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Series / TV Funhouse

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TV Funhouse was a television show aired by Comedy Central in 2000. It is spun off from the "TV Funhouse" segments of Saturday Night Live.

The show is deliberately made to resemble a kids show, but is actually a very adult parody of such shows. The host of the show, a man named Doug, presents each episode as a special day to celebrate something (e.g. one episode was "Mexican Day", another was "Caveman Day", etc.). Doug has animal puppets called the Anipals as friends... who never really care about what Doug has planned for the day and spend each episode tackling a problem of their own. There are also various segments scattered throughout the show, both recurring and one-off, that tend to be animated.

This show provides examples of these tropes:

  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The episode "Christmas Day" features Tingles, a personification of Christmas tension.
  • Anti-Christmas Song: An animated segment from the Christmas episode, "Tingles the Christmas Tension", is a song about the eponymous personification of Christmas tension that parodies the "Hardrock, Coco and Joe" song that used to air on Chicago television.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: In the "The Baby, The Immigrant, and the Guy on Mushrooms" segments, where the mom entrusts her cat Artemis to look after the baby, the immigrant, and the guy on mushrooms for her. By the end of the segments, Artemis is evidently in quite some pain given that he is almost completely covered in a cast.
  • Band Toon: Parodied with a cartoon based on Black Sabbath. (in the style of The Beatles cartoon)
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Wonderman tells women that his alias, Henry Moore, is well-endowed.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: The Anipals often eat at Sames Restaurant, which serves the meat of whatever animal the customer is (so, for example, one can find a duck eating duck meat or a cow eating hamburgers there).
  • Chinese Launderer: Mr. Wong, the owner of a dry cleaning business in the second "Wonderman" short.
  • Christmas Episode: "Christmas Day".
  • Content Warning: A couple of episodes had a content warning at the beginning that was stated in a semi-parodic manner. For example, in the first episode, "The following program contains puppets, superheros, and chihuahuas in mature situations. Viewer discretion is advised."
    • Another episode has a content warning in the middle of the episode, once again in self-parody noting that it should've been demonstrated in the beginning.
    • During the original broadcast, Comedy Central added an actual content warning in the beginning of every episode to highlight the adult nature of the program, which usually appeared right before the mocked one. In Episode 4, the show's mocked warning was "The preceding disclaimer is a fat whore. But when she's right, she's right. Viewer discretion is advised". For some reason it was left intact for off-network broadcasts, so it doesn't make any sense unless the other network also puts some sort of content warning in the beginning.
  • Divine Race Lift: As shown in the episode "Hawaiian Day", the churches the Anipals go to depict Jesus as a member of whatever species the church's congregation is.
  • Handsome Lech: Wonderman, a parody of Superman whose goals are to save the city from crime and get his alter ego Henry Moore laid. The women don't seem to mind him too much.
  • Hollywood Tourette's: Chicky the chicken's New Years resolution is to spend more time with his brother, who suffers from Tourette's.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title follows the formula of "[subject of episode] Day".
  • Laugh Track: Both as its own show and as a segment on Saturday Night Live, genuine reactions from a live audience watching the parodies were recorded, especially in its send-offs of Saturday morning cartoons from the 70's.
  • Multi-Part Episode: Episodes 6 and 7, titled "Safari Day" and "Astronaut Day" respectively, form a two-episode arc where the Anipals visit Fogey's friend, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, in Atlantic City.
  • No Fourth Wall: On Doug's part anyway, since he always talks to the viewers just like in an actual kids show. The Anipals avert this since they never partake in Doug's activities and therefore never really get a chance to talk to the audience.
  • The Parody: While not as much as the original, The shows still tends on it.
  • Parody Assistance: In a segment of "The X-Presidents", SpongeBob SquarePants is hired to promote propaganda endorsing The War on Terror, until he ends up backing out due to how crude and xenophobic the script is. SpongeBob in the sketch is voiced by his actual voice actor from the original show, Tom Kenny.
    SpongeBob: And what about this part? You want me to sponge up all of the urine in America, and then... squeeze myself over Saddam Hussein's mouth?
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Once per episode, the Anipals will ditch Doug to go on some zany adventure.
  • Short-Runner: It aired only eight episodes from 2000 to 2001 before being cancelled.
  • Spin-Off: Spun off from Saturday Night Live's "TV Funhouse" segments.
  • Spinoff Babies: Parodied with a segment called "Fetal Scooby-Doo". If Scooby-Doo has a Spinoff Babies series called A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, then why not take it a step further?
  • Subverted Kids' Show: It's just a parody of kids shows, not an actual kids show itself. And it's a very mature one at that.
  • Terrestrial Sea Life: Rocky the Fish, the only Anipal who willingly participates in Doug's plans. He tries to exist on land, but eventally gets short of breath and has to be doused with glasses of water.
  • Toilet Teleportation: Hojo the turtle regularly traveled by being flushed down the pipes instead of walking with the rest of the Anipals.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In "Safari Day", Hojo is explicitly shown vomiting all over a table.
  • Welcome Titles: The theme song is animated the same way as the animated segments scattered throughout the show.

Now it's fine to go to bed,
TV Funhouse memories in your head... (TV Funhouse!)
[Lyrics summarizing episode]
TV Funhouuuuuuuuse!