Pop Culture in Review for the Year 2003

Pop culture is a many-sided, ever-evolving field including not only entertainment, but science, technology, sports, and news as well. Numerous generations have witnessed the evolution of pop culture, andout of those many years, 2003 would always be at acme.

The early years of the 2000s came with their share of trends and development. But 2003, in particular, is known for its uniqueness in all fields.This year, we saw a lot of reality TV dramas and many fairytale-inspired shows. The last part of the Lord of the Rings appeared on the screen, and the audience could not say goodbye to their favorite movie franchise.

After 2003 was the time when probably all 90’s kids became pessimistic tweeters, avocado-eating-hipsters, or debarring and flawed activists. Before that, the people were full of hope and sparkles.

Following are some of the highlights of what happened in the year 2003:


The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King

The final installment of Lord of the Ring, The Return of the King, was released in 2003. It is a strong, suspenseful, and wonderful execution with just the right amount of humor, which was inspired by the third part of the novel and directed by Peter Jackson. As the final confrontation between the good and evil forces take place, the control of the future of the middle-earth is in danger.

Frodo and Sam must reach Mordor to destroy the One Ring and protect their people, while Aragorn leads the forces of good to defeatSauron’s evil army at the Minas Tirith. The adventure and mystery of the process are perfectly described through characters.

When it came out, it broke all the records and became one of the top highest-grossing movies of America.Moreover, it was nominated for a total of 11 Academy Awards. And it won all of them. I

Finding Nemo

One of the most famous animated movies of all time, Finding Nemo, was released in 2003. In simple words, Finding Nemo is a brilliantly animated film with lots of humor and emotions. It helps us understand morals and valuable life lessons in a very subtle way and leaves you smiling with a warm heart. This movie is not only for children, but adults of any age can enjoy it just as much.

It is a classic story featuring the bond between father and son. The film encircles the story of how an overprotective clownfish, Marlin, somehow loses his freedom-loving son Nemo.This movie received an Academy Award as the Best Animated Film of the Year. It also holds the record of the best-selling DVDs.

The Matrix Reloaded

Matrix is a kinetic action film with great action and mind-bending adventure, which was released back in 2003. The Matrix Reloaded captures the fresh and cutting edge vibe of its counterpart and has amazing action as well as humorous scenes. Sorry to give you a spoiler, it has a cliffhanger ending scene, but the movie itself is so engrossing that you won’t realize you have reached the end.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean

The first movie of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, the Curse of the Black Pearl, was premiered this year. It is a film with unique character roles and a fun storyline lead by actor Johnny Depp. It was produced by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer, and its inspiration was taken by Disney adventure’s theme park attraction.

When it was shot, no one had any idea that this franchise would become a huge deal. And, contrary to what the makers believed, this film turned out to be the fourth highest-grossing movie of the year.  Steal the Captain’s booty wearing our Pirate costumes.

Fun fact: It was first written by Jay Walpert, but then it was rewritten by Stuart battle. It is said that the changes were made at the request of Jerry because he wanted the movie to have some supernatural turns so that it can align with the Disney ride as it was the initial inspiration for the entire idea.


In da Club by 50 Cent

This song is from 50 Cent’s debut studio album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. It was released in January 2003 as the lead single and topped at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming 50 Cent’s first number-one single on that chart. The song received many praises from critics because of its catchy beat and lyrics.

The music video of this song also won Best Rap Video and Best New Artist awards at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. The song was listed in Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs of the Decade in 2009 and was also included in 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2010.

Crazy in Love by Beyonce ft. Jay-Z

Crazy in Love is an iconic song by Beyoncé from her debut solo album Dangerously in Love. It was the album’s lead single,and both artists wrote and composed the song.It is a contemporary, R&B, and pop love song that includeselements of hip hop. The lyrics are about a romantic obsession that makes you act out of character.

This song was a huge hit in the United States and was declared the Greatest Song of the 21st Century. It won a Grammy at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. The music video also features Beyoncé in dance sequences and won three awards at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.


Human Genome Project

This was probably the latest discovery for the use of technology in DNA sequencing. Scientists from all around the world helped sequence 99% of a human genome and identified over 20,000 individual genes and base pairs that create the basic DNA composition of humans.

After the discovery and completion of research, it was evident that the research obtained after creating a human genome will further help in understanding how to predict and cure certain diseases.

Worms and Viruses

Worms and Viruses

2003 was probably the year with the most virus and worm invasions in people’s emails and computers. It started from January with the Slammer worm infecting a quarter of a million computers in a single day and the Fizzer virus following right behind, which also attempted to steal passwords and personal information.

Later, the Blaster worm was reported, and it would fill the victim’s inbox with loads of spam emails and ads. Following this, the SoBig worm became the fastest spreading worm in the whole world, infecting millions of emails.

