Okay, before I begin, I just have to comment on the train wreck I was just watching called Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Since Grosse Pointe moved to Sunday, there were two episodes of Sabrina on before tonight's Popular, and the last few minutes of Sabrina were stuck on my tape that I had to sit through before Popular started. I have never watched Sabrina before, but tonight I tuned in just in time to see Sabrina cast a spell on Martin Mull, who I guess is the principal of her high school. The spell makes him dance like Britney Spears to her hit "Crazy." The students all stand around laughing. It's horrifying -- a larger blow to Martin Mull's dignity than those TGIF commercials.
Then there's a scene after that where Sabrina and some guy are standing outside of a stage door waiting for Britney Spears to come out. When Britney finally does come out, she looks at Sabrina as if she knows her. The friend of Sabrina comments on this. Then Martin Mull comes out following Britney, still stuck doing that "jiggy" dance. "They shoot horses, don't they?" says Martin Mull, a reference to the film with Jane Fonda about the danceathons of the 1920s. What is it with these otherwise lame shows that actually contain obscure yet clever pop-culture references? Is the new WB Friday a figurative pasture where thirtyish gay male TV writers who are too clever for their own good spend their twilight years?
The very end of this Sabrina episode, where they show the credits, is a Britney Spears video. Guess what video it is? It's "Crazy"! Coincidentally, that also happens to be the very video that Melissa Joan Hart, star of Sabrina, has a large-ish role. "Baby, thinkin' of you keeps me up all night." Indeed.
So Popular starts, and there are no scenes from last week, just a mention of last year's homecoming episode in the promo -- a reminder of better days. Brooke is in extreme close-up, wearing a tomato-red clingy shirt and telling Principal Calvin Krupps that she's not running for homecoming queen this year because she's reorganizing her life around stuff that is more "substantive than stylish." Oh, by the way, I'm just warning you, the term "substance" is going to be thrown around a lot tonight. It's just like that Crime and Punishment-themed episode from last year. Um, Brooke, you don't need to schedule a meeting with the principal of your high school to tell him that you're not running. Just don't run. Krupps goes into a blind panic, explaining that homecoming is a big hit with alumni, and her crowning last year inspired a lot of donations to the school. "But that's so shallow!" says Brooke. Actually, Brooke, there's nothing shallow about money for education -- just ask anyone who has had to attend a public high school in a poor area where there aren't enough textbooks to go around. Nevertheless, she holds her ground, much to the delight of Mary Cherry and Nicole, who are listening in at the door.
Mary Cherry and Nicole are thrilled that Brooke is out of the race. That way, there's a chance that one of them could win the homecoming crown. They vow to run above-board campaigns and be happy for each other no matter who wins, but we all know better. Mary Cherry has a fantasy of Nicole being crowned while she dumps a bucket of pig's blood all over her a la Carrie, but the fantasy turns ugly when Nicole starts using her telekinetic powers to kill everyone in the school. "Nic," says reality Mary Cherry. "You don't have telekinetic powers, do you?" "Not since I got on Wellbutrin," says Nicole. Heh!