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Popular (TV series)

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Title: Popular (TV series)  
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Subject: Sara Rue, Jennifer Rhodes, Taryn Manning, Lev L. Spiro, Michael M. Robin
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Popular (TV series)

Created by Ryan Murphy
Gina Matthews
Starring Leslie Bibb
Carly Pope
Tamara Mello
Christopher Gorham
Sara Rue
Bryce Johnson
Tammy Lynn Michaels
Ron Lester
Leslie Grossman
Lisa Darr
Scott Bryce
Diane Delano
Opening theme "Supermodels" by Kendall Payne
Ending theme "High School Highway" by Sydney Forest
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 43 (List of episodes)
Running time 45–48 minutes
Original channel The WB
Original run September 29, 1999 (1999-09-29) – May 18, 2001 (2001-05-18)

Popular is an American teenage comedy-drama on The WB Television Network in the United States, created by Ryan Murphy and Gina Matthews, starring Leslie Bibb and Carly Pope as two teenage girls who reside on opposite ends of the popularity spectrum at their high school, but who are forced to get along when their single parents meet on a cruise ship and get married. The show was produced by Touchstone Television and ran for two seasons on The WB from 1999 to 2001.


Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb) and Sam McPherson (Carly Pope), students at Jacqueline Kennedy High School, are polar opposites. Brooke is a popular cheerleader and Sam is an unpopular journalist. Their respective groups are forced to socialize when Brooke's father and Sam's mother get engaged and the two girls have to share a house.

The plot of the first season revolves around the girls' school life, rival groups of friends, mutual animosity and plan to separate their parents. At the end of the season, Sam finds Brooke's real mother and encourages her to come back to town, which breaks up the engagement and splits the new family apart.

By the second season, Brooke and Sam realize that their parents were happy together, and therefore team up to reunite them, a move which results in the girls slowly becoming close friends, and even referring to each other as "family," though tensions rise when they both get involved with the same boy. Also, a reversal of fortunes takes place, with Brooke resigning from cheerleading to focus on school issues and Sam experiencing a surge of sudden popularity at school. In the end of the second season finale — which turned out to be the unexpected series finale when the show was cancelled — Brooke is run over by a drunk and angry Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels).


Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb): Brooke is the most popular girl at Kennedy High. She is beautiful, fashionable, a straight-A student and a cheerleader. An only child whose mother abandoned the family when Brooke was eight years old, she lives alone with her father until the merging of the McQueen and McPherson families. Brooke becomes a half-sister to newborn baby girl, MacKenzie, whom her stepmother gave birth to towards the end of the series. Though she strives to appear perfect, over the course of the two seasons, Brooke reveals her anxiety and low self-esteem on a number of occasions. She struggles with both bulimia and unresolved grief over her mother's abandonment. Brooke spends a good portion of the series romantically involved with football player Josh Ford, but also develops a relationship with Harrison John, a childhood friend from whom she had grown apart due to their opposite social status. She mentions "thinking about" an attraction to girls, though this was never developed further. Brooke is compassionate, kind and socially aware, though occasionally lacks confidence in her convictions, and is capable of thoughtless and petty behavior when she is unhappy and ruthless when she is angry. Her complex and initially hostile/eventually close relationship with Sam McPherson is one of the cornerstones of the series. Director and writer Ryan Murphy named this character after his niece Brooke Murphy.

Samantha "Sam" McPherson (Carly Pope): Smart and determined, Sam McPherson is strong-willed, articulate and very stubborn. Sam's father died when she was fourteen. An only child, she lives alone with her mother until the merging of the McPherson and McQueen families. After her mother gives birth to Brooke's father's baby, Sam becomes a half-sister to baby girl MacKenzie. Sam is one of the "unpopular" girls at Kennedy High, along with her best friends Harrison, Carmen, and Lily, a situation which changes when she and Brooke McQueen begin living together. Sam is the editor of the school paper (although as the series progressed, the paper ceased being mentioned) and often wrote stories that exposed hypocrisy and unfairness at Kennedy High. She dates football player George Austin, but eventually discovers feelings for longtime best friend Harrison John after he confesses his love for her. Sam is funny, passionate and has an oft-voiced social conscience, but is quick to anger and slow to let go of hostility. She is also painfully insecure and masks this with a prickly attitude. Her complex and initially hostile/eventually close relationship with Brooke McQueen is one of the cornerstones of the series.

Harrison John (Christopher Gorham): Harrison John is a smart but socially awkward "unpopular" guy who lives with his gay mother after the divorce of his parents. Harrison has had a crush on Brooke McQueen since they were children, one that is eventually reciprocated, but ends up torn when he reveals that he also has feelings for his best friend, Sam McPherson. In the second season, Harrison suffers from leukemia, and while in bed rest at the hospital, becomes good friends with his roommate Clarence. Sadly Clarence dies in "The Consequences of Falling" but comes back as an angel, to provide a suicidal Harrison with reasons why he should not jump off the hospital rooftop. Harrison returns to his room later expecting to die, but survives after a bone marrow transplant from Nicole Julian. Popular but unstable cheerleader Mary Cherry has a crush on Harrison, who she erroneously and consistently refers to as "Joe." Harrison is often portrayed as both happy with and alarmed by the fact that his closest friends are all female, and struggles in his interaction with other guys, though eventually develops tentative friendships with popular footballers Josh Ford and Sugar Daddy. By the end of the series, both Brooke and Sam ask Harrison to the Junior prom but eventually realize that it wouldn't work. Harrison is then forced to choose between Brooke and Sam while they both sit across from him waiting for his answer. The audience never actually hears Harrison's answer.

