Why? Why me? It’s always me, it’s always me!
*Sighs* Hello everyone, I’m the Uncanny Fox, and today I’d give the tail off my backside to be anybody else. Because some joker thought it’d be a great Christmas prank to leave a dark, forbidden box containing something truly awful at my doorstep. And now, oh my wonderful luck, I have to review it. Because it’s a rule or something.
As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. Sure, I might not have read all the books, all the comics and no, I haven’t beaten all the video games, but I’d consider myself above the average person when it comes to loving the Galaxy Far, Far Away. I even like some of the stuff other fans tend to hate. I have fond memories of seeing The Phantom Menace in theaters for the first time, and I’d gladly defend The Last Jedi and Solo from the grouchiest of forum dwellers.
So, know the weight of my words when I say that I’m about to review the one piece of Star Wars media that I cannot sit through for the entirety of its runtime. I literally had to watch this in short bursts in order to complete it for my review. I consider what I’m about to review even more headache inducing than Jar-Jar, even more uncomfortable to sit through than Anakin’s mopey love declarations, and even more damaging to the franchise’s image than anything you can accuse Rose of being. (I like her, by the way. And what her actress went through on social media was uncalled for, regardless of how you feel about her character.)
That’s right, folks. Today I’m looking at the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Yes, I’m reviewing it. Yes, you’re reading it. We’re all going to Hell before we die together.
But before that, the backstory to the torment: After the original A New Hope was an unexpected breakout success, the cast found itself making all manner of televised appearances on variety shows like The Muppets and Donny and Marie,fueling ticket sales for the still-in-theaters movie. Eventually, CBS came to George Lucas with the idea to do a feature length TV special to hold audiences over until the release of The Empire Strikes Back.
From there, Lucas came up with the idea to focus on the mighty Wookiee Chewbacca and his family – much to the dismay of the writers and the actors who had to work in those Wookiee suits in extreme heat and alack of oxygen – and gave the reigns to David Acomba, a classmate of his back at USC… who left after some difficulty with the Multi-Camera setup and conflict with the producers. From there, influential music show producer and director Steve Binder (he’s worked with the likes of Elvis, Diana Ross, Pee-Wee Herman and Wayne Newton. Nothing to sneeze at) took over from there, and everyone from the original film returned to reprise their roles. This sounds like a recipe for success doesn’t it?
Well, it wasn’t, and on November 17, 1978, everyone found out the hard way. I’ll let Gary Kurtz speak about how it ended up: “The determination was that it was a bit too late then to do much about it. We couldn’t pull the show. And, I guess, there was a determination that, well, it wasn’t really that bad compared to other Christmas specials, so what the hell.”
The special became infamous for how terrible it turned out, with George Lucas himself (who had no input with it beyond the basic premise. I repeat, this was not Lucas’s fault, not completely) disowning the show and saying that if he had his way, he would “track down every copy of it and smash it with a sledgehammer.” The onscreen cast also went on to voice their displeasure, with Mark Hamill admitting to having never watched it, Harrison Ford trying to deny its existence on a talk show (before Conan O’Brian showed a clip), and the late great Carrie Fisher being… well, the late great Carrie Fisher about it. Woman was a legend.
As a result of its poor reception and the franchise’s creator hating it with enough fiery passion to destroy the Alderaan, the special was never aired again, nor did it ever see a home video release (except for the copy Carrie Fisher claimed to have asked for as payment for recording the audio commentary for the Original Trilogy. She said it was for parties, “when I wanted everyone to leave.” Oh, Carrie… *kisses fingers, then points to the sky*). But it saw continued life in the underground in the form of bootleg tapes and Youtube rips, one of which wound up in an evil box buried in the middle of the dessert like the old E.T. game. Somehow. Which leads us to this fateful review. So, let’s sit back, take a deep breath, and brace ourselves for the pain that only comes once a year. The pain of The Star Wars Holiday Special.
