The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
[For B, whose love for the holiday special I’m sure I can’t properly honor. If I survive the next four years it will be because of friends like you.]
Yes, I’m actually doing this: I’m taking a brief break from this site’s usual TCW-and-Rebels fare, and in honor of the upcoming holiday season, I’m going to recap all one hour-and-36-minutes of The Star Wars Holiday Special. In some ways, I suppose I should always have expected things to come to this point. Clearly this is where my life has been leading me.
So — here’s the thing: The Star Wars Holiday Special is an experience. I can’t really provide a substitute for what you might discover when you watch it yourself, which you 100% absolutely should do.
If you have seen it, you know I am not wrong. If you haven’t, first let me queue things up by giving you a brief explanation of WHAT it is (as though I could ever really do this justice in a few sentences.)
The Star Wars Holiday Special came out in the time between the release of the enormously successful original Star Wars film, and its little-known, low-budget follow-up The Empire Strikes Back. This was at a time when Star Wars Fever was at a peak (or, you know, one of its peaks. Star Wars is kind of like a plague of locusts that descends on humanity every handful of years. Or at least it used to be, before Disney decided that we’ll just be getting new Star Wars content every year for the rest of the eternity because none of us really needed to be functioning human beings anyways.) Anyways, back then, while Team Star Wars set to work deciding what kind of insane heart-punching Jedi pathos to throw at us in the next saga film (and boy, did they ever come up with a doozy for Empire,) the public demanded more.
This led the powers that be to the sound decision that if there was one thing Star Wars irrefutably needed to fill the gap between Obi-Wan’s “I was once a Jedi Knight, same as your father” and Vader’s “I am your father”, it was a campy 1970s holiday special: one that included musical numbers, celebrity cameos, and a brief, spliced-in animated portion about a bounty hunter who hadn’t even been in a single second of the actual film canon yet. You know: all things that are part and parcel of a proper Yuletide Season.
I know what you’re thinking: this sounds incredible on every possible level. This sounds like the only thing we’ve all ever needed Star Wars to give us. You are not wrong. I suggest you hunt down a copy for yourself and enjoy, preferably roping in some of your Star Wars fan friends to watch with you while you’re at it. Once you’ve lived through it, and doubtlessly emerged a forever changed human being, I invite you to collect yourself and whatever parts of your sanity remain, settle in with a beverage of your choice, and enjoy the following recap.
With that: an early happy holidays from Snark Wars, my lovely readers. It is time for me to embrace my destiny — I give you The Star Wars Holiday Special. May you all have the best Life Day ever.
Well This Doesn’t Seem So Weird
We open with a space battle in progress, and the Millennium Falcon mid-skirmish. Well this seems pretty standard issue, right?
Han Solo, whose appearance in this is making me realize that THIS SHOW will be the first Star Wars artifact with the OT crew I have recapped yet, is griping to Chewbacca about how he’s going to have to take a detour around the Imperials that are hot on their heels. Chewie howls at him and Han Solo, Smuggler Hero of the Rebellion, Mr. Leia Organa, Kylo Ren’s Dad, ANAKIN SKYWALKER THE CHOSEN ONE’S FUCKING SON-IN-LAW, is all “I know, I know, your family’s waiting for you, and I know what a Very Important Day it is”.
Chewbacca’s family, you see, is waiting for him because he is heading home to Kashyyk to celebrate Life Day. Yep. Star Wars just went on ahead and made up a Fake Christmas for Wookies to celebrate, and this — this — is our A-plot. I understand if you need a moment because this is pretty fantastic.
OK! So they jump into hyperspace and we get a “long time ago” title screen that is both the wrong font, and also the wrong color. This is followed by a white, slimmed-down version of the Star Wars title logo. Man: non-canonical typeface AND color AND the wrong logo? It’s like this thing is just TRYING to make exacting fanboys get all twitchy.
