By Curtis Cole
A couple of years back, I wrote a deconstruction of “Motherlover”, a Lonely Island track which featured the low-key homoerotic desire. Using the power of clichéd Freudian analysis, I was able to discern the humble intention of the two male protagonists; that is to say, of how they were using oedipal constructs to sublimate their homosexual urges.
Fast forward to now, and I am just getting around to deconstructing the sequel to “Motherlover”, a lovely little track called “Three-Way (The Golden Rule)”.
Does this sequel elude precise meaning, does it give us a solid foundation upon which to strike at heteronormativity? Or maybe it takes an alternative route? Enough blabber! The only way to tell for sure is to delve down into the track and get it done. So, let’s do it.
Narrative wise, the music video is focused on the two male leads from the previous Motherlover video reprising their roles. Each has emerged from their respective buddy’s home after a night of mother loving. They greet each other before they both depart for another hot hook-up; each goes to the home of their hook up but—shockingly—finds that their buddy is there as well! The hook up’s door opens and it turns out that the lady (played by Lady Gaga) wants both of them. She wants a three way.
From this point on, the video becomes about how to deflect the implied homosexuality of two men engaging in intercourse with a lady. This is a running joke throughout since, as is said, there is a “girl” during the entire love making session; over the course of the session, homosexual desire is implied: ancient Greece is referenced, along with the titular “golden rule” which, supposedly, stresses that if a woman is present in a sexual encounter with two men, then the encounter is not “gay”. Other than this, the video also shows both men “fooling around” with one another, each believing that the other is the woman. In all, between the denial and joking deflection, we see in the video an awareness of the absurdity of heteronormativity but also how restricting it is, restricting, to the point, where participants in a three-way must resort to sports styled “play by play” broadcasting in order to justify their involvement. As I said, it is both self-aware as well as comedic.
As a piece of psychology, this video is interesting because it marks a departure from the norm of the previous video. Whereas Motherlover was focused on repression, “The Golden Rule” is focused on externalization, on making those fantasies come true. “Summertime in the city and everyone’s having sex” speaks to the blossoming nature of curiosity and the acting upon of the repressed; this is an idea never given voice to in Motherlover. Ultimately, the voice culminates this bi-curiosity in that aforementioned “fooling around” between the two male leads. So in terms of psychoanalytic theory, it is a welcome breath of fresh air, if not one which still cannot seem to avoid using Gay people as props for heteronormative experimentation.
In the end, I, like many of The Lonely Island’s videos, enjoyed. It is damaged in some respects but poignant in others, so I am willing to give it a pass. A solid “C+”.