The special begins with Han Solo and Chewbacca on board the Millennium Falcon, being chased by some grainy stock footage of a pair Star Destroyers. Han emotionlessly declares that he’s turning back, but Chewie growls an objection. Apparently, his family is waiting for him to come home for Life Day, which is basically the Star Wars equivalent of Christmas. Han assures him that they’ll get back in time, and then hits Lightspeed to escape their pursuers.We then get the classic “A long time ago, in galaxy far, far away” text (white instead of blue this time, they couldn’t even get the text right…) and John Williams’s iconic theme as an announcer runs off the people who put their careers in jeopardy to show up in this thing. Among those appearing are the usual suspects: Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO,Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, R2-D2 as himself (Kenny Baker was lucky enough not to have his name attached to this), and James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader… as well as new faces like Chewie’s family (consisting of his wife Malla, his father Itchy, and his son Lumpy. I’ll get into them in more detail later), and special guest stars Bea Arthur (of Golden Girls and Maude fame), Art Carney (Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners), Diahann Carroll (who overcame both racial barriers and breast cancer throughout her groundbreaking career. What’s she doing in this terrible show?), the band Jefferson Starship, and Harvey Korman from The Carol Burnett Show. An impressive list of talent, until you realize that this is what they signed up for.
After a commercial break (and no, I’m not including the commercials, I’m stretched for time as it is. I’d Youtube them though, they’re an amusing look at the past,what with their dated celebrity endorsements and toys that would never pass safety standards nowadays), we head to the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk – or an obvious matte painting of it (the special effects are a major downgrade from the movie, but I’ll try not to harp on that too much, given this was a TV special and not a major motion picture), where Itchy is sitting on a lazy chair making an X-Wing model for Lumpy, while Malla is washing the dishes. Why do the appliances look like regular Earth appliances? This is Star Wars we’re talking about here! Make up some crazy-looking dishwashing machine or something! I can see regular Earth appliances in my own house!
Anywho, we get a closeup of Itchy, and he is terrifying. His weird, circular jaw going around and around, his deep, dark eyes that stare straight into your soul, his frighteningly wrinkled face. This isn’t a Wookiee, this is the face of cold, unfeeling death, the kind that haunts the nightmares of little children who have Pennywise as their imaginary friend. This will most likely be burned into my very psyche for the rest of my days. And I’ve seen that teaser poster for the new Sonic The Hedgehog movie.
Lumpy then hops down the stairs, playing with a model of his own, while also being terrifying. Where is his neck? Children should have necks. Why are all the Wookiees in this special twisted nightmare creatures? He starts to annoy Itchy, who roars and scares him off. Doesn’t take much work there, buddy. And why is he making an X-Wing model if Lumpy already has one?
Malla (who looks the closest like a normal Wookiee, except when she has to smile) gestures for the boy to get over to her, or at least I think. This whole scene is spoken entirely in Wookiee language. Without subtitles. For ten. Whole. Minutes.
Oh yeah, this special is primarily about the Wookiees, but unlike the movies, there’s no one around to translate and no way of knowing what exactly they’re saying or what the heck is going on at a given scene. Imagine a Guardians Of The Galaxy special about Groot’s family, but without Rocket there to translate. Nothing but “I am Groot” over and over for 10 uninterrupted minutes. This show is exactly that, but with growls instead of words. To say it gets old fast is an understatement, and eventually you breakdown and scream at the TV screen to say words.
Lumpy concedes,and plays in the kitchen where his mother can keep an eye on him. Or just go back to work getting dinner ready. Whatever works, I guess.She does notice when he tries to steal a cookie,and tells him off. I think. She then tells him to take the trash out, which he does before looking down from the balcony to the non-existent trees below. He then climbs up the railing and tries to walk it, leading to a very unconvincing distance shot where you can see where he was inserted into the matte painting.
Back inside, more nothing happens as Malla asks Itchy… something. Subtitles would really help here. Not really convinced by Itchy’s answer (to be fair, I don’t know what the answer is), she heads over to a picture (those don’t exist in Star Wars, they’re holograms) of Chewie (why just him? Why not the whole family?) and looks sad, with Itchy soon joining her. I think they miss him. Again, I can’t be sure. This is like a silent film, except those would usually give you text explaining the plot. This is just nothing but growls and pantomiming.
Malla goes back to the kitchen, while Itchy takes… a cassette tape (those don’t exist in Star Wars either. I know the universe was still young at this time, but they at least had the basic technology written down, right?) from the counter and calls for Lumpy. But Malla calls Lumpy back to the kitchen, which Itchy ignores in favor of playing the tape to Lumpy on the holo-table in the middle of the room. What follows is… some kind of bizarre Cirque du Soleil act with people in green spandex and parade ribbons. I can’t even.
