A baffling Norwegian music video reveals its secrets

Information and controversy emerge about the '80s all-star "Gylne Tider" singalong that's captivated the Web

Topics: Internet Culture,

A baffling Norwegian music video reveals its secretsPamela Anderson, Jason Alexander, Glenn Close and Peter Falk

If you were on the Internet this weekend, you may have seen what has to be one of the weirdest, most delightful and certainly most impressive viral videos to emerge in a very long time. An onslaught of ’80s and early ’90s stars, from Steve Guttenberg to Right Said Fred to the “Twin Peaks” ladies to Tonya Harding (Tonya Harding!), lip- syncing to a bad “We Are the World”-style cover of “Let It Be” on a green-screened beach. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s never too late. Take a gander here:

We could watch that a million times. Although it wasn’t new to the Web, the video started making the rounds late Friday afternoon, and was the talk of the Salon offices for the last few hours of the work week. “This is like the unconscious cast of characters parading around the brains of one specific generation of pop culture consumers,” one colleague observed in an e-mail.

Which, it turns out, is precisely the point. As people discovered over the weekend, the video isn’t just an excuse to put a bunch of random washed-up celebrities together in a Beatles video: It’s a commercial for “Gylne Tider,” a popular program on Norway’s TV2 network. Hosted by Oyvind Mund, Steinar Martinsen and Ingar Thorsen, “Gylne Tider” (“Golden Days”) is “I Love the ’80s” as a travel documentary. Clad in their trademark matching red sweat shirts, the three hosts travel the world in search of their favorite bygone celebrities; the current fourth season features episodes dedicated to Huey Lewis, Pamela Anderson, Jason Alexander and Ricki Lake, among others.

But how did the “Gylne Tider” guys get so many stars to appear in their commercial? Several of the video’s celebs appear in episodes of the show, but according to at least one participant, trickery may have been afoot. The Hollywood Reporter reported this morning that actor David Faustino, who played son Bud Bundy on “Married With Children,” claims the Norwegian trio got him to be in the video by saying it was for charity. No other celebrities have corroborated his story so far.

In watching this, we also couldn’t help thinking of Matt Zoller Seitz’s weekend slide show of best and worst uses of Beatles music in popular culture, and where this “Let It Be” cover might fall. A beautiful, profound anthem at face value, “Let It Be” has become so overused and clichéd that at this point it’s hard to think of it as anything but a parody of itself — and this most ironic of contexts certainly doesn’t help.

The Web parodies have already begun to trickle in. Cracked.com put together its own take; it’s a pretty accurate subtitled representation of our own experience watching the clip. (“Wow, George Wendt really does not want to be here.” “When Bud Bundy is pointing at you twice, you should know that something is amiss.”) Enjoy below — along with the “Gylne Tider” cast’s epic rendition of “We Are the World.”


Schuyler Velasco is an editorial fellow at Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>