"Remember When..." is a weekly feature every (#Throwback)Thursday where we look back on a moment that changed the world of pop culture forever. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the reminder that you are getting SO OLD.
What Happened: The date was Dec. 31, 1999. As the clock ticked down to the New Year, the world braced itself for the impending apocalypse. Up to this point, computers processed dates in two digits (i.e. 1980 = 80), so 2000 would become 00, the same unit as 1900. When the clock struck midnight, computers would fail, networks would crash and the world would plunge into chaos.
Or so they said.
The government spent billions to exterminate the Millennial Bug, insurance companies sold Y2K plans, and alarmists stockpiled canned goods in anticipation of a world without electricity, heat, or running water. Then the clock struck midnight and…nothing happened
What Else Was Happening: Without 1999, we wouldn't have House Hunters. It also saw the premieres of The Sopranos, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, SpongeBob SquarePants and the now omnipresent Law & Order: SVU, as well as the debut album by one Ms. Britney Spears.
Dec. 31, 1999 was when Vladimir Putin came to power as President of Russia, so maybe it truly was the end of days. Thankfully, a savior happened to be born this year in the form of Mad Men starlet and all-around cool girl Kiernan Shipka.
How We Remember It
Jenna Mullins, E! Loves Editor: "My family and I made zero preparations, because no one at my house took it seriously. But I do distinctly remember after midnight going outside with some friends to yell 'Happy New Year!' throughout the neighborhood, and I stealthily checked the sky to make sure airplanes weren't suddenly plummeting from the sky. That's the only thing I was concerned about: falling airplanes."
Julia Hays, Audience Development Associate: "I was an 8th grader attending a NYE get-together in a friend's basement. I decided to make a costume, which was essentially a utility belt of supplies–a flashlight, a radio, etc. I said 'goodbye' to my family as though I were dying. And then at the party I shut the lights off at midnight. I guess what I'm saying is: I was an a--hole when I was 12."
Nicole Pirshafiey, Social Media Manager: "This is 100 percent true: my mom thought it would be memorable to ring in the new millennium by taking her teenage daughters to the rowdy Fiesta Bowl party in Tempe, Ariz. I ended up getting into a fistfight with a drunken fratboy during the Sugar Ray concert right before midnight, so...mission accomplished?"
Where were you and what were you doing when the world didn't end?