Rembert Explains the ’80s: Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me”

Editor’s Note: Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the ’80s. Every so often, we’ll e-mail 24-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn’t seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he’s watching it, then we’ll post those thoughts here. This week’s installment was selected by Hollywood Prospectus editor Mark Lisanti: “Somebody’s Watching Me,” by Rockwell. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the ’80s, e-mail us at

Rembert’s Note: I’ve been prepping myself for this video to get selected since November.

*Before I start, you should know this about Rockwell (from Wikipedia):

Rockwell’s paternal half-sister is actress Rhonda Ross Kendrick, the eldest child of Diana Ross. Rockwell is also closely related to the group LMFAO through half-brother Redfoo, son of Berry Gordy and Nancy Leiviska, and SkyBlu, Rockwell’s nephew through half-brother Berry Gordy IV and his wife Valerie Robeson.

Not confused enough? Click here.

OK, let’s start.

0:01 There’s nothing creepier than a music video shot through a burglar’s eyes. Nothing.

0:05 English translation of the newspaper headline: “ROCKWELL FOR GOD’S SAKE LOCK YOUR DOOR FOR ONCE.”

0:10 AHHHHH! The Man Who May or May Not Be Watching!

0:12 Unidentified man is in the house. Oh no, there’s a doggie, please don’t kill the doggie.

0:16 Rockwell and his juicy curl are in the shower. I’m so scared for him.

0:22 Phew. The murderous trespasser spared the doggie’s life. That might mean extra terror for Rockwell. Oh heavens.

0:24 Why is the vase already broken? I thought that was the creepy man’s job. Is there a second shooter?

0:28 Does Rockwell live here by himself? This house looks kind of big. Not really doing a great job of hiding where all of your fame and fortune comes from, Kennedy William Gordy.

0:37 Why is there a crow in the house? This is getting awkward.

0:39 And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more awkward, there it is, Rockwell’s voice.

LYRICS: “I’m just an average man” — FALSE. “With an average life” — DOUBLE FALSE.

0:42 The terrible camera-in-eyes gunman just opened the fridge. WHAT WILL HE TAKE?

LYRIC: “I work from 9 to 5” — SO FALSE.

0:45 Rockwell is showering with shorts on. What? I mean, I respect the fact that the aerial shot was important, but not at the expense of showing a grown man showering with shorts on. This strange finding has risen to the top of the board of “Reasons no one was actually watching Rockwell.”

0:51 What is this guy looking for in this house? He’s in room number eight. Why does Rockwell live in a labyrinth?

0:53 There he is again, Man Who May or May Not Be Watching! Rockwell, hide!

0:54 There is no emotional roller coaster like the one when Michael Jackson starts singing the hook, but instead of Michael Jackson showing up in the video, it’s Rockwell, walking around his house. The worst.

LYRICS (sung by Michael Jackson) — “I always feel like, somebody’s watching me” — True for MJ, definitely not for Rockwell. Mike could sell out the city of Belgrade; Rockwell would have trouble filling up the stockroom of a Radio Shack.

0:56 How did he get a suit on so fast? He was just showering in shorts 11 seconds ago. Did Rockwell direct this?

0:59 Wait what? He’s back in the shower? I’m confused.


At this point, I’ve decided there is no point in trying to analyze this video using linear thought. Rockwell is forcing me to just go with it. I really hate him for that.

LYRIC: “When I come home at night, I bolt the door real tight” — FALSE. That’s exactly what you didn’t do, Weezy.

1:17 Rockwell is in his living room (if this is even in his house), and the TV is on. And for some reason, he’s staring at the television, creeped out by all the moving pictures in the screen. Sorry to be rude, but what is taking the killer so long?

LYRIC: “People call me on the phone I’m trying to avoid” — Really? Who? Give me a name. Just one and I’ll back off.

1:25 Back in the killer’s eyes, he walks outside to find Rockwell in his backyard graveyard. Yes. Rockwell has a graveyard in his backyard.

LYRIC: “When I’m in the shower, I’m afraid to wash my hair” — Rock, we all saw you washing your hair. The curl was dripping. What you’re afraid to do is take off your shorts, which is something you need to figure out on your own, super-paranoid time.

1:26 There’s a shirtless White guy in a diaper on the left side of the screen for one second. Who is he? Is he the one who broke the vase? Rockwell, son of Motown royalty, feel free to explain just one thing that’s happened so far. I dare you.

1:34 Oh, OK. While Rockwell is showering, there’s a creature cloaked in black that is dancing next to the toilet. That’s what happens in Rockwell’s bathroom. While that potentially explains the shorts, a new series of questions arise from the fact that there is a creature cloaked in black dancing next to the toilet.

LYRIC: “People say I’m crazy” — yes.

1:37 Uh oh, Rockwell is dead. The headstone says so. I feel sort of bad wishing this on him. Also, I’m confused what the last 1:59 of this video is going to entail. Maybe a dance-off between the burglarizing terrorist, the shirtless White diaper man, and the black-cloaked toilet creature. That’d be unreal. Step Up 9D.

1:41 Ugh, Rockwell’s still alive. I just saw him. This is starting to hurt my brain. Help.

1:48 Face-to-face encounter between Rockwell and the Man Who May or May Not Be Watching. Rockwell, stand up for yourself.

1:49 Rockwell immediately runs away. I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD.

2:03 Rockwell runs upstairs, opens door, dog runs out, Rockwell gets scared. Wait, isn’t that your dog, Rock? Holy moly, you don’t even live here, do you? Why were you showering there? I can’t connect a single dot in this video.

2:08 Poor doggie, got treated better by the murderer than by Rockwell. Then again, based on that interaction, I’m starting to think Rockwell was showering in someone’s house and the murderer is actually a guy just coming home. Rockwell’s a jerk.

2:19 In the past five seconds, Rockwell saw a man staring in the house from outside and a shirtless man carrying around a roasted pig on a platter. Normal.

2:23 And like that, Rockwell is back in the shower. This is fine art.

LYRIC: “Are the neighbors watching me?” — yes. They’re looking to see if you’ve moved yet. You’re single-handedly lowering the value of their home.

2:32 FINALLY. THE WATER HAS TURNED INTO BLOOD. ROCKWELL BLOOD. I can’t believe I had to wait two and a half minutes for that.

LYRIC: “Is the mailman watching?” — yes. He’s concerned. He really thinks you should open those letters from the IRS.

LYRIC: “I wonder who’s watching me now? The IRS?” — just open the letters, Rockwell. It’s only going to get worse.

2:48 Rockwell steps out of the shower and the living room has been transported into a haunted house. Or maybe these are just Rockwell’s friends. There is no way to tell which one is more true.

3:00 Hey, can you throw on a shirt? Sorry, I’m growing tired of you emasculating no one.

3:07 Rockwell is on his balcony now, having a Rapunzel-esque interaction with shirtless White diaper man down below.

3:14 And like that, shirtless White diaper man has transformed into the mailman.

3:20 Rockwell unleashes the single creepiest natural laugh I’ve ever seen and runs downstairs. He looks like one of the kids from the Ovaltine commercials.

3:22 IT’S A TRAP. The mailman has a skeletal demon hand. No Rockwell, NO.

3:32 The demon hand mailman gives Rockwell his mail, but the video unfortunately freezes and ends before we witness the terror that the mailman undoubtedly inflicts on Rockwell. For shame.

When bad things happen to you, don’t immediately blame Rockwell. Blame “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell.

Filed Under: Michael Jackson, Rembert Explains, Videos

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert