Video Review

Manicured Manliness, Manipulative Machinations and the Misogyny of Referring to a Woman as “Girl” and Not Her Actual Name: Rick Springfield – “Jessie’s Girl”

Note: Recently, the beguiling Marietta at “The Mordant Scribe” posted a whimsical bit inspired by this song. As we chatted in the comments, I confessed that I had once done a review of the associated music video. She promptly ordered me to resuscitate the piece and share it immediately.

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. Her words were more along the lines of “Oh, how nice for you. Perhaps someday we can revisit this minimally-enticing revelation, hopefully a day wherein I have nothing else to do with my life. Now, I’ve got to run organize my spice cabinet because… well, that would allow me to politely end this conversation without making any commitments that don’t line up with my life plan.” She did not let the door hit her in the ass on the way out.

Okay, more exaggeration. It’s the Bonnywood Manner.

Still and all, I dragged this review out of the cesspool of my past misdeeds, ripped off the cobwebs (don’t you hate it when those things get caught in your hair?), and added a fresh layer of paint. Here we go…

 

We start out with Jessie and his infamous girl standing in front of a brick wall, where he is claiming her as a possession by spray-painting “Jessie’s Girl” on said wall. Because nothing says true love like random acts of vandalism, right? Girl runs into Jessie’s arms, so proud that she’s finally hooked up with a man that can spell.

Cue Rick to wander into the frame from the left, wearing a Members Only jacket and sperm-killing jeans. He warbles the tune for a bit as he watches the happy couple run off to kick over some trashcans or whatever, then Rick suddenly turns to face the camera in a dramatic move that he probably picked up during his days on “General Hospital”.

The rest of Rick’s band magically appears in front of the graffiti wall, and they jam for roughly two seconds before the other guys disappear and it’s just Rick, wearing a Billy Joel suit. Whoops, band is back. (This is some really high-tech editing. Yay!)

Oh wait, now the band is somewhere else, and Rick has changed clothes again. He’s wearing suspenders at this point, disproving the current theory that no one ever actually wore those things except Robin Williams and confused aficionados of “Dungeons and Dragons”. More jamming, with Rick looking completely stiff and pawing at his guitar like he’d never even held one before someone handed it to him just as the cameras started rolling. (Wait, is this documentary? Could be.)

Cut to a close-up of Girl’s eyes, then to Rick back in the Members Only jacket, watching as Jessie and Girl flirt briefly and then run off to another part of the unexplained garden that we now find ourselves in for no apparent reason. Jessie watches them go, all sad, then he stiff-legs it in the other direction because his jeans won’t allow him to bend at the knees.

Back to Rick and the band in front of the graffiti wall, with the band appearing and disappearing while Rick shows us that he’s wearing tennis shoes with his suit, because he is SO beyond cool. Wait, now we’re over in that other place where Rick and his band are jamming. Rick’s lost the suspenders at this point, so that’s good, but we spend a really long time with the camera crammed in Rick’s face so every boy in high school at that time can study and copy Rick’s hairstyle. And they did.

Now we’re in Rick’s (or at least somebody’s) bathroom, where he’s washing his face in the sink. (Look how far Rick has to bend over to get to this sink. That thing is low. Do you have to follow a yellow brick road to get to this apartment?) Suddenly, Rick is playing a guitar in this bathroom (makes sense, right?) and gazing in the mirror, where we can see an image of Girl, who is clearly not interested in looking back at him. He gets fed up with the non-attention, and finally shoves the guitar into the mirror, glass shattering. Guess he won’t be getting his deposit back.

We roll into another montage, with close-ups of Rick trying to play the guitar, interspersed with repeat viewings of Rick destroying the bathroom mirror, so they must have spent a lot of money on the special effects for that mess and they want to make sure we see it. This happened a lot with music videos in the 80s. The editor would fetishize over one clip and then repeat the damn thing until we were screaming for salvation. (It never occurred to us that we could just turn off “MTV” and go read a book.)

Next up, we once again have Rick in his skinny suit, with the band trying to look professional behind him. (“Professionalism” has become a very lax term the last few decades. Or is that just me?) We segue way to more shots of the band in that other place, with Rick standing next to Where’s Waldo, making an unbilled cameo. Close-up of Rick’s face to ensure us that if you cut your hair like his, you really don’t have to know how to play a guitar. Midway through this bit, Rick does another one of his “General Hospital” moves, like he’s just informed one of his patients that she does, indeed, have an incurable case of gastritis.

They finish up the song, and then the camera pans over to Jessie and Girl sitting in what looks like a really-cheesy movie theater. Girl doesn’t appear to be having much fun, but this might have something to do with the white dog that is sitting three rows up, wearing a shirt and tie and staring at the movie screen like it’s a “Lassie” retrospective.

How clever. The producers are making an obvious reference to the cover shot of the album on which this song appeared, “Working Class Dog”. As if Rick and his tightly-trussed testicles knew anything about the “working class” at this point, huge star that he was. Apparently, those producers were all about the marketing.

You know what might be a better marketing plan? Not releasing a song that is essentially all about stalking someone who doesn’t want you in the first place, thereby inspiring a generation of maturity-stunted men to do just the same. But maybe that’s just me.

Cheers.

 

Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

 

Previously published in the original version of “Backup Dancers From Hell.” Modified somewhat for this post. Once again, my thanks to Marietta, who both inspired me to dig this one out as well as gave me fodder for the re-write, both in the title and the contents. At the end of the day, we all steal a little bit from each other when it comes to writerly inspiration. And so it goes…

 

13 replies »

  1. I just finished putting my spice rack in alphabetical order, so I had a little time to read. This is a wonderfully funny review, about one of the most misogynistic songs ever written. It’s hard to believe we tolerated anything out of the 80’s. Great piece my friend and thanks for including me in the hilarity. I think we should definitely do an interview; it will be either epic or we’ll both be banned forever on WordPress. Either way, I think it will be fun. I’ll send you a direct message on Twitter, since I have no idea how to message privately on this site and we can get the ball rolling. 😎❤💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so happy to hear that you were able to tend to your spice rack. (Word on the street is that it was in a wretched mess, with no one able to find the oregano at critical times.) I am greatly looking forward to the interview, and I promise whole-heartedly to do my very best to reach the level of banishment. Otherwise, what’s the point of life?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review of Rick and his misogynistic bs. 🙂 Thanks also to Marietta Rodgers.

    I hate being referred to as a “girl” and dislike it even more when I hear grown women referring to each other that way. It’s been a long time since I was running around in black patent shoes and pigtails. Yikes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s really amazing how casually some folks toss about derogatory terms with no thought given to the matter. Granted, freedom of speech and all, but that doesn’t mean one should abandon common sense and general decency…

      Like

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