7 Topics That Every Teen Show from the 2000s Freaked Out About

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The first decade of the 2000s was, for lack of a better phrase, a game changer. It was a new millennium, geopolitics were changing (and getting scarier) day by day, technology was becoming more advanced, and our society was slowly — but surely — valuing cultural, racial and sexual difference.

Oh, and we were really into showing off our thongs and wearing distressingly sticky lip gloss, but I digress.

Our media reflects the times we’re living in, so, naturally, TV shows — especially teen TV shows — had to deal with an avalanche of issues that their predecessors didn’t have to deal with. Sure, there were exceptions. In the early ’90s, it was groundbreaking that a teen show like My So-Called Life included a gay main character in its feature cast. But otherwise? Shows from that era and earlier kept things pretty sterile. The most controversial episodes were about teen pregnancy and mom finding a joint; boring. But by the 2000s, teen programming was really starting to push the envelope, and while in retrospect some of them might already feel outdated or like a cheesy “Very Special Episode,” it’s still fun exploring the themes that shook teen shows back then to their very foundation. So check out these seven topics that every teen show in the 2000s freaked out about, from bisexuality to school shootings:

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