A scene by scene analysis of the greatest video of our generation
Precisely once in each lifetime, a video comes along that forces you to take stock and reevaluate every life choice you've made up until that point. It presents itself in a gentle and unassuming way, barely registering as The Greatest Video Of Our Generation upon first viewing. But then it grows into something uncontrollably beloved, weaselling its way into your heart where it will snugly remain until the day you die.
For many of us, 'DESGUSTANG!' is that video.
It tells the heartwarming tale of a mother simply trying to get to the bottom of a pressing household matter - determining which of her daughters has forgotten to flush the toilet after taking a shit.
From start to finish, the video is flawless. It has a clear plot and sufficient character development mixed with just the right amount of tension and conflict. It's exceptional viewing and something we're very lucky to have in the online sphere.
To further emphasise its prowess and flirt with the great danger of ruining it for everyone in doing so, let's delve a little deeper.
If I may, I'd like to present a much-needed scene by scene analysis of the greatest video of our generation.
Act I, Scene I - Establishing Context
After a deep-in-concentration-hitting-the-record-button gaping mouth greets us, unidentified girl #1, who I shall be referring to as 'Ciao!', sits back, confidently flicks her ponytail and informs us, "I'm gonna sing Cher Lloyd by Cher Lloyd Oath with Becky G, right..." and with that, the wheels are in motion. We immediately believe that we're on track for what is likely to land among a giant pile of other self-taped children's karaoke efforts where someone probably falls over. The viewer isn't quite hooked at this point, but nevertheless feels comforted to know what's in store. Cher Lloyd by Cher Lloyd is a classic. This is sure to slap. Ciao! is ready, as are we.
Act I, Scene II - Crowd Dissatisfaction
The younger girl, seen here on the right, who I will henceforth be referring to as 'Lil Stripes', isn't feeling it. She's already been downgraded to hanging off the arm of the seat as opposed to getting to actually sit on it in a half-cheek situation. As Ciao! introduces the track that she's about to "lay" "down", Lil Stripes gives the camera a cheeky smile, presumably as she gets distracted by the sight of her own face on screen. Then she flashes an alarmed expression, crosses one of her eyes, quickly loses interest and starts bobbing up and down on the side of the chair. Is this a precursor for what's to come? An involuntary body language form of pathetic fallacy? Having watched the video countless times, yes. It is.
Act I, Scene III - Performance Commencement
After taking a moment to compose herself, something Ciao! undoubtedly learned from watching tens of hours of reality television singing competition shows, she launches into the first line of the song "Cher Lloyd" by Cher Lloyd. Boldly, Ciao! skips the first six lines of the song, opting to launch into a remix version of the classic, with her sassy interpretation of its charm. "And don't forget, all the trouble we got into-" but she's cut short. Ciao! will never finish the song that she started halfway through. Not in this lifetime and certainly not in this video.
Act II, Scene I - Arrival of Conflict
Before she both literally and metaphorically bursts onto the scene, we hear Mum. Clear as day, defying the limitations that any PC microphone can reasonably be expected to provide, she bellows through the closed door. The girls recognise her tone instantly and Ciao! knowingly halts her performance. Both jump to face the door in perfect symmetry. They know that something bad is about to happen. Fraught with fear, Ciao! and Lil Stripes honourably face the beast head-on, bracing for impact and ready to accept their awaiting fate.
Act II, Scene II - The Accusation
Maintaining aggressive eye contact with Lil Stripes, Mum inquires, "Why does somebody not know how to flush the toilet after they've had a shit?". Her posture is riddled with anger. Not only was she bent over to begin with, Mum then lowers herself even further to emphasise the word "shit", presumably to stress that this is the worst aspect of the crime. Once the question has been delivered with sufficient gusto, Mum falls silent. She's waiting for the culprit to reveal themselves, daring them to speak. This is the most tense performance the world has ever seen. The viewer wasn't ready. The girls weren't ready. The neighbours certainly weren't ready.
