Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

First Watch: Girl Band, 'Paul'

In a new video for Girl Band's noise-punk blitzkrieg, "Paul" is an actor on a children's show tormented by his poorly-ventilated animal costume, conflicted feelings toward his coworkers and his family's disappointment. "It's quite tragic," director Bob Gallagher says. "I think everyone has experiences of having to put on an outward expression and feeling trapped, so Paul's costume is a visual extension of that."

The idea came to Gallagher after filming a friend's audition for a similar program. "I've often watched kids' TV with my goddaughters, and every time I do, I can't help but wonder what it's like for the actors behind the scenes — what the dynamics are like," he says. "There's such a sheen on those shows of happiness that I thought it would be interesting to look at the flip side of that with a character who is full of self loathing but [who] has to literally wear a big grin on his face."

Though the lead in Girl Band's video for "Paul" is ultimately overcome by rage and lashes out, director Gallagher says it actually ends on a positive note. "When the pressure of living that life comes to a head, he gets to be himself, and in a bizarre way, he gets acceptance from his hero Big Rooster," he says. "So I see it as a bizarre but happy ending."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Julian Ring
Julian Ring is an associate producer for NPR One. He adapts radio stories for NPR's digital platforms and creates original audio available exclusively on NPR's mobile apps. Ring previously oversaw podcast operations for NPR One and hand-curated daily news using the app's editorially responsible algorithm.