Lumpy seems to be into it though, and he enlarges the main actor to full-size as the show goes on and on for several minutes. And Lumpy makes all kinds of faces that I can only assume a Wookiee makes right before he eats your face off.
Once the show’s over (the holo-table show, not the Holiday Special itself. Sorry forgetting your hopes up), Malla calls Lumpy over to help with dinner, I think. He starts washing dishes while his mother heads over to her communication screen(they don’t look like that in Star Wars)and contacts Traffic Control (which displays English text- that doesn’t exist in Star Wars, at least not since Empire). They report that there are no starships in the area, meaning that Han and Chewie haven’t made it back yet. And we finally get someone actually speaking here.
Itchy and Malla then head to Chewie’s picture again and open a panel underneath it, revealing a hidden video screen. They use it to contact Luke Skywalker in a Rebel hangar fixing something with R2-D2, and… oh dear God, Mark Hamill, what have they done to you?!?
He just looks…off. His hair is combed over, his skin has this unnatural sheen to it, and his eyes are always disturbingly widened. He honestly looks like a slightly-melted wax dummy of Justin Bieber circa-2012. I know that this make-up job was to cover up Hamill’s then-recent car accident, but they couldn’t have done better than this?
Luke asks where Chewie is, and seems to understand the Wookiees (I guess Han managed to teach him a bit) as they explain that he hasn’t come home yet. After briefly turning back to his device, which starts smoking, Luke tells the family that Chewie left with Han on schedule, and if they’re not on Kashyyyk by now, then they must be in trouble. But he reassures Malla and Itchy that Han and Chewie will be okay, and that Chewie hasn’t missed a Life Day yet and won’t start now. He asks Malla for a smile, which she… gives, I guess, before turning back to his device and ending the transmission as R2 blows smoke in his face. His creepy, plastic, orange face.
Not entirely convinced by Luke’s words, Malla heads back to the main vid-screen and contacts Art Carney on a trading post on “Wookie Planet C.” Is that supposed to be Kashyyyk? They call it “Kazook” at one point, but that’s not right either. Unfortunately, an Imperial Agent is currently inspecting the place, and Carney asks if he wants to see his ID. The Guard says no, he’s just looking around, and Carney offers him a pocket-sized aquarium. After looking into it and seeing the tiny fish (which are just regular fish cropped into the scene), the Guard grumbles that he hates fish.
But as Carney starts to show the Guard more stuff, he gets Malla’s transmission and asks the Guard for some privacy. But of course the Guard won’t leave, so Carney quickly tells Malla not to talk, tha the already knows why she called. He says that “the shaggy carpet” is on its way, and that an old woman made it herself by hand. Solo. Real subtle code talk, I could barely guess what he meant. He then tells her that he’ll be by later to “drop off that extra Proton energy pack.”
After he ends the call, the Guard gets in his face about a hair trimmer (it looks more like a toothbrush), which Carney tells him also removes stains off of clothes, cleans teeth (told ya), washes eyes, pierces ears, and repeats the entire Imperial Penal code. (Not sure why you would need a hygiene device to do that…) And you can recharge it with any laser outlet. But does it also make Julienne Fries? The Guard agrees to take it. Without paying. Which, to be fair, does a pretty good job of showing what major dicks the Imperials are, I guess. Then Carney starts talking to himself like a crazy person about how he doesn’t like being embarrassed. Honestly, this whole scene could have been cut.
Up in space, we get some recycled footage of Darth Vader and an Imperial lackey aboard a Star Destroyer. After hearing that the Imperials have put up a blockade to capture Han and Chewie, Vader tells his goon that he wants the Rebels found, even if it means searching every household in the system. And there goes the only real scene with Vader in this whole special. He was smart enough not to get any more involved with this trainwreck than he had to.
After another commercial break, we get another outside painting shot as Malla continues working and Lumpy continues being a pain. The kid storms off, and Mala turns on a cooking show featuring Harvey Korman in… oh dear God, no! Just… no.
What in the actual blue-tinted hell is this? Korman seems to be dressed as a robot housemaid and doing a terrible Julia Child impression. And he’s got a ridiculous poofy wig, creepy caked-on eye shadow and… is he wearing blackface? I’m not kidding. This is like a checksheet of everything not to include when you design a character. Words can’t describe how objectively horrible this is. Forget the cutting room floor, this idea should have been thrown straight into the incinerator.
