Tales from MVT: “Shoop” by Salt-N-Pepa and “I Just Had Sex” by Lonely Island

Tales from MVT is a regularly-occurring series of blog posts where I choose one (or in this case two) of the videos from our Music Video Theatre sessions and write about it (them). Music Video Theatre has become one of the most fun and enriching experiences of my current life, and for a multitude of reasons, has sparked abundant creativity. It serves as the inspiration for this series of silly little blog posts.

Song: “Shoop”
Artist: Salt-N-Pepa
Director: Scott Kalvert
Appeared in: MVT Vol. 1
Chosen by: Jason

Song: “I Just Had Sex”
Artist: Lonely Island
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Appeared in: MVT Vol. 1
Chosen by: Stephen


Going into the very first Music Video Theatre, I felt a ton of pressure. This is objectively silly considering the thing I fretted over was me, my wife, and my literal two best friends getting ripped and watching music videos we had selected. But here’s the thing I believe in my soul and which forms the foundation of my entire professional philosophy: Everything that is created has its ideal form and deserves to become the best possible version of itself. Why would you not aspire to that with anything you create?

So we had decided that each of us would submit 10 music videos using any criteria we chose with the only overarching rule being: Will these videos be fun to watch in a group of friends? Everyone would send me their videos, and I’d assemble it into a playlist curated for maximum vibe. I was confident in my abilities. And then the music videos rolled in and I freaked out (I still do this. Every time). I don’t know what I was expecting, but everyone’s choices were so all over the place, it felt like I was creating some postmodern fucking Meow Wolf installation and I couldn’t find the red threads connecting any of the songs right away.

Once I took a breath or two and put songs into groups, it all started to flow and I completed the thing about two weeks before we were to watch it and then did my best to forget about it so I could be surprised with everyone else. As the videos began to peel off one by one, so many familiar and iconic videos played in front of us: “Single Ladies” by Beyonce, “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim, “Toxic” by Britney Spears, and we were all delighted by each other’s sensibilities. This thing worked exactly as we had hoped it would!

The list itself, I later realized, lent itself to miniature “movements.” We went through the icons, then the divas, then took a tour through Southern California. Later we went through the avant-garde videos and ended up deep in the suburbs. But right there in the middle was the apex. The apotheosis. The money moment of the list.

Have you watched the “Shoop” video recently? It’s pure sex, and there’s something for everyone. Both Salt and Pepa are rocking bangin’ swimsuits and spittin’ horned up rhymes with the sensual confidence of a sleek puma. Hot, muscular dudes alternately play football on the beach and strip off their clothes. One reviewer said the song is “a grinding, bluesy come-on that overflows with good-natured lewdness.” It’s a song that beckons the proverbial after cigarette…

…or maybe the direct declaration of “I Just Had Sex” which is belted out by Akon a scant 10 seconds into the song. We were good and lit up by this point, and so we all burst out laughing and then couldn’t stop for the song’s 2:55 runtime. Andy Samberg’s hilariously on-the-nose lyrics push this thing into full-on gonzo savage satire that works both as parody and shining example of the genre. The very first words of the first verse are:

“Have you ever had sex? I have. It felt great! It felt so good when I did it with my penis!”

The song is joyous in its juvenilia and features an epic key change near the end that pushes it into iconic anthem territory. It was the exact kind of moment you hope comes from something like this. And the best part for me was even I didn’t know it was coming.

I had so much going on that summer that I put this thing together, threw a birthday party for my daughter, executed three days of high school reunion activities, taught a session of Boot Camp for New Dads, and managed to keep up with my client work before watching it. I succeeded in forgetting the list before it aired, something I have not always been as good at in the subsequent lists.

I still think about how fucking funny that moment was, and in many ways it’s like what I hear from former addicts about the first time you take drugs. You’re always chasing that feeling again.

Later this month, we do MVT Vol. 10. That’s 10 lists in the span of about 17 months. And thankfully, in the following eight times we’ve done MVT, our group has collectively experienced many more of those moments since. You’ll read about some of them in the posts to come…

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