Greensboro Wrestling Book Big discounts on
stuff you want!


Save money!
Peabody & Sherman cartoons on DVD Carol Burnett Christmas on DVD Carol Burnett Show on DVD Batman 1966 TV Show on DVD Greensboro Wrestling Book 1950's Saturday Morning Shows
Please consider a donation!
TV Shows on DVD/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / Movies on Blu Ray/ / / / / / / Holiday Specials on DVD / / / / / / Classic Commercials

 

 

'TVparty is hands down the best site on the Web for classic TV.'
- Discovery Channel

 

ShoutFactoryStoread

Classic TV
shows on DVD

Christmas
Specials on DVD

Movies on DVD Reviews

Billy Ingram's Book About Greensboro Hamburger (Squared)

Music Videos
Music Videos
by Cary O'Dell

Even today, well over 30 years since they entered the public consciousness (if you pinpoint the launch of MTV in 1981 as, more or less, their “official” birth year), and after the bestowing of all those “Moon Men” trophies handed out at the annual VMA’s (begun:  1984), music videos still have little truck either in scholarly circles or, really, with anyone else.  To avow an interest--or even love—for music videos (of the past or of the present) is to stake your love to some things that are still, by and large, viewed as silly, nostalgic, shallow, disposable, and rather immature. 

Granted, in a history that ranges from the band Journey’s painful preening at the camera in their “Separate Ways” clip from 1983 to Taylor Swift and her video-based revenge scenarios, there is a lot of dreck to be found within the music video genre.  But, then again, there’s a lot of dreck to be found in film, in book and on stage and on record, too.

But, thankfully, for every cringe-inducing, overly-edited clip (and there are a-plenty!), there’s a video (or two) that are not only enjoyable and timeless but also worthy of study and interpretation.  Or, at least, I think so.

For the next few weeks, in a series of posts, I’m going to “break down” some music videos and try to understand what they mean and why they resonate. 

 

“MMM MMM MMM MMM” by Crash Test Dummies (1993)

To some music aficionados only “We Built This City” by some latter-day incarnation (read:  remnants) of Jefferson Starship (known as just “Starship” by then, all broke down and stitched back together), is more annoying or a better example of an inexplicable pop success than this one-time hit by the Canadian band Crash Test Dummies.

Certainly the song’s non-sense chorus and almost-painful ear-worm tendencies works against it as something that is easily defended.

But the music video crafted by the band for the tune is a witness for its defense and the song; it’s an excellent example of how a music video can develop and add to a song’s original meaning and impact.

For the uninitiated, as a song “MMM MMM MMM MMM” (henceforth, “MMM” x 4), from the group’s album “God Shuffled His Feet,” has three verses that each tell of three different children (two boys, one girl) each suffering though a youth-centric humiliation.  The words-free chorus of “MMM” x 4 is sandwiched between each of these stories. 

In the first verse, we hear about a boy whose hair has turned ghostly white after he’s in a car accident.  In the second verse, a shy girl is forced to change clothes in front of some other girls only to reveal a body covered in birthmarks.  Finally, in the third, a boy finds himself, not only isolated from his peers (lyric:  [His] parents made him come directly home right after school) but completely out of place among the worship practices of his fundamentalist parents:  And when they went to their church/They shook/ And lurched all over the church floor.

Throughout the track, the fairy tale-ness of the song (its opening:  “Once, there was this boy who….”) and its choruses of easy-to-singalong mumbled hums belies the serious and sad undertones of the song, like the forced reveal of the little girl (But when they finally made her) in the second verse and the ostracization of the little boy in the final verse.

But, thanks to the song’s accompanying video, certain emotional aspects are underscored and the result is a surprisingly and honestly-won, emotional punch.

In some ways, the video takes a very literal approach to the song as it acts out each of the three children’s experiences.  But, rather than having them presented in a more documentary fashion (which could easily have been done), the three incidents are linked together by being presented as part of a three-act school play, complete with clumsy but inventive cardboard sets and slightly stiff child performers.  Each of the three incidents in the song are then acted out as part of this school program.  The effect is charming and seems to add to their universality.

