Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here's Jerry O'Connell just torturing his kids with a Prince singalong

Photo: Jim Spellman (Getty Images)

It is every parent’s right to introduce their kids to the best music the world has to offer in the most excruciating way possible. As anyone who grew up failing to appreciate Neil Young on a cross-country road trip knows, the ideal forum for this coming-of-age rite is a car, child locks engaged and a frighteningly enthusiastic parent sitting in the front seat refusing to relinquish the stereo’s controls until their educational work is complete.

Here, as a prime example of this, is a clip of Jerry O’Connell providing a child-terrorizing guide to one of the Prince discography’s greatest hits.

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O’Connell, whose Twitter avatar is the photo of Prince used for his second album’s cover, is obviously a dedicated enough fan of the musician to make his celebrity account look like any other hyper-devoted internet weirdo, but his real love of Prince is better evidenced in the video. It starts with the camera aimed to show himself and his two kids sitting in the car, the stereo blasting “When Doves Cry” and the children screaming in agony. O’Connell, determined to provide a teachable moment, sings along regardless, trying to drown out the wailing with an intense accompaniment of situation-appropriate lines like “Maybe I’m just like my father, too bold.” One of them begs their dad to “turn it down” and he yells “This is real music!” before repeating again, face reddening, “This is real music! Listen!”

Whether the kids have heard the track a million times before or have just made it through the entirety of the Purple Rain A-side (probably sad because they desperately want to hear “Computer Blue” one more time and their dad won’t skip backward), is anybody’s guess. But the best clue as to why they’re in such pain comes one of the girls says, “Dad, turn it down, we’re next to the high school!” and O’Connell responds by staring at her and singing along “She’s never satisfied” in a committed falsetto.

O’Connell’s ad-hoc Prince reeducation center may look to some like it’s a bit much, but remember just how many times parents have to listen to shit like “Baby Shark” over the years and understand that, yes, he’s allowed to enjoy what it sounds like when kids cry to “When Doves Cry.”

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.