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"Two thousand zero zero party over. Oops out of time."—Prince, "1999"
The Year 2000. Flying cars, androids, faster-than-light space travel... oh wait, we don't have any of that yet. On the plus side, our computers didn't explode, after all. While New Years' 2000 came in with a bang, attitudes from The Nineties pretty much lingered for the first year. For the United States, the decade culturally started on September 11th, 2001 with the terrorist attacks on New York City, which not only launched the United States into two wars, but continues to be a lingering specter in global politics. It is possible this decade may have ended culturally in fall 2008, which saw the start of the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression, followed two months later by the election of Barack Obama as President.
See The War on Terror for the major wars of this decade. Note that, since The War on Terror has defined American and NATO-sphere foreign policy for almost all of this time, this decade has marked the arrival of Middle Eastern civilizations as societies to know about. The Persian Gulf city of Dubai, for example, went through its Boom Town during this decade.
Much of the decade's culture can roughly be described as "The Eighties, Round 2", namely in terms of societal excess. The "McMansion" became the dominant paradigm for new homes, and enormous SUVs, after getting their start in the late '90s, came to rule over the car market. Every genre of music, from Glam Rap to Post-Grunge, idolized lifestyles of excess and debauchery. If you couldn't afford a new flat-screen and surround sound system, then you could just buy it on credit and pay it off later. Reality took over TV, with Survivor and American Idol in the US and Big Brother and Pop Idol/The X Factor in Britain launching literally hundreds of imitators across an ocean of reality TV subgenres, helped along by the explosion of cable and satellite television as a major outlet for original programming. Celebrity came to be defined not by an entertainer's accomplishments as a musician, actor, athlete, etc., but by the number of Paparazzi following his or her every move and the amount of tabloid press that he or she had. It was something that could be achieved for seemingly nebulous reasons, as shown by the inexplicable rise to superstardom of such people as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, who built media empires on their status as socialites and reality TV stars. The societal implications of this were not lost on the world, with Charlie Brooker in Britain, The Chaser in Australia, and The Soup and The Daily Show in the US leading a wave of shows and blogs that satirized and parodied the decade's culture.
And speaking of blogs, this was also the time in which the internet really became a part of society at large, instead of being limited to computer geeks and Usenet groups. Everyone got connected, with many people owning media storage devices, have access to the internet, etc. If you didn't have a computer with internet access, you were left behind. Technology was always getting better and less expensive via Moore's law, and you can walk into a department store and buy a computer which was at least a million times more powerful than the ones that put man on the moon. Video Games finally started to gain mainstream recognition, especially near the end of the decade, with the release of the Wii. Games became Darker and Edgier, with much more mature storylines and realistic plots, although how mature and realistic they are is subject to debate (some see it as a repeat of The Dark Age of Comic Books). Meanwhile, the sports gaming industry was effectively monopolized by Electronic Arts, to the horror of some.
Gaming's turn towards realism was reflected in speculative fiction. There was a great demand for more "realistic" depictions of what happens if we were to actually meet aliens or fight robots. If we are higher tech, there is a good chance that Humans Are the Real Monsters, and when we have the inferior tech, don't expect to come out of the situation alive or overcoming against bad odds. This shift is perhaps best exemplified by Lost and the remake of Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, two of the defining sci-fi shows of the decade, which were both heavily focused on character-driven drama, philosophy and gritty realism (the latter especially in BSG's case).
A lot of humor consists of Crossing the Line Twice, and things which would have caused the Moral Guardians to have strokes just a few years earlier are now seen as just mildly offensive. As such, obsession with Japan and awareness of East Asian affairs (especially with China's rapid rise as a world power) is becoming popular in the US once more. Movies tended to be more about adventure and self discovery than action and blowing things up. Of course, when you consider what started the decade off, it's kind of understandable why.
In the world of anime and manga, the Light Novel and Visual Novel adaptation saw a massive boost with Yamamoto Yutaka spearheading the efforts of making Haruhi popular and Noizi Itoh a very rich illustrator as she was responsible for the character illustrations, Mediafactory and Degenki were quick to cash in on this craze, leading to a spurt of harem and slice of life manga and anime.
Note that this was only named as such because few can decide on what to call the 2000-2009 period. In Britain and Australia, this decade is often called the Noughties, as the word "nought" has the same meaning as "zero." However, the word "nought" has faded from American English, which means that, to American ears, the term "Noughties" sounds like the more snicker-inducing "Naughties."  As a result, the Americans are more likely to use the term "Two-Thousands" to describe this decade.  Stay tuned.
Now has a Useful Notes page.
Finally, as a sidenote, the 21st century and 3rd millennium began on January 1, 2001, not 2000, because there was no year 0. But many people just used this as an excuse to celebrate the new millennium twice.
Tropes associated with the time period:
- All CGI Cartoon: Disney and other animation companies abandoned traditional animation during this decade, though towards the end of the decade there was some hope that the two might coexist. Of course, anime is stronger than ever before and still averts this trope for the most part.
- Interestingly, Stop-Motion animation has also received a re-invigoration from CGI pseudo-backlash, as it's become apparent that some aesthetics are better suited to Stop-motion than CG (one of the best examples being Flushed Away, which had the character designs of an Aardman Animations character, but were CG - audiences generally said the animation looked weird because of it.
