A Critical Companion to the Video for Huey Lewis And The News' "If This Is It".

I

A magnificent day, just like the day before it and the day before that; the magnificence of these days is only oppressive. These days only serve as a reminder: I am not where I want to be, I am not who I want to be. How can I enjoy such a magnificent day as this when I am so incomplete? 

Look at all the perfect people lying on towels with their suntans and their hideous sunglasses. Believing their illusions. Believing in their happiness. And because they believe it, it is so.  

Just like Suzanne. All her life, people have only said yes to Suzanne. She is completely oblivious to that fact, of course. She has no comprehension of how an ugly person walks through this world. She is simply unable to fathom why her less attractive friends make such a big deal about what seem like infinitesimal trifles; she tells them that “everything will be OK” and skips off into the night. 

Due to her beauty, she never has to make any real effort in a relationship, in our relationship, since there are so many male suitors waiting in the wings. She does as little as she needs to do to avoid unpleasantness, so she can float through the shallow waters of her existence without getting wet. Once unpleasantness rears its ugly head, she allows the threat of leaving me to loom without ever verbalizing it, which allows her to look like the victim when I raise my voice. 

Suzanne is incapable of understanding things are harder for someone like me, someone who thinks; who can recognize the unfairness of things, and who is unable to view every asshole they come across as “so nice”; I am not a recipient of such constant obsequiousness as she. She will never understand desperation until her looks start to go.

Granted, she and those of her ilk are just ignorant slaves, doomed to a life of banality, repeating back things the thought leaders say in the office every day. Perhaps I should pity them. But the awareness I have of everything is a far greater blight than ignorance. 

It is a crushing responsibility. A curse.

I am wearing jeans on the beach, goddamn-it. I’m not going to wear a bathing suit and slather myself with suntan lotion. That is not the way I feel inside. That is something Suzanne would do. In fact she is probably doing it right now. Bitch! You would like it if I was like these other drones, bouncing balls of various sizes, wouldn’t you Suzanne? You care not for my mind.

You have been exposed as a fraud. You’ve been thinking, and I’ve been drinking.

I know you don’t love me anymore. Why won’t you say it?”


II

Huey Lewis (Hugh Anthony Cregg III) was born in New York City in 1950, although there are those that would argue that he comes from the future. In his formative years he scored 800 on the math portion of the SAT, which is the highest possible score. He went on to travel the U.S. and Europe extensively, hitchhiking, playing his harmonica, sometimes sleeping in the bushes, sometimes juggling torches for money. It is possible the last part of that sentence is inaccurate. These years of his life are somewhat of a mystery. Certain sources have him living underground in the New York City subway system in 1975. He may also have briefly married a Vietnamese transgender prostitute named Pauline.

He is considered by many to be a man of formidable penile girth.

Perhaps owing to that fact, perhaps not, in 1978 he resurfaced briefly to play harmonica on Thin Lizzy’s “Live and Dangerous”. 

Thin Lizzy’s dynamic front man Phil Lynott no doubt had a profound influence on Huey Lewis’ vocal delivery as Lewis sings with a similar husky, easily understood, blue collar style. 

What exactly occurred between 1978 when “Live and Dangerous” was released and 1980 is difficult to ascertain; there are so many varying accounts of Lewis’ life, most of which contradict each other. It would have been impossible for him to work in a restaurant on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and simultaneously cross the Atlantic Ocean on a specially made boat which allowed him to use only his enormous member as a paddle in June of 1979, for example. There are those, however, that believe Lewis is able to split himself in two, which would have allowed him to do those two things at one time. Some allege that he even engaged in time travel during this period, while others argue that is far fetched. 

Whatever the case may be, sometime shortly after that, Huey Lewis and the News was born.
Their eponymous debut was released in 1980 to little fanfare. 

In 1982 the band broke through with a top ten hit “Do You Believe In Love” on their album “Picture This”, which eventually went gold. 

Mega-stardom awaited. 

In 1983 the band released “Sports”, which went on to sell 37 million copies. Every song on the album was a number one hit. 

Five years of decadence ensued. They were a non-stop debauchery machine. 

Each member of the band developed various rather beguiling addictions. 

Keyboardist Sean Hopper was known to inject b vitamins directly into his spleen; exactly what pleasurable effect was derived from this activity is difficult to divine. 

Drummer Bill Gibson Jr., son of William Gibson, author of the now classic science fiction novel “Neuromancer”, once disappeared in the middle of the tour for “Sports” for several weeks; he was eventually found lying in the middle of Commonwealth Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay cradling a stuffed animal version of Fozzy bear from the Muppets, which he repeatedly referred to as “Fuzz Fuzz”. It was later determined that “fuzz” was the only word Gibson seemed to want to say, so no one was really sure if that was indeed the name of the bear or just a sign of his increasing dementia. He refused to let anyone take the stuffed animal away from him, which had grown filthy after weeks of being God-knows-where with Gibson, so it had to be cropped out of publicity photos and hidden during live appearances. Gibson had to be replaced sporadically during the tour by Yes’ Alan White. 

