Birthdays are so great! Once a year you get to look back and think “wow, I feel old” and then you remember how old you are and think “not that old!” It’s fun, and definitely not going to cause an existential crisis that will keep you awake until two in the morning even though you have to wake up at eight for your biology class. Definitely not…And it definitely doesn’t get worse when you remember your birthday is on Mean Girls Day except Mean Girls Day didn’t exist in 2003 so you’re one year older than Mean Girls Day and holy frijoles you’re one year older than Mean Girls Day! …On that wonderful note, let’s take a look at some pieces of media that turn twenty years old in 2023. Get ready for a heck-of-a-lot of lists!


  • “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon
    • First published in the UK on May 1, 2003
  • “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling
    • First published in the UK on July 21, 2003
  • “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown
    • First published in the US on March 18, 2003
  • “The Tail of Emily Windsnap” by Liz Kessler
    • First published in the UK in 2003
  • “How to Train Your Dragon” by Cressida Cowell
    • First published in the UK in 2003
  • “The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau
    • First published in the US in May 2003
  • “The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger
    • First published in the US on February 6, 2003
  • “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini
    • Re-published in the US on August 26, 2003
  • “The Goose Girl” by Shannon Hale
    • First published in the US on August 8, 2003
  • “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
    • First published in the US on May 29, 2003
  • “The Tale of Desperaux” by Kate DiCamillo
    • First published in the US on August 25, 2003
  • “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger
    • First published in the US in 2003

It pains me to admit it as an English major, but of the twelve books listed here, I have only read half of them. (Nobody better snitch on me to any of the professors!). The book I was most excited to put on this list was “How to Train Your Dragon”. If anyone who knows me in real life is reading this, then you know that I love the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. (I’ve been planning on going to Build-a-Bear Workshop and getting their Toothless plush for years now). So while on the one hand, I cannot believe that Order of the Phoenix was brought into the world the same year that I was, I could not be more ecstatic to learn that “How to Train Your Dragon” was as well.


  • “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé (feat. Jay-Z)
    • First released on May 14, 2003
  • “Me, Myself and I” by Beyoncé
    • First released on October 19, 2003
  • “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence (feat. Paul McCoy)
    • First released on April 7, 2003
  • “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers
    • First released on September 29, 2003
  • “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne
    • First released on May 19, 2003
  • “Perfect” by Simple Plan
    • First released on August 25, 2003
  • “Addicted” by Simple Plan
    • February 24, 2003
  • “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes
    • First released on February 17, 2003

It’s hard for me to believe that “Mr. Brightside” was released twenty years ago, especially since it seems to play over the loudspeakers in the dining hall at least once a day. I also find it hard to believe that “Seven Nation Army” was released in ’03, because it gets scream-sung at almost every major football game in the country. (Except for here at MBU, because we don’t have a football team). Honorable mentions in this category include the Broadway musicals “Avenue Q” and “Wicked”, because I’m a Showtunes Girl at heart. “Avenue Q” is a musical that is basically an R-rated Sesame Street on crack. It ran on Broadway from July 31, 2003, until it (finally) closed on September 13, 2009. In case it’s not obvious, I don’t hold it in very high regard. The main reason I even know of its existence is because of my buddy, Matthew, the brother I never wanted. He only told me about it because he knew I would lose my mind. But, shockingly, Matthew has some good taste too, because he loves “Wicked”. “Wicked” is based on the Gregory Maguire 1995 novel of the same name, and focuses on the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz”. It officially premiered on Broadway on October 30, 2003, and is still being performed to this day! BIG NEWS: A two-part movie adaptation of “Wicked” is in the works, with Cynthia Ervio and Ariana Grande set to play Elphaba and Glinda, respectively. As of right now, Part One is set to be released in November of 2024, and Part Two in November of 2025.

TV Shows:

  • Teen Titans (2003-2006)
    • Premiered on Cartoon Network on July 19, 2003
  • That’s So Raven (2003-2007)
    • Premiered on Disney Channel on January 17, 2003
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003-2004)
    • Premiered in Japan on MBS on October 4, 2003
    • The English Dub would not premiere in the U.S. on Adult Swim until November 6, 2004
  • Danny Phantom (2003-2007)
    • Premiered on Nickelodeon on April 3, 2003
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003-2006)
    • Premiered on ABC on September 20, 2003

I watched Teen Titans when it was broadcast on Boomerang, this would have been about 2009 or 2010-ish. Let me tell you I was absolutely distraught when watched the cliffhanger ending of “Things Change” only to discover that that was the series finale. Like, what the heck, Cartoon Network? And then CN had the audacity to give us “Teen Titans GO!” as if that made everything better? NO! If nothing else, I think it actually made things worse. Nothing will ever beat the originals. I miss my Teen Titans.  :’(

Movies, with main Production/Distribution Company listed in parentheses:

  • Brother Bear (Disney)
    • Released in the US on November 1, 2003
  • Freaky Friday (Disney)
    • Released in the US on August 6, 2003
  • School of Rock (Paramount)
    • Released in the US on October 3, 2003
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (New Line)
    • Released in the US on December 17, 2003
  • Finding Nemo (Pixar)
    • Released on in the US May 30, 2003
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Disney)
    • Released in the US on July 9, 2003
  • The Cat in the Hat (Universal)
    • Released in the US on November 21, 2003
  • Holes (Disney)
    • Released in the US on April 11, 2003
  • The Lizzie McGuire Movie (Disney)
    • Released in the US on May 2, 2003
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Universal)
    • Released in the US on November 14, 2003
  • Mona Lisa Smile (Columbia)
    • Released in the US on December 19, 2003
  • Open Range (Touchstone)
    • Released in the US on August 15, 2003
  • Peter Pan (Universal)
    • Released in the US on December 25, 2003
  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (DreamWorks)
    • Released in the US on July 2, 2003
  • Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (Troublemaker)
    • Released in the US on July 25, 2003)
  • The Cheetah Girls (Disney Channel)
    • Premiered on Disney Channel on August 15, 2003

You heard it here everyone: The god-awful live-action Cat in the Hat movie turns twenty this year. (Gross). But, so does School of Rock! I guess that I have to actually sit down and watch it all the way through, since it was released on my birthday. The best part about Open Range is that it has Diego Luna as a young cowboy! Granted, his character gets wounded a third of the way through the film and has to spend the rest of it recovering until the big dramatic gunfight sequence at the end, but c’mon! It’s Diego Luna! He’s gorgeous!

Well, that’s all folks! I gave you a really long list this time, but don’t worry. The next one will be much shorter! Be prepared to put up with me again in the first week of December!