October 4, 2008
Here’s my disclaimer: if you found the song “She Left Me for Jesus” uncomfortably irreverent, the video is almost certainly not for you. Objectively speaking, this thing is downright blasphemous; where the humor of the song came from its absurd narrator, the humor of the video comes from its absurd everything, very much including its portrayal of Christ. And there you have it. Some will find the shock value titillating and benign; others will find it appalling. A lot of people will probably land somewhere in the middle.
But whatever your reaction to the boundless mockery, you’ve got to applaud the creativity: Carll plays a cameraman for 2-Timerz, a not-so-veiled (and gloriously accurate) take on the television camp-fest Cheaters. A man comes onto the show to find out the truth about his high school sweetheart, and naturally it’s not too long before we’re spying on the tramp from a sketchy van as she cavorts around with one of the most low-budget Jesus imitators you’ll ever see. I don’t want to spoil the details for you, but suffice it to say that there’s a shout-out to the art of crib-pimping and some chutzpahed cameos you have to see to believe.
The actors have an absolute ball with their work throughout, and even some of the camera work is impressively loyal to its source material. It’s all dizzingly goofy, of course, but the antics are executed with editorial intelligence, and the jokes feel spontaneous, not scripted. The video doesn’t necessarily do much to complement the song (which obviously doesn’t feature Jesus as a physical person); rather, it uses the lyrics as a starting-point for its greater madcap story, which might not work if that story didn’t happen to be so compelling in its own right. It’s random, awkward, and endlessly kooky, and there’s no more fun to be had in a music video this year – unless, of course, it’s not your thing to begin with. So I’ll just let you pick your grade.
(You can also watch the video in higher quality here)