If you'd like to understand the 2000s, don't look at Y2K or George W. Bush or the War on Terror or the Great Recession. No, to understand the 2000s, watch Gossip Girl. Do you see it? It's hard to put your finger on, but there's something distinctly trashy-while-trying-to-be-classy about the 2000s. It was a time of sleazy pickup artists and lying memoirists, and we haven't even mentioned all the gloriously earnest emo lyrics of the 2000s. Actually, most of those hold up, but…it paints a picture, right?
In these dark times, we turned to Disney Channel Holiday Specials to teach us gifts are important. We wrote fan fiction, most famously the Harry Potter fanfic My Immortal, whose author isn't transphobic (that we know of). And perhaps most importantly, we laughed. Sure, some aughts comedies aged like milk, but there was a definable generation of aughts comedy stars working steadily. Not everything was all bad.