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“The Most Popular Girls In School” is a stop-motion web series following the fictional rivalry between two popular high school girls in Overland Park, Kansas, as told through Barbie dolls. The pilot episode was released in October 2011, however, the series gained much of its online fandom through Tumblr in January 2013, after a blog post linking to the first episode began circulating on the microblogging site.
The series was created by created by Mark Cope and Carlo Moss and produced by Lily Vonnegut. On October 3rd, 2011, the pilot episode depicting an argument between three Barbie dolls in a high school bathroom was uploaded to the YouTube account Associates of Awesome, run by Los Angeles-based comedian Garrett Mendez. Within five days, the video was viewed nearly 22,000 times.
In October 2011, the video was linked on Videosift, where it got nearly 2000 views. In December 2011, the Twitter account @MackenzieZales was created, featuring in-character tweets by one of the main characters. In May 2012, the creators moved the project to its own YouTube channel, and soon after, the first episode was shared on Buzzfeed. The same month, an official Tumblr blog for the web series was launched with dozens of image macros (shown below) featuring the characters. In September that year, a fan-made single topic Tumblr dedicated to the series was created, although it went on hiatus shortly afterwards. In November 2012, Wikia user Mikkel Aagard launched The Most Popular Girls In School wiki site.
On January 10th, 2013, Tumblr user gloomyteens posted the pilot episode to his blog, where it gained more than 65,000 notes in three weeks. About a week later, GIFs and fan art dedicated to the series began appearing on Tumblr with the tags TMPGIS and MPGIS, which stand for “The Most Popular Girls in School” and “The Most Popular Girls” respectively. In addition, several GIF photosets based on the series have received tens of thousands of notes throughout the microblogging site. On January 17th, 2013, an official Facebook fan page for the series was launched, gaining nearly 3,800 likes in less than a month. In late January, the series was featured on Thought Catalog, Buzzfeed, The FW and Oh No They Didn’t.