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23 Things That Don't Exist In "The Last Of Us" Because The Outbreak Started In 2003

By Andy Golder,


If you've been watching The Last of Us , you know that the show follows the survivors of a nearly world-ending pandemic that turns humans into fungus-controlled "Clickers."

You might also know that the show — which is based on a bestselling video game — made a slight change from the source material: Namely, it's set about 10 years earlier, which means that in the show, the deadly pandemic starts in 2003.
Naughty Dog / Sony

That means that poor souls like Ellie and Joel not only have to deal with hordes of Runners, Clickers, and other Infected, but they ALSO missed out on everything that happened post-2003. Here are some of the things that don't exist in The Last of Us 's universe:

1. Shrek 2

Yes, sadly Shrek 2 premiered in 2004, which is after the Cordyceps infection took over the world in The Last of Us . So not only have the characters in the show never seen the beauty of Shrek 2 , but they've also never heard "Accidentally In Love" by the Counting Crows. Thankfully, the original Shrek came out in 2001, so maybe Joel and Sarah watched that together 😢.

2. Facebook

It feels like we've had Facebook forever, but it has only existed since 2004! Back then, it was TheFacebook and it was only available to registered college students. So in The Last of Us , the characters only really had MySpace, and maybe Livejournal.

Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

3. And Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and TikTok, for that matter

All of these social media sites and apps came after Facebook, so nobody in The Last of Us would have ever heard of them. So much for there being zombie apocalypse influencers in TLOU .

Chesnot / Getty Images

4. All of Rihanna's music

Rihanna's debut album, Music of the Sun — along with her first hit single, "Pon de Replay" — dropped in 2005. The world's only hope is that Rihanna was still living part-time in Barbados in 2003, so maybe the island nation managed to avoid the outbreak?

Target Presse Agentur Gmbh / Getty Images

5. Taylor Swift's entire career, too

Taylor's self-titled, debut album was released in 2006, so there's a good chance that not a single survivor in TLOU has heard a single Taylor Swift song, which is the saddest thing I can think of. Maybe some people from around the Nashville area heard her perform before she was signed to a label.

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

6. Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch

Remember this moment? It was in May of 2005. What a pop culture moment to miss out on, right?

7. The Office (the American version, anyway)

While the British version of The Office premiered in 2001, the American version was a few years later. So Joel has never heard of Michael Scott, Jim Halpert, Pam Beesly, or Dwight Schrute.

8. The entire National Treasure franchise

I just kinda feel like Joel would've liked National Treasure , ya know? It's a fun movie. I mean, it's not Curtis & Viper 2 , but still. Also sad: Joel probably saw the first Fast and the Furious and loved it, but none of the rest of the movies ever came out.

Touchstone Pictures / ©Touchstone Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

9. Jonah Hill's whole film career.

Jonah's first official film credit was in I Heart Huckabees , and his breakout role in Superbad didn't happen until 2007. I dunno, it's just weird to me that Jonah Hill was never famous in The Last of Us .

Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

10. Lost

Can you imagine? Although I guess it's good that the show didn't premiere before the Cordyceps pandemic and leave the entirety of humanity with some agonizing cliffhanger, like Jack and Locke looking down into the hatch, that would never be resolved.

Abc / ©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

11. "Mr. Brightside"
Island Records

This one's a heartbreaker. "Mr. Brightside" hit the airwaves on September 29 , 2003. In the show, the outbreak starts on September 23 , 2003. They would've missed it by less than a week. On the bright side (ha), the song was written before then, so presumably, some people out there have heard it in TLOU 's universe.

12. Hannah Montana

A world without Miley Cyrus and/or Hannah Montana. What a tragedy.

Disney Channel / ©Disney Channel/courtesy Everett / Everett Collection

13. "UwU"
xxsilverspades / Via

The earliest known use of this text emoticon dates back to 2005. So — blessedly — at least the survivors in TLOU never had to hear anyone say "uwu" out loud.

14. Anchorman quotes

Yes, TLOU 's universe is one where the movie Anchorman was never released. So there isn't a single person in TLOU walking around a quarantine zone yelling "I'm in a glass case of emotion!" Those people could, however, potentially be yelling Borat quotes instead, as long as they came from Da Ali G Show and not from the Borat movie, which never existed.

15. Game of Thrones

The books would have still existed up to A Storm of Swords , which was published in 2000. So, theoretically, Joel and Ellie would know about the Red Wedding if they had picked up the books, but I wouldn't count on it. Joel doesn't strike me as a high fantasy reader.

16. Grey's Anatomy

No Meredith and Derek, no "choose me, love me," no Izzie cutting the LVAD wire, none of it! We wouldn't have even gotten Sandra Oh in Sideways , either! The world of The Last of Us is generally unaware of Sandra Oh's genius, and that's worse than a zombie apocalypse.

17. iPhones

Can't even play Angry Birds on an old iPhone while you're hanging out in the Boston quarantine zone. What a drag.

David Paul Morris / Getty Images

18. Napoleon Dynamite

You might be like "whatever" but listen, this movie was a cultural phenomenon when it came out in 2004.

Fox Searchlight / ©Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection

19. Ashley Simpson lip-syncing on SNL

For us, it was all anyone could talk about. In The Last of Us universe, Ashlee and the entire SNL staff were probably infected by the time October of 2004 rolled around.

20. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"

What a bummer for this song to never have existed, especially since it's one of the funniest uses of parentheses in a song title ever, IMO.

21. The entire MCU

Iron Man , the first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, premiered in 2008. So for Joel and Ellie, there's no "America's ass," "I love you 3000," or any of that. However, the Ang Lee Hulk would have come out just a few months before Outbreak Day, so there's that.

22. Every single YouTube video, ever

YouTube launched in 2005. So for The Last of Us , that means no "Charlie Bit My Finger," no Sophia Grace and Rosie, no Jenna Marbles, NO BO BURNHAM!

23. The Kardashians

Keeping Up with the Kardashians premiered in 2007. So regardless of whether Kim, Khloé, Kourtney, and the rest of the family survived the outbreak (given their proximity to Los Angeles, I'm gonna assume they didn't), practically nobody would have heard of them outside of their dad's connection to the O.J. Simpson trial. You'll never hear Bella Ramsey's Ellie crack a Kardashian joke in TLOU , because Ellie has no idea who they are. Whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you.

Christopher Polk / FilmMagic
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