I’ll post my mixed reaction to the finale of Glee‘s second season sometime tomorrow, but first I’m going to quickly comment on the image from that hour that actually made the biggest impression on me… for all the wrong reasons!
Sometimes fear is a much more powerful emotion than joy or intrigue, and so the very notion of this frightening advertisement has stuck with me in a way that most of the lackluster visuals from the actual episode I was watching, oh, three hours ago, have not. “A commercial,” you ask derisively? “Come on Charles, man up!” you implore. Watch it… Gape in awe and then in horror (and then laugh for a good minute or two as we did after it played live) as you watch the ego of a young man who believes he has the heart of every teenage girl (is this girl even a teenager? Is this against the law?) trapped in his sparkling eyes explode in 30 seconds of artistically-shot, horrifying, I-can’t-look-away glory.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the Biebs. Nice kid, Canadian, catchy tunes. “Baby” is my jam! (not really… maybe? hmm…). Methinks he’s gotten a little carried away on this one, though. Just sayin’. I mean, what self-respecting guy creates a girl’s perfume with a rose coming out of it, and proceeds to sell it as the pure embodiment, the distilled essence, of his wonder? At first I was thinking this might be an ad for Dior or something, and they just cast Bieber and this Taylor Swift look-alike in it to grab the teen audience. After all, Bieber’s been in a lot commercials lately.
Casting Bieber as the romantic lead in an ad for someone else’s product, that’d be logical I guess? Right? Then I realized, to my horror, that Justin Bieber is not the romantic lead in this advertisement. No, he’s not even really in that room! He’s… a symbol! A projection of desire! He is (*swoon*) his own perfume, embodied in the mind of the girl who wears it. Justin Bieber, handsome symbol of pleasent-smelling perfumes everyewhere! He should put that on bussiness cards.
Ultimately, I’m not exactly sure what the message is here, but it could go one of two ways. Either “Someday by Justin Bieber” will, when you apply it, make you feel like Justin Bieber is giving you a strange piggyback ride while floating in mid-air and then kissing you on the neck (eww…), or “Someday by Justin Bieber” is the perfume that will actually make Justin Bieber, teen idol, want to give you a piggyback ride and whisper sweet nothings in your ear as he sensitively pushes your bangs to the side and “Flynn Rider” smolders… (Sorry, Selena Gomez…)
I want to believe this is a farce, a winking satire of teen crooners as sex symbols writ large for our enjoyment, but I know that it is not. Bieber’s been pretty ace about mocking his status as a symbol of worship and derision in the past, but not even an ounce of this is self-mocking or tonally light. It is, in this saddest possible way, unintentionally funny. Say what you will about teen idols, but I don’t think that Elvis, Paul McCartney, or NKOTB were ever portrayed quite this way (buy my perfume; it smells like I want you to smell! *wink*). I think we’ve reached a new plateau of marketing and packaging our teen idols. Even the respectable, humble, pleasant, Canadian ones. I don’t think I like it. Nope, actually, I’m afraid…