Category Archives: Friday Morning Videos

Friday Morning Videos: Last Christmas

Writer’s note: This is a repost from 2012, yes. But as far as I’m concerned, this is the only Christmas video in my heart.

You knew this was coming.

So I made a deal with myself back at Thanksgiving: I would post Last Christmas as the Friday Morning Video on either December 21, or after I heard it on the radio, whichever came first. Well, folks: Christmas came early!

I first saw this video when I was, I’m guessing, nine years old. That was around the time that Wham! Video Hits was released on VHS, and subsequently viewed infinity times by my sister and I. (Jamie and Jenny Stowinsky, too. We used to take turns playing the four roles in Careless Whisper, but that’s a different Friday post.)

Many of Wham!’s videos tell a story, but this one tells a very particular narrative. It goes like this:

  1. Boy meets girl.
  2. Boy falls in love.
  3. Boy gives girl a lapel pin.
  4. Girl dumps boy the day after Christmas because she’s the only woman in the 80s without lapels.

I’m breaking the outline format here, because this part deserves full-on prose. The next year–one year, only twelve months after he’s so in love that he gifts her a brooch–he and his friends all decide to rent a house in the Alps (I’m guessing French, but it could be Swiss) to have a great Christmas away from home. He agrees, one would imagine, because his last Christmas sucked so much. After all, he cared about a girl enough to give her a gift, and her repayment was to promptly dump him. Hello, tacky? Miss Frizz is on line one.

(Although, in fairness, maybe she was waiting to see if the contents of the jewelbox was round instead of flower-shaped. When she saw a pin instead of a ring, well…?)

Anyway, they all hop on a plane and a train and a tramway, and then–here’s the kicker–his BFF shows up with her! Did no one talk about this before leaving London? “Oh, hey, yeah, George, we’ve got the house and everything’s just brilliant, and Andrew’s bringing that chippie of yours from last year, and did you drop your share of the rent in the post, chap?” So not only is Andrew Ridgeley clearly a jackass for bringing George’s ex to a ski chalet from whence they will have no escape, but she was OK with it, too. Especially given the little dinnertime bomb they drop later in the video.

Moving on: everyone’s trimming the tree, Pepsi and Shirlie are on the couch, looking adorable like they always do (did those two sweeties ever get together? I was pulling for them!), and George drops some tinsel, and BOOM! There they are, face-to-face, and here’s the nutty thing: Miss Frizz pretends she doesn’t recognize him. According to the lyrics, anyway. And also according to the lyrics:  this doesn’t surprise him.

People, I may not remember the names of every dude I’ve dated, or other stuffed, but I remember their faces. And I definitely remember the faces, and mostly names, of every guy I dated who gave me a present. And I definitely would’ve remembered him a year later, especially if he’s, you know, the BFF OF THE GUY I’M CURRENTLY DATING.

(Note: This is where I diverge from my she-wanted-a-ring theory, and I begin to wonder if perhaps they only went out on one date. And he gave her the pin and said he loved her. And she was all, “Bangers and mash, are you barmy? We just met last week and you’re dropping clams on lapel jewelry? Mind the gap and beat your elbows!”)

Then there’s a bit where he looks really sad while his friends romp in the snow, because he just found out that someone trimmed his parka with his pet keeshond.

He really loved that dog.

He really loved that dog.

So now it’s dinner time, and they break out the Christmas crackers, and, hair feathered perfectly, wine sipped seductively, George stalks Last Year’s Girl, who is totally snogging the BFF. Gag me. And her.

You will pay. Yes, you will pay.

You will pay. Yes, you will pay.

And then! AND THEN! In a move so tacky it makes Molly Ringwald’s prom dress look like Jackie O’s anything, we see that she actually regifted the flower pin! Not only did she dump him like right after he gave it to her, but then she handed it off to Andrew at some point in the last year, and he wore it to their ski chalet, as if George wouldn’t recognize it. Filth!

Of course, what follows is happy romping in the snow, and a flashback of her getting her lapel pin and wearing it on her blouse, and then we flash forward to the whole passel of friends heading back to the tramway. And I think they’re friends again, because he leaves the tram with the cute blonde with whom he arrived, and everyone’s OK with having suffered through the single most awkward Christmas ever.

