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"News networks giving a greater voice to viewers because the social web is so popular are like a chef on the Titanic who, seeing the looming iceberg and fleeing customers, figures ice is the future and starts making snow cones."
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"...a lot of the inner pages were full of Vox Pops, which meant people in the street who didn't know anything told other people what they knew..."
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A contraction of Vox Populi (Latin for "voice of the people"), vox pops refers to a series of clips of people, presumably random people met on a street, voicing their spontaneous opinions on a given subject. Frequently seen on the news, and often used in parodies of same, as in Monty Python's Flying Circus and a number of late-night talk shows. Also known as a "man on the street" interview.

Refreshingly, or perhaps alarmingly, major news outlets are beginning to rely more and more on Twitter for this kind of "content". Usually they'll have a newscaster (who presumably pissed somebody off to get that job) standing next to a screen the size of a man that's streaming incoming tweets as they happen. Well, that's what they claim. In reality, they're probably picking and choosing ones that neither a) consist entirely of the word "fuck" nor b) express an opinion more extreme than the news media think the average person has.

Compare Confused Bystander Interview.

Examples of Vox Pops include:


Film

  • In the movie Annie Hall, Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) is constantly having trouble with his relationship with Annie. Seeing a random couples in the street, he asks them their secrets to a good relationship.
    • Of course, the joke is that they not only answer, but give him impossibly specific and detailed advice about his individual relationship.
  • Done at the end of The Boondock Saints, when reporters find that the opinions of the people on the street are divided with respect to the titular vigilantes.
  • Used twice in Mean Girls. Once talking about Regina, the other referring to Cady.

Live Action Television

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 Hugh Laurie: See this? * holds up a plate* You could eat your dinner off this.

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  • Used frequently on The Daily Show, when the Best Fucking News Team Ever goes out onto the streets to survey people.
  • Spoofed in The Day Today as "Speak Your Brains".
  • Dollhouse did this during the imaginatively-titled episode "Man On The Street".
  • As mentioned above, Monty Python's Flying Circus loved to spoof this. In one, the reporters decided to "ask the man on the street what he thinks"; the camera then shows a French lady ("I am not a man, you silly billy."), then a guy working on a rooftop ("I'm not on the street, you fairy!"), then a guy standing in the middle of a road (a literal "man in the street"), who gets run over before he can answer the question.
  • Used in the first two seasons of Sex and the City, in regards to each episode's question.
  • The "Jay Walking" segments in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
    • The earliest version of The Tonight Show, when Steve Allen was hosting, had spoofs of Vox Pops with members of the show's comedy troupe as the interviewees.
  • Wonder Showzen did this with the regular segment "Clarence's Movies," with the pretense of wanting answers to questions... but really, the only objective was to mock and piss off the people on the street until they started making death threats.
  • Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe deconstructed this, as well as everything else about television, in showing that the process behind Vox Pops is much more complicated than it seems. [1]
  • Studio 3 uses this regarding various kid-related topics. A roving camera ensures that kids get the chance to share what they like best, whether it's performing a new BMX trick, introducing their pets or showing off their town.

Music

  • The music video for Cake's "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" consists of people on the street listening to the song on headphones and giving their opinions of it.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Creature Comforts, the Oscar-winning Aardman short, was made up of interviews with ordinary people, which were then animated as zoo animals. Led to a successful TV show, followed by a not-so-successful American version.
    • Tangential but interesting: Aardman was careful to keep the animators away from the interviewees, and even the interviewers. They wanted the animals chosen to be inspired by the Vox Pops alone.
  • The first episode of the third season of Gargoyles did this on the subject of Muggles discovering the Gargoyles' existence. The comics redo the scene when retelling the episode.
  1. framing the shot correctly to avoid undue advertising for commercial buildings and tweaking what the potential man on the street is wearing to get rid of logos and similar. And of course, getting all the release forms signed.
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