The aughts (now there’s a term I’m happy to say goodbye to) have been a decade of change, discovery and growth for me. I started this blog. I stopped getting a healthy amount of sleep. And I met and befriended a bunch of wonderful, generous and ridiculously talented ladies. Given the magnitude of this occasion, I thought I’d bring a couple along with me. My good friends, fellow AfterEllen.com bloggers and all-around amazing gals StuntDouble and The Linster were gracious enough to share their decade crushes with us as well. So please enjoy, and feel share your Decade Crushes with us as well. There’s a lot of crush-worthy material to cover in 10 years, we need all the help we can get.
1. J.K. Rowling: I spent most of the last decade reading Harry Potter, standing in line at midnight to buy Harry Potter, standing in line at midnight to watch Harry Potter, and proselytizing my faith in Harry Potter to anyone who would listen. But mostly my faith was in J.K. Rowling. She changed the color of the world. She's a magic-maker.
2. Harry Potter movies: Harry Potter movies are a different kind of magic than Harry Potter books. What the Potter franchise has managed to do in keeping an entire cast and crew of Britain's finest together for eight movies is unprecedented. Every actor that participated in the franchise seemed destined to become a witch or wizard. Alan Rickman as Snape? Dame Maggie Smith as Professor McGonogall? Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney? Inspired, all of it.
[Lots of empty space, because I don't think anything deserves a place near Potter on a best of the decade list.]
3. Friends: The second half of Friends happened in this decade, and in it we got The One Where Everyone Finds Out (Phoebe: "My eyes! My eyes!"), The One in Vegas (Rachel: "Hello, Vegas? We need some more alcohol, and also some more beers."), The One with Rachel's Big Kiss (Melissa: "I don’t hear coconuts banging together. I don’t ... picture your face when I make love to my boyfriend. Anyway, I gotta go."), and so much more. I've watched every episode at least ten times, except the finale. That one made me cry too much.
4. Pixar: Lots of people think Pixar's magic is in the animation; I think their magic is in the way they've learned how to tell a perfect story.
5. The West Wing: There were times during the Bush Administration when the only thing keeping me from actually losing my mind was watching The West Wing, and pretending that President Bartlet was the actual president of America.
6. Arrested Development: The only lingering problem I have with Arrested Development is that every time I dream about Portia de Rossi, Ron Howard narrates.
7. The Daily Show: The Daily Show was the beginning of something revolutionary. It's not fake news. It's legitimate, actual news that cuts through the bullshit and mocks the most deserving. Jon Stewart is a champion of gay rights because he's a champion of logic.
8. Josh Schwartz: Here are the things Josh Schwartz is responsible for: The O.C., Gossip Girl, Chuck, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Stars, Iron and Wine, The Walkmen and The Killers (just to name a few). Clear channel was buying and homogenizing radio when Schwartz had the idea to save the music. He did. And he gave us Blair Waldorf.
9. John Mayer: It seems like I fall in love every time a new John Mayer album comes out. Causation or coincidence? Not sure, but it means he makes the list.
10. Pirates of the Caribbean movies: Captain ... Captain Jack Sparrow. (Oh, and um, Elizabeth ... Elizabeth Swann.)
1. The L Word: I have loved and hated the L Word, often at the same time. But having a show about "us" was amazing and affirming.
2. Ellen DeGeneres: An out lesbian with a successful talk show is remarkable. And as time goes on, Ellen gets more and more vocal about LGBT issues -- and the world still loves her. Now most everyone in the country "knows a lesbian." That makes voting against us difficult. Portia is like icing on a lesbian cake. And lesbian cake is damn tasty.
3. Televised women's basketball: WNBA parity and Title IX resulted more national broadcasts of women's pro and college basketball. I can almost always find a game on TV now -- and women's basketball is one of my favorite things in life.
4. Snarky news: The Daily Show changed the way we got our news by presenting its absurd side, even while getting the facts correct. Now politicians line up to be put on the spot by Stewart and Colbert. TDS paved the way for Rachel Maddow, who can undercut a newsmaker with the cock of an eyebrow and refuses to back down on what she knows to be true. Watching news used to be a chore for me; now I look forward to it. And I'm better informed on what's going on in the world than I ever have been.
5. West Wing: WW was just great television. Right after 9/11, the show tossed its season opener to shoot a new episode, knowing the impact it would have. The show occasionally got preachy, but it set the stage for some of the best dramas in TV history. And it totally stands up to repeat watching. (Not to mention that Allison Janney was on every week.)
6. Cable dramas: The number of well drawn, well acted sequential dramas on cable during this decade is amazing -- and I loved most all of them. The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Big Love, The Shield, Damages, Dexter and many more. I love shows that give me the "I can't wait to see what happens next" feeling at the end of every episode. Some, like Six Feet Under, can sustain it for the entire run of the show. (And the series finale of Six Feet Under might have been the best episode of TV ever.)
