The Star Wars Holiday Special


Tonight: The Star Wars Holiday Special

The holiday special that lives in infamy. Spoken about in hushed tones and irreverent whispers. This aired in 1978, one year after the original Star Wars was released. This is technically the second Star Wars film.

And it has never been officially released since its first airing. The only reason anybody can watch it now is because somebody decided to hit record on their VCR. As a result, we still have the commercials. So i watched 2 hours of 1970’s television tonight.

So the basic story is Han Solo is trying to get Chewbacca back home to his family to celebrate Life Day, the Wookie holiday that was covered up by the Pagan Holidays, that were later covered up by Christmas. Because Han and Chewy are Rebel Scum, the Empire decides to make it difficult.

We spend most of the special at Chewbacca’s home meeting his wife, Mala, his son, Lumpy, and his father, Itchy. If I was Mala, I would bail HARD on a family where all the names are Chewy, Lumpy, and Itchy. I bet they fought HARD over the naming of their kid.

So we spend about 10 minutes of the Wookie family interacting in Shryiiwook. And because the party line is not to translate Shryiiwook, we just have about 15 minutes or so of Wookies growling at each other and miming at each other to try and get the message across. And I can tell you, having to sit through 30 minutes of growling charades will drive you mad. Finally after about 45 minutes of just wookiespeak, we finally get the first english speaker.

The wookies are concerned that Chewbacca hasn’t arrived yet, so we get a video call to Luke Skywalker, who is wearing just WAY too much makeup. His face looks weird, all I’m gonna say. Then they call Art Carney, who is selling an imperial guard a laser beard trimmer that also does his taxes. Art Carney speaks in code, calling Chewbacca a carpet shipment.

Isn’t that really offensive? I get Princess Leia calling him that in the first movie, she was annoyed and being hurtful. But I would think comparing a wookie to carpet for the sake of another wookie would result in somebody’s arms getting torn off.

So another call is made to Leia and everyone is concerned that Chewy hasn’t shown up yet.

So Mala decides to take her mind off it by watching Harvey Korman in drag blackface doing a cooking show. Itchy decides to watch porn. Lumpy decides to watch a circus show. Oh and the running theme of all these is that they go on for way too long.

Then the empire shows up and starts tearing stuff up. Art Carney distracts them briefly with a hologram of Jefferson Starship. Lumpy watches a cartoon of his dad meeting Boba Fett for the first time.

Boba Fett starts out looking like a good guy at first, helping Luke Skywalker fight off a jelly dinosaur. However, Luke and Han both come down with some sickness, and Boba Fett and Chewbacca head into town to buy the cure, when it is revealed that Boba Fett is working for Darth Vader.

An Imperial Officer sees Lumpy on the computer and comes over to investigate and Lumpy quickly switches to his homework. Lumpy’s Alt+Tab game is on POINT. With the Officer gone, Lumpy switches back to the cartoon.

So Chewbacca and Boba Fett have the cure, and suddenly find themselves under attack by storm troopers. Boba Fett shoots back at them very wide. Chewbacca yanks Boba Fett’s blaster away and kills the Stormtroopers in one shot. Chewbacca and Boba Fett arrive back at the Falcon and After curing Luke and Han, the droids reveal that Boba Fett is working for Vader. Boba Fett then decides to just. . . leave.

Why didn’t Fett just kill Chewy and not cure Luke and Han? There are so many ways Boba Fett could have won this scenerio, but he takes his, “I’m helping,” act way to far and does more good than harm.

With the cartoon done, the Imperial officers watch a special video of Tatooine to show people how good they’ve got it by NOT living on Tatooine. Literally, that is their reasoning. Bea Arthur apparently runs a bar on Tatooine and due to a curfew imposed by the Empire, she has to shut down her bar for a while. She gets one musical number in before she shuts down though.

Lumpy then decides to watch an instructional video starring Harvey Korman wearing Android face. He badly explains how to set up a transmitter. Again, this goes on for way too long. This allows Lumpy to send a fake signal to the Imperial officers that they need to return to base. They leave one Stormtrooper behind.

This stormtrooper finds Lumpy using the transmitter. At this time Han and Chewy show up and. . . the Stormtrooper trips over some wood and falls to his death.

Useless, the lot of them.

So the wookies are all together and they gather their crystal balls, put on their red robes and walk into the light. There all the wookies are gathered and Leia sings a traditional Life Day song. Then we end on Chewbacca’s family sitting around a table peacefully thinking about all the cool scenes from Star Wars. The end.

This is on its surface a weird show. However, you kind of have to have an idea of where it is coming from. In the 70’s, Variety shows were really popular, and Star Wars was only a year old. So this was not too far out from a standard variety show finding excuses for musical numbers, sketches, and cartoons while using the big name big money actors as little as possible while also having a bunch of guest stars. The main problem is that it has almost NOTHING to do with Star Wars. There is no action, adventure, or story.

But honestly, it was not as much of a chore to sit through as the last two movies, so check it out. If nothing else to cross it off your list.

Tomorrow: We do another TV Christmas Special, but this is less to do with a Galaxy Far Far Away and more to do with the Universe!

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