The date, September 1999… It was a Wednesday on The WB channel. I was getting ready to watch a new episode of Charmed, because I was (and still am) a fan of the supernatural. So as I used to do, turned on the TV at 7-ish in the evening, while doing some homework… re-runs of Friends and Caroline in the City would be on, and I would watch more than doing my actual homework, ha! – But that day… 29th of September (according to Wikipedia), Popular began. It was 8 pm. I’m guessing, and the show began as two ‘teens’ began talking in a diner. Summer vacations were over, and both were discussing the issues of teenage beauty. Is Sam foxier than Brooke McQueen??
Totally NOT LUV at first viewing. But what the heck is Popular? Or for the sake of no confusion, The WB’s Popular. At first sight, Popular was your regular teenager show, as network fellows Dawson’s Creek, or Felicity… life in high school, what it’s like to be a teen and growing up. But Popular was NOT ONLY that. Though at times it was overly dramatic and over-the-top soap opera-ish, Popular was a mockery… and sometimes I wonder how they got away with the censors. LOL’ I mean, they even show re-runs on ABC Family, which baffles me because they *beep* sentences, but the show still manages to get away with other humor. How can you forget the first Christmas episode, in which Ms. Glass (played by the awesome Diane Delano) wanted to buy a hairless pussy – her words, not mine – for her sister Nurse Glass (also played by her). Or the time when Mary Cherry (the hilarious Leslie Grossman) auditioned for a role in the horror flick, The Cock-a-Doodle Monster on the episode I Know What You Did Last Spring Break. LOL’
I fell in love with the show 3 months after it began, mainly because my English was not as good and enjoying the full meaning of all jokes requires a broad knowledge of the 80’s and early 90’s pop culture for references, and catch phrases. Now, 9 years later… it is one of, if not my favorite show EVER. I have re-watched the show over and over… on tapes, computer files, and finally DVDs. And every time you watch it, you get one more joke or finally get a scene, so re-watching episodes is awesome. I mean, I took me 2 years to get what Ms. Glass’ Christmas gift to Nurse Glass meant because it required that I knew English, and I was an innocent kid~~ Some of my friends don’t get it yet, but I blame that on translation.
Besides from over-the-top drama, over-the-top teenager-ness, over-the-top acting… there was over-the-top Mary Cherry, one of the most unique characters I’ve ever seen. Hands down. Mary Cherry was NOT the main character of the show, but she was the underlying essence of Popular. A Southern-Texan-Not-So-Beauty who was loaded with black gold and lacked something up there that made her seem borderline retarded. Her mama, Cherry Cherry, was a multi-billionaire business woman (played by the awesome Delta Burke) who loves her in her very unique way – e.g. Cherry Cherry was told by the nurse, when she gave birth, that she was putting too much baby powder on Mary Cherry’s face. LOL
The show also had a broad variety of quirky supporting characters like The Tuna Sisters, April and May… April was a hardcore Star Trek fanatic, and a dancer looking for her big break in popularity, while May was a dirt-eater. HA! Emory Dick was a nerd, bordering on the 80’s and 70’s style with a faint proper English accent (and he enjoyed frottage with April, LOL’). There was also Adam, aka Alice, a nerd-turned-male-cheerleader looking for a little revenge against The Glamazons and cheerleaders of the state. Later in the last season, B. Ho made an appearance as Mary Cherry’s long-lost twin sister who was left to live in the Bronx, and Mary Cherry’s long-lost father, an African-American transvestite named Sweet Honey Child.
Sadly, after Season 2 began, The WB switched it’s Wednesday’s nights slot to Friday’s, right after Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Nothing against Sabrina, or Melissa Joan Hart, but Friday’s weren’t good for raitings and Popular got the ax, ending with a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE cliffhanger that still hunts me. In the commentaries, Ryan Murphy reveals that Harrison chose Brooke, [select to reveal the name, don’t wanna spoil EVERYTHING on the show, do I?] and a whole Melrose Place-type of condos set 5 years later were planned. So to clarify, the rumors after the show got canceled were true. At first you’d be like WTF, but looking back on the show, it makes sense.
I leave you with 3 teasers for the episodes of I Know What You Did Last Spring Break, Joe Loves Mary Cherry, and The News of my Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, as well as the musical number of Teaching Ms. Glass from the Season 1 Finale, Two Weddings and a Funeral.