Popstar: Never Stop, Never Stopping is a mockumentary about the pop star, “Conner4Real” created by the comedy group “the Lonely Island,” consisting of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer, guest-starring many of their famous Saturday Night Live friends. Popstar about the rise of Samberg’s character, Conner4Real in the boy band, “Style Boyz” and his eventual downfall when he goes solo.
Clearly, this movie makes fun of the overzealous delusional self-image of popstars such as the likes of Justin Bieber, and how the industry is conducted in general. The first utilization of this is with the use of understatement when Sarah Silverman’s character says, “…Sure, Conner surrounds himself with people who are agreeable.” Directly after this, Conner misses a shot in a basketball hoop, and then everyone cheers despite his clear failure. This is far more than expected based on the above comment, thus it helps further illuminate the ridiculous egomania of popstars such as those Andy Samberg is trying to emulate.
The writers also use parody in this movie to help develop the satirical nature of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping in this scene, where Maya Rudolph’s character, Deborah proposes that they upload Conner4real’s new flopping album onto appliances. This causes outrage, reminiscent of when Apple made their products come with a compulsory download of U2’s new album that was also flopping. However, the writers hyperbolize this by using this technique on appliances, where the consumer wouldn’t be able to escape it, making the industry and consumers simultaneously aware of ridiculous sales tactics of the industry.
The best way in which Popstar is able to satirize the pop music industry is through their parodies of the lyrics of these songs. This song, Finest Girl in particular is clearly criticizing the way in which many popstars think that whatever they touch turns to gold, perhaps in particular when Justin Bieber allegedly said this:
Clearly, both Conner4real and Justin Bieber are making light of issues and current events that are pretty serious, making them both seem tone-deaf, which is likely the point of this parody. Additionally, the ridiculous visuals in the video are quite akin to those found in many pop music videos.
The writers of Popstar do a great job of making fun of Hollywood and the ridiculousness of the pop music industry. What truly makes this film a satire, however, is how it ends. Conner4real’s downfall ends when he reunites with his bandmates and somehow learns how to be less shallow. This alludes to the fact that while the movie had a lot of fun making fun of the pop music industry, it was also trying to send a message that it is uncool to be shallow and that it is often what makes the industry so unbearable. By giving them a happy ending, Popstar is able to achieve its goals.
One thought on “Popstar: Hollywood Satire”
I really enjoyed this post about the satirical elements of this movie. I didn’t pick up one the use of parody in the scene with Maya Rudolph mocking the industry’s sale tactics, but now that you’ve pointed it out I find it really interesting.