Josh Ford (Bryce Johnson): Josh Ford is the quarterback of the football team and all-around "popular" guy of the school. He dates Brooke McQueen, Carmen Fererra and Lily Esposito and is best friends with Sugar Daddy. Josh is artistically talented and appears as the lead in two school productions, though he struggles with his school work. Initially presented as good-natured but rather vacuous, Josh develops a social conscience due to his relationship with activist Lily, and helps her with various causes. Josh and Lily get married but struggle with both finances and the non-existent sexual nature of their relationship. In the final episode of the series, Josh and Lily realize that married life isn't what they thought it would be. After a bad day, Josh tells Lily that he doesn't think they will be okay.

Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels): Nicole Julian is a beautiful, chic, power-hungry cheerleader who consistently manipulates others for her own gain, and is personally responsible for most of the major friction which occurs at Kennedy High School. She is generally seen as a very cold-hearted and conniving young woman, but has proved herself to be very insecure. She is the on-again, off-again best friend of the popular Brooke McQueen. Early in the series, she reveals that she is jealous of Brooke by sleeping with Brooke's ex-boyfriend, Josh Ford, and would love to overtake her popular status. Despite her frivolous, sociopathic tendencies, during the course of the show, Nicole displays her softer side on many occasions, revealing a surprisingly vulnerable and sad person underneath, due to her alcoholic mother's constant criticism and the discovery that she was adopted. Her devious tactics usually allow her to get her way, at the cost of alienating the other characters. She is a highly promiscuous young woman who isn't afraid, for instance, to pole dance in front of a group of strangers. When her Machiavellian schemes eventually fail her in the end, and Brooke has had enough and chooses her relationship with Sam over Nicole, an angry, drunk and jealous Nicole ends the series in a defining way by deliberately running Brooke down in her car. Director and writer Ryan Murphy named this character after his niece Brooke Murphy's best friend Nicole Moore.

Mary Cherry (Leslie Grossman): Mary Cherry (always referred to by both herself and all other characters with both names) is an idiotic, bubbly cheerleader in the popular group. Mary Cherry comes from a very rich family, and as a result tends to be spoiled and rude to those who aren't popular, though she is exceedingly generous with her money. Mary Cherry has a long history of mother issues; her mother, Cherry Cherry (Delta Burke), often insults and degrades her even though she claims to love her. Mary Cherry's character is a consistent example of the series' brush with hyper-reality; she is seldom believable as an actual person, and is often referred to as "borderline retarded" by other characters, but appears as a great comic effect throughout the series. She also appears to be somewhat mentally unstable, and is often referred to as a psychopath by other characters due to her rather murderous tendencies (once during a career match-up, she got the "most likely to become a serial killer" position). She develops a crush on Harrison, whom she calls "Joe" even though she eventually reveals that she does in fact know his real name. In the final episode of the series, it is revealed that she has a long-lost twin sister, Baby Honeychild, 'but up on Gun Hill Road' better known as "B.Ho", who was raised in the Bronx. After Mama Cherry chooses B.Ho over Mary Cherry, Mary Cherry becomes an orphan.

Lily Esposito-Ford (Tamara Mello): Lily Esposito is the epitome of an Activist. She's considered to be a part of the unpopular crowd, along with her best friends Sam, Carmen, and Harrison. She was confused about her sexuality, but eventually settled into a relationship with Josh Ford. Lily is a vegetarian and passionately committed to both animal rights and social causes. She marries her first love, Josh Ford, towards the end of the series but realizes that married life isn't what she thought it would be.

Carmen Ferrara (Sara Rue): Carmen is a cute but plain and overweight unpopular girl along with her best friends Sam, Lily, and Harrison. She is initially rejected from the cheerleading squad due to her weight, but later becomes co-captain of the Glamazons. Throughout both series Carmen's character swings between that of a loyal friend and someone who is determined to achieve her goals despite her friends' reactions. She dates Josh Ford in Season 1 until he breaks up with her. Carmen suffers a pregnancy scare and has an abusive, alcoholic mother. Carmen was a headlined character for both seasons, but her inclusion in main storylines diminished as the final season aired.

Michael 'Sugar Daddy' Bernardino (Ron Lester): The wannabe-gangster of the popular group. He is best friends with Josh and is on the football team. He has problems with his weight and doesn't think he will ever be loved by a woman until he meets and eventually dates exchange student Exquisite Woo. In season one he has a very brief relationship with Mary Cherry and meets a girl online, that in fact is Carmen.

Roberta "Bobbi" Glass (Diane Delano): Bobbi Glass is the students' science teacher. She is portrayed as being mean and cruel and constantly threatens to give people F's in order to get her way. She is a woman, but has a lot of physical qualities that resemble a man. This causes the students to call her Sir. She doesn't seem bothered about it but it is later revealed in an episode entitled "Fag" that it hurts her. She also reveals that she questions her sexuality. Although in the first season her human side is not focused on, it is focused on in the second season.


There are total of 43 episodes; the 43rd episode ending in a cliffhanger.

