21 "Turning Red" Moments That 100% Made All '00s Kids Feel So Nostalgic

    4*Town was inspired by SEVERAL boy bands...

    If you're like me, you haven't been able to stop thinking about Pixar's Turning Red — or playing 4*Town songs on repeat! — ever since it came out.

    Characters from "Turning Red" walking through a middle school hallway

    The film, which is set in Toronto in 2002, tells the story of 13-year-old Mei — a Chinese Canadian girl who not only has to deal with all the usual growing pains of being a teenager, but she also literally poofs into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.

    Mei as a giant red panda hanging off a metal balcony

    Turning Red is a beautiful love letter to Mei's culture as well as a perfect encapsulation of adolescent angst, and since it's set in 2002, it's also chock-full of nostalgic references to a time period that I simply can't believe is now considered "retro."

    Mei in class looking embarrassed and hiding her face

    To celebrate, I rounded up all of the amazing 2002-era details that I spotted in the movie. Here are some of the best:

    1. To start us off, of course Mei takes care of her beloved Tamagotchi — aka Robaire Jr. — throughout the movie, and he's as important as any IRL pet to her.

    Mei walking with her Tamagotchi pet attached to her backpack strap

    Later in the film, Mei's mom Ming's panda iconically ends up getting sealed in a Tamagotchi as well.

    A Tamagotchi with a panda on its screen

    In real life, Tamagotchis were a wildly popular trend in the late '90s and early '00s.

    A Tamagotchi that has hearts and the words "hungry" and "happy" on its screen

    And one thing that was extremely accurate is how sweet it was that Miriam continued to keep Robaire Jr. alive even though she was fighting with Mei — we took our Tamagotchis so seriously.

    Just for fun to show what an amazing craze it was, let's look at some extremely 2002-era celebrities showing off their Tamagotchi merch. Here's Ryan Cabrera with seemingly an entire briefcase of Tamagotchis:

    Ryan Cabrera pointing down at and holding a case that says "Tamagotchi Connection"

    And here's The O.C. icon Rachel Bilson posing with a brand-new Tamagotchi:

    Bilson smiling and holding a new Tamagotchi in its packaging

    2. In the movie, Mei reads all about 4*Town in Tween Beat magazine.

    The cover of Tween Beat magazine with 4*Town

    In real life in the '90s and '00s, tween/teen celebrity magazines were massively popular — especially for their huge posters (like the one of 4*Town advertised in Tween Beat above). Tween Beat is likely a play on both Teen Beat and Tiger Beat, and all of the other magazines (J-14, M, Pop Sugar) in that genre.

    A stack of Tiger Beat magazines

    3. In the movie, Mei has a crush (a whopping, *draws lusty mermaid drawings* kind of crush) on Devon — and who could blame her? This bucket hat and necklace combo exudes extreme 2002 hot guy energy.

    Devon at a cash register looking apathetic

    I, unlike Devon, was not at all a heartthrob. But I do remember thinking this was the coolest I ever looked...

    Author in a bucket hat

    Bucket hats are certainly having a resurgence again, and I just wanted to take a moment to admire this amazing Rihanna matching look. Devon, who???

    Rihanna in a snakeskin bucket hat and matching dress

    4. If you look closely at Mei's stickers, you'll see a reference to Y2K. Since the film is set in 2002, it means Mei was two years past civilization ~surviving~ Y2K.

    Mei's flute case with a sticker that says "Y2K A'OK" circled

    In real life, looking back on Y2K is pretty funny, now but as an 11-year-old on the precipice of the year 2000, it was genuinely...very...scary????

    An old computer with the message "The date you entered [01/01/00] is not valid"

    And, don't worry, we had enough Millenios to go around!

    5. In the movie, Priya briefly reads the vampire novel Nightfall by author "Roberta Moyer."

    Priya standing in front of a row of lockers and peering above the book she's holding, "Nightfall"

    This is, of course, a reference to Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, even though the first book wouldn't be released until 2005.

    Women holding up copies of "Breaking Dawn" and wearing "Team Edward" T-shirts

    6. At one point in the movie, Miriam gives Mei this burned CD of 4*Town's Australian tour, and just seeing this CD with the bubble letter Sharpie writing gave me an instant flash of nostalgia.

    4*Town burned CD

    The fact that I have at least 15 of these in storage right now because I could not bear to part with them... What a simpler time!

    OK, of course we need a whole section to talk about 4*Town. Director Domee Shi flawlessly incorporated bits and pieces from so many different bands to create one absolutely ~swoon~worthy band.

    The cover of Tween Beat with 4*Town on the cover

    7. Let's start with the name 4*Town (yes, even though there are five members!).

    The members of 4*Town with the song title "Nobody Like U" under them

    The name definitely draws inspiration from O-Town.

