7 Things: Subtext Couples – #6

Brooke & Sam (Popular)

As far as subtexty set-ups go, I’m not sure it gets better than the way that Brooke and Sam were thrown together on Popular. They go to the same school, but run in different circles. Then – surprise – their parents get engaged and they are forced to try to get along.

And then to cohabitate.

The bittersweet relationship between Brooke and Sam, which swings from antipathy to like to irritation to love and back again, doesn’t really settle into any easy pattern. And, all the way, you can’t help thinking there is some deeper reason that they do not want to become “sisters.”

How It Started

We can assume that they already know each other before they meet on-screen. Or at least knew of each other. For our intents and purposes, though, they literally run into each other in the hallway on the first day of school and hold each other’s gazes as they are pulled apart. After that, there comes a lengthy lunchroom scene in which they stare across the cafeteria at each other while talking about each other non-stop. Then – just in case we’re still not sure that kismet is bringing these girls together – they get paired up as lab partners due to the “Mc” that begins each of their last names.

Of course, over two seasons, Brooke and Sam grow closer, and, by the end of season two, it’s almost love.

Then, they get canceled. I would say “undeservingly,” but I think most anyone who saw both seasons of Popular can admit that the first season was good, while the second season was, well, less good.

Here are my top seven Brooke & Sam subtext moments (MAJOR SPOILERS):

7 – The Admission (Episode 1.21 “What Makes Sammy Run”)

Just before her mother is supposed to tie the knot with Brooke’s dad, Sam runs off to San Francisco to try to get Brooke’s mom to intervene in the situation. She realizes that Brooke’s biological mother isn’t really mother material and decides that she should allow Brooke to share her kickass mom instead.

When Sam returns home, she and Brooke have a fight-free conversation in the bathroom, during which Brooke reluctantly admits, “I never thought I’d say this, but I’m really glad you’re back.” And Sam gives a small, satisfied smile.

6 – Foreshadowing the Future (Episode 1.22 “Two Weddings and a Funeral”)

In the very next episode – which contains a musical montage, foreshadowing Ryan Murphy’s work on Glee – it’s time for the wedding. Brooke & Sam are both part of the big event, of course. And, in a fine tip of the hat to fangirls everywhere, Brooke, dressed in pink, and Sam, dressed in red, look especially smashing as they walk joyfully down the aisle together.

5 – Gift Exchange (Episode 1.10 “Fall on Your Knees”)

It’s Christmas, and Nicole Julian – Popular‘s resident bitch – is having a Christmas Carol-style awakening. Christmas Present takes her into the McQueen/McPherson household, where she watches Sam and Brooke exchange gifts. Brooke gives Sam a photograph of the two of them posing with their parents, and tells Sam that she looks really beautiful in that photo. Then, they exchange their first nervous hug.

This moment marks the first of many times that Brooke tells Sam outright that she is pretty, beautiful, worthy, etc. over the two seasons of the show, and comes just three episodes after Brooke accuses Sam of using her “big brown Bambi eyes” that she bats “around like a stripper looking for tips.” Clearly, someone takes notice of Sam’s finer features.

4 – The Defense (Episode 2.21 “Promblems”)

After resident bitch Nicole Julian once again tries to cause trouble for Sam, Brooke confronts Nicole. She has a lot of things to say, but the focus is on the fact that Nicole is just trying to hurt Sam and that Brooke isn’t about to let that happen. It’s a declaration of unwavering loyalty, if nothing else.

3 – Support (Episode 1.9 “Wild, Wild Mess”)

Sam thinks Brooke is pregnant. Brooke thinks Brooke is pregnant. So, Sam takes the lead and takes Brooke to the clinic to find out for sure. It’s all very caring and supportive, and it shows that Sam and Brooke don’t always have to like each other to be there for each other.

2 – Threesome (Episode 2.21 “Promblems”)

Toward the end of season two, Brooke and Sam both have eyes for Sam’s best friend Harrison. Suddenly. At the same time.

They don’t want to destroy their relationship to go for him, so, after some snipping, they finally come up with a solution. Why should either of them go with someone else to prom when they can both go to prom with Harrison. Thereby, also going to prom together.

Once at prom, they make Harrison choose one of them. We’re not privy to his choice. Instead, we just see Brooke flee the table, followed closely by Sam, who only wants to talk to her. Brooke and Sam both admit that Harrison’s choice, whatever it was, wasn’t what either of them wanted. But, since they leave Harrison sitting alone at the table, his choice seems of little relevance.

1 – The Kidnapping (Episode 2.2 “Baby, Don’t Do It!”)

Slashers dream of a moment like the one between Brooke and Sam in the second episode of season two of Popular.

Brooke has decided to move to San Francisco to get to know her mom, who has just come back into her life. No one wants her to go, of course, the most vocal of those being her father and her boyfriend, Josh.

At the same time, the class is working on a project where they have to carry baby dolls around with them to teach them about parenting (we all remember that week in school), and Brooke’s baby gets kidnapped. When she finally finds the baby, Sam steps out of the shadows and admits to holding onto the doll because she thought she would need every weapon at her disposal to keep Brooke around.

Brooke replies, “I thought for sure that it was Josh.”

To which Sam replies, “‘Cause only someone who cared deeply for you would go to such lengths?”

And Brooke’s responding smile looks positively smitten.

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