Outside of the nostalgia factor, what’s most fascinating about the I Love The… series is the way it allows the viewer to retroactively witness just how quickly the world around us actually changes. One hour, texting is the new craze, and the next, illegal music downloading is sweeping the nation. Ferris Bueller had it right: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

The I Love The… series has always done a surprisingly decent job of filling in those who did in fact miss what was popular in the United States during certain years. An hour-long clip show obviously can’t go into detail about everything that happened in a single year or even the whole decade, but the purpose of the I Love The… series is to ultimately capture those moments in time by reminding us of the pop cultural climate at the time. It’s fascinating to see through these clips—that appear to have nothing in common besides the year—how the politics, entertainment, and technology evolved (or devolved, depending on your perspective). It’s not solely a matter of “hey, I remember that.” It’s a reminder of the genesis of these concepts that we either still have to this day or did our best to rid from our memories.

Believe it or not, there are people who were born in 2000 and are going to be watching I Love The 2000s with wide-eyed enthusiasm, unaware of most, if not, all of the topics discussed in these episodes. Here in 2014, things like the MP3, satellite radio, and cell phone ringtones feel like they’ve been around forever; but to a lot of these people, they literally have.  These are the people who are not going to know that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (who they might only know as “that judge from American Idol”) were the couple that ultimately spawned the celebrity couple portmanteau. They’re not going to know about “freedom fries” or George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil.” They’re not going to know that Michael Ian Black was the MVP of the I Love The… series.

The series is just as much about nostalgia as it is about pop cultural knowledge, for better or worse. If all of our brains are turning to mush due to the consumption of such knowledge, then at least we’ll have something else to bond over in another decade or so.

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Unlike the first two installments of I Love The 2000s, 2002 and 2003 don’t tread as much water as a result of I Love The New Millennium’s existence. While I Love The 80s and 90s succeeded in creating sequels that were different enough from their predecessors to keep the entertainment factor up while still including just as “important” information for their respective decades, I Love The 2000s also has the misfortune of being too recent. Of course, I Love The 90s took place in 2004, five years after the aforementioned 90s, but again, it wasn’t coming off the heels off an incomplete version of the same basic show.

For all of the things from 2002 and 2003 that feel like a lifetime ago, surprisingly, the Paris Hilton segment is the one that actually comes across as the most modern—because it will most likely be recited almost verbatim in the case of Kim Kardashian come the 2007 episode. As enjoyable it is to remember how ridiculous the times could be, it’s disconcerting that there’s such a case of history repeating here, of all places.

The absence of Michael Ian Black and Hal Sparks is only becoming more obvious as this series progresses, because while there is the standard I Love The… snark in the commentary, there is a lack of truly biting criticism over the more absurd pop culture phenomena.

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Also, while I Love The New Millennium’s 2003 edition reminisced over the introduction of “metrosexual” into the lexicon, I Love The 2000s goes straight to the source, Queer Eye For The Straight Eye. Queer Eye’s description as a “feel good show” instead of a perpetuation of gay stereotypes should tell you everything you need to know about I Love The 2000s.

The general consensus from the comments for I Love The 2000s’ 2000 and 2001 episodes were that the 2000s were a terrible time. However, I Love The 2000s isn’t necessarily saying that it’s not. In fact, what decade wasn’t terrible? We don’t live in a utopia and even the rose-colored glasses of the I Love The… series don’t presume that. It would be interesting to watch an I See The Decade For Exactly What It Was series though, if only for an episode.

Stray observations:

  • How Old LaToya Was Here: The other consensus in the comments for 2000 and 2001 was that I must be freakishly young. In the fall of 2002, I was 14 and beginning my freshman year in high school. I recall watching a lot of Celebrity Poker Showdown in 2003, despite not really knowing how poker worked.
  • Baron Vaughn is now a part of The I Love The… family. Want to talk nostalgia? His “Useless Information” bit has it in spades.
  • Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica probably doesn’t hold up well at all, but I have such a great need to rewatch that show.
  • 2002’s “Guilty Pleasures” are Crank Yankers and spray tans. I officially give up trying to figure out this segment.
  • If you really want to see the 2000s at work, this Mad TV sketch where they parody the I Love The… series is an interesting look at both the series as a whole and Mad TV’s approach to comedy.

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