TV Shows »The Star Wars Holiday Special

star wars holiday specialWhen I was in college the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special was the stuff of legends, so when someone in my dormitory got their hands on a 5th generation VHS copy, it was a very, very big deal and we all anxiously gathered around the TV/VCR combo to witness this mind blowing “special event” that left us laughing – and maybe even somewhat permanently damaged.

It's a truly unbelievable spectacle of horrible decisions and now that we live in the age of easy access to videos over the internet, anyone can enjoy it – if enjoy is really the right word for something that begins with five painful minutes of un-subtitled, unrelenting Wookie speak between Chewbaca's wife Mala, his father Itchy, and son Lumpy.

The seemingly endless growls and roaring whines are temporarily relieved by an unimpressive and overlong holograph acrobatic routine that puts little Lumpy into a state of aggravated excitement that's uncomfortable to watch.

The family is concerned that Chewie has yest to come home and might even miss the all important celebration of Life Day (a celebration, we later learn, that involves holding crystal balls and walking into the sun wearing red cultist-style robes). A call to Luke Skywalker yields little in the way of actual information, but the eyelined blonde manages to flirt with Chewie's wife: “Come on Mala, let's see a little smile,” he coos before going back to bitching at R2 D2.

Comedian Harvey Korman periodically steals the show – or, more accurately, hijacks it – with his special brand of out-dated tedious variety show humor. The most annoying role he plays is this grotesque cooking show hostess who teaches her audience how to make the classic Life Day meal of Panther Loin.

Musical numbers pepper the two hours: Diahann Carroll's number is a disturbingly sexual virtual reality performance that brings grandpa Itchy grossly and, in my opinion, inappropriately – considering it is Life Day – to arousal.

Jefferson Starship, as if the embarrassment of We Built this City weren't enough, is on hand, bathed in neon purple space light. The other big number is decidedely the best because it's Bea Arthur being Bea Arthur belting out “Good night, but not good bye” at the Mos Eisley Cantina.

The middle of the program brings the introduction of my favorite character, Boba Fett, to the Star Wars universe. His unworthy entrance comes in a short, unattractively drawn animation that fans hail as the only bright spot in this kitschy and terrible special that George Lucas refuses to acknowledge to this day and vows he'll never release on DVD. I guess he's not one to have a sense of humor about his work, huh?

The full length version available on Google video features the original ads including: Trailtracker, Lucy Comes to Nashville, Bobby Vinton's Rockin Rollers, Sheer Indulgence panty hose that feature “real panties in my panty hose!” and Tobot the telesonic robot.

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Posted on December 22, 2008

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