Sure, I could have posted this sooner, but today is Halloween.
Last year’s “Haunted Elevator” sketch from Saturday Night Live was a surprise viral sensation, as Tom Hanks played the more baffling than scary Halloween attraction David S. Pumpkins. The sketch works for a number of reasons, largely due to Hanks throwing himself completely into the role and the fact that the sketch actually ends with a punchline unlike a lot of SNL sketches that mostly just end.
Well, given the success, perhaps it isn’t much of a surprise that David Pumpkins is back this year in an animated Halloween special.
Truth be told, I’m not sure David Pumpkins can hold down that much of a story effectively. Reducing him to a cartoon form, where he and his skeleton sidekicks appear in live action only in the beginning and the end, the plot follows a boy named Kevin. As an adult voiced by Peter Dinklage mostly in rhyme, we learn that during his childhood, Kevin and his kid sister met a more supernaturally gifted David S. Pumpkins (still Hanks) and his two sidekicks (still Mikey Day and Bobby Moynihan) as they imbue young Kevin with the spirit of Halloween. Or they don’t. The central joke seems to be that nothing David Pumpkins does is explained all that much, and asking him direct questions just causes confusion instead of enlightenment. He does seem to have some pumpkin-related powers, but the rules for his appearance are arbitrary at best and often explained only after the fact. There’s still the essence of Hanks’ initial performance there, as Pumpkins never lets his maniacal grin drop for a second, but like a lot of SNL, Pumpkins perhaps works best in his first appearance that probably should have been his only appearance.
For what it’s worth, though this originally aired in SNL‘s usual time slot, there’s nothing here that wouldn’t be kid friendly. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it no matter how a big a fan you are of his first appearance. Seven out of ten origin songs that explain nothing.