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Roundhouse
Roundhouse logo
Whenever my life gets me so down,
I know I can go down
To where the music and the fun never ends!
As long as the music keeps playin', you know what I'm sayin',
You know that I can find a friend...
At the Roundhouse!

The oft forgotten show of the two-hour-long Snick block back in The Nineties, with the other three being Clarissa Explains It All, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

Basically, Roundhouse was Nickelodeon's version of the Saturday Night Live-type sketch show featuring a young cast of performers and crazy sketches with average to low production values. It was the sketch show that former Nickelodeon viewers will remember, next to You Cant Do That On Television and All That.

Set in the titular train roundhouse, the cast would entertain the audience — both the live, present one and those watching at home — with skits based around popular culture, as well as musical and dance acts, with a Framing Device of the Anyfamily family and what they went through day by day.

The show ran from Snick's debut in 1992 until 1996, and it was conceived by Buddy Sheffield of In Living Color!. No relation to Chuck Norris' most powerful attack.


This show provides examples of:

  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": The Trope Namer is spoofed in season 2 with a sketch called The Crying Game: The Early Years. It's about a baby boy in the infirmary talking about a baby girl that he was attracted to. Until the nurse came to change her diaper, and we find out that she's actually a boy (played by castmember Seymour Green).
  • American Gothic Couple: In the gang violence episode, John and Shawn stick their heads into a cutout of this painting and muse about social progress.
    Mark: "Someone must have taped that bow to his head by mistake! I was making passes at a GUY!!!"
  • Bait and Switch: The season 3 premiere about equality parodied the Energizer commercials' use of this trope, with two separate bits of the dad watching a "Curtain Rod Stewart" concert on Empty V and a commercial for "Crack Flags" (a spray for when you have a bug up your butt). Both instances, they would be interrupted by the mom waxing Straw Feminist phrases like "Why can't the post office send fe-mail? And mailmen should be called 'person-persons'!"
    Still going. Nothing outlasts the Feminizer. She keeps going, and going... and going.
  • Big Damn Movie: See Title: The Adaptation below.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The cast occasionally spoofed (fellow Viacom affiliate) MTV with "Empty-V".
  • Bumbling Dad: Especially in the disasters episode, in which he moves his family to a place that's extremely prone to earthquakes and mudslides.
  • Catch Phrase / Share Phrase: "Reprise the theme song and roll the credits!"
    • Fun note: During the second taping of the final episode, they actually said "Reprise the theme song and roll the reruns!" but used the first taping's catchphrase in editing.
  • Christmas Episode: Among other things, it spoofed Yet Another Christmas Carol with the Ghosts of Christmas Specials, who had to make their visitation quick because they had to make a Saved by the Bell appearance in less than an hour.
    • The episode also features a string of Parody Commercials for non-existent Christmas Specials, including "How David Lynch Stole Christmas" ("You're a weird one, Mister Lynch.") and "Shirley McClane's 'It's A Wonderful Afterlife'".
  • Cliché Storm: invoked Horror film tropes are parodied to hell and back with the Real Trailer, Fake Movie Hellraiser Freddy The Thirteenth Halloween Chainsaw Massacre On Elm Street 12: "You've seen it all at least eleven times."
  • Cool Chair: Dad's. In one commercial/interview, the actor who played Dad said he could even drive that thing in the water.
  • Cool Old Lady: Grandma or an aunt sometimes.
  • Curse Cut Short: In the natural disaster episode, during The Hollywood Squares parody, one of the questions was about the famous Catch Phrase made famous by Last Action Hero. The answer, as said by Mark, was "Hey! I paid 7 bucks to see this piece of-" *BZZ* "Ohh sorry we ran out of time!"
  • Dartboard of Hate: In a Christmas episode, one female character opens her Christmas gifts and shouts, "Wow, a Shannon Doherty dartboard!"
  • End of Series Awareness: See "No Fourth Wall" below.
  • The Everyman: It's right there in their last name — "Anyfamily".
    • They go and take that a step further, too. The family of Anyfamily lives on Anystreet, in Anytown, USA, and the kids attend Anytown Junior High School, class of 19Anyyear.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Every episode, they manage to do something.
    • There was the beauty pageant episode, where one of the girls puts a pair of balloons on her chest to be Dolly Parton (a gag that comes up multiple times during the show's run).
