Big Eyes here to talk about the things of, and that are new, in the world of animation. Today I am talking about a half hour SNL Halloween Special.
So does everybody remember that sketch on Saturday Night Live last year with Tom Hanks in a pumpkin decorated suit and a couple of skeletons being somewhat amusingly unscary? I had nearly forgotten, honestly. After blowing up on the internet last year, NBC had decided to go all in and paid to animate a “David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special”, and it just aired tonight.
I have a lot of questions about this Halloween special. Mostly questions that begin and end with the word “why”. But first, let’s talk about the original “David S. Pumpkins” sketch. I have learned that the sketch was based off of an old internet meme from India called “Little Superstar”. “Little Superstar” involves a young child dancing and stopping with the SAME MUSIC that is used in the SNL sketch. Not that many people in America will care, because they saw it happen in SNL first. Knowing that a huge part of what made the “David Pumpkins” skit take off is completely unoriginal has made me lose what little interest I had in the sketch.
Tom Hanks certainly seemed to enjoy the role as Pumpkins, so I see no reason he wouldn’t have taken it again. Pumpkins is fun, and it’s even less work for Hanks this time around by doing voice acting. David S. Pumpkins is an obnoxious character that never explains anything even though he asks for questions. It’s kind of funny, but it gets old, fast. Which leads me to my biggest, and probably most obvious, question: “Why did anyone think a Halloween special of this was a good idea?”
You know, maybe there was a better script for it out there once upon a time, but the garbage one was what got animated because of someone’s bad decision. There were some good snickers in there, but there were so many other jokes that missed so hard it had made the decent jokes less funny by taking them down with the bad ones. The story was a little below “okay”, and couldn’t even accomplish the “it’s so bad it’s good” alternative. I could tell that they were trying to turn “David Pumpkins” into a Halloween icon, and that could have been really fun, but the execution of the 25ish minute animation was just so bad, I don’t see that happening. Or it can, stupider things have made it into the mainstream.
As an animation fan, I felt like I had to talk about this, even though I didn’t like it because it seems like the writers of this Halloween special don’t really respect the intelligence of their viewers. This was supposed to be an animated Halloween special, not just another sketch for the writers of SNL to bang out real quick to kill about five minutes of time. If the “David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special” was animated traditionally, the lines would have been blurred with the tear stains of their animators over how much of a waste of their talents this project was. If “David Pumpkins” was given over to writers who aren’t sketch artists, this could have been something better or even great. Being realistic, I wasn’t expecting another “Over the Garden Wall”, but at least something that gave me a good laugh. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.