Samsung’s fake ’90s sitcom with Molly Shannon and Tim Meadows shows off AI upscaling on its new TVs

‘Best in the House’ looks decades old on most TVs, but sharp and modern on the new Samsung line

Published On
Mar 21, 2024
Molly Shannon and Tim Meadows pose in 90s clothing in front of “Best in the House” title screen

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The ’90s are back as the world searches for the nostalgia of baby phat track suits, flip phones and, of course, sitcoms.

Movies such as “Mean Girls” and shows such as “The Nanny,” “Full House” and “Family Matters” have been added to streaming services, marking a comeback in comfort viewing in a modern way. That’s why Samsung’s latest campaign for its TVs attempts to bring the best of both worlds, through a humorous and nostalgic spoof of a ’90s sitcom. 

Created by Quality Meats, “Best in the House” taps “Saturday Night Live” alums Molly Shannon and Tim Meadows to play Nikki and Rafael, twin siblings—yes, twins—who are in competition to be the best in a ’90s-style sitcom. 

A three-minutes clip introduces the show with a humorous theme song and actor credits, as the pair are seen trying to out-do each other while donning ’90s outfits in their “family home.” The set, which includes patterned couches and a landline, looks like something out of “Moesha.” Other characters include a posh talking hamster and a “weirdo uncle” who lives next door and whose face is covered. 


Notably, the video image is dull and grainy, meant to represent ’90s quality. However, the image will not remain that way.

At its Samsung Unbox & Discover event Thursday night, the company will show the grainy film on a Samsung TV with AI upscaling, where it will suddenly transform into a clear and compelling picture.

The upscaling technology is available in Samsung’s 2024 TV product line, said Sarah Larsen, CMO at Samsung Electronics America. “We have AI upscaling for 4K and 8K television, where it brings any picture into the most amazing upscaled picture quality you could experience,” she told Ad Age.

The campaign was developed based on the insight that while people yearn for ’90s nostalgia, especially comfort television, they would prefer the quality of the image and sound to be more modern.

As such, “Best in the House,” is a campaign platform to promote both Samsung’s new TV lineup and its audio and speaker products, though Larsen declined to share more details on how the brand will activate around speaker products.

“When we started digging into upscaling and talking to consumers for research, we found that people wanted to upscale content from their favorite shows that are throwbacks,” she said. “That's really no surprise when you look at what we've all been through in the last five years with COVID and being stuck at home and not being able to go out [to] how the world is today and all the chaos with everything happening. It makes sense, even on a psychological level, that when you're at a point of anxiety or chaos or stress in your life, you go back to what's comfortable and what you know.”

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The campaign is a marked shift in tone for Samsung, which has typically touted tech and specs in its ads. However, after it launched an entertainment campaign featuring Martha Stewart that went viral on TikTok, it shifted its strategy, as it found Stewart’s humor led the work to outperform other efforts, Larsen said. 

“We don’t want to be dry and jargon-focused, only talking about tech and specs, because that's what a lot of people do,” Larsen told Ad Age. “We are better.” 

As part of the rollout for “Best in the House,” Samsung will be posting more clips of the interactions between Shannon and Meadows—as themselves—to its social channels. The full pilot will also be shared after the event to its social channels and on YouTube.

Shannon and Meadows are notably friends in real life, which led the production team to capture several funny, unscripted interactions between the pair.

“Getting to relive the ’90s by creating a faux sitcom with my favorite hairstyle from the ’90s and to work with one of my favorite persons in the world, Molly Shannon, was a dream come true! And it made this partnership with Samsung a no brainer for me,” Meadows told Ad Age in an email. “A lot of people think their best work is ahead of them—well, I think my best work is in the past, and I get a wave of nostalgia about working on ‘SNL’ back then. And now, with this new Samsung TV technology, I can relive all of my favorite sketches and see them in amazing quality! I can’t wait to see ‘Wayne’s World 2’! Party on, Samsung!”