Anyway, the cook(I don’t know her name, and if I did, I’d be afraid to speak it lest she return) discusses her(?) lesson for the day: a dish called Bantha Surprise, which she brags will make you go “yummy-yum in your tummy-tum.” She takes a Bantha loin (or rump if you’re especially hungry), slicing it into bite-size morsels as Malla follows along. She then puts the lumps into a pot, tosses in some other ingredients I don’t care enough to get specific about, (eating some of them in the process) and starts to stir.
Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir.
Then she starts to whip.
Stir, whip, stir, whip, whip, whip, whip, stir.
Faster and faster. Over and over. Louder and louder.
She then grows another arm(?) and starts to beat.
Beat, beat, beat, stir, whip, stir, whip, whip, whip, stir, beat.
Make it stop. I don’t ask for much in this world, and this isn’t an extravagantly impossible request like world peace, a cure for cancer or for Pitoff to keep the camera focused on the character talking. Just make this torment stop!!! She grows another arm and taste-tests the broth. She starts again, sticking the same ladle she put her mouth on back in the pot(as someone who works in a dishroom, this makes me wince). Malla finally shuts the TV off. I should do the same. But I probably won’t, because I hate myself almost as much as I love Star Wars.
Back in space, Han and Chewie dodge some more TIEs as Han shoots them down with the Quad laser cannon… from the cockpit. The controls for the Quad cannons are in the back of the ship, as demonstrated in A New Hope. It’s not some “blink and you’ll miss it” detail, it was a major scene! After some growling by Chewie, Han admits that his coordinates “weren’t the best,” since they’ve come out of hyperspace in the middle of an Imperial convoy. Typical Solo luck. He then notes that he’s lost control of the cannons and now he’ll have to go back and aim them manually. Wait, so you can control them by remote? Why didn’t you do that back in A New Hope? Gah, this special makes no sense!
Meanwhile, at the Wookiee house, Mala stares at the picture of Chewie until a transmission alert beeps and wakes Itchy up. The vid-screen reveals an Imperial Officer announcing that the Empire has declared Martial Law on “the Kazook planet” (I’m not calling it that. It’s Kashyyyk) due to Rebel activity. Also, a blockade has been set up around the system, meaning no ships may enter or leave.
There’s a knocking at the door, causing everyone to scramble off and try to look innocent. Itchy heads to the door to answer,and it’s just Carney. He’s come with the Proton Pack for the “whatchamacallut, the thingamabob.” He’s a mechanic by trade, people. He asks how everyone is doing, and after a series of growls presumably explaining the situation,assures everyone that if he can make it past the Imperial patrols, so can Han and Chewie.
Carney’s also brought gifts for everyone: a box for Lumpy that he takes up to his room,something for Mala that she only gets after giving Carney a kiss, and some kind of… tape for Itchy’s chair (more on that in a little bit. I’m going to put it off as long as I can). We then briefly cut to Lumpy in his room, where he opens his present (it takes some jimmying) to reveal… some kind of wooden doohickey and a bunch of little pieces. What are the odds he tries to swallow one of those?
Oh no. Oh no. Back downstairs, Itchy plays his…tape, which starts with some glowey, twinkly, swimming… things, then a bunch of Cirque du Soleil performers start swimming around, then Diahann Carroll fades into view. She suggestively tells Itchy that she knows he’s searching for her, that her voice is for him alone and that she is his mind, she can feel him creating her to “have a good time,” and that she wants him to “experience” her.
All while she moans in ecstasy and the camera cuts to him watching and… getting off on her. Yes. I’m dead serious here. We see his face, but not his hands. And he keeps making this grunting face like he’s… oh no. Why is this here? Why does this exist? He rewinds and watches a part where she “finds him adorable” over and over again, then she starts singing a jazzy number and he keeps on watching and grunting and presumably jacking off in the middle of the living room in front of Malla and Itchy and Art Carney and this is all wrong. Very wrong. Why? Why did you do this to me? What horrible act did I commit in a previous life to have to endure this torture on my eyes and ears?
We then mercifully cut to C-3PO and a very strung out Princess Leia (I’d make a joke here, but with Carrie Fisher’s passing still a scar on many fans’ hearts, this and every scene Leia has in this special is just hard to sit through) trying to contact Malla from a Rebel ship. Malla answers, and when Leia asks for Han or Chewie, explains the situation with them not being there yet. Leia then asks if Malla is alone, then requests to speak to Carney. When he arrives as announces himself as “a friend of the Rebellion and a member of the Alliance,” Leia tells him to look after the Wookiees until Han and Chewie arrive.
Once the transmission ends, Carney smells some of Malla’s “famous Wookiee Ookiees” and asks for some. That depends, is there poison in the “Wookiee Ookiees?” I could go for some poison “Wookiee Ookiees”right about now…
Back in space, the Falcon has arrived on Kashyyyk (and I’m pretty sure it’s just stock footage of the ship landing on Yavin 4), and Han and Chewie share a bromantic moment before Han notes the Imperial traffic surrounding the system and decides to land on the north side. It may be a while off from Chewie’s home,but they’ll avoid the Empire that way. Just about the only smart idea to come from this special.
Back at home,Lumpy hears the Falcon landing and gives a creepy smile as he and Malla jump for joy. Malla opens the door… only to be greeted by a pair of Imperial Stormtroopers. Insert “Surprise, Muthaf*cka” soundbite here.
After the obligatory cliffhanger commercial break, the Troopers barge into the house and a pair of Officers look around fora bit before summarizing who lives there and demanding to know where Chewie is.Carney offers to help explain things, lying and saying that Chewie and Malla had a fight, causing the former to storm off and presumably get drunk. The Officer asks for his ID, and Carney tries to stall until a Trooper points a blaster in his face.
The officer orders the troopers to search the house, all the while Carney rambles about his wallet. No, seriously. One trooper comes uncomfortably close to finding the hidden vid-screen, and we actually have some tension in this special. The other officer tries to be “friendly” to Lumpy, only to get bitten for his troubles. He tries to slap the young Wookiee, but his mother intervenes, and this is actually kind of getting… good?
Carney tries to break the tension, and the officer checking his ID says he’s clear to leave. But before he does, he has some small errands to finish in the kitchen, and he needs Malla’s help. Which he announces by grunting “Mallawillyoucomeinthekitchenandhelpme” through his teeth. Not sure you needed to do that, you could have just asked her. Annnnnd…the special’s bad again. Knew it couldn’t last.
Malla heads into the kitchen, and an officer tries messing around with a piece of equipment until Carney tries to show him how to work it after stalling with… a mini-dance-routine? After the officer snaps for him to “get on with it” (Echoing my own thoughts, this special is so bad I’m actually agreeing with the Imperials), Carney turns on the device, which turns out it’s a video player that Carney uses to… play an 80’s rock music video?
Yup, it’s a purple-neon-infused music video of Jefferson Starship’s “Light the Sky on Fire”, which is so out of place in this setting (so, 80’s glam-rock exists in Star Wars?) that it’s like the special isn’t even trying anymore. The lead singer sings into a purple glowing mic straight out of one of Joel Schumacher’s Bat-films, and I’m left wondering why the channel suddenly changed to MTV. At least it’s the old MTV and not… whatever the heck it is now.
The officer’s glued to it though, and his colleague tells Carney that his work is done (even though he didn’t really do anything) and he may leave. Carney complies, telling the Imperials that he hopes they find what they’re looking for as he says his goodbyes and walks out after a few attempts by a Trooper to chase him off at blaster-point. The lead officer tells his men to finish their search, ordering them to find any proof that the family is connected to the Rebellion.
He orders one of the troopers to look upstairs, and he shaves aside Lumpy and Itchy on his way up. Malla steps in to intervene,but the other Trooper aims his blaster at her, and the officer breaks the whole thing off, saying that they’re not there to hurt anyone… but he can’t always control his men when they “get angry.” Okay, I’ll admit, the guy playing this officer does a good job being an absolute slime-ball that you just want to boo.
He orders Malla to “keep Lumpy quiet,” and to that end she sits the little Wookiee down in front of another vid-screen, where he puts on a set of headphones and turns on a cartoon of the Rebel’s exploits, depicting Luke’s encounter with a familiar bounty hunter who’s working for Vader. Not sure how that’s even a thing, what with the Empire controlling the media and everything. Maybe it’s some kind of off -the-record satellite broadcast or something. But why would she turn it on with a bunch of Imperials around to notice it?
Some points of note for this short are that it features the first on-screen appearance of Boba Fett, albeit with a different weapon and color-scheme than he’s usually portrayed, and it’s the only thing in this special that even remotely feels like Star Wars. I’ll review it separately on a later date, I’m kind of on a time-crunch here. And it feels like a separate enough story and tone to set it aside.
