Last year, Saturday Night Live leveled the Super Bowl playing field by creating a pitch perfect parody of game-day advertising. On a JK Simmons-hosted episode in late-January, a fake Totino’s ad sent up the second-class citizen status women sometimes still have in ads targeted toward men. Vanessa Bayer’s subservient housewife keeps herself entertained in the kitchen, where she awaits being summoned to bring out more pizza rolls, by playing with a Super Bowl Activity Pack for Women. Watching Bayer play with the saddest little paddle and ball in the world is a sly, unsubtle comment on the infantilizing treatment of women in ads that assume they hate football.
During this year’s Super Bowl-adjacent episode, however, the team at SNL topped themselves.
The new fake ad, which I guess we should all admit is a brand integration for Totino’s, begins in a similar way. Bayer is making pizza rolls for a group of dudes in football jerseys, including the episode’s host, Larry David. She is still using Super Bowl advertising jargon, referring to the game as “the big game” and calling her husband and his friends, “my hungry guys.” It’s like a capsule version of everything its predecessor nailed about Super Bowl ads, minus the activity pack. When the twist arrives here, though, things quickly veer into horror movie territory, and to say any more would ruin it. Watch the sketch here:
Between these two SNL pieces and the batshit insanity Tim and Eric put out in late 2014, Totino’s Pizza Rolls is clearly trying to buy its way into comedy fans’ hearts. Although the product may still be flavorless, mouth-burning, carb-nuggets, it’s hard to argue with their efforts.