4. The Wit. The Camp.
This show is created by a gay man, and it shows. Even the most casual comments by the show's characters are exquisitely crafted for maximum wit, and with a keen understanding of the nuances of surviving high school as a teenage girl:
A female classmate: "I live in exile, one foot in the gutter and the other trampling all over my parents' broken hearts."
Carmen: "Oh, sweet mother of Hannibal Lecter, I can see it so clearly now."
Harrison: "I'm like one of those cheap chocolate Easter bunnies: tasteless on the outside, hollow on the inside."
Josh: "I was wondering what it means in the song when it says, 'with verve.'"
Drama teacher: "It means somebody should be clapping at the end besides your parents."
In addition, many of the episodes were directed by out lesbian Jamie Babbit, who went on to write and direct But I'm a Cheerleader and episodes of Nip/Tuck.
Here’s a hilarious scene of the Glamazons trying to take down a male cheerleader, played by a young Wentworth Miller (Prison Break):
5. Harrison's Lesbian Mom
Alley Mills (best known as the mom from The Wonder Years) plays Harrison's mom, Robin, a lesbian pharmacist who is outed in Episode 9 ("Wild, Wild Mess"). Harrison's friends think it's cool, but Harrison's not ready to go public about his mom's sexual orientation.
"It's bad enough I hang out with three girls and I'm not dating any of them," he tells his mom. "I don't need the whole damn school thinking that I'm a queer too. You don't mind people thinking you're a freak? Fine! I do." But Harrison eventually comes around and supports his mother, especially when Robin's girlfriend dumps her in an episode later in the season ("Ch-Ch-Changes").
When Robin is fired from her job for being a lesbian, Mary Cherry's mother Cherry Cherry buys the pharmacy and hires her back — with a few zingers along the way, like this one: "Look at you. You ain't got a buzz cut and you're wearing a pesto sweater from Banana Republic. Sorry, I was looking for a lesbian! Have a nice day!"
6. Lisa Darr as Sam's Mother
Ellen fans will immediately recognize Lisa Darr, the actress who plays Sam's mother in Popular, as the actress who played Ellen's love interest, Laurie, in the last season of her sitcom (she also played the lesbian partner of a detective on NYPD Blue). Darr does a good job in this role, too, even if she doesn't engage in any lesbian activity.
Lisa Darr, left, in Popular
7. The Rest of the Characters
From Sugar Daddy to the gender-ambiguous biology teacher Bobbi Glass ("After a nuclear apocalypse, I'll be the only thing left standing other then cockroaches and Cher!") to ultra-outcast April Tuna (whom Mary Cherry calls "the black hole of beauty"), there has rarely been a show which consistently produces supporting characters who are as odd and strangely interesting as those on Popular.
When April Tuna asks Harrison to a dance, for example, she puts it in her own unique, April Tuna way: "Hello, Harrison John. Though you are not the dream boy I have bondage fantasies about (that would be the hard-bodied Stone Cold) you would be an adequate setting for the fiery ruby that is April Tuna. Please pick me up Friday at eight o'clock with expensive hot-house corsage in hand."