Year in Review, 2000: Pop Culture Trends
2000 was the year of reality TV, digital music, scooters, and more Pottermania
by John Gettings
This new television genre plummeted to its lowest point with Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? and shot to its highest point with Survivor in 2000. Whether it was people eating rats or "marrying" them, millions of Americans tuned in to find out what was going to happen next. And this is only the beginning. Expectations are high for Survivor II, and there's talk of a reality show set on the abandoned Russian space station Mir. No, seriously.
2000 was the year that digital music broke. Personal computers became personal jukeboxes and music-sharing networks like Napster, and Gnutella became the best place to hang out and hear music. The format is here to stay, but the future of sharing free music over the Internet has yet to be decided by its major players: artists, record companies, fans, and lawyers.
A holdover from last year's list, Harry Potter's reign continued in 2000. Spurred by the release of the fourth book in the series about the spell-casting orphan, Pottermania tightened its grip on the world. The first book of the world's most popular children's series hits the big screen in November 2001.
This is hardly the first year that Japanese cartoons, or anime, has been huge in America. But this list would not be complete without it. "Pokemon" and "Dragonball" were two of the most searched words on the Internet. Anime has all the requirements of a pop trend: it looks great, it's controversial, and it's got lots and lots of merchandise for kids and parents to buy.
They don't use gas, and they take years off your age. Maybe that's why scooters were so popular. Suburban kids got the trend rolling by hopping on these collapsible skateboard/bicycle/in-line skate hybrids in record numbers. Faster than walking and easier to park, urban commuters fell in love with scooters and pushed the trend into a new demographic.
It was as if all of last year's vast dot.com advertising airtime was handed over to the telecommunications industry. Every other commercial featured companies offering something digital, hand-held, and wireless.
To every other generation this is a brand of underwear (almost). But this year Digital Versatile (or Video) Discs and DVD players became more affordable and dominated the consumer electronics market. It could mean the beginning of the end for VHS. So stop trying to set the clock on your VCR. Just replace the whole thing.
There was so much media coverage of this boy's tragic story it could have spawned its own television network. For months it was all America could talk about. We can't talk about the year 2000 in America without talking about this Cuban-American custody battle.
These Budweiser beer commercials won the advertising industry's most prestigious award, sparked hundreds of hilarious parodies, and left us with the most overused saying of the year. It even fought off a late-year challenge from "Who let the dogs out?"
If all your investments had a dot.com at the end, you were probably dot.hurting this year. The unprecedented success of Internet stocks in 1999 did not continue very far into the new year as the entire technology sector was mired in an almost year-long millennium hangover.