Modern medical technology is wondrous and convenient and… sometimes a little creepy?
Saturday Night Live managed to toe that line perfectly this week with their send-up of the Cologuard commercials featuring friendly animated boxes that enjoy being defecated in.
Again, it’s a marvel of our advanced civilization that tens of thousands of deaths a year can be prevented from the comfort of our own homes. But at the end of the day… it’s still pooping in a box, and the company that makes Cologuard (it’s an actual thing, not made up like Bass-O-Matic or Colon Blow) sells it with a cheerful, animated cardboard cube.
The sketch opens like an ordinary pharmaceutical spot: an upbeat cartoon character introduces itself to a mildly inquisitive ordinary joe played by host Woody Harrelson – playing himself? It explains what Cologuard does and how the process works. And we quickly get to the point that should have nixed this commercial concept in the pitch room: nobody wants the receptacle they poop in to talk to them.
Modern marvel, saves lives, yes. But why a commercial featuring a weirdly affectionate carton that craves your feces? This SNL sketch demonstrates precisely why it’s a weird idea and it doubles down on it by giving the talking box a nosy delivery driver (Kenan Thompson) and multiple talking box friends.
Harrelson lets the awkwardness flow over him as the boxes reel off a succession of very discreet euphemisms for pooping in a box before making it even more weirdly personal by revealing all the boxes have names (in case you’re expecting and are looking for suggestions: Thomas, Kylie, Victor, Neil, and Siobhan are all now off-limits as baby names for at least the next decade).
Heidi Gardner and Andrew Dismukes add a final, fun layer of voyeuristic creepiness at the end of the sketch as the neighbors across the street. All in all, it’s a great commercial parody, right in SNL‘s sweet spot of comedy. A familiar, comfortable feeling – like holding a warm box of… ew! Gross!
Watch the full sketch above, and weigh in on this week’s SNL.