Saxophone player Ron Stallings spent an obscene amount of time perfecting his polished, pop saxophone style; he could not have known then what a waste of time that would end up being. 

Lewis himself developed the peculiar habit of standing on the edges of skyscrapers and urinating while hookers ate pie in the background. He was arrested nine separate times for this, but never prosecuted.
Today, the band is perhaps more known for this constant debauchery than it is for the music they produced, which of course explains the ubiquitous catch phrase “partying harder than Huey Lewis”.


III

Finally, we will discuss the video for “If This Is It”, the third single from “Sports”.  

Huey Lewis had lived a hard 34 years by the time the video for “If This Is It” came out, a fairly advanced age for a budding rock star, but still slightly younger than the author of this piece, who once viewed Huey Lewis as the oldest person conceivable.

On the surface “If this is it, please let me know” seems like an entirely reasonable request. What kind of cold bitch would keep poor Huey Lewis hanging on when he would be amenable to a breakup? All he wants to do is talk about it. Isn’t that the kind of thing she once asked of him; to be open, sensitive, communicative? Look closer, though, and it is easy to see that Huey Lewis has all the evidence he needs to determine that “this” is indeed “it”. 

For example, if it’s true that Huey Lewis has “been phoning night and morning” without getting any of his phone calls returned, and he also heard his lover in the background saying "tell him I'm not home", we can assume he is not very good at taking a hint. He goes on to say that his lover is “confessing” but he’s “still guessing”. One wonders why guessing is necessary when the confession has already been made. She has told him the truth, but he will not hear it. 

He goes on to say that his lover has “been thinking” and he has “been drinking”. This makes Lewis a bit difficult to empathize with; his lover has given their issues a lot of careful consideration while Lewis simply endeavors to get obliterated on white wine spritzers at the Rusty Seagull.  

After the somewhat pointless montage that introduces the video, we find Huey Lewis walking on the beach, looking tortured. He’s practically goth; he doesn’t don all black and wear ludicrously baggy pants covered in buckles, but he does walk around the beach fully dressed on a 90 degree day wearing a forlorn look, pining for his lost love. We can only assume he has just come from his darkened bedroom where he listened to Bauhaus, read a novel by Anne Rice, poured hot candle wax on his genitals and wept softly. Perhaps eyeliner was involved in some way, although there is no visible evidence of it.

Suddenly Huey spots his lover. He freezes. What are the chances she would have chosen the same beach at the same time? His chest cavity feels as if it has been emptied of its organs and replaced with dry ice. Peter Murphy’s desolate baritone echoes around in his head. He shuts his eyes, remembering......

A tender moment on the beach at night, by a modest bonfire. Hands finally allowed to search, explore. A moment so perfect. She touched my face. A kiss and then another, and then another, each probing deeper than the one before. She held me, I laid in her lap; it seemed like it should have been the other way around but it was too late. The position had been determined, switching would have been awkward. Oh, the lightness. The sublime oppression of love......

But now here is his lover on the beach, getting oiled up by two muscular dudes, and then she is oiling them up, giving Huey an icy look. “Why won’t she let me know if this is it?” he wonders.

Now we follow Huey into a fortune teller’s shop. His face betrays surprise, he doesn’t seem to have been expecting to enter this place. Yet coincidentally his entire band has also happened by and is now seated around a table with the fortune teller, performing a seance. Huey briefly joins hands with them. Everyone looks like they’re really into it except for Huey, who abruptly leaves. 

He decides to take out some of his frustrations by throwing baseballs at a giant clown, a carnival game. The goal is to knock the clowns teeth out, which he does on the third try. The elastic faced carnie throws him a stuffed animal. Perfect for his lover. 

This moment of hopefulness is quickly erased as he spies her, walking along the boardwalk with two different muscular men in sailor suits. She carries with her two much larger versions of the stuffed animal he has just won. He has been outdone, two-fold, and possibly more-fold if you count the comparative size of their stuffed animals to his. 

A pretty blond woman walks behind the group, and casts an empathetic look his way. Perhaps a foreshadowing. 

After having seen his lover with four different male suitors over the course of an hour, Huey Lewis still wonders aloud if this is it. He sits on a beach towel, a brief conformity, while his cut-up band-mates sing in front him, buried neck deep in the sand. 

Finally Huey Lewis sees his love once again with yet another two male suitors. They are bronzed, muscular, oiled; teeming with latent homosexuality. 

Huey makes a decision. He forcefully escorts his lover away from the two men and demands an explanation. Words are exchanged, we cannot hear them. But we can easily read the body language, and eventually she pulls away, leaving Huey Lewis standing there in the rain (metaphorically). He sits down on the sand in his blue jeans, the picture of non-conformity. Time passes, and he continues to stare out at the sea. 

There is only one other person left on the beach. It is the blond woman from earlier on the boardwalk; the foreshadowing we saw earlier has materialized! Their eyes meet. And Hugh Anthony Cregg III is in love again. 

Important note: Most of the facts in this article are not facts at all, but things I made up.