Imagine the Avengers, but instead of superheroes, the world’s finest assemblage of hot guys with props: That’s the premise of Charli XCX’s video for her new song “Boys,” which unites dozens of crushworthy men and packs them into one 2 minutes and 48 seconds–long clip so highly concentrated with cuteness you might need to pause it midway through to get a hold of yourself. Joe Jonas (the best Jonas) seductively eats stacks of pancakes. Riz Ahmed cavorts with a pink teddy bear. Diplo juggles puppies. D.R.A.M. smashes television sets. It’s really something to behold, a millennial-pink dreamscape that comes close to re-creating the magic of Dream Phone in its straightforward presentation of on-demand dudes. In fact, it would be damn-near perfect if it weren’t for the presence of two particular dudes who taint the whole operation: the Fat Jew and Charlie Puth.
“I was busy thinkin’ ’bout boys,” Charli XCX sings, heavily implying that all the boys in the video are worthy of time and thought. Not so. The Fat Jew and Charlie Puth, despite being showcased by Charli XCX in “Boys” as exemplary boys, are very undesirable boys, boys who, as a public service, need to be excised from this video post haste. We simply cannot have the youngsters of America believing that these are good boys.
In case you’re not familiar with what makes these boys bad, a primer: The Fat Jew, aka Josh Ostrovsky, rose to prominence on Instagram where he gained notoriety in a joke-stealing controversy and continues to hawk offensive novelty products. In the video, Ostrovsky stands in a kiddie pool wearing a white turtleneck and underwear, his funny clown hair pulling you out of the stream of shamelessly preening people that precede and follow him. It’s not that he’s not hot; he just looks silly on purpose, like he’s not even trying to be eye candy. Way to kill the mood. And if you pause the video and look closer, he’s double-fisting bottles of his signature White Girl Rosé, turning a heretofore artistic enterprise into something crass and commercial. Despicable.
Puth, for his part, isn’t nearly as goofy as Ostrovsky as he leans on a soaped-up car. But know this: He once pulled a stunt where he kissed Meghan Trainor onstage at an awards show and grabbed her ass. It was while they were singing a song whose chorus went, “Let’s Marvin Gaye and Get It On,” and it is, without exaggeration, the worst thing that ever happened. One can try to enjoy the video notwithstanding his presence, trying to just bop along and tune him out, but then you see the telltale eyebrow scar and it all comes flooding back, a post-traumatic reaction to the horrors you live with: There’s no ignoring that you’re watching Charlie Puth, that guy who once grabbed Meghan Trainor’s ass. Also, he once had a “fling” with Bella Thorne that ended in an “emotional Twitter rant.” No, no, no, he absolutely can’t be in this video, not today.
Are any of the other “Boys” boys bad? Well, keep it to yourself if so. With some 60 boys, it’s hard to recognize them all, but we’re already down two here. Let’s try to maintain the illusion that if we could just subtract Ostrovsky and Puth from “Boys,” all the boys would be good boys.