Around this time last year, SNL presented a commercial parody centering around Totino’s Pizza Rolls, just in time for the Super Bowl. And it was a nasty piece of business, tearing apart the image of the NFL’s biggest game as a day for men and imprisoning Vanessa Bayer’s indefatigable housewife in the kitchen, where she was simply tasked with warming up more disgusting food. So when SNL aired another Totino’s sketch in last night’s episode, we simply assumed it would be a carbon copy of the first one. Boy, were we wrong.
The sketch works on its own, but it works doubly well if you remember the original Totino’s ad and walk into this one with certain expectations. The set-up is the same: a group of men gather to watch the big game while Bayer’s doting wife toils away in the kitchen, preparing Totino’s for her “hungry guys.” And for a long time, the joke is the same. Bayer smiles a little too widely, her “hungry guys” are thoroughly obnoxious, and there’s so much sadness underneath the surface.
And then the whole thing take a bizarre turn, only to reveal a surprising punchline that shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does. It’s the kind of dark, odd left turn that justifies returning to this set-up. Hopefully, we’ll get another equally different Totino’s ad next year.