Still Need Gift Ideas? “SNL” Has a Terrifying Suggestion.

What's not to like about a mysterious, perpetually staring pet?

"SNL" Pongo sketch
This week's "SNL" has an interesting gift idea for you to consider.

Finding the right gifts for friends and family can be a challenge at this time of year. That challenge becomes exponentially harder if you happen to be a parent whose kids would really like a pet but who aren’t necessarily up for the more mundane aspects of taking care of one. With Christmas a week away, Saturday Night Live offered one suggestion: an adorable being known as Pongo.

The fact that this sketch prominently features Sarah Sherman — she of the headless tennis-playing and the singing meatballs — is the first clue that Pongo is also going to be terrifying in some visceral or existential way. As it turns out, Pongo manages to be both endearing (those eyes!) and utterly unsettling (Pongo’s utter silence when it moves, for one thing).

The idea of a commercial for something ostensibly innocuous turning increasingly bizarre has a long history on the show. Utter the phrase “Happy Fun Ball” to comedy fans of a certain age and you’re likely to get a positive reaction. It isn’t hard to see the appeal of Pongo, a pet that doesn’t eat or go to the bathroom; as the details pile up, though, the sketch seems on the precipice of shifting gears into full-on cosmic horror.

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“Pongo doesn’t do anything! He just stares,” the sketch’s narrator declares at one point. And its giant eyes — ostensibly cute but also unsettlingly intense — are the proverbial icing on the cake. Perhaps a functionally immortal, fundamentally unknowable creature is not the ideal gift for the holidays — but at least you won’t need to order house-training pads.

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