Apple’s iTunes Launch

Apple created the first legitimate music downloading service in 2003, namely iTunes. Millions of customers started buying their favorite music online without any concern about piracy. This helped increase the use of copyrighted content and no illegal downloads or copyright infringement through file-trading networks.


Robotic pets and vacuum cleaners were all the rage before 2003, but much advancement was made during the year. Advanced robots helped with house chores and practical tasks, and soon after, a humanoid robot was invented, who can perform or train martial arts. Later on, a robot was created that could carry things, even humans using arms.



Following are some highlights of everything major that happened in football in 2003:

  • SuperbowlXXXVII took place on January 27th, 2003, and was won by Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Jamal Lewis set the single-game record for rushing yards in NFL, helping Baltimore Raven won against Cleveland Browns.
  • The largest crowd in sports history was seen in Ford Field in Detroit to watch Kentucky vs. Michigan State. Kentucky won the match.


Following are some highlights of everything major happened that in basketball in 2003:

  • San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Finals by defeating the New Jersey Nets.
  • Syracuse Orange won the College NCCA Men’s Basketball Championship from the Kansas Jayhawks.
  • UConn Huskies won the College NCCA Women’s Basketball Championship from the Tennessee Lady Vols.


Following are some highlights of everything major that happened in Golf in 2003:

  • The Men’s Professional US Open Tournament took place at Olympia Fields, and Jim Furyk won his first major their by three shots.
  • In the Women’s Professional US Open Tournament, Hilary Lunke won an 18-hole playoff against Angela Stanford and Kelly Robbins.



Naval Crime Investigation Service

Naval Crime Investigation Service is a fan-favorite. It involves characters with very different personalities working together to solve crimes; the character interplay is something you will appreciate watching. The great thing about this is that the episodes speed quickly, and they’re kept fairly light when compared to other CIS shows.

The show is suspenseful, pleasant, and a treat to watch, even today.

Rich Girls

This show was one of the first ones that revolved around rich people and their lives. It is a reality TV show that gave the audience a peek at the lifestyle of Ally and Jamie. Both the girls belong to a crazy wealthy American family, Hilfiger.

The basic concept of the show was similar to other reality programs. The camera followed the girls as they carried out their day to day jobs. Both were in high school when the shooting started. From their efforts to pass through school to enjoying a blissful summer, everything was recorded.

Another notable part of this series was a huge number of cameos. Because the family was highly popular, girls knew a lot of celebrities. From them running into some famous idols in malls to meeting popular personalities at movie premieres, this show captured it all.

America’s Next Top Model

America’s Next Top Model brings forward the real difficulties models face in the industry. This show was aired in 2003 and was revolutionary at the time. It showcased the challenges, skills, and nerves it takes to be a top model. Tyra Banks, the judge and host of the show works alongside a judge’s panel, which is formed by the people who are important in the fashion industry.

The setup of the show works like this; a weekly photoshoot takes place where the models have to perform; the one who outperforms everyone else wins, and the bottom model goes home.

Stuart Little

Who doesn’t remember the famous white rat and his adventures? StuartLittle animated TV series debuted in 2003 on the HBO family channel. Sony produced it, and the book was used for the inspiration of this program. Though it was popular back then, its real fame started when the movie was released.

The entire series had only 11 episodes, each featuring some new adventure of Stuart and the family. The episodes were divided into three volumes. All of them were released in 2 years.

The Bachelorette

The famous reality TV show, The Bachelorette, was aired in 2003. It is a reality TV dating show that features potential singles and follows along their journey as a bachelor. This show was inspired by a different program of the same genre, The Bachelor. But as opposed to featuring a mixed environment, this one only revolved around a single person.

The concept was pretty straightforward. Each season would start with a bachelorette who would live with a number of potential matches. With every episode, one of them gets eliminated as the lady rejects him. At the end of the season, the final two guys would propose the bachelorette.

It was up to the girl whether she accepts or rejects the proposal. If she accepts, the wedding would be then aired live on ABC. And just like that, the show would end with a happily ever after story. On the other hand, if she rejects them, the show would end with no ceremony whatsoever.


The first and the only season of Tarzan was aired in 2003 on The WB. This show featured the story of a man named John Clayton, who was lost in the jungles. After 20 years, he was found by his rich uncle. Because he had been living in the wild for most of his life, John used to call himself Tarzan and preferred that others do the same.

He was brought back home, which he doesn’t like anymore. To avoid everything, he runs away from his house into the city where he meets a police officer named Jane. Tarzan followed her and went to the crime scenes. Later, they both made a team and fought crimes together.

All in all, it was an amazing TV show that later inspired many other programs and movies.


Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster

On February 1st, 2003, a space shuttle belonging to NASA faced difficulties upon return and crashed in Columbia. NASA’s STS-107 mission took about seven astronauts and space workers into space where they conducted given experiments for a total of 16 days. Upon the aircraft’s re-entry in Columbia, it disintegrated and tragically killed all crew members on board.

