Sleeping with the Enema: Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance”

Lady Gaga Bad Romance

Our innocence is immediately shattered two seconds into the video, when we are presented with all of these oddly-clad people gathered in formation at one end of a white room. For those who know movie history, think Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” crossed with any movie that Ken Russell ever directed. (For those who don’t know their movie trivia, think “recreational drugs”.) No one looks very happy, and we seem to have a lot of uncomfortable bondage gear going on, but this doesn’t stop them from posing artfully for the latest defiant cover of Vanity Fair.

We zoom in on Gaga, who has naturally been placed in the center of this tableau of people who have probably been banned at least once on Facebook. She’s not looking at us, because she doesn’t have to, instead staring off to the side whilst sporting cryptic glasses that completely block her vision. (This is what rich people do, buy things that serve no purpose, just because they can and we can’t.) The camera closes in on one of her hands, with her fingers sporting a weird chicken-wire nail polish that you aren’t going to find at Walgreen’s. She pushes a button on what looks like a wireless modem at NASA, and then all hell breaks loose.

We are suddenly in a room full of these odd pod things (tanning beds? incubators for the Gaga army that is about to take over the world?) scattered about, while brief images of alcohol bottles flash on the screen. It’s too dark in this room for my comfort level, and there seems to be a Gestapo-esque searchlight seeking out uprisings that must be quelched. Then a helpful title appears explaining that this is the “Bath Haus of Gaga”. Really? I never even want to go there and I’ve only seen ten seconds of it. Please take me off your mailing list. Thanks.

But before I can add the “Haus” to my spam filter, the pods suddenly open and some surprising things crawl out. They appear to be somewhat humanoid, in that remote way that Tea Party members also appear to be humanoid, even though their life choices clearly indicate that they are not. These crawlers are sheathed in white latex, including their faces, and the tops of their heads have white spiky things, as if Bart Simpson has been dipped in a marshmallow vat. The crawlers, despite being unable to see due to the unexplained plastic coating, immediately hop up and start doing a line dance, with Lady once again assuming the focal point in the center of this shin-dig. (Well, I’m assuming it’s her, because we sure as hell don’t spend any time on the other pod people.)

Then we zip over to another random room, where someone has helpfully placed a bathtub, within which Lady is exhibiting an Annie Lennox-on-acid hairdo and proving that she is very limber by basically throwing her leg over her head. But before we can ask what return-on-investment she might be seeking by doing such, we cut to another room in this apparently cavernous Haus. We now have Lady dressed in black and singing to herself in a mirror, wearing a black spiky hat that sort of matches the headgear of the dancing pod people. Does this mean she’s a bad pod person? Or is she late for a funeral, a tragic death that occurred when one of the tanning pods became disconnected during intergalactic travel?

I guess it doesn’t matter, because now we have a montage cutting between the three scenarios: the line-dancing white pod people, the Lady wallowing around in the bathtub, and the Lady that just wants to look at herself in the mirror (and possibly tend to the needs of her lady garden, based on what her barely off-camera hand is doing). This montage goes on for a while, longer than the political careers of Republican candidates who don’t immediately agree to sell their souls.

Side Note: That quick shot where Bathtub Lady is looking off to the side and then rolls her head forward and does the thing with her eyes? It’s freaky but fun, which basically sums up Lady Gaga’s entire career arc, and it’s my favorite bit in this video crammed full of images designed to impress you with the fact that Lady Gaga’s life is obviously way more exciting than your own.

Just as we kick into the chorus (I guess it’s the chorus; it’s hard to tell with Lady Gaga songs) two rude women break into the Hygiene Annex and try to drag Bathing Lady out of the ginormous bathtub. (She just wants to be clean, people, let her scrub the dirtiness away if she wants to do so. We’ve all been there, don’t judge.) Gaga puts up a fight, but eventually the bitter duo wrest Gaga away from the soothing waters of her own self-involvement. To show their displeasure with her uncooperative attitude, the Gulag Girls rip Lady’s blouse off in a Cinemax-worthy moment of pointless plot.

(Yes, Bathtub Gaga was bathing whilst clothed. Just accept and go on, as there’s really no point in questioning reality once the dancing white pod-people slithered out of the Easy Bake ovens and we didn’t change the channel.) To show her displeasure with the matrons’ rudeness and the rending of her garment, Lady then thrusts her breasts at the interlopers in a moment of mammary insurrection, making this an official catfight. The matrons then up the ante by forcing Bathtub Lady to drink some mysterious clear liquid that she probably would have imbibed on her own if there hadn’t been all this bullying behavior.

Next up, we have another version of Lady Gaga, this one surprisingly free of avant-garde outfits and confusing accessories. This Gaga seems to be channeling Belinda Carlisle during that phase when she broke free from the Go-Gos and the drug-ingesting, wandering about on a windswept beach and looking for love in all the wrong sandy places. She’s acting all emo and emotionally-fragile. Is this Vulnerable Gaga? Does such a thing exist?