(Here’s a third theory: she’s a demon  who trapped his soul in the pin. So he means it literally when he says he gave her his heart, and she gave it away, and so now Andrew owns his heart, which, really, explains a great deal about the trajectory of Wham! and George Michael’s life. So if anyone knows the whereabouts of the soul-capturing flower pin, please send it back to him. Or to me.)

The Mystery of Ph. D, Mtv, and the video for I Won’t Let You Down.

Back when I was 11, I had a bit of a crush on Jim Diamond, lead singer of the Mtv rising stars, Ph. D. What? So he’s a little weird looking? I like weird looking.

Totes hot, am I right? Please say yes.

Totes hot, am I right? Please say yes.

The problem with having a crush on Jim Diamond of PH. D.  was that by the time I was 11 and a half, Mtv stopped playing their video, and never played them again. What’s that you say? Teen Beat?! Ha! Teen Beat would never publish a picture of Jim Diamond. They were too busy finding new un-airbrushed* photos of Ralph Macchio. No. For a 12 year old girl in America in 1982, Ph. D. were as unattainable as wine coolers and earth-tones. 

Then, quite few years later, came YouTube. The first Ph. D. gem I dug up was Little Suzi’s on the Up. The video combines a sweet-as-candy story of a couple getting ready for a night of competitive ballroom dancing, with the competing and creepy stories of a stalker dance judge and a sassy saxophone player/ hairdresser obsessed with something that only looks like pickled eggs.

Despite the meat, motorcycles, and whatever the hell was in that jar, I only had vague memories of that video. The video that I vividly remember was for I won’t Let You Down. It also featured a bit of stalking, but it was by a cartoonish assassin who follows our intrepid hero as he begs forgiveness from his too-tall girlfriend.

Um…what the hell was that? It’s like what would happen if Roman Polanski’s inner psyche was caught on film. No. Wrong. Let me try that again.

HOLY CRAP! What am I looking at and why the hell am I looking at it? Why are they in a theater, and how many minutes do I have to look at it? Let’s try again.

Ah! That’s better.  And see? The cartoonish assassin didn’t really want to blow up Jim Diamond with a plant; he only wanted the girl–the cold, mean, dog-obsessed girl. But still…cute, right?

But it makes me wonder. What is the meaning of those other videos? Were they submitted to Mtv, only to be turned down? In the early ’80s? When Mtv was playing Steve Miller’s Abracadabra on heavy rotation? It makes no sense. But it does explain why Mtv stopped playing Ph. D. Maybe Diamond and company were so sick and tired of being turned down, they started acting really snippy. Here’s how I imagine it started:

Mark Goodman: Here in the studio, a band that is soaring up the charts never, I’m sure, to fall back to earth, Ph. D. Jim, how does it feel to be the latest Mtv darling?

Jim Diamond: Fuck you, Mark. Your head looks like pubes.

And then he dissed Martha Quinn, and that was the beginning of the end.

I’m just guessing, of course. Jim Diamond is still around, still making music, still kind of cute in a weird way, and icing on cake, makes music for disadvantaged children. 

I suppose I could just ask him, but I’m scared.

*Old Teen Beat photos are like a Comstock Lode of Proactive “before” pictures.

Friday Morning Videos: Land of Confusion

I’ve been thinking of this video for the last two weeks. And wouldn’t you know it? The last time I posted it was 13 months ago this week. Must be something about fall.

 

September 9, 2012: We’ve just come out of two party conventions. I couldn’t post any video but this one.

Friday Morning Videos: If This Is It

For ten years, every time we got into a car, my husband and I called a bet: How many minutes before U2 plays on the radio? Shortest time: “Even Better Than The Real Thing” was playing when we turned the radio on. Longest was, I believe, 12 minutes, when the drumbeats of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” began.

Since moving back to Pittsburgh, we don’t hear nearly as much U2. Then one day, en route to IKEA, David said, “I think Huey Lewis and the News is Pittsburgh’s answer to U2.” Which is funny, since Huey’s an SF native. And kind of reviled there. But he is a god in Pittsburgh, his wonders which I beheld no fewer than five times in concert before I turned 21. Yes, folks: before I could drink, I saw Huey Lewis five times in concert.

So to close out the summer, to say goodbye to beaches, here’s If This Is It.

In a classically plot-heavy video, we open with “The Power Of Love,” a morning DJ, a boom box, and a bodice-ripper getting tossed into a bendy plastic white basket, thus letting us all know that this is the real 1984, and not the Orwell novel. Huey Lewis is very sad and conflicted, because, despite the fact that his girlfriend audibly tells her kid sister “Tell him I’m not home,” when he calls, he’s not really sure if she wants to break up with him.