Season Episodes Originally
DVD release date
(Region 1)
1 22 1999–2000 September 21, 2004[1]
2 21 2000–2001 March 8, 2005[2]

Season 1: 1999–2000

No. Title Directed by Written by Original airdate
1 "The Phantom Menace" Brian Robbins Ryan Murphy September 29, 1999 (1999-09-29)
It is said that first impressions last, and that is the first lesson the kids of Kennedy High learn on their first day of school. We are introduced to Sam McPherson, a strong-willed reporter, along with her small circle of unpopular friends: Carmen Ferrara, an overweight pretty girl desperate for a spot on the cheerleading squad; Lily Esposito, a passionate activist; and Harrison John, the geeky guy who is in love with the head cheerleader. On the other side of the cafeteria sit the popular kids - Brooke McQueen, the head cheerleader and Queen of Kennedy High, along with her cohorts: Nicole Julian, the evil power-hungry best friend; Josh Ford, the popular jock boyfriend; Poppita "Poppy" Fresh,the Latina cheerleader; Mary Cherry, the dim-witted millionaire heiress; and Sugar Daddy, the wannabe gangster. The two groups collide and come to realise they are a lot more similar than they previously believed
2 "Mo' Menace, Mo' Problems" Michael M. Robin Ryan Murphy September 30, 1999 (1999-09-30)
They say that the truth will set you free, but that does not stop it from hurting your feelings. After learning that she did not make the cheerleading squad, Carmen decides to skip classes - making Brooke feel guilty. Sam tries way too hard to impress the popular crowd and Mr. Grant, which creates upset amongst her friends. While both the popular and unpopular crowds are in for a surprise that will flip their high school lives around.
3 "Under Siege" Perry Lang Ryan Murphy October 7, 1999 (1999-10-07)
Both Mr. Vincent and Coach Peritti are in fierce competition to win over Josh's stardom. Sam gets involved in a class scandal and goes way too deep. Lily's personal beliefs force her to carry more "pet weight" than expected. And the McQueen/McPherson clan are in for a nightmare.
4 "Windstruck" Jamie Babbit Oliver Goldstick October 14, 1999 (1999-10-14)
Temperatures are rising and winds are getting stronger than ever. But could it be that the truth is rising through the rumours? Josh experiences a "personal moment" with Sam which leads to the revelation of an even bigger secret that involves both Brooke and Josh. Lily must swallow her strong opinions and beliefs in order to keep her new job. Meanwhile, Sam begins connecting with Josh and Harrison connects with Brooke.
5 "Slumber Party Massacre" Michael M. Robin Wendy MacLeod October 21, 1999 (1999-10-21)
Can the ultimate slumber party ultimately lead to disaster? Carmen decides to have an all-girl slumber party for her sixteenth birthday and decides to invite Sam and the popular girls (Nicole, Brooke, Mary Cherry, and Poppita). Sam believes Carmen is making a huge mistake, and is proven right when the popular girls take advantage of Carmen's amicable nature. Harrison is desperate to become Brooke's leading man, but how far is he willing to go? Meanwhile, Sam spots her mother in a sticky situation.
6 "Truth or Consequences" Marc Buckland Ari Posner & Eric Preven November 4, 1999 (1999-11-04)
Food, food everywhere and not a piece to spare? All hell breaks loose in Kennedy High's cafeteria and both Brooke and Sam are responsible. Its midterm week at Kennedy, and the popular girls have the "perfect" plan to get the "perfect" grade. But when Sam digs deep to decode the in crowd's agenda, everything goes up in flames.
7 "Queen B." Matthew Harrison Ryan Murphy November 11, 1999 (1999-11-11)
Homecoming Queen, a title every girl dreams about. A title that is destined to create a full on war. Brooke, Mary Cherry, Poppy and Carmen find themselves in a "dog eat dog" competition to win the title of being Kennedy High's homecoming queen. But when a devastating photo threatens Brooke's status, Sam is put in odds.
8 "Tonight's the Night" Jamie Babbit Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and Ryan Murphy November 18, 1999 (1999-11-18)
The sex issue is spreading through the halls of Kennedy by a hot new song, but do the students really want to talk about sex? Brooke and Sam both make a bet in which Brooke must win Josh's affection without intimacy and Sam must get a boyfriend. Sugar Daddy hits things off with an online buddy, but is shocked to discover the charming woman's identity. Harrison and Lily's friendship heats up, leading both asking the burning question.
9 "Wild Wild Mess" Lev L. Spiro Oliver Goldstick December 2, 1999 (1999-12-02)
The Guest Principal Election is destined to create havoc within the halls of Kennedy High, and thats what exactly happens. Brooke strains her relationship with Josh, since she fears she might be pregnant. The unpopular kids decide to elect George Stephanopoulos for Guest Principal with the help of Harrison's mother. But an unexpected secret threatens Harrison's status. Meanwhile the popular kids want the "lovely" Gwyneth Paltrow as Guest Principal and go to desperate lengths by kidnapping her personal shopper.
10 "Fall on Your Knees" Elodie Keene Ryan Murphy December 9, 1999 (1999-12-09)
It's that time of the season, Christmas! The perfect time for giving, caring, and joy. The perfect time for Nicole to crash the Christmas Festivities. Nicole finds herself becoming the female Scrooge for the holidays and is shortly afterwards haunted by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. But will Nicole learn how to give instead of receive?
11 "Ex, Lies and Videotape" Arvin Brown Ari Posner & Eric Preven January 13, 2000 (2000-01-13)
This just in, one of the hottest media producers' wants both Sam and Brooke to work together! Is this assignment destined for a disaster? Both Brooke and Sam must put aside their differences in order to create a story for Entertainment Today revolving around Josh. But soon Josh and even Brooke and Sam realise that the media can go to far to cover a story.Meanwhile, Carmen discovers she has a new fan-club run by April Tuna and May Tuna. Nicole, Mary Cherry, and Poppy go to the DMV. Uh-oh?
12 "The Trial of Emory Dick" Perry Lang Oliver Goldstick January 20, 2000 (2000-01-20)
Payback can rhyme with a total itch. But is revenge really that sweet? After a Biology fallout, Emory Dick sues Kennedy High. This creates a full on strain between the populars' and unpopulars' as the two groups battle to win the lawsuit case. But it appears as if Carmen is stuck in the middle, to which group will she stay true?
13 "Hope in a Jar" David Petrarca Wendy MacLeod January 27, 2000 (2000-01-27)
