For a few years the pop culture spirit animal, Pop Up Video, has been trying to breath new energy into its bubbled text box, but it hasn’t taken off the way we all knew and loved it from its heyday of the late ’90s. The original pop up videos were a genius idea. It took videos that had already been on heavy rotations and were perhaps a bit stale from over-exposure and turned them into something exciting and surprising. Every couple of frames, a fun fact about the band, the location, or really just about anything would pop up onto the screen and make things infinitely more interesting, like with Madonna’s “Vogue” video.
The first episode of pop culture video aired in October of 1996. Woody Thompson, the co-creator of the show, was a big part of its attempt to make a return to the spotlight in 2011. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he explained why the comeback was important to him:
“I have sat on the sidelines for the last decade and watched as everyone and [their] brother has ripped off Pop Up in some way or another with the Internet coming out of nowhere and Twitter being hauntingly familiar and all of these devices that are using snarky, pithy text.”
Jessica Grose from Slate had trepidations about the show’s return as she didn’t believe the reboot would be able to capture the original version’s elements of charm, silliness, and genuinely unknown information. We live in an era where it’s just not possible to not know about a performer’s history. Watching a pop up video for Chris Brown where there was no mention of his domestic violence convictions felt off. Grose wrote, “This omission might have made sense if they hadn’t included a pop-up about Juelz Santana’s run-ins with the law — but they did.”
It’s been three years since the reboot of Pop Up Videos kicked up its heels and it has yet to find an audience. Perhaps what needs to happen is Pop Up Video needs to pull away from music videos and start dabbling into other needed areas of culture, like the lives of moms!