« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Katy Perry's 'E.T.' video: She's having alien sex but is she having fun?

Katy Perry's new video with Kanye West for "E.T.," her ode to extraterrestrial romance, has been burning up the Internet today, setting off debate about whether Perry's space-glam get-ups blatantly rip off Lady Gaga or whether West's rhymes celebrating the joys of alien sex help or hinder. Some have even expressed sadness that Perry's breasts don't shoot lasers, preferably the kind that could blow up something 50,000 yards away. Well, it all goes to show that you can't satisfy everyone all the time -- even when you have a big, fawntastic reveal at the end. (And no, dear reader, you don't get to complain about that being a spoiler but you may complain about my pun.)

The video, created by "The Runaways" director Floria Sigismondi, who has crafted several notable music videos for the likes of Dead Weather, the Cure, Christina Aguilera, Sigur Rós and many others, is getting so much attention because it marks a departure in style for Perry, who's usually frolicking with bananas or rolling her eyes like a screwball comedy actress or otherwise engaging in something raunchily campy. At first glance, Sigismondi's video might seem a step away from all of that, but it still aligns with Perry's style. The difference is that the campiness is to be found in many of the visuals and not in Perry's facial expressions or her acting. She even seems, gasp, kind of serious.

The former Christian singer from Santa Barbara has never been particularly original -- even her cutesy vintage-store look praised by fashion mags was basically grifted from several Los Angeles party girls before her -- but what she does do well is to absorb everything she sees around her and then present it in an ultra-shiny package that never takes itself too seriously. In that way, she's left herself a kind of artistic escape hatch -- if she's not taking it very seriously, why on earth are you?

It's not surprising that Perry is married to a comedian, Russell Brand, because essentially she's a comedian herself, but in the "E.T." video she doesn't get to indulge that side nearly enough. In the video for "Waking Up in Vegas," a much more traditional slice of Perry fare, she's clearly in her comfort zone, acting out a host of trashy personas that nevertheless charm. In "E.T.," she's playing an alien goddess -- a rather stiff one who doesn't wink at the camera nearly enough.

The biggest demand the video actually makes of her is to be a good body model for the dramatic looks inspired by sea creatures -- but that's not really her strong suit. Unlike Lady Gaga, who has a thorough dancer's command of her body, Perry isn't much of a physical performer. She's much more of an old-fashioned prop comedian, who comes to life when there's a giant cherry chapstick cannon or something else equally silly to play off of.

In that sense, the video doesn't really work with Perry's strengths -- and it misses an opportunity at the end. So, arriving at the kind of conclusion only music-video logic can make, it turns out that Perry is half-deer (not a centaur exactly; that's so last year), hence the images in the middle of some little Bambi scampering around and then dying. But we don't even get to see the absurdity of Perry leaping around on her Cervidae legs, nor do we get to see her facial expression after the big reveal. Where's the fun in that? Is there anyone else who could've looked at the camera with a mischievous, doe-eyed wink better than Perry?

--Margaret Wappler







Comments () | Archives (26)

It's pretty sad that the biggest complaints are Kanye rhyme is unsettlingly post-human and Katy isn't goofing off enough. I say kiddo for the video it really is a piece of art that I've seen like 5 times today. Her boobs don't got to be the focal point of all her videos especially when she's so talented and to compare her to Gaga is laughable. Did this author forget Lady Gaga doesn't own sci-fi/fashion type videos and they been made long before she found her gimmick.

check out the horsing around at 3:49 into the video-- not alien at all. Horses were not harmed in the making of this video :)

Hmmm, sounds like an ultra-biased article by a pathetic, inexperienced,(and juvenile) "little monster" (or writer) named Margaret Wappler.

Let's have a breakdown, shall we?

*"Perry's space-glam get-ups blatantly rip off Lady Gaga " --Since when did Lady Gag invent "space-glam get-ups". I could list sooo many artists who have used "space-glam get-ups" including David Bowie, Bjork, Kate Bush...etc.

*"rolling her eyes like a screwball comedy actress" -- What the heck is a "screwball comedy actress"? If anything, the video evoked a feeling of loneliness (and alienation, no pun intended.)

*"Unlike Lady Gaga, who has a thorough dancer's command of her body...." -- Have you ever seen her dance?! You make it seem like the Gagster studied under Martha Graham's wings. Deluded much?

*"...it turns out Perry is half-deer (not a centaur exactly; that's so last year)...." -- Haha, what a priceless definition! Spoken, like a true gaga teenager.

I guess my point is that this teenage writer named Margaret Wappler forgot to mention the simplicity of the video, which is a positive thing for Perry. It is reminiscent of many sci-fi movies (such as Avatar) where aliens are shown as exotic and beautiful.

It seems like Wappler is so wrapped in the Gaga bandwagon that she thinks Gaga invented being eccentric.

Wake up Marge and please, please, please, STAY IN SCHOOL!

Toodles B!

