Bend And Snap People have been doing this iconic pickup move ever since the 2001 movie “Legally Blonde,” but its origin remains obscure.
For those unfamiliar, Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods taught manicurist Paulette (played by Jennifer Coolidge) how to perform this maneuver. Paulette is eager to win over the UPS guy who stops by her salon frequently; Elle promises her that using this strategy will yield an “83 percent return on a dinner invitation”.
Elle ultimately leads a bend-and-snap spree that has women throughout the salon getting involved. One hairstylist emerges from behind to exclaim: “Oh my God, bend and snap works every single time!” as if to demonstrate its universal appeal.
All of which begs the question: How did this delightfully campy moment come to be?
Karen McCullah, co-writer of “Legally Blonde,” revealed to Entertainment Weekly: Producer Marc Platt wanted a B plot for Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge). At first, we were thinking ‘Should the store be robbed?'”
Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith told the publication they spent “a week or two trying to figure out what the B plot and this big set piece should be. There were crime plots galore; we were pitching scene after scene and it all felt very off-kilter.”
Unfortunately, adding another crime subplot to “Legally Blonde” likely would’ve been too busy. After all, it already had one ammonium thioglycolate crisis.
McCullah experienced an epiphany while sitting at a bar in Los Angeles.
McCullah asked Smith if Paulette could demonstrate a move so she can get the UPS man. Smith responded that it might work if Elle showed Paulette how to bend and snap.
Smith described his creation as “a spontaneous invention born out of a drunken moment in a bar.”
Smith and McCullah of Entertainment Weekly credit director Robert Luketic with creating the iconic bend and snap musical number, despite its bizarre origin story.
It’s only fitting that this scene began with alcohol – it’s unique, enjoyable, and delightfully saucy in the way that bar nights can get.
Let’s practice our bend and snap technique over here.