When I was growing up, I recorded full VHS tapes of Weird Al music videos, playing them over and over again, unknowingly shaping my own sense of humor. I never really knew Michael Jackson’s music as a kid, or at least never close to as much as I knew Weird Al’s versions of it. That was never my reasoning for loving “Eat It.”
It actually took me a while to seek out music that wasn’t just a Weird Al parody. I had his cassettes and I memorized the lyrics, and to this day, I couldn’t recite anything from “Beat It” or anything else at which Weird Al has taken aim.
Which I think is my ultimate compliment to Weird Al, because what he always gets right is that he’s never making fun of the music. The lyrics, the message, sure. But there is always respect for the music itself and, many times, what’s produced on a Weird Al album comes out sounding just as good – if not better – than the original. It’s something that has remained lost on other attempts at parody throughout the years, and it’s why Weird Al has remained undisputed in his role for so long.
“Eat It” really stands out to me as the greatest example of that, which isn’t surprising. Weird Al has never been better than when he took on Michael Jackson – it has a lot to do with the scope of Jackson himself – and that is only further highlighted in the accompanying music video.
It completely mirrors the the actual video to “Beat It,” save for slight, glorious nuances like Weird Al breathing extra heavy at the pool table. The sequence when entering the bar is a particularly quintessential Weird Al moment. Every move is captivating – that rubbery, thin body gyrating over every set piece. It’s the sequence I’d show anyone who could somehow, inexplicably be on the fence about Weird Al.
I’d laugh uproariously – and still do – whenever the girlfriend’s head is absurdly ripped off at the beginning of the video. I’ll never tire of the guitarist exploding after ripping off the guitar solo. And I’ll always appreciate the subtle fart noises used to create a beat.
“Eat It” could very well be Weird Al’s masterpiece. It’s only fitting that its music video is one of his best as well.