As we welcome 2014 with hope in our hearts and a twinkle in the eye, it behooves us to look to our past and discover how we came to this place. With that in mind this list looks to examine our world a decade ago, in the year 2004. As that year began many of the things that would go on to shape the world around us weren’t even a blip on the radar. A nipple would soon have the FCC crackdown on television, a Harvard punk nerd would lay the foundation for how we interact in the new millennium, and Pixar would make a phenomenal film again. Wait, that last one was par for the course at the time.
Now with 2014 starting we have to wonder what innovations are being quietly worked on in some basement or dorm room right now, just itching to mould our culture into the futurescape we can only imagine. Let’s take a look back, for just a moment, before moving forward with our lives. These are 45 things that happened in the world in 2004 that changed us.
1. 2004 was the year we enjoyed our friendsWe watched The Friends finale with 52 million people.
2. The Mauraders came back together and we watched as Harry, Ron, and Hermione learned that a past betrayal was a frame job in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
4. Shrek and Donkey embarked on another adventure, and most of us laughed as Shrek met Fiona’s parents in Shrek 2.
5. We watched as Cady Heron treaded the dangerous waters of high school cliques with Regina George and her friends in Mean Girls.
6. All Harold and Kumar wanted for a perfect night was some White Castle, and we succumbed to the stoney flick’s charms.
7. 2004 was the year that our teams rose to the challengeWe watched the Boston Red Sox bleed through their socks, break the curse, and win the World Series.
8. The New England Patriots took home the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Superbowl XXXVIII.
9. The Permian Panthers made us cheer by keeping their eyes clear and their hearts full in Friday Night Lights.
11. You called your friends, excitement barely contained, because you could play a Legend of Zelda game in co-op with Four Swords Adventure.
12. You laughed, sometimes uncomfortably, as an actor joined Team America and terrorized terrorists in Team America: World Police.
13. Our hearts soared as the Parr’s learned that the best super hero team is family in The Incredibles.
14. Your mind was blown by the egomaniacal Dr. House and the best diagnostician team in medicine on the series premiere of House, M.D.
15. You were in a glass case of emotion as Ron Burgundy lead the classiest news team known to San Diego in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
16. Team Angel Investigations fought the apocalyptic hordes on the series finale of Angel, you too secretly had always wanted to fight a dragon.
17. 2004 was the year we watched in horror at the world around usA 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused tsunamis that killed over 150,000 people from Thailand to Somalia and shook the world to its core.
18. Iraqi captives were physically and psychologically abused by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib.
19. We helplessly watched as a school siege in Russia left more than 300 dead, most of them children.
20. We watched Dimebag Darrell, a founding member of Pantera, get gunned down while performing in Columbus, OH.
21. 2004 was the year we warred with aliens, mutants, and monstersWe grabbed a battle rifle as Master Chief and promised to finish the fight in Halo 2.
22. Your mind was blown when Gordon Freeman grabbed a gravity gun for the first time, and took the fight to the Combine in Half-LIfe 2.
24. We all cursed the name Stephen King as Roland Deschain finished his climb in The Dark Tower.
25. 2004 was the year that, for some, things were about to happenThanks to your votes, America, Jennifer Hudson came in 7th place on American Idol, but unknowingly came in 1st place for “Contestant Most Likely To Win An Oscar.”
26. Nintendo told the world about their next great idea. If only we'd known the slew of penis jokes that would follow we’d have planned our puns better when the Wii was officially named the next year.
27. You were mildly intrigued to learn that Christopher Eccleston was announced as the Ninth Doctor on Doctor Who. The then 40 year old series would start to slowly build to the sci-fi phenomenon it is today.
28. 2004 was the year we got lost in massive worldsWorld of Warcraft launched, and you fell into a time sucking vortex.
29. We took control of CJ in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and received a dose of “hot coffee”.
32. 2004 was the year we carried around our tech toysYou had your clunker of an iPod while looking longingly at the trim and slim iPod Mini, which would later become the iPod Nano.
32. Everyone you knew either had or wanted the Razr cellphone.
33. Fans witnessed Nintendo’s best hardware revolution with the Nintendo DS handheld system.
34. 2004 was the year critics and fans loved men who could dance and singYou watched the Grammy’s celebrate the previous year with Justin Timberlake’s Justified garnering the singer multiple statues.
35. Usher’s “Yeah!” had us bouncing in our cars and at the club.
36. You watched Jimmy Fallon sing goodbye to Saturday Night Live with Weekend Update coanchor Tina Fey, and now he’s sung his way into bringing The Tonight Show back to NYC.
37. 2004 was the year we began to use the internet betterYour geek friends started to tell you about Firefox’s performance superiority over Internet Explorer, and about how it was customizable.
38. You had to have, and often begged for, an invitation to use Google’s new Gmail service.
39. Facebook launched exclusively to Harvard students, meanwhile you tried to figure out why it was a good idea to buy a Classmates.com account.
40. 2004 is the year entertainment terrified and thrilled usWe wondered at the brutality of Jesus’ last day in Passion of the Christ.
41. Beatrix Kiddo got her bloody satisfaction, and we rejoiced in the violence, in Kill Bill vol 2.
42. J.J. Abrams enthralled us all with a plane crash on the series premiere of Lost.
43. 2004 is the year culture items came and wentMillions listened to the proverbial silence on our radios that was left when Howard Stern took his empire over to Sirius Satellite radio.
44. We watched with schadenfreude in our hearts as Ashlee Simpson self destructed on live television when she was caught lip syncing on Saturday Night Live.
46. Britney Spears had a weekend marriage with Jason Alexander, and then sealed her redneck fate with her second marriage in the same year to K. Fed.