My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way is having inner turmoil that's way existential.
"Am I camp? Am I not camp? Am I camp? Am I not camp?"
"I just don't know. Maybe my contact lens has the answer."
"Maybe I'll pray on it. Are you there, God? It's me, pop-goth."
I know MCR's "Helena" video is months old, but in the wake of the VMAs, it has infested my life and I kind of can't believe it. I can't believe that it exists at all.
Plot sketch: the song's about Way's dead grandmother and the video is about a funeral. A special funeral that involves interpretive dancing . . .
. . . interpretive dancing with umbrellas . . .
. . . and the waking dead.
But none of these things dazzle me like Way. Nothing could deter me from his over-emoting or seeing that the true moral of this story has nothing to do with death or redemption or incense or rebirth. It's actually a triumph of facial elasticity.
Even though everything about "Helena" is totally obnoxious and even though I barely have the patience for verse-chorus-verse rock, I was willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt and enjoy the ambiguity of how seriously they take themselves. I talk here and go further into depth here about how the question of intention makes camp much more enjoyable. Half the fun is the inherent quest, looking for clues -- a wink, a nudge, anything -- from the band letting the viewers know that they're in on the joke.
So great, gothy melodrama. It's like high school with eye-bags. What's not to love? A lot, it turns out, as Way told MTV back in January that this shit is serious.
"When I first read the treatment for ["Helena"], I got emotional. I realized it was going to be very sad," he said.
Wait, sad as in ambiguously morbid? Sad as in, "Ow, my face hurts from all the contorting?" Sad as in funny?
"It's not funny at all. The best way to describe the video is 'very sad and celebratory, upsetting and uplifting at the same time,'" he continues.
I give up!
"If you laugh at my pain, I'm going to blow up your local Hot Topic."