Note: This song is being promoted as “the final chapter from ‘Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection’, which is available on iTunes. (And possibly The Cooking Channel, based on that title.) Apparently, that whole “Teenage Dream” album was a song cycle, detailing the various travails of our plucky lass as she worked her way from wherever she was to wherever she is now. This final song should wrap things up nicely, and even if it doesn’t, it’s still another exciting opportunity to see how Katy’s people have managed to once again use fluffy, pastel colors and form-fitting couture to showcase the naughty-nice exploits of our sparkling heroine as she triumphs both musically and artistically.)
We start out with Katy finishing up filming one of the scenes from the “California Gurls” video. This was the bit where she wallered around completely naked on the giant wad of pink cotton candy. (Which, by the way, should make you think twice about your choices the next time you walk up to a concession counter. Do you really want to munch on something that has already been humped? I’d stick with the pre-wrapped options.) The director calls cut, everybody claps, and Katy hollers “another one in the can!”, which is probably not something one should holler whilst sprawled on her belly, hiney in the air, wearing nothing but spun sugar.
It doesn’t faze Katy, though, as someone hands her a robe and she scurries off to her dressing room, chatting with the director because you have to do that if you want to make sure that you look the prettiest in a movie. Once alone in her chamber, Katy plops down at the makeup desk, takes off one of what must be her 412 wigs, and then pauses to gaze at her image in the mirror. At first we think, wow, she must really like looking at herself, but then we hear some wind blowing and the camera whirls, so Katy was just professionally setting up a story transition by acting with her eyes.
Now we have Katy in another location, wearing a purple wig, an outfit that could pass as Goth or possibly really-unfocused Mennonite, and a pair of earrings that will instantly break eBay sales records. She looks at the camera and belts out the first “I’m wide awake!” announcement that she will then make 300 more times before the song is over. The camera pulls back so that we can see she is standing in the middle of some old stone structure that appears to go on for miles. (Is this symbolic of the stodgy, old-timer record executives who really don’t understand what is considered good music these days? Perhaps.)
Then Katy starts wandering around this structure, which appears to be a giant and creepy maze, complete with cobwebs, billowing fog, and questionable wetness. She’s holding aloft an ancient lantern to help her find her way. Personally, I don’t want to go anywhere that requires me to hoist portable lighting so I can better see the zombies that might think my brains are an appetizer, even if the lantern is kind of cool and would look great on my patio. The camera pulls upwards so we can see that, yep, it’s a big-ass maze. If Katy plans to get out of here any time soon, she better pack a lunch and some vodka.
Oh, and it’s snowing in an odd, wispy way, which makes this maze look a bit like the one in The Shining. You know, the movie where Jack Nicholson went crazy in a hotel because dead guests were wanting to have sex with him and Shelley Duvall kept opening her mouth really, really wide every time she screamed about something else she found dissatisfying. This is turning out to be a non-ideal vacation spot. Katy needs to get on the horn with one of her assistants and get a new itinerary.
Whoops, Katy just spied a strawberry suspended from a dead tree. This is the part where the people who want to live to the end of the movie would run like hell, clawing their way over surprised lesser starlets who were only hired to have promiscuous sex and then die in the first ten minutes. But Katy doesn’t high-tail it. Nope, she seriously contemplates the berry while the walls seem to close in around her (another sign that you should run, or at least stop taking so many recreational pills). And of course she gives in and takes a big ole bite, because whatever might happen could prove to be really good song material for her next album.
Suddenly, the walls start rolling back to their assigned places. (Note to self: If you are being attacked by architecture, eat some fruit.) Then Katy leans back so a shower of sparks starts shooting out of her gothic breast. (The same pyrotechnics that we witnessed in the Firework video, a feat which was interesting then, but now seems to indicate that Katy might have some type of fetish that could seriously affect her electric bill.)
The fireball shoots into the sky like a drag-queen flare over the dank and darkened maze, which is apparently a signal that someone has been anticipating. A stone gate that we didn’t know existed opens wide (there are always doors like that in giant mazes, because people get lost and you have to go find their ass without getting too far behind on the office paperwork) and we see a little girl standing there in a little girl outfit. (This is not what I expected as rescue personnel. Was Liam Neeson too busy? That man can find people. And usually kill them if they don’t answer his questions satisfactorily.)
