Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Another Blackberry Commercial Irks In Many Ways

You know you're really late to the party when you learn about a new trend in youth culture from the Times' Sunday Styles section. Sadly, that's what happened this weekend when I read Guy Trebay's article on "jerking," a new dance craze that's apparently burst out of Los Angeles via the internet. On the upside, the new knowledge answered a question I'd been asking my television machine for the past few weeks. This was: What is that spastic karate-chop shit the crazy-haired girl in those "All You Need is Love" Blackberry commercial is practicing in front of her bedroom mirror? It seems strangely codified; she films others doing it, then tries really hard to perfect her own version. You feel embarrassed for her when you see it. (I hope she got a paid a lot for that commercial.) But then we're asked to believe she wins the respect of her crew and their rivals after executing perfectly in a street dance-off competition. (The theme of the commercial seems to be: You can do anything if you really try your best. Climb a mountain, make clothes, do ballet, whatever.)

So, good to learn: she is supposed to be jerking. But! Those Blackberry commercials don't get anything right. (They're still in the doghouse, remember, from subjecting us to that godawful U2 song all summer.) If you YouTube the jerking videos made the by the kids in L.A., you see that the moves are actual not nearly so violent or effortful. There's actually a cool casualness to it all that's much easier to watch without puking into your shoes. (And some of the hit jerking songs are nice, throw-back candy rap.)

Also, on the rock tip, the song, the "All You Need is Love" part. We watch this band practicing in the studio, trying their best to get it right. We see them have a "that's it, we got it!" moment. Then we see the singer, sitting at home with an acoustic guitar, strumming chords and jotting down words in a notebook. As if the guy is composing something, as if he is writing the song right then. Like, Hmm, maybe I'll call it "All You Need is Love." It's a pretty good song. Pretty catchy, isn't it? Well, fuck you, Blackberry! Because I'm old enough to not know what jerking is, I am also old enough to know that that particular song was written a long time ago. By a different band. The Beach Boys, or the Monkees or something.

15 Comments / Post A Comment

iplaudius (#1,066)

I've been jerking since 1989. Not a new thing.

Dave Bry (#422)

I think you might have found some different videos than the ones i was talking about.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Hello Bry, excuse the hell out of an extremely old fart (83 next Wednesday) for asking, but by "that spastic karate-chop shit the crazy-haired girl … is practicing," are you referring to the thing she does for 0.75 seconds at somewhere around second 40 in this clip?

KarenUhOh (#19)

Apparently the rights to All You Need Is Cash were beyond Blackberry's budget.

gregorg (#30)

#$(%*ing Blackberry poseurs… I was into jerking way back when it was in an HP ad last year.

JGP (#1,686)

Damn, I just figured out krumping.

Adouble (#1,300)

Actually, to my eyes (eyez?) I'd say that that girl is trying to krump rather than jerk. I'm not saying it's good, just that it's closer to this:
than what Bry posted.

JGP (#1,686)

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the best dancer in the world appears to be Jason Sudakis on that SNL sketch "What's Up With That." High quality.

Dave Bry (#422)

Aghh! Delete entire post! You are right, Adouble. I'd never gotten past the dress-up-like-a-clown aspect of krumping to watch the dance moves closely enough. I am now embarrassed. But thank you.

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

EEEEEEW. Krumping video from 2007 FROM AUSTRALIA. My eyeholes… She was DEFINITELY krumping judging from the KAPLOW movements since krumping was all about crews that dressed like juggalos and mime-thwarted other jesterish looking fools. BUT since this is 2009 I think the ad definitely may have intended to jerk especially since they're all wearing a lot of plaid BUT they're also wearing baggy jeans which is SO EMBARRASSING. Either way, Bry's right. This ad is a godawful shitsmear and why BlackBerry's are like RAZR motorolas.

JGP – interestingly enough, Jason's sister used to (and may still) teach hip hop dance classes near Union Square. For being a white girl from Kansas, she knows how to move. And she's a good teacher! So I have a feeling he had some choreography help for that little piece of awesome.

JGP (#1,686)

HTMB – solid information. He's kinda scary good.

iplaudius (#1,066)

Jerking — the real thing, like the New Boyz vid — seems smoother and more elbowy than what that girl is doing or trying to do in the commercial.

Reminiscent of the Humpty Dance?

Also, who is the bald middle-aged white guy at 3:38? The obligatory Jewish producer?

anewnadir (#1,896)

The New Boyz are actually from Albuquerque, originally, and my local paper (actually quite a conservative rag) ran a full spread on them a few months back.

Something about living in the same town as these people are from makes their popularity nothing to laugh at. I frown at it.

_Aaron (#3,574)

Jerking is alot different than what she is doing, the style of dancing she is doing is called krumping.

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