Friday, October 29, 2010

The Human League - “Don’t You Want Me”

  We start out with a car driving through some foggy countryside, then the car makes a turn and nearly runs over one of the female singers in the band (she’s wearing fur, so the car was probably driven by one of the founders of PETA). This woman just glares at the car, like something as minor as an automobile could take her out. She and her dead animal then jump in the car and the vehicle drives away.

  Oh, look at that, another nearby car has apparently been waiting for this rendezvous, and someone turns on the headlights of this car so we can realize that it’s there. Cut to Philip Oakey in a very tight camera shot, wearing a lot of makeup so we don‘t notice that his teeth aren‘t in the greatest shape, singing the opening lines of the song. Back to the spy car as it pulls up near the parked fur car as it sits outside what might be a house. Once more to Philip, where the cameraman has thankfully realized that maybe we need to pull back from the intense close-up of Philip because it‘s a bit much, and so the cameraman does. (Fair disclaimer, it doesn‘t really help.)

  Back to the house, where Fur Woman dashes out of the dwelling and proceeds to do something suspicious with the trunk of her car. Her ESP kicks in, and she turns to glare at the spy car. The driver of the spy car stops filming her doing dramatic things, and then is magically transported to some studio where he can review the video he has taken. Philip Oakey is sitting behind him, hair all slicked up, looking depressed and befuddled about the footage. Quick close-up of Fur Woman just so we can remember what she looks like.

  Cut to Blond Woman walking into the studio, and she actually looks exactly like Fur Woman, except Blond Woman is a blond and Fur Woman is not. (This was always an issue with the women in Human League. They all went to the same stylist and never established a unique identity.) Blondie hangs up her coat on a hook that is stupidly placed in the middle of the door, then she gets to work doing something that is never explained.

  Cut to some private viewing room where people are watching clips of whatever, with the limited audience including Simon LeBon holding a coffee cup and not looking pleased. Fur Woman is there, and she’s mad about something. (This might be because Blond Woman is also there. But it’s hard to tell, because nobody is smiling about anything. Even Philip Oakey, so I guess he got the memo about his teeth.)

  The focus shifts to the screen, and we realize that we are watching clips of Fur Woman acting in an infomercial or maybe Stanley Kubrick’s latest mystifying epic. Whatever they are filming is fairly boring, so the camera pulls back to show Blond woman trudging along in a trench coat and looking perturbed. She starts to vocalize her part of the song, but some rookie in the lighting department keeps her in the dark most of the time so we can’t fully enjoy her performance. They finally get the lighting right, just as Blond Woman decides to turn and look behind her at Philip Oakey, bellowing the line “I still love you.”

  She still loves Philip Oakey? Girl, you need to wake up. He and his makeup don’t want what you got cookin’. Philip stares back at her, not exactly running up and vowing eternal fidelity. Blond Woman doesn’t care, and keeps strutting toward the moving camera, proclaiming her need for freedom. She walks a really long time, even after Philip picks up the lyrics. Obviously, there were some editing issues.

  Another shot of Philip wearing more makeup than Miss Georgia.

  Back to the private viewing room, where Blondie is looking sad and Philip is still pretending that he wants her. They keep watching clips of Fur Woman on the screen, even though no one cares. Cut to another band member pretending to be a film editor and jacking with the clips. Blondie puts on her coat and leaves, because she’s heard that they have fresh sushi down the block. Another close-up of Philip, and it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t like fish.

  Quick shot of Fur Woman, showing that she knows at least one line of the song.

  Another shot of Philip, showing that he’s really proud of his dangly earrings.

  Now we have Blondie messing around with strips of film, and she must be totally confused, because she’s holding a film strip in her ungloved hand while her gloved hand isn’t touching anything. This sacrilege leads to a montage, with the film editor, Fur Woman, Blond Woman, and Philip, all looking tragically dissatisfied and posing lethargically in the murky lighting.

  Another montage of people wrapping up the shoot on Kubrick’s set.

  Cut to the film editor looking like a pedophile as he gazes into the camera. The camera pulls back and we see Philip Oakey stand up and march toward us, which is very unsettling. Philip then walks toward some people sitting in some chairs, probably intent on giving them makeup tips, but the camera cuts away before this can be confirmed.

  Yet another montage, with Blond Woman glancing askance at who knows that, Philip pretending that he’s Valentino, Blond Woman still marching along in the bad lighting, and then a final scene where the camera pans to a makeup mirror where we can see tech people that we don’t really know caught in the headlights of whatever this video is supposed to be about.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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