While Belinda Gaga braves windburn and possible grit in her cracks, we get yet another version of Lady Gaga, or maybe this is one we’ve already seen. (It’s getting very confusing; I’m still mystified by Grieving Gaga at the Self-Pleasure Mirror.) This Gaga is sporting some baggy outerwear covered in graffiti, indicating that unsupervised inner-city juveniles may have broken into the Bath Haus at some point, tagging things with malicious intent. (This is not an indictment of all inner-city youth, as stereotypes are bad, but it is an indictment of lazy parents who allow their children to obtain paint-propellants and then look the other way when those children sneak out at night.)

Whatever the case, some rude go-go booted women rip off Gaga’s social-outcry garment in a manner that suggests the booted women did not go to the proper schools. Once the raincoat is sent asunder, we see that this version of Gaga is sporting skimpy beaded thingies that really don’t do much to obscure her baseline anatomy. (I’ve seen better coverage issued by people selling auto insurance out of the back of a taco stand.) The rude, manners-deficient booted women snatch up Lady and her indiscreet snatch and haul her into a room filled with men who appear to have had plastic surgery that somehow involved metal plates being used instead of, well, plastic.

For no apparent reason whatsoever, Barely-Beaded Gaga and her unrequited cohorts suddenly start line-dancing for the Metal Men. (They were in a catfight two seconds ago, but a whiff of testosterone in the room causes all of them to have an interest in synchronized choreography?) While this mess is going on, we get shots of another Gaga, or maybe an extra, don’t know, who is nude and looking really undernourished. I think she’s trying to get clean, since she appears to be having an emotional moment in a public shower stall at either a health club or a high-school gym (we’ve all been there, right?), but I don’t really see any water. Whatever she’s doing, she’s very skinny, and she might possibly have a tail that people generally shouldn’t have.

Beaded Gaga and the Gaga-Ettes continue to line dance for the Metal Men, eventually ending up on their knees crawling toward said men while Gaga sings “I want your love.” That’s great for the self-esteem, crawling up to a standoffish group of males, begging for their affection. Do these women realize they can actually vote these days? Or is Gaga making a political statement about the possible future if we don’t stop letting rich, white, amoral men run our country? (Despite the obvious ease with which Gaga shares her physical wares with the world, she’s got far more depth and comprehension than 99% of the automatons who tune into Fox News on a daily basis, paralytic drool running down their chins.)

Oh wait, it turns out that these men are actually bidding to “win” Lady Gaga, as we can now see by the voting results on convenient laptops off to one side. (At first, I thought Lady Gaga was just obnoxiously showing her sky-rocketing profits. I had to rewind.) One of the guys apparently wins, but first the women have to do another line dance. Not sure why. Maybe it’s protocol, a bit of contractual procedure included in the “Bath Haus” brochure for folks who purchase the Platinum Package.

It’s a long line dance. While this is going on, we get jump scenes of Lady Gaga in lots of other outfits. (The wardrobe expenses on this video must have been enormous.) We have Gaga in black bra and panties, standing still in a frozen spray of ice cubes while the camera circles around her. (A perceptive take on the sterility of certain men?) There’s Gaga in some type of metal gear where I think she’s explaining the solar system. (Sorry, Pluto, you don’t matter anymore. Here’s the business card for a really good galaxy therapist.)

And then we have Gaga in this golden outfit that is totally out there, with a hairdo that looks like she has a loaf of bread shoved up in that mess and making her look like Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s version of “Dracula”. My guess is that most of the fashion budget went right there, although it’s entirely possible that Gaga already owned this ensemble, something she picked up at a flea market in another dimension where couture is vaguely reptilian and purposeless.

Eventually we get to the soul-challenging part of our story where Gaga has to go… sleep? trade outfits?… with the guy who bought her. And we start jump-cutting all over the place. We revisit almost all of the Gagas in their various incarnations, and there’s a new batch of line dancers, this time dressed in skimpy red Ace bandages but just as flexible as the other teams. (Gaga is right there in the midst of the Crimson Brigade, natch, completely unafraid to frolic about energetically despite the merest wisp of material barely concealing her nocturnal portal.)

As Purchased Gaga approaches the bed where the winner/misogynist is waiting, she apparently uses her mystical powers to set the bed on fire. Wouldn’t you? (I hope Metal Guy bought the maintenance plan for this product, because I don‘t think the regular warranty is going to cover destruction of high-end bedding. It would be a shame if low-level employees at this establishment are fired because the hotel owners now have to fund a messy civil lawsuit.) The jump-cutting to all the Gagas intensifies, but mostly focuses on the red line dancers where Ace Bandage Gaga has picked up yet another hairdo somewhere along the way.

Final scene has one of the Gagas (I have no idea at this point) lounging in the scorched bed. Her purchaser is now just smoking bones, but Gaga seems to be fine, other than the disturbing impression that her breasts appear to be short-circuiting. (Don’t you hate it when that happens?) The camera slowly pans backwards while a snippet of classical music plays, yet another tribute to film-making, and another reminder that Lady Gaga is all about The Art.

Lesson learned? Take a bath at home. You’ll be glad you did. There’s no need to bathe in a public setting, because it will just lead to singing, dancing, clone replication, and death by fire.

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 12/03/09, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.)

 

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