Move over, Carly Rae Jepsen: The fall's biggest musical earworm belongs to South Korean rapper Park Jae-sang — or, as he's more commonly known, Psy. His viral music video "Gangnam Style" was originally intended as a satire of a small neighborhood in Seoul renowned for its wealth, with Psy playing a "clownish caricature of a Gangnam man." But the video, in which Psy showcases his "crazy horse-riding dance" and croons catchily (watch Psy's original clip below), has catapulted him to American fame, leading to a performance of "Gangnam Style" alongside Britney Spears on Ellen, and a cameo on Saturday Night Live's season premiere. And as with any viral video, Psy's smash hit has also inspired a slew of YouTube parodies. Here, a look at the 11 best fan parodies of "Gangnam Style":
1. "Hibbert Gangnam Style"
Indiana Pacers fans got an unexpected treat when star center Roy Hibbert led a flash mob rendition of "Gangnam Style" in the state's Circle Centre Mall. The video begins with just a single woman performing, but she's quickly joined by a group of dancers that includes two morphsuit-clad dancers and a little girl. The video's highlight comes when a tuxedo-sporting Hibbert joins the group and leads them in the rest of the dance, standing in as a surprisingly credible Psy surrogate. (via Grantland)
2. "Inmate Gangnam Style"
The Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center— an unconventional prison in the Philippines that uses large-scale choreographed dance routines to rehabilitate its inmates — has already gone viral once before, with a version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" that has earned than 50 million views. Given their YouTube cred, it's no surprise that they've come up with a jumpsuit-clad take on Psy's hit. (via Gawker)
3. "Lifeguard Style"
After their "Lifeguard Style" parody went viral, each of the 14 El Monte, Calif., lifeguards featured in this video was fired "for using city property, including the pool and their uniforms, for private use." Amid widespread public outcry, the city's mayor called for an independent review of the hasty decision. (via The Huffington Post)
4. "Gangnam Style Mom"
Offering proof that "Gangnam Style" is a multi-generational phenomenon, this video, shot with a stationary camera in a living room, showcases the impressive synchronized dancing talents of a mother-son duo. This unlikely "Gangnam Style" collaboration, reportedly Psy's favorite parody, earned its participants a guest spot on Ellen. (via CBS News)
5. "Nerdy Style"
Popular YouTube performer JuzDin offers his own take: "Nerdy Style," an English-language parody in which he's tormented by bullies and rejected by women. "Call me a nerd, [but] I know how to fight like Yoda," sings JuzDin while brandishing a plastic light saber. (via BuzzFeed)
6. "Pony Gangnam Style"
Horses feature prominently in the original "Gangnam Style" video, so it's only fitting that it has spawned a parody starring a particularly enthusiastic equine from the cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. (via The Wall Street Journal)
7. "Navy Gangnam Style"
Crisply uniformed Navy midshipmen from Annapolis, Md., jive and thrust their way through the routine on docks and boats. And unlike the lifeguards who lost their jobs, these guys have earned Navy approval: A spokesman told an Annapolis newspaper that he's happy the video "has struck a chord with the American public." (via USA Today)
8. "Gandalf Style"
Just in time to ride The Hobbit's hype, this parody features a man dressed as Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings. Enigmatically, the gray wizard ambushes seemingly unsuspecting people with the "Gangnam Style" dance at a Baskin-Robbins, a supermarket parking lot, and a kids' soccer game. (via Billboard)
9. "Baby Gangnam Style"
A group of young moms and their tots star in this video, with one moppet even strapping on a pint-sized version of Psy's blue jacket and sunglasses. The video cleverly adapts unglamorous parenting chores — such as hauling bags of dirty diapers — to reference the seductive moves in Psy's video. (via Billboard)
10. "Gangnam Style — The Oregon Duck"
Here, the University of Oregon mascot fills in for Psy, joined by a startling range of fellow dancers including Bigfoot, Yoda, and Kermit the Frog. But despite all the surprise cameos, the video's undeniable highlight comes when the Duck, in an apparent homage to comedian Gallagher, smashes a watermelon with a sledgehammer. (via The San Jose Mercury News)
11. "Halloween Gangnam Style"
It may not feature Psy's now-legendary dance, but one spirited fan from Leesburg, Va., accomplished his own insane tribute to "Gangnam Style": A Halloween-themed light show to Psy's catchy hit, with four spooky faces synced up to "sing" the tune. (via Digital Journal)
Watch the original video:
This article — originally published on Sept. 20, 2012 — was last updated on Oct. 23, 2012.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
Subscribe to the Week