When I was given the chance to review “The Totally Sweet ‘90s: From Clear Cola to Furby and Grunge to ‘Whatever,’ the Toys, Tastes, and Trends That Defined a Decade” I thought, sure the 90s were fun but do we really need a book devoted to them? I mean, it’s so recent. Then it hit me. The 90s were actually quite a while ago. You know, I graduated from high school in the mid-nineties. You know what else? I’m getting seriously old. What the hell universe?

Where was I? Oh yeah, “The Totally Sweet ‘90s”. Holy crap there was a lot of stuff that happened in the nineties and authors Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont manage to squeeze it all in to one book! Each entry includes a status to let you know what’s going on with it now and also a fun fact. But I know what you’re thinking, Rebecca, what’s in that fun little book that you’ll share?

Hmmmm, shall it be Pogs? Or perhaps “Clarissa Explains it All”? Maybe Zima? Possibly “The Adventures of Pete and Pete”? However, I’ve chosen perhaps my favorite thing……that’s right readers, “Pop Up Video”.

The 1990s were all about multitasking, and music videos were no exception. Why just veg out in front of an ordinary video when you could watch a video paired with “Beavis and Butt-Head” commentary or one adorned with “Pop Up Video’s” cartoony word bubbles?

The best pop-ups told you something hilarious like one on a Rick Astley video pointing out a dancer who never learned the steps, or confiding that the director and producer had a two-hour fight about whether Astley should roll up his sleeves. Awesomely, the writers of the pop-ups seemed to have the same bemused contempt for the music industry as the rest of us, never failing to point out where the producers cheaped out on a set or the singer was replaced with a stand in.

Watching “Pop Up Video” was like kicking back with your friend with your friend who worked as the third director’s assistant and letting him dish about the scene where Meat Loaf fell off his chair or snark that Dexys Midnight Runners fired their drummer midway through the shoot. The pop-ups were like musical footnotes, but footnotes that were more often entertaining than the real text.

Status: “Pop Up Video” popped off the air for a time in 2002 but was revived by VH1 in 2011.

Fun Fact: “Pop Up Brady” gave the pop up treatment to old “Brady Bunch” episodes. One pop-up on the famed Kings’ Island episode claims Robert Reed saved the cast’s life by spotting a poorly mounted camera that would have flown off a roller coaster and possibly killed the actors.

Pop Up Sugar Ray

With concise, but entertaining write ups, that include updates on where they are now and tidbits of trivia; “The Totally Sweet 90s” is a great party book. An amusing stroll down memory lane, reminding us of the good (“Clerks”), the bad (“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), and the ugly (Gak).






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