how could you do this to Kathie Lee?!? Sure, she’s a little annoying, and maybe she doesn’t have as much time for you when she has to cart Cody and Cassidy around to audition for roles as extras in Law & Order: SVU so often. But did she deserve to be cheated on with a bottle blonde? A real blonde, I could understand, but a fake one? Come on, Frank. Have some dignity. You were a superhero football player, for godssakes.

frank-gifford football

Once things started to fall apart in real-life for Kathie Lee, things also started falling apart on the show. There was crying – a lot of crying. And when you wear so much make-up, the crying turns even uglier than regular crying, which was just icing on the pity party cake for poor Kathie Lee. The show started to get less funny, and you could feel that Regis was uncomfortable. He just wanted to talk about the great Italian restaurant he went to last night with Joy. Or how he co-hosted a party with Mel Torme last weekend, and they sang a duet of all their favorite Dean Martin songs while drinking martinis. It was OUT OF CONTROL! But now he had to soothe his co-host as she defended her weird clothing line to millions. Cody and Cassidy would never get on Law & Order this way. She needed to quit while she was ahead (or at least, not completely at the bottom of the pity well), so she left. There was a beautiful week of flashbacks (my favorite), and surprise guests. I ate it all up with a spoon, and felt sad that one of my favorite shows was ending.

Kathie Lee Crying 1

Kelly Ripa never quite did it for me, and I started detesting daytime television because it sucked my insides away and melted them into a million little pieces (another side note: remember the book A Million Little Pieces that was the biggest thing ever because of Oprah? And then the author had to admit that he made it all up? Yikes! Bet he wishes he had written Harry Potter instead. Or, at least called his book fiction, which would have saved him some grief). I guess Kathie Lee leaving was the end of an era, just like those shirts that you could blow on and they would change color.

6. Watching some really good movies and some really bad movies

Here are the movies that I could not stop watching in the year 2000:

Almost Famous – That scene where they all sing Tiny Dancer on the tour bus was one of the best moments of my young life. And I wasn’t even on the bus! I just love that song so much!

High Fidelity – For a brief time, all I wanted to do was work at a record store and talk about mix tapes. The closest I got was working in the music section of Barnes and Noble for about 6 months. Customers there were mostly buying opera CD’s, so it wasn’t very fulfilling. It was fun watching people try to steal things, though. I know, I know – I’m such a glass half full person!

High Fidelity

Memento – I don’t have memory loss, but I am very sleep deprived, so I sometimes think I should write things all over my arm in order to remember them, just like the main character. My arm would say phrases such as, “Change son’s diaper once in a while, even though it’s the weekend,” and “You have a frozen pizza in the oven!”

Wonder Boys – I feel like Wonder Boys is the Big Lebowski of films about college level English professors. Maybe it’s because they smoke a lot of pot, and Michael Douglas wears a robe sometimes, and then people say weird things. Either way, I love it. And you get to see Dawson’s-era Katie Holmes act adorably, which is a delight. Remember that one time she got brainwashed by Tom Cruise and became a Scientologist and hung out only with Victoria Beckham? That was a funny few years for all of us.

Center Stage – The plot of Center Stage was not nearly as strong as some other dance movies, namely, Save the Last Dance. Now, that movie had emotion. But Center Stage had great dancing, eating disorders, and the song Canned Heat by Jamiroquai, so it was enough for me.

Here are the movies I wish I hadn’t watched in the year 2000:

What Women Want – What women really want is for you to shut your anti-Semitic mouth and stop hitting women, Mel Gibson. But yeah, a charming smile and a good listener isn’t bad either.

Mel-Gibson

Pay It Forward – More like Pay It Crap.

State and Main – More like State and Crap. Did I use that joke already? It still works. (I know at least three people that are going to argue this, but my argument is ready: that movie was dumb).

 

This list pretty much sums up the early 2000’s for me! I remember myself as being pretty cool, and reading this back, I can confirm – I WAS REALLY COOL.

 

 

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4 Responses to “What Was I Doing in the Early 2000’s?”

  1. Cynthia French April 13, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    Great article. I am going to have to figure out what i was doing in 2000. I don’t think it is as cool as you. It involves some grad school and working as a college admission counselor, which was when i was really into Daria, but only when I traveled because i couldn’t afford cable.

    • Alex April 13, 2015 at 9:52 am #

      OMG Daria!! I f-ing LOVED Daria!! How could I forget about that?!?

  2. Miriam April 13, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Am I one of the three people you had already anticipated would argue with you about State and Main? If not, add me to the list.

  3. Alex April 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm #

    You were not, but that movie was dumb as hell, Miriam. You know it in your heart. Worse than ” The Waitress”? Now, that I do not know.

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