Meanwhile, the Imperials get to work ransacking Lumpy’s room in the style of Kylo Ren, complete with one guy ripping off the head of a stuffed Bantha doll (are there no depths to which they won’t stoop?), but they find nothing. They head back downstairs, and after hearing his underlings report, the lead officer tells Lumpy to go clean his room. That they messed up. Does being total douchebags come naturally to these guys, or is it a course at the Imperial Academy or something?
Lumpy complies,and after checking out the damage and briefly mourning his ruined Bantha toy,he finds Carney’s gift from before, which turns out to be some kind of“Build-It-Yourself” mini-radio-transmitter. He pops in the instructional videotape, featuring a robotic “Morphean Being” played by Harvey Korman (again. Thankfully, no blackface this time). He then proceeds to drag the special ou… I mean, describe how to build the mini-transmitter in the slowest and most monotone fashion possible, going by every single solitary step down to how to properly open the bag containing the tools used and that the red plug goes into the red outlet. I’d rather watch hair grow. While paint dries in thebackground. Not helping matters is that he constantly breaks down, dragging the scene out further. He eventually collapses, sparing us having to sit through any more of this tedium.
I’m starting to think this is what drove Ben Solo to the Dark Side. Not Snoke’s manipulations, or Han and Leia’s neglect, or Luke freaking out and trying to kill him when he sensed the darkness inside him. No, it was being in the same universe as this horrible special that made him snap and want to burn it all down.
Nonetheless, Lumpy gets the thing together on his own, and after a commercial break, the scene changes to downstairs, where the Imperials receive a broadcast from Tatooine. A narrator explains that the program is to increase morale by showing how other people live, as the camera heads to the Moss Eisley Cantina. Inside, the various aliens drink and make merry while Harvey Korman (for the third time in this special, and I’d say this is the best character he plays. Low bar, though) arrives to hit on the new owner of the place, Bea Arthur. They don’t say what happened to the other guy, but hopefully she’s more open to droids.
Maude turns him down and goes to serve someone else while he drinks orange juice from the top of his head. Because, you know,aliens. When she comes back, he makes another attempt to woo her, telling her about how crazy he is for her, and goes on about how she’s given his life meaning… or something. She still turns him down but lets him stay as long as he needs to, even though he finds out the hard way that the “special goodbye” she gave him is the same thing she says to everybody.
Suddenly, an Imperial Officer comes on the viewscreen and declares a curfew on Tatooine due to “subversive forces gathering in the system.” Maude tries to reaffirm the bad news to the various patrons, but none of them will leave, and one of them even pulls a blaster on her. Ultimately, she decides to have one more round on the house before everyone leaves, and starts singing a jazzy song to the tune of the classic Cantina theme as she serves drinks to everyone, eventually seeing them off after a big production number. It actually gets rather sad in the end as she looks at her emptying bar, and Bea Arthur gives the role her absolute all. It was like she was the only one there who was actually trying.
Honestly, the whole special should have been about this. Just set it at the Cantina, maybe have Luke and the others visit to reminisce about where their adventure first began. Then the Empire threatens to close the place down and the Rebels rally the citizens to save it. Lame? Maybe,but it’s still miles above Wookiees growling at each other without subtitles for ten uninterrupted minutes.
Back at the Wookiee house, the lead officer gets a transmission from his superiors telling him to “return to base.” As it turns out, it’s Lumpy sending a fake signal on his mini-transmitter. The ploy works though, and the Imperials turn to leave,with one trooper staying behind in case Chewie comes back.
But when he hears the message still going off after the others leave, he checks upstairs and catches Lumpy red-handed. After another break, the trooper advances menacingly toward Lumpy, grabbing the mini-transmitter and smashing it before chasing the little Wookiee down the stairs…
…Where Chewie jumps him from the side, having just arrived home. He moves in front of his son, distracting the trooper long enough for Han to sneak up from behind and knock the blaster out of his hands. He moves for the gun… only to trip on it and fall through the outside railing to his death?
I’m sorry, what?I know the Stormtroopers aren’t the most competent evil minions out there, but seriously? He kills himself trying to pick up his gun? I get that you couldn’t show Han killing him on a network variety show, but did you have to make him so stupid he’d be more likely to choke to death while breathing?
