‘The Star Wars Holiday Special’ Review: The Seventh Level of Space Hell

Posted in The Screening Room by - December 16, 2014

The Star Wars Holiday Special is the worst thing to be called Star Wars since Episode I. It’s so bad that you can’t buy it, you can’t watch it legally, and you will never be able to. It’s so bad that George Lucas has prevented it from ever being screened aside from the first time it was aired; even he realizes what an abortion of an idea it was. However, through the magic of the internet and recording on VHS, the whole world is able to wallow in the fecal masterpiece that is the Star Wars Holiday Special.

It starts innocently enough with Han Solo and Chewbacca traveling back to Kashyyk so that Chewbacca can spend time with family for “Life Day”. Whatever in the blue hell “Life Day” is doesn’t actually get explained but is seems to be some form of Wookie Christmas. Regardless, the Empire are chasing after the Millenium Falcon for no discernible reason which causes Chewie to be late for Life Day. This is where the true filth begins with the introduction of Chewie’s family.

Chewbacca's father Itchy

Chewbacca’s father Itchy

Chewbacca's son Lumpy

Chewbacca’s son Lumpy

Those two woolly miscreants are Chewbacca’s father and son, and yes they look like shit. Imagine if they took Chewie’s costume from the film, left it out in the Tunisian desert for a year, then threw it in a port-a-potty located in Cancun during spring break only to fish it out a month later you’d get the costumes for Itchy and Lumpy. They look like shit and sound even worse. Unlike Chewbacca’s who’s noises are classic, Itchy sounds like a bear choking on a human femur and Lumpy sounds like a dying goat. The worst part? 3/4 of the Holiday Special is just Wookies making noises to either one another or the random humans who frequent their treetop home. 

Along with Itchy and Mitchy, there are shameless cameos from both the main cast of Star Wars as well well-known celebrities from the 70s. I never thought that I would write a sentence including Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman, Jefferson Starship, and Wookies but thanks Lucas. What’s even worse is that we get to see Harvey Korman in drag cooking “bantha surprise” with an additional arm coming from what seemingly looks like his ass. It’s worse than it sounds so join me in sharing the pain.

It defies all logic and explanation why Wookies are watching cooking shows in English but that is another story completely. Korman is a comic genius, from Blazing Saddles to The Carol Burnett Show which leads me to question why in the world he’d star in this festering pile of Wookie shit. He not only stars as Gormaanda, but also has two other equally unfunny characters that show up later in the special. One of them helps to act out a training video that comes with a gift Lumpy receives from the local trader. I wish I could find a clip of it but it is almost the progenitor for Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!, but alas no such luck. It features random anti-humor aspects. It was the only time that I laughed with the special, not at it. 

The part of the special that is the worst however are the cameos by the main cast from the first film. If there was ever an award for phoning it in, it would go directly to Harrison Ford for the way he handles his time as Han Solo. Normally brash and defiant, he acts like he gives no fucks (can you blame him?) and is only there due to contractual obligations. His lines to Malla, Chewie’s wife, and interaction with Lumpy are fucking hilarious in a way that Ford didn’t intend. He even makes a puberty joke about Lumpy which is bizarre in the worst/best way. You can almost see Ford’s soul draining out of his eyes in the scene. 

Along with Han Solo, both Luke and Leia make cameos that display their characters in interesting ways. Interesting in a way that makes me wonder if Lucas wrote the script with a pen full of cocaine or just outsourced to a room full of heroin-addled chimps. Luke’s cameo inadvertently seems like we’ve caught him in the middle of getting ready for a drag show; he’s fully done up in makeup. He looks like he should be headlining a tour with Green Day not leading the Rebel Alliance. It’s bizarre and hilarious at the same time, one can only imagine what the films would have been like if Luke had been wearing eyeliner throughout the film. 

Along with Luke raiding Leia’s makeup stash, Leia apparently forgot to wear a bra. Even though her bosoms are dancing around like Sly Snootles for Jabba, her cameo is the only one that is true to character. At least that seems to be the case until the last scene of the special where she belts out a Life Day song in what can only be described as a Wookie Monastery. It’s strange and completely out of character in the best way. Carrie Fisher made the right choice in acting and not singing but don’t tell Lucas that apparently. 

Leia’s Life Day song is second best however to Bea Arthur’s classic “Good Night, But Not Goodbye” which is set to the classic cantina band music that plays in A New Hope. It makes no sense and you’ll never be able to hear the iconic cantina band music the same way again so enjoy.

The only slightly redeeming quality of the whole special is the first appearance of Boba Fett in the animated cartoon that Lumpy watches on his little TV. Titled “The Faithful Wookie” it was created by the company that would go on to create the Droids and Ewoks cartoons that would further dilute the Star Wars brand. While it is better than the special as a whole, it still suffers from the main actors phoning it in. Fett’s voice is the only one that sticks out as actually trying to have a worthwhile performance. While I personally don’t get the overwhelming love for Boba Fett, he gets knocked into the Sarlacc by a half-blind Han Solo, it was nice to see him introduced into the universe. The cartoon is the only part of the special that Lucas acknowledges, placing it on the 2011 Blu-ray as an easter egg. Its not great but it is better than the load of feces that surrounds it. 

The Star Wars Holiday Special is the biggest misstep in the entire Star Wars franchise mainly because whoever wrote the special clearly hadn’t seen the films. Instead of focusing on what made the films great they turned it into a two hour long variety show (why the fuck did they make the special almost the same length as A New Hope?) with Star Wars tacked on for name recognition only. It was and is still a hilariously bad cash grab that will most likely never see the light of day officially but will live on through curious fans of the franchise for a long time. 

Final Say: Watch It Just Because

This post was written by
Chris Stachiw is the Editor-in-Chief and co-host of the Kulturecast. He's a native Californian with a penchant for sarcasm and a taste for the cinematic bizarre. You'll often find him wandering the wasteland of Nebraska searching for the meaning of life and possibly another rare Pokemon.
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