Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: The Star Wars Holiday Special

I have a bad feeling about this… Not a lot of people like ‘The Phantom Menace’, fair enough, but compared to The Star Wars Holiday Special, its Blade Runner meets Citizen Kane.

Apparently this unholy mess was strung together on the authority of George Lucas’ ex-wife Marsha. I know they got divorced sometime after this special aired but I’m guessing that if she had it in mind to ruin him, this was the perfect weapon.

The story takes place sometime after Episode IV and finds Chewbacca’s family waiting for him to come home for something called Life Day. The Wookies are nothing short of nauseating and for some reason dwell in something resembling a 70’s ski lodge. Chewie’s wife gushes over a picture of her beloved and is forever scolding Chewie’s son Lumpy.  Yes. Lumpy. The fluffy little git whines, disobeys and aggravates the hell out of his mother and the viewer alike. Sadly, he is the central character. Then there is the grandfather, a grey haired old codger with an under bite and a strange fixation on Diahann Carroll. She plays a character credited as “Holographic Wow”, a name which leads me to believe that the entire script was written by a large sentient bag of cocaine. The craggy face Wookie is given a gift for Life Day that looks something like a hair dryer. This strange device offers him a vision of Carroll superimposed on something that looks like a dirty bathtub drain. He gets so excited at one point that he begins beating the chair arm rapidly with his fist.

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And that’s all I have to say about that. Chewie’s family isn’t the most repulsive thing in this mess. No, the fingernails-on-the-blackboard award goes to Harvey Korman who plays three ungainly characters, one more jaw-dropping than the last. First, he plays a rather odd looking female robotic chef who hosts a cooking show and gets a little excited when she gets to the part where she is supposed to stir and whip at the same time (the mixture that is). The second is the most bizarre, a robotic instructor who gives Lumpy instructions on how to put an electronic device together and malfunctions in ways that just shouldn’t be seen on public television. The third is a strange creature who drinks through a hole in the top of his head and has a fixation on Bea Arthur (don’t ask). Bea Arthur by the way plays the Cantina bartender and has to get everyone out because the Empire has imposed a curfew. How does she clear the place? She sings! In the midst of all this cack, Mark Hamill appears smacked with so much eye make-up that he looks like his own action figure. And then there’s chronically bored Harrison Ford and a glassy-eyed Carrie Fisher both walking advertisements for the old Han Solo credo of ‘I expect to be well paid.’

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Oh and then Jefferson Starship turn up. It’s been 36 years since CBS hoisted this unholy nightmare on the American public and it is without a doubt the most horrific thing I have ever witnessed on screen. It’s funny, painful, annoying and mind-boggling to experience. I was a fool to watch it.

Apologists for TSWHS site the ten minute introduction of Boba Fett as justification for watching it. This is like saying how good the complimentary mints are on an intergalactic cruiseship hurtling into the sun. In the words of neckless, feckless, Gazillionaire George Lucas; “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.” Well said George, well said.

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