    The members of O-Town

    But...it also takes a very small — yet very important — piece of inspiration from NSYNC as well. Namely, THE STAR.

    The star circled in front of NSYNC's name and the members pictures below

    8. Domee Shi also explained that she drew inspiration from the K-pop bands that she was into when she was in college, like Big Bang and 2PM.

    And Domee has said in another recent interview that Tae Young is also a shoutout to BTS — and many fans have pointed out, specifically Jimin.

    9. And, of course, 4*Town's outfits at the end of the film are reminiscent of the Backstreet Boys' all-white fashion era for their album Millennium and their "I Want It That Way" music video.

    The cover of the Backstreet Boys' album "Millenium" and an image of 4*Town below in similar all-white outfits

    10. Mei, Priya, Abby, and Miriam (and eventually Tyler!) all rock matching friendship bracelets and Jelly bracelets.

    The characters' hands touching, showing their matching friendship bracelets

    Honestly, if you grew up in the 2000s and didn't have a friendship bracelet work in progress taped down to your desk, what were you even doing??

    Hands making a friendship bracelet that's taped to a desk and a bunch of bracelets next to it

    Now, back to the jelly bracelets for a sec. I was obsessed with them in a very wholesome way, much like Mei and her friends. Unfortunately, they were ultimately ruined forever after that one Degrassi episode.

    Emma sitting at a desk and looking at her jelly bracelet

    11. In the movie, Mei's classmate Stacy rocks an iconic hair trend from the '00s — butterfly clips.

    Two girls looking at Stacy, who wears butterfly clips in her hair

    Clearly, Stacy drew inspiration from the butterfly clip matriarchs of our time, like Elizabeth McGuire.

    Lizzie McGuire wearing butterfly clips in her hair and sitting outside with other girls

    They were everything to me.

    And yes, here's the proof:

    A portrait of the author wearing butterfly clips in her hair

    12. And did you notice Stacy's Ugg boots too? So on trend!

    Mei as the big red panda in the girls' bathroom with Stacy gawking at her

    Here's Lalaine showing off a pair of her own at the Peter Pan premiere in 2002:

    13. Speaking of shoes, Miriam rocked some very cool Vans slip-ons...

    Mei and Miriam on the street with Miriam's Vans circled

    Here's Kristen Stewart in a similar style:

    Kristen Stewart with Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner standing at Grauman's Chinese Theater

    14. Also, in the movie, Abby rocks a Casio Baby-G watch:

    Abby writing in her book with her other hand on her cheek, and the watch circled

    Here's Rory Gilmore wearing one of these ~very important~ watches...

    Rory hugging her mom and wearing the watch

    I just checked, and Baby-G watches are also still available. Here's a great pic of Zendaya rocking one in 2012:

    15. And I am absolutely obsessed with Mei rocking a calculator watch:

    16. Just a few more little details from Mei, but I did love her tattoo necklace choker and stick-on earrings.

    Mei on the phone smiling with her friends standing around her

    Here's what they looked like IRL, and did I almost buy some from Amazon just now? Yes, yes I did.

    A variety of stick-on earrings and a choker

    17. In the movie, Mei briefly had a crush on Carter — an emo kid with luscious hair.

    Carter with emo hair

    Of course, this was a whole vibe in the 2000s — here's Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance performing in 2005.

    18. In an iconic scene, Stacy texts out a message about Panda Mei on a JOKIA phone...

    Text that says, "OMG !!! PANDA PICS ROOM 202"

    ...clearly a reference to the Nokia phone that so many '00s kids used to send T9 text messages and play Snake.

    A Nokia phone

    Here's young Dakota Fanning at some kind of Nokia station at an event. An it girl with an it phone!

    19. If you were eagle-eyed, you might have caught that Mei's backpack is "BagSport" brand...

    Mei walking into school with the logo "BagSport" circled on her bookbag

    ...an obvious and hilarious reference to the ubiquitous JanSport backpacks of our childhood:

    A black and white JanSport backpack

    20. In the movie, Mei's nemesis-turned-friend, Tyler, wears a Band-Aid on his face and a sweatband:

    Tyler at the front of a line

    Here's a pic of Nelly in 2002, in case you're wondering where he drew that inspiration from:

    Nelly wearing a Band-Aid on his face and a sweatband

    21. Finally, the attention to detail with the music at Tyler's party was spot-on — from "Cha Cha Slide" to "Bootylicious" all on a very accurate CD player.

    The kids at a party with the words "Cha Cha Slide" and the CD player with the word "Bootylicious"

    Of course, I can't catch everything — did you spot any '00s references or details that I missed? Please let me know in the comments!