OMG! LOL! VH1 looks back all of four years with 'I Love the 2000s'

Cast your mind back to those long-ago days of Shake Weights and Slap Chop, "Jersey Shore" and Juicy sweatpants. Even though the 2000s ended just four years ago, it's time to get wistful again with VH1's newest insta-nostalgia offering, "I Love the 2000s."

The new 10-part series will follow the format of "I Love the 80s" and other shows like it, with comedians and famous faces joining in to mock and memorialize the flotsam and jetsam that washed up during a decade of diversions. 

Still have a container of those dissolves-on-your-tongue Listerine PocketPaks Breath Strips? Remember when we were all disturbingly introduced to Paris Hilton, her sex tape, and her purse dogs? Did you meet your mate at speed-dating? Can you hear me now? Those topics and more will fill the 10-part series.

Getting personal for a second: As the co-author of two nostalgic encyclopedias, "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?" and "The Totally Sweet 90s," I can hardly blame VH1 for its eagerness to get started remembering the events we have yet to forget.

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    Gael Cooper 1970's Items

    'Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?'

    A book co-written by a TODAY.com producer looks at the lost toys, tastes and trends of the 1970s and 1980s. Where are you, Quisp cereal, Malibu Barbie, and Dynamite Magazine?

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    Dynamite magazine -

    Forget Highlights -- the cool preeteen read in the 1970s and 1980s was Scholastic's Dynamite Magazine. Sure, there were celebrity features, but fans also recall the Dynamite Duo superhero stories, cartoon vampire "Count Morbida," "Foxy Fiddler" the colt and kid-submitted "Bummers," which paid a whopping $5 per selected gripe. It's just one of 200 items from the 1970s and 1980s fondly remembered in the new book, "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?"

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    Atari 2600 -

    Today, it's easy for Xbox aficionados to sneer at the simplistic graphics of the Atari 2600. But few gaming consoles have been as beloved. "Pac-Man" and "Frogger" were favorites, but fans also remember bizarre games like "Journey Escape," in which gamers tried to guide the band Journey to their spaceship. Don't stop believin'! Now new versions have been released, complete with the same cheesy fake-wood paneling.

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    Malibu Barbie -

    The original Malibu Barbie came out in the early 1970s, but she was so beloved that multiple reproductions have been issued. This 2001 edition came with something the '70s original would never have dreamed of -- a bottle of sunscreen. Once more unto the beach!

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    Barrel of Monkeys -

    Barrel of Monkeys may have been one of the most low-tech toys ever made, but we loved them anyway. They're still around, and even made an appearance in the "Toy Story" movie series, where at one point the toys chain them together to try and rescue a fallen Buzz Lightyear.

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    'Charlie's Angels' trading cards -

    Boys had baseball cards, but girls fell for "Charlie's Angels" trading cards, issued in 1978 to capitalize on the hit show. The packs included stickers and that horrible dusty gum, and you were encouraged to collect them all and flip them over to assemble an enormous puzzle. No one ever did that.

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    Candy cigarettes -

    There's always a rumor that candy cigarettes have been made illegal in the US, but it's not true. However, many brands have relabeled them "candy sticks" or simply "candy," and they're harder to find. Check the bottom shelves of your favorite gas-station snack department, and smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

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    Love's Baby Soft -

    Love's Baby Soft was practice perfume, and even strict moms often gave their OK. Many an impassioned Oscar acceptance speech was delivered into a bottle of Love's, clutched firmly in a 12-year-old's hands. Need to reacquaint yourself with this sweet scent? We found it still being sold at Sears.

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    Dapper Dan -

    Dapper Dan had his cotton-stuffed finger on the fashion pulse of the '70s. He was supposed to teach kids to snap, button and zip, but really, he taught us a lot more about what colors do NOT go together. Dapper? Not so much.

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    'Free to Be ... You and Me' -

    A boy who loved his doll, a girl getting chomped by tigers, and a dog fixing a sink? They all lived together happily inside the pages of "Free to Be ... You and Me," which was also a record album and a TV special. A 35th anniversary edition of this inspiring Marlo Thomas project was released in 2008, and in 2010, Target used the main song in a TV commercial.

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    Funny Face drink mix -

    It wasn't Kool-Aid, but Funny Face drink mix was beloved by tribes of thirsty kids in the 1970s. Jolly Olly Orange, seen here, wasn't that flavor's original name. It started out life as Injun Orange, which was quickly yanked. Chinese Cherry was also hastily redubbed Choo-Choo Cherry, thanks to stereotypical drawings on the original packages. The drink is gone, but the plastic mugs live on in many a thrift store.