Kanye made the song ever better imo, but the song was fantastic on it's own. I love Katy trying new things, the entire process was clearly a success, I want her to go even further now!

I have to say this is a great video. This is not a copy of Gaga. Ive seen this make up in videos by rock bands like Tool. or Mudvayne. The long flowing gowns with the zero G effect were in the eminem Dre Sklar Grey video.I think this video was original and well great all around and I cant stand Kanye West and never listen to much of Katie Perry's style music.

You know, its crazy that all people can do now-a-days is compare every little freaking thing to that Gaga chick!! How about this? Go back in time to when the video "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera came out.... do you see any similarities? OF COURSE YOU DO!! But, you can't say it was "gaga" of her to make that, because that came out long before Gaga was even thought about! Now with this, Gaga (as someone said already) does not own sci-fi nor space nor wierd gawdy fashion last time I checked, so why is it when people beside her keep up with the times (today's trend so happening to be this type of fashion) they say "oh that's soo Gaga", when its just whet EVERYONE is going for...
Last note: Yes Gaga can sing, I know she can, and she has a great voice (though there are PLENTY more better out there such as Christina Aguilera or Adele) but so can Katy Perry (though her voice is a little different, but that's what makes her unique!). So why are we comparing voices? And now to add to that people are complaining she is not showing enough breast action or what have you?? REALLY? Last time I checked, that's not all a girl was... and this song is NOT about ALIEN sex... it more like its how sex with this one person is out of this world, its sooo different that it is alien, not an actual E.T. --- though in the video it depicts that, it's more of a visual interpretation of the difference of the two people, not the fact that they are alien... READ BETWEEN THE LINES PEOPLE!!

People love to hate it's getting ridiculous now. This is a great video. Period.

She's ... intentionally, un-humanly stiff of movement in this video. That's part of the point.

So we just swept the whole "Lady Gaga ripped off David Bowie" under the rug? They only thing Lady Gaga has that's original is a wiener.

It's obvious as all other commenters have pointed out that you are a blinded gaga fan. You "little monsters" act like gaga invented music, she ripped off a lot of artists to become what you see today. When Katy recoreded E.T, what did you think the song was going to be about? Cotton candy and boobs? I'm not that big of a Katy fan but all in all the video is stunningly beautiful.

She is a freakin' alien - a no talent freakin' alien with one of the most annoying voices I've ever heard.

All I have to say, is Kanye ruined that song.

It has nothing to do with Lady Gaga inventing sci-fi/fantasy videos, we all know they have been around since before Gaga was even born. It has to do with the fact that noone has been making them that often and now since she came out with the "Born This Way" video, which is yes sci-fi/fantasy inspired. Katy Perry is totally trying to jump on the band wagon. Katy Perrys voice live is not good, where as Gaga can actually sing(and sound excellent) live. Also, lets not forget that Katy just sang Gagas song at one of her concerts in Germany, I feel that Katy Perry is grasping at straws to keep her fan base. Gaga doesn't have to try. All in all, I feel that Katy Perry is trying to become a cheap knock off of Lady Gaga.

wow u dont like it because she's not goofing off. the video isn't even a rip off of gaga the only thing thats alike is the space theme and katy's videos fits her song better since it is called E.T which stands for EXTRA TERRESTRIAL which means ALIEN duhhh.

Being married to Russel Brand, isn't she having alien sex all the time?

"*'rolling her eyes like a screwball comedy actress' -- What the heck is a 'screwball comedy actress'?"

Shania, Google "screwball comedy." It only takes a few seconds.

~quite frankly i love katy perry i think her new vedio is awsome an seriously i cant get her new song E.T out of my head love the vedio its self wicked cool just here to give positive comments about her she is my rolmodle. i love u katy perry <3 :)!~

Art is art, true talent aside, still can't support Katy Perry who books tour dates with rodeos who use her to help them boost lagging attendance- bad karma for associating with animal cruelty for profit, Katy-take charge girl, your fans love and look up to you :-D

todayz nothing but trash

Kanye ruined the song

Not a fan of the mix.
Kanye West does not go well with anything.

totally evil , wicked video, they tares reptians are here, she is one they are dragon, childs. evil

memo to all pop performers: Please stop sticking lame rappers into the middle of your songs. This is so disgustingly played out. And K West is a complete waste of dna.

I'm a high school teacher, and my biggest problem with this whole scenario is that the song lyrics seem to glorify rape, or play into the idea of women having rape fantasies. "Take me. Wanna be your victim, ready for abduction..." "I'ma disrobe you and then I'm gonna probe you. See I abducted you, so I tell you what to do."

Great, Katy Perry. Make a name for yourself by pandering to teenage girls, and then teach them that the proper way to relate to men is to completely submit to them and give up your own free will. It makes me sick to think of my students listening to this song.

kayne west takes away from this song, his lyrics make no sense, and i dont care to see him holding his crotch and swearing, i wish he would move to another planet.
kathy perry is more talented than gaga and prettier. her costumes are unique and not a gaga ripoff.

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: