'Pop Up Video': The return of VH1's most seductive time-waster

Before American Idol became the go-to venue for aging hipsters wanting to launch a musical renaissance, there were few places for rock relics to be seen or heard by a younger audience. One of the best, however, was Pop Up Video, the 1990s VH1 program that made shamelessly dated music videos redeemable with the aid of humorous, often sarcastic, trivia. Many a college student sat mesmerized while Pop Up Video skewered former hits like A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” or David Lee Roth’s “I’m Just a Gigolo,” only to be reminded they missed Chem Lab when they reached the bottom of the Bugles bag.

Well, prepare to get lost in the bubbles again. After a 10-year hiatus, Pop Up Video is coming back to VH1, with 60 new episodes ordered for this fall. This time, not only will the show tackle classic hip-hop and rap music videos for the first time, but the Pop Up treatment will feature user-generated pop up content and updated polls in its bubbles.

I’m thrilled about the inclusion of hip-hop, so I can finally learn what went on during the making of 3rd Base’s “The Gas Face” video. But I wonder if the audience-interactivity aspect of the new show might have a drawback: It encourages viewers to be semi-lucid. Might they then notice the passing of time, and choose to be responsible students/boyfriends/firemen instead of sitting through another 30 more minutes of bliss?

Do you remember killing time to Pop Up Video? Which rap or hip-hop video most demands the bubble treatment pronto?

Comments (64 total) Add your comment
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  • McProphet

    Awesomeness. I loved me some Pop-Up Video back in the day.

    • Jamie J

      YES!! I love this show — but I’d rather see them tackle new(er) videos that are popular now and give some behind the scenes info. That’s why I think it didn’t work before.. who wants to see a Van Halen video when I can see Judas by Lady Gaga??

      • THOOM

        But it did work before. It was a hit. You said you loved the show.

    • Oh Yeah

      I loved Pop Up video and am excited it’s back. Imagine that – Videos shown again on VH1 (Video Hits 1). Crazy stuff!

  • Less than jake

    They can leave any rap out of the mix, since it isn’t music. I’ll tolerate the hip hop.

    • erin

      Too bad we can’t tolerate you.

    • NS

      Your name is Less Than Jake. I don’t need to mention the fact that you have no music taste.

  • M

    Last month my mom and I caught an old episode and wondered why the didn’t bring it back. This might make me tune into vh1 again.

    • uhhhmmmm…

      “my mom and I caught an old episode”…I hope you are either 18 or youger or were visiting.

      • Hunter

        Yeah because watching TV with the person who raised you is soooooo lame!

      • uhhhmmmm…

        if your 30something and living in your parents basement…uhhm yeah. Unless you live in a state hit by a flood or tornado (no joking intended)…you should be out on your own.

      • uhhhmmmm…

        @hunter..and not all of us had the white picket fence, silver spoon rearing you must have been fortunate to have. Some of us had to make on on our own from early teens. So save the “raised you” speech for a Tyler Perry article.

      • emily

        so basically you’re just jealous that M has a mom to watch TV with, if he or she so chooses.

      • AK

        @”uhhhmmmm…”: This has to be one of the weirdest invectives I’ve ever seen on Popwatch.

  • cnj

    I loved this show. THis shw was great with the 80’s videos and I can remember that the video upset the pope or whatever happened back then.

    • S.O.

      Best Week Ever used to be good in its 1st 2 years. Then afterwards, all they every mocked was Brittany Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, & any reality TV crap from MTV, VH1, E! &/or Bravo.

      The closest thing right now that is similar to Best Week Ever (its 1st 2 years when it was actually LOL) is “Infomania” on Current TV.

      • Oh Yeah

        I think the successor to Best Week Ever is actually The Soup with Joel McHale. It isn’t music related at all, but is very irreverant and funny. If you want to have a good laugh on Friday night, give it a try (on E! Network).

  • tessa

    Pop Up Video was the only reason to watch VH1 now it has returned and there is now a reason to watch VH1 again!!! I hope they have the same theme song!!!

    • TQB

      They might as well – it’s already stuck in my head again.

  • Karate Pants

    Bring back the World Series of Pop Culture too!

    • KBC

      Yes! World Series of Pop Culture was awesome! It needs to come back!

    • katiej1980


    • Ann

      Oh, I loved the World Series of Pop Culture! I still have that as a series recording, in case VH1 ever brings that back…I didn’t want to miss a single episode!

    • Mr. Holloway

      1,000 times yes! My plan to sit around and get recruited (“Ocean’s Eleven”-style) by one of the teams didn’t work last time, but I enjoyed watching and playing along just the same.

      • Karate Pants

        Mr. Holloway, you would be a FANTASTIC competitor!

      • Mr. Holloway

        …thanks for the kind word.

        I’m just thinking about all the useless knowledge I’ve gathered in these subsequent years!

  • rock n roll jeopardy

    Pop Up Video went away because of a dispute between MTV (who owns VH1) and the distribution company. Guess they ironed it out. “I said joy [come on, come on]& pain…is like sunshine & rain..[give it up, give it up]

  • rock n roll jeopardy

    Is it time yet for an “I remember 2010?”

  • KC

    Do I even have this station anymore?

  • Ann

    Yay! They’re finally going to start showing music videos again! Hope MTV starts doing the same, instead of filling their time with dumb reality shows about pregnant teens…

    • Mr. Holloway


      The fact that this means VH-1 will be showing videos again (outside of the hours between 3 and 10 a.m.) is the real story. Way to bury the lead!

  • BW

    That was a fun show. I’m happy they brought it back. They need to bring back “Best Week Ever” and “Bands Reunited” too. VH1 knows that true music fans watch their channel so I hope they stick with putting out quality shows about music and not crap like “Flavor of Love”.

    • Ann

      Best Week Ever! Seriously, I can’t believe VH1 cancelled this show to bring us more dumb reality shows.

      • Karate Pants

        I loved Best Week Ever UNTIL they switched it to having only Paul F. Tompkins host it. Apparently I’m not the only one, since it was swiftly pulled after the change. But I would love to see it return if in the original format.

      • Daily

        @Karate Pants

        Yep. With the original format I watched Best Week Ever and The Soup. But I couldn’t get past that first BWE episode with Tompkins

      • S.O.

        Watch “Infomania” on Current TV. Its the closest thing that resembles Best Week Ever (when that used to be LOL its 1st few years).

  • TQB

    A music video show? On an MTV network? Why, I never!

  • Brigette

    This makes me SO happy. I always loved the cleverness of pop-up video. Remember when VH1 was actually about music? They need to bring back a lot of their old stuff. Now it’s just a bunch of HORRIBLE reality shows. I don’t think I’ve watched that channel in ten years.

  • Liv

    Something about pop up video just reminds me of smoky bars. Like it was always one in the background when I was in college and still barhopping. Haha!

  • Claen

    Something that has stuck with me for fifteen years is the Pop-Up Video version of Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart” video: apparently the band used each other’s deee-oderant.

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