It's time for the girls to choose their leading man as the Sadie Hawkins Dance is approaching. The awaiting dance has everyone worried about their looks and personalities, which creates a bit of trouble. Both Josh and Harrison compete for Brooke's affections and in the end, but both guys find themselves in a bit of "pain". Nicole, Poppita, and Mary Cherry give April Tuna a makeover after making a bet with Lily. Sam decides to have a "big" change when she goes to the dance with Josh. Lily decides to go with Emory and Carmen flies solo hoping that Josh will dance with her.
14 "Caged!" Jamie Babbit Ryan Murphy February 3, 2000 (2000-02-03)
As if getting locked in the girls bathroom wasn't bad enough.. But what if your deepest secret was threatened to be exposed? When the boys realise that the girls have gone a little chaotic, they decide to lock the girls in the Novak to teach them a lesson. Hours later, Nicole has an interesting plan. After stealing secrets from an assignment in class, she posts the secrets in the Novak for each girl to respond. When the secrets come full circle, everyone's life is destined to changed.
15 "Booty Camp" Michael M. Robin Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz February 10, 2000 (2000-02-10)
Everyone has a right to their own opinions, but some opinions shouldn't be spoken out loud. And that is what the kids of Kennedy High are learning. After Brooke and Nicole's fallout, the two are no longer on speaking turns. But their rivalry gets more heated when Nicole bullies Freddy Gong. Lily wears a sexy outfit that creates uncomfortable reactions from the boys. But most importantly, Ms. Glass's brother is recruiting new members for his "Booty Camp". Who will get a surprise invite?
16 "All About Adam" Perry Lang Wendy MacLeod and Ryan Murphy February 17, 2000 (2000-02-17)
Tall, dark, handsome and possibly the first male cheerleader? Could Kennedy High get even more twisted? Newcomer Adam joins the Kennedy High scene, where he befriends Brooke to express his secret desire to become a male cheerleader. Nicole, Poppy, and Mary Cherry are not at all interested in Adam joining the squad - until Adam exposes heavy dirt on the three girls. Meanwhile, Brooke's loyalty to Carmen is put on backburner when Carmen submits a photo of Sam for the new "Power Girl" commercial and when Carmen begins dating Josh.
17 "Lord of the Files" Lev L. Spiro Oliver Goldstick February 24, 2000 (2000-02-24)
There is an attractive fellow wandering the halls of Kennedy High, but how could he share the same last name with that weird Lunch Lady? Nicole, Mary Cherry, and Poppy are in a full-on war to win the affections of Calvin Krupps, the school's new vice-principal. This leads to all of the girls signing up for Calvin's new tai-chi class, but a few girls go a little to far to impress him. Harrison's newfound passion for music leads him to write a song that parallels Josh and Carmen's roller-coaster relationship. It is further complicated as Brooke finds herself still attracted to Josh...
18 "Ch-Ch-Changes" Craig Zisk Ari Posner & Eric Preven April 20, 2000 (2000-04-20)
Everyone must face changes in life, and some are destined to cause havoc. Beloved shop teacher Mr. Don, makes the shocking announcement that he is becoming a woman, leaving the class very confused. Despite a possible social downfall, Harrison along with Sam, Carmen, and Lily support the transformed Ms. Debbie. Meanwhile, Cherry Cherry becomes the new home economics teacher and teaches her class a positive lesson which teaches the popular kids to accept Ms. Debbie as well.
19 "Hard on the Outside, Soft in the Middle" Jamie Babbit Ryan Murphy April 27, 2000 (2000-04-27)
Is it true that blondes have more fun? That is the question Sam, Lily and Carmen begin to ponder. After the three girls experience several fallouts due to their hair color, the unpopular girls make a bet with the popular ladies that blondes do have an advantage. This creates huge shock waves through Kennedy with the blondes becoming brunettes and the brunettes becoming blondes. The only downfall: the losers get Mohawks. Meanwhile, Sugar Daddy and Josh compete for the affections of an attractive foreign exchange student.
20 "We Are Family" Elodie Keene Ryan Murphy & Deidre Strohm May 4, 2000 (2000-05-04)
Jane and Mike's wedding is approaching. Sam and Brooke are making plans on how to stop them. Nicole gives Sam a wig in trade for a column in the paper. Nicole refuses to give Lily and Carm their wigs, and along with Mary Cherry they decide to torture them for that. Cherry Cherry hires Erik Estrada to play the cop that abused her, since he looks so much like him. Brooke and Sam's plan fails. Mike and Jane say that they want to adopt the girls. Brooke tells Jane that she'd love to be her daughter, leaving Sam by herself. Erik Estrada buys Mary Cherry's acceptance with his original CHiPs jacket, a piece of his table at Hollywood Squares and an interview for E!. Carmen and Lily shave half of Mary Cherry's head to get their wigs back. Brooke tells Sam that she misses a mom, since her real mother abandoned her. Sam tells Harrison that she's afraid of losing her mother to Brooke. Sam asks Nicole to help her ruin the wedding, but Nic tells Jane and Brooke Sammy's plans. The next morning, Brooke finds a note from Sam saying that she left.
21 "What Makes Sammy Run" Jamie Babbit Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz May 11, 2000 (2000-05-11)
Sam is missing. She ran off to San Francisco to find Brooke's mother, who denies having a daughter. Her coldness gives her in and she admits to be Brooke's mom, and says it's too late to go back. The girls are worried that Sam might have been kidnapped and be in danger, so they try to go on with Jane's bridal shower acting like nothing happened. The boys try to go in Caesar Crouton's Breast 'n Thighs Chicken Buffet / Strip Club, but they're underage and not even fake id's can get them in. After Brooke asks them to throw a bachelor party to her dad, they finally have a chance of getting in there. Mary Cherry wants to get back at her mother for denying her existence on TV. She discovers that Wanda Rickets has been living secretly in the girls bathroom since she ran away from her house, making tons of money as a teen trash, so Mary Cherry and Nicole decide to join her as strippers, and Mike is arrested for all the minors in the strip club. Just as Jane is about to have a collapse from Mike's arrest and Sam's kidnapping, Sam shows up. Cherry Cherry decides to pay for everything (the arrests, the wedding, and everything else) as long as they make a double wedding. Sam finally accepts Brooke as her sister.
22 "Two Weddings and a Funeral" Lev L. Spiro Ryan Murphy May 18, 2000 (2000-05-18)
Its Mike and Jane's plus Cherry Cherry and Erik Estrada's double wedding, but before the ceremony begins tension arises. The gang seek revenge on Ms. Glass after she ruins their skip day which leads to unexpected consequences, Brooke begins reconnecting with Josh, Carmen reveals a life changing secret, and a ghost from The McQueen's past returns to stir the pot.

