Halloween just passed, and it’s a good thing because NBC’s Saturday Night Live may have been using the holiday as an excuse to throw out some questionable programming. This past weekend, SNL did not air a new episode, instead offering an animated program based on the spooky day.
The cartoon was based on the Tom Hanks character “David S. Pumpkins” and told a story of how he should be the Santa Claus-type figure of Halloween, bringing candy to all the little girls and boys.
The program itself was weird and unexpected, and no one is sure if it worked. Was it for children, as the plot and style seemed to indicate? Or was it for adults, since it aired at 11:30 PM Eastern on a Saturday night?
The episode wasn’t funny enough to be purposely designed for adults, yet it felt too weird to be a kids program. There was some odd middle ground that I doubt SNL was purposely aiming for. Yet that was where the end product fell into.
Besides the execution, the show itself was a bizarre programming choice. David S. Pumpkins was a one-off sketch character of Hanks from a year ago. The original sketch was endearing because of its oddity. It wasn’t exactly funny as much as it was smirk-worthy because of its unnecessary existence and silly behavior. The sketch succeeded within the episode that it aired because of the freshness of it. Remaking and blowing that sketch out into an entire program felt like a major reach.
Another reach is referring to David S. Pumpkins as a “beloved” SNL character. He isn’t that, and it feels like the show may be forcing things in order to develop new material during weeks in which no live show is airing. There is no harm in doing this, but it isn’t the best form of entertainment.