A half-naked bird-woman, a resurrected Michael Jackson, synchronized swimmers, an open-heart LEGO Goatse, a pack of deified Bravolebrities — it’s official: We’ve got a Gaga video on our hands.
“G.U.Y. – An ARTPOP Film” debuted tonight on the singer’s VEVO channel, and it’s a whopper even by Gaga’s standards: 11 minutes and 46 seconds of unfettered camp-pop delirium that falls somewhere between a Cocteau movie and an episode of Watch What Happens Live, complete with (we couldn’t make this up if we tried) Andy Cohen as Zeus and the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as a Greek chorus.
Directed by Gaga herself, it’s way more than one song could hold, so the clip trots out a medley of “Artpop,” “Venus,” “Manicure,” and “G.U.Y.” We open on a shot of a bunch of angry suits duking it out for floating dollars while Gaga, dressed like a multiplatinum California condor (Germanotta californianus), is slumped in the ground, shot down by an arrow. (She’s always been a rare bird, no?) She stumbles to her feet and makes her way to Hearst Castle, the stately pleasure dome of William Randolph Hearst, where Charlie Chaplin used to swim in the Neptune Pool and nobody ever, under any circumstances, mentioned Citizen Kane. Then there’s some kind of water burial, lots of dancers, some ankle-length Donatella wigs, and a bizarre subplot that may or may not be about Gaga resurrecting Jesus and Michael Jackson. We mentioned the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills band, right? It’s worth repeating. Lisa Vanderpump gives that tambourine a shaking not seen since the glory days of Tracy Partridge.
We’ll be formulating crackpot theories about this opus for days. (Is the whole thing an ode to Hollywood, old and new? A tongue-in-somebody-else’s-cheek satire of corporate subservience? An unusable ad for The LEGO Movie?) And whatever you do, don’t miss the end credits, which run over four minutes and give shout-outs to “Lifeguards,” “Male Models/Clones,” and no fewer than 11 “Historic Maintenance” experts. It takes a village, folks. Check out the full experience below.