In theaters this Friday is MacGruber, a revival of a moribund cinematic tradition: the Saturday Night Live sketch adaptation. Yesterday the Times took a look at how this particular sketch made its way from Studio 8H to the big screen — stopping along the way to rightfully make fun of It’s Pat, Stuart Saves His Family, Blues Brother 2000, and The Ladies Man — and revealed some interesting tidbits. For one, the original iteration of MacGruber, according to SNL writer and MacGruber director Jorma Taccone, had the hero defuse “bombs only using pieces of dog feces and pubic hair, so none of his assistants want to touch any of the items he keeps requesting.” Also, the movie at no point was going to remain loyal to the sketches and blow MacGruber up every few minutes (definitely the right move as far as mass appeal goes, although we’d probably pay to see that alternate version).
Most notable, however, was that the MacGruber movie exists largely thanks to the exposure MacGruber got after his Super Bowl commercials (Remember PepSuber?). Soon after they aired, Lionsgate started pushing for a MacGruber movie; when that deal failed, Relativity Media swooped in. And why did MacGruber get a Pepsi commercial, anyway? Because Pepsi approached Lorne Michaels to do an SNL tie-in for the Super Bowl, and he “thought, What can we fit into a minute?, and that’s about the length of the average ‘MacGruber.’” So, basically, thank you, Pepsi ad execs, for signing off on the TV spots. You made this all possible.