Thursday, June 2, 2011

Backup Dancers From Hell: No Doubt - “Just A Girl”

We start out at somebody’s house, where the band members are packing instruments and suitcases in to a car, possibly preparing for a road trip or reacting to the latest threat that the Resurrection is Nigh. Then we get shots of Gwen, obviously not interested in helping the others pack, and more concerned with showing us her latest slightly-crazed outfit and ability to look sexy while standing in front of a nearby wrecked car.

We finally get on the road, and Gwen is in the back seat with her homies, warbling away and making really big, violent hand gestures. (You clearly don’t want to ride in a car with Gwen for very long because you’ll probably end up an unintentional victim of domestic violence.) We get brief glimpses of highway signage, but it’s too fast to figure if we’re going to Anaheim, El Paso, or Canada.

The gang arrives at some building with split personalities. The guys are shuffled into a nasty, rundown public men’s room, lugging their gear and avoiding wet spots. Gwen and her exposed belly waltz in the Ladies’ Room, where everything is all sunshine and pretty flowers in a vaguely Art Deco motif. While the guys busily set up their equipment and discreetly write down phone numbers that they spy on the stained stall walls, Gwen bounces around her designer digs and bats her eyelashes in time to the beat of the song.

And that’s our basic premise, folks. We don’t deviate much from that. The guys are pounding on their instruments in the dirty bathroom (ah hem), while Gwen is an energetic, one-woman cheerleading squad over in the Lovely Loo. (Who knows where she managed to find that microphone. She certainly wasn’t carrying it when she and her blinding hair arrived. Maybe bathrooms in L.A. just naturally come with sound equipment.)

Brief montage comparing the two bathrooms, just in case you hadn’t noticed that one of them completely sucks and the other one has diamond-accented toilet paper. Then Gwen is singing some more, with the camera at just the right angles to accent her facial jewelry, choice of lip color, and high-kicking. (The two primly-uniformed bathroom attendants sitting in the background are starting to get on my nerves, in a Stephen King / Stanley Kubrick kind of way. They can leave at any time, thanks.)

Back in the Trashy Toilet, the drummer whips off his shirt in a frenzy of drumstick euphoria. I’m not sure that I would recommend such a maneuver in a place where unspeakable things have obviously happened in the past, but to each his own. At least they all seem to be happy over there, bouncing with almost as much enthusiasm as Gwen. Or maybe they’re just trying to avoid the roaches.

Wait, do we seem to have even more people in the Boys’ Room now? Just where are those extra folks coming from? Are people seriously choosing to come into this place and watch a band perform on questionably-slippery ugly tile?

Checking in with Gwen, we see that she must be really tired, because now she’s wallering around on the floor of her Boutique Boudoir. This attempt at a nap doesn’t stop her from singing, though. I don’t think anything can.

We start getting shots of lots of women putting on makeup. I suppose this might have some charms for certain people, but I don’t derive any rapturous pleasure from it. (And I’ve never understood that business with licking your finger and then smoothing out your eyebrows. Really? You want spit on your face? Okay.)

The makeup montage goes on for quite a while, interspersed with shots of the shirtless drummer, urinals, odd Victorian bongs, and Gwen doing a modified form of yoga that might possibly be good for natural breast enhancement.

And then Gwen gets back to singing, starting in again with those two creepy Donna Reed attendants hovering over her shoulders. Gwen snatches up a flower and starts waving it around like it’s her best friend in the entire world while a giant fan blows her locks around, then she quickly tosses it aside, because you sometimes have focus issues when you can constantly feel the wind on your belly button. She finishes up this bit by doing another high kick and then shaking her head back and forth like Pebbles Flintstone on acid.

Next thing you know, both bathrooms are crammed full of worshipful people dancing frantically to the song. But the guys yearn for something better in life, so they bust into Gwen’s Palatial Potty. (Okay, “bust in” is a little strong, since they basically walk around the fake wall of the set, but still, there’s a brief moment of potential destruction, which is exciting.)

And now we got into overdrive, with Gwen bouncing with more enthusiasm than ever, her whirling ponytail becoming a dangerous weapon in the now-close quarters. But no one cares about possible death by rock-star hair, with folks laughing and running and forming one of those conga lines to snake through the maze of people and toilets. It’s all very festive. Unless you just came in here to actually use the facilities, in which case the impromptu parade might get on your nerves a wee bit. Not a time to be pee shy, sayin.

Finally, all these people that we don’t know go away, and it’s just Gwen. She flops on the floor a little more, does a few pushups because she’s health-conscious that way, gives us yet another opportunity to see her midriff, and confirms that mascara is a really important part of her life. Then she ends by looking really sad and helpless, staring at the camera forlornly…

What, did she just realize that she doesn’t have any spare cash to tip the Attendants From Hell and might not make it out of the bathroom alive? Uh oh. This could get very serious very quickly. People who wear orthopedic shoes do NOT play…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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