Season 2: 2000–2001

No. No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original airdate
23 1 "Timber!" Jamie Babbit Ryan Murphy September 22, 2000 (2000-09-22)
Its a new school year at Kennedy High, but the memories of the aborted wedding are long from forgotten. Sam tries to make amends with Brooke's mother's return, but Brooke isn't sure if she's willing to put her past differences aside with her mother. Mike and Kelly begin reconnecting, which creates a strain between Mike and Jane. Ms. Glass makes a shocking return to Kennedy High and is destined to make the student's lives miserable, Carmen receives the news concerning her pregnancy, Sugar Daddy and Lily protest to save an older tree that leads to a downfall, and lastly Nicole makes Mary Cherry try out for the Glamazons once again which puts her cheerleading status at risk.
24 2 "Baby, Don't Do It" Michael M. Robin Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz September 29, 2000 (2000-09-29)
For a class assignment, Ms. Glass assigns every student to raise a Baby, Don't Do It doll. But it seems as if everyone has their minds elsewhere. With Brooke's planned departure from Los Angeles to San Francisco, both Mike and Sam believe Brooke's decision can tear their family apart and ultimately affect her relationship with Josh. Lily isn't assigned a Baby, Don't Do It doll and decides to partner up with Carmen for the assignment. But Carmen's concern for her clique creates a strain between both Lily and Carmen. Nicole and Mary Cherry decide to let a British Nanny raise their doll, but soon discover The Nanny is bitter sweet.
25 3 "Citizen Shame" Lev L. Spiro Oliver Goldstick October 6, 2000 (2000-10-06)
It seems as if everyone is hiding a secret, but how far will some go to avoid the exposed truth? Brooke begins an unlikely friendship with her SAT teacher Bonnie. But when the two meet after school, the two both get in trouble with the law. Carmen's family life is more than hectic when she asks Sam to move in with her for a while, but it appears as if Carmen is hiding something to painful to reveal. While, Jane makes an unexpected discovery that affects her relationship with Mike. Meanwhile, Ms. Glass's Uncle Tipton returns to LA to visit her alleged child. Desperately seeking a child, Ms. Glass hires Nicole to pretend to be her daughter. But more confusion occurs, when Lily poses as Ms. Glass's son.
26 4 "The Sweetest Taboo" Craig Zisk Ari Posner & Eric Preven October 13, 2000 (2000-10-13)
Sometimes in order to get what you want, you must hurt the others around you. And thats exactly whats happening with the students at Kennedy High. George Austin, a new student at Kennedy arrives. But this creates a major turn off with both Josh and Sam. For Josh, he believes George will steal his Football Status. And for Sam, she believes George is another typical jock. Nicole is desperate to regain her Glamazon status, so she decides to team up with Sugar Daddy and Mary Cherry to humiliate Principal Krupps. Though the tables turn and it appears as if Nicole is the one humiliated.
27 5 "Joe Loves Mary Cherry" Jamie Babbit James Duff & Ryan Murphy October 20, 2000 (2000-10-20)
Jealously isn't always the best policy right? But why does it end up making you feel better about yourself? Ms. Glass announces that she has decided to test an attraction experiment by pairing one classmate with another. But this creates a problem between both Harrison and Nicole. Harrison begins getting jealous over George and Sam's frequent bonding and Nicole believes Brooke and Josh's relationship will destroy their popular status. So "Dangerous Liaisons" style, Nicole and Harrison work together to get what they want. In the end everyone is paired up with someone they least expected, but will each of them learn a lesson from their experience?
28 6 "Style and Substance Abuse" Elodie Keene Ryan Murphy November 3, 2000 (2000-11-03)
Brooke decides to run for student council president, dropping out of the Homecoming Queen election. She asks Harrison to be her campaign manager. They disagree on mandatory drug testing for students and he quits to run against her. Sam, Carmen, Nic and Mary Cherry get nominated to Homecoming Queen. Sam is motivated by George to run for it, but gets too into the spirit. Carmen is sleeping at the school since she is homeless, and Bobbi Glass invites her to her home. Seeing in Carmen herself in high school, Ms. Glass helps her with the contest (even threatening to give everybody an F if they don't vote for Carmen). Nic and Mary Cherry look for help with Hellacious Arke, a past 3 time Homecoming Queen, who is also Ms. Glass's own "Nicole" back in her high school days. Brooke misses Josh and sees him and Lily trying cough syrup while spying on them. Motivated by the recent death of a student of cough syrup overdose, she decides to run her campaign on anti-drug platform. Scared to be caught by the drug test, Josh convinces Harrison to let him use his urine on the test. Surprisingly, the results come positive.
29 7 "Ur-ine Trouble" Michael M. Robin Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz November 10, 2000 (2000-11-10)
Harrison reveals that he has been taking medicine for bad headaches, which later turns out to be leukemia. Harrison is forced to withdraw from the campaign and Brooke wins. Sam realizes what she is doing and quits from Homecoming Queen election. Nicole, Mary Cherry and Hellacious team up to beat Carmen in the election and prove that there is no place for her. Reaching as low as publicizing Carm's mom's alcoholism and make her look as an alcoholic teenager. Carmen moves back to her mom's to support her and wins the election. Hellacious tries to cheat, but Principal Krupps busts her. Ms. Glass has her comeback and helps taking all her pictures off the girl's room homecoming queen hall of fame. Lily turns herself in to save Josh, but they are a couple now, and he decides to get punished with her.
30 8 "Misery Loathes Company" Craig Zisk Oliver Goldstick & Deidre Strohm November 17, 2000 (2000-11-17)