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    Hugo, Man of a Thousand Faces -

    Hugo, Man of a Thousand Faces was also the man of a thousand nightmares. He was kind of the boy equivalent of the Barbie Styling Head. You could affix any number of provided disguises on him, including a scary scar, a wig, glasses and a goatee. There's now an online version, of course.

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    Metal lunchboxes -

    Some metal lunchboxes can still be purchased, but most stores sell softer meal containers now, which makes you much less likely to crown your playground rival over the head. Still, the designs on these retro boxes make our mouths water..."The Fall Guy"! "Starsky and Hutch"! "Holly Hobbie"!

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    Mego superheroes -

    Holy enduring memories! The Mego Superheroes were only 8 inches high, but they were super-powered in any kid's play arsenal. The female heroes, dubbed the "Super Gals," had bouffants that put the Ronettes to shame. Mego filed for bankruptcy in 1982, but the figures remain beloved.

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    Mystery Date -

    Open the door ... for your Mystery Date! This is the 1972 version, but this goofy game lives on today, as there is reportedly even a "High School Musical"-themed version. You try to collect the three cards required for each themed date, from skiing to a formal dance. If you opened the door to the Dud, the brainy dude with glasses, you lose your cards! We're pretty sure the Dud was Bill Gates.

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    Pepsi Light -

    The time is right! For Pepsi Light! At first, this lemony cola took out only half the calories, but eventually it moved to a one-calorie version. Its light burned out around 1986, but don't give up hope. Pepsi tried another lemon cola , Pepsi Twist, in the 2000s.

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    Transistor radios -

    Transistor radios came in all shapes and sizes in those days before iPods. This one's the Panapet, which was hauled around on a chain leash, a futuristic dog that barked staticky Barry Manilow songs.

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    G.I. Joe -

    G.I. Joe first invaded toyboxes in 1962, but in 1975, he was relaunched as part of an "Adventure Team." Kids fell for his Kung Fu grip, even though all it did was replace his hard-sculpted hands with soft rubber. That phrase lives on: In the 2009 movie "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," Marlon Wayans' character comments that another character has a "kung fu grip."

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    Pop Rocks -

    Pop Rocks were the candy that fought back while they were inside your mouth. Eventually they spawned a glorious urban legend about Mikey from the Life cereal commercials chowing down on Pop Rocks and Coke and exploding. Not true, but still fun to torment your little sister with. Pop Rocks live on, and there's even a chocolate-dipped version.

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    Pudding Pops -

    Pudding Pops is actually a generic term, and more than one company make them. But the most famous variety came from Jell-O, and Bill Cosby made their ads ubiquitous in the 1980s. They melted away in the 1990s, but returned around 2004, when Jell-O licensed the name to Popsicle. True fans complained that the shape and the recipe were different. We're not finding the Jell-O brand on shelves now, but depending on where you live, there may be other varieties.

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    Quisp cereal -

    Quisp and Quake cereals were released in 1966, and went to war in 1972 via a memorable ad campaign. There was a vote, and goofy alien Quisp beat out muscly miner Quake. You can still buy Quisp today, in certain stores and online.

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    Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific -

    Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo stood out by its name alone. There was no Gee, I Think Your Butt Looks Smaller jeans, or Gee, Your Breath Doesn't Smell Quite So Rank mouthwash. We loved the pop-art packaging and the sweet '70s scent. You can still buy this shampoo online at the Vermont Country Store.

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    Scratch-n-sniff stickers -

    Scratch-n-sniff stickers are still around, of course, but they exploded like a sneeze in the '70s and '80s. Sweet scents dominated, but daring kids were drawn to the savory stickers, even though "pizza" smelled less like tomatoes and pepperoni, and more like a late-night burp.

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    'Six Million Dollar Man' action figures -

    Few action figures were cooler than Steve Austin from "The Six Million Dollar Man," who came complete with a huge eye to look through and peel-back rubber arm skin that revealed his bionics. Bionic Bigfoot was his worthy adversary, but really, who wanted his boring boss, Oscar Goldman? Truly, the world's first inaction figure.

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    Sweet Valley High -

    There were approximately 50 jillion "Sweet Valley High" books in the 1980s. Liz was always a goody-goody, Jessica always a bit of a brat, and their sunny California town was teeth-shatteringly perfect. There's been renewed interest in the Wakefield twins lately. A new book, "Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later," came out in spring 2011, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody is working on a "Sweet Valley High" movie.

