The Drunken Moment That Led To One Of Legally Blonde's Most Famous Scenes

American actress Reese Witherspoon has had a long-spanning acting career — she is the recipient of multiple accolades, including an Academy Award and several Golden Globe awards. But when discussing Witherspoon's filmography, perhaps her most well-known film to date is "Legally Blonde," a comedy flick that found a surprising foothold on pop culture and pop feminism.

From Elle Woods' (Reese Witherspoon) bonkers Harvard admissions video essay to the rejection of her ex-boyfriend Warner (Matthew Davis), the very reason she decided to go to law school, there are many memorable moments in "Legally Blonde." But the greatest of them all, without a doubt, is Elle's "bend and snap," a move she learned from her mother and had used to pick up men ever since. It turns out the "bend and snap" wasn't always a part of the movie's script — it was added to the film after the creators came up with it during a drunken night at a bar.

And that's how you bend and snap ...

"Legally Blonde" fans have been bending and snapping ever since the 2001 movie was released, but the origin of the incredible (and apparently effective) move is not well known.

For the unfamiliar, the "bend and snap" move was introduced in the film when Elle tells her manicurist Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge) about a move that is guaranteed to get you a date. Elle sees that Paulette is desperate to woo the cute UPS guy who often stops by her salon and makes conversation with her, but she's always shy and can hardly say two words to him without melting into the ground.

When Elle realizes that Paulette needs to make a move — she demonstrates the "bend and snap," a physical movement where you extend your leg and bend over, pretending to pick up something and then snap right up at the end. "When used appropriately," Elle reveals, "it has an 83% rate of return on a dinner invitation." The scene has hilarious energy, and Witherspoon's convincing delivery certainly helped persuade many viewers to try it out at some point.

A little more bend, a little less snap

The "bend and snap" was added to the "Legally Blonde" script after producer Marc Platt decided he wanted a B plot for Paulette. The film's co-writer, Karen McCullah, shared with EW that the team spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how to pitch a new scene for actor Jennifer Coolidge.

"At first we were like, 'Should the store be robbed?'" said McCullah, and co-writer Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith added, "I think we spent a week or two trying to figure out what the B plot and this big set piece should be. There were crime plots. We were pitching scene after scene and it all felt very tonally weird."

Then one night, when the writers were out at a Los Angeles bar, McCullah had a "lightbulb" moment. She thought of how Elle could help Paulette get the guy, and her happy ending. "What if Elle shows [Paulette] a move so she can get the UPS guy?" the screenwriter recalled before demonstrating a version of the "bend and snap" to Smith in her drunken state.

"It was a spontaneous invention," Smith confirmed. "It was a completely drunken moment in a bar."

The scene helped spark a movement everywhere in the world but especially Italy. McCullah revealed that the bend and snap "became a dance move in gay discos in Italy," and Jennifer Coolidge herself witnessed it! The actress was in the country shortly after "Legally Blonde" was released, and watched several people enacting it on the dance floor. And, of course, the "bend and snap" would get immortalized in Broadway's "Legally Blonde the Musical" as a music number titled — what else — "Bend and Snap." Pretty cool, huh?

The "bend and snap" is easily one of the best moments in the film, and it's pretty amazing to think of what one can come up with after a few rounds of cocktails. Hopefully, we'll see Elle and Paulette mimic it once again in the third "Legally Blonde" movie slated to release later this year!