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Fans Mourn What ‘The Last of Us’ Characters Missed Out on Post-2003

"I wanna be forgotten, and I don't wanna be reminded..."

Lacey Chabert, Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried in "Mean Girls"

The Last of Us is a story about mourning. The characters mourn their loved ones, as well as their lives before the Cordyceps fungus outbreak and the state of their post-apocalyptic world as a whole. There is a lot to mourn in their world, but we, as viewers, are also mourning the things they never got to experience after Outbreak Day.

The HBO adaptation of the game made the story begin in 2003, when doubleyuh was president and the recession wasn’t even a twinkle in your local investor’s eye. DVDs were still a thing, as were VHS tapes and CDs. All that basic time-establishment goodness brings us so comfortably back to another era that we start to remember other things that were supposed to happen not long after.

For instance (and most egregiously): Nobody in TLOU ever saw the cinematic masterpiece that was Shrek 2.

No wonder those fools are so depressed. They never saw Shrek 2! I’d be all miserable too if I never got to hear Antonio Banderas’ voice through the iconic figure known as Puss in Boots.

But that’s not all! People in TLOU never even got a drop of Supernatural, which meant the inevitable fanficcy snowball effect that followed never had a chance to germinate:

Other media releases this world never got to see were Napoleon Dynamite, Mean Girls, and most awfully in my personal opinion, the brilliant sophomore Strokes album Room on Fire. You’re telling me those outbreakers never got to listen to “Reptilia?” “Under Control?” Goddamn “What Ever Happened,” a classic and a staple in young American culture? My god, they really were pressed.

Of course, there are some things that our beloved survivors are probably better off having missed. For instance:

While 4chan has certainly given us some zingers over the years, ultimately I’ve gotta agree; they’re probably better off with zombies than MRAs.

Where I’m torn is with the fashion. Y2K fashion was all over the place. So, this means there were zombies running around looking like this:

Are some of you too young to remember Juicy Couture? Velvet sweatpants with bedazzled words on the butt, like Sassy and Diva? But like, on a zombie?

Also, as far as what the humans wear, one must wonder why skinny jeans were still being made:

Look, I’ve tried to run and hike in skinny jeans, and both times were absolutely miserable. It felt like I’d grown a second layer of skin that was somehow denser and did nothing at all to protect me. We get it, woman hips go brrrr, but it’s the zombie apocalypse. I think we can give them some practical cowboy jeans like the rest of the cast.

Lastly, and most topically related to the recently released third episode, there were of course many strides made regarding social equality that never saw the light of day. Such as this:

It would have been interesting to explore these kinds of plotlines in greater depth, but I think TLOU did a fantastic job with Bill and Frank in this particular instance.

In any case, what else did their world miss out on? What socio-cultural milestones, good and bad, did the people in The Last of Us never get to experience? Share your own Y2K memories in the comments!

(featured image: Paramount)

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Madeline (she/her) is a writer, dog mom, and casual insomniac. Her prior experiences with media have taken her down many different roads, from local history podcasts to music coverage & production. Niche interests include folk music, elves/wizards, and why horses are cool actually.