We get things started outside some convenience store, one of those places where the owners charge you three times the decent price of an item because you’re desperate and in a hurry. There are some people we don’t know wandering around the parking lot, some of them flirting, others posing in that artificial manner that says “I’m wearing this dumbass outfit because I crave attention and never felt validated as a child”. Jason is just standing there, looking a bit out of place, probably because he doesn’t have to stop at convenience stores now that he has people in his entourage who can do that for him.
Then three girls come prancing out of the store, looking like RuPaul just rang a bell and the drag race is on. Jason is immediately infatuated with the third girl, probably because her hair is the prettiest and she has more zippers than anybody else. Jason decides that the best way to impress her is to start singing a Top 40 hit, despite the fact that she might not care for such things and just wants to eat her beef jerky.
Of course, the first line Jason sings is his name, because that’s what some people mystifyingly do in current pop songs. (I don’t really get that. What serious songwriter is going to go “hey, what this song really needs is for you to product place yourself, right here. That will make the song perfect!”) Once Jason gets to the less self-involved part of the lyrics, we start getting flash cuts of Jason (I’m guessing) shadow-boxing with himself. This is probably symbolically important in some way, but there are no subtitles to help us grasp the concept.
Anyway, while Jason sings, Pretty Girl just kind of struts around the parking lot. She knows she’s hot, so she doesn’t have to immediately sleep with the first person she sees. In fact, she decides to play hard to get, and she starts flirting with one of the extras standing nearby. Naturally, this makes Jason jealous, because he’s supposed to get the prize in the box, with him being the star of the video, so he interrupts her shenanigans and makes her pay attention to him. They are officially a couple at this point, because that’s all it takes to be in a relationship these days, standing next to each other for longer than 30 seconds. As a reward for her short-term faithfulness, Pretty Girl gets to appear along with Jason in the mystical shadow-boxing scenes, where the first thing she does is grab her breasts, because she’s a good Christian girl and all.
Now that Pretty Girl has been upgraded to co-star billing, she smiles a little bit more and lets the camera get close-ups of her high-heeled boots. (She even laughs it up a bit with her little girlfriends, even though she doesn’t need them anymore and has her own trailer on the set. For their part, the girlfriends don’t seem the least bit interested in leaving, since you never know when another pop star might pull in for some gas.) In the shadow scenes, Pretty Girl kicks the “dancing” into over-drive, raising her hands over her head and apparently envisioning herself in that movie where Jennifer Beals wore torn sweatshirts and conquered the Pittsburgh ballet scene. (Jason, if you’re keeping score, is still doing some kind of kung-fu crap that isn’t very sexy and doesn’t help move the story along.)
We come back from the Flashdance tribute to find somebody must have sprinkled some horny dust on the parking lot, with all the extras pairing off into couples or at least making some serious eye contact with the intention of coupling. None of the Libido Cast seems to be paying any attention to Jason, which is kind of rude considering all the trouble he went to arranging for a sound system at this convenience store. Jason doesn’t seem to mind this lack of appreciation, focusing on Pretty Girl, because he’s never seen anyone stay on their feet this long while wearing heels that high, although she is cheating a little by leaning against a car to keep her balance. (Honey, a real queen would own those high heels. Get yourself a personal trainer.)
Then we a have a bridge in the song, where Jason breathes really heavily like he’s doing a voiceover for an asthma-inhaler commercial. This causes the shadow couple to do a few naughty moves, and we learn that Pretty Girl is very limber and, based on her erratic but strenuous flailing, just might possibly be going into labor. She disappears from the shadow scenes for a little bit, probably looking for someone who can hold the baby until she’s done dancing, which leaves Jason by himself, pretending to be a mime in France.