Act III, Scene I - Weak Denial
"It wasn't me", protests Lil Stripes, her voice quivering with fear. She sounds younger than her appearance initially suggested, likely due to the stress she's undergoing at that particular moment. Ciao! doesn't say a thing. She's the older of the two, has dominance over Lil Stripes (as evidenced by the seat acquisition) and is fully convinced that she is an undiscovered talent who's on the rise. Ciao! knows that the camera is still recording, she doesn't want to implicate herself. This is a grave offence, one that could halt her music career before it even begins, something she's all too aware of.
Act III, Scene II - Reinforced Accusation
"Well it was fucken one a yas", Mum retorts. Lil Stripes has attempted to clear her name with a frankly lacklustre level of conviction, meaning the blame is now being pointed towards Ciao!, albeit to a lesser extent. Mum's looking at Ciao! this time, goading her into implicating her younger sister. "Come on, hen. We're in this together. Let's bury this little shit-leaver-in-the-toilet-er", her eyes are saying. But Ciao! remains firm in her silence. The glare from the computer is bouncing off her mother's glasses. She's still aware that everything is being recorded and could later be used as evidence in court. It's a stand-off situation and a staggeringly intense one. Anything could happen with such mammoth displays of anger and fear intertwining like this.
Act III, Scene III - "DESGUSTANG"
Not content with the girls' refusal to grass each other up, Mum hits them with a low blow. She brands their actions as "Desgustang", something that's sure to weigh heavy on their self confidence in years to come. She's going for conviction with this statement. The kids need to know that shitting and splitting simply isn't something that happens in their house. Not now, not ever. Her mind is racing, wondering how she managed to raise a child that thinks that such a heinous action is acceptable, then feels it's okay to deny their involvement in the crime. Ciao! and Lil Stripes needed a weighted insult to ring in their ears while they internally debate coming clean, Mum knows that. She puts in a remarkable performance and it's Oscar-worthy, frankly.
Act IV, Scene I - The Aftermath
Mum leaves the room, thoroughly disgusted with her offspring and contemplating taking legal action or at the very least, threatening to get DNA analysis on the mystery turd just to scare them into confessing. Meanwhile, Lil Stripes looks guilty as hell. She turns to her sister and shares a look that suggests gratitude at her refusal to grass her up. Ciao!'s back is still turned to us, but you can get a sense of what her face looks like. It's the exact same as it is in Act II, Scene I. She's slack-jawed, avoiding eye contact and trying not to cry. They've just been through a troubling ordeal that is sure to haunt them for many years to come. The silence in the room weighs heavily on their delicate little prepubescent souls.
Act IV, Scene II - Final Scene - Resolution
As Ciao! remembers that the camera is still rolling, she scurries back to the computer to end this harrowing short film. She's embarrassed, but more than that, she's looking far more guilty than she should. Lil Stripes has undoubtedly shit in the toilet and forgotten to flush it before, this is abundantly clear. But now it appears that Ciao! has been at it as well. They're both guilty as hell. Their confusion lies not in the fact that they were caught out, but in the establishing of who's the culprit on this particular occasion. This is real-life drama on a level we're unlikely to ever see again.
As the video ends, it's clear that both of the girls are different now. They're not the same people they were before Mum thundered into the room. Their lives will never return to the comfortable mundanity of before. They've aged. Grown wiser. Experienced great trauma that will bind them together for the rest of their lives. This is just the beginning of #Shitgate and they both know it. Their sense of the world has changed forever. Ciao! will never sing Cher Lloyd by Cher Lloyd again, not with that same carefree attitude we saw before. Lil Stripes will never bob up and down on the side of a chair in a carefree manner again. Sadly, most importantly, neither of the two will ever shit and split again. This was the day their childhood ended.
- Who do you think shit in the toilet and forgot to flush it?
- Was Mum's anger justified?
- Did Cher Lloyd ever see this video, do you think?
- Where are the girls now and what have their lives become?
- Who uploaded the video?
- If you were in this situation, would you have reacted differently?
- How long will it be before this piece is awarded a Pulitzer? (Rhetorical)
Images via YouTube