What Is “Gangnam Style” Video Actually About? Psy Breaks It Down Frame By Frame For MTV

by (@zaragolden)

These days, Psy is living his best life — appearing at the Video Music Awards and on Saturday Night Live, teaching Brit to dance Gangnam style and just generally going hard and fast as the newest member of Scooter Braun‘s always winning team. And all this off the strength of his “Gangnam Style” video, which was meant mostly for his Korean fan base but since seems to have spoken to the world wide. What’s the deal with that video that went viral? MTV News got the scoop, asking Psy to breakdown his video-gone-viral and share the secrets behind some of its most ridiculous scenes.  “With this video and director we kept on focusing on to be ridiculous as possible, that was our point,” Psy says. “So we were so serious thinking to be ridiculous.”

As he sees it, wherein lies the magic? Here’s what he says of the video’s most memorable moments:

  • The dancing kid who dances in the sand-filled playground was pulled from Korea’s Got Talent and is only 5-years-old.
  • “I asked the director, ‘I’m doing the horse dance, let’s get a horse,’” and so they of course got a horse.
  • Psy and crew spent 48-sleepless-hours shooting the video, and he was so pooped by the final scene in the sauna that he actually did fall asleep. “We were getting panic like, ‘What were we doing all these two days?’ and everybody is like ‘what are we going to do in the sauna?’ and let’s just go in and play music and as you can see I was so tired.”
  • That explosion was the most expensive scene in the video.
  • Those yoga-toned ladies were brought in because, as it turns out, Pys’ an ass man: “I’m sorry, but I literally love butt. Honestly, what can I say?”
  • That guy in the elevator dancing dirty with Psy is a Korean comedian named Noh Hong-cheol, who was hanging around set to cheer Psy on when he got roped into improvising a scene. “We were suddenly getting in the elevator to move and to the next spot and I asked him ‘Hey, why don’t we make some film in the elevator? and he did the dance move,” Psy says. “This move is really dirty and really famous in Korea so I said, ‘I’m gonna go underneath between your legs,’ so it was really ad-libbed.”
  • The pool scene was inspired by Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance.”
  • And the toilet scene? “Isn’t this lovely? I love this scene.”

There’s more to it than “just for entertaining,” though. When we first fell for “Gangnam Style” back in August, we suggested that Psy might be “a classier, better dressed and superior dancing LMFAO.” To have been more accurate, we might also have thrown someone like Max Weber into that mix, because as this great explainer form The Atlantic points out, there is some serious social commentary mixed into all that “just for fun.” The song’s namesake Gangnam is a wealthy Soeul neighborhood, and writer Max Fisher suggests that the video “lampoons its self-importance and ostentatious wealth, with Psy playing a clownish caricature of a Gangnam man.”And so when he is acting Gangnam not the beach but on the swings at a sand-burried children’s playground, he’s actually nettling the style. And while it might not seem particularly potent to an American, Fisher suggests that this sort of social satire is new in South Korea and that the success of “Gangnam Style” is “a big deal.” The more ridiculous it gets, the sharper the commentary is as well. Psy really meant it when he said they were “so serious thinking to be ridiculous.”

Psy Breaks Down Greatest Assets Of “Gangnam Style” Vid [MTV]
Gangnam Style, Diseccted: The Subversive Message Within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation [The Atlantic]