Tom Scharpling’s videos tend to exhibit a playfully cynical view of the music industry in a meta kind of way. His video for the New Pornographers had the band mocking the typical rise-and-fall story, Real Estate’s “Easy” featured the band’s street team kidnapping a DJ, and last month’s collaboration with Aimee Mann involved the singer-songwriter replacing herself with a touring robot. Scharpling’s latest video with Mann, however, doubles down on the meta with a fake-Scharpling remaking one of the singer/songwriter’s best-known early videos.
It definitely helps that the fake-Scharpling is played by Jon Hamm as a manipulative lug in a tracksuit, with a cartoonish Brooklyn accent.
After a brief introduction in the form of a front-loaded making-of video, we launch into a shot-for-shot remake of “Voices Carry,” the 1985 hit from Mann’s band ‘Til Tuesday. Funnily enough, it actually works. The plot of the new song, “Labrador,” which is about someone who is faithful to a fault, follows the plot of the original video, which was about a woman who becomes disenchanted with her rich jerk boyfriend. In the new video, the male lead is played by fake-actor Denny Rock, who is played by Scharpling’s comedy partner, Jon Wurster, the drummer for Superchunk and The Mountain Goats.
Although both videos are shot in milieu-appropriate soft focus, the only big change between the two versions is that in the ‘Til Tuesday video’s flashback scene, blonde Mann has a black bob; meanwhile, in the “Labrador” version of that scene, she now sports the exact punky haircut she had in the original video, rat-tail and all.
Watch the ‘Til Tuesday video for “Voices Carry” below.