Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hello? Is It The Most Unintentionally Hilarious Video Of The '80s You Were Looking For?

There are cheesy '80s music videos. And then there is Lionel Richie's "Hello."

Some artists viewed the new possibilities of the music video format as an opportunity to push the limits of visual creativity. Lionel Richie took it as an opportunity to push the limits of cheese.

The song "Hello" itself is already on the sappy side. "I've been alone with you inside my mind/and in my dreams I've kissed your lips a thousand times." Yeah, Lionel, like you're the first person to ever write a love song. But when that little chord swoops in after the word "for," and he slides into the chorus, I have to admit, I'm a goner.

But they needed to create a whole new category of cheese to accurately measure the cheese level in this video. You see, Lionel's a college professor (or a student teacher? a high school teacher?), she's a student, he's in love with her. Pretty corny. Except there's just one twist: she's blind.

Oh! Snap! Boo-yah!

No, Lionel, don't go there - wait - just - don't - but - aaaaaaaaaaaaand he went there.

It's hard to know what to say. There's the embarrassing play dialogue ("It isn't good for you Billy Boy. Too many memories, too many ghosts." "It's what I know - this, and the can."). There's the late night phone call. And finally, there is the sculpture. Oh, the sculpture.

You know what? I'll just let the YouTube users take it from here:
That statue needs a heavy douching of jerry curl juice to portray him accurately

No one has ever captured my jerry curl in clay......I'm jealous

Lionel Richie Chia Pet Head. On sale now!

Do you think that the bust of Lionel that looks nothing like him still exists? It's probably worth a fortune. I would love to own it. It would really tie the room together.

how does she put her makeup on??

Why is she reading with the lights on?

obviously pretending to be blind for a scholarship

Hello? Is it me you're looking for? Oh, sorry... I'll try back later. Do you know when she'll be in? Around 9, you say? I apologize for the mixup again, take care now.

What subject is he teaching? Mackin' 101

Yo, how come no one notices that Lionel Ritchie is singing in the middle of class out of nowhere.

Lionel, what the f*ck kinda shirt are you wearing @3:47? its like a striped button up tank-top-vest with pockets...


Herr Zrbo said...

My favorite part of this video is where he calls her up at the end (with the striped vest with pockets thing on) and after the awkward silence he just blurts out "Helloooo...". Pure awesomeness.

Also, have you seen this commercial for Starburst? It's quite relevant:

Little Earl said...

Thanks Zrbo, very juicy. Come to think of it, I probably did see that before, but I wouldn't have gotten the joke until now. I guess this is a pretty notorious video. Until recently, I was only familiar with the song (all too familiar, you might say).

It's hard to pick a favorite part, but let's try:

1) 0:59 - our mild-mannered Mr. Reynolds suddenly switches into tortured singing mode

2) 1:30 - he lunges desperately toward her while standing in the doorway

3) 2:22 - his attempt to woo her is thwarted by the sudden arrival of her friends

4) 2:42 - extra impassioned fist clench

5) 4:01 - he's still on the phone, but the phone just sort of slides out of the frame as he slips back into singing mode.

It's all about the abrupt transitions between "normal" Lionel and "singing" Lionel. He doesn't just start singing; it's like he "snaps" back into it (see 5:14 as another example of this disturbing syndrome).

It's the perfect illustration of how music videos tend to operate in some kind of alternate universe. In this sense, "Hello" isn't really a literal story; it's a "feeling."