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Do depictions in 'Popular' fit in with the real world?

Thursday, February 17, 2000

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

In addition to the lead characters, several of the secondary characters on "Popular" have grown in prominence since the show premiered in September.

Sara Rue plays Carmen Ferrara, a TV character who looks like a real high school student, not a supermodel playing a teen. When the show began, Carmen lacked confidence due to her weight.

"She started off being very insecure, very shaky about herself, and since then she's grown very strong and become very powerful and come into her own," Rue said. "That's a great thing to show young people, especially young women."

Executive producer/co-creator Ryan Murphy said even though there are popular kids and outcasts on "Popular," they all have something in common.

"All these characters are looking for their center, their voice, 'Where do I fit in the world?' " he said. "That's something you deal with as a teen-ager and in your early 20s."

Pittsburgh "Popular" fans Rebekah Hauser and Lauren Heald -- both high school sophomores -- said the cruelty that runs rampant in Kennedy High on "Popular" mirrors real life. However, they said some of the other depictions of high school are exaggerated: The actors are too old to play sophomores, a sophomore girl would never be crowned homecoming queen, the girls' bathroom is too lush, etc. Still, the show relates to their lives.

"They're really going through some of the problems we go through," Rebekah said. "There's a definite popularity and unpopularity in high school."

Sort of like "Popular" itself.

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