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.
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.
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."
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.
Later in the film, Mei's mom Ming's panda iconically ends up getting sealed in a Tamagotchi as well.
In real life, Tamagotchis were a wildly popular trend in the late '90s and early '00s.
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:
And here's The O.C. icon Rachel Bilson posing with a brand-new Tamagotchi:
2.In the movie, Mei reads all about 4*Town in Tween Beat magazine.
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.
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.
I, unlike Devon, was not at all a heartthrob. But I do remember thinking this was the coolest I ever looked...
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???
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.
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????
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."
This is, of course, a reference to Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, even though the first book wouldn't be released until 2005.
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.
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.
7.Let's start with the name 4*Town (yes, even though there are five members!).
The name definitely draws inspiration from O-Town.
But...it also takes a very small — yet very important — piece of inspiration from NSYNC as well. Namely, THE STAR.
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.
10.Mei, Priya, Abby, and Miriam (and eventually Tyler!) all rock matching friendship bracelets and Jelly 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??
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 oneDegrassiepisode.
11.In the movie, Mei's classmate Stacy rocks an iconic hair trend from the '00s — butterfly clips.
Clearly, Stacy drew inspiration from the butterfly clip matriarchs of our time, like Elizabeth McGuire.
They were everything to me.
And yes, here's the proof:
12.And did you notice Stacy's Ugg boots too? So on trend!
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...
Here's Kristen Stewart in a similar style:
14.Also, in the movie, Abby rocks a Casio Baby-G watch:
Here's Rory Gilmore wearing one of these ~very important~ watches...
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.
Here's what they looked like IRL, and did I almost buy some from Amazon just now? Yes, yes I did.
17.In the movie, Mei briefly had a crush on Carter — an emo kid with luscious 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...
...clearly a reference to the Nokia phone that so many '00s kids used to send T9 text messages and play Snake.
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...
...an obvious and hilarious reference to the ubiquitous JanSport backpacks of our childhood:
20.In the movie, Mei's nemesis-turned-friend, Tyler, wears a Band-Aid on his face and a sweatband:
Here's a pic of Nelly in 2002, in case you're wondering where he drew that inspiration from:
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.
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!