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Series / Pop Up Video

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"Is this Canadian singer sex-crazed?"
"Who wanted to slap Sinéad O'Connor's face?"
"What haunted Michael Jackson when he first heard "Thriller"?
—A sampling of "Coming Up" questions for videos

Pop Up Video is a music video anthology series on VH1.

What sets this show apart from other music video anthology shows is its use of little "info nuggets" that pop into the screen (with a distinctive "bloop" sound) during the video. Most of the nuggets feature background info and amusing trivia about the video being featured. Some also have background info marginally related to something featured in the video, and many of the nuggets add snarky commentary.

In its original incarnation, Pop Up Video ran from 1996 to 2002. Happily, it was brought back in 2011 with newer music videos and slightly redesigned info nuggets, though it disappeared again after about a year.

Before their switch to MTV Classic, VH1 Classic were quite fond of running classic episodes of Pop Up Video, although they only reran about the same sixteen episodes or so.

Tropes playing on this series:

  • Back to Front: Gleefully played with during the video for "Return to Innocence" by Enigma.note  They put the end nugget at the beginning, set the regular nuggets up to appear with a reversed version of the standard pop up effect, put the regular nuggets in reverse order, and ended the video with the standard intro info.
    • Done once again in the 2011 revival with Coldplay's "The Scientist".
  • Brick Joke: When "Always Something There To Remind Me" by Naked Eyes was featured. In one scene, singer Pete Byrne crosses the street and is hit by an inattentive driver. An info nugget says the director admonished the driver saying "Don't run over Pete." Near the end of the video, several mnemonics are listed including an unknown one called DROP. What does that stand for? Don't Run Over Pete.
  • Caption Humor
  • Deadpan Snarker: The info nuggets.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: The 2011 revival mentions this trope by name in the treatment of "She Bangs" by Ricky Martin. The nuggets on that video didn't outright mention Martin's homosexuality (he came out about a decade after releasing the song), but the captions did acknowledge that particular elephant in the room (complete with a rainbow graphic on one nugget), and added an elephant-shaped nugget every so often.
  • Info Drop: The premise is to provide a whole string of these.
  • Pop-Up Trivia: The Trope Maker.
  • Pun:
    • During Martika's "Toy Soldiers" video, during the refrain's lyrics, "Step by step, heart to heart," they mention that Martika had been a guest star on several TV shows, but never guest starred on Step by Step or Hart to Hart.
    • During Madonna's "Express Yourself" video, it notes that "It is illegal to Federal Express yourself."
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever a video focuses on someone's buttocks, an info nugget with the word "But" pops up over said buttocks. It's typically used to humorously transition to another bit of info. Driven further with "Pero" in Gerardo's "Rico Suave" and "Aber" in Nena's "99 Red Balloons", songs that are known for their use of foreign language.
    • Whenever the video's image focuses on an individual member of the band, the pop-up caption introduces them. When a specific member DOESN'T appear in a video, or is substituted with a stunt performer, the caption reads "Not X." There are moments when it's taken to a logical extreme and it reads "Them neither" or "Still not X."
  • Shown Their Work: And how! Just watching one video on this show gives you a whole wealth of information about the artist, song, and video.
    • They did make at least one mistake which they've owned up to. In the video for Sheryl Crow's "Everyday Is A Winding Road", they claimed that she wore a blonde wig while working as a backup dancer for Michael Jackson. When they featured another Sheryl Crow video, "My Favorite Mistake", they admitted their error and mentioned that she actually dyed her hair blonde.
  • Signature Sound Effect: bwup!
  • Significant Anagram: When they featured Semisonic's "Closing Time", they pointed out that an anagram of "Semisonic" was "I miss once". This is after they pointed out that both sides of the split-screen video required eleven takes to synch up one moment.
  • Take That!: The pop ups for Martika's "Toy Soldiers" are unusually mean-spirited for some reason, taking delight in comparing Martika's less-than-successful career in music and acting to that of Madonna's. It culminates in a nugget showing Madonna's and Martika's faces taped onto a pair of Weebles — Madonna's Weeble is still upright, but Martika's is knocked over.
  • Un-Cancelled: For a time in 2011, but the revival was short-lived.


Video Example(s):


Do They Know Its Christmastime

A group of 80s British rockers (originally called Band Aid, but for legal reasons changed to Live Aid) sing a song about Christmas in Africa to raise money for Ethiopians suffering through famine. The Pop-Up Video provides details about their efforts.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CharityMotivationSong

Media sources: