The music video for ‘Downtown’, begins with a somewhat amusing 2 minute conversation (which is actually acted really well in my opinion, the naturalness of it is impressive for people who aren’t actors), in which Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood accuse frontwoman Hillary Scott of not being able to have fun. There’s some implications that it’s because she’s a woman, who enjoys watching romantic comedies and sitting in, while they’re going out on the town for yet another night in a row. Hillary wants to come, the boys leave without her. She then calls Beth Behrs (star of 2 Broke Girls), who is pitched as some crazy wildchild, and asks her for some help having fun. Apparently she wants to get arrested (I never saw that as a great end to a night out, but maybe that’s just me), and Beth is really excited by the prospect.
This whole scenario is played out well and really builds the video up to be something, fun, hilarious and crazy, a reflection of our fantasy night out that we bring up as an anecdote for years to come. Unfortunately, the whole thing quickly falls flat for me. Out of the blue Charles and Dave are suddenly playing two brand new characters, incompetent donut-loving policemen (well there’s a stereotype for you), that are never really introduced into the context of the video. Then there’s the fiasco of Hillary dressing up like a punk rocker – really? It’s not been done to look ‘cool’, it goes past that and begins to be oddly comical, especially compared to Beth’s very normal looking appearance for their night out. Girls co-ordinate; first, very basic, rule.
The first thing the girls do is go to a clothing store and Beth is very open about her shoplifting. When they get caught (who was expecting that?), they run from the store, dropping the stuff that was stolen. It seems a bizarre thing to throw in, but hey. My main issue with their scenes is the very obvious, cartoonish way of moving and acting, the excessively wide eyes and maybe it’s supposed to be funny, but it just doesn’t sit well with me. The policemen are dreaming about being in a cop show, the girls shoplift more, then go to a bar and do shots. Hillary looks terrified of this shot and pours it away, pretending she drank it. I know she’s supposed to be a good girl, but even good girls do shots (I speak from experience here). But okay, fair enough, they’re trying to push the nature of the character, wanting to break out of her shell but just not being able to.
The girls try to annoy the policemen, who just wave them away until finally Hillary gets annoyed that they’re taking no notice and smashes the police car window with a bar stool that just happens to be hanging around. Then they get arrested, Hillary is freaked out and a drunk Beth is loving it and just generally being drunk. I realize the video is meant to be funny, but to me it just isn’t. The characters of Dave and Charles just being themselves disappear from the narrative despite the implication that Hillary will go to impress them and show them she can have fun. The outfit is ridiculous. The policemen characters are over-the-top and too clichéd. The plot itself disappoints, as apart from attempting petty theft, committing final actual crime, and drinking one shot, nothing actually happens on this ‘crazy’ night out.
And last time I checked, it doesn’t have any correlation to the song or any concept of ‘Downtown’. Sorry, I wanted to like this, but I just really, really don’t.
You can watch the video for 'Downtown' here: