Sunday, June 7, 2015

Separated at Birth: 3 Videos Set in Crowded Diners,

Full disclosure: I know this isn't actually the same set or real diner or whatever. My point is more along the lines of "wow, three different people in less than ten years decided to set their videos in little, cramped fifties-style diners with an almost-identical layout."

First, in 2003, the artist Kelis named her album Tasty, so a Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo composition was brought to life. "Milkshake" has since become something of a legend because of the ambiguity of what "Milkshake" is in the song. The video looks something like this:

So technically, "Tasty's Yard" is the location in which "Milkshake" is set, but it's just a diner that looks very small and crowded, yet still pretty cozy. It's rumoured to have been shot at "Relish" in Brooklyn.

In 2007, Sean Kingston sampled Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" for his breakout hit "Beautiful Girls." He also sampled the idea of a packed, tiny diner in the video.

Now Kingston's diner is definitely not the same one. It's an abandoned restaurant in Hollywood called "Johnie's." And in fact, not only was it a setting in The Big Lebowski, but it's been used in several other music videos which make it look totally different. Tom Petty and Reba McEntire have both shot in this quaint location [source], so really that could have been the three videos covered here. Except McEntire and Petty's videos both make the space look larger. Petty utilizes the space as a full restaurant and McEntire's use makes it look fairly desolate. Kingston and Kelis both have the same central idea with theirs.

Fast forward three years to 2010, when Cee Lo Green works with several other composers including Bruno Mars to make a song that quickly made its rounds on the internet. The radio-appropriate title is "Forget You" and the video was set in...a congested diner!

Green has stated that "Forget You" is actually a message to the music industry rather than a woman who spurned him, but the video is very like Kingston's not only in setting, but in the flashbacks to a former era mixed with present day Green. Green's video was filmed at Cadillac Jack's, a diner in Sun Valley that was also a location in Grease 2.

So while there's no actual link between these three videos (different directors and everything), all three shooting locations are utilized in very much a similar way, with the camera following in the entrance, the bar staying on the left hand side and the booths on the right. Obviously they weren't really filmed in the same spots, and they had different directors, but these videos share some obvious central ideas.

Stay tuned for more musical artifacts that were separated at birth.

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