Samantha, David’s dad in the dentist video was his actual dad, so we hold him to the standard of life, not art. I actually found this MGMT video refreshing, as an antidote to the Disney-fied, chock full o’ lessons kid fare that’s out today. (Hola, Dora!) Once upon a time, fairy tales helped kids make sense of their outsized terrors and emotions. They did not teach them how to wash their hands, or say “recycle” in Spanish. Babies do cry frantically when they are left alone in a crib, as if-and many a parent has said this-there were monsters in there. Or they swear they see monsters in the cracks of the ceiling, or the closet. This kid’s pretty, distracted mother does not see the monsters, only he does, which suggests they are not really there. In the narrative of the video, his mother is more interested in her iPhone than her baby, so he, even more than other babies, is left to make sense of his world alone. All those people on the street staring at him, the policeman-they could be angels, or monsters. How could he know?
Now as for that actual child actor, MGMT claims that no live children were harmed in the making of the video . They do not elaborate. Who knows? Maybe they spliced in all those monsters later, or maybe they did make that poor kid walk through the gauntlet of horrors. It’s no worse a hell than Max from Where the Wild Things Are dreamed up for himself. But if the kid was screaming with terror and fear, and they kept the cameras rolling, that one is on his real parents, not MGMT.