Michael Bolton's Special Perfectly Mocks Tropes


Imagine that you're watching a movie and a spontaneous song breaks out. Whatever the exact scenario, there is a certain suspension of disbelief that viewers must maintain for the ensuing dance number to land. How did everyone know that song? And the dance? Did all of the kids get together before prom and practice (looking at you She's All That)? Well, in the performance of "Old Time Rock and Roll" from Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special, this trope is perfectly mocked, along with others from musicals and music videos.

When a punk gang, led by The Lonely Island's Jorma Taccone, interrupts Michael Bolton during his super sexy special, Bolton counters the threat with a cover of Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll." It is accompanied by a group of backup dancers performing a well-choreographed dance number while in elaborate Risky Business and diner-themed costumes — oh and The Lonely Island's Akiva Schaffer is a dancing saxophone playing musical notes. But where did this elaborate musical number come from? Cut to a very passionate choreographer played by Michael Sheen.

Sheen's Carl Flossy is a choreographer caricature spun from comedy gold. He's working with amateurs. He's got a short fuse. He's got an artistic vision. And, he's a chainsmoker. His moves poignantly mock dance scene tropes with prop milkshakes (that Bolton shouldn't drink) and crassly pointing at objects. The exasperated choreographer's motivation is to prevent an attack from the punks that he is positive will show up — though Bolton points out that they are preparing a dance for a very unlikely scenario. "Oh they'll show up, they always show up," Flossy warns. And, of course, his plan goes off without a hitch.

Brandon Hickman/Netflix

This isn't the only cliché tackled in the Netflix special released on Feb. 7. Maya Rudolph's song "Key Change" mocks the use of key changes to manipulate emotion. She sells it, because she's Maya Rudolph. Casey Wilson's bit with Bolton shows her trying to carry out a skit after Bolton receives some bad news. He's despondent and singing "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" while creepily looking out a window. And, Bolton calls "Nessun Dorma" too dangerous to perform because every time it's played in TV or the movies, someone gets assassinated. You can see where this is going.

While there are plenty of stereotypes highlighted in Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special, there are also plenty of fresh jokes with tons of celebrity cameos and absurd, yet self-aware comedy. Bolton is in on the joke and sells it well, making Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special perfect for anyone who doesn't take the holiday too seriously.