I’ve now watched the video for Hilary Duff’s sparks three (3) times and I’ve only had one thought the entire time: is Hilary Duff okay? That’s actually not true, I had another thought, as well: what can I do to help? And considering that I’m writing this as I eat a giant block of cheese clad only in pajama bottoms, you know that whatever this video’s trying to be, it’s.just.not.

As a self-avowed Hilaholic (I just made up this term), I have defended the Duffster through every one of the decisions she’s made on her career path. Some, of course, like Lizzie McGuire and her cover of “Our Lips Are Sealed” (performed with with her sister) (hope you’re doing well, Haylie!) were easy. Cadet Kelly was a joy for all. But other choices were harder to live with. When my friend muttered “this is bullshit” as we tried to watch Beauty and the Briefcase, I demanded we keep it on, and when my brother and our mutual friend Daphne refused to stay to see the ending of Material Girls (also with Haylie) in the theater, despite us not getting our money back, I rented the DVD and sat through the entire thing trying to find for it the same enthusiasm that I would conjure up for say, Shiri Appleby or Jennifer Love Hewitt. but this video, this video has ruined me.

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Divided into two distinct parts, the video for “Sparks” intercuts scenes of Hilary trying to be cool and normal by going out with regular dudes on Tinder (aha!) with shots of her and several dancers chilling in a giant box of glamour, what I imagine you’re always hoping will be inside a box of Benefit cosmetics but never is. And while the actual music is a delight—Europop forever—the actual effect of the video is incredibly annoying, because just when you’re getting into watching Hillary get really into her dance routine, it’s suddenly replaced by shots of her improbably-highlighted friend looking at her Tinder matches and saying “Wu-tang.” That’s not what I’m here to see. Other things I am not here for: Watching Hilary duff go-kart, bowl, or pretend that she is anything but an international superstar who would never actually go out and try to find a love connection on Tinder. Which also leads me, like Time, to question: Is this all just an ad for Tinder? Is this entire music video a product placement or is it an attempt to capitalize on the success Lady Gaga had with turning her music videos into “short films” a few years back? And which is worse? What can I do to help Hilary? How can I make life easier for you?

Update: Fans have started a petition for an alternate version begging for anything but this broken shell of a video. I have already signed it (#11), please add your voice.


Contact the author at mark.shrayber@jezebel.com.

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