Video Review: Pharrell Williams “It Girl”

Over an animated title screen, Pharrell Williams’ name and song is written on a shining rainbow. It twinkles and then the game starts.

Looking out on a clear, sunny day, a young girl is on the beach. A sparkling compass spins at a high speed while a lobster flies by. A brunette girl covers her ears as “ow” is written over her head.

The young girl stands on the beach, her hands folded across her chest. She smiles and then tips her hat. A dozen images appear on the screen: a bunny’s face, a pointing finger, the word peace. Shaking into the collage is  Williams painted in a brushed violet and then to teal. A figurine version of Williams appears in the collage.

After the image blurs, the figurine version of Williams skateboards through a forest and grabs coins as he flies off the cliff. He jumps over a lobster and then finds a hut, completing the level.

The screen changes to his face and it reads “It Girl” below.

Young girls in bikinis run, carrying floatation devices. One busty girl looks into the ocean. The young girl splashes water in the ocean. It leads to a blindfold over her face. She then crushes some ground beneath her. Another girl feeds her food. She closes her eyes in her pain as her body shakes. Her friend gasps. Another one of the girl takes a sip from an energy drink.

They all hitch a ride on the back of a truck. The young girl pulls a dolphin as her friends ride it in the ocean. His face appears in the sky. They play a volleyball game. Through binoculars, they are watched by Williams as they bathe in the sun.

The screen loads again, indicating another level. The screen shows the different female characters to choose. He picks Yoshic[ch]!!. Her character screen appears. He says hello, compliments her and says he would like to give her a gift. He doesn’t like the first yukata and picks another one for her. Then, he decides to give her both anyhow. She thanks him.

Yoshic[ch]!! shows off her new yukata. Together, all the girls watch the fireworks. Later that night, they light up sparklers. She watches the night sky. A shooting star occurs.

He appears in a brushed orange over a collage again.

She walks down the street at night. All the girls are entranced by on object. Another shooting star occurs.

The figurine version of Williams walks along the beach and takes off his hat. Stars explode and he aims the golden star at her. The bunny face’s takes over the screen as a collage of night sky with a young boy happens. It is her eyes. She sees the floral beauty around her. A flower is put in her hair. The other female characters appear. The figurine version of Williams points, stars exploding in his fingers.

On the game screen, Williams chooses his transportation. He chooses the ultimate engine. The roof of the beach house opens and Williams, along with the girls are in the plane. They shoot asteroids. The girls help to fend off the villain. A monument is shown with Williams’ face.

The engine lands and the girls watch stars twinkling safely in the sky. Williams appears in a brushed mustard yellow and changes to various other colors. He plays the air guitar.

She is shown smiling.

Over the game credits, a figurine version of Yoshic[ch]!! walks on the beach.

Rating: 5/5

Pharrell Williams becomes a video game character. Throughout the game, he has to win a girl’s heart. He buys her gifts and then they defeat the villain that lurks around the beach house. However, the girls are about fifteen, sixteen years old at most. With their busty figures, they are clearly aware of their sexuality.

Yoshic[ch]!! could pass for Sailor Moon’s little sister and who is in fact, is Williams’ love interest. Due to the age difference, it’s as though Williams is buying a gift for his daughter and not a potential girlfriend. It is when he leers at them through binoculars, the video crosses a line into questionable behavior. A controversial image, made even more so once the dating section of the game.

The video tries to diminish it by making Pharrell child-like in his figurine version, turning him the same age as the girls. Nonetheless, the uncomfortable, sinking feeling of seeing an adult images of him drawn into the scenery, observing the girls from far away lingers.

It is an excellent video which shoves any boundaries into a corner, drawing each line with precision and leaves the viewer to process it through their own experiences, wanting a heated debate about what is wrong and right. If there is a gray area, it’s up to the viewer.

Director:  Fantasista Umamora & Mr. Year: 2014

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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her poetry has been published in the White Wall Review and 45 Magazine.

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