HAZMAT-RETRO Hall of LAME: The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF LAME (LOVABLY BAD TV) posted by JONATHAN KIERAN
TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
GUILTY OF VEHICULAR FANSLAUGHTER: Director Steve Binder, CBS and every single participant … from Harrison Ford on down to the inexplicably cast Nightmare from Hell that is Bea Arthur.
RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: This bizarre attempt by CBS to cash-in on the Star Wars phenomenon by condensing some of the “mythology” into a cute holiday special goes down as one of the most heinous acts of mass psychological pop-butchery in the history of television, up to and including the Skanks Who Shall Not be Named. No one currently alive seems to know exactly why, how or by whom this id-damaging abomination was initially conceived and greenlighted (imagine sitting around that table of creative geniuses), but whoever did was clearly on something terminal and soul-sucking, and The Star Wars Holiday Special’s infamy lives on in fetid whispers and baleful sighs passed from geek to geek at fan conferences and confabs across the world. Rumor has it that this “special” is single-handedly responsible for the hole in the ozone layer, global warming and the Advent of Honey Boo Boo, combined. I would not be inclined to challenge this theory. Plot? You need only to know that Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and sidekick Chewbacca are speeding through space to the wookie’s home planet to celebrate “Life Day” with Itchy, Malla, and Lumpy. While those names might apply quite nicely to Mark Hamill, George Lucas, and Carrie Fisher today, these were in fact the sorry-a$$ monikers given by writers to Chewbacca’s father, mother and son in 1978. “Life Day” sounds like something a group of wailing, bare-breasted, utterly anemic vegan librarians might celebrate in an asparagus field at dawn somewhere near Santa Cruz, CA on the day after Halloween. The rest is the stuff of lamentable legend. Almost all the main players from the 1977 film make stultifying guest appearances while clearly steeped in the agonies of self-mortification. Particularly egregious offenses against human decency are committed by Jefferson Starship caterwauling one of their late ’70s washed-out attempts at sonic rehabilitation and Dorothy Zbornak putting the old “Marlboro Croak” on a saucy little number called “Goodnight, But Not Goodbye.” Even my parents had the good sense not to let me watch this travesty as a child, perhaps intuiting further decades of emotional scarification that would have ensued. That’s saying something. Thanks, Mom & Dad. Having viewed the show as an adult, however, I can safely assure the citizens of Earth that this Wobbling Tower of Unconscionable Stink is still more genuinely entertaining than any of the putrescent “prequel” films. Therefore, the holiday special secures its everlasting place in the HazMat’s Lovably Bad TV Hall of Fame.
DEFINITIVE DIALOGUE: “That’s the spirit! You’ll be celebrating Life Day before you know it! Stand by. Here’s where we say goodbye to our unpleasant friends.” — Han Solo (as embarrassed by Harrison Ford)
BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: A cartoon interlude during The Star Wars Holiday Special provides the only remotely redemptive feature of this execrable exposition: inter-galactic bounty hunter Boba Fett is officially introduced. The “Dog” of his day (only without the dapper social graces, exquisite skin and gleaming cascades of natural blond hair), Boba would come to enjoy a certain elite cultus and mystique of his very own within the ranks of Star Wars character fan-freakdom.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: George Lucas has decided to emulsify the entire future of his still-hallowed creation amid the gnashing blades of Di$ney’s Cuisinart of Craptastica, which probably couldn’t hurt at this point. Carrie Fisher is a genius writer, one of our most belovedly wry cultural wits, and we wish her buckets of Wellness, but lately she’s taken to scooping dog poop off cruise-ship cabaret stages whilst in meltdown mode. Get it together, honey. You can wear that Jabba concubine-bikini again, I just know it. Harrison Ford, G-d help us, is 70. Still feel young? Thought not.
EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: A harbinger of poor Carrie’s future … or the effective Sealing of Her Doom? You be the judge.
One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A storm that hurls him to earth, powerless. A goddess who wants his face. REMOVED.
A twisted magical adventure is launched. Click on any of the Rowan Blaize book icons to the right and buy with an enchanted click at Amazon (Kindle or paperback).