Star Wars Holiday Special: We Live-Blogged the Entire Terrible Thing
Before ever creating the Star Wars prequels, George Lucas made two other very bad decisions amongst a sea of decisions considered by many to be good ones. One of those bad decisions was shaving off his beard for a single photo shoot. The other was Episode IV 1/2 The Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired one time on CBS in November 1978 and appears to be the result of a weeklong creative orgy (or normal orgy - it was the 70s after all) by CBS execs and the Star Wars producers.
With the recent announcement of the cast for Episode VII and the unofficial holiday Star Wars Day taking place yesterday (May the Fourth be with you), we decided to revisit the half-full can of domestic light beer your friend just ashed his cigarette in that is the Star Wars Holiday Special.
This is why you don't do drugs, kids.
Apparently, airing one time is all it takes to create a cult-like following fueled by bootleg copies ripped straight from Grandma's old Magnavox VHS player. This 1978 series has been brushed under the rug and stepped on before being coaxed out from under the rug only to be brushed onto the rug and subsequently torched in a sacrificial ritual performed by hooded figures. This is only matched in television clusterfuckery by the final two seasons of Heroes and that live Carrie Underwood musical thing that totally happened once.
My one regret with watching this is that I didn't have any equally esteemed beverages on hand - like a Steel Reserve or maybe a nice Cobra. At the halfway point, I wished to replace Anakin during the Duel of Mustafar in Episode III where he turns into James Earl Jones because Obi Wan had the high ground.
Pictured: A bad idea.
I don't condone watching this masterpieceofshit. So I did it for you. In case you were wondering, here's what you're missing:
- Opening scene: It opens with the trademark iconic scrolling text. Based on what I just read, I'm in for a ride because apparently this is also a musical. According to the scroller, the film is about Luke fixing his x-wing, Chewbacca and Han Solo trying to get to Kashyyyk and Princess Leia railing cocaine off C-3P0's polished ass, all of which happening on Life Day (Wookiee Christmas). After the text rolls by, faces of the characters featured in the film pop up on the screen like they think they're in a David Bowie music video. But they are not in a David Bowie music video.
- Communication is exclusively in Wookiee (Chewbacca's native tongue) for about 12 minutes without subtitles. A Wookiee family acts either distressed, excited, anxious or sad. I can't tell.
- 12:30 - Chewbacca's family and someone I think is actually Mark Hamill communicate over a Skype precursor. This is obviously fake, seeing as they don't give up after 3 minutes because it keeps freezing. During this conversation, we learn the name of Chewbacca's wife, father and son: Malla, Itchy and Lumpy, respectively. Also, Han Solo and Chewbacca are running late. Luke thinks they just got held up by an asteroid storm; I think they hit up an intergalactic tittie bar on Tatooine.
- 15:40 - Now we're at some sort of intergalactic general store and OH MY GOD THEY HAVE A POCKET SIZED AQUARIUM! WHAT KIND OF VOODOO WITCHCRAFT SCIENCE IS THIS? Apparently, this is unimpressive to people who shoot lasers and live in a world where Skype doesn't freeze constantly because this Dark Helmet-looking guy is NOT amused by it. The owner of the store is named Fondad. Like fondu, but with more dad.
- 22:10 - Malla turns on the TV to find a creepy, drag Julia Child making sexual innuendos about her favorite holiday dish.
- 24:00 - Now they're S&M innuendos.
- 24:30 - Following the emergence of drag Julia's third arm, I become physically uncomfortable.
- 25:25 - Her fourth arm emerges and I pee a little.
- 30:30 - Awww, how sweet! Fondad got grandpa Itchy some sort of ... "pleasure machine" for Life Day.
32:00 - Oh, never mind. It was a Oculus-style virtual reality machine that simulates a Rick James-lookalike call girl. Duh.
EXPANDPictured: The female Rick James lookalike call girl
- 33:50 - The Rick James call girl starts singing and it's a lot less exciting than I expected. I'm physically clenched as much as possible and beginning to sweat a bit. Gonna count this as my cardio for the day. BUT ACTUALLY WHAT IS HAPPENING. I JUST REALIZED SOMEONE WAS LIKE, "OH YEAH, THIS IS DEFINITELY A GOOD IDEA. WE SHOULD DO THIS." NO, WHAT?