Back in the parking lot, we have a brief uprising when one of the male extras ignores the script and tries to steal Pretty Girl away from Jason. (Dude, those are not your vocals on the soundtrack so you are not going to get the girl. Or the guy, whatever. You don’t get anything until you have a recording contract, that’s the American way.) To show their displeasure at this attempted mutiny, Jason and Pretty Girl dance to the other side of the parking lot, in that violence-avoiding West Side Story manner of having a rumble without any actual rumbling. (Nothing says “don’t mess with my woman” better than some fancy twirling and a high-kick.) Pretty Girl looks a little irritated, mostly because of the attempted abduction, but she’s also not pleased that she can’t lean on the car anymore. Maybe she’s anemic, poor thing.
We cut to Jason and Pretty girl in what looks like a jail cell, with an odd blue light that makes their outfits look shiny. Pretty Girl seems to be back in her happy but lethargic mode, leaning on the bars of the cell while Jason sings, staring at his chin and wondering why he didn’t finish shaving that morning. The prison bars apparently make her feel rather sexy, because she squirms around wantonly and pouts her lips, infused with a passion inspired by confined spaces and the possibility of a prison guard or two showing up with authoritative nightsticks. (Or maybe I’m just inserting my own fantasies into the story. Christopher Meloni in Oz? I’d serve time if I could bunk with that.)
We are still getting jump cuts of the shadow dancers, but I’m pretty bored with this whole sideshow mess. You can’t really see anything, it’s hard to tell what they’re doing, and Jason is still convinced that martial arts are somehow romantic. (The martial arts are usually a solitary endeavor, Jason, like masturbation. What kind of message are you sending here?) But at least the shadow-dancer version of Pretty Girl found a daycare center for her impromptu offspring, because she’s back in the action, touching herself like the Divinyls said she should. That girl is just overheated. This is what happens when you cut funding for The Arts in public school systems.
And we’re in the parking lot again, with Pretty Girl leaning on the same car once more. (Why is that car still there? It’s a convenience store. What the hell is the owner doing that is taking so long for him to come back? Was there an issue with the fake-cheese nacho machine?) We get close-ups of Jason comparing his shoes to her boots. (I guess footwear is really important to the younger crowd. This is what happens when you let your kids learn values by watching TV commercials all day.) It looks like Jason wins the shoe competition, with the victory somehow resulting in Jason and two of his buddies proceeding to have a dance-off in some conveniently-empty parking spaces. (Forget about logical cause and effect, this is a music video and realism is unimportant.)
So Jason and the two featured extras hop around in formation for a bit, because synchronized dancing is always happening at places where you can buy Slushees and rolling papers. We’ve seen it all before, and better, so even Pretty Girl gets bored and starts talking to somebody else, because she can’t be in a relationship with someone who has better shoes or has his own choreographer on standby.
Jason, getting a whiff of his own misogyny, sends his backup dancers scurrying into the night and tries to prove his undying temporary devotion to Pretty Girl by performing a solo dance. While this might be a thoughtful gesture, at least in the intention, his moves clearly show that although he may have seen the “Billie Jean” video a lot, he didn’t really practice all that much and he can only half-ass do the moves. In a desperate show of solidarity, his backup-dancer buddies return from the Land of Banishment just long enough to remind Jason that no dance sequence is complete without a crotch grab, so they all do that with passionate gusto.
Finally, Jason and the Crotch-Grabbers stop dancing and we can relax a little bit. (Nothing soothes the soul quite like the moment when annoying people cease to be annoying.) As the song fades away, we learn that Jason was, possibly, only imagining the encounter with Pretty Girl, and now he approaches her without all the singing and dancing and shoe-comparing. She smiles at him and asks “Haven’t we met before?”
Uh, yeah. You were giving birth to his shadow-child just three minutes ago. Do you not remember the Boeing 787 ripping you asunder while your legs were in the air? God, these people have short attention spans. I don’t know why it’s so hard for them to remain focused for longer than… oh wait, I just got a text message, brb…
Click here to watch this video on YouTube.
Originally published on 05/26/10, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.