Pop-Up Video was a wildly popular television show on VH1 that ran from 1996-2002. It satisfied two basic human needs: watching music videos, and passively devouring bits of meaningless trivia.
Although it may be hard to imagine, there were days in the mid-90's when pointless trivia was hard to come by. Gathering irrelevant and forgettable information was a trial in those days; one had to go to the library, or even worse, make sure they were home at the correct time to catch one of the primitive entertainment-news shows. If you were lucky enough to have internet access, it was dial-up. If you were lucky enough to be online for more than thirty minutes before someone picked up the phone and kicked you offline, the majority of websites you encountered were X-Files fan pages. Sites like Gawker, the Superficial and TMZ were decades away (in internet time), and if you wanted a good dose of Cracked, by gum, you had to walk all the way to your local convenience store and actually purchase a paper copy with actual sweaty paper money.
Yes, people actually used to PAY to read Cracked.
Later, when something called "an internet" became more widely available, such information was everywhere, at all times, on every surface, like a flu virus.
Fabulositidae, the reason you can remember Conan's monologue from last night, but not your grandma's birthday.
In the meantime, however, when Pop-Up Video came along, fledgling trivia nerds everywhere released a collective high-pitched squeal of joy. For a minimal investment of 5-6 videos per episode, one could learn such amazing facts as:
1. the "bartender" in the video for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" was hungover for the entire shoot.
2. other things.
Additionally, Pop-Up Video had an amazing ability to transform intolerable music into pleasant experiences.
For example, we'd be slightly embarrassed to admit we sat through this whole video in any other context... :
While Pop-Up Video was a delightful melange of minutiae, such information did not pop itself. The producers of Pop-Up Video reportedly spent countless hours interviewing directors, actors and crew members for each video, then double and triple checked the collected facts. Such efforts turned out to be unnecessary, however, due to the as-yet-unnamed principle that states that if it's on TV, it is rendered true.
Sucker Fact Checker
Despite all the hard work that went into researching and producing popped videos, some artistes bristled at the show's less than slobbery tone. The writers and producers of Pop-Up Video faced opposition from such artists as the Wallflowers, Mariah Carey, and Billy Joel, who claimed that a certain pop for the "Keeping the Faith" video was causing his kid to be teased at school (but refused to say which pop-possibly the one about white shoes being his idea). The writers maintained their integrity and stood their ground all the way up until someone complained, then scrapped the offending videos.
For its first glorious year, Pop-Up Video was the most popular program on VH1. Granted, in those days VH1 still actually played music videos sometimes (no, really), so it didn't have to contend with shows like "I Love the 90's", as that particular decade wasn't quite over yet. In 1997, Pop-Up Video's younger, slimmer and more attractive sibling show, "Behind the Music" premiered. Slowly but steadily, viewers developed a taste for more in-depth trivia. Also, the sweet melodic voice of narrator Jim Forbes was slightly less annoying than the signature "bloop" of Pop-Up Video. But only slightly. The last episode aired on August 8th, 2002. Unfortunately, no one knows what the last video was, as the nation had moved on to such groundbreaking television as "the Glutton Bowl", and was too grossed out to pay attention to anything else.
World-class athlete, circa 2002.
Many popular TV shows, from Sabrina the Teenage Witch to the Simpsons (and presumably other shows that begin with letters other than "S", but we're not sure) have featured episodes in the style of Pop-Up Video. Other shows, including Will and Grace, have pointedly included dialogue referring to Pop-Up Video, illustrating that even stereotypes enjoyed the program.
More pointedly, however, is the legion of young adults today who were reared on the delicious "pops", and who, when pressed, might not remember a single fact, but can perform a spot on impression of the bloop.
Currently, Pop-Up Video haunts VH1 Classic, but we've yet to substantiate such claims, as we tend to spend our last dollars on Cheese-Its and not premium cable television channels.
One also wonders if the natural phenomenon of Rickrolling would have ever taken off if not for the ad nauseam airing of "Never Gonna Give You Up".
Never gonna give, never gonna give-FUCK, we just mentally Rickrolled ourselves.