    • The sports episode of season one also uses this gag, the "Sheebok Pump" training bra, to attract guys. After one of the balloons on the bra accidentally gets popped, Julene "grows" a new one, to which an astonished Ivan goes, "Wow, I wonder if they make one for guys, too!"
    • There was one memorable quote in the beauty pageant episode:
      John: "Don't get mad, get Pest-Off!"
    • This quote from the song "Airbrain" from the beauty pageant episode:
      The guys: "Brains are great until we find organs of another kind."
    • The talent show episode from season 3 contains this quote:
      "If you can't get the girl, you can always play your own instrument."
    • In the self-esteem episode, the cast plays a word association game. After pairing Ren and Stimpy and Beavis and Butt-Head, they pair Madonna with Anything That Moves.
    • Among other things, the show managed to avert the No Periods, Period trope in the feminism episode, combined with All Periods Are PMS. This was confined to a single sketch, a Parody Commercial for "Cramprin", a medication that gives guys the cramps. John and Ivan are just gullible enough to mistake it for candy, and leave the sketch all emotional.
      Micki: Because if you're gonna have cramps...
      Shawn: Why not make them suffer too?
      Natalie: Cramprin is available at the AF-PMS Mini-Mart, open 24 hours a day, closed 7 days a month.
  • Here We Go Again: One episode revolved around the dad acting like Elvis Presley after getting hit by a flying videotape. By the end of the episode the mom was able to revert him back by hitting him on the head. At first it looks like he's back to normal, until, to the family's bewilderment, he starts acting like Marilyn Monroe!
  • "I Am" Song: "We're A Family", "TV Head", "Be Popular", "Bark Baby Bark", "Defender Of The Universe", "I'm A Bully" and "Stage Mother".
  • I Am What I Am: The song "I Only Want To Be Me."
  • "I Want" Song: "I Can Dream", "Be A Rebel", "Still Waiting For Love", "Talk To Me", "I Want To Be A Success," "Trying To Reach You" and "Could It Be You".
  • Insane Proprietor: The dad, for his garage sale. The sketch ends with him getting carted away.
  • Large Ham: The entire cast of guilty of this at some point or another, although, with Roundhouse, it might be intentional.
  • Mic Drop: In the environmentalism episode, Alfred and Seymour (as "Sister Future and Brother Nature") do this multiple times in the course of about two and a half minutes.
  • Multi-Part Episode: Season 4 had a two-parter involving time travel.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Another popular gimmick for their skits.
  • No Fourth Wall: At least once per episode during the entire show's run, but the final episode completely destroys whatever this show had left of its fourth wall.
    Ivan: "Cancelled shows, graduation, terminated? Either this is a really convoluted show about endings or we're-"
    David N.: "Cancelled! Hello, you didn't get the memo?"
  • Ocular Gushers: Natalie Nucci's "Sally Blubbers" character, at least in her first appearance (during the pilot).
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted, at one point in the episode where Ivan plans to fake his parents' divorce, the dad comes up to their front door holding a moustache up to his face and speaking in a fake Italian accent. Ivan recognizes him right away, because, in his own words, "most normal men don't come to the door in an easy chair."
  • Parody Commercial
  • Pun: The usual basis for parody commercials among other things. One notable example was the mom doing laundry and "separating the whites from the colors with new Apart Tide."
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: When it wasn't working on the week's Aesop.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: This is Roundhouse we're talking about. Fry Willy from the Straw Feminist episode comes to mind.
  • Running Gag: A few episode-specific ones.
    • For example, in the season 1 sports episode, literally every Parody Commercial would be punctuated by Julene going, "(product name) is the official (Overly Narrow Superlative description of said product) of the U.S. Olympian Team!", followed by a snippet of John Williams' Olympic Games fanfare.
    • The New Kids on the Block showing up in the new kid episode, only to be chased off by Dad.
    • The natural disaster episode had David N., Natalie, Mark and Lisa singing a parody of The Beverly Hillbillies theme song explaining what was happening to the family at the moment ("Well after the commercial break the folks were still alright / but the house had slid for miles in the middle of the night"). At the beginning of act 3, John gets fed up with their singing:
    John: I know the Supreme Court said we had a right to parody, but enough is enough!
