A Saturday Night Live Charmin Bears sketch has become bizarrely controversial

Miles Teller and Kenan Thompson in SNL's Charmin Bears

Miles Teller and Kenan Thompson in SNL's Charmin Bears
Saturday Night Live has a masterful knack for making headlines for reasons other than producing good skits, and last weekend's premiere, helmed by Miles Teller, was no exception. This time, the problem stems from a skit starring the lovable Charmin Bears, blue toilet paper mascots known for their passion for mopping. In the sketch, Miles Teller plays a young Charmin who nervously tells his family (Kenan Thompson, Heidi Gardner, and Punkie Johnson) that he doesn't want to attend Toilet Paper College.
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Admittedly a lovely softball sketch, the Charmin Bears part nonetheless managed to stir up some controversy for two main reasons. The first is a Charmin toilet paper commercial, which Variety said aired right next to the sketch on the show's live stream Peacock. The not-so-subliminal message sparked conversations about how much reach advertisers are getting from SNL's content (although NBC claims the choice was "accidental").
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Charmin Bears - SNL
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Beyond the publicity, the series has also been criticized for appearing to heavily uplift concepts from an animated sketch by YouTube creator Joel Haver last summer. The Toilet Paper Bears skit also follows a Charmin family with an artistic son trying to leave the family business. While Haver calls the similarities between the two bits "pretty alarming," he also sees it as a case of "parallel thinking."
"When it comes to the Charmin bear thing, a lot of coincidences have to come together for it to be a coincidence, but I don't think it was malicious," Haver says. "Either it was an unconscious borrowing from someone on the writing team who saw my video, or it was wild coincidence."

SNL stole my video
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However, Haver also acknowledges that if he were in a different position as creator, he would be more inclined to hold the series accountable for stealing his ideas.
"If I were still a little creator, which I was for a long time, I could see that it's rubbing me the wrong way and I'm a little more likely to believe they stole it," he says. "I need to realize that I'm capable of not caring."
Miles Teller
US-American actor
Kenan Thompson
US-American actor

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