A group of U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan used some of their rare free time to put together a reenactment of Lady Gaga and Beyonce's famous "Telephone" video.
Though it was intended to delight just their friends and family back home with some lighthearted entertainment, the video has gone viral on YouTube, getting more than 200,000 views since being posted on April 23...and counting.
It's only just beginning to get major press coverage, so it's fair to predict the video will soon be seen by millions. With its choreographed dance routines, homemade costumes, and improvised gymnastics, the clip is thoroughly enjoyable, even if you're not familiar with the original:
The soldiers who star in the video are already being hounded by the press, but so far have declined to answer questions from journalists. When he posted the video, 24-year-old soldier and amateur video director Aaron Melcher included the following note:
"This is a couple guys located in afghanistan, that re-made the music video by Lady Gaga....Telephone. Prepare yourself for a fantastical journey. Right now this is the temporary version, we have more scenes to cut, and edit, however with guys always on mission it is harder to film than you think."
In the 24 hours since the clip began gaining traction on the Internet, Melcher wrote on his Facebook page (reprinted in The Smoking Gun) that the video was made for "a couple of our friends and family and you can see that it has blown up way more than that...nobody in the video would like any further media coverage."
And, a sign that the "Telephone" clip is already becoming popular with the Web crowd: A segment of it has been made into an animated gif.
The Internet community, always supportive of music-video remakes (and the troops!), holds its breath for more. So far, the only other uploaded video on Melcher's YouTube page is an open-mike-style acoustic performance of an unfamiliar song (an Internet search for its lyrics brought zero results). The clip appears to also have been shot in an Army facility of some kind, and is much less involved than the "Telephone" remake: It features just two men, a guitar, and a bongo drum.