Han and Chewie head back inside to tell everyone that the coast is clear, and the former shares an awkward bonding moment with the Wookiee family, unconvincingly declaring them to be “like family to him.” You can just feel Harrison Ford’s desire to be anywhere else right now. With that, the smuggler leaves, giving Chewie a bro-hug before heading off to help with the Rebellion.
Chewie then picks up his bowcaster and looks at his wife awkwardly. The two share some romantic growls and Chewie gives Itchy a hug before embracing Malla for even more awkwardness.
The door then knocks, and everyone is on edge because the Imperials might be back,but it’s just Art Carney coming over to check on everyone and to let them know that the Empire won’t be bothering them anymore. The vid-screen goes off again,showing the Imperial announcer calling for the Officer in charge of inspecting the Wookiees’ house. Carney steps forward and tells the announcer that the trooper that stayed behind stole some food and headed for the hills. The announcer believes this and tells Carney that they’ll send a search party for the missing Trooper later on. Once the transmission ends, the Wookiees thank Carney for getting the Imperials off their backs, and he wishes them a Happy Life Day.
And here’s where things get weird. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in. After he leaves, the Wookiees take position in front of the screen, each one holding a glowing ball that starts to twinkle as the scene changes to them in the… middle of space? Wearing red robes? And then a bunch of Wookiees start… walking into a strange light? Why do these Christmas specials always involve people walking into a strange light? Are they all dead? Is this some kind of twisted afterlife? Is this what Hell looks like?
After another break, the Wookiees all gather at a large tree (later referred to as “The Tree of Life”) in the middle of the forest, where Threepio and Artoo great Chewie. Threepio wishes everyone a Happy Life Day, and laments that he and Artoo are“just mechanical beings” and are unable to share the Wookiees’ feelings of this moment with them. Ah, you know you guys will always be more than that to me. That being said you’re not missing much here.
Then Han, Luke and Leia arrive and are glad that Chewie is okay. Leia announces to the crowd that Life Day has begun, saying that they all share the hope that the universe will one day have peace (just do yourself a favor, and don’t have a kid, Leia. It doesn’t work out), and that no matter how different they seem on the outside, they are all the same in their battle against evil. Then she starts singing a corny song to the Star Wars theme as clips from A New Hope play across the screen in between shots of Leia looking strung out and everyone else wondering why in the holy heck they agreed to appear in this thing. Even Chewie, who looks like he just survived the bloodiest war in Wookiee history and is now emotionally dead inside. Sums up my feelings after watching this.
After that, the scene changes to the Wookiees sitting down for dinner, and the special finally, mercifully ends.
So, now that we’ve finished talking about the story, on to Pros and Cons:
- The special does a good job of showing theEmpire as cruel and ruthless.
- Bea Arthur’s scene.
- The cartoon gave us Boba Fett, so there’s that.
- Literally everything else.
This is so bad, words can’t describe it. All this year, I’ve sat through Batman And Robin, Catwoman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and AVP: Requiem, and I would honestly rather watch one of those again than sit through this horrible thing. The plot? There is none, just the bare minimum drawn out by endless filler. The acting? Half the cast didn’t want to be there,and it shows. The costumes? Harvey Korman in a poofy wig and blackface. There are some minor good points here and there, but it’s not worth it in the sheer about of pain and stupidity constantly filling the screen. One of the first things Disney did when they bought the Star Wars franchise in 2012 was to declare this special non-canon (it was still somewhat canon for the longest time), and frankly I don’t blame them in the slightest. This special earned its place in history as one of the biggest disasters in scripted television. So, if you have to watch it, get drunk/high with your friends and riff. This thing isn’t meant to be watched sober.
And so concludes my first year on this blog. I’m taking the rest of the year off for the holiday season, but I’ll be back in 2019 with more Geeky Reviews with a Side Order of Snark. And hopefully watching better stuff than what I just forced myself to sit through. So ‘till then, I’ve been The Uncanny Fox. Live long, stay gold, and have a happy, healthy and safe Holiday with the people you love, whatever that may be and whoever they may be. Put aside the drama of a world gone mad for a moment and just enjoy life, because we only get a finite time on this Earth. So, from the bottom of my heart and from my family to yours, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this silly little blog on the internet. I look forward to writing more reviews in the New Year, just like I hope you look forward to reading them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch the Vader hallway scene from Rogue One. I need a cleansing after watching that crappy special.