Those of you who thought you’d been Terra Nova’d back to the ’90s when you saw both Clarissa Explains It All and Pop-Up Video on your programming guide last night, know this: Pop-Up Video is back with brand new episodes. After a nearly decade-long hiatus, the VH1 show that paired popular music videos with bubbles of trivia about their artists returned yesterday with 10 years’ worth of pop culture to catch up on.
I recently reminisced about this show when VH1 ran a marathon during a trans-continental JetBlue flight. It was one of my favorites throughout the precious time in my life when the debut of a new *N SYNC video was an event worthy of a half-hour-long behind-the-scenes television special. The trivia was irreverent but fun, and every now and then I’d even learn a cool thing or two about one of my favorite artists. Basically, Pop-Up Video was what you got if you combined Making the Video and Behind the Music, but you didn’t have time to cover the whole thing so you had to skim the CliffsNotes.
The thing is, the CliffsNotes are readily available now. Those little pieces of behind-the-scenes information that Pop-Up provides can be found on Wikipedia in the time it takes Britney Spears to shed her next layer of clothing. And with gossip sites reporting the scoop on celebrity “events” minutes after they happen, I seriously wonder who is going to care that Britney thought the set of Downtown L.A. set of “Till The World Ends” felt like it had “poop everywhere.” That happened months ago, VH1.
Still, the nostalgic in me was pretty excited that this staple was back. I remain a music lover, but I dropped off the video circuit when MTV started replacing them with re-runs of Next. (What? I swim with the tide. Don’t judge.) So even though Pop-Up is never going to be a must-watch, I thoroughly enjoyed my re-introduction to its inanity. Yesterday I had no clue that Britney hated fecal matter, or that an extra was kicked off set for talking about poop. Heck, I didn’t even know that that same extra later “farted in front of Britney!” Today, thanks to Pop-Up Video, I know all of these things and more.
After appropriately kicking things off with Britney, Pop-Up continued with Diddy Dirty Money’s “Coming Home,” Good Charlotte’s “The Anthem,” Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” and Lindsay Lohan’s “Rumors.” The bubbles were noticeably snarky, particularly with the comments on Spears and Lohan. I’m not sure if I just didn’t notice this when I was younger or if the writers have gotten meaner with age, but I definitely think that mocking Lohan’s alcoholism was in poor taste. Way to kick a girl when she’s already down to the point of probably never getting back up.
All Lohan digs aside, I thoroughly enjoyed re-acquainting myself with pop-up videos for 22 minutes straight last night. The silly stuff is still silly, but the behind-the-scenes facts are as marginally interesting as ever. Did you know that they wanted to film “Coming Home” on a glacier in Iceland, but they decided against it after the volcanoes started erupting? Me neither, and I probably didn’t need to. But it’s still kind of interesting, no?
What do you think, PopWatchers? Will you shed your 2011 skeptic to revert to a simpler time when music video trivia actually seemed important? I personally won’t be regularly tuning in for more, but I look forward to the hours of mindless entertainment this show will provide when I’m on the treadmill.
Pop-Up Video airs weekdays at noon on VH1.