- 35:00 - Rick James call girl is simultaneously the best and worst thing ever.
- 37:30 - Ok, now we're on C3-PO and Leia ... Has anyone else ever noticed that Carrie Fisher just really wasn't that attractive? This scene does not advance the plot at all.
- 40:00 - Imperial troopers show up to Chewie's pad and proceed to be total douches.
- 47:00 - Lumpy is mean right back to the trooper. Lumpy doesn't care about authority. Lumpy is the revolution.
49:00 - Fondad starts performing using some sort of music device for an Imperial officer's viewing pleasure. It seems to be some sort of miniature Blue Oyster Cult-like thing but instead of a microphone, he's singing into glowing dildo. Fortunately, this imperial officer is apparently, like, 6 years old because he's still enthralled by mini-dildo-mic Blue Oyster Cult.
EXPANDPictured: A shot someone was paid real money to capture.
56:00 - I don't know how we got here, but it's a cartoon, now. And it's pretty much the most 70s looking cartoon ever created.
EXPANDThey're looking a little sick. Luke's been hitting that blacktar pretty hard.
- 59:12 - Enter: cartoon Boba Fett, his first appearance ever, which is kinda cool ... kinda.
- 1:01 - Boba Fett uses a sleeping virus that only effects humans to knock out Han and Luke cold. Who wrote this, an 8-year-old?
- 1:03:37 - I'm over this cartoon.
- 1:10:30 - The cartoon is over and the plot is in the same place.
- 1:14:15 - While Lumpy watches an instructional video, the dude telling him what to do just shuts off. Is this stuff kids think is funny? Kids are weird.
- 1:22:00 - We're inside a cantina, now. And I'm getting the feeling the only reason we're here is for another song.
- 1:28:23 - Yep, another song.
- 1:38:15 - Chewie and Han show up and proceed to kick the Imperial troopers' asses at the Chewbacca residents.
- 1:38:36 - Wilhelm Scream
- 1:40:30 - Sensual Wookiee love exchanges proceed as Malla welcomes Chewbacca home. These sensual Wookiee love exchanges are about as intimate as goodbyes after middle school movie dates.
- 1:47:45 - What does a Wookiee gospel choir sound like? Locust. It sounds like locust. This scene actually raises more questions than it answers. Like, what does Wookiee sex sound like? Can a Wookiee whistle? Can a Wookiee whisper? Do Wookiees believe in God? And where do Wookiees come from?
1:48:40 - "No matter how different we appear. We are all the same in our struggles against evil and darkness." Deep words from Princess Leia herself.
EXPANDPrincess Leia doing Princess Leia things.
- 1:49:00 - Now Princess Leia is singing and I think if you look closely you can see Harrison Ford hanging himself in the background.
- 1:55:43 - It ends with some Star Wars theme music and a pan out from Chewbacca's hut. I'm almost sentimental about the ending but then I realize I'm not, like, at all.
So what did Episode IV 1/2 The Star Wars Holiday Special teach me? It taught me that miracles do happen, that a lot of the Star Wars crew took full advantage of the priced-to-sell cocaine of the 70s, that it is possible to make a feature-length film out of a 5-minute story and, most importantly, that production companies shouldn't always create for-TV programming following a successful film. Because at the end of the day, sometimes what is created is so bad that it's not even a case of so-bad-it's-good (like, for example, David Bowie's Labyrinth ). Sometimes it's just bad. This is just bad.
But hey, here's to Star Wars Day, and most importantly, the upcoming Star Wars sequels. May the force be with you, J.J. Abrams - after all, this special was only unsatisfying because it lacked excessive lens glare.
Get the Theater
Your weekly guide to local culture with calendar listings and theater, dance, and comedy reviews.
More ARTS News
- Figaro, Figaro, Fiiiigarooohhh: You'll Recognize Melodies in L.A. Opera's Barber of...
- Hollywood Became L.A's Hottest Art District Overnight — Saturday Night, in Fact
- New Movie Looks Inside the Lives of Cam Girls — and the Secrets of Their Success
- This May Be Your Only Chance to See Arthur Miller’s Rarely-Revived The Price (GO!)