Star Wars Holiday Special Nightmare

Feel the magic! and the fear.
"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."

Yeah that's right, I'm going there. Even though it is not a movie, technically speaking, it altogether runs for about two hours, and it is...holiday themed I guess, so I'm going to make you all sit there and listen to me recall a dark thing that happened to me one time when I was young and foolish in college, and thought it would be funny to watch the Star Wars Holiday Special. Back then the full extent of internet proliferation had not quite taken root, and so it was actually kind of tough to find a digimal version of the Holiday Special. This is principally because it only ever aired once. Eventually though I did manage to secure a copy and what I found filled me with regret. As it turns out, for a fan of Star Wars, or indeed any other creature that could perceive their surroundings, it was not so funny. What it was, in fact, was one of the most traumatically bad segments of television I have ever experienced, and it is generally regarded as being one of the worst pieces of television ever created. You see Christmas is a special time, when we celebrate with our families, but I think sometimes it's important to be given a grim reminder of things past, and so I'm here to be the ghost of Life Day Past, and remind us all of the holiday that was.

Nice robe you got there big guy.
Picture this scene if you will: it is 1978, and Star Wars has been a huge and unexpected success. In this post-post Star Wars world, where the franchise has been both popular and maligned for as long as the human memory can function (thank you very much prequel movies) it is difficult to imagine a world where Star Wars wasn't firmly built into the very foundation of sci-fi cinema history. We're going to try though. So it's 1978, almost 1979, and people are anxious to fan the flames of Star Wars enthusiasm, to keep everyone excited while work proceeds on The Empire Strikes Back (which would be released in May of 1980). In what was no doubt a cocaine-fueled effort to continue the spectacular green harvest that resulted from the original Star Wars (for the record, when adjusted for inflation it is still the third-highest grossing film of all time) Someone had the bright idea of keeping the hype alive by doing a holiday-themed television special. Obviously for a movie taking place in another galaxy in space, Christmas is probably not a big occurrence, and hence this idea is moronic, but that deterred absolutely no one from going ahead with the project. Fan interest apparently was positive for a wookie-centric storyline, and so the story is about Chewbacca trying to get home to Kashyyyk, the planet of the wookies, so that he can be with his family for Life Day. Yeah apparently Chewie's old pervert dad Itchy, and his wife Malla and son LUMPY are all just waiting for runaway slave turned smuggler Chewbacca to come home so they can celebrate Space Furbeast Christmas. I wish this were a joke so so much.

Man this looks like a parody of a real cartoon.
Of course there are a lot of things standing between Han and his furred companion, and the lush Life Day spread waiting at home on Tree World. For instance, there is stock footage of star destroyers, chasing after stock footage of the Millennium Falcon. There are imperial stormtroopers and officers, distracted by musical numbers performed by Jefferson Starship. There's Bea Arthur as a bartender on Tatooine for some fucking reason I don't even begin to know. SO MANY THINGS PEOPLE stand between our intrepid heroes and the AMAZING CELEBRATION ON KASHYYYK. Also there is a cartoon interlude, which regrettably marks the first appearance of Boba Fett. This has been described by official sources as a "cult classic" and by fans as the best portion of the whole special. Let me show you it so you can consider the implications (these are taken from the cartoon and also commercials for it, it's pretty tough to find clips otherwise)

I'll let that sink in for a moment. If this is your highlight, what do the lowlights look like? They look like a weirdly sexual VR fantasy involving an aged wookie, or Bea Arthur regaling a cantina on Tatooine with a song about how it's closing time. They look like a coked up Carrie Fisher singing a song about Life Day to the tune of the Star Wars theme. That is what they fucking look like. George Lucas once commented that had he time and a sledgehammer, that he would destroy every copy of this pile of bantha poodoo, but alas, with the advent of the interwebs, his dream of destroying this monstrosity is all but dead. It's escaped into the slipstream, and now it will live forever.

Bea Arthur and her questionable friends.
I don't recommend viewing this. Not as a joke even. If you have ever liked Star Wars, if you hate it, either way avoid this at all costs. It represents the very worst that the human imagination and commercialism can combine forces to create, and the world is darker for its existence. Imagine spending two hours watching this thing. That's a thing I did. If you feel you really MUST watch it, I recommend not going it alone. At the very least, watch the Rifftrax version so that you can be protected by a buffer zone of commentary.

That's it for today, I'll see you all next week as we count down to 2014!

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