2015 anniversaries in pop culture: Clueless turns 20, Born to Run turns 40, and more.

7 Things People Are Going to Get Nostalgic About in 2015

7 Things People Are Going to Get Nostalgic About in 2015

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Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 8 2015 4:19 PM

7 Things People Are Going to Get Nostalgic About in 2015

Stacey Dash from Clueless, Steve Carrell from The Office, Alicia Silverstone from The Office, Donald Cragen in Law & Order.
“See you all in 2015! I hope you’re all already working on your ‘Clueless Turns 20’ pieces!”

Photo illustration by Slate. Still from Clueless courtesy Paramount; stills from The Office and Law & Order courtesy NBC

“See you all in 2015! I hope you’re all already working on your ‘Clueless Turns 20’ pieces!” That’s how one Slate staffer bid his co-workers happy holidays at the end of 2014. And it’s true: Pop culture nostalgia is fuel for the Internet. Sure, Clueless got a round of celebratory articles and lists in 2013, in honor of the film’s 18th birthday, but do you think people will miss another chance to go back to that well? As if. Back to the Future II predicted we’d have hoverboards and flying cars by 2015; instead, we got nostalgia. The anniversary-industrial complex marches on.

So what else will people be nostalgic about in 2015? Pop culture nostalgia, as an Internet phenomenon, only extends about 50 years back—it’s hard to be nostalgic for a past you weren’t around for. So while people will celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Philadelphia Story and the 100th anniversary of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” they won’t, by and large, get nostalgic about those things, exactly. “Prufrock” is not really a nostalgia piece anyway, at least not for most readers: For a work of art to get the nostalgia treatment, appreciation of it needs to be rooted at least in part in fond memories of one’s more youthful days.


With all that in mind, here are the movies, TV shows, and albums that will get much of the nostalgia love in 2015, one for each major anniversary going back to 1965.

10th Anniversary: The Office
The American version of The Office launched as a mid-season replacement with a six-episode first season on March 24, 2005. Friends, NBC’s previous comedy juggernaut—which recently enjoyed a wave of anniversary nostalgia followed by a wave of “hooray it’s on Netflix” pieces—had ended less than a year earlier. The subsequent success of the show and of many of its stars and writers make the series’ relatively humble origins all the more charming, so get ready for photo galleries highlighting how young and sweet they all looked back then. The think pieces about Brokeback Mountain 10 years later will make for a somber contrast, while those honoring the birth of the Twilight series will have to admit they read the Twilight series.

15th Anniversary: Stankonia, Outkast
After a string of great albums in the 1990s, André 3000 and Big Boi broke through to the mainstream with “Ms. Jackson,” their first No. 1 hit, from 2000’s Stankonia. And as the long build-up to last summer’s reunion demonstrated, the duo’s lack of musical output over the past eight years has seriously heightened the nostalgia quotient for Outkast fans. Other 15-year anniversaries you’ll be hearing a lot about: Love & Basketball, Almost Famous, and Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

20th Anniversary: Clueless
, originally released July 19, 1995, is the alpha and omega of pop-culture nostalgia, being both endlessly meme-able and as good as you remember it. Writer Jen Chaney’s book-length oral history of the movie will come out just in time to ensure peak Cluelessness this summer, but the nostalgia has already begun: Just look at the Iggy Azalea’s Clueless-inspired video for “Fancy,” which helped make that smash into the song of last summer. Some will celebrate Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, both also released in 1995, but Amy Heckerling’s Jane Austen–inspired classic will get the most 20th-anniversary love.

25th Anniversary: Law & Order
Chung chung: The sound effect of justice first rang out on Sept. 13, 1990, spawning 20 seasons of crime-solving and courtrooms, not to mention several long-running spin-offs. The best way to truly honor L&O is to get obsessive, so we look forward to the brave soul who decides to watch all 456 episodes and report back. Note: Pretty Woman, Edward Scissorhands, Goodfellas, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air will all give L&O a serious run for the 25th-anniversary money.

30th Anniversary: The Breakfast Club
John Hughes’ death in 2009 inspired fond remembrances of the filmmaker’s work, but the 30th anniversary of his detention-on-a-Saturday comedy, originally released Feb. 15, 1985, will bring out many more. We will also pay tribute to The Goonies, Moonlighting, and Meat Is Murder, but the high school setting and great ’80s soundtrack of The Breakfast Club make it, like Clueless, a near-perfect nostalgia object, so start preparing your answers to Breakfast Club BuzzFeed quizzes now. (Are you a brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel, or a recluse?)

40th Anniversary: Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
We tend to associate Internet nostalgia with millennials, but no one does nostalgia quite like Baby Boomers, and Bruce Springsteen’s oeuvre is laced with the stuff. So expect the 50- and 60-somethings in your life to come out in full force when Born to Run turns 40 in August. The Jaws think pieces of summer will have just left the water, and the Saturday Night Live birthday bashes, ongoing since fall of last year, will be a couple of months from their final crescendo (that show premiered Oct. 11, 1975).

50th Anniversary: Rubber Soul, The Beatles
A whole host of great albums came out in 1965, from Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. But few musical figures inspire the same degree of nostalgia as the Fab Four, and Rubber Soul is one of their greatest achievements. It will compete with The Sound of Music, the novel Dune, and I Dream of Jeannie for 50th-anniversary attention.