TBT: An Unsolicited Close Reading In Retrospect of The Bloodhound Gang’s “The Bad Touch”
Let us marvel: it’s been about 18 years since The Bloodhound Gang released the album, “Hooray for Boobies,” that brought unto us the incomparable masterpiece, “The Bad Touch,” or, as it was perhaps more commonly known, “The Discovery Channel Song.”
“The Bad Touch” mates together some of life’s most incongruous wonders: bass, drums, extremely horny, sexually aggressive punning, bass, whiteguy rapping, mixed metaphors, and bass.
In retrospect, the amount of time I spent breathlessly reciting the lyrics — “Put your hands down my pants and I bet you’ll feel nuts” — while feverishly jumping on my best friend Lauren’s bed as an eleven-year-old with butterfly clips in my hair calls into question everything I know about myself as a woman, as a writer. Do I owe it all…. to The Bloodhound Gang?
A parallel universe ripped apart from the one we call home, a universe in which The Bloodhound Gang, as a result of catastrophic weather conditions, health crisis, what have you, never joined hands together in the year 1999 to create our beloved, “The Bad Touch” — that’s a universe I don’t wanna know, man.
“The Bad Touch” was on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the US and even reached #1 in several garbage European countries. Who were we back then? What happened?
The music video opens with all five of our heroes dressed in matching monkey suits. They are, after all, nothin’ but mammals. Nice. This video is obviously set in Paris, which is hands down the world’s horniest city.
After seeing a couple of mokeys doing it on the Discovery Channel on a TV through a shop window, The Bloodhound Gang takes to the streets in pursuit of the kind of stuff that only Prince would sing about. Monkey see, monkey do it.
Who do they encounter? It’s a gaggle of… flight attendants? I think? They are wearing matching outfits and looking very H-O-T. They are, ostensibly, nowhere near an airport, but they aren’t dressed as nurses, so what are our other options? Perfume counter? It doesn’t matter. The monkeys are down. So down that they hide in the bushes, knock the girls out with blow darts, monkeyhandle their unconscious bodies and then and carry them off over their shoulders. “Yes I’m Siskel, yes I’m Ebert and you’re getting two thumbs up.”
It’s at this point in the narrative that you might be asking yourself, “Is this rapey?” Yes. This is beyond rapey. You may also ask yourself, “Was this just, allowed in music videos in 1999? This is what I grew up on??”
I guess it must have been????
The Bloodhound Gang literally DGAF. Their next mark is a group of male pastry chefs. Instead of violently penetrating their bodies with arrows and dragging them, unconscious, to a second location, though, they cleverly entice them using only a croissant and a fishing pole.
There’s some homoerotic monkey-on-monkey grooming, including but not limited to, a close-up of a maggot being slurped between pursed Bloodhound Gang lips. The maggot is later spit into the air, caught, and swallowed. Which, I believe, is a visual allusion to something else *wink.*
Between each vignette, The Gang dances a vast array of hip thrusts that function to remind you — in case you’re confused at any point — that this is a song about doing it. “Gettin’ horny now!”
(Full disclosure: it was around this point that I developed a feeling. Is the main rapper, Jimmy Pop… hot? Like, in a late-90’s/ early 2000’s, Jackass kind of way? Does he have the good kind of crazyeyes? Is he wearing a weird man ring? *Swoon* Gross!)
Suddenly, we find two gay boys wearing matching, stereotypical frenchboy outfits, feeding each other at an outdoor cafe: the next victims. You may ask, “Was this type of homophobic stereotyping just OK to use as a punchline in the 90’s?”
You guys, yes.
Then, a little person dressed as a mime gets the treatment, net style, from a Bloodhound Gang monkey hiding in a tree. Oy vey.
As Jimmy Pop raps, “Love, the kind you clean up with a mop and bucket/ Like the lost catacombs of Egypt/ Only God knows where we stuck it,” his evil minion monkeys dump their kidnapped, sex victims (4 female flight attendants, 3 male pastry chefs, 2 frenchboys and 1 male mime) into a zoo-style cage. In broad daylight! On a city street! Everyone looks very shook, and not in a hot way. They are fully panicking.
Jimmy Pop, this is not love!
But then, something else happens. The victims are released from captivity and, seemingly hypnotized (when did that happen?). They perform truly lackluster choreography together in a Parisian piazza. The mime, though, has had enough. He makes a break for it, frantically bolts from the scene of the dance, abandons his fellow dancers to a lifetime of sex-dance slavery, only to be hit by a car! Twice! The car, of course, is piloted by a Bloodhound Gang monkey (in my imagination, this is the bass player), who leaves the mime’s bleeding body in the street.
The mime, though, has had enough. He makes a break for it, frantically bolts from the scene of the dance, abandons his fellow dancers to a lifetime of sex-dance slavery, only to be hit by a car! The car, of course, is piloted by a reckless Bloodhound Gang monkey (in my imagination, this is the bass player), who leaves the mime’s bleeding body in the street.
End of music video.
I too, was left with more questions than answers.
The monkeys, to their discredit, fail miserably at their one task, which was, in case you missed it: to do it. They clearly see how doing it is done on the Discovery Channel. Then, they successfully round up and hypnotize 10 sex slaves. But all they do is force them into performing a monotonous, dead-eyed macarena. So, what was the point? What were they even after?
Is the Bloodhound Gang providing a meta-commentary on sexuality? Acknowledging that yes, we may still be “just mammals,” but that by heavily saturating our minds with media and by poisoning our bodies with foods like those Waffle House hashbrowns, our experience of sexuality, as a culture, has been reduced to a vacant choreography?
Are they further positing that in all sexual encounters, we are doomed to reduce others to, and simultaneously see ourselves reduced to mere tropes — a flight attendant, a chef — mired in material unspecificity even as our bodies perform what may be the closest approximation of intimacy available to us?