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    Fisher-Price Little People -

    Fisher-Price Little People aren't so little any more. That crabby bully in the middle is an original, but he's surrounded by newer versions. They may be less likely to become choking hazards, but kids of the '70s and '80s still prefer the originals, which can be found easily at thrift stores and online.

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    View-Master -

    We're not claiming View-Masters are a 1970s original -- they first surfaced in the 1930s. But it did seem as if there was one at the bottom of every 1970s toy chest. And we all had a haphazard collection of reels, from favorite TV shows to tourist destinations. Get this: There is even talk now of a View-Master big-screen movie from DreamWorks.

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    Wacky Packages -

    Wacky Packages combined three of kids' favorite things: goofy commercial mascots, paint-peeling stickers and really lame jokes. Topps started cranking out new ones recently, and even paying homage to their retro legacy with stickers that parody classic 1970s products.

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    Weebles -

    You know what they say about Weebles: They wobble, but they don't fall down. For a while there, Playskool cranked out even weirder Weebles -- with arms! But in 2010, the original little ovals returned. Check out the new book, "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?" for dozens more lost items from the 1970s and 1980s.

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And according to the BBC, nostalgia can be good for you, as people prone to nostalgic feelings are said to be less lonely and less likely to dwell on their own possible death. Why worry about your own demise when you can mourn that of Pepsi Blue (2002-2004) instead?

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    'The Totally Sweet '90s'

    A new book co-written by a TODAY.com producer looks at the lost toys, tastes and trends of the 1990s, from clear cola to Caboodles and slap bracelets to Surge soda.

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    Big Mouth Billy Bass -

    It was the worst thing to happen to mankind’s relationship with sea life since Jaws ate all those people. Push the button on his plaque and Big Mouth Billy Bass would launch into "Don’t Worry, Be Happy" or "Take Me to the River." Mercifully, they’re not made anymore, but if you’re crazy enough to want one, check your local garage sale. Your neighbors might pay you to take it off their hands.

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    Bob Ross and 'The Joy of Painting' -

    You never really intended to watch "The Joy of Painting," but once it came on, you were hooked. Who could turn off the gentle, giant-Afroed man cooing about "happy little trees"? Ross died in 1995, but his memory lives on through reruns – and his line of art supplies.

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    Bubble Tape -

    When the Mad Scientists of Gum World get bored, they think of a new shape or container. Sure, goody-goodies could take one piece and make it last till study hall, but the rest of us crammed in at least four of the promised six feet of gum into our mouths at once.

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    Caboodles -

    Caboodles were makeup cases that looked like Dad’s fishing tackle box. The product was inspired by a 1986 People magazine photo of Vanna White using a real tackle box to store her cosmetics. They were plastic pastel dream academies with removable segments.

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    Giant cell phones -

    Forget smart phones – the original cell phones were clunky and so heavy that holding one to your ear was like bashing the side of your head with a brick. But man, we felt like "Wall Street" king Gordon Gekko when we first started toting one around.

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    Clear colas -

    If the colors of the 1970s were earth tones and the colors of the 1980s "Miami Vice" pastels, what was left for the 1990s? For a while, marketers just gave up on color completely and suddenly, cler was the way to go. Clear beer, clear soaps, even clear garbage bags were all the rage. Byt Crystal Pepsi led the charge, even though after 1993, consumers couldn’t see their way clear to buying the stuff.

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    Dream Phone game -

    What the Mystery Date game was to an earlier generation, Dream Phone was to 1990s girls. At an age when calling a real boy was unimaginable, Dream Phone let girls practice, by calling up fictional dudes whose photos and numbers were on the game’s cards. Recorded messages gave you clues to whoever was crushing on you. The modern Dream Phone replaces the enormous hot pink handset with a smart phone, of course.

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    Dunkaroos -

    Although introduced in 1988, Dunkaroos –kangaroo-shaped cookies that came with a tiny swimming pool of frosting -- might be the most 1990s snack there was. But take heart! They’re still around, though hard to find. Try Walmart, Costco, your local dollar store, or order online from Amazon.

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    Fanny packs -

    Worn under the belly, fanny packs were like an out-of-fashion belt that swallowed an even more out-of-fashion suitcase. Designer Isaac Mizrahi has called them one of the most reviled accessories in modern culture.

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    Hacky sacks -

    Almost every guy who was a teen in the '90s can look back on sunny hours joyously wasted kicking a little beanbag around. If there was a game you could imagine Shaggy from "Scooby-Doo" playing, hacky sack was it.

