Let's play a super-fun round of Analogies! If "California Gurls": The Beach Boys' "California Girls," is "Teenage Dream," Katy Perry's latest video, somehow akin to the Beach Boys' teen-symphony masterpiece Pet Sounds? Um, what do you think?
While the song's not exactly "God Only Knows" caliber (it's not even "Cocomo" caliber), by Perry's standards, this video is practically demure! Sure, there are lyrics like "let's go all the way tonight/no regrets just love" and "put your hands on me in my skintight jeans/I'll be your teenage dream tonight" and, yes, there's some obligatory suggestive popsicle-licking and girls-sharing-bubblegum. But listen, the girl has a sweet tooth! And after the Guccione-goes-to-Candyland fantasia that was "California Gurlz," this might as well be health-food.
Here's the "plot": Perry watches some model-esque dude boxing, cut with shots of them in a convertible, engaging in some very irresponsible on-road horseplay. He's wearing a trucker hat. A large party of friends arrives on some beach, leaps into the water in slow-mo in bikinis and dances with reckless abandon. Bonfires are involved. Meanwhile, Perry and model-dude get it on in a motel room, PG-13 style.
In short, it's boring. Like the song itself. Good influence? Probably not: the "teenage dream," while it's not exactly a parent's nightmare, isn't exactly aiming high. More problematic is the suggestion of being a "teen" to satisfy your man's fantasies. But then, finding flaws and the problematic in Perry's work is akin to listening to it: easy, addictive, pointless and it'll ultimately drive you crazy with its ubiquity.