Thursday, February 14, 2008

Negligent like candy.

The latest bit of celebrity controversy that's filling America's news hole is, singer/actress/tween demigod, Miley Cyrus being called out by Consumer Reports for failing to wear a seat belt in a scene from the her recent hit Hannah Montana concert movie. As you can read, the whole affair even elicited a public achy breaky apology from daddy Billy Ray.

Now I'm all for automobile safety. Although I grew up not wearing a seatbelt, nowadays I feel practically naked in a car unless I buckle up. Also given the fact that the whole Hannah Montana phenomenon has shown that she exerts a Charles Manson like influence over tween America, it would be good policy on her part to set good examples. However, in the end I think she's getting a raw deal. She was apparently caught not wearing a seat belt in the back seat (the back seat of a freakin' Land Rover as oppose to a Fiat) which in my book is totally optional. Secondly, in contrast to contemporary teen queens like Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Lynn Spears, not remembering to click it is about as edgy as Angela Lansbury at the public library. Finally, other teenie boppers have gotten away with a lot more; case in point the ludicrous display that was Mandy Moore's "Candy."

Watching the video now, as cliched as it sounds, really does takes one back to a simpler time. Mandy and I are both the same age and I'm fairly sure she has similar feelings of nostalgia mixed with healthy embarrassment every time she watches the video too. The whole thing feels so forced, so amateur, so nauseatingly mediocre. I give her nothing but the highest props for growing and changing into the star she is today; because if one had to judge based on "Candy" it would appear she would have forever been pegged a fourth tier, one hit, teen fad, rubbing elbows with the boys of 5ive, or Wila Ford on some VH-1 celebreality train wreck.

Viewing the video with a critical eye reveals other wrongs beyond just ascetics though. One overarching issue that permeates the whole video is just how jailbaity the whole thing is. I didn't notice it myself as a fellow 15 year old watching it, but as I got older and video Mandy stayed the same, I notice how creepy and awkward a 14 year old trying to look like a sex kitten appears. At least Britney was 17 when "...Baby One More Time" came out.

The real issue comes up when all of Mandy's "BFF"s show up and they all decide to hop into Mandy's lime green (apparently license plate-less) Beetle and head on over to the malt shop. Even generously assuming that this is some state that allows a 14 year old to drive...four kids, one car, no seat belts! Their trip there is the very model of extreme recklessness. Everybody seems too absorbed in singing the song to pay attention to the road as they barrel down the suburban streets. I don't think at any point in this murderous joyride does Mandy even look at the road. She's either singing and making suggestive faces out the window or staring at the sky through the open sun roof, or trying to pick up that blue shirted goon (who looks damn near 30) with the bike. After enjoying their hearty meal of complimentary water (possible endorsement of anorexia?) they go out and to their required impromptu choreographed dance sequence in the parking lot. This is enough to attract that random pedophile and his friends again and they just take off on his scooter...with total disregard for helmet laws. They end up in some empty pool in the backyard of a house that you expect Chris Hanson to pop out of any second, where they continue their step routine surrounded by daredevil skaters (who also aren't wearing any protection).

So to review, in the course of under 4 minutes, "Candy" has advised the impressionable youth of my generation to:
  • Drive at 14
  • Not wear seat belts
  • Speed with impunity
  • Not actually look at the road while driving
  • Possibly not eat
  • Dance with impunity
  • Not wear helmets on motorbikes
  • Pick up strangers who are twice your age
  • Trespass empty pools
  • Do crazy stunts on skate boards in said pool
  • Don't wear helmets while doing said stunts in said pool
  • Dance with impunity some more
We were better off watching our Eminem videos. And now the media's pointing a finger at Miley Cyrus for not buckling up in the back seat? Boy, standards sure have changed in the last 8 or so years.

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