Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gwen Stefani, Akon - “The Sweet Escape”

We start out with images of Gwen and her high-glam hairdo apparently being held in a prison of some kind. At least I think it’s a prison. We have bars and cells and tacky striped uniforms, but everything seems to be made out of gold, and there are Gucci “G’s” all over the place. (I guess Tom Ford gave his approval, or at least donated a few of his personal accessories.) Oh, and Gwen’s two backup-singer girls are in a cell as well, so whatever bad thing they did, they did it as an ensemble cast.

Anyway, the camera continues to jump around, showing us all the bling as well as Gwen assuming bored poses and pouting a lot. We finally get to the singing, and unfortunately it kicks in with those Akon “woo-hoo’s” (I am NOT a fan, let’s just say that), which nearly derails the video for me. Luckily, Gwen chooses this moment to do one of her trademark “throw my hands in the air because I really enjoy having breasts” dance routines, winning me back with her form-fitting perkiness.

Then we get a montage of images proving that Gwen can basically wear anything and drape herself across all furniture and still look chic and really cool, and we have to do this for quite a bit because somebody sure found a lot of gold-themed outfits for her to wear. Eventually Akon shuts up and Gwen gets down to the actual singing business. While she warbles and struts in her couture, we start getting glimpses of the backup girls doing odd things and having far more fun doing so than anyone initially intended.

At one point, Gwen gets our attention (like she has to really try, but anyway) by sitting on a gold mat in a mirrored room and kicking her striped legs with enough frenzy that she could power a small city. Then she leads the backup girls in a rousing sing-along in the glitzy cafeteria, complete with synchronized hand-movements and utensil choreography. Girl sure knows how to keep herself occupied in this high-end slammer.

We also have a parade of Gucci products being thrust randomly at the camera, so I’m assuming the original video came packaged with a pricey catalog, probably signed by Tom himself or at least containing a shiny golden strand of Gwen’s Blade Runner bouffant. And if any of the props on the set had room for the “G” symbol, the production staff stamped one on there.

Like often happens in prisons, Gwen manages to steal the key to her cell from a blinged-out dog that happens by, and she proceeds to make her escape. But first we have to cut away to Akon (ugh) singing part of the chorus, as well as the trio of girls flitting about and finishing up all the different dance routines they’ve started, because they practiced really, really hard and ain’t nobody going nowhere until they’re done. Then we finally see the trio running down the cellblock aisle in a dash for freedom and rooms with actual windows.

Two hours later (says so right in the video, not making it up) we cut to another room somewhere, still Gucci-styled but containing a different Gwen, this one with a startling amount of severely-braided hair. She’s sitting on some couch thing and making hand gestures to indicate that she is so done with sitting on the couch thing and waiting for people to pay attention to her. Then she whips an important piece of hardware out of her hair, causing most of it to unfurl in a handy rope, which she then tosses out the window, a window that is apparently very high up in the Gucci World Headquarters building or some such.

The backup girls then proceed to use Gwen’s block-long hair to scale the side of the building while wearing cute climbing gear and performing yet another series of coordinated dance moves. Apparently those two must not weigh very much, because the strain on Gwen’s hair certainly doesn’t stop her from belting out the song and showing us her arched eyebrows.

Eventually the Mt. Everest-ettes make it in the window, where they proceed to grant Gwen’s apparent wish to cut off her ladder-hair, a move that I would personally question, because you never know when they might need to scale another building. Anyway, snip they do, and then the three of them race to Gwen’s bedroom, where they immediately launch into another dance routine, with Gwen wallering around on the actual bed while the twins take chairs on either side so they can accent Gwen’s fabulousness with dramatic handiwork of their own.

We roll into another montage, consisting of Braided Gwen striking poses with a slight Grecian flavor, T-Shirt Gwen hopping around wherever she’s at like she’s seen far too many episodes of Charlie’s Angels, and that damn Akon squealing like a stuck pig. Then we’re back in Gwen’s bedroom, where they quit dancing long enough to enact an actual escape plan, which consists of simply putting a designer scarf over Gwen’s head. (Um, yeah, she looks totally different. Uh huh.)

Next thing we know, Gwen and the twins are racing out the door of a Gucci convenience store (presumably offering the lower-end of the merchandising spectrum), clattering across a trashy parking lot while Gwen clutches a golden latte, and then Gwen hops into the passenger side of a golden SUV while the twins wave sadly and wonder how their dance routines will look with only two people.

The SUV heads out, and of course it’s being driven by Akon, because that’s the one person that I don’t want to see driving it. They motor along while Gwen sings and makes roller coaster moves with the wind rushing past her window, because that’s really important and exactly what I would take the time to do if I was a fugitive.

Then, whoopsie, a police car (driven by the twins, naturally, this time in uniform drag and pretending to be other characters) spots them and lights flash for Akon to pull over. Instead, he just starts singing, which only infuriates the officers (perfectly understandable), and they get a bit riled up, waving their arms and being very demonstrative about the “stop driving” angle. Gwen seems to think this is all very funny, but we can probably blame this on her light-headedness from having a ladder cut off her noggin. Oh, and the latte. Sugar can make you do wrong things.

The video ends back at the boutique penitentiary, with Gwen sporting her original hairstyle and the twins still doing dance routines. It’s not clear if they’ve been sentenced to another term for that naughty escape mess, or if they’ve been here all along and it was just a dream. In any case, the final shot is of Gwen sitting on her bed, bored and sighing. Because once you’ve had your prison cell decorated by a high-end designer, there’s really nothing much more you can hope for in life…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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