At first the little girl just stands there, kind of glaring at us like she’s really disappointed that our minimal cookie order was not very supportive of her troop. Then we have Katy and Little Girl facing each other and doing some type of mystical hand choreography, followed by both of them changing into matching outfits so they can walk down a narrow hallway with mirrors on all the walls. They get to the end of this hall, where we can see lots of paparazzi on the other side of one of the mirrors. Katy doesn’t seem impressed with this and doesn’t want to go forward, but if she really wants to get out of this mess I’m thinking one of those folks out there probably has a brochure map that they picked up at the guest services desk.
To help Katy make a decision, Little Girl helpfully points out that the floor behind them is crumbling and dropping out of sight. (Perhaps we should escalate whatever plan you have? Besides, I have some really important pre-school social activities that I need to attend instead of tromping around at Druid-Palooza.) So Katy grabs her hand and they go through the looking glass.
We cut to a stone-walled hospital/sanitarium of some kind, where Little Girl is pushing Katy along in a wheelchair down a hallway. I guess whatever was on the other side of the mirror was a bit too much, and Katy is now slumped over and unresponsive, though she’s still managing to clutch a strawberry in one hand. They come to a point in the hallway where two orderlies wearing bull-heads will not let anything pass. (I’m guessing the bull-heads are Republican congressmen.)
Little Girl marches up to the bulls, glares at them in the manner that little girls have when they are determined to own a Barbie Malibu Camper no matter what, and then she stomps her dainty little foot. Girl must have game, because the shockwaves of her sequined-slipper slapping the concrete causes the Bull-Heads to fly upwards and disappear. (What is it with sequined shoes that cause people to fly through the air or instantly transport back to black-and-white Kansas?)
The footwork also causes Katy to jolt back to her senses, and she leaps out of the wheelchair, grabs the arm of Little Girl, and they both race toward the now-unobstructed exit doors. (Leaving the poor strawberry behind, so I’m sure it will be needing some therapy.) They scurry around a corner and out into a lovely garden full of pretty flowers and delicate trees and topiary animals with eyes that spin. (Okay, that last bit is a little unnerving, with the spinning eyes that speak of the devil, but I’m not real fond of topiary animals in the first place. Those things just don’t seem right, but I’m sure someone finds them pleasing or they wouldn’t exist.)
Katy and Little Girl mosey about for a bit, admiring the prettiness but still not convinced that the Bull-Heads won’t come after them with more meanness and a possible lawsuit. Then they come across a handsome man on a steed (or maybe it’s a unicorn, there’s something horn-like going on with the horse’s head), with the man in a nice Prince Charming outfit. He hops off the uni-horse, Katy steps forward in a slightly-lusty manner, and they approach each other like it’s the final scene in a Hallmark movie.
Then the camera shows us that Prince Charming is crossing his fingers behind his back, so we instantly know he’s up to no good. Somehow Katy senses his deception (possibly because Little Girl makes a horrid little face that normally indicates gastrointestinal discomfort), so she hauls off and punches Charming so that he flies across the clearing and crashes through a section of the garden that the prop people apparently didn’t fortify very well. Katy celebrates her victory with a short solo, complete with more hand choreography.
Then the girls grab hands and race to a conveniently heart-shaped opening in a wall of foliage, which allows them to see a glowing door in the distance that probably leads to safety and happiness. (Or it might lead to a nuclear power plant leaking radiation. If you see the ghost of Karen Silkwood float by, scratching at her skin, you better head the other way.) But it’s all good, and the girls are finally free.
Just before they part ways, which they have to do because the shoot is almost over and they both have other projects lined up, Little Girl puts something in Katy’s hand and then skips her way down a typical residential street to her bicycle parked at the curb, a vehicle which has apparently been patiently waiting for his petite mistress while she went to go play Dungeons and Dragons and do that thing with her foot. Little Girl waves, then pedals away, and we can see that the vanity license plate on the bike says “Katheryn”.
Katy, now alone, opens her hand, and as a sparkly butterfly takes off, we transition back to Katy’s dressing room, where Katy briefly watches the butterfly soar as she sits there in another candy-based outfit, briefly reflecting on the dreams that become real and the dreams that don’t. Then she grabs her wireless microphone, heads out the door, climbs onto the lift that raises her to stage level, and marches out into yet another concert, bolstered by the memories of little girls making wishes on pretty butterflies…
Click here to Watch this Video on YouTube.
Originally published on 11/01/12, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.