1978’s Star Wars Holiday Special begins with the destruction of the DEATH STAR, George Lucas and his band of heroic rebels have become a universal phenomenon. The Rebel Alliance is hotter than a summer afternoon on Tatooine, and Star Wars merchandising has hit hyperspace quicker than the Millennium Falcon in a full-throttle pursuit out of Mos Eisley.
But the dark forces of evil are unfazed by their setback, and plot their revenge. Under the guise of 20th Century Fox, they form an unholy alliance with the CBS television network to wipe out this Jedi scum once and for all.
Enticed by sinister agents with fists full of cash, Lucas gives into the dark side and the Star Wars Holiday Special is born. Although the show only airs once, it lives on in infamy through bootleg DVDs and Internet Fanboys. Everything is going according to plan…
The Star Wars Holiday Special begins with the best of intentions.
Two of our favorite characters, Han Solo and Chewbacca, race from Imperial Star Destroyers; just like they did on the big screen. Han still has a few moves left in him, and all seems to be going well, but in an instant, things turn sour. Harrison Ford is barely able to choke out his first line; “You’ll be celebrating Life Day before you know it.”
Life Day? What the hell kind of holiday special is this? Not only is this NOT Star Wars, but also it isn’t even Christmas! As with everything concerning the Holiday Special, it’s best not to think too much about it, because your head will explode once you realize that Lucas sold out one of his beloved creations long before visiting the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No matter how hard your try, you will never be able to figure out a rational explanation for what goes on in this television special–ever.
After the pre-title sequence, the show jumps to Chewbacca’s family’s home on Kashyyyk. Chewie’s home is not the jungle tree house that we would come to expect, but a living room straight out of the Brady Bunch, with 70’s retro entertainment center and everything. This home, sometimes referred to as the 7th level of hell, is where the show will suck away our lifeforce for the next 85 minutes. We meet Chewbacca’s wife Malla, his father Itchy, and finally, his son, Lumpy. Yeah, Lumpy. Jar Jar Binks’ name isn’t sounding too bad now, is it?
These Wookies Are Not What We Have Come To Expect
These wookies are not what we have come to expect from the first film; wookies that will rip arms out of sockets, fly spaceships, and shoot lasers from crossbows. These wookies are more like Ozzie and Harriet. Maala argues with her son to take out the trash as she struggles to make a holiday meal for her family. Her beloved, the elderly Itchy, looks an awful lot like the grey Grinch who stole life day. He sits watching what can only be described as some sort of holographic porn as we hear more grunts from the screen than a herd of Tusken Raiders fighting over a tied up Shmi Skywalker.
The family waits anxiously for Chewbacca’s return for Life Day, a very important holiday for wookies, but since an Imperial blockade delays Han and Chewie, the family decides to contact Luke, Leia, R2-D2 and C3PO to find Chewie. Now, those characters can embarrass themselves on this special.
Throughout the show, we encounter an array of variety show characters. There is Art Carney, the local trader and friend of the wookies. He sets up the porn station for Itchy to get his scratch on. Diane Carroll plays the hologram porn actress, and sings a bad song. Doing his voodoo that he do so well is Harvey Korman. He plays three characters–each one a little worse and more racist than the last.
Hot off a one-song gig at the Mos Eisley Cantina is the Jefferson Starship. They play a terrible hologram band, and finally, the seductive Beatrice Arthur plays a bar owner on Tatooine, and she sings us a song for good measure.
The Shittiest Song Of All Time?
Before the Guinness Book of World Records can certify it as the shittiest song of all time, Carrie Fisher closes out the show with a mess of a Life Day song that sounds like two Rancors getting it on in a muddy cave, but I am getting ahead of myself.
The bulk of the story deals with a group of Imperials invading the wookie home, and attempting to find out information on the location of Chewbacca. Think of the beginning of Inglorious Bastards, but with bad acting, no subtitles, and a lot less interesting. That bastard Tarantino steals all his ideas from the 70s, and he may be as hairy as a wookie too.
Eventually, Han and Chewie make it home, and quickly take out an Imperial stormtrooper who is guarding the family home. As soon as Chewie reunites with his family, Han leaves because he has a bad feeling about this whole pile of shit. Chewbacca celebrates life day alone with his family. The celebration involves wookies putting on long red robes, grabbing their balls, and taking the space bridge to a glowing orb. I shit you not. This is the story, and you still better not be thinking too hard about it. You will only hurt yourself. At the glowing orb, they reach the tree of life where the wookie holiday celebration takes place.
The Whole Gang Shows Up
Once there, the rest of the Star Wars gang inexplicably shows up. Mark Hamill, his girly-blond wig, and surgically-repaired face pay their respects. Carrie Fisher is there with her bagels erect on her head…just as the boys like them, and Harrison Ford even comes back for one more scene. If you look closely, you can actually see him thinking that he would rather be doing a sequel to the Frisco Kid than be on the stage at that moment. R2-D2 and C3PO are also there, because what religious ceremony would be complete without some godless robots to talk about religion.
Our story reaches its climax with Princess Leia giving a speech about the meaning of Life Day, and then singing the Life Day song–a song of peace set to the tune of the Star Wars opening theme–and sung out of tune. Bill Murry did it much better on Saturday Night Live as a lounge singer. Finally, to take the sting out of the ass raping that has just occurred to you, the confused viewer, they show some clips from the Star Wars film to gently remind you of why you just spent the last 90 minutes watching this shit.
In the end, you still don’t know what the fuck life day is, and what it has to do with Christmas.
…Oh yeah, Boba Fett shows up in an animated cartoon in the middle of the show. It has no real place in the rest of the show, but is notable for being the first appearance of Fett in the Star Wars mythology.
Originally reviewed on 12/25/2011: Listen to the LTMR Film Review