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    Gak -

    Gak was thicker and less gelatinous than its boogery ancestor, '70s gross-out staple Slime, but it was no less entertaining. Run your hands through the wall-to-wall carpeting in any '90s house and you’ll find 20-year-old Gak clinging to every carpet fiber. Gak made a comeback in 2012.

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    Earring Magic Ken -

    Earring Magic Ken featured two-ton hair, a pierced ear, purple mesh shirt, shiny lilac vest, and a circular necklace that commentators such as Dan Savage instantly declared to be an intimate pleasure device. This Ken was all set to perform a rousing chorus of "Y-M-C-A!" but perhaps unlikely to be interested in hitting the prom with Barbie. The doll quickly became a hot collectible with gay men, while Mattel quietly discontinued him.

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    Mac Classic II -

    Born with the decade in 1990, the Mac Classic II is the computer that created a generation of gadget addicts. Never mind the nearly microscopic, nine-inch, black-and-white screen. We had Apples in our eyes now, and could taste a juicy techie future.

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    MC Hammer -

    Forget the music, we all know "U Can’t Touch This." Can we talk about MC Hammer’s pants? Cinched the top and bottom, they were part giant garbage bag, part genie outfit.

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    OK Soda -

    In 1993, Coca-Cola decided that even the sullen slackers of Generation X bought pop, and introduced the most non-corporate corporate beverage ever, OK Soda. With a flavor like fruity Fresca, bleak gray-and-black cans, and even a manifesto, OK was an odd attempt to reach a generation that pretty much drank soda like everyone else. By 1995, OK was KO'd.

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    Orbitz -

    Orbitz was the drink that resembled a lava lamp, clear liquid in a curvaceous glass bottle with tiny colored balls bobbing inside. The flavors were weird, and the floating balls had no taste. It’s little wonder the drink flopped within about a year.

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    Palm Pilot -

    Free for a movie Friday? In the 1990s, the answer was right in the palm of our hands, with the pint-sized PalmPilot PDA. Now we no longer had to run home and check our Garfield calendar to see if we already had plans!

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    Pogs -

    Pogs were more than a fad, they were approved gambling for kids. Stack up the paper circles and throw your slammer at them to determine which of your friend’s Pogs you now get to keep. Sore losers – plus irresistible in-class trading – eventually got Pogs banned from some schools.

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    Ring Pops -

    Ring Pops were the only piece of bling that could give you type 2 diabetes. Kids who couldn’t care less about cut, clarity or carat weight were all about the most important "c" of all corn syrup.

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    Scrunchies -

    Crocheted scrunchies, denim scrunchies, satin scrunchies, scrunchies to match your cheerleading colors– there was one for every outfit, and girls without ponytails sometimes wore them as bracelets. They’re still popular with gymnasts – just watch the Olympics to verify.

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    Slap bracelets -

    Slap bracelets are thin, fabric-covered ribbons of steel that curl around one’s wrist when cracked across the arm. They weren’t too pretty, but it was all about the application, marveling as the bracelet grabbed your arm like Doc Octopus wrapping a tentacle around Spider-Man.

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    Surge soda -

    Was it green? Was it yellow? Surge soda was a mix of the two, maybe the color you’d get if you soaked a highlighter in a glass full of lime Jell-O. The mega-caffeinated Coke product appealed for a while, but the Surge slowed to a trickle and by the early 2000s it had vanished from store shelves. You can still reportedly buy it in Norway, where it’s called Urge.

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    Tamagotchi -

    Tamagotchi was a huge 1990s fad requiring kids to feed, clean up after, and play with a little digital creature, kind of like that fifth-grade assignment where you had to treat a raw egg like it was your baby for a week. They’re still around, but now have an online element, and even more importantly, a way to turn off their annoying beeping and booping sounds.

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    Urkel -

    There’s absolutely no excuse for Jaleel White’s "Family Matters" character, annoying Urkel, becoming a massive national hit, but it happened. He even briefly had his own infamous strawberry-banana cereal, Urkel-Os. Like Urkel itself, that probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but made less and less sense in the cold hard light of day.

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    Zima -

    What was Zima? It wasn’t beer. It wasn’t wine. It wasn’t a wine cooler. Its maker, Coors, pitched it as "Zomething different," but hey, if even they don’t know what it is, how did they expect it to catch on? David Letterman helped seal the clear alcoholic beverage’s doom, pitching it as the preferred drink of nutty senators, confused marathoners, and oddly, Santa.

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"I Love the 2000s" premieres June 17 at 9 pm on VH1.

Follow Gael Fashingbauer Cooper on Google+.

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