Harrison is checked in a hospital for treatment for his leukemia. His roommate is a religious fanatic, which makes him quite uncomfortable. Harrison doesn't want anybody's help and yells at Brooke. Brooke is faced with the ghost of her bulimia and fears coming back to the clinic she once was. Sugar Daddy feels miserable for his looks and checks into a clinic for food disorders (which happens to be the same hospital where Harrison is.). Mike hears somebody throwing up in the bathroom. First he thinks it might be Jane, but he realizes it's Brooke and puts her in the clinic. Sugar feels very depressed and has a fight with Brooke. Later she advises him to talk to one of the girls at the clinic, and she plays cupid slipping a love letter under her door. But the clinician gets the letter instead. Sugar feels guilty and tells Ashley that he didn't write the letter, without knowing that she never got the letter in the first place. Harrison's roommate has a seizure, just as he was starting to like him. He realizes how fragile life really is.
31 9 "Are You There God? It's Me, Ann-Margret" Aaron E. Schneider Oliver Goldstick December 8, 2000 (2000-12-08)
Josh and Lily get cast for a play at the school where they have to appear nude in front of each other and everyone, which makes them uncomfortable. Brooke is at hospital again for treatment for her bulimia. Harrison is frightened when he walks into a room in the hospital and finds a ghost who seems to know a lot about him. Meanwhile, Carmen runs into Nicole in a meeting for teenagers with alcoholic parents, but Nicole completely ignores her.
32 10 "The Consequences of Falling" Michael M. Robin Ryan Murphy December 15, 2000 (2000-12-15)
Clarence dies peacefully while talking to Harrison. His death has a deep impact in Harrison's own view of life, and he decides is not worth to keep the treatment for his cancer. He goes to extreme measures and decides to put an end in his agony, attempting suicide. But Clarence comes back as an angel to give Harrison a view of what the world would be if he had never been born. We see that April would have become a rich successful owner of a fish market (Tunaville); Brooke would have died from bulimia, Lily would have married Josh after pregnancy and they would have become the first family, and among other twisted things, Nicole and Mary Cherry trying to make a living as whores with Sugar Daddy as their pimp.
33 11 "Fire in the Hole" Randy Miller Ari Posner & Eric Preven January 19, 2001 (2001-01-19)
Its that time of year again! STD Awareness Week, but this time Ms. Glass has a plan to make this week memorable. Ms. Glass has recently created a personal musical of her own entitled "That Burning Sensation" in which every student is assigned to play an STD. Though Sam and Harrison find themselves the odd ones out, with Sam playing the "whore" and Harrison playing the "virgin". As the class continues to progress a secret is revealed that will change Sam's relationship with George.
34 12 "The Shocking Possession of Harrison John" Jamie Babbit Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz January 26, 2001 (2001-01-26)
After Harrison returns to school since he had his bone marrow transplant, he acts in a weird way, making everybody think he's possessed or something. The girls think about it and conclude that he has impersonated Nicole's personality, since she was the donor. They decide to call a priest to exorcise him. Meanwhile, Josh and Lily's relationship is growing so much that there's hardly any space left for Sugar Daddy in Josh's life. Feeling neglected, he finds a new friendship in George. They enjoy each other for a while until George feels like Sugar is demanding too much attention. Josh and Sugar make up. Nicole finds out she's adopted after she asks her mom about her birth and she doesn't give clear information. Shocked, Nicole finds out that her mom was a 16 year old cheerleader, and tries to find her with no luck. Both Nicole and Harrison conclude they have to find themselves.
35 13 "Mary Charity" Lawrence Trilling James Duff February 2, 2001 (2001-02-02)
Say it isn't so? Mary Cherry is wearing KFC paper shoes? Mary Cherry enters the harsh realities of the real world after learning her family is suffering financial difficulties. Sam and Carmen plan to bring back the Kennedy High yearbook goes awry. Meanwhile, Brooke and Harrison's relationship progresses though it appears as if Harrison has his eyes on someone else.
36 14 "The News of My Death Has Been Greatly Exaggerated" Ryan Murphy Ryan Murphy February 23, 2001 (2001-02-23)
Tragedy has struck through the halls of Kennedy High and the dearly departed is by the name of April Tuna. The news of April Tuna's death effects all of the student's lives. With Brooke, Mary Cherry and Carmen they carry the guilt of being responsible for Tuna's death. And with Lily and Josh, they believe excluding her from their circle of love drove Tuna away. Meanwhile, April's death also creates tension. With Sam learning a shocking confession made by Harrison and with Nicole finally learning the downside of being the mean girl.
37 15 "It's Greek to Me" Jamie Babbit Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz March 2, 2001 (2001-03-02)
Nicole's mom is not so happy about her spending time with her birth mom. Judy Julian tries to bribe Nicole's mom so she would disappear. Shaggy leaves and Nicole and Judy become closer. Meanwhile, the girls are bored with the immature behavior of the boys and their boring lives as high school students. Brooke meets a college girl who invites them to a college party. After attempting to sneak out, Sam and Lily are stuck at home for lying about where they were going and spend up playing board games with Sam's parents all night. Carmen meets a boy and goes up to his room. Feeling that something might happen, she hides inside the closet until the boys come to rescue her. After their experience at the frat party, the group learns that high school isn't so bad after all.
38 16 "Fag" Elodie Keene Deidre Strohm March 9, 2001 (2001-03-09)