7. Pixar, especially Finding Nemo, WALL-E and Up: Now, learning that a movie is animated does not mean it's kid fare. Plus, the writing and design are so good that I see something new every time I watch.
8. Tina Fey, in all her glory: She wrote and acted in so many things that I love that I won't even try to name them. As Palin, she totally changed the election, IMO, just by being so true to Palin that nobody could dismiss it. Tina is a genius. Her adorableness is a bonus.
9. Hillary Clinton: Corny as it sounds, Hillary was like a lighthouse for women, leading us to trust our own power. She was brilliant, graceful and, yes, beautiful throughout the election, losing her cool from time to time but refusing to apologize for being who she is. I still wish she were president, although she probably has accomplished more as Secretary of State than she could've as Commander in Chief. In any case, she served as proof to every little girl in the country that women truly are equal in every way to men. And in many cases, superior.
10. Dorothy Snarker: This isn't really a suck-up, because Ms. Snarker represents a whole network of brilliant and funny women I've met through the Internet, many of whom have become good friends. The Web is marvelous and terrifying all at once, but I honestly can't remember how I got along without it. And I am quite grateful to discover that the world has plenty of people, especially lesbians, who are as weird and pop-culture-obsessed as I am. And, of course, our Dorothy is the best of the best.
[Editor’s Note: I in no way paid her to say that. Though, hypothetically, do you prefer large or small bills, Linster?]
1. Tina Fey: Please, you knew this was coming. Tina is everything I love in a woman: smart, funny, beautiful, self-deprecating, goofy, hard-working and a big nerd in high school. Never leave us, Tina Fey. The world would be a less bright place without you – and I mean that both in the light source and big brain senses.
2. The L Word: As much and as loudly and as justifiably we yelled about everything that was wrong with this show, I am still undeniably grateful it existed in the first place. We sometimes forget how important it is to have our lives – even much more glitzy, glamorous versions of our lives – reflected back to us. This show reminded us, and then there were also a lot of hot chicks kissing.
3. Ellen DeGeneres: Who would have guessed that this charming lady with the funny last name would become America’s most beloved daytime talk show host. (Note: Oprah is revered, not necessarily beloved – don’t crush me Oprah.) She is everyone’s lesbian next door with the smoking hot wife. Now that’s progress.
4. Pixar: Nothing soothed our inner child this decade better than Pixar. When we were blue, they reminded us to just keep swimming. When we felt lonely, they reminded us that it only took a moment to be loved a whole life long. And when we didn’t know what we were searching for, they reminded us squirrel!
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Granted, this started in the 1997, but I didn’t really start to watch in earnest until early 2000. This show informed so much of what I still want from my TV today: zippy dialogue, gratuitous pop culture references, pathos, snarkiness, vampires, lesbians and girls in leather pants kicking ass. Also, she saved the world – a lot.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Some movies are like a gift left on your pillow on a day that isn’t anywhere near your birthday. It’s completely unexpected. It seems a little weird. It has you confused at first. But when you open it, the contents fill you with such joy you know you’ll remember it forever.
7. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Let’s face it, most of the 00s were spent with an idiot for president and Dr. Evil for vice president. These were not the best of political times. Without Jon, I don’t think most liberals – or just sane people – would have made it through those eight years. He was an oasis of clarity and chuckles. If we can’t laugh we’ll cry has never been more true. And he will forever be the perfect definition of irony: A comedy new anchor who becomes the most trusted newsman in America. Walter Cronkite might not have approved, but I’ll sure bet he laughed.
8. David Sedaris: Whenever I need to be reminded how much harder I have to work at this writing thing, I just crack open any Sedaris book and laugh out loud (the real kind, not the damn acronym). Wickedly smart, painfully observant and just funny as fucking hell, Sedaris writes what I love to read. Also, unexpected bonus, reading his books helps tone the abs – all that deep belly laughing, you know.
9. Lost in Translation: If you want to fall back in love with the art and craft of movie making, pop in this movie. You might also fall in love with Scarlett Johansson and/or Tokyo, too. Just a warning.
10. Meryl Streep: It seems almost a crime to put Meryl at No. 10. But it’s just that her resume is so long, it’s hard to pick a decade where she shouldn’t be on everyone’s list. Though, one could argue that the 00s were one of her best and for sure her most commercially successful. Her talent goes unparalleled, but what is really remarkable is that at 60 she is still playing the romantic lead in major motion pictures. I’ll never stop swooning over you, Meryl. Ever.
Though, kittens – and I say this without irony or cynicism or snark – to be perfectly honest, you all made my decade. Thank you, as always and unendingly, for coming back day after day. Thanks for reading and commenting and sharing your opinions and arguments and pieces of your lives. You’ve made me think and laugh and feel just a little less alone on this big hunk of rock hurtling itself around the sun. Happy decade, all.