By Brian Klose
After a brief hiatus, the Opinion Section’s “Hero of the Week” is back. The purpose of the section is to profile individuals from current events, politics, and pop culture who exemplify any particular set of heroic qualites. Anyone, from world leaders to influencial artists, is eligible for this prestigious honor.
This week, the Opinion Section is honoring David S. Pumpkins, Saturday Night Live’s most recent viral all-star, as its Hero of the Week. With nearly four million views on YouTube, Tom Hanks’s wildly stupid late-night character has entered the hearts and minds of many, as well as breathing much-needed new life into SNL’s catalogue of iconic moments.
It’s difficult to recall any character in recent SNL history who drew such immediate, widespread attention as Pumpkins has. So why has this pumpkin-clad showman risen to fame so quickly? More importantly for SNL, why does this sketch work?
In short, the character, as pointed out in the sketch, isn’t from anything. He’s in reference to nothing, and is completely detatched from any previous character or pop culture reference. Pumpkins’s effectiveness comes from his novel form of stupidity, enhanced by his equally pointless and hilarious skeleton sidekicks.
The image of Tom Hanks comically smacking two skeletons’ rear ends in unison is priceless, and exactly what SNL and its viewers needed during this extremely turbulent election season. I’m so not in the weeds with David Pumpkins.