If you've ever rocked out to a Weird Al Yankovic tune or a Minecraft version of a Maroon 5 song, you're probably familiar with song parodies. And now that anyone with a smartphone and basic recording equipment can create their own versions of songs with humorously redone lyrics, these parodies are no longer just for professionals. Which is generally a good thing, because it's not like our music industry is offering up much in the way of lyrical greatness. "I want to die alive"? What does that even mean, Ariana Grande? What are you hiding?
But while most humorous YouTube song parodies are accessible to general audiences, there's also plenty out there aimed at particular groups. Browsing these niche parodies can give viewers a sometimes-terrifying peek into the heads of the rarefied audiences who consume them. For example:
#5. Nursing Students Sing About Urethras, Death
Medical schools of all kinds love making educational videos. YouTube brimmeth over with catchy songs aimed at helping doctors and nurses memorize important facts, like the layout of internal organs and which end of the human brown stuff should be coming out of. Almost as common, however, are videos that seem to have very little purpose except to creep everyone out:
If you can't see that video because you're currently in a mineshaft, that's a song parody set to "A Whole New World" from the movie Aladdin, only now the lyrics are about sticking things up people's pee-holes. In this version, a male nurse serenades a cheerful bearded patient, trying to decide which catheter to insert into the end of his penis. The patient seems entirely comfortable with this, chiming in with, "Up my urethra it will go!" when he sees the catheter. At the part of the song where Aladdin and Princess Jasmine sing, "I'm in a whole new world with you," the ecstatic patient now exclaims, "And my distended bladder will be gone!" with absolutely zero percent of the dead-eyed horror that should accompany the realization of where that tube will be going.
I get that medical professionals have long since lost the "discomfort around urethral penetration" that most of us still hold on to, but even given that, just who is this video's target audience? Student nurses, who will end up with unreasonable expectations of how patients react when told they need a piece of plastic jammed up their pee-canal? Patients, in the hope that the next time they need a catheter they'll be able to calm themselves by humming Disney tunes? Fetishists with bizarre sexual fantasies involving urethras and oddly comfortable bearded men? We'll never know, I guess. But other nursing-related parodies, at least, have clearer aims, like this one, called "Do Not Resuscitate," in which a patient lists his medical ailments and then asks for doctors not to restart his heart if it stops:
According to this nursing site, the video is "a great way to broach the idea that death may be not so bad" and makes it easy to discuss DNR options with patients "without spooking everyone out." In other words, behold the way of the future, people. When I have a terminal illness one day, I will expect nothing less than having my care options explained in song form, complete with the Grim Reaper in a black leotard.
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This guy represents CPR-related sternal fractures.
There's also the fact that this tune, in which a patient requests that someone "end this life of torture and pain," is set to a Nickelback song. Look, guys ... you're making it too easy. I have jokes to make here, and I wanted to keep a certain amount of self-respect for now. All right then, here goes: One might say that listening to Nickelback may make certain people more desirous of a DNR order that hastens their death. Hahaha! That's why they pay me the good stuff.
But that aside, even death-via-Nickelback is way less disturbing than what some other medical professionals are doing with their movie-making software. Like ...
#4. Anesthesiologists Cheerfully Sing About Anesthesia Failure
If you've ever had surgery, you'll recognize the anesthesiologist as the doctor who comes and questions you a lot about your weight, then sticks around during surgery to make sure you don't wake up while the surgeon is removing your extra lung or whatever. And after that, apparently, he or she heads back to the office to watch this hilarious anesthesia-related parody video of the 1975 song "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do."
The parody, "Waking Up Is Hard To Do," is about patients waking up during surgery, and all the various ways it can go wrong. Included are these lines:
If I wake, I'm going to sue
'Cos waking up is hard to do!
Obviously, having a surgery-related job probably requires a buttload of gallows humor, and given how high-stress their work must be, no one can blame these guys for putting those jokes in musical form. Looking at it from the patient's point of view, though, it's maybe just a little disturbing. Up to 1 in 500 patients undergoing surgery regain consciousness while it's happening, and in some cases muscle relaxants given in surgery do keep working, which means it's possible to wake up feeling the pain of surgery but being unable to move. One patient who went through a similar experience described thinking that she had died and woken up in hell.
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She also stated she heard disco music during the experience. Come on people, stop making it easy.
Personally, I would have been happier not knowing that this horrifying possibility is treated as a humorous song lyric by medical professionals in a YouTube video with over 10 million views. But I guess that's why anesthesiologists never show up to my birthday parties.
#3. Iggy Azalea Parodies Illustrate Humanity's Failed Hopes, Dreams
Remember when that Iggy Azalea song "Fancy" made you feel old because you realized Clueless is now considered a classic enough movie to be referenced in song videos? Well, now you can be depressed for a completely different reason, because thanks to YouTube parodies, "Fancy" has become a lesson in the inevitable crushed dreams of mankind. To see this in action, first watch "I'm So Married," a parody performed by several happy and satisfied new wives who even team up to do the "coordinated dancing while wearing sexy gym gear" from the original video:
The song does hint at a darker future ahead, with later verses mentioning that several years into their celebrated marriage, the couple is only having sex once a month. But in general, it's as upbeat and hopeful as any bride on her wedding day. Things only really start to get dark when you move on to another, unrelated parody by a different YouTube creator, this one titled "I'm So Pregnant."
Gone is the innocent joy of "I'm So Married"; this singer's life now consists of constant discomfort, lack of alcohol, and an inability to go 10 minutes without peeing. The same "dancing in sexy gym gear" sequence appears, but this time the singer attempts a move and falls down, unable to get up until her non-pregnant friends help her. Life is starting to suck, and yet even worse things are ahead, because another YouTube parodist has created the next link in the descending chain, "I'm So Cranky":
In this version, an exhausted-looking mother tries to control her two misbehaving children as they throw liquids on the floor, refuse healthy foods, and in general act like possessed demon-larvae. The "dancing in gym gear" sequence still appears briefly, but by now the woman's friends are absent: Maybe they too are busy with their own disappointing adult lives, or maybe they're dead. Whatever the case, Iggy Azalea has given us an example of the downfall of life's fairytale imaginings, and the utter futility of all hope for the future. I guess it's only a matter of time before another parodist continues this trajectory of disappointing life events that can be preciously described in two-syllable words -- maybe one called "I'm So Achey," about arthritis pains, or "I'm So Mortal," which has a verse about signing a DNR based on a Nickelback song.