A couple of weeks ago, a friend on Facebook told me about a music video that was so unspeakably bad it could rival the combined ‘creative prowess’ of Rebecca Black and Ark Music Factory. Being the curious guy I was, I immediately went and checked it out on Youtube. Needless to say, I was appalled after the 3-minute video ended. Rebecca Black has a new rival, and he is giving her a run for her money.
The video I’m referring to here is Matt Zarley’s ‘WTF’, a title which I’m sure all of you understand without me having to explain the trend of colloquial abbreviations that’s gripping the world in the 21st century. It opens with what appears to be a game of football between several men, and as soon as the ball is thrown, two of the men start grabbing each other and making out on the ground, oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. Needless to say, in the next few seconds, they had moved in together and adopted a couple of dogs to keep them company.
Here’s where the drama comes. Upon arriving home unannounced, he discovers his newfound love in a romp with the sexy gardener, leaving the bacon to burn in the kitchen. At this point, I’m not sure exactly what happens but he continues stalking his soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, and discovers many more incidences of senseless cavorting in the swimming pool, ripping off towels in front of delivery guys with loopy smiles, and culminating in a feathery pillow-fight on the bed. Throughout it all, our protagonist is going, “WTF what-the-f***?” as he watches the man he loved happily snipping leaves in the arms of the gardener, spread ridiculous amounts of suntan lotion on another man, and bashing three other guys with really fluffy and downy pillows.
In an act of revenge, he calls upon two men whom I’d assume to be delivery guys as well, getting them to bind his ex in duct tape and cling-wrap, before carting him away to oblivion. One of the delivery guys smiles at him and our protagonist is in love once again, trading numbers and handshakes that linger for too long. The video ends with him staring goofily at the retreating figure of his new true love.
When the video was over, I was like, “Oh-my-God-that-was-the-worst-video-ever!” Based on my descriptions, I guess you too would agree with me. Not only that, but the excessive use of autotune throughout the song almost made my ears bleed. However, the chorus was stuck in my head for the next few days, and I kept hearing Matt Zarley go “WTF what-the-f***?”, which was driving me crazy because as unbearable the song and video is, it was catchy enough to hold my attention. Thus I pondered; why would anyone who is not Rebecca Black make such a horrible video? I downloaded the video off Youtube and watched it again, and again, and again, and then I realised what had been hiding in plain sight before me all this while. The video was a satire of sorts against the many stereotypes of the gay community.
Taking all the stereotypes, both good and bad, the director of the music video had somehow managed to combine them all into a 3-minute music video. These stereotypes have been constantly repeated by homophobes and bigots alike, saying that gay men are only interested in sex and that gay men are promiscuous. There’s also the stereotypical Hollywood portrayal of gay men as feminine creatures with lithe bodies and tight butts, almost always dressed in a pair of Speedos or really tight underwear. Guess what, they’re all in here!
There’s the unfaithful boyfriend, who leaps into the arms of man after man. There’s the football scene, where the two men put grabbing each other above everything else. There’s the final scene, where the protagonist too falls for another man as easily as his ex-boyfriend has been doing all day long. These serve as caricatures for the negative portrayal of homosexuals as horny creatures who are interested in nothing but sex (and molesting children, although that’s not in here). Seeing as most heterosexual men are as horny as their homosexual counterparts, this theory is ridiculous, and when put on video, together with the goofiest expressions ever to grace human facades, we get a parody of the age-old lies and rhetoric that have been spread to demean the love between same-sex couples as nothing but pure lust and desire for each other’s bodies.
Then there’re the Hollywood gays, who are so feminine they could give women a run for their money. They prepare breakfast, have pillow fights dressed in lingerie, and have such stereotypically gay facial expressions that one simply laughs out loud whenever one appears. Take the scene where the cheating boyfriend rips of his towel in front of the delivery guy, who promptly drops his package and grins in the loopiest way possible. The whole thing was so ridiculous I laughed out loud (or LOL-ed, if you prefer it that way). Hollywood has been representing gay men as gentle, feminine, and graceful creatures for decades, in television shows like Glee and Ugly Betty. Taking these stereotypes and pushing them to the extremes, the director has created a video that’s both campy and smart. After all, how many videos poke fun at both conservatives and Hollywood simultaneously, and still manage to entertain the audience? Oh wait, there’s Modern Family!
While I would not put ‘WTF’ on par with brilliant social satires such as Modern Family, I’ll definitely have to give it credit for its subtle yet provocative underlying message. Had I not scrutinised the video with microscopic attention, I might not have noticed it, but perhaps my days of analysing movies have finally paid off. Most bloggers and viewers have condemned the video for its pure ludicrousness, while others drool at the beautiful young men in its midst, but I hope the rest of you can see past the overbearing exterior for the true substance beneath. It’s high time someone pointed out how ridiculous these stereotypes are, and I’m glad Matt Zarley finally did.
Jern Siong is a self-professed hater of autotune, feeling his ears literally bleed every time he hears another musical monstrosity like Friday. But then again, gems like this emerge and his hope is restored, before being brought crashing down by more aspiring Rebecca Blacks.
Images taken from the music video.