The South Korean Air Force’s Les Misérables Parody Is Today’s Most Important Les Misérables Parody

First off, just want to make sure this is 100 percent clear: Despite the fixation on backbreaking manual labor, the above video comes to us via South Korea, not its northern, MJ-loving counterpart.

Now, on to the video: You know last summer when you were watching the second European trailer for Les Misérables on YouTube, and once it finished you noticed something in the related videos column called “HILARIOUS ‘Call Me Maybe’ Parody — OMG Must Watch!!” and, feeling particularly complacent that day, you decided to click on it? And after about 15 seconds into the extremely earnest acoustic cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s timeless classic, you realized two things: (1) This is neither a parody, nor hilarious, and (2) this is better than the original, so hating is not really an option? This is how you will feel when you watch “Les Militaribles,” this Les Misérables “parody” done by the South Korean Air Force and realize that they have a better Javert than we do.

Some context: I guess they had a particularly nasty winter in Korea this year, and the servicemen in the air force spent a lot of their time shoveling snow on the runways as part of their mandatory two years of military service. The supervising officers decided to embark upon this musical and cinematic endeavor “to lift the spirit of servicemen who had to work so hard to clear snow during the unusually heavy winter this year,” and to “help shatter the image of the military as a dull place and encourage more youth to take the service with delight,” according to Major Cheon Myeong-nyeong, one of the directors of the project.

Not sure if depicting actual shoveling servicemen wailing lyrics like “Sweet Jesus, why have you forsaken me / Dig down, dig down, your prayers are weak,” set to the tune of the chain-gang ditty “Look Down” is the best way to encourage enlistment, but it cannot be denied that the above 13-minute musical revue is ridiculously well-produced and sung. I need more viral vids from these guys, stat — maybe a little Pirates of Penzance or something? It’s not like they’ve got anything more fun to do for the next couple years.

Filed Under: Les Miserables, Viral Video of the Day, Viral Vids

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Emily Yoshida is an editor at Grantland.

Archive @ emilyyoshida