Popular (1999–2001)
1 user

The Brain Game 

The gang studies for SATs. Mary Cherry gets them to compete on a quiz show against her mother. Lily fears that Josh will make a fool of himself, since his only field of expertise is chickens. Carmen falls for her Mexican dance instructor.


Craig Zisk


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


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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 (credit only)
Leslie Grossman ... Mary Cherry
Lisa Darr ... Jane McPherson (credit only)
Scott Bryce ... Mike McQueen (credit only)
Diane Delano ... Bobbi Glass
Delta Burke ... Cherry Cherry
Mario Lopez ... Pablo (as Mario López)
Jim J. Bullock ... Judge


Mary Cherry fails to win over the judges of "Pop Tarts" talent show with her rendition of Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus". After being humiliated by them, Mary Cherry decides to assemble a team to compete on a local cable academic-challenge program in hopes that she'll be discovered for her looks and "personality". Cherry Cherry has to attend Kennedy High after her low SAT score comes back to haunt her. She wants in on her daughter's team when Josh also tries out for it. Josh turns to Harrison to help him get onto Mary Cherry's team to prove he isn't just another dumb jock. Harrison discovers that Josh has an uncanny knowledge of chicken that gets him on Mary Cherry's team. Carmen decides to ditch studying for the SAT's in favor of Salsa lessons, which she isn't very good at but falls in love with her instructor Pablo, who can't speak much English. Lily becomes afraid Josh will make a fool of himself on "The Big Head Challenge", hosted by Ed McMahhn, deciding not to go. Cherry Cherry ... Written by Ron Storey

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance







Release Date:

27 April 2001 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Brooke McQueen: [as Josh and Cherry Cherry square up] Do you know what the worst part of this face-off is?
Sam McPherson: Yeah. One of them has to win.
Brooke McQueen: Yup.
See more »


References Survivor (2000) See more »


I'm Every Woman
Written by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson
Performed by Liberty
Originally performed by Whitney Houston
See more »

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User Reviews

Ahead of Its Time
25 March 2019 | by emale-14932See all my reviews

Popular was a great show. The teenagers are all written from the view of an overly aware and responsibly emotional human, and I appreciate the positive push.

This partly episode is notable for its pop star competition show with Mary Cherry. This episode aired in 2001. American Idol aired in 2002. Pop Stars aired in 2001. I believe this show may have parodied Pop Stars, the show that may have inspired American Idol.

Ahead of its time.

Every guest appearance was amazing in this show. Delta Burke as Cherry Cherry is my favorite.

This show put on Leslie Bibb and Leslie Grossman.

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