I Want This For The Saga
The title sequence. Dear Lord. OK: it has an announcer and silent video of each actor smiling as they’re announced. You know what? I want this for everything in the canon now. “…it’s “Attack of the Clones”! Starring Ewan McGregor as The Amazing Ginger Wolfman!” Sign me up, man. I’m laughing already.
This cast lineup not only includes our OT Big Three as well as Threepio and Artoo, but it also includes:
A) Vader, because who the hell doesn’t want to spend the holidays with an unstable genocidal maniac? (And hey, back when this was made we didn’t know he was family so we didn’t HAVE to invite him you know);
B) the announcer delightedly informs us that we’re also going to be introduced to Chewbacca’s family!
Why Do I Get The Feeling This Recap Is Going To Be The Death of Me?
Oh boy. So, Chewie’s family consists of his wife Malla (yeah Chewbacca’s married OBVIOUSLY didn’t you just assume that?), and his FATHER, who is a graying old Wookie and is for-real named Itchy:
…and his son, Lumpy — who looks like he has a steady gig as a kid in Wookie toothpaste commercials because look at these pearly whites!
And then we hit the celebrity cameo intros! I would like everyone to sit down and shut up for a second so that I can yell at you all that Actual Goddess of Snark BEA ARTHUR IS IN THIS AS A CANTINA BARTENDER. I don’t care if you want to discount the entire rest of this show but THIS PART IS INDISPUTABLY CANON OK. Bea Arthur and Obi-Wan trading dry humor at the Mos Eisley Cantina is all I have ever wanted in my life. Yes: I know I’ve said that about a lot of things on this blog, like Padme and Satine getting drunk together and trading stories, or wanting Cad Bane’s name to be officially changed to “Chad Something”, but I’ve never meant it more than I mean it now.
I love that she looks confused in her initial video intro, like she has somehow wandered into this special by accident and has no idea what’s going on. I myself make this face a lot.
This special also includes Art Carney because this is the 70s:
Dianne Carroll, wearing a bedazzled hat/wig combo:
…THE JEFFERSON STARSHIP. I just. I’m sorry. I’ve seen this thing multiple times already but writing this up is somehow fulfilling me on a level I did not think was possible. THERE IS SO MUCH 70s IN THIS.
…and a teaser about that Bounty Hunter cartoon I mentioned before!
Home Sweet Home
We now go to an exterior shot of Kashyyk, and I’m already dying because this show — THIS SHOW — is our first look at the Wookie homeworld.
Inside this treehouse, in a totally stereotypically 70s/80s sitcom-style set, Young Lumpy is delightedly running around with a toy X-Wing while Itchy is, uh, whittling another one, I guess? I am not super sure what’s going on because this special decided to take the bold approach of doing entire scenes with Wookies that contain no one actually speaking English, or subtitles. Brave!
So there’s a bunch of Lumpy being an Excited Kid at Christmas and getting shot down by Malla and Itchy and eventually he gets sent off to do chores. Malla goes back to cooking and you know what? The Chewbaccas have a pretty sweet kitchen.
While off doing chores, Lumpy starts goofing off and walking along the railing of their wrap-around porch even though they are what appears to be quite far off the ground, because even in the non-canonical-holiday-tie-in Star Wars Universe, people are impulsive dopes who enjoy doing things that might kill them.
Recurring Theme: Wistful Staring
Back in the house, Malla and Itchy are straight-up wisftul over Chewie’s absence. Malla then PULLS OUT A FRAMED HEADSHOT OF CHEWBACCA for them to stare sadly at. I want one of these for my home to use as a Christmas decoration.
What The Everloving Hell: Part I
Malla goes back to the kitchen, and Itchy calls in Lumpy so they can play some kind of a cassette tape together. They do this by putting what is clearly an audio tape into the chessboard from the Millennium Falcon and then…dear sweet heavenly Force, they…get dosed? All of a sudden terrifying tiny dancing creatures appear like some sort of acid-drenched Disney parade:
Lumpy presses a button that makes one of the creatures become EVEN BIGGER and just why, Star Wars. Also CAN YOU PICTURE ANYONE ELSE IN THE SERIES DOING THIS? Like, there’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, kicking back with a tape of some sort of twisted Space Mardi Gras?!
