Saturday Night Live S42, E4: Tom Hank Shows Off His Versatility By Being America's Dad, David S. Pumpkins, And A Trump Supporter

Happy Halloween! Are you ready to see Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga bring on the spooky fun? Sadly, I doubt we’ll be getting another Merryville Brothers sketch, but I’m sure that they can make up for it. After all, the election is almost here, and isn’t that scarier than murderous humanoid animatronics?

So, the week before Election Day will be hosted by Benedict Cumberbatch! I’m fairly confident in saying that I wouldn’t mind if the entire episode was hosted in-character as Doctor Strange, especially if that can somehow result in a Ghostbusters crossover sketch. As for Solange’s debut as musical guest, I wish her the best of luck!

Cold Opening: You know that we’re off to a good start if Tom is even appearing in the cold opening. Really, there’s nothing new to say about the sketch, it was almost as good as the first debate parody and better than the second one. If I had to nitpick, then I would have liked it if Alec’s slack-jawed Trump outright started doing drugs. The Bingo joke was funny, but I’ve seen a few too many different versions of it for the reference to feel completely fresh. I did like the reference to Stephen Baldwin and his disapproval of Alec’s impersonation.

Monologue: It’s official, SNL’s turned into a sitcom. At least it didn’t turn into Full House, though some parts of Tom’s speech nearly hit that level of awkwardness. The teen slang usage was painful and prompted the comparison. If anything, I now know why people are calling him “America’s Dad”, but I don’t know who America’s mom is.

Black Jeopardy: It’s no Celebrity Jeopardy, but I’ll take it. Just the image of Tom dressed up like a stereotypical Trump supporter is almost as funny as seeing Will Ferrell make fun of Trebek. Based on the previous iterations of the sketches, it’s weird to see the third contestant doing surprisingly well. Usually, the host’s character doesn’t do a good job. As soon as the last category appeared, I knew what was going to happen, but it still made me laugh. I think this is my favorite version of the sketch.

Block Party Show: Yes, more screen time for Melissa! I disagree with some of the characters, that was a really impressive show. The "Small Town Girl" parody is going to be stuck in my head for days. It just needed a "Monster Mash" reference, then it would have been perfect. Unfortunately, I can't find it on the official SNL YouTube channel or the NBC website, potentially due to copyright reasons.

Funny New Comedy: Hey, remember when The Martian was listed as a comedy? I guess similar comparisons are still being made, leading to a charming commercial parody. It’s not only topical because of the category, but it raises some interesting questions about how comedy and drama are intersecting more and more. Even in the sketch, the lines are blurred with a bouncy motif for the ad and moody lighting for the fictional show. You can watch it here.

Haunted Elevator: I had secretly hoped that the Merryville Brothers would appear again, but David Pumpkins is even better. Even as the sketch was going on, I found myself mentally drafting a movie script where he’s a serial killer. Everything about the setup for this sketch makes me laugh, from his weird voice to the snappy sound effects. Tom, please make “David S. Pumpkins” your next movie.

Lady Gaga Performance (ft. Mark Ronson) #1- “A-Yo”: I enjoyed the visuals. At certain points, while it did make me slightly dizzy, it did make Lady Gaga seem like she was doing Spider-Man-like stunts. Lady Gaga for Spider-Gwen! I know the character is more of a punk rocker than a country singer, but it could still work. You can watch it here.

Weekend Update: Finally, the Update piece I’ve been waiting for. Ever since this summer, I’ve been hoping that Leslie Jones would give an awesome editorial on the awful events of last summer. Anyone who doesn’t think that Leslie is magnificent should watch this. Cecily’s reappearance as The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party only makes this edition better. If you want babbling nonsense, watch Cecily’s piece. If you want smart commentary, watch Leslie’s. For great satire, watch both. You can watch it hereherehere, and below.

Sully In The Cockpit: How long before NBC makes a workplace sitcom about a jealous airline pilot? The sketch almost felt like a pilot for one, especially if you imagine the transitions as actual scene breaks in an episode. A few of the jokes would have been better if they were expanded on in some fashion, but I have no major complaints.

A Girl’s Halloween: If you’ve ever had a disastrous girl’s night out on Halloween, this pre-taped sketch might be familiar to you. Once again, the women of Saturday Night Live shine in a funny video about the perils of getting drunk on Halloween. Seriously, it’s like a before-and-after advertisement. Once again, I have to commend the set design and production, particularly the lighting. The pre-party scenes have a pink glow, while the drunken fiasco afterwards looks grim. It really helps to add to the mood.

Lady Gaga Performance #2- “Million Reasons”: Again, I’m reminded of a superhero music video, this time because of Lady Gaga’s cape. Now she’s Superwoman! You can watch it here.

America’s Funniest Pets: You can insert your own Arrested Development joke here. Message to the hamster sketch from last week: This is how you do a morbid ‘ten-to-one’ sketch about animals and make it funny. You can watch it here.

Overall Thoughts: I’m pleased to report that the writers didn’t run out of steam for the fourth show of the month. Tom Hanks’s charisma revitalized the show for some spooky fun. I have a feeling that David S. Pumpkins might make a return appearance if Tom hosts again, judging from the social media buzz. They also released a dress rehearsal segment that was cut for time. You can see it here.

Sure, the episode wasn’t very scary, but that’s not really what I’m looking for in a Halloween episode. It still managed to be topical while having some creepy laughs. I’ll probably be watching some of it again on Halloween night, provided I get my homework done. How did you like it? Did it tickle your funny bone like an impish ghoul, or did the jokes leave you colder than an empty grave at midnight? Leave your feedback in the comments below!

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.