Welcome to ‘What Is Your Damage,’ Annie Barrett’s summer shop of all the melodrama and self-absorption she misses from springtime reality TV. Every Tuesday and Friday, she’ll rant about a current offense to her humanity, then assess readers’ damages via video replies. Don’t be shy about admitting what annoys or intrigues you. We’re all in this pop cult together!
What is your damage, Katy Perry? You’re making me feel like a hard old bitch.
Until yesterday my impression of you had been somewhat vague, a smattering of visuals and a strong if nonsensical set of aural hooks. If I heard your name, I’d think of rainbow sherbet , hot dogs that are really people, Snoop Dogg rolling a pair of sugarcube dice, and gummy bears come to life. Basically a child’s, or stoner’s, paradise. (If you did a “Downtempo Snaxxx Remix” of each hit single, by the way, you could easily corner another segment of the population.) I’m pretty sure I could pick your voice out of a police lineup, for crimes against candy. And without even trying, I somehow know all of your singles. Are there drugs in those? I hear them once and by the second go-round I’m BELTING them like some wall-licking beast.
I went to see your new Independence Day movie Katy Perry: Part of Me yesterday, in search of some quality 3-D action after Spider-Man had let me down. Ha, no. I went because I wanted to get to know you, give you a better chance. You’ve annoyed me since 2007, when a 7-inch vinyl copy of “UR So Gay” landed on my desk. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away because I kept thinking “I will eventually look into that… creature and write about how awful it is.” Of course I never did. That record haunted me for at least a year (Was I gay? and unrelated: why was I so lazy?) and you, whoever you were, were dead to me for equating “gay” with “lame” just to fling yourself onto the radar. It wasn’t the end of the world but I was still all “Ugh, no.” Same with “I Kissed a Girl,” pretty much. Ugh, no.
Hating things is no fun, though, and the more bits and pieces and chocolate shavings I collected re: you, the more I suspected we were kindred spirits in many ways. We could even be bosom friends, if you would just let me borrow some of yours.
Check out all of these things I LOVE:
–a big-ass spectacle (100 percent Pure Cheese)
–your refusal to wear stilettos while “dancing”
–absurd costumes ft. sparkles
–your enormous green eyes and constantly lactating boobs
–the illusion of invincibility
–peacocks as sex symbols (they’re soooooo beautiful)
–gingerbread men as backup-dancing bodyguards
–the way the beginning of “Hummingbird Heartbeat” sounds like the Love Theme from Twin Peaks
I’m not into man-sized purple cats but figured everyone’s got a “thing” and we could work with that.
I thought if I got to know the real Katy Perry in a documentary film about her, I’d like her better. But after the movie, it turns out I still have very little idea as to who that is. I know you reside in Candy Land and “feel a real connection to fairy tales,” but that was already pretty clear. What’s going on underneath all the artifice? Don’t get me wrong — it looks delicious. But I feel like I paid for a deep-fried Twizzler and then as soon as I sank my teeth in to gnaw at the meat, the Twizzler had vanished. Perhaps Lady Gaga had stolen it after pillaging the lair of Lord Licorice (Alexander Skarsgard) a few cobbler-stone steps up on the board.
There were hints of real life happening offstage in the movie — your preacher parents’ discomfort at discussing the sexual nature of your songs, the rarely alluded-to deterioration of your marriage to Russell Brand. I find it fascinating, and also a little creepy, that the set of the California Dreams tour was a deliberate construction of the childhood you were originally denied. Your parents never let you eat Lucky Charms (luck is the devil) or watch The Smurfs, so you commissioned a kingdom composed of rainbow marshmallows and literally became Smurfette. You’ve projected some deep-rooted psychological issues onto this massive stage show called “reality” — and here we are with you backstage in a concert documentary! So… tell us stuff!
I understand why you didn’t, though. This movie is for kids. Kids don’t like to delve. Kids will eat the fried matter and not notice there should have been something underneath.
Those kids WORSHIP you. It’s cute! And scary.
You are the ultimate gamepiece, and the object of the game is to steal all the kids’ money.
