'Scuse us, 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, we're really happy for you because you have Miley Cyrus hosting and Taylor Swift debuting her music video for "Wildest Dreams" and we're gonna let you finish but uh…

The MTV VMAs from the late '90s and early 2000s were the best VMAs of all time. Of all time.

(See what we did there? We made a very dated VMA joke while talking about the VMAs. You're welcome).

Why were the Video Music Awards so good from 1998 to 2003? The proof is in the pudding. Well, the proof is in the photos, but we bet if there were some pudding around the proof would be in that, too:

1. Alyson Hannigan and Sarah Michelle Gellar (1998)

Alyson Hannigan, Sarah Michelle Gellar, MTV VMAs 1998

Ron Galella/WireImage

It's Buffy and Willow in some truly questionable late '90s fashion!

2. Britney Spears (1999)

Britney Spears, MTV VMAs 1999

Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Britney came onto the scene with this face and the world was never the same.

3. Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Lopez (1998)

Jennifer Lopez, MTV VMA's 1998

Jim Smeal/WireImage

Just a casual threesome date to the Video Music Awards: Mark, J.Lo and J.Lo's hat.

4. Avril Lavigne (2002)

Avril Lavigne, MTV VMAs 2002

Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Someone should have told her she would grow up to marry the lead singer of Nickelback.

5. 'N Sync (2001)

*NSYNC, MTV VMA's 2001

Kevin Kane/WireImage

Do you ever wonder why this music gets you high? Speaking of high, whoever designed this set must have been pretty stoned. So. Many. Bright. Colors.

6. Lenny Kravitz and Gwen Stefani (1998)

Lenny Kravitz, Gwen Stefani, MTV VMA's 1998

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Tough question: Who has the better eyebrow game in this picture?

7. Madonna (1998)

Madonna, MTV VMA's 1998

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Is there a photo more representative of 1998 than this one of the Queen of Pop?

8. Destiny's Child (2000)

Destinys Child, MTV VMAs 2000

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Give Destiny's Child coordinating outfits or give them death.

9. Christina Aguilera and Fred Durst (2000)

Christina Aguilera, Fred Durst, MTV VMAs 2000

Kevin Kane/WireImage

Remember when this performance was a thing?

10. Brandy (1998)

Brandy, MTV VMA's 1998

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

That's what we like to call a mullet dress. It's a shame not many people rock them anymore at the VMAs. Miley: Lookin' at you this year, girl!

FLASHBACK: These are the 20 most 2000s-y photos in TRL history

11. Julia Stiles (2000)

Julia Stiles, MTV VMA's 2000

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Julia has yet to save the last dance at the time of this photo, but she is saving that iridescent pink dress for us.

12. Britney Spears (2000)

Britney Spears, MTV VMAs 2000

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

An icon is born.

13. Lil Kim (1999)

Lil Kim, VMAs, 1999

Ron Galella/WireImage

This photo is pre-Diana Ross boob-bouncing.

14. Christina Aguilera (1999)

Christina Aguilera, MTV VMA's 1999

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Xtina's first VMAs! And she wore the official fabric scheme of 1999: hot pink lace and leopard-print.

15. Pamela Anderson (1999)

Pamela Anderson, MTV VMA's 1999

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

That's the biggest hat you could find, Pam? Laaame.

16. Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (1998)

Marilyn Manson, Rose McGowan, MTV VMA's 1998

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Ma'am, did you know you look quite naked in that dress?

17. Jennifer Love Hewitt (1998)

Jennifer Love Hewitt, MTV VMA's 1998

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

That's the hairstyle every single female wore to their high school homecoming dances in 1998.

18. Jessica Simpson and Ashlee Simpson (2001)

Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson, MTV VMA's 2001

Ron Galella/WireImage

This was before Ashlee went all punk on us.

19. Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears (2000)

Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, MTV VMA's 2000


You know what we're going to say here, right? TURN. BACK. TIME.

20. Andy Dick (2001)

Andy Dick, MTV VMA's 2001

Jim Spellman/WireImage

Andy Dick: the wallflower. He really has to learn to come out of his shell.

21. Pink, Christina Aguilera and Lil' Kim (2001)

Pink, Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, MTV VMA's 2001

Jim Spellman/WireImage

Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir.

22. Backstreet Boys (1998)

Backstreet Boys, MTV VMAs 1998

Jim Smeal/WireImage

Three out of the five of them are wearing vests. That's three people too many.

23. Britney Spears and 'N Sync (1999)

Britney Spears, NSYNC, MTV VMAs 1999

Kevin Mazur Archive/WireImage

How adorable do these guys look during their VMA rehearsal? So young. So innocent. 

24. Christina Aguilera (2002)

Christina Aguilera, MTV VMAs 2002, Worst Dressed

Dave Hogan/Getty Images

This is when Christina got dirrty. That's "dirty" with two t's. Respect.

25. Hanson (1998)

Hanson, MTV VMA's 1998

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

PSA: Hanson still does music and we recommend you listen to this song. Also, Taylor Hanson only got hotter after this photo. 

26. Nicky Hilton and Paris Hilton (2002)

Nicky Hilton, Paris Hilton, MTV VMA's 2002


This is when the Hilton sisters were just labeled as "models and socialites."

27. Beyoncé Knowles (2003)

MTV VMA Flashback

Getty Images

This isn't Destiny's Child's Beyoncé. This IS Beyoncé. There is a big difference.

28. Avril Lavigne and Kelly Osbourne (2003)

MTV VMA Flashback

Getty Images

We should put this photo in a time capsule and send it to aliens so they can study 2003 accurately.

29. The Rock (2000)

MTV VMA Flashback

Getty Images

Oh, Mr. The Rock! Look at that shiny vest!

30. Will Ferrell (2001)

MTV VMA Flashback

Getty Images

The puka shell necklace has been plaguing us since the early aughts and it's time to eliminate them forever. #DownWithPuka

31. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (2000)

Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, MTV VMA's 2000

Kevin Kane/WireImage

Until this moment, we honestly thought there was only room for one hot blond pop singer on the VMA stage.

32. Destiny's Child (2001)

MTV VMA Flashback

Getty Images

Can you ever have too many photos of DC in their matching ensembles? Nope, didn't think so.

33. Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez (2001)

MTV VMA Flashback

Getty Images

BRB, having this iconic photo framed.

34. Justin Timberlake (2002)

Justin Timberlake, MTV VMA's 2002


This is a hard photo for us to look at because it meant that not only was Justin no longer with Britney, but he was no longer with 'N Sync. It's just too painful to remember.

35. Britney Spears, Madonna and Christina Aguilera

MTV VMA Flashback

Getty Images

The era of the human race should be split into two time periods: before the moment Madonna kissed Christina and Britney onstage and after.

36. Kelly Clarkson (2002)

MTV VMA Flashback

Getty Images

We see those chunky streaks, girl!

37. Jessica Simpson and Dream (2001)

MTV VMA Flashback

Getty Images

We would now like to lead a rendition of Dream's "He Loves U Not" to honor this former girl group. 

38. Britney Spears (2001)

Britney Spears, MTV VMA's 2001

Kevin Kane/WireImage

Bow down. Case closed.

(Originally published on Fri., Aug. 22, 2014 at 11:57 am PDT)

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