Must be one of those broadband wireless telephone booths.

Point one, Huey: you’re calling your girlfriend from a telephone booth at the beach. And the next guy in line is also wearing a polo shirt and jeans. Next time, call from your Corvette.

Point two, Huey. Women who can pull off wearing deep-backed white one-piece bathing suits do not, as a rule, go after dudes who wear polos and black jeans to the beach. You have a swell voice and pretty blue eyes, but that only gets you so far.

Can YOU pull off this all-white one-piece? No. No, you can't.

Can YOU pull off this all-white one-piece? No. No, you can’t.

His visit to a psychic goes no better than his first glimpse of the White Girl; he finds his entire band committed to a seance, presumably to bring his relationship back to life or something, although it fails pretty miserably, as the next time he sees White Girl, two sailors have won her two giant duckies, which puts his little tiny duckie to shame. Poor tiny duckie.

Do you have two duckies? No. No, you don't.

Do you have two duckies? No. No, you don’t.

Back to the beach with Huey, where he’s sad again, and then he does this.

This is what we call the "Cheesecake Huey Lewis Shot," also known as the "Five Heads of The News Shot," also known as the "Any Reason to Show A Tan Because It's the 80s Motherfucker Shot."

This is what we call the “Cheesecake Huey Lewis Shot,” also known as the “Five Heads of The News Shot,” also known as the “Any Reason to Show A Tan Because It’s the 80s Motherfucker Shot.”

But that doesn’t work, because here’s what happens next.

See these guys? They’re in shorts, at the beach. You’re not. You lose.

But it all works out, because after a fight in which she actually must say “Dude, what the fuck, this is IT, seriously IT, stop stalking me and can’t you take a hint, Jordache?” he’s more sad and lonely, but then who shows up?

Shelley Long, in a black strapless bikini, who decides that a rebound guy in beach blackjeans is the best thing she’s got going.

You are literally the last man on the beach, so I guess you'll do.

You are literally the last man on the beach, so I guess you’ll do.

Maybe she’s from Pittsburgh.

P.S. Does anyone recognize the carney? He must be somebody, right?

Who IS this guy?

Who IS this guy?

P.P.S. There’s a thing at the end about how ugly fat people who go to the beach get eaten by sand sharks, but we’ll let that lie.

Friday Morning Videos: Special Birthday Edition

 

Happy 38th birthday to me!

 

Friday Morning Videos: Running With the Night

It’s been a long time, Lerlines, and for that I apologize. Things have been busy in the Burgh. But I’m going to make it up to you.

You see, about 12 years ago–yes, 12–after many hours breaking into random song at a local beer garden, three friends formed a little comedy group. It was the world’s first all-girl boy band, called 2Good4U, and their first show, Dance Dance Dance Explosion, featured such pop classics as “You Didn’t Do It Again” (yes, THAT; you didn’t do THAT for me), “Young” (why should men get all the pedophile songs when there are so many hot teenaged Boy Scouts?), and “Why Won’t You Go Away” (featuring the unforgettable line, “Stop sending your artwork.”).

The show also featured a number of San Francisco then-rising stars, including Kitten on the Keys, who is now pretty much at the pinnacle of the worldwide burlesque circuit, and Robbie Cantrell, who now goes by Rob Cantrell and was recently seen smoking Stephen Colbert’s shoe. (Robbie was especially on that night, telling your very own Melinda that she had to perform certain acts on her boyfriend after the show in apology, due to an unplanned nipslip compounded by the filthy lyrics in “You Didn’t Do It Again.” Her boyfriend is now her husband of seven years and father of her daughter, so I guess the aftershow party went well.)

In any case, at the end of DDDE, as we called it, we members of 2Good4U–yes, your very own SPM Lerlines–gave ourselves a gift, and that gift was a choreographed, lipsynced dance to “Running With the Night.” If I’d gone to school in Nashua, NH, I feel confident we’d have performed the exact same number for the high school talent show.

As it was, we totally rocked it. And we danced with trenchcoats. And also fedoras.

A few notes about this video:

It is Lionel Richie’s best video, and best song. Never have visuals so matched the tune; the song sounds like dark city streets, fedoras, cigarettes and alleys, back when all those things were sexy.  “Hello” fans can suck my silver cigarette filter.