Anyways, this Weirdest Cirque du Soleil ever goes on for A WHILE. Lumpy is delighted with it and claps when it ends, and then Malla starts yelling at him to come dry the dishes in the kitchen, and I swear to God all this Wookie talk is giving me a migraine.
Malla then goes to a wonderfully 70s console computer to check for any signs of Chewie. I like how this movie didn’t even bother with Aurebesh:
Nope! No sign of Chewbacca.
It’s a Premium Channel
And then…I’m not super clear on what’s happening, except that she goes over to yet another screen inside a cabinet and apparently tunes a small color TV to the Luke Skywalker Channel:
OK, no: they’re actually non-holo-Skyping with him! But…they never placed a call? Do they just have an open line to Luke AT ALL TIMES? He just hangs out in front of a camera all day just in case the Chewbacca Family wants to howl at him?
Also I’m sorry but even this show can get me with Luke and Artoo hanging out and being buds together. IT’S LUKE’S DAD’S OLD PET ROBOT YOU GUYS. A pet robot THAT TOLD AHSOKA THAT HE MISSED ANAKIN. And now he gets to hang with Anakin’s son. I’m fine.
Mark Hamill is as peppy and wholesome as ever in this, and he’s wearing about 400% more makeup than he was in the saga films.
Recurring Theme: I’m Luke Skywalker And I Am A Gigantic Dork
This conversation. OMG. OK, so on the Wookie side, EVERYONE IS YELLING, and on Luke’s side, Artoo is beeping insistently the whole time and so, hey, in this regard at least everyone is staying true to the Star Wars Way of being not at all composed about stuff.
Eventually the story comes out that Chewbacca is still not home yet, and they wanna know where the fuck he is. Luke is like OH NO OMG he was last with Han and they must be…IN TROUBLE! I AM A SKYWALKER SO I AM GOING TO FLIP MY SHIT ABOUT THIS!
Luke then puts on a brave face for the Family Chewbacca and honestly says “I know Chewbacca and he hasn’t missed a Life Day yet!”…this SHOW you guys.
He then goads them into smiling and not worrying and they reluctantly agree. Luke, staring eerily into the camera, concludes by saying, in an airy tone of voice usually reserved for brainwashing tapes made by mind-conditioning cults, “Try to enjoy your Life Day”. Yes. I will enjoy my Life Day. I will enjoy my Life Day. I will enjoy my Life Day.
As he leaves the call, Artoo does something that causes whatever the hell they were working on to start spewing smoke and Luke first goes into a total whining snit about it, and then gets a hold of himself and pets Artoo, telling him no one’s perfect. I think Luke loves Artoo most of all and the fucking HOLIDAY SPECIAL is making me want to see them together in Episode 8 like right damn now.
Recurring Theme: The Empire’s Here!
Malla then goes back to the first computer she used and gets connected to “Wookie Trading Post C” and UH OH! Looks like we’ve got Company! (Also LOL that there’s like, actual camera work happening when this is supposed to be a wall-mounted camera.)
Shopkeeper Art Carney is showing off his wares to some random Imperial who is there for no clear reason. I guess even the Bad Guys have to fill their downtime somehow. He shows him a “pocket aquarium”:
- Why are we seeing this?
- What is up with the 70s Sitcom Very Special Episode soundtrack here?
- LOL that the Imperial Guard’s voice is OBVIOUSLY dubbed for no clear reason.
Art Carney then says, apropos of nothing “I just thought I’d show you some of the stupid stuff these Wookies purchase from me”. Jesus! I mean I know this was part of his attempt to pretend that he was down with the Galactic Empire, but wow.
