Hard to believe, but it’s been two whole years since Katy Perry‘s video for “California Gurls” premiered. During that time, Perry has experienced a number of highs (see: her six #1 songs) and lows (see: her divorce from Russell Brand), so it only makes sense that her new music video for “Wide Awake” starts off where her whole Teenage Dream run began: The video shoot for “California Gurls.”
Our story begins at the end of the “California Gurls” video shoot with the director calling it a wrap, at which time Katy heads back to her dressing room to remove her pink cotton candy colored wig. As she briefly contemplates her own reflection in the mirror — we are to presume that this is one of the few moments in her life where she is truly alone, not flanked by PR flunkies/makeup artists/record label suits/various hangers-on, and therefore free to get a little introspective — she is whisked through the looking glass (so to speak) and transported into a magical realm that blends elements of Snow White, Zach Snyder‘s Sucker Punch, Jim Henson‘s Labyrinth and the Lord Of The Rings. You see, she’s on a quest to find true love, but as you can tell from an exceptionally dramatic crane shot, it’s not going to be easy.
Dressed a bit like the ravishing wicked Queen from Snow White (albeit with significantly deeper cleavage), mirror Katy begins making her way through the labyrinth when she stumbles on a single, especially succulent looking strawberry. The bulldog legal camp for the Brothers Grimm estate probably would’ve raised a fuss if she had bitten into an apple, but the symbolism is familiar despite the fruit swap: Things that look too sweet to be true almost generally are.
It’s at this point that we begin to get a bit confused. Unlike Snow White (or Eve, for that matter) and her poison apple, in “Wide Awake,” the magical strawberry has some immediate short term benefits. Perhaps most notably, it allows Katy to prevent two walls from crushing in on her, but it also allows her to shoot fireworks from her bosom (see also: “Firework”), which act as a signal flare for the 8(ish) year-old Katy Perry to come save her older self from the dangerous labyrinth. Now, we’re not entirely sure why the 8 year-old Katy has the power to help the 27 y.o. Katy escape from Freddy “The Paparazzo” Krueger AND a scary looking mental institution patrolled by minotaur orderlies, but if we were to hazard a guess, we’d say it had something to do with the power and purity of emotional innocence.
However, this fairy tale is not over yet. Before the 27 year-old and 8 year-old iterations of Katy Perry can return to their normal lives, they have one more villain to get past. No, it’s not a long-haired British comedian with a propensity to speak quite rapidly; rather, it’s Prince Charming! Only, not really. Before the elder Katy can plant a smooch on the two-faced P.C. and live happily ever after, pre-teen Katy spots that the untrustworthy Prince has his fingers crossed behind his back. Subliminal shots fired in Russell Brand’s general direction, yo! Telepathically relaying this new information to her older self, Elder Katy decides to treats the Prince to the kind of right hook that Manny Pacquiao wished he had thrown in his fight versus Timothy Bradley a few weeks back instead of a kiss.
Having conquered poisonous strawberries, the scariest orderlies since the Fat Boys, and a dopey Prince with awful facial hair, the Katy Perrys decide that it’s time for them to return to each of their worlds. The younger Perry takes her bike back to her parents house, presumably armed with better information about how boys can sometimes be creeps. Elder Perry, however, warps back to her dressing room, where — you guessed it — it’s time for her to go back to work. As far as the moral of the story is concerned, we think that it goes something like this: When you’re the reigning Queen of Pop and you gaze into your mirror mirror on the wall, it reminds you that 20,000 screaming fans are waiting for you on the other side of your dressing room door, just waiting for a spell to be cast on them.