Gay Christmas arrived last night in the form of the latest Lady Gaga video for ”Telephone,” which features Beyoncé. Before I pontificate on the video itself, why don’t you just take a gander at the infusion of Thelma & Louise, ridiculous fashions, sandwich making (hello, Miracle Whip!), and ”Cell Block Tango”
First of all: What a beautiful mess. You can be assured that I spent the nine-plus minutes with my eyes bugging out, ferociously taking down ideas for potential Halloween costumes.
And second of all: Bravo Gaga! Say what you will about the diva and this video specifically (I’ve already been reading some less-than-enthusiastic reviews on the internets this morning, although I’m not gonna dignify them by linking), but ”Telephone” is a masterpiece. And, it goes without saying that no one in the past decade has done more for the music video genre than this lady. Just look at the fact that the anticipation for this nine and a half minute clip warranted a week-long run-up, with promotions for its big reveal on E! last night beginning during the Oscars on Sunday. Is it as good as her epic ”Bad Romance” video? Sadly, I don’t think so. But it’s better than anything else out there.
True, I found myself confused during most of the video. A billion questions floated to mind: Is Lady Gaga in prison now after being arrested in ”Paparazzi”? Since when did a women’s prison turn into a banging lesbian club, complete with Cell Block Tango and make-out sessions? (Oh, wait?nevermind.) Where the eff did she get those (literally smokin’) cigarette sunglasses? And, why haven’t I ever thought of using Diet Coke cans as hair rollers before? (Lord knows I’ve got piles of them here in my office.) Is that Lady Gaga out of Lady Gaga-wear (aka Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) there in the prison?!? (YES!) Who — tell me, who! — has even considered eating a Honey Bun in the past decade? And why are Gaga and her posse using sandwich items like heads of lettuce and baguettes as telephones? Is that Miracle Whip? But, really, who cares? It’s fun!
The mini-movie featured much more than just the song, clearly. My favorite were the slew of awesome lines, starting with the moment after the prison guards ripped Gaga’s clothes off and threw her in a cell: ”I told you,” one butch guard said to another, ”she didn’t have a d — .” Lord jesus! And I was simultaneously delighted and perplexed by Gaga’s bon mot upon getting into the car with her apparent-lover Beyoncé: ”You know what they say: Once you kill a cow, you gotta make a burger.” That whole thing — PussyWagon and all — was so beyond Thelma & Louise I almost couldn’t stand it.
And then there’s the add of poor Tyrese — who didn’t last long. He had to go, after dissing B, which also sparked a genius line: ”I knew you’d take all my honey,” Beyoncé told him after poisoning him, ”you selfish mother f — er!”
It’s funny, I actually found myself not even paying attention one iota to the music. I’ve been listening to ”Telephone” for what feels like years now, so this video instantly became about obsessing over what Gaga added to the song, the over-the-top one-liners, the weird product placement (Virgin Mobile!), the eye-candy visuals, the WTF-iness of the story. Autostraddle does an amazing and rather hilarious nearly frame-by-frame breakdown of the video, which I believe is essential reading material, for helping to decipher — or at least revel in — ”Telephone.”