It’s been almost two decades since the infamous “cloakroom malfunction” at the Super Bowl, and yet Janet JacksonThe incident’s career never fully recovered. The newest New York TimesThe documentary “Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson” examined the cultural factors surrounding the outrage and
The documentary provided a backdrop about Jackson’s career, as well as her struggles and the obstacles she faced in trying to balance her sexuality with America’s focus on morality. It also offered a behind-the-scenes look at production around the infamous halftime show, with interviews with NFL and MTV managers.
The documentary used archived footage to show Jackson and Timberlake’s reactions to the event in the immediate aftermath of and in the days following the scandal. It specifically addresses the fact that both Timberlake and Jackson were due to be in the Grammys the following week, but Timberlake was allowed to come while Jackson was basically not invited. The documentary also shows how Timberlake’s career skyrocketed, why Jackson’s seemed to be falling.
It also interviewed cultural experts to discuss some of the theories as to why this happened, and shows how a changing society seems to have taken Jackson back into its favor – even if it was far too late.
“Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson” is streamed on Hulu.