Sexy cigarette smokers. Those were the days.

Sexy cigarette smokers. Those were the days.

At the one minute mark, when Lionel shows up, you can hear the gate open. Brilliant.

running_2

Creak!

Everyone dances. Everyone. Every second. Bob Fossesque step-toe-limp-hand dances. We didn’t have youtube back when we choreographed our dance, but you know what? We came pretty fucking close. See 1:30.

We let it all hang out.

We let it all hang out.

It also includes a sequence that encapsulates my fondest dream, and pretty much foretells every flash mob, ever: that me and a bunch of elegantly dressed strangers will stride dancingly out into moving traffic and everyone stops and we dance and it’s spectacular and awesome. You understand me, Lionel Richie.

DANCE.

DANCE.

And then I think they’re all in jail, I guess for stopping traffic, but that shit happens sometimes when you’re running with the night. And so they all stride up the steps and crash a wedding, and engage in a dance off, and Lionel Richie is all smooth and snappy. Like, actually snapping his fingers. And the most gorgeous wedding guest in the room, clad in pouf sleeves and massive hair, who is inexplicably dateless at this wedding? She knows the dance, too.

The OG wedding flash mob.

The OG wedding flash mob.

And the bride and groom are all WTF? But they keep dancing and then Lionel OH NO YOU DIDN’T Richie totes gets the bride in on the party, and there’s one white lady dancing badly, and then everyone is dancing through the rip-roaring guitar solo, and then they’re all dancing in a parking garage because why not, and then Lionel saunters off and is all, “My work here is done.”

P.S. What happened to 2Good4U? I left the group, and they brought on two brilliantly talented women, and went on to produce such songs as “Killing Me Softly With Pillows,” “Hell is for Bridesmaids,” and “Mudslides.”

Friday Morning Videos: Endless Love

I thought of this song to post as an exceedingly lovey-lovey-supa-lovey song to celebrate the end of DOMA, Prop 8, and the dawn of an era when Jade Butterfield (no kidding, that’s her name) would be played by Tom Cruise, as Jude, or David Axelrod would be Jodie Foster, as Denise.

And then I looked up the movie, and watched the video, and I almost regret my choice.

A few fun facts about the cast of the 1981 Zeffirelli film:

  • James Spader plays Brooke Shields’ brother, and he is credited as Jimmy Spader. I assume he is a dick.
  • Jami Gertz is ALSO in this, making it a Less Than Zero twofer!
  • Ian Ziering plays Brooke Shields’ brother, as well.
  • Robert Altman is in it. As a hotel manager. Huh?

I’ve never seen the movie, but based on the storyline on imdb, I think I might have to, because it sounds really, really fucking awful, like on a level with “Ice Castles,” complete with the easy-listening theme song.

Two young kids fall in love with each other. But the passion is too consuming for the parents of Jade. The parents try to stop them from seeing each other. But when this doesn’t work David burns down the house and is sent away. This doesn’t stop him from seeing her. When he gets out he goes to look for her. But in the end the passion for his first love is too strong and she has to leave or this love will kill both of them.

If I’d seen it when I was 15, I bet it would’ve blown Dirty Dancing out of the water. But now I’m 38. And while I can’t judge how he burned down the house or how Jade Butterfield really feels or anything, that bloodless description is creepy in the extreme, and I’m with Mr. and Mrs. Butterfield in the “Stay Away from My 15-Year-Old Daughter, Asshole” camp.

Honestly, I’m really annoyed that I didn’t read about this earlier, because my husband’s out of town and I totally would’ve watched it on Netflix tomorrow night. Now I’m going to have to wait until he leaves town again, or else I’ll never get agreement to watch it. Once, the promise of a nudish Brooke Shields would’ve been enough, but now we have daughters. Two of them. And because of that: ew.

In case you miss it in the video: yes, Mum is watching them have sex in front of the fire, and she doesn’t run down the steps with a baseball bat. She knows what her daughter looks like; she should keep a baseball handy at all times. Possibly a retractable one, hidden up her sleeve. Also, knives are small and fit nicely into leg holsters.

But let’s forget about all that, and bear witness to the softcore porn that is apparently fairly unscandalous for the hetero crowd. Imagine a naked RDJ instead of Brooke Shields, and it does make it much, much more fun to watch.