  • Severely Specialized Store: In one bit, two Amazingly Embarrassing Parents look for envelopes at the mall. The map indicates a store named "Gee, I Can't Believe There's a Store in This Mall That Sells Nothing But Envelopes, Can You?".
  • Shout-Out: Every pop culture reference on the show is either this or a Take That. And there are so, so many of them.
  • Silent Credits: See Very Special Episode below.
  • Sketch Comedy
  • Stock Parodies: One episode was a spoof of The Wizard of Oz.
  • Studio Audience: Like most Nickelodeon shows.
  • Stylistic Suck: Word of God has said that it was intended to give the feel of a bunch of kids putting on a show with no real props.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Shawn Daywalt does this during the song "We're A Family" from the first episode:
    I can cook your food, and I can sew a stitch
    Don't you cross me up, cause I can be a...
    difficult person to get along with.
    • Happens again in the Christmas special - the mom is reading a Christmas card for atheists, which reads: "You're a firm non-believer, but time will soon tell / Cause you'll soon change your mind when you're dead and in H-E-double-two-hicks."
    • "Beans, beans, good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you... (Beat) like them!"
    • The Green Aesop episode had Seymour and Alfred rapping about the environment. At one point during the segment, Alfred goes:
    ''Recycle all your papers, all your can and all your grass
    And if you don't believe me, you can kiss my...
    Yeah, you get the picture, peace!
  • Take That: At pretty much everything. If it was part of pop culture at the time the episode was written, odds are, it got mocked.
  • Title: The Adaptation: Spoofed with Weather Channel — The Movie, which featured an All-Star Cast: See Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts as a solar eclipse!
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: In the self-image episode, Amy backs out of a scheduled appearance on Empty V due to her stress over how she looked causing her to break out in hives. John remarks to the Empty V host that she's "probably off singing about what she learned from this experience." That song, "Just A Dream", has little to do with the events of the episode.note 
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: They're fond of this trope as well.
    • The second episode of season 4 had one with Elvises. (The B Story of that episode involved the dad acting like Elvis after getting hit by a VHS.)
    • The trouble episode had one about Wayne's World addicts, entitled Wayne's World Anonymous Youth (W.W.A.Y.)
    Lisa: My name is Sheila.
    Guys: Party on, Sheila!
    Lisa: And if I were president, I'd be...
    Guys: Babe-raham Lincoln! Shwing!
    • The self-image episode did this as well, as Amy attends one of these for people with low self-esteem. Turns into a subversion, as everyone else in the group realizes that they're better off than her because she had hives all over her body.
    • They even did one of these about cheerleading addiction, which the instructor is also revealed to have by the end of the sketch.
  • Troperiffic: And how.
  • Very Special Episode: The show was quite skilled at juxtaposing sketch comedy with mature, real-life issues, but none of their efforts were quite as effective as the season 3 gang violence episode. This being Roundhouse, the episode was filled with the normal pun-based Mundane Made Awesome Rapid-Fire Comedy (bullet-proof tests, Dennis the Menace To Society, John and Shawn as the American Gothic Couple, and "gunderwear", to name a few). However, the ending had it turn out to be All Just a Dream of the Anyfamily son, who realizes the problem still exists in the "real world" and finds that the Catch Phrase doesn't work this time. He then wanders off confused just as the credits — which start with a text reminder that "Gang violence is no joke" — start to roll silently.
    • There were also episodes about environmentalism, natural disasters, conflict, divorce, feminism, self-image, justice, intolerance, and war. While they weren't as blunt about it as the gang violence episode, there was no shortage on comedy and they all got the message across nicely.
  • Your Television Hates You: Done in the above-mentioned gang violence episode. After the son is accosted by two gangs in school, he talks to the dad about it, who replies, "What's the matter with kids these days? Where do they get these ideas?" We are then treated to a string of parodies related to the Aesop, such as Arson Hall, Northern Explosion, and The Cartridge Family (which shares its name with an episode of The Simpsons).

Reprise the theme song and roll the credits!
The Amanda ShowCreator/NickelodeonYou Can't Do That on Television
The Rough RidersWorkPagesInMain/P to RRoys Sports Hall
Royal Canadian Air FarceSketch ComedyRowan and Martin's Laugh-In
The Rotten Tomatoes ShowAmerican SeriesRoute 66

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