Sunday, October 24, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: The Motels - “Only the Lonely”

There’s a brief “opening credits” shot that we don’t really care about, especially since it doesn’t fit with the rest of the video and we could have done without it. Then we start the real business, with the camera focusing in on a ceiling fan, then dropping down into the lobby of an old-timey hotel. Here comes the lead singer (Martha?) strolling across this lobby and wearing all black, so you know she’s really sad about something. She’s headed toward a little table, but before she can get there her inner tragedy overwhelms her and she starts warbling the song.

She turns toward the camera, and we really want to listen to her woeful tale and support her in any way that we can, but we’re completely distracted by her hat. (Did a bird fall out of the sky?) I guess even Martha realizes that the dead bird thing is a bit much, so she turns and wanders out of the scene.

Cut to Martha stomping into an empty restaurant, chairs on the tables and all that so it’s either really late or really early. She hasn’t lost the hat, probably because there were too many bobby pins holding it in place, and she’s too tired to deal with that right now. She wanders through the restaurant, looking for something, but doesn’t seem to find it. Since she hasn’t bothered to let us know what the missing thing might be, we still can’t help her out. We’re not being very good friends at all, so maybe we should sing something sad as well.

Martha walks up to the bar just as the counter starts glowing and the bartender pops up from behind the bar. (Not sure that I care for this development. It looks all “Jack Nicholson finally losing his mind in the Overlook Hotel” just before he picks up an axe.) The bartender already has her drink ready, so he’ll probably get a great tip, if Martha can stop singing long enough to figure out where her purse is. (Maybe that’s what she was looking for a bit ago. Poor thing. Sad and possibly penniless. But at least there’s alcohol.)

Oh, look, the bartender just quickly served her three drinks in a row. I think I need to find this bar.

We don’t actually see Martha drink these beverages, but she must have, because when she turns around to walk away from the bar, the restaurant is now filled with patrons, all of them wearing increasingly dramatic hats, so there must be some type of pageant going on. Martha doesn’t care and just keeps walking, still not having found what she’s looking for.

Quick shots of some of the other patrons. The guys look shifty and untrustworthy, but that’s normal for guys, so we don’t really learn anything. Martha keeps walking, but suddenly a new guy walks into the place and up to her. They kiss passionately, even though Martha is magically able to keep singing the song. Unfortunately, there must have been something wrong with the lip-lock (bad breath? too much tongue? fangs?), because Martha shoves him to the side, clutching at her offended mouth as she runs along.

More shots of the other patrons. Most of them look drunk or unsure of what they’re supposed to be doing while the camera rolls. Next thing you know, Martha is finally ripping off that stupid hat, bobby pins be damned. She gets really invested in running her hands through her hair and tilting her head in ecstasy, so perhaps someone should tell her she’s not in a commercial for Head and Shoulders.

Now we have a montage of a band playing, people ordering more drinks at the bar, some dancing, possible gambling, a creepy duo dressed alike and looking at each other in an odd way, more drinking, and what might be zombies coming to life at one of the tables. (No idea what that last bit was about.)

Back to Martha, her hair still blowing about like Hurricane Zelda just hit shore. The utter self-love that Martha is expressing for her hair causes a guy sitting nearby to knock over his table and spill his drink. This is probably the most tragic thing I’ve seen happen in the entire video.

Once again with Martha sitting at the bar, chatting with the bartender who likes to hide behind things. She’s got another drink, naturally, and she’s smoking, which means she’s a total tramp. Apparently the bartender says something rude to her, because she gets up and stomps off again. (Can this woman simply not sit still and enjoy her cocktail? Relax, honey.) The bartender gives her a friendly wave as she leaves, meaning he doesn’t understand that he’s a chauvinistic pig and will never get married.

Suddenly, we have a close-up of Martha, and based on her orgiastic expression, it would probably be very helpful to learn just what the hell happened between the last scene and this one. Martha’s not saying, instead choosing to finish up the song. The camera pulls back, and we see that Martha is sprawled out on top of one of the tables, clearly in a post-coital position. (I told you. Alcohol and nicotine lead to wanton encounters on furniture.)

The camera keeps easing back from the scene while the music slowly fades, showing us that the restaurant is completely empty, meaning her lusty suitor made a beeline for the door as soon as he was done. Poor Martha. Now she’ll have to write another sad song about abandonment. Just as soon as someone can help her get off this table…


Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.

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