It is said that the reason behind this tragedy was some blocking in the tank. Supposedly, some insulation foam broke off and went into the tank, hence blocking the wing of the orbiterduring launch.

The consequences of this incident were that NASA’s space shuttle program was suspended for two years.

Invasion of Iraq

After an imminent threat by weapons of mass destruction from Iraq, the US decided to invade the country, which was the first step in the Iraq War. The invasion began by the armed forces through air and ground and lasted for over a month and 26 days of major combat. US President Gorge W. Bush declared the end of combat operations, and CPA was successfully established.

The first election took place in January 2005,and later the US troops were withdrawn from Iraq in 2011.

Hurricane Isabel

Another tragedy of the year included one of the deadliest hurricanes of all time, hurricane Isabel. It formed near the Cape Verde Islands and caused destruction for almost a week. It caused major damage in the regions of North Carolina and Virginia.

More than 393 tornadoes were reported from a total of 19 states in a single day. It claimed about 40 lives and left about 6 million people without power. This was probably the biggest blackout in the history of America. Roughly, the damage was worth about 5.5 billion dollars.

Its damage was not limited to America only, but it also affected some of the provincial states of Canada as well.

Dewey was Born

The early 2000s are known for immense work in the field of science. During that period, extensive research work was done in the matter of cloning. And, in 2003, the scientists got a break when Dewey was born. Dewey is the first cloned deer. He lives in the college station of Texas and enjoys a healthy life.

He was cloned by a hunted deer. The stem cells for the cloning process were taken from the skin tissue of the animal. When Dewey was born, he had a similar DNA as the dead one. Hence, proving that cloning is, in fact, possible, and it only takes a stem cell to regenerate an entire body.

All in all, it is safe to say that Dewey is an important creation in the history of science and technology.


NBC News Radio

NBC News Radio was debuted on March 31st, 2003. It was a radio program that offered an hourly service of one-minute news updates. It was anchored by NBC News and MSNBC personnel but was initially written by Westwood one staffer. The news was a total of 5 minutes long and aired about three times a day. Later, the radio show lost all connections to NBC Radio Network and was fully managed by Westwood one.

Skratch ‘N Sniff 

Skratch ‘N Sniff is a national American radio program, which debuted in San Diego on March 3rd, 2003, as an alternative rock station to XTERRA-FM 91.1. It was a blended mashup show hosted by radio imaging producer Malcolm Ryker and DJ Mike Czech. It included tunes mainly from rock and hip-hop music.


Lace-up Pants

2003 was all about strings and laces. From belts to lace-up dresses, this element of threads added an extra dimension to the outfits. One of the classic looks was lace-up trousers or pants with some fancy shirt.

Either the lace would tie at the front or on the sides. Depending on the material of fabric in use, the width of the lace would alter for uniqueness. From runway shows to street fashion, these lace trousers were seen everywhere.

Cropped Tops

Cropped Tops

Another fashion staple of this year included crop tops. But unlike the recent ones, these crop tops would go as high as you can imagine. It was the choice of everybody. Whether the outfit was casual or fancy, each version of this clothing item was available in the market.

Hoop Earrings

As far as the accessories trend of this year is concerned, hoop earrings were definitely the jewelry of choice. Of course, the size of the Ring varied from occasion to occasion, but no outfit was complete without hoops. And since this piece of jewelry was very extra itself, the fashion of necklaces and heavy pendants was not observed in the mainstream.

Military-inspired Look

Cargo pants were immensely popular in 2003. Even the celebrities were seen in military-inspired attire. Sometimes, the entire outfit from top to bottom would be cargo inspired. Other times, only the pants would be cargo paired with some plain crop top. And obviously, the look would be later completed by throwing on some hoops.

It was highly famous in the music industry. Many rappers and even some famous rock stars were seen in such outfits. One can say that it was the trend of the hour as it disappeared just as fast as it got popular.


Pillow Pets

Pillow Pets is a brand of stuffed toys that was released in 2003 by CJ Products, a toy company that was founded by the inventor of Pillow Pets, Jennifer Telfer, and her husband, Clint Telfer. Jennifer Telfer got the idea for Pillow Pets in the early months of 2003 when she was living in San Diego along with her husband and her two sons.

During their stay in San Diego, Telfer saw that one of his son’s favorite stuffed toys is already flatten due to sleeping with it every day. So, Telfer came up with an idea for a stuffed toy that can also act as a pillow that will have better resistance when it comes to flattening. By sewing Velcro straps onto the stuffed toy’s exterior, it can transform into a pillow that can be used for head support or for hugging while sleeping. To know more about Pillow Pets and other popular stuffed toys, you can read our article titled “The Most Popular Retro Stuffed Toys.”

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