NBC, Pepsi Jerk One Another Off, Hit Will Forte in Crossfire

By Matt Van Hoven 

Last night, NBC resembled an eight year-old kid with A.D.D. hopped up on pixie stix and Pepsi. A lot of Pepsi. Pepsi Max, Diet Pepsi and even SNL cast member Will Forte, aka MacGruber, aka Pepsuber. As expected it was a shill-fest to end all others &#151 NBC left no white space un-sponsored, even shoved its own brand down your throats like so many male nether-parts in a slightly uncomfortable bukakke scene.

One promo (or, was it a commercial?) for NBC caught our attention because it was out of place, awkward and short-sighted. NBC used a sketch from SNL called ‘MacGruber’ &#151 well, they used the second of the three-part gag. Actor/writer Will Forte stars as a wanna-be MacGyver who despite having the skills to disarm a bomb that’s always about to explode, inevitably gets to rambling until *cue punchline* the bomb explodes.

But this time, what keeps him from disarming the bomb is a strange new love of Pepsi. When the three parts of this sketch are played in succession, the gag works well enough. MacGruber, Vicky and the actual MacGyver face certain doom &#151 but MacGruber assures the pair that everything he needs to disarm the bomb is in the room they’re locked in.

MacGruber is going to save the day! But first, a Pepsi break. Wakka wakka. OK fine. The second and third versions go on like this, in a steep crescendo of Pepsiness that leads MacGyver to ask, “are you sponsored by Pepsi or something?” It gets so ugly that MacGruber mentions the “Refresh Everything” campaign. Forte as MacGruber: “I am 100% my own man! By the way I had my name legally changed to Pepsuber.” Yeah, we know.

But worse than anything seen in the sketch is NBC’s use of the second (note: the videos are ordered 1-3 top to bottom) bit during last night’s game. Was it a promo? Was it a commercial for Pepsi? Did NBC cross the line and mix the two? We wonder what response NBC was hoping for, because it was a muddled mess.

Yet another gaffe: they played the second part of the skit rather than the first. The second installment is much more Pepsied out than the first, which gives the promo that aforementioned amorphous-blob feel. Bleck.

We hear that NBC intended to air the first part, but at the last minute opted for number two. Hmm. Did Pepsi toss NBC some extra cash to make that happen? That’s the only conclusion that makes sense to us, because the Pepsi brand does nothing to help MacGruber &#151 or SNL &#151 other than fuel critics’ “SNL’s originality is dead” argument.

More: “SNL, MacGruber, and a Life Ending Pepsi Break Parts 1-3