Film and TV

PSYched Out: The Today Show's Obsession With Psy

One of television's longest-running programs, NBC's Today, has recently gone from venerable to vulnerable within the span of about a year. Thanks to more missteps than a line of drunken novice cloggers attempting the Riverdance, the morning show now finds itself routinely rated behind its main competitor, ABC's Good Morning America.

There's plenty of blame for all involved to share. The most blatant offense was Today's producers giving and then almost immediately taking away Ann Curry's co-hosting duties. There's nothing more American than a person who pays his or her dues and earns his or her reward. We collectively love a success story in this country, and there's nothing Americans dislike more than someone having those spoils ripped away moments after they've finally been attained.

In the process, Matt Lauer morphed into Matt Schaub -- the balding, beleaguered quarterback of his team who, fairly or not, gets singled out when the group is on a losing streak.

Savannah Guthrie went from sunshiny girl next door to knife-wielding Brutus, whose hands seemed soaked with Curry's gushing back-blood. Even innocuous Natalie Morales couldn't escape the hate. With nothing else to pin on her, it was rumored she and Lauer had a child out of wedlock (just a rumor, right, Nat???).

And, of course, Al Roker shit his pants at the White House.

But amid all this finger-pointing and backbiting, one person has remained unfairly unscathed. That person is Korean pop artist Psy.

True, Psy is not a paid member of Today's outrageously dysfunctional family; but, maybe he is as much to blame for the show's recent shortcomings as anyone else.

Lauer & co. should take to referring to Psy as "31 Rock," so frequently has he been an addition to Today's broadcasts. He now has famously performed his breakthrough hit "Gangnam Style" on the show twice within eight months.

When Psy has not physically been at Rock Center, he has been there in spirit. Sometime last fall, just before his September 2012 debut appearance on the show, "Gangnam Style" began working its way into the show's vernacular. By the time he arrived, sang, did the dance where he slaps a horse's ass and moved onto his next gig (same building, same week, on Saturday Night Live), Psy had become the most colorful plume in the peacock.

"Gangnam Style," the song, has been used for intros and outros to the show's pieces. It's led into and come back from commercial breaks. It's been referenced in pieces that have nothing to do with the song itself, its singer, singing, dancing or even music.

Guthrie has been especially egregious in fawning over the song. The only song she appears to love better, based solely on my frequent observation, is Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe."

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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.