It's easy to pick apart the truly heinous fads of the 00s; rarely will you get a defender of trucker hats or pleather pants . Yet there are other touchstones of the decade that may quickly fall out of favor.
When a decade dies, it often takes its most representative works with it; 1999's American Beauty is a good example, in that it swept the Oscars in its day but now plays as "painfully 90s," perhaps because it was ripped off by imitators in the early part of this decade. With that in mind, let's take a look at some popular fads and folks of this decade that may be "painfully 00s" by the time 2020 rolls around (or, perhaps, by the time our "green" Times Square ball, shown here, drops in a few days).
Reality Television: Have we gone as far as we can go with reality television? After 10 years of bug eating, rockstar dating, Snooki-worshipping, glorified karaoke nights, intense dance competitions, and hottub makeout sessions, what's left for reality tv? It could be that by 2020 we're still embracing the reality tv trend, and that things have moved into even crazier realms, or it could turn out that by 2020 we view the era of reality television the same way we view the kitschy world of 70s game shows, enjoying the spectacle but asking, "What were we thinking?!"
Jennifer Aniston/Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt: By 2020, Brad Pitt will be roughly 56 years old, and his divorce from Jennifer Aniston will have been in effect for nearly 15 years. Though the trio dominated the tabloid scene of the 00s, their love triangle may finally (dear god, please) fade away to make room for new A-list celebrities and their sordid love affairs. I can remember being a kid in the 80s and watching my mom pick up tabloids with Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson on the cover. It was a story that was seemingly everywhere, though you never hear about Anderson at all these days: go ask some 20 year old who Loni Anderson is. I'm sure she'll let you know, right after she Googles it. The same fate might not befall Aniston, Pitt or Jolie, considering their bodies of work, but the point is that we often forget that the big stars of today are just the memories of tomorrow.
Facebook: Facebook is ending the decade victorious, but if we've learned anything from Xanga, Blurty, LiveJournal, Friendster, or MySpace, that victory might be fleeting. As social networking evolves, so will the platforms that help facilitate it. Remember—just 5 years ago, there was no such thing as YouTube and Twitter has only been around for three years. By 2020, we'll all be holograms walking through walls and living under robot control anyway, so I guess we'll just have to see what technology they give us to use throughout the Robot Kingdom.
Celebutantes Congratulations! You were born into money. You've had ten years to prove to us that we should give a shit, and you decided to spend said ten years parading around in reality shows, getting thrown in jail, releasing perfumes, recording forgettable singles, and starring in terrible films. Please try harder in 2k10. You have the money; nobody else does. This time, go out and do something vaguely interesting with it.
Cats: Oh, cats. You're so adorable and silly that the internet even invented a language just for you! Cats were the animal champions of the 00s, and while no one is suggesting that their adorableness levels will dip anytime soon, they have been terribly overexposed as of late. Remember the 90s? When everyone wanted a pot-bellied pig? I fear the same fate may befall cats, who are so ubiquitous that society may begin to look elsewhere for their cute overload fix. Could 2010 be the year of the bunny? The baby elephant? Only time will tell. You can haz warning, kitties.
Bacon: You know how everyone makes fun of old recipes from the 50s and 60s, pointing out the nastiness of gelatin salads and such? Or how everyone rolls their eyes when the fat free fad of the 90s is brought up? That will be the 2020 reaction to bacon: "Ugh, remember when everyone put bacon on everything?" Believe it.
Celebrity Multitasking: It wasn't enough to just be a movie star in the 00s: in order to stay relevant, you needed to release an album, create a fashion line, star in your own reality show, or promote your own scent. While one can't fault many celebrities (particularly women) for seeking other outlets during their oft-brief time in the spotlight, celebrity saturation became a bit much during the 00s, and only looks to continue, with celebrities directly interacting with fans via platforms such as Twitter. It's not a bad thing that the mythical wall of celebrity has been broken down a bit over the past 10 years, but it has gotten to the point where celebrity seems to apply to almost anyone and therefore mean practically nothing, which will be interesting to watch play out over the next ten years or so; if everyone is famous, then how will famous people continue successfully promoting their brands?
Michael Cera: Don't you just get the sense that unless his career takes a wildly different direction over the next few years, he's going to end up the Molly Ringwald of the 00s?
Aretha Franklin's Hat: Ok, no. Sorry. This one doesn't count. Some things will never go out of style.
As always, feel free to add your suggestions in the comments!