Katy Perry

I Kissed a Zebra and I Liked It: Katy Perry – “Hot N Cold”

Katy Perry Hot N Cold

We find ourselves at a church wedding, where Katy is about to get married to someone that we have never seen before, so our investment is minimal at this point. (For the record, her near-future spouse appears to be about 12 years old, so there might be some issues here that have been swept under the anointed rug.) The music hasn’t started yet, so we’re not yet sure if this is supposed to be an artsy sequence or if someone forgot to turn the sound on. But one of the bridesmaids is a drag queen, so I’m thinking things will perk up in a bit.

Looking innocent and glowing, Katie and her mascara-doused eyes say “I do”. Then it’s time for her beau (whose name is Alexander, which is probably the least important detail in the whole story) to make his own commitment. Alexander and his adolescent skin pause for a very long time, eyes furtive and throat gulping. (We get reaction shots of concerned people around the church, eyebrows raised and mouths gaping. Even the little flower girl is looking at him like, dude, we just practiced this last night, before all the big people got drunk while I had to go stay with my one aunt who has too many cats.)

When it becomes clear that he’s having second thoughts (which might be the first time that he’s ever had more than one thought), the music finally kicks in and the whole church starts to boogie as Katy launches into her accusatory song. (This is a perfect reflection of the modern generation, turning an uncomfortable moment into yet another opportunity to perform a line dance instead of working through the problem.) Katy, who should be emotionally devastated, has no problem dissing the scumbag who was her true beloved just two minutes ago, warbling and hand-gesturing her way through the first part of the song.

As we get to the chorus, Alexander-Boy makes a break for it and runs down the aisle, not so much that he’s afraid of Katy but more that he wants to get away from old people trying to break dance. Since Katy clearly isn’t finished with her song, she has no choice but to chase after him, dashing out the front door of the church in her oddly-athletic wedding dress and running down the sidewalk. Since this is Hollywood, where ill-advised marriage ceremonies take place all the time, the pedestrians on the street ignore the commotion and keep searching for the sushi restaurant which promises to be trendy for at least two more days.

As Katy and the giant bow she is wearing clatters along behind him, Alexander rounds a corner and slams into a man dressed as a hot dog. I don’t know what message was intended by this little mishap, but I’m glad it happened. People dressed as food are creepy, and they should be knocked to the ground whenever possible. (Two wafer-thin D-list actresses attempt to assist the Downed Dog in his predicament, which is probably not the first time they’ve handled a strange wiener on a public thoroughfare.)

Katy realizes she’s getting nowhere fast in her pinchy high heels, so she steals a pink bike conveniently left near the violated hot dog man. After a tense moment wherein a stack of watermelons is rudely disturbed, Katy catches up to Alexander as he slips in the back door of some building. (There are no signs to indicate where we are, so either the budget was very low or the prop people were drunk again.)

It turns out that Alexander has stumbled into one of those nightclubs where people inexplicably jump up and down in rapture while a no-name group performs a no-name song that will never be performed again because the entire band will check into the Betty Ford clinic the next morning. The people in the audience immediately grab Alexander and crowd-surf him toward the stage where, in an astonishing example of illogical plotting, Katy is standing there with a microphone, bellowing more of the song. The wedding dress is gone, and she’s now decked out in some retro-80s vinyl and metal gear. We keep getting close-up shots of Katy’s quadruple-belted waist. No idea why.

Understandably, Alexander is not particularly impressed with this development, apparently just wanting to have a quick gin and juice with 500 of his non-closest friends in a bar dripping with regret and bad choices. He struggles to get away from the anonymous hands hoisting him asunder, while Katy continues her mid-grade channeling of Debbie Harry onstage, and he eventually slips out a door that leads to who knows where. (Just like marriage!)

Actually, it seems that the door leads to another round of the chorus, taking place in some studio backlot where they really didn’t spend a lot of time on the set-decorating. Katy has morphed into her wedding dress once again, accompanied by several backup dancers also dressed as trampy brides who found their dresses in the discount section of the Victoria’s Really Bad Secret catalogue. They all have really runny mascara, and they are waving baseball bats to the beat, sure signs of the Apocalypse. While Katy stands in the front seat of an unexplained convertible, the dancers do some crappy moves involving the alarming bats and a lot of finger pointing.

