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Jon Hamm as Don Draper.
Jon Hamm as Don Draper.
Image: Justina Mintz/AMC

On June 29, 2007, our pockets, purses and priorities were changed forever by the launch of the iPhone. But at the time, Apple’s hottest gadget wasn’t even the biggest news of the year. 

Here are 10 other major pop culture events we were freaking out about a decade ago. 

Anna Nicole Smith died

Few Hollywood tales were as tragic — or twisted — than the death of actress and former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith, who had been embroiled in a legal battle over her late husband’s billion-dollar estate for more than a decade at the time she died. Five months before her accidental overdose, Smith’s 20-year-old son Daniel had also fatally overdosed, devastating the reality star. As popular as Smith had been in the tabloids when she was alive, her death and ongoing legal battles provided endless fodder for speculation, consuming the news cycle that year.

Britney Spears shaved her head

2007 was a year that will live in infamy for fans of the Princess of Pop. Over the course of two weeks in February, Spears — who was in the midst of a custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline — checked in and out of two separate rehab clinics, spending less than a day at each; shaved her own head at a Tarzana hair salon; got two tattoos; attacked a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella at a gas station; and finally checked into a third rehab clinic, where she actually stuck it out for a month.

While the very public meltdown was a low point in the musician’s career, she’s bounced back spectacularly since. Spears is currently starring in a Vegas residency that has grossed more than $100 million to date, and her 2016 album, Glory, is considered one of her strongest in years, selling more than 110 thousand units in its first week.

The Sopranos ended

Just a couple of weeks before the iPhone debuted (back before live tweeting our favorite TV shows was a national pastime), The Sopranos pulled off one of the most shocking — and controversial — series finales in pop culture history, cutting to black on Tony Soprano’s family gathered in a diner just as someone enters. We never find out whether the bell is ringing for a random customer or Tony’s killer, and it’s a mystery we’re still pondering to this day.

Mad Men premiered

But as one prestige TV door closes, another one opens. A month after The Sopranos left us in the dark, we had a suave new antihero to fixate on in the form of Jon Hamm’s Don Draper — a love affair that sustained us until the show ended in 2015. Who could’ve guessed that all this time he was the reason we want to buy the world a coke?

Knocked Up changed the comedy game

In 2007, Judd Apatow wasn’t the household name he is today. Despite having written and produced  a number of cult TV comedies, he was basically the guy who had directed one popular movie and created a shortlived series. Then came Knocked Up, the flick that proved that Apatow’s 40 Year Old Virgin success wasn’t a fluke and established the writer-director as the new standard-bearer of a genre that has come to be known as the “slacker-striver romance.” The R-rated hit grossed more than $219 million worldwide, paving the way for a slew of similarly freewheeling, improvisational comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, Bridesmaids and Trainwreck — all of which Apatow happened to produce. 

‘Obama Girl’ went viral

Back in the halcyon days of June 2007, Barack Obama was running for president, and we were smitten. But our crush was no match for the devotion of “Obama Girl,” as this iconic viral video proves: 

The “Crush on Obama” video, produced by BarelyPolitical.com and lip-synched by actress Amber Lee Ettinger, quickly went viral hours after being posted and racked up more than 2 million views in a little over a month. “Obama Girl” quickly spawned parodies of her own, and the video remains one of the most memorable memes of the past decade.

Believe it or not, back in 2007, the internet wasn’t half as obsessed with cats as it is today (or maybe it was, and we just didn’t have an outlet for our passion). It took one magical meme, I Can Has Cheezburger — originally published on Jan. 11, 2007 — to spark the LOLCats revolution. The rest, as they say, is history.

Bob Barker signed off The Price is Right

From 1972 to 2007, it was Bob Barker, not Drew Carey, who encouraged contestants to “come on down” and try their luck in one of TV’s most enduring game shows. Barker hosted his last show on June 15, and it’s never been the same without him.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published

On July 21, 2007, J.K. Rowling’s literary phenomenon came to an end, as the Boy Who Lived faced off against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in a final battle for wizarding kind. Sure, the subsequent two-part film adaptation and theatrical sequel have kept Harry and his friends close to our hearts since then, but it was still the end of an era.

Transformers happened, and we’re still paying the price

The summer of ’07 was a nadir for the film industry, which churned out a record number of creatively bankrupt blockbusters that seemed conceived solely as a cash grab. Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, and The Bourne Ultimatum were all lazy threequels that had us pondering what we’d done to deserve this kind of cruelty.

But even as those franchises were in their death throes (and yet three of them are somehow still kicking!), Michael Bay unveiled a destructive new player on July 3: Transformers, which has now spawned four sequels of its own, each more senseless than the last. And yet, despite being totally incomprehensible, the most recent entry has still grossed more than $278 million worldwide. This is why we can’t have nice things. 

But hey, at least we’ll soon have a new iPhone to look forward to!

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