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TV Funhouse

Saturday TV Funhouse was the title of a recurring skit on NBC's Saturday Night Live featuring cartoons created by SNL writer Robert Smigel.[1] It also spawned a spinoff series of TV Funhouse that aired on Comedy Central.

Production

Programmed to air between the host segments of Saturday Night Live, TV Funhouse parodied such genres as 1950s educational films, Saturday morning Hanna-Barbera/Filmation cartoons of the 1970s and 1980s, and the 1960s stop motion holiday specials of Rankin/Bass.

The animation was produced by J.J. Sedelmaier Productions for first three seasons until Wachtenheim/Marianetti Animation took over primary animation production duties.

Recurring SNL TV Funhouse skits

Disney parodies

The February 10, 2001 episode, "Ray of Light," parodies the controversy over Ray Lewis's involvement in an Atlanta homicide. Although Lewis went on to become the Super Bowl XXXV MVP, he was unable to utter the famous line "I'm going to Disney World!" The skit was involved with Disney "making it up" to Lewis by placing him in various Disney animated movies. Lewis would often be shown fleeing the scene of classic Disney character death scenes, frequently uttering "I didn't see nothin'!"

"Bambi 2002," a poke at Disney's penchant for direct-to video sequels at the time, imagines a sequel to the original movie where Bambi's mother turns up alive. The title character fights stylized terrorist types, meets Jared Fogle, and performs a rap music number in the forest. Also in the sketch are moments involving some of Disney's darker issues, as well as some pornographic humor.

On April 15, 2006, Robert Smigel again parodied Disney's practice of supposedly "vaulting" their films, as well as their alleged past racism and anti-Semitism. When some kids are brought to the Disney Vault by Mickey Mouse, they find Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog bound and gagged in a chair, Mickey Mouse breaks down and quotes "He wouldn't sell! He wouldn't sell...!" (a reference to a broken deal between The Jim Henson Company and The Walt Disney Company circa 1990).

NBC special

On April 29, 2006, NBC aired a full-length, 90-minute SNL "best of" special for TV Funhouse. The special was hosted by The Ambiguously Gay Duo interacting with the current SNL cast with a cameo from Jimmy Fallon.[2]

The special was released on DVD October 24, 2006.

Comedy Central series

TV Funhouse
Tvfunhousepanel.jpg
The TV Funhouse Panel at Comic-Con in 2008. L to R: Robert Smigel (with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog), Dino Stamatopoulos, Bob Odenkirk and Tommy Blacha with Doug Dale on laptop screen
Also known as Saturday TV Funhouse
Created by Robert Smigel
Dana Carvey
Starring Doug Dale
Robert Smigel
Jon Glaser
Dino Stamatopoulos
David Juskow
Tommy Blacha
Frank Simms
Theme music composer Steven Gold
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 8
Production
Executive producer(s) Robert Smigel
Dino Stamatopoulos
Lou Wallach
Producer(s) Samantha Scharff
Tanya Ryno, for SNL
Running time 22 Minutes
Release
Original network Comedy Central
Picture format NTSC 480i
Audio format Monaural
Original release December 6, 2000 (2000-12-06) – January 24, 2001 (2001-01-24)
Chronology
Related shows Saturday Night Live
External links
Website web.archive.org/web/20030426082529/http://www.comedycentral.com/tvfunhouse

The spinoff series was somewhat of a twisted Pee-Wee's Playhouse-style children's TV show, hosted by Doug Dale and his "Anipals" puppet friends.

Plot

Every episode had a different theme to it (e.g., "Hawaiian Day" or "Astronaut Day") and saw the Anipals usually getting into some sort of trouble, not wanting to do whatever their happy-go-lucky host had in mind for the day. The Comedy Central version of TV Funhouse premiered in December 2000 and was not picked up for a second season. Interviews with Smigel indicate that Comedy Central believed in the show but was disappointed in how it went over budget every episode. Smigel has also expressed how difficult the show was and how tedious the puppet-live animal segments were to shoot. The show was released on DVD July 22, 2008 under the title Comedy Central's TV Funhouse.

Recurring skits

  • The Baby, the Immigrant, and the Guy on Mushrooms—Artemis the Cat watches over a baby, an immigrant, and a guy on mushrooms while the female homeowner, voiced by Sarah Thyre, is away. Artemis works to keep the clueless trio out of any danger.
  • Wonderman—A parody of Max Fleischer's Superman cartoons that stars Wonderman, voiced by Robert Smigel, who fights a constant crusade to stop crime and get his alias of Henry Moore laid.
  • Mnemonics: Your Dear, Dear Friend—A parody of educational films about teaching children using a mnemonic for everyday subjects using age-inappropriate mnemonics to improve their memory.

Episodes

  1. Western Day (December 6, 2000)—Doug must wrangle up his own fun when the Anipals ditch him to head for high times south of the border in Tijuana.
  2. Hawaiian Day (December 13, 2000)—Doug and Rocky the Fish have a luau all by themselves while the Anipals help Chickie rescue his 95th son, Jason, from a cult.
  3. Christmas Day (December 20, 2000)—The Anipals tap Doug's spine to extract his Christmas cheer. After one of Chickie's sons helps to turn the cheer into powder, the Anipals snort it and get addicted to powdered Christmas cheer.
  4. Mexican Day (December 27, 2000)—The Anipals appear on the Sally Jessy Raphael show to help Dave, an endangered lizard, to get laid, leaving Doug to celebrate Mexican Day with a tequila worm and a Puerto Rican Mexican-food deliverer.
  5. Caveman Day (January 3, 2001)—The Anipals compare New Year's resolutions: Hojo wants to learn to play the saxophone, Chickie hangs out with his brother with Tourette syndrome, and Fogey must resist eating his own poop. Meanwhile, Doug builds a dinosaur skeleton out of baby back ribs, and Rocky the Fish takes a group of kids to visit a cookie factory.
  6. Safari Day (January 10, 2001) Part 1 of 2—The Anipals travel to Atlantic City to visit Fogey's old friend, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, where Chickie falls in love with a chimp-stitute. Robert Goulet guest stars.
  7. Astronaut Day (January 17, 2001) Part 2 of 2—Still in Atlantic City, the Anipals attempt to "unstick" Triumph before his big show. Meanwhile, Doug tries to achieve weightlessness.
  8. Chinese New Year's Day (January 24, 2001)—The Anipals ditch the Funhouse to enter the lucrative, glamorous world of laboratory animal testing, as Doug celebrates Chinese New Year's Day and makes fireworks with a panda. This being the series finale, the set was struck by detonating a puppet panda (full of innards for realism) on the set, splattering everywhere. Staged as a satirical accident, Doug replied after with resignation: "Cut." John Ritter guest stars as a speaker for Claredelon, the cosmetic company doing the animal testing.

Cast

Anipal Voices

Cartoon Voices

References

External links