It’s hard to believe that we’re still in the midst of Katy Perry‘s Teenage Dream cycle, isn’t it? (Granted, she did kind of cheat by tacking on a few extra singles to create a Complete Confection.) When the album was first released, Katy and Russell Brand weren’t even married yet — now their union is a thing of the past and Katy has long since moved on.
“Wide Awake,” the truly final video from Teenage Dream, is a kiss-off to the entire era, with nods to Katy’s other videos and a dark side underneath her bright, cheerful, candy-coated public persona. It begins after the “California Gurls” shoot, with Katy removing her wig, staring into a mirror, and seeing a gothier, Craft-ier Katy staring back — and ends with Prince Charming getting punched in the face.
In “Wide Awake,” Katy meets herself as a little girl, gets trapped behind glass by paparazzi, and almost succumbs to insanity — but she’s pulled back to the enchanted land of self-empowerment by a little magic (instead of the Marines this time). There are nods to all sorts of fairy tales, as well as Katy’s favorite music video trope — something flying out of her breasts, a la “Firework.”
Of course, the best moment is Katy punching Prince Charming right in his charming face. (So that’s the “Part of Me” she’s talking about — her fist!) It’s a pretty blatant jab at Russell Brand and all the other two-timing Prince Charmings out there, as well as a nice twist on the typical fairy-tale ending. Katy Perry would rather play with herself than ride off into the sunset, thank you very much. (Err… play with herself in the form of an actual little girl who represents her inner child, that is… oh, never mind.)
So sure, this is a little hammy at times, as fairy tales can be, but it’s a fitting kiss-off to Brand and Katy’s fantastically successful past couple of years (professionally, that is). It makes the entire Teenage Dream cycle actually feel like a storybook that’s just been completed.