WHOA. Steal is the wrong word. It’s just a board game, so it’s all legal. You’re winning their money, is more like it. You are an exquisitely painted reverse centaur (Daisy Dukes, My Little Pony on top) riding high on a magical globe-trotting ice cream carousel. After the same tune tinkles out of the speaker yet again, someone flips the “on” switch (a lone green sequin on your butt) and you start spraying all the kids with your sticky sweet formula. No child left behind; they’ll be addicts forever. Again, sugar is legal so it’s fine.
Okay, that’s quite enough. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME, Katy Perry? I haven’t felt like such a cynical turd in a long time. Honestly, while I was watching the film 12 hours ago, I had a completely different perspective. Call it brainwashing or sugar pill therapy or whatever, but I felt genuinely happy lollipopping around in your fantasy dessert world. And those confessionals from the kids?! They melted my popsicle heart.
“Katy tells us it’s okay to stand out,” said a tiny fan. “You can never take it too seriously,” said another. “That’s just impossible.” YES. These are lovely things for kids to think. Just let them eat cake! What is MY damage? Why did I turn you into a drug dealer? I hope you understand that I think your Katycat drugs are harmless and that you are a genius. So can I have some more?
Back when I was drugged, my favorite part of the film was during one of your meet-and-greets with young fans, when you knelt down with an extremely thoughtful little boy who whispered to you that his favorite Katy Perry song was “Pearl.” You said “Well! You must be a really big fan,” or something of that nature — whatever it was, it was so sweet and let him know you were impressed. You drew him even further into your cotton candy orbit and he was just fuh-reaking out. And all the cynical b.s. I’d been thinking just disappeared, because who cares? We’d finally found the thinking man’s Katy Perry fan and he was SO CUTE.
I know you get a lot of crap about your spectacular cans. That kid didn’t care about your boobs. He cared about jewelry. Best of all, he’s had “You don’t have to be a shell / You’re the one that rules your world” running through his head for the past year, and the sentiment will stick with him forever. He is unstoppable, and I’m too far gone to relate. So THAT really got me.
Aw. I felt like a kid again for 95 minutes — and now I’m back to being a vicious beast who hallucinates centaurs. Why’d you have to let the final rose petal fall, Katy Perry?
I take it all back. You’re a wonderful influence. MORE SUGAR PLEASE. I do wonder what’s next for you though. Once you hit 30 (or 28, in my case), no one will think this diabetes death trap is cute anymore. Actual children will still LOVE it, but you’ll be older and it’s going to start to seem sad. Don’t be Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused. You could always cash in and do a stripper movie, but there’s plenty of time for that yet. May I suggest a transition from candy and princess-wear to… superheroes, maybe? Insects? The Greco-Roman gods? Tech support? There’s a world of costumes out there waiting to encapsulate your body… OF WORK.
To make a long story short — too late for that! — I’m just jealous that you get to live in Candy Land and that I, a direct descendant of Queen Frostine with much smaller boobs, don’t. That’s what the internet will say. Always trust the internet. It knows everything.
WHAT IS YOUR DAMAGE THIS WEEK, READERS? Tell me!
EW.com Reader Damages for July 6, 2012: I’ve ranked the following atrocities, submitted by readers this week, on a scale of 1 (harmless) to 10 (Heather Chandler).
–Madonna crying before singing “Like a Virgin”
–Mark Wahlberg’s hair in Ted
–this f—ing heat
–Fetch of the Week: Anderson Cooper
–Tina Fey rapping
–missing browsing for DVDs at Blockbuster
–Perez Hilton’s insane obsession with celebs being “healthy”
–big fuzz over Alec Baldwin leaving Twitter
–the live-tweeting of major life events
Click on the text prompts in the video player below to see my assessments.
What is your damage? What is with you today? What’s with today, today? Let me know what’s annoying you by sending me a “question” in the video box. Start with “From [your name, or a code name if it’s too embarrassing to be seen with me]” so I can address you properly). You can also tweet and/or e-mail me your damages. Do not mail me your damages. I do not believe in paper.
Thanks for playing along, and I’ll see you Friday!