Pop Up Video Returns, Pop-Culture Nerds Rejoice Gleefully

Posted: May 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I was born in 1987. I am an infant in pop-culture years. But I was able to learn so much and delve deep into so many things that normal people don’t care about, thankfully, because of a show called Pop-Up Video.

So it is with great pleasure that I see that The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Pop-Up Video is back with 60 new episodes. I already watch the reruns on VH1 Classic whenever they air, and I’ve watched countless videos online (though they’ve taken down a few over the years).

Before you could learn about a critical darling’s first record on Wikipedia in seconds, or listen to some talking head comedian pontificate about the finer points of Bananarama (there are many), Pop-Up Video existed. The 1990s were the first decade in which “retro”, something that has always run on an undercurrent of pop-culture, came into the forefront.

In the 90s, anything was fair game. I remember, flower power 60s style, 70s film and TV homages (though the 80s was not adored yet. I’ve found a 10-year lap-time). This was reflected in the new music, film, and television. Partly, this was a reflection of the creators of the content, but why were they the first to re-appropriate old as new to a major audience?

Despite my age, I was hooked. And yet, there was a certain disconnect between generations. I remember watching The Simpsons or The Critic or The State and hearing many references that almost blew by me. However, all of that would change in 1996.

Pop-Up was an innovator. In a time where people would watch and appreciate music videos, there were several shows that tried different things with them. Beavis and Butthead, Say What (and its spawn Say What Karaoke) and countless others. But this was different. Its aim, besides its unbelievable snark, was to inform and curate music videos and pop-culture to a mass that didn’t quite understand it. In essence: the nerds were running the show.

This format for information programming got so huge, it transcended music. The format appeared in such shows and films as Newsradio, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Cake Boss, Kate Plus 8, The Simpsons, Music and Lyrics, and Over The Hedge.

I truly feel that a show like Pop-Up Video, changed the format for VH1, and thus, changed the pop-culture landscape. If a show like it doesn’t exist, does VH1 option for the I Love The… series? Does a show like Best Week Ever exist? Nostalgia doesn’t beget micro-nostaglia. Dominoes, people. Dogs and Cats living together.

Certainly it won’t innovate anymore. We’ve reached a pop-culture critical mass. We’ve reached levels of meta-ness and sub-meta-ness, that something like Pop-Up Video’s work is done. But at least, it is a nod to those who watched and understood it in its original run, and maybe it can receive the respect it truly garners.



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