- Animation Age Ghetto .
- Boy Band:Boy bands like NYSNC and Backstreet Boys were very popular in the early 2000s but bands like these faded away mid 2000s .
- But Not Too Black: Many of the Black Celebrities at that time specifically the women like Beyonce and Rihanna and Alicia Keys.
- But Not Too White
- Butt Monkey: George W. Bush,Michael Jackson before he died also Britney Spears in the late 2000s .
- Cash Cow Franchise: Every TV series or movie or video game that was successful during that decade.
- China Takes Over the World: Popular in fiction now that Japan doesn't have the cash to take over the world anymore and Russia is still a complete clusterfuck, even after 20 years.
- YMMV on Russia, though. Especially how it's also paired favorably with the Chinese as part of the BRIC club (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
- Darker and Edgier: When compared to The Nineties, things got a lot more serious and frightening in this decade, what with 9/11, The War on Terror, Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian tsunamis, the 7/7 London bombings, and much more. In a possibly related phenomenon, Darker and Edgier also became a popular trend for media sequels, reboots, and adaptations.
- Deconstructed Trope
- Defective Detective: Started in 2000 with Monk, the trope namer, and spread with Psych, Life and Bored to Death. The Good Guys and Terriers seem to be continuing this trend.
- Digital Distribution: The "legitimisation" of downloadable music, the success of Valve's Steam platform for PC games and client/server shops on all the major consoles and the advent of on demand TV and film services have made this a reality. YMMV on how this has been achieved, which leads us on to the following trope.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Or is it? Your Mileage May Vary. But as with the aformentiond Digital Distribution this is when it became mainstream and super-easy.
- Epic Movie: Too many to list.
- Emo Teen
- Everything Is an iPod In The Future: The iPod itself first appeared in 2001. The aesthetic took some time to really spread.
- Friending Network: My Space both rose and fell, and for the last couple years Facebook and Twitter carried the torch.
- Fashionable Asymmetry in women's evening dress and hairstyles.
- Gag Series
- Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: Especially on reality shows .
- Glam Rap
- Hipster: First officially appeared in 2000 with High Fidelity, and exploded around 2006.
- Hotter and Sexier:The music videos and advertisement was very sexual at that time. Every award-winning single was now either a rap or hip-hop.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Continuing with the "growing cynicism" theme, one of the prevailing attitudes of the Turn of the Millennium can be summed up as "Hate humans or there'll be hell to pay."
- Jade-Colored Glasses: A lot of people who grew up during this period are deeply cynical. And Heaven help you if you're not.
- Though this was just as common (and less justified) in The Nineties.
- Kid Com: Both Disney and Nickelodeon shifted the focus of their networks to focus on "Tweencoms" and building franchises around the stars of their shows.
- Live Action Adaptation: Scooby Doo, Garfield, Alvinandthe Chipmunks, Josie and The Pussycats, Transformers, Fat Albert Movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat.
- Long Title: Everywhere in music in the middle of the decade, regardless of genre.
- Memetic Mutation: Internet memes existed well before the '00s, but became a huge part of the series of tubes in this decade.
- Moe: This is the decade where Anime execs really started mining this trope for big payoffs. This caused a lot of contention in the fanbase over the entire decade.
- Money Song: Many songs like that in this decade especially from rappers but occasionally singers would make and song like this.
- Mood Whiplash
- Network Decay: Started in The Nineties with MTV, now it's moved on to just about every cable network.
- New Media Are Evil: The old media's reaction to the Internet.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Hooray; Saddam's evil empire is dea--wait; what's this about them being a huge supplier of oil, and our economy being based on oil?!
- And all those violent groups who were kept in check by Saddam but are more able to bomb the streets now that he's gone?
- Nostalgia Filter: It's always been around, but this era is probably when it's been the most prominent.
- Noughties Drama Series
- Post Nine Eleven Terrorism Movie
- Reality TV: Not invented in this period, but it exploded in popularity.
- Shallow Parody
- Stripperiffic: Even moreso in Real Life than in fiction.
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks
- The End of the World as We Know It: Predicted. Multiple times. It did not happen... yet...
- The War on Terror
- Tsundere: The concept existed before this point, of course, but really seemed to take off in this decade, becoming a prominent character type even in Western media.
- Unpleasable Fanbase: It's always been around, but this era is probably when it's been the most prominent.
- Wide Open Sandbox: First became popular in games
- Wolverine Publicity: Most of the biggest Celebrities in the 2000s like Paris Hilton.
- You Can Panic Now
- Zeerust All those science fiction movies taking place in 2000 look so old now.
Works that were made in this time period:
- Animated Shows
- Anime And Manga
- Comic Books
- Eastern European Animation
- Hanguk Manhwa Aenimeisyeon
- Live Action TV
- New Media
- Newspaper Comics
- Video Games
- Web Animation
- Web Comics
- Western Animation
- ↑ Ironically enough, this term was coined by some Americans in the late '90s, who did indeed use the "Naughties" spelling, as it symbolized both the aforementioned zeroes and the hope that this decade would be less inhibited than The Nineties.
- ↑ Also heard occasionally in the US is "The 'Aughts", in reference to the old-time practice of referring to 190x as "nineteen-aught-x".