Lily, in an effort to defend a fellow student who has been suffering jokes about his lifestyle, starts the G.L.A.S.S. (Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Supportive Students), which causes a lot of repercussion around the school, and not such great support from people as she expected. But prejudice is not only about sexual choices, as Sam and George have to deal with the comments on their interracial relationship; Sugar D. doesn't get a job for being fat and Jamie (Brooke's date) reveals that he has suffered prejudice because of his religion. Things get hot when Lily is hospitalized after being attacked when she was leaving a g/l community center (which she took Miss Glass to get information about her sexuality). The gang realizes that hate will never lead to anything, and join the group one by one. Bryan comes out of the closet in a gesture of support after the group is cancelled.
39 17 "Coup" Jamie Babbit Ari Posner & Eric Preven March 16, 2001 (2001-03-16)
With a lot of power in her hands and not so many brain cells in her head, April Tuna is ordered by Principal Krupps to cut one of the school's clubs. April becomes an easy prey for Evil Nicole (still out of the Glamazons and thirsty for revenge), who manipulates her into cutting the Glamazons off. April and Emory have a small fight when she threats to cut the "John Travolta-inspired Staying Alive" club, for which Lily, Harrison and Josh compete to be president of. Meanwhile, Brooke gets in deep trouble after she doesn't come home from Jamie's, which causes Mike to get furious and ground both Sam and her for lying. After Jane talks to him, he finally decides to give Jamie a chance and invites him over for dinner. Back at KH, Emory blackmails Tuna in order to save his club, and she ends up losing the position of student body president to Nicole, who immediately cuts the Glamazons, replaces it with "Bring It!", the new pep squad with her as the big star, and shuts the John Travolta club, announcing to the school that Evil Diabolic Nicole is back - and this time for good.
40 18 "The Brain Game" Craig Zisk James Duff April 27, 2001 (2001-04-27)
Desperately seeking to be popular again, Mary Cherry fails in an audition to a teen talent show. But that didn't stop her, and she decides to put a team of students together to be in "The Big Head Challenge". Everybody is studying for the SATs and they all think it would be a nice way to test their knowledge at this competition. Cherry Cherry, who has become a student at KH (trying to beat her 50 points score in her SAT), also tries to get in, but loses the very last spot to Josh, who surprisingly know a lot more about chicken than we thought. Meanwhile, Carmen decides to take salsa lessons, and has her heart broken by the instructor, whom she had a crush for. But after he realizes how bad he made Carmen feel, he goes to KH to ask her out. At the competition, the gang is first relieved to be against the John Ashcroft Private School for Special Needs Children, but then surprised when they see that Cherry Cherry has bought the entire team and replaced the students by the teen talent show judges. KH is losing by far until Josh saves the team with his poultry knowledge. Although disappointed at losing, Cherry Cherry tells Mary Cherry that she has never been more proud of her, and the two share their first mother-daughter moment.
41 19 "I Know What You Did Last Spring Break!" Ryan Murphy Ryan Murphy & Tim Wollaston May 4, 2001 (2001-05-04)
Ms. Glass wants all the students to write down where did they go for Spring Break and how many they slept with, so, in her own words, she can judge them. Most of the gang say they went to Cancun, and Harrison writes that he went to Yemen as his nose starts to bleed. Ms. Glass deduces he has been infected with the Rift Valley fever that is contaminating everyone in Yemen. Just as Sam was trying to talk to him by his locker, they are both isolated from the rest of the people and the school is shut down in quarantine. During Chemistry, Mary Cherry receives a call in her cell phone from someone who knows what she really did for Spring Break - a low-budget soft porn scary movie - and she has to run for her life as she is chased to be killed. Meanwhile, Lily tells April what they really did for SB. They intended to go to Cancun, but they all stayed in LA and had SB in different ways. Nicole is elected to attract the killer, but since she's not a virgin, and only virgins get chased by killers in scary movies, they fail. When the gang realizes they've all lied to each other about the SB, they decide to reveal the truth. Among romantic dinners and break ups, the most shocking revelation comes from Brooke and Harrison, who have slept together! Harrison and Sam make up and kiss, just when George walks in the nurse's office. Suddenly, the real Dr. Salk appears and the killer is revealed to be the travel agent to their trip to Cancun, who was trying to get back at the kids for ruining her bonus.
42 20 "You Don't Tug on Superman's Cape...You Don't Spit into the Wind...You Don't Pull the Mask off the Ol' Lone Ranger...And You Don't Mess Around with Big Bertha Muffin" Lawrence Trilling Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz May 11, 2001 (2001-05-11)
Sam learns about Brooke and Harrison's sexual experience, a bittersweet love triangle is formed. But are the girls fighting for a lost cause? Lily and Josh's relationship heats up and soon they take their love to the next step. Meanwhile, time is ticking for Mary Cherry as she is threatened to get beaten up by Big Bertha Muffin.
43 21 "Promblems" Jamie Babbit Ryan Murphy May 18, 2001 (2001-05-18)
In the jaw-dropping series finale, both Brooke and Sam make a revelation on their Prom troubles with Harrison. Meanwhile, Mary Cherry discovers she has a long lost twin sister. Josh and Lily try to adjust as a married couple. At the very end, the angry Nicole takes matters into her own hands that will change everything when she runs over and apparently kills Brooke.


