Infinite Challenge and Psy’s “Gentleman” music video

Psy “Gentleman”

Psy’s highly anticipated new single “Gentleman” was released on April 12th. Its music video was launched a day after, and it quickly set another YouTube record by notching more than 38 million views on a single day.

While the verdict is still out on whether it can match up to his wildly popular mega-hit “Gangnam Style”, it is nevertheless a feat for a non-English song to generate such interest globally.

It did not take long, however, for some to raise a ruckus over the ‘sexist’ treatment towards girls as well as the hip-thrusting moves in the video. Understandably, some parents decried the video as being ‘crass’ and a local parenting magazine advised parents to ban their kids from watching it.

For those indifferent to the outcry, some found the video bewildering, especially over the prominence given to certain ‘extras’ and references, such as “Wet Psy” and two ahjussis (Korean for middle-aged men) engaged in some dirty dancing. MBC, one of the major TV stations in Korea, had produced a video to give the background story, since the ‘extras’ are actually members of its hugely popular variety show “Infinite Challenge” (“Muhan Dojeon”, or MuDo as affectionately known among fans).

MBC video on Wet Psy and the Infinite Challenge cast

A note about Psy’s obsession with IC – Psy had professed on more than one occasion of being a huge fan of IC, and had appeared on the show on several occasions, particularly the annual music special editions.  IC is one of the longest running “real-variety” shows in Korea with a huge fan base. It is often voted as the most popular show in Korea, and was recently filmed by UK’s Channel 4 for the “Greatest Shows on Earth” documentary. Some of you may have recognised IC members Yoo Jae Suk (yellow-suited guy) and Noh Hong-chul (elevator guy) from the “Gangnam Style” video. Both – as well as Haha, another IC member, and the Hybrid in the MV – were specially invited by Psy to perform “Gangnam Style” at the Times Square New Year Countdown.

The IC episode extract on the NYC performance (sorry no subs, MBC keeps a tight rein)

The actual performance on TV

From the spotlight given to IC for the “Gentleman” MV, many believed that Psy had intentionally geared his new work to the Korean audience, as he initially intended for “Gangnam Style”. Only time will tell if the international audience will warm up to  “Gentleman” like they did to “Gangnam Style”.

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