Meanwhile, we see in the audience, that there is a mixed bag of nervous, wary and anxious parents.  (The actual band members are seen in the orchestra pit, and act as both narrator and Greek chorus.) 

As each playlet is acted out, each child’s set of parents is seen in the audience, all nearly busting with glee over this child’s onstage performance.  In doing so, they successfully turn these childhood traumas into, instead, minor personal victories.

That is, until, the third boy’s story is told.  Granted, the boy’s performance, in the sloppily-painted cardboard church, is half-hearted and wooden; he really doesn’t want to be there.  And as he struggles on stage, we see his disappointed and disapproving parents in the audience.  Are they unhappy about their son’s performance or that he’s on stage at all or that, perhaps, because their religious practices are being questioned?

The boy’s struggle is palatable and relatable.  It all has the effect of one of those nightmares where you stand paralyzed in fear.  The parents’s disapproval, meanwhile, is also practically tactile—who hasn’t, at least once, seen that look on their mom or dad’s face?

Even the three lead children’s curtain call at the end of the show does little to sway the opinion of the third boy’s parents who are last seen grimly exiting the theater, practically ashamed of what they have just witnessed.

As the band did previously with the video for their 1991 track “Superman’s Song” (1991), they show they have a skill for ringing emotion from childhood themes and experiences, and the Dummies explore this same theme deftly and further it in their music videos.  For “MMM” x 4, the “twist” of the end, sad as it is, is not really spelled out in the song, but is amplified in this visual accompaniment.  As such, you can’t help but feel for that defeated little boy at the end even long after the video fades away.

 

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
It is what it is!

Music Videos, Seriously

June Cleaver book

 

Amazon Prime - unlimited streaming
of your fave TV shows and movies!
Get your FREE 30 Day Trial!

PR4 & PR5 Pages for Advertising

 

 

Billy Ingram's Book About Greensboro Hamburger (Squared)



Post-Modern Sitcoms / Actors That Wrote Books / Bill Cosby - WTF?!? / Ed Asner Interview / Awful 1990s TV Shows / Emmy Award Multiple Winners / Anthony Zuiker: Mr. CSI / Diana Muldaur: A Viewer's History / When Stars Play Themselves / Small Roles Big Performances / Barbara Hall / Stars Before They Were Famous / Stars Before They Were Famous 2 / Stars Before They Were Famous 3 / A Better Classic TV Network / Bill Paxton / Music Videos / Shirley Jones Interview / What We Lost When We Lost VHS / When Hit TV Shows Return / Shows Nobody Remembers But Me 4 / Shows Nobody Remembers But Me 1 / Bryan Cranston Interview / State of TV Commercials / The Great Cable TV Migration / Movie Posters and the documentary 24x36 /Chris Robinson /Dallas Reboot /David Letterman /Auditioning For Game Shows in the 80s /Ghosts of Cable TV past / Honey Boo Boo - WTF?!? / Ian Abercrombie / Joe Franklin / John Nettles / Gotham / Jon Cryer / Jon Stewart / Lana Wood / David Letterman / Matt Bomer / Molly Ringwald / Morgan Brittany / Music Rights for TV Shows / Neilsen Ratings / Norman Lloyd / Not Your Dad's TV / TV Series Reunions / Rich Little / Special Bulletin with George Clooney / Top Ten Action Movies / 2013 Emmy Awards / 2010 Celebrity Deaths

Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV on the Internet!

TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments

 

Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / 2012 Emmy Awards / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Sammy Davis, Jr / Steve & Eydie/ Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Biff Burger / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You /  Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / 1980's Retro Gay T-Shirts / 1980's TV Wrestling / Fess Parker / Howdy Doody / TV Blog / Lost In Space / Pinky Lee / 1980's LA Punk Rock / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor big brotherShow / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More! 

Classic Commercials on DVD Lancelot Link Secret Chimp on DVD Fractured Fairy Tales on DVD Classic Commercials on DVD Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Book cartoons on DVD Tennessee Tuxedo on DVD
Looking for classic TV DVDs? See below:
TV Commercials on DVD Wrestling DVDs Classic TV Books
Jim Longworth Christmas Specials TV Shows on BLU-RAY

Save money!