Star Wars Day is not an official holiday. It’s more a day when all of fandom has decided that the franchise in all its glory should be celebrated. Now I love Star Wars, both the good and the bad. I’ve watched the movies, the cartoons, read the books/comics, and played the games. Yes, even the dancing bits. So in honor of this glorious day, let us celebrate with the Top Five Greatest Moments in the best Star Wars Feature Ever: The Star Wars Holiday Special.
Before we get started, a quick note about the special: It was first broadcasted in 1978 on TV as part of a deal that I’m sure only came about because George Lucas decided to cash in, since who knew that Star Wars was going to become a franchise he could milk into the new millennium and eventually sell to Disney? Regardless, not only was the special considered one of the worst things to air that year, but George Lucas was so embarrassed that to this day a legal copy has never been distributed. In fact rumor had it that Lucas made it his business to destroy as many prints as he could find. But one must never underestimate Star Wars fans.
I personally love and hate this special. For me it’s under the so bad its amazing list. All the actors look like they’re suffering and are only there because they signed a contract. The level of indifference on Harrison Ford’s face is genius. Mark Hamill looks like they dragged him off a beach, and while yes he’s reading his lines there is no way hell that he’s actually going to try. And sweet Yoda the crazy. I mean, it’s mainly about Chewbacca’s family as they prepare for his arrival to celebrate some magical day never discussed since Wookie Holiday. But as we watch the family that Chewie understandably abandoned, there are a lot of skits sprinkled throughout. So let’s get this started:
Malla, Chewbacca’s wife, decides to start preparing for his arrival by cooking a dinner. In order to start she watches a cooking special featuring a four-armed drag queen (played by Harvey Korman)and the four-armed abomination continues teaching us how to smash meat in some way that’s supposed to be funny as it starts chanting for us to Stir, Whip, Stir, Whip, Whip, Whip, Stir. As this chant gets faster and louder, your confusion deepens and you start realizing why people hate Star Wars. This segment is everything that’s wrong with this world, everything that’s anti-comedy. You don’t know if you’re supposed to laugh or cry as your soul is shredded. And by the time it’s all over, a part of your soul’s died.
The Jefferson Starship Machine
This portion comes right after what I think is Chewie’s dad doing something that no one wants to see their dad do in public. Anyway, government troops have burst into the home looking for Chewbacca and Han so Art Carney (playing a family friend) distracts them with a suitcase that plays Jefferson Starship music videos. I don’t think I can even describe it, because it’s kind of insane. But it’s also made of amazing so check out this helpful video below.
Communications Array Instructional Video
At this point, you’ve probably reached the drinking heavily phase of viewing, which is making the special so much more fun. Anyway, Lumpy, Chewbacca’s creepy-looking son, starts watching an instructional video starring a robot once again played by Harvey Korman. It’s an 8 minute video where the robot is malfunctioning while trying to teach you how to install something, but even if you understood what it was talking about, it’s so boring that you’ll stop caring about a minute in.
The Boba Fett Cartoon
Don’t get me wrong, this cartoon is awful. Yes, I understand that this is 70′s animation and this is the same decade that gave us the Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (which still haunts my dreams), but if they didn’t speak and tell me who they were it would be extremely difficult to recognize any of the characters. Young Lumpy is watching a cartoon featuring Luke Skywalker and Han Solo trying to find a talisman on some dinosaur planet. And it is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. Never mind the fact that as stormtroopers keep walking around the house, Lumpy turns it off. The only thing that makes this number two on my list is that it’s the first introduction to Boba Fett that we get, so there you go.
This segment still confuses me though, so let’s pause and ask ourselves these questions. Han, Luke, and Chewbacca are wanted rebels. So wanted that stormtroopers are searching for them in Chewbacca’s house. So why are they in a cartoon? Why is that cartoon being broadcasted? Are the rebels responsible for this? Why hasn’t the Empire stopped the broadcast? Are the rebels hijacking the signal to show propaganda videos to children? Well special, are you ever going to answer these question? No. Okay moving on.
The Singing Bartender
I’m not kidding when I say that this is the best part of the whole special. Bea Arthur guest stars as a singing bartender in a small cantina on Tatooine. It’s just a normal night when she announces to her customers that the bar is shutting down because of new orders from the Empire. Bea then proceeds to sing a song that really breaks your heart. And the whole time the only thing I could think about was the fact that this whole special should have been about her. I wanted to know more about the singing bartender. I wanted to know why the Empire was butting into her business. The song was great, Bea Arthur was great, and the end of the song was so sweet that you start rebuilding your sanity.
So in conclusion, the Star Wars Holiday Special is awful. It’s almost offensively bad and in some ways it ruins your faith in your fellow man. But then there’s that singing bartender and it’s suddenly all worth it. So today, grab your friends and check it out. You won’t regret it.