At some obscure cue from the director, Katy and her entourage all converge on Alexander, and Katy sings vehemently in his face while the dancers march in a big circle around the duo, with the bridal nymphets making what looks like rude hand gestures expressing extreme displeasure. Obviously, nobody lost any sleep over whether this choreography made any sense.

In another time-jump within the logic spectrum, all of the slatternly bridal dancers manage to find some matching pink bikes, with everybody straddling one, looking all demonic and wobbly, barreling toward the clueless and clearly typecast Alexander. He runs for his life, or at least for another bar, but he suddenly stops to answer his cell phone. Like any reasonable person would do when being chased by estrogen on wheels.

Naturally, it’s Katy on Alex’s phone, because nothing can stop a woman who wants her revenge served as cold as it can be. Apparently home boy has a really good data plan with his provider, because there Katy is in high-res living color, wailing away in her veil-accented bid for attention. (Katy does her best acting here, really loved the hand motion during the “roller coaster” line. As for Alexander’s acting? I’ve seen better emotion from a crock pot. I hope he has a Plan B or a financially-sound trust fund.)

Alexander finally hangs up, because you can’t really protect yourself from she-demons whilst perusing social media. He runs some more, then he turns a corner onto a sound stage that’s supposed to look like, I don’t know, a not-so-classy playground in the Bronx. Katy and all the backup dancers are now sporting the latest street-wear from a designer that nobody will remember tomorrow. To soften this awkward transition, Katy sings the next bit of the lyrics in a sedate whisper fashion, but we’re distracted by the fact that her eyeshadow matches the color of the leftover prop from Burning Man in the background, circa 2003.

Still, all the dancers seem to be having fun in this segment, all gussied up in their vibrant outfits and doing lots of dance moves that seemed important at the time. It’s almost relaxing, after the frenzied intensity of the preceding scenes, like a back-alley yoga class where they serve Pabst Beer instead of chai tea.

Then all hell breaks loose as we start jump-cutting all over the place. The bride dancers show back up, doing something confusing in a V-formation. (And, natch, Katy is right in the middle of that V, waving her arms and bellowing, although it does seem that Katy went to a different school than the other girls.) We also have some mess going on with small children hula-hooping like their lives depended on it. (Perhaps a few people on the production staff were having issues finding proper child care and they just threw them in the video to keep them occupied?)

If you don’t blink, you’ll also catch two women doing something on roller skates, but the duo is easy to miss because they’re competing with Katy doing The Running Man in her Daisy Duke bridal gown (or what’s left of it). And in the background of some of the scenes, behind chain link fences, we apparently have people auditioning for the role of Zombie #23 on “The Walking Dead”. It’s as if the director gave up on having any smidge of control on this shoot and went to go have a bagel with a shmear, telling his assistant to call him when people stopped bouncing or there was a pregnancy scare.

The “song” part of this shindig ends with Alexander either tripping over something or being shoved to the ground by an unknown assailant. (Perhaps the Hot Dog Man put out a hit on the Pretty Boy? It wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened in Hollywood.) In any case, Alexander ends up flat on his back with his legs spread wide (Also not a first for Hollywood.) As he glances up in confusion, Katy, looking very maniacal in her Mary Lou Retton-on-acid gymnastics outfit, comes walking up with a zebra while a rainbow fills the sky behind her.

Suddenly, we’re back in the church, and Alexander does a dramatic blink, the first time he has actually exhibited any thespian qualities. Looks like the last four minutes were due to a poorly-timed narcolepsy episode, none of it really happening, and everyone in the church is still waiting for Alexander to say his “I do”. Dripping in sweat and forever traumatized by imagery of the Hot Dog Man and the Body Surfing and the Zombie Brides and the hula-hooping and the soul-killing Zebra, Alexander quickly agrees to be bound to this woman through sickness and health and possible stays in mental institutions.

The whole church erupts in cheers, especially on the Bride’s side of the matrimonial divide, because Katy is now HIS problem and everyone else can get on with their lives. The happy couple then runs down the “Price Is Right” red-carpeted aisle, Katy waving her neurotic bouquet, on their way to their first therapy session…


Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 09/26/09, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

Pretty Shoes Can Save Your Life: Katy Perry – “Wide Awake”

Katy Perry Wide Awake

  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.