Erykah Badu's "Window Seat" video is marvelous for many reasons, and not just because the Princess of Nu-Soul gets naked at the end. We love the historical feel of the clip and the politically (and socially) charged nature of the whole thing, but what's really great about it is that it holds up after repeated viewings. Mostly because it's so fun to watch the action unfolding around Badu — the shocked expressions of passersby, the reactions of the innocent bystanders — it's almost like a video within the video.
And so, to shine a spotlight on some of her unheralded (and unwitting) co-stars, we've compiled a list of our favorite ancillary characters. These are the brave men and women who have captured our hearts and imaginations, whether they know it or not. It's our salute to the unidentified citizens of Dallas, for their excellence in background acting. May they enjoy their 15 minutes.
Guy in the Red Jacket (appears at 1:40 mark): We like him because he is a gentleman, picking up Badu's jacket (and shoes) as she discards them, then sprinting down the block in an attempt to return them to her. Perhaps realizing that he has stumbled into a music-video shoot, he eventually stops. He could be the thief she tweeted about over the weekend who ran off with her clothing. Also, he sort of resembles a blurry Namond Brice from season four of "The Wire."
WTF Dude (2:05): Easily the most blatant Badu-gawker in the entire video, this gentleman in a gray button-down, jeans and sweet shades can hardly be blamed for a) taking a good long gander and b) being utterly perplexed by what he sees. How would you react if a multiplatinum recording artist sauntered by in the buff? The 2010 MTV Movie Awards are honoring the best mystifying moments at the cinema, and we have to say zombie Bill Murray and projectile-vomiting Megan Fox have nothing on our WTF Dude.
Kid Out for a Stroll With His Grandfather(2:10): Makes his entrance just after WTF Dude, and much like him, the kid's not ashamed to stare. In fact, he does so twice, though Grandpa doesn't seem to notice what's going on. We're not sure why he's wearing a blue baseball cap and a matching blue shirt, but we applaud his commitment to coordination. Unless he's a member of the Crips, which would just be weird.
Mom Shielding Kids (2:53): Kudos to this mom — in jeans and short-sleeve shirt, flanked by two young children — for not being distracted by the sight of a woman doffing her top in the middle of a busy intersection. Though her daughter attempts to sprint across the street, mom holds tight to her young one's hand, even as she tries to process just what in the holy hell is going on. Hey, Mom, even we're not sure at this point, and we've watched this video 15 times.
Kevin Smith (4:05): OK, so this isn't actually the critic-baiting, Southwest-hating director, but any time we see a hirsute, slightly husky guy in jean shorts and a bowling shirt, we can't help but think of Smith. Plus, he doesn't even break stride when approached by a nearly nude Soul Queen and a camera crew, which leads us to believe that he's probably got some on-set experience.
Guy Twirling Keys (4:33): He's got something on a lanyard, and we love that he's absentmindedly flailing it around just as Badu removes her bra. That's dedication. Also, we wonder why he's standing there. Is he on his lunch break? Perhaps waiting for the bus? These are the things that keep us awake at night.
Conflicted Blond Couple (4:36): Man in striped shirt and jeans, woman in black top and jeans. While the woman immediately looks away when she sees a pedestrian with her lady lumps exposed, her man has no such discretion. We salute this woman for not applying a sharp elbow to the creepy guy's ribs. Violence is never the answer ... as Ms. Badu will soon discover.
Who is your favorite Badu bystander? What do you think of the revealing video? Let us know in the comments!