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Willie the Wildcat and Purdue Pete wage B1G Mascot Music Video War

by Chris Johnson (@chrisdjohnsonn)

The various “Call Me Maybe”-choreographed dance recreations released in the past few months have long since reached maximum capacity. Everywhere I turn, it seems there’s a new version with a different twist featuring disparate segments of the pop-consuming populace, each more inconceivable than its overhyped predecessor. Don’t get me wrong, Carly Rae Jepsen’s summer jam is practically the perfect pop song, with the sort of catchy, endearing tone that makes these videos far more tolerable than they should be. The Harvard baseball team set the bar pretty high with this car-based rendition, only to be outdone by the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders’ slightly suggestive performance. And whoever spliced together this now-viral masterpiece spotlighting President Obama gets a well-deserved tip of the cap for some exquisite video editing skills.

Naturally, the pop-based fad reached Big Ten country, where it was only a matter of time before not fans, players or coaches—though I’d certainly enjoy a well-planed, high-spirited Urban Meyer-Brady Hoke “Call Me Maybe” lip-dub—but mascots joined the craze. Nine of the league’s friendliest and hippest furry representatives, with a big assist from Imovie, danced their, ahem, tails off to Jepsen’s charmingly hip tunes in synchronized fashion for some rare intra-conference good will. For the purposes of this video, team rivalries took a backseat to the palpable goofiness factor that fused together this overridingly fun group dynamic.

As you can see, the video features seven mascots (Indiana, Illinois and Michigan don’t have lovable man-in-suit gameday reps. Pity, that.) but mysteriously excludes Purdue Pete and Willie the Wildcat. The two overlooked league members, needless to say, were somewhat put off by their disdainful conference brethren, so they fired back with their own morsel of video mimicry. They used Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” for a bit of dance-based redemption, which, generally speaking, isn’t too far below “Call Me Maybe” in the catchy pop tune hierarchy.

Their song choice is, of course, a play off the song title, “Call Me Maybe” selected by their mascot frenemies. Pete and Willie are rightly peeved with their omission, and to work off some of their steam, they take to their respective athletic facilities for some “grueling” mascot training. There’s plenty of interplay between the two skits, most notably with Willie, who refuses to watch Sparty, Herky and the other league mascots’ video on a nearby computer screen. The underlying purpose here for Willie and Pete is to make sure the other league mascots see, hear and feel their anger, and know full well of their steadfast reluctance to take part in future mascot-organized events.

As far as dance-constructed counter-attacks go, this marks a valiant effort. But I’m not really sure what this revenge-fueled performance accomplishes. They made a statement, sure, but this is the kind of thing that leads to permanent exclusion from any and all mascot-based activities. Pete and Willie need a different approach, or the next league-wide video collaboration will proceed much in the same way the last one did: without them.