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Step Into the Salon: Are MC Skat Kat and Paula Abdul a match made in heaven?

Virgin

By Jacob Axelrad, Assistant Arts Editor
and Kayla Upadhyaya, Senior Arts Editor
Published October 25, 2012

More often than not, mixing animation with live action yields amazing results: the early 2000s classic Disney show “Lizzie McGuire,” the Amy Adams rom-com “Enchanted” and of course, one of my favorite films of the ’90s, “Space Jam.”

Perhaps pop star Paula Abdul had this magical formula in mind when concocting the concept for the music video that would accompany her chart-topping dance-pop single “Opposites Attract” from her debut album Forever Your Girl.

The music video reeks of ’80s cheese, featuring MC Skat Kat, a rapping cartoon cat inspired by a scene from Gene Kelly’s “Anchors Aweigh” in which Kelly dances with Jerry of the dynamic animated duo Tom and Jerry.

Now, I’m all about vapid pop and cheeseball spectacle, two things Abdul certainly mastered during her brief-but-loud presence in the pop world. And I’m definitely pro-rapping-cats (Who isn’t?!). But a close inspection of “Opposites Attracts” ’s lyrics reveal that something is … not quite right.

And I’m not just talking about the implied beastiality going on in this video. In fact, let’s just toss that aside.

At the video’s start, Abdul muses “Baby seems we never ever agree / You like the movies / And I like TV.”

Alright, this sounds like a pretty normal and harmless thing to disagree about with a romantic partner (though are movies really the opposite of TV? … I might be unnecessarily caught up in semantics, yes, but perhaps this warrants discussion? File it away for a potential debate to spark at your next dinner party).

Then Abdul informs us that she goes to bed early, with Skat Kat interrupting to say he parties all night. Uh-oh, Paula. This is starting to sound like it might not be the healthiest relationship. No one wants a guy who’s out all night, slinking around alleys with the riff-raff (have you seen Skat Kat’s crew? There’s no way Taboo isn’t a drug dealer).

“Our friends are sayin’ / We ain't gonna last / Cuz I move slowly / And baby I’m fast.”

OK, we’re definitely not talking about dancing, right? Move at your own pace, Paula! Don’t let Skat Kat pressure you.

As the song continues, it’s very clear that Abdul and Skat Kat aren’t just lovers with a few differences — they are completely wrong for each other. She likes quiet, he likes noise. She’s neat, he’s a mess. She has money, he’s always broke. She hates cigarettes, and he always smokes!

Enough is enough. Perhaps the reason why some women go crazy for the bad-boy types like Don Draper and Jeff Winger is Paula Abdul’s destructive and depraved relationship with that dastardly animated cat.

—KAYLA UPADHYAYA

***

Paula Abdul is many things to many people: singer, choreographer, Lakers cheerleader, “American Idol” judge. But long before she ever took her seat next to Randy and Simon as an original “Idol” judge, she was dancing a duet with MC Skat Kat, and proving that opposites do, in fact, attract.

You know what I’m talking about. You’ve seen it on VH1’s “I Love the ’80s.” You’ve probably even gone frame by frame, pausing the YouTube video to memorize the routine they perform on the ledge of a roof.

“Opposites Attract” portrays the inexplicable attraction between Abdul and Skat Kat, who was dubbed “the greatest rapping animated cat in the history of pop music,” by Rolling Stone. The two are head-over-heels for each other, but they couldn’t be more different. “You like the movies and I like TV,” Abdul croons. “But when we get together it just all works out,” the two sing in unison. Call it some kind of lesson in love.

Though it has been more than 20 years since Abdul and Skat Kat first introduced viewers to their dysfunctional relationship, the Grammy-winning music video still resonates due to its distinct flavor of ingredients — what can go wrong when you combine an animated rapping cat, synthesized ’80s beats and a tap number worthy of Gregory Hines or Savion Glover (long before a penguin named Mumble tapped his way into our hearts, I might add)?

There are, of course, the naysayers, critics who will tell you that this tender relationship is farfetched, too unrealistic to ever actually exist in the real world. “She ‘moves slowly’ and ‘likes it quiet’ whereas he ‘moves fast’ and ‘likes to shout,’ ” they might say. “It’ll never work out.” Yet look at Democratic and Republican political pundits James Carville and Mary Matalin: The couple is happily married and as “opposite” as can be.

What I’m trying to say is that “Opposites Attract” exemplifies a crucial aspect of modern relationships: the fact that two individuals from different walks of life can still make each other happy. At times, this can be easy to forget. After all, in an age when names such as Brangelina, Bennifer and Jelena fill tabloid headlines, it can feel as though you’re prescribed to find your significant other within your cohort. But according to Abdul and Skat Kat, romance is found in the unlikeliest of places, a message of hope for lovers everywhere.

—JACOB AXELRAD