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Spot That Meme with Weezer

Weezer's new video: a cool and clever mirror held up to the face of contemporary pop culture, or simply a tired, worn gimmick that's been done before? Leave a comment!

I'll admit, I've never been a huge fan of Weezer's music -- I've always thought their whole "soft/loud" dynamic and ironic white-guy posturing were explored to better effect by earlier bands like the Pixies, and that one "Beverly Hills" tune a couple years ago seemed phoned in with about as much effort and enthusiasm as it takes to spot a pair of fake tits in the Playboy Grotto from which one would think the song itself was oh-so-wearily written -- but I always thought their videos were pretty cool.

The one for "Buddy Holly," off their first album, seemed to open the pop-culture floodgates for ironic recollections of decades-old cheese in a way that seemed fun and clever at the time ("Whoa, is this the Foo Fighters...in a Mentos commercial?! Oh, wait...")

I thought it was cool how the band was digitally inserted into Arnold's hamburger joint (awkwardly as it looks, by today's standards), and that The Fonz seemed to be doing his crazy, pseudo-Russian dance to Weezer's music. I remember telling my friends in film school about it, and excitedly watching it every time it came on The MTV (note to The Kids: we didn't have DVRs back then, and MTV actually played music videos at one time.)

But that was almost 15 years ago, which makes me wonder: am I just a jaded old fart who's not smoking as much primo weed as I did in college when Weezer first came out, or is this cheese-culture regurgitation shit just done? With well over 3 million views, I guess I'm leaning towards the latter, but I'm interested in hearing what some of you think about this video.

When I watched the new "Pork and Beans," I guess I did get a couple little thrill-tingles of recognition -- "Ooh! It's Dramatic Prairie Dog! And Numa Numa guy! And Diet Coke + Mentos!" -- that made me feel semi-good about myself for being connected to the Zeitgeist, but once it was over, I found myself saying, So F'ing What?

(I also found myself wondering where some of my personal fave Internet memes were, like Benny Lava, Hatt Baby or Golimar -- hey, I'm a sucker for foreign weirdness and bad translations.)

Another video on the Weezer YouTube channel happens to be the guy from "Will It Blend?" putting the new CD + a can of pork and beans into a blender, so their marketing people are clearly placing a lot of stock into the power of Internet pop culture:

So what do YOU think? Is this music video clever and innovative, or is it just the product of some marketing guy's creative laziness?

What memes did you spot in the video that others may have missed? What memes were missing that you think should have made the cut? Am I just waaaay overthinking this whole thing and writing way too much about a stupid music video?

Leave a comment!

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I wasn't really paying much attention to the video and the memes in it as I was marveling at how much Rivers Cuomo looks amazingly like the long-lost brother of Kix Brooks (of Brooks & Dunn fame). Trust me, put them side by side and you'll see what I'm talking about......

said Bigus Dickus on May 27, 2008 1:34 PM.

Holy crap, you're right, Bigus! Is that 'stache supposed to be ironic, or post-ironic, or what? I just can't keep up any more, man.

Guess it's cool to see Miss South Carolina getting work outside a Dairy Queen, though. Good for her.

said Jeem on May 27, 2008 1:51 PM.

As always, Weezer is brilliant.

I wish they would have had that creepy Indian smoking midget though.

said Johnny Wright on May 27, 2008 1:58 PM.

To me it is an interesting commentary that in order to do a parody video in todays culture (as opposed to the Happy Days/Buddy Holly parody) the video has to use internet memes. It all about shared experiences. As a society, especially the subset of society that watches Weezer videos, we are more likely to know the dramatic prairie dog or the guys from Eepy Bird than we are to have collectively seen the same TV shows or movies. This video is simple parody and parody will always exist, the video directors rightly understand that in order to have a shared culture to tap into they are better off using a guy tossing ray-bans than an episode of "How I Met Your Mother." Media habits have changed and I suspect we will see more of this as traditional forms of pop-culture become less and less relevant.

said Mike Cox on May 27, 2008 2:20 PM.

Johnny: good call -- can't believe I forgot about the breakdancing midget. Think I lost a solid week of work when that one came out.

Mike: very astute commentary, but I guess I'm on the fence about whether this actually constitutes "parody" or not. When I think of parody, I think of the old Zucker Bros. comedies like Airplane -- exaggerating the conventions of the movies they're aping, to make a deliberate commentary on them.

But is stuff like this Weezer video actually exaggerating to make a statement, or simply copying bits of pop culture that they know people will recognize? (It's kinda the same gripe I have with "Family Guy," which I feel, unlike shows like "The Simpsons," simply randomly inserts pop culture references into the narrative, without rhyme, reason or context, and without really making any statements other than "Hey, look, it's Peter Griffin where Han Solo ought to be.")

But then, I think I'm probably also in the minority on that particular show. Okay, flame on, Stewie fans...

said Jeem on May 27, 2008 2:45 PM.

I think it is just a plain old-fashioned gosh dern good musical video.

I'm just waiting for someone to mash it up with a fake trailer for Jaws: The Comedy. That, my friends, would be art.

said Don't Swayze Bro on May 27, 2008 3:08 PM.

I quite enjoyed it. The song is all about resisting conformity. I like to think that the creators of the video chose these quasi-celebrities because they align well with the message of the song. These internet icons all achieved some semblance of fame by being unconventional. When I watch the song, I see a celebration of the quirky and unique. Granted, these folks are becoming more mainstream every day but the web is very effective at making sure that everything becomes mainstream eventually.


said Austin Guy on May 27, 2008 11:11 PM.

DSB: I think you and I must have pretty similar artistic sensibilities, because I would love to see that as well. (But then, I'm also a sucker for sharks.)

Austin Guy: well said, and if that's so, then I guess in this particular instance, these Internet memes do fit thematically.

I also wonder, though, if mainstream media's fairly recent co-opting of Internet celebrities in general also has something to do with their inherent "realness" (or authenticity, genuineness, or whatever you want to call it) which they can't manufacture themselves. (See Tay Zonday's Dr. Pepper commercial, for instance.)

said Jeem on May 28, 2008 10:08 AM.

Jeem: Actually, looking at it again, I think you are dead on. It isn't really parody in the true sense of the word, but it is funny and interesting. I think randomness has become the new form of creating jokes, thats why it is funny to me when the "gravy train" rolls through the Griffin's living room. I guess sometimes it should just be about l'art pour l'art and you can just veg out and laugh at the references you notice.

said Mike Cox on June 2, 2008 3:25 PM.
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