Thanks to Nick and Courtney, I found myself stumbling down a Pop Up Video Internet k-hole this weekend, experiencing both glee at being reminded of how entertaining it once was and intense jealousy towards the people who were once employed by the show, as they existed in a world where it was possible to make a living doing the below:
I mean. How adorable is that?
In addition to remembering all of the nutso shit the Pop Up Video writers dreamed up (or had some intern research), I got to remember some of the videos I used to watch over and over, enough times that certain parts of them got burned into my brain in the same way that a film character’s phrasing might, until eventually you know the thing is in your head but you have no idea how it got there.
This pales in comparison to how insane some of the video concepts were, though, and how remarkable it is to realize the kind of money being thrown at music videos during a very specific time when people like David Fincher and Michael Bay were directing them.
I didn’t have cable when Pop Up Video premiered, so the only times I watched it (or music videos, actually) were when I went to my friends’ houses and scoffed whenever they complained there was nothing on TV.
“But you have cable,” I protested. “There’s always something on TV.”
Because when you compare a house with cable and a TV remote to one with regular network channels and a weird push-button panel for changing the channel with a loud ka-CHUUUUNK and a blinding flash of light every time, there was no contest. And even after I grew up, moved away, and got cable myself, this didn’t change. There was always something on. It didn’t matter if it was good or not, although I did quit VH1 once “I Love the 90s” came out because bitch, please.
I know that some people would call it a problem that I would even deign to watch “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” although in my defense, at least I turned the volume down because I am an adult and I’m about done with people yelling at me, so I don’t need Guy Fieri to do it through the television (but it is fun watching that fat sunburned idiot sweat harder after biting into a burger). Even though we grew up with maybe five channels (six if you count whatever channel in the upper 70s carried “The Box,” which is how I was traumatized in a single afternoon by Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show” and Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Put ‘Em on the Glass”), my father still bitched about the quantity of TV we watched, which a) wasn’t even that excessive and b) WHO EVEN CARES, DAD, GOD.
I still don’t see anything wrong with TV. Even though I don’t have it now, I’m not part of the anti-media hipster Hezbollah set who sneers at Honey Boo-Boo and claims to know nothing about any of the plotlines from Friends. Please. Yes, the Boo-Boo family is trashy and kind of dumb, but they really seem to love each other. And who doesn’t know Friends? EVERYONE KNOWS FRIENDS. I don’t care how cool you are or how flimsy the comedy seems in retrospect, you knew the show and shut the fuck up with your pretentious assholery. You’re denying PBS when you deny TV, you know. PEEE BEEE ESSS.
TV isn’t just shitty re-runs of terrible shows with canned laugh tracks and failed film actors. It features actual writing – sometimes very fucking good writing – and I’m no starfucker, but give credit for storytelling where it’s due. And so help me, if you ever come between me and my Netflixed shows (Doctor Who, Luther, Sherlock, Orange is the New Black, Spaced, etc. etc. name a million of them), I will end you faster than I could change the channel on that old TV.