FINALLY he’s like “Oh I have a wall-screen customer calling me” — so Malla got to watch that whole thing for like 15 minutes while he blathered on and he’s just now seeing he has a customer calling? Also did she see him calling all his Wookie customers stupid? LOL.
Recurring Theme: No One Knows How To Say Anyone’s Name But Especially Han’s
So he speaks to Malla in coded language about “that shaggy carpet she ordered” and that it will be arriving soon. Har! Har! He then makes a dumb joke about how said carpet was made by someone who crafted said carpet herself. You might even say she did it by HAN…SOLO! (I don’t even entirely get it?)
Malla hangs up, and this scene ends with the Imperial stealing from this dude’s store. Ah, the Empire. Keepin’ it classy.
All Dad Wants For Christmas Is For You To Sell Your Soul To Unremitting Darkness
Then, we are briefly treated to a spliced-in short scene of Vader just stomping around and blathering about how he wants the Rebels to be captured.
God, he was really one-note for a few years there. The scene ends for what was clearly supposed to be a commercial break, so just close your eyes and pretend that you’re watching a 70s Barbie commercial right now.
Recurring Theme: Why Though
Back at Casa Chewbacca, Malla and Lumpy are STILL doing dishes, and Lumpy takes off to go play again and OH MY GOD it feels like this has been going on for forever now. Also, I am dying because the music in this scene. THE MUSIC. It’s like, a heartwarming sitcom bittersweet violin take on the Star Wars theme.
Ohhhkay. Um. All right. So Lumpy leaves, as I said, and Malla turns on a TV set with a cooking show on it. What follows is difficult to really put into words.
This cooking show involves Harvey Korman, dressed as a woman, clearly attempting to be some kind of Space Julia Child, instructing us all on how to make Bantha Surprise.
Space Julia gets into this ridiculous chant about the process for this — stir whip stir whip whip whip stir! — and then adds more steps that require additional arms. Hilarity! Hijinks! That never-fail Star Wars Brand of Humor!
That is the entirety of this scene. Yep. Recall, if you will, that the actual scene just before this was Darth Vader stalking down a hallway talking about the rebels. God help me.
Send Booze c/o Snark Wars
OK then! So with that behind us, we’re back with Han and Chewy on board the Falcon (I have no idea what I’m even recapping anymore) and they’re still getting shot at by TIE fighters and stuff. Han’s all peeved:
He says “this is one Life Day you won’t soon forget” to Chewie, then laments “why do I always think taking you home for Life Day is gonna be easy?!” and LOL. I’m dead you guys. My Force Ghost is recapping this. Han Solo takes him home every year for Life Day? Awww but also WHAT IS HAPPENING.
Back at the Chewbacca House, the day is wearing on. Malla is once again wistfully clutching Chewbacca’s picture when all of a sudden they get an Evil Empire Announcement on their TV:
This announcement informs them that the Empire’s declaring martial law on Kashyyk, which is not at all pronounced the way it is later. (LOL) As a result, no ships are going to be allowed to land here. Oh no! LIFE DAY IS RUINED YOU GUYS.
Suddenly, there’s an ominous knock at the door. The family switches off the lights and sends Itchy, the old man, to answer.
Not to worry! It’s just Art Carney again. He really was everywhere in the 70s.
Recurring Theme: Space Dementia
He settles in and tells the family he’s so glad to see them and it is at this point that I had a true epiphany: Star Wars really causes humanity to lose its damn mind. We laugh at this show, but for fuck’s sake: we totally DO all play along with all of Star Wars just like Art Carney is playing along here. My family and I went to Disney World a few months ago and met Chewbacca, and I not only called a human person in a suit by a made-up alien name, but I embraced him like he was a long-lost relative. My youngest child clung to his leg. I don’t know what the fuck it is about this series that makes us all so willing to embrace its weirdness and pretend that it