Despite fitting into a rather common category, as a teen-centered mix of drama and comedy, Popular differentiated itself from its peers in its quirky, non sequitur humor and overall satirical approach to characters and story lines, a feature that would grow as the series progressed. Such elements included Mary Cherry's long-lost sister from the ghetto, B. Ho (and even their mother's name, Cherry Cherry); an occasion where both groups switched hair colors; Bobbi Glass's lost finger being replaced with a metal one complete with extendable pointer and knife attachments; and Josh's work as a window salesman. The show also utilized a variety of pop culture references and nonsensical jokes (for instance, April Tuna's reference to "getting some frottage" in the hall closet).

The show's theme was excerpted from the song "Supermodels," a track from indie singer-songwriter Kendall Payne's 1999 album "Jordan's Sister." Released on Capitol Records, it was produced by Glen Ballard, best known for his co-writing and producing Alanis Morissette's breakthrough smash album, "Jagged Little Pill."


Actor Character
Leslie Bibb Brooke McQueen
Carly Pope Samantha 'Sam' McPherson
Tamara Mello Lily Esposito
Christopher Gorham Harrison John
Sara Rue Carmen Ferrara
Bryce Johnson Josh Ford
Tammy Lynn Michaels Nicole Julian
Ron Lester Michael 'Sugar Daddy' Bernardino
Leslie Grossman Mary Cherry
Lisa Darr Jane McPherson
Scott Bryce Mike McQueen
Diane Delano Miss Roberta 'Bobbi' Glass

Supporting cast

Actor Character
Alley Mills Robin John
Anel Lopez Gorham Poppita 'Poppy' Fresh
Adria Dawn April Tuna
Hank Harris Emory Dick
Diana Bellamy Principal Cecelia Hall
Robert Gant Vice Principal Calvin Krupps
Christopher Wiehl Leo Ferrara
Michelle Krusiec Exquisite Woo
Wentworth Miller Adam Rothschild-Ryan
Anthony Montgomery George Austin
Delta Burke Cherry Cherry
Nick Stabile Jamie Roth
Kelvin Yu Freddy Gong
Marnie Crossen Vera Krups
Mandy Freund May Tuna
Mike Damus Clarence
Bob Clendenin Godfrey
Arnetia Walker Ms. Ross
Susan Ruttan Joy Ferrara
Chad Lowe Luke Grant
Sam Page Stone Cold #1
Richard Voll Stone Cold #2


Season U.S. ratings Network Network rank
1 1999–2000 2.9 million [3] The WB #11
2 2000–2001 1.7 million [4] The WB #11

DVD releases

The complete series of Popular has been released on DVD in region 1 by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (formerly Buena Vista Home Entertainment). The DVD versions of select episodes had to change the songs that were used in the original aired episodes.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 22 September 21, 2004
Season 2 21 March 8, 2005

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
2000 Casting Society of America Nominated Best Casting for TV, Comedy Pilot Eric Dawson, Carol Kritzer, and Robert J. Ulrich
2000 GLAAD Media Awards Won Outstanding TV Individual Episode (For episode "Wild Wild Mess")
2001 Nominated Outstanding TV Comedy Series
2000 Genesis Awards Won Television - New Series (For episode "Under Siege")
2001 Won Television - Comedy Series (For episode "Joe Loves Mary Cherry")
2000 SHINE Awards Won Comedy Episode (For episode "Booty Camp")
2000 TV Guide Awards Nominated Favorite Teen Show
2000 Teen Choice Awards Nominated TV - Choice Sidekick Ron Lester
Nominated TV - Choice Comedy
Nominated TV - Choice Actress Carly Pope
Nominated TV - Choice Actress Leslie Bibb
Won TV - Choice Breakout Show
2001 Nominated TV - Choice Sidekick Ron Lester
Nominated TV - Choice Comedy

Critical reception

In 2012, Entertainment Weekly listed the show at #20 in the "25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years," calling it "the proto-Glee and saying it "celebrated the value of outcasts and portrayed overplayed topics - Homecoming Court, sex, and secrets - through an absurdist lens."[5] It featured again at #21 on their "26 Best Cult TV Shows Ever" list in 2013.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years." Entertainment Weekly. August 3, 2012, p. 42.
  6. ^ 26 Best Cult TV Shows Ever. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2013-09-22

External links

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