I don’t know about you, but I’m currently living in the 2000s.
Not literally, obviously (I sadly am not a time traveller), but in all the media I’m consuming. I’m listening to “Stars are Blind” by Paris Hilton on repeat, bingeing the Twilight saga in its entirety, and rewatching The OC and One Tree Hill and True Blood. Sure, the 2000s sucked in their own way, but not quite so much as 2021.
There’s something potent in the nostalgia of it all. You can escape back to a time when the world was not necessarily less scary, but you were perhaps more innocent. There’s also the fact that you don’t have to engage too much mental energy revisiting something you already know so well. When everything else is uncertain, there’s comfort in knowing exactly what’s to come in the shows and movies you’re watching at least.
I’m not the only one using the past as escapism, judging by my Twitter timeline — and also by all the media cropping up about past media. More and more podcasts are emerging about old shows and movies. While rewatch podcasts has always been a thing, a newer genre is emerging that takes it to another level: the actual stars of the shows rewatching and talking about them, episode by episode.
Whitney Port did this with her The Hills (and before that, The City) rewatch YouTube series, but for most stars podcasting is where it’s at. These audio commentaries add another layer of nostalgia in that they’re essentially a revival of the DVD commentary of the ‘00s that we lost with the rise of streaming.
Except now, the stars are at even more of a distance from the shows they took part in, able to be perhaps more open and honest about them and look at them with a more critical eye, while also celebrating the fun aspects and revealing juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits. After all, their own nostalgia is a crucial part of the mix, too.
So, if rewatching '00s shows yourself just isn’t enough, here are some of the podcasts you can use to fill literally every hour with nothing but nostalgia…
I might be biased because I love One Tree Hill and also adore the ladies of the show, but this is one of the best – if not the best – of this genre. Hosted by Sophie Bush, who played Brooke, Bethany Joy Lenz, who played Haley, and Hilarie Burton, who played Peyton, this podcast is so much fun to listen to because the natural chemistry between the trio sizzles right into your ears. You can tell these three are friends and genuinely get along, and really love chatting to each other. They talk about their fave moments from each episode, memories from filming, and the lessons they’ve learned on both a personal and professional level in the time since.
Welcome to the OC, Bitches!
This The OC podcast is hosted by Rachel Bilson, aka Summer, and Melinda Clarke, aka Julie Cooper. The two didn’t share a lot of screen time on The OC and don’t seem to have maintained a connection over the years, so it takes a while for them to warm up and find a rhythm together. Since the parents were almost as big a part of The OC as the teenagers were, though, it’s great to have presence from both “generations”, and Rachel and Melinda offer pretty different perspectives on what filming was like. While each podcast episode is centred around an episode of the series, they don’t go in-depth talking about it; instead they tend to have a different guest join them each week and do a wider dive into that person’s thoughts and experiences, which in itself is a treat.
I Am All In
About Gilmore Girls, this podcast has just one host – Scott Patterson, who played gruff romantic lead Luke Danes. The lack of another regular host definitely makes the podcast less fun, as is the fact that, frankly, as much as we might have loved Luke, he was never the reason we were watching the show – the titular girls were. Still, die-hard GG fans will be into this, especially the occasional episodes where Scott does bring on another former cast-member.
Passions for Life
For an extended moment in the late '90s and early '00s, households across Australia tuned into over-the-top soap Passions on a daily basis. This podcast picks episodes at random to focus on, rather than going in chronological order. It’s hosted by Natalie Zea, one of the Gwens, and Travis Schuldt, the original Ethan, who met on the show and are now married in real life, adding a whole different dynamic to their revisit as they talk about the beginnings of their relationship, their careers – and the things they hated most about doing the show. They really don’t hold back, and it’s interesting listening.
Here’s the bit where I admit I’ve never seen The Sopranos, allegedly one of the greatest shows of all time. Sorry, but I was too busy watching all of the above mentioned shows to get into what seemed to me to be a very dude show. And I’ve been busy listening to the above mentioned podcasts, so I can’t tell you much about what seems to be this very dude podcast. I can tell you it’s hosted by Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa, who both starred in The Sopranos. And it’s got great reviews on the Apple Podcasts app! Have at it if this is your bag.
Written by Jenna Guillaume, an entertainment journalist and author of YA rom-coms What I Like About Me and You Were Made For Me. Follow her at @jennaguillaume.