Jack Antonoff is not a licensed therapist. He just plays one in his new video.
In the debut clip from his Fun. side-project, Bleachers, Antonoff takes the chorus of “I Wanna Get Better” quite literally, channeling every nebbish-y, ineffective therapist in NYC (because they only exist in NYC) and sitting in stoic silence while a bevy of his patients — including “Parks and Recreation” standout, Retta — pour through their various insecurities.
Of course, it turns out that it’s Antonoff’s character that’s worse off than anyone; his live-in GF just left him, he’s seemingly trapped by his own mind and he just dumped a gallon of coffee on his crotch … yet he’s the one tasked with fixing other people’s lives.
That irony is played to maximum effect in the video, thanks in no small part to Antonoff’s acting ability — much like his recent “Funny or Die” skit, he does uptight-with-a-touch-of-pessimism pretty well — the wonderful cast of characters who spend time on his couch, and the direction of his girlfriend, “Girls” creator Lena Dunham, who creates an erudite, perfectly-postured world that nearly buckles beneath the psychological turmoil.
It’s all played for laughs, naturally — the grand resolution comes when Antonoff literally lets go and just starts rocking out — though there’s also a subtle hint of sadness to the proceedings, one where screwed-up souls and broken couples struggle to find happiness, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. And like Antonoff’s manic (sorta depressive) lyrics, “I Wanna Get Better” seems to suggest that struggle may be an impossible one … especially given the sheer amount of ephemera that fills our lives, and ultimately distracts us from the prize.
Then again, perhaps that’s just uninformed psycho-babble. Maybe all of it is; I’m not a licensed therapist, either … I just know a good video when I see one.