Popular (1999–2001)
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Hard on the Outside, Soft in the Middle 

Blonds and brunettes switch hair color to test Sam's natural selection theory that blonds always get preferential treatment. Bowling decides it. Losers get mohawks. Sugar falls for an Asian exchange student. Lily fails to save a lobster.


Jamie Babbit


Ryan Murphy (created by), Gina Matthews (created by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Leslie Bibb ... Brooke McQueen
Carly Pope ... 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 ... Bobbi Glass
Michelle Krusiec ... Exquisite Woo
Robert Gant ... Principal Calvin Krupps
Diana Bellamy ... Principal Cecilia Hall


Lily speaks before a class of young children telling them of her heinous story, one about freeing a lobster from a restaurant the owner wanting her to pay what he paid for it. She goes to pick little Eddie up, the name she has given the lobster only to find that Mary Cherry is devouring him. Ms. Glass hands back the classes reports on Natural Selection, much to Sam's dismay Brooke receives an A. Lily receives an F on her report Mary Cherry must die, who is sitting next to her telling her that Lil Eddie's sister Lil Babe will soon be in her stomach as well. Sam finds out that the only reason Brooke got a better grade on her paper was because her's was packaged better, Ms. Glass giving her a lesson on natural selection, only the pretty survive. Principal Hall introduces Harrison to Esquist the new foreign exchange student, knowing Chinese, having him show her around. In the Novack Sam decides to change her hair colour to blonde after what Ms. Glass had said to her. Brooke always wins, ... Written by Ron Storey

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Did You Know?


Tamara Mello (Lily) and Leslie Grossman (Mary Cherry) became good friends and asked Ryan Murphy if they could have more scenes together. In addition, someone pointed out to Murphy that most of the popular clique was blonde and the unpopular kids were brunette. Murphy said this was completely coincidental, but the observation inspired this episode. See more »


Principal Calvin Krupps: [commentating] Next up, for the Browns, Ms. Brooke McQueen.
Caesar Croutons: A cheerleader, a homecoming queen, but all that may end now that Brooke is a brunette. A strike is unlikely based on her thin, delicate wrists,
[Brooke looks marvelous in a tight, clingy see-through dress]
Caesar Croutons: but if that goal is miraculously attained, Brooke would tie her team with the Blondes.
[Brooke displays magnificent form, and scores a perfect strike]
Caesar Croutons: And we have a tie with two left to bowl.
See more »


References The Prince of Tides (1991) See more »


Ray of Light
Written by Madonna, William Orbit, Clive Maldoon, Dave Curtiss and Christine Leach
Performed by Madonna
See more »

User Reviews

looks like Bambi/that little fawn from the old poster urging you not to cause forest fires
14 January 2017 | by RavenGlamDVDCollectorSee all my reviews

There is a magical shot of a teary-eyed Carly Pope as Sam McPherson about halfway in, as she sits there sniffling because she got shortchanged with the meat. Okay, instantly, the ridiculousness of this show undermines what I am now trying to say, because the motivation for the great shot is as puerile as the series has become totally infantile, pandering to the tastes of those who go for over-the-top hard-sell humor. But let me get back on track, and not be derailed by my negative view of this as a whole.

Carly Pope is absolutely adorable in that scene. She is, like, huggable (shoot me if there is no such word). She has the Nineties soft look, that fringe looks silky-soft, ooh if only I could stroke...

Okay, you get my drift. The theme is blondes vs. brunettes, and I felt a this review coming on while watching. The Raven's comment is that hair color itself is not the sole factor. It is the complete package. The Raven admits that the girl in my own (unpublished) novel is blonde, The Raven admits that he has a predilection for blondes, The Raven admits that he thinks the world of Leslie Bibb (Brooke McQueen), and that Leslie Bibb was the main driving force behind my purchase of the two box-sets covering this series.

But Carly Pope (as Samantha McPherson) is herself very pretty (and actually therefore quite miscast, as the character isn't supposed to be as gorgeous, rather more a tomboy that cleans up well than pretty Carly) and it doesn't matter how she is presented, I freeze-framed her and put her in slow motion (as is my habit) whether or not she was in blonde or brunette mode.

As for that awful, awful, awful ugly person Nicole Julian, you couldn't make me excited about her NOT EVER. Your acting is so convincing, Tammy Lynn Michaels, that I do not want anything to do with you. Not ever. Do not take that as a back-handed compliment. Your performance is overdone. The character is, like, yuck. So no matter the hair color, I wish I could chase you off the set. I am not kidding. I suppose I am the President of the I Loathe Nicole Julian Club.

Going blonde didn't change my opinion of the others either.

The ending scenes, the mohawks, that, of course, had a profound effect on me. I am still, shudder, traumatized. "Hair is a girl's crowning glory" enough said, to me, this Hair Bear says hair is very important as far as sex appeal goes, the cut, the style, the condition, but the color itself is not the be-all and end-all, not for me, anyway.

Liv Tyler in STEALING BEAUTY, Jennifer Love Hewitt in PARTY OF FIVE, Brooke Langton in MELROSE PLACE, Willa Holland in THE O.C. and Barbara Bach in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, to name only a few brunettes who are classics. Jamie Luner in SAVANNAH, Nikki Cox in UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER and Bridget Regan in BEAUTY & THE BEAST to name just a few redheads who are tremendously (I should say stupefyingly) popular with me.

It's the rest of you, and that inner light, it's hardly just the hair color. Hair literally "crowns" the "glory" if there is any glory to be deservedly crowned. Talking about glory, it doesn't get better than when Leslie Bibb gets to show off her virtually naked behind (okay, it's part illusion...) in that see-through dress as she bowls to bowl all red- blooded onlookers to HappyVille.

As for the episode, the series is in stinksville, I'm sorry to say. I now refer to it as "That Freak Show" and however I might have criticized 90210 and BEVERLY HILLS 90210 (because I sure as hell know the weak points of those two) I am just thankful those two didn't ever regress into the kind of shambles witnessed here every episode week after week.

The lobster costume bits leave this episode with a SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH nadir, and you can't get more childishly uncool than that!

And the commentary track on the DVD. What a mess. Two, three people talking at a time, laughing, laughing at their own unfunny jokes. Madness. Bad. A great time had by all, but not by me. I went through long stretches not understanding a single word. And what's more, what I could understand, only served to illustrate this lot hasn't an inkling of what it takes to present a decent show. Interesting that Leslie Grossman was such a mess after the notorious getting-dumped-on scene. Dhe's had her punishment, then... As for YOU OTHERS, let's see, I'll start with Mr. Ryan Murphy...

My apologies for this freestyle review, but I'm sure it makes better sense than any of the POPULAR scripts I have seen lately.

Oh yes, Mary Cherry must die!!!! So too Nicole Julian!!!!

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Release Date:

27 April 2000 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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