Saturday Night Live (NBC, USA), Pitch Meeting

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The Video

The Saturday Night Live team takes us inside the advertising department at Cheetos where two teams are pitching for the Super Bowl half-time advert. One team are flatly rejected when they present ideas of kids hanging out having fun. The other team, however, find their pretentious projections of human struggle coupled with corn chips far more welcomed.

The video is a direct reference to the half-time ads of this year’s Super Bowl, but, as long as your students have access to a TV, they should recognize the current trend for the pseudo-philosophical nonsense used by companies to sell us their wares.

The video is designed for an adult audience but remains fairly clean. There are some parts which could potentially spark cultural sensitivity, so be sure to watch the video before showing it to your students!

If you teach any advertising executives, this video could provide some light relief yet still remain connected to their line of work.

Language Focus and Level

The narration in this video is fairly slow and the vocabulary is largely non-challenging meaning you could use this video with good intermediate, upper intermediate and if it’s a good fit (pre) advanced students.

You can use this video to talk about describing the plot of a movie or TV show. The worksheet below takes the student through all the necessary grammar to do this, including the difference between dynamic and stative verbs and the use of present tenses (present simple, present continuous and present perfect) when describing a story. This grammar leads on to a speaking activity in which students write their own “recap” style presentations of their favorite movies/TV shows, great if you are looking to do an extended speaking activity.

Worksheet

thumb  Find the main worksheet connected to the video here: SNL Pitch Worksheet

thumb-ii   There is also a separate handout about Stative Verbs available here: Stative Verbs Handout.

Availability

Find the video over at YouTube.

The other optional video detailed in the worksheet is here.

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The Office (BBC, UK), Being the Boss

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The Videos

The Office is a multi-award winning comedy series with both American and British versions. These three clips come from the original Ricky Gervais version in which his lead character David Brent shows us all how not to manage a business. From conducting interviews to appraisals and introducing new staff the office, every boss can surely relate to what they see in these videos.

Level and Language Focus

The worksheet below focuses on the topic of being the boss which has its obvious usage for bosses and business English classes, but the language is not too technical or business-heavy that you could not use these videos in a general English class too.

Although the videos feature situations that use as much social/everyday language as business language, the worksheet below asks what advice the student would give to David Brent in the situations features using modals of advice and other advice forms.

These are not videos to consider using for intermediate or below levels and are probably best for upper intermediate and above.

Worksheet

A worksheet is available here: the-office

Availability

Watch all three videos through YouTube: Most Awkward Interview Ever, Big Keith’s Appraisal and David Brent’s Prank Backfires.