Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Buggles - “Video Killed The Radio Star”

Trivia tidbit: The was the first video ever played on the fledgling MTV network back around 1981-ish. This factoid will not change your life in any way, just thought I’d mention it.

Anyway, prepare for a shocking display of primitive art, because nobody knew what they were doing back then. And here we go…

We start out with a cherubic little girl in a red jumper thing fiddling with what I think is supposed to be an old-timey radio, but really looks like a washing machine. There’s a black and white image of some guy with odd glasses and a microphone who keeps intruding from the left side of the screen. It takes exactly one second for this to get annoying.

We pull back so that we can see a full moon shining down on the tyke as she continues her ministrations with the radio washer. I have no idea what the moon means. Maybe the girl is going to turn into a werewolf if she finds the right station, but werewolves won’t become popular for another thirty years, so who knows.

Oh look, the girl DID find a station, and she throws her hands back in a crappy simulation of surprise. She’s a terrible actress. No wonder we never saw her again. Cut to some guy wearing a suit made out of silver Saran wrap and playing some keyboards. He doesn’t seem happy to be here. Maybe he’s the little girl’s agent and just saw her performance.

Okay, now the black-and white-dude is taking up the whole screen. He’s very proud of his curly hair and his odd resemblance to Elton John before EJ did that fake marriage thing. He slides to the right and continues singing while we get another shot of the bad actress, once again jacking around with the radio knobs. I think she’s supposed to leave that thing alone now. The song is already playing. She’s a bad actress AND she doesn’t know what’s going on. Wait, is that Vanna White before she started flipping letters in sparkly dresses?

Then we get a couple replays of the child’s horrid attempt at method acting, throwing her hands up in some slight seizure as she finds the radio station again and again. Even the radio can’t stand looking at her, and just decides to explode. The little girl then just stands there and looks at us, like she did nothing wrong, but we all know she’s been very, very naughty.

Now we have TWO of the black-and-white singer guys, bellowing from both sides of the screen. It’s crappy now, but was very high-tech at the time and probably indirectly led to two Lindsay Lohan’s appearing in a Disney movie. You know, that movie she made back in the day when she was still interested in having a career.

Another shot of the worthless little girl standing there, but this time she transitions into a woman sporting a strange outfit that is probably supposed to represent futuristic fashion, but really just looks like the wrong people were going to design school at the time. This woman is very accusatory, and points her finger at us. Hey, I didn’t break the damn radio, that little girl did.

Shot of reels of magnetic tape turning. Fascinating. Could do this for hours.

Then the singer guy is there, as a real person and not a distorted image. He’s walking around in what might be a stage, because Shiny Jacket Guy is playing a synthesizer, but it might also be a laboratory, because there are computers and such. Then Stupid Outfit Woman suddenly appears, sliding down the inside of a giant test tube and clutching at her heart while slumbering. She wakes up, does a short mime routine, and then freezes still.

No idea. Please don’t send questions.

Then we cut to a monitor of some kind, showing just the heads of two women wearing matching wigs and more stupid sunglasses. They seem to be having difficulty figuring out where to look as they sing the chorus. (Shot of the keyboard player still mad about whatever.) Then the main singer is back, playing peek-a-boo behind another giant test tube. Oh, and there’s the little girl, apparently not fired as she should have been, and now she’s staring at frozen Stupid Outfit Woman. Even Stupid Outfit Woman doesn’t want to be around the little brat, and zips back up the test tube.

Quick shot of the Wig Girls doing hand movements to the lyrics. They’ve finally agreed to look in the same direction, it just doesn’t appear to involve the camera. Then we have several odd-angle shots of people playing instruments, and another turn at watching Stupid Outfit Woman shoot up that tube.

And now the brat is climbing some stairs so she can be on top of some cardboard set decorations. This leads to another explosion. You would think these people would have figured out by now that Damian had a sister and she’s on this set.

And how sad, the aftershock has caused the Wig Girls to lose their temporary synchronization skills, and they are no longer staring in the same direction, standing rigidly as if there were a few inadvertent enemas a few moments ago. Then TV’s start coming out of the ground, because this always happens when the director tries to get too arty. Several jump cuts around the studio/laboratory, ending with Main Singer also pointing an accusing finger at us. The people in this video are just vindictive and unwilling to accept any responsibility for what is happening around them.

More keyboard playing, followed by Stupid Outfit Woman flying (twice) over the set, like a very unfocused super hero. If we’re lucky, she’ll snatch up the little girl and throw her into a volcano, thus saving the world. Instead, walls start sliding out of the way and we have Main Singer and Mad Keyboard Guy playing instruments, and a new musician whose issue seems to be that his tight plastic pants are neutering him. Stupid Outfit Woman is back in the test tube, so she’s either resting after all that flying or she’s hiding from the little brat, who is currently unaccounted for, not having been seen since she caused that second explosion.

And that’s basically it. We finish out the song on this same set, with the camera whirling all over the place because somebody thought that might be fun. Stupid Outfit Woman decides to do an interpretive dance in her tube, and no one bothers to make her stop because there’s only a few seconds left and she seems to be very invested in her writhing.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is how a new network was born.

I’ll give you a few moments to think about that…


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

No comments:

Post a Comment