When Robin Thicke separated from his longtime wife in February, we assumed it’d be a private matter: Sure, Thicke had some very public dalliances—notably, he’d been spotted in public getting close to other women—but we figured that their marriage, and its subsequent implosion, would remain behind closed doors. But were we ever wrong—because Robin Thicke is gon’ be Robin Thicke, and he’s at his most Robin Thicke in “Get Her Back,” a video that purportedly is about, well, winning over his ex-wife.
And it’s nothing short of awful—at worst, he comes across as a restraining-order worthy stalker, and at best, we’re revisiting the topics of misogyny that Thicke so artfully ignited with “Blurred Lines.” There’s so, so much wrong here. So, where to start?
We might as well begin with its premise: The video surrounds a likely fictional text message exchange between Thicke and his ex. Despite the horrendous premise—as The Guardian notes, it’s pop culture validating creepy exes and the notion that men can “sell public shame as love”—the content of their conversation is even worse.
His ex brings up a myriad of problems, pointing to her absolute disgust over Thicke’s alcoholism, her inability to sleep with him, and the public shame he’s brought her. But even worse than his previous actions are his current ones: He repeatedly asks to see his ex, an attempt to drum false sympathy (“I wrote a whole album about you,” says one), and evidently doesn’t listen to his criticisms.
It’s clear, from this exchange, that his ex doesn’t want anything to do with Thicke. But—unlike normal, level-headed human beings—it’s not over until he says it is. And this is when stalker mode goes into overdrive: He refuses to let go of the relationship (or respect his wife’s decision to end it) ending the entire exchange with “this is just the beginning.”
So, yeah. Not exactly a way to win over someone’s affection.
Even worse, the video, which features a bloodied and battered Thicke, adds an element of sheer intimidation. Between the flurry of texts, the video’s interspersed with shots of people drowning, death threats (what you doing pointing a finger-gun at your head, Robin?), and gratuitous horror-movie shots. Like these:
We’re expecting a restraining order any moment now.