Gangnam Style Vs. Call Me Maybe: A scientific evaluation.


Who loves a good lip-dub and/or dancing craze? Apparently everybody. If you haven’t personally starred in dancing parody/tribute YouTube video than you know somebody who has. I thought I was safe. Then I found out the entire staff of my old high school made a Call Me Maybe video. Every teacher has bad lip-dub timing and there are bad pratfalls, strained jokes about pi, two people in sombreros, a guy doing the sprinkler dance and worse.
The thing is these videos are so long. You get the gist in the first couple measures and then the thing just keeps going and going and going and you get the idea.

This year we’ve had two main culprits. Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” and Psi’s “Gangnam Style.”  We all know how tiresome they’ve become. But does anybody really know which is the tiresomest?

I decided to find out. I asked my esteemed colleague, Gail Strauss, Director of Research, if she’d be willing to do a bit of scientific exploration into the issue. She politely refused. So I’ve embarked on a rigorous quest of rigorous rigor to see which craze is the best-worst.

(I’m using the term ‘best-worst’ as it hints at the feelings generated by the best of these parody videos. A rich mélange of giddy bemusement tainted ever so slightly by quiet self-loathing.)

If you don’t have time to read much further, I’ve summarized my findings in the following chart.

Obviously there are seven stages to all viral video craze-trends. Today, we will go through each stage and sanctimoniously pronounce a winner. To avoid embedding 14 videos, I will simply link to the loser and embed the winner.

Stage One: Original Video

Psi takes the win with a video that is actually watchable. It’s easy to understand the parodies when you see a cheeseball video to an admittedly catchy song. Also, I like horses. I like them more than lawnmowers. So when Psi dances in front of the horses, he totally had me. Much more than when the shirtless guy in the other video stands around with his lawnmower. Watch for yourself.

Loser = Call Me Maybe

Winner = Gangnam Style

Stage Two: First Spin-Offs

There are two things you need to know about me. I am a manly man. And I love Ellen. That show kills me. My wife hooked me on it and don’t judge. I can see you judging. This video of a mom and son dancing together pulls my heartstrings, dammit! Stop judging.

Loser = Call Me Maybe (on Jimmy Fallon)

Winner = Gangnam Style (on Ellen)

Stage Three: High Profile Dancing and Singing

I love America. I love Missy what’s her name. The one with all the gold medals. But I totally dig 80,000 people doing the same thing in unison. That’s why I love this video. Maybe I should live in North Korea. It’s totally just like that video just with even more funk music right? No? Damn. Anyway, Psi made 80k people shout and gyrate. That’s like Wilt Chamberlain numbers.

Loser = Call Me Maybe (USA Swim Team)

Winner = Gangnam Style x 80,000

Stage Four: Wow! This is everywhere!

Sneaky victory here for Cookie Monster. I love the NBA so I thought the Pacers’ center Roy Hibbert had a chance. But nobody messes with Cookie. How can you think about cookies for more than three minutes without being in a good mood? It’s impossible. Sesame Street for the win.

Loser = Gangnam Style (Pacers’ star Roy Hibbert flash dance)

Winner = Call Me Maybe (Cookie Monster version)

Stage Five: Make it stop

In general things go bad quick for viral video trends. You’re either ahead of the curve or you’re in big big trouble. Accordingly, I’m going to change the rules of this exercise mid post. I’ll link to the one that is slightly more tolerable and embed the truly cringe-worthy winner-loser. Here Call Me Maybe starts to pull away. While Psi-lovers are toying around in actual West Point stables, the Harvard Baseball team is stuck arm dancing in the back of a small van. It’s Harvard. They have like a multi-billion dollar endowment. One day I’m going to hire one of these guys to manage my retirement portfolio. Why do they have such a sad-looking van? We all deserve better.

Winner = Gangnam Style (at West Point)

Loser = Call Me Maybe (Harvard Baseball)

Stage Six: I would rather Rick Roll myself

A clear loss and by that I mean win by my old high school. Northern Indiana represent! We’re terrible at dancing. We can’t prat fall properly. Try to stop watching this train wreck. You can’t. It’s like some newly unearthed newtonian law of gravity. We are all sucked in.

Winner = Gangnam Style (Halloween House)

Loser = Call Me Maybe (My high school)

Stage Seven: Colin Powell does it

A come from behind victory for Call Me Maybe! Behind for most of the competition, Carly Rae pulls out her trump card. He rocked Operation Desert Storm (the first Iraq War) and he’s totally rocked this random viral video fight. From nowhere he lands a direct hit on Gangnam Style with this unprovoked months-late performance on a morning show.

One second you think he’s there to endorse a candidate and the next second… Bam! Game over.


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