TV Funhouse was a show which aired on Comedy Central on December 6th, 2000 and ran for one season before ending. The premise of the show was that of a parody of a children’s show. The show’s host was Doug, who took the part of the usual clueless children’s show host - nothing was obvious to him, and everything was happy and special.
Also present on the show were the Anipals - a collection of animals, both stuffed and real, who could talk and go on adventures. They included Whiskers the cat, Chickie the chicken, Fogey the dog, Hojo the turtle, Rocky the fish, Xabu the dog, and others. Unlike what one might expect, they were not friendly and happy - they swore like sailors, hung out with the wrong crowds, experimented with drugs, drank themselves into oblivion, cheated on their significant others (sometimes with members of other species), and on one occasion, abandoned Doug for two episodes in order to go to Atlantic City.
The show was the brainchild of Robert Smigel, who was responsible for the TV Funhouse cartoons on Saturday Night Live (think the Ambiguously Gay Duo), as well as Conan O’Brien’s Triumph the Comic Insult Dog (who actually makes an appearance in one episode of TV Funhouse). Because of this, the show was able to further play off of the children’s show motif and have cartoons during the show. They were the sort of cartoons that you would expect in this context - gems like “The Baby, The Immigrant, and the Guy on Mushrooms”, “Porn for Everyone”, and “Jokamel” (a cigarette-themed parody of Pokemon).
The show was met with immediate controversy - everybody either loved it or hated it. Unfortunately for the former, the show was canceled after only eight episodes. I, for one, enjoyed this show quite a lot and wish that I could see it back on the air. Half of the problem was that the show, much like most shows in their first season, had not quite put its finger on what it wanted its style and aim to be. By the end of the season, the show was much more on-target, but it was too late. If you can get ahold of episodes, give the show a fair try.
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