Lena Dunham Made a Great Music Video

Slate's Culture Blog
March 27 2014 3:27 PM

Lena Dunham Made a Great Music Video

i_wanna_get_better

Still from YouTube

Bleachers’ debut single, “I Wanna Get Better,” is a chronicle of a mental breakdown. The song’s narrator, haunted by youthful mistakes, finds himself “standing on the overpass screaming” the mantra that is the song’s title. So it makes a certain sense that the new video for “I Wanna Get Better” takes place in a psychologist’s office. This choice of setting makes even more sense when you know that the video was directed by Lena Dunham, a leading chronicler of modern neuroses, who is dating Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff (better known as the lead guitarist of Fun).

Instead of literally re-enacting the song’s lyrics, Dunham’s video toys with the pop anthem’s themes of angst, crisis, and self-knowledge. Antonoff plays an aloof psychotherapist whose girlfriend, at the beginning of the video, breaks up with him with the admonishment, “Jack, if you could even begin to examine yourself the way you examine everyone else, be that analytical—judgmental, that’s the word—well then maybe we could get somewhere.” While Antonoff mopes, a parade of his patients lip-sync the words to the up-tempo track, which sounds like Fun meets The Strokes.

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Among these patients: a middle-aged woman whose husband is cheating on her, a provocative blonde twentysomething, and an unhappy wife played by Retta (whose icy expression when she declares “I wanna get better” is pitch-perfect). Since talk therapy is sort of boring to watch for five minutes straight, there’s plenty of bad behavior to keep things interesting. And, because it’s a Dunham production, there are a few zany, trenchant one-liners interspersed between the verses (“I don’t know how to power-clash”). Taken all together, it’s equal parts funny, dark, and awkward—no less than what you’d expect from the creator of Girls.

L.V. Anderson is a Slate assistant editor. She edits Slate's food and drink sections and writes Brow Beat's recipe column, You're Doing It Wrong. 

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