May The Force MD Be With You

A conversation with Sandra led me down the long and winding road to this awesomely bewitching video for “Tender Love.” How had I never seen it?

You don’t have to be familiar with this slow jam by Force MD (one of Pres Obama’s favorite bands) to appreciate all of its levels of 80s gloriousness. Let me break it down in fifteen easy steps. I promise it’s better than “Key Largo.” No, I can’t promise that.

  1. A lone man sits on a stoop with what appears to be swaddling clothes in his lap. Or it might just be a sweatshirt.
  2. A group of stylish young men (in various stages of mulleted Soul Glo hair growth) gather at the foot of a brownstone. Any moment now, Theo Huxtable will pop out of the front door, wearing a shirt sewn by sister Denise.
  3. Suddenly, Rerun from What’s Happening? (who has clearly just left a Jenny Craig meeting) quiets them down–by the power of his index finger, combined with the metallic glow of his F necklace. rerun
  4. He begins to conduct them as he would an orchestra, and they fall into place, snapping and swaying, with a combination of karate moves and sign language that bring to mind a poor-man’s Temptation.
  5. Already I’m in Cosby Show cardigan overload. The graphic prints just make it all the worse.
  6. Oh, no! What’s that? Did they piss a white lady off? No, it’s Rosie Perez, and she stole Nancy Reagan’s blazer. Alert the Secret Service!
  7. They form a soul train toward the window to serenade her, with a bright yellow blazer bringing up the caboose. Now it’s full-on Motown moves and emoting with great fervor.
  8. The lead singer goes into his falsetto, which launches black-and-white cardigan man into his signature “rope-pulling Marcel Marceau” move.
  9. The effect this has on Rosie Perez is not only calming, but seems to be sending her into some Lunesta haze. She inhales while curtains flap in the breeze like a Summer’s Eve commercial.
  10. Doo-wop moves ensue. Suddenly, she smiles, revitalized, looking nothing like Rosie Perez. Her skin is cafe au lait, and so smooth. She must be a Noxzema model.
  11. What’s that? J.J. from Good Times walks up the stairs with Penny. Seems so random.
  12. Then they gather in a campfire circle and sing “la la la la” with more air-snapping and high-fiving, congratulating themselves that the song is halfway over.
  13. They all make fists and bring them down, a precursor to the Billy Blanks Tao-Bo upper-cut.
  14. The Noxzema model is unimpressed, and retires to the bedroom, as the blinding yellow from the chunky one’s ensemble has seared her retinas.
  15. They disband. Yellow blazer departs in search of a bolo tie to complete his look, leaving skinny Rerun behind. Forlorn. Waiting on Rosie. You’ll be waiting forever, son. She’s gone. She’s gone. Just ask Hall and Oates.
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35 comments

  1. The crowd is in an awed hush. Unable to speak. Breathless from the spectacle they have just witnessed. This is so unlike the 80’s they remember. Then they realized it was just another cheesy video. Another thing we can blame MTV for. This post is wicked good, girl. You really captured the 80’s. A time of pretense and horrid fashion, and you did it in a hilarious way. I could only handle 35 seconds before I turned the sound off. Your words were better than the lyrics anyway.

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  2. Ahhh! AHHHHH! I’m taken back to the humid and musty nights at Ohio Skate. Slow skate with the couples? Slow skate with the couples! I have no couples! Slip. Fall. Feel like a jackass. :\

    To take my mind off that before-in-line Hell. I present Eddie Murphy and Rick James.

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    • I want to read some posts about musty nights at Ohio Skate. And I want to see a sitcom on it. Everybody falls; gravity is science. My right wrist doesn’t bend right from a skating fall. Not as glamorous as shrapnel from WWII.

      Now, look–I actually think Eddie sounds good here. Better than Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan records (I guess). I rollerskated to this song. There are only a handful of men who can rock leather pants. I like the guys in the background rocking out to this. Do you think the point was to show how “legit” he was by being in a studio with the now-dead Rick to give him some cred as a singer? I think I just got VD from Rick from this far away…

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      • Those nights were a social nightmare for the likes of me. I’m not sure if I could get through it without getting angry. Maybe hangry. They had those huge soft pretzels there. Falling happens, but falling as the unpopular kid is just an open invitation for ridicule.

        Eddie is plain yogurt here. There’s nothing special about his performance, and while there are worse, this just feels like an affair of vanity. Speaking of vanity. I can’t think of Rick James without thinking of Dave Chappelle.

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  3. I needed the commentary. Might not have got to the end of the video without it. Chuckled merrily along. I’ve never seen so much work put in to make forearms express poetic meaning. Much talking from the elbow. We need more rope pulling Marcel Marceau moves!

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    • I know; it was like they were trying to burn as many calories as they could while saying, “We really mean these lyrics! Take us seriously!” He shouldn’t have limited himself to just that one Marceau move, I agree.

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    • I’m sorry. You will have to ignore any future video posts, to try to make up for it. But now you have a newer appreciation of whatever the point of that was. His love is so tender.

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  4. So beautiful I could cry. And your commentary is brilliant, as usual. (One of these statements is not delivered with sarcasm and I trust you’ll know which one 😉 )

    H & O may say she’s gone, but she’s also either a Man Eater (in which case here she comes) or a Rich Girl and she’s gone too far. We know it doesn’t matter anymore. At one point I’m certain her kiss was on at least one of their lists. But when it’s all said and done, I can’t go for that no can do. Can you? Oh how I loved Hall & Oates.

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    • Well, this was perfectly executed: a medley that is more than a medley, a veritable Greatest Hits. You had me cracking up at the coffee table. And then I smiled awhile for you. I’m beginning to think cardigan overload is worse than carb overload.

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      • It really was a horrible video, which is precisely why it was so awesome. Smiles all around. Though sadly, yes, too many cardigans is just too many.

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      • And also there was no closure! What about his tender love? She didn’t even deign to SPEAK to him. She just sat at the window and watched all those fist pulls. There he was, pouring his heart out, saying, “On on one, I want to play that game tonight.” And she’s all, “As if.”

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  5. Oh no you didn’t. Oh yes you did! And now I’m torn between two favorites. You’re going to have to write one for She’s Gone now as the tie breaker! I love you funny lady! Force MD, oh dear god that was hilarious.

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    • No, that is much too deep for me. I like a shallow era. No one can read too far into this Slow Jams ditty, but I couldn’t begin to deconstruct a woman buying a stairway to heaven. You can’t buy that anyway, not even wholesale.

      Robert Plant explained the song was a “cynical aside about a woman getting everything she wanted all the time without giving back any thought or consideration.” But there are no cool doo-wop moves or Jeri Curl. I need humor, Mark! Not seriousness! Unfortunately, there were no real videos before MTV 1981, other than live performances, so we are stuck there as the starting point.

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  6. Okay: just skimmed this one.
    Wanting to comment on your comment. (Yes, I will get back to this post), but, I just wanted to say, you were spot on! With your comment on my CNN Bashing!. I was, well, inebriated, and pissed off.
    (at what? no idea)
    I trashed the post, because it was trash.
    Thank you Kerbey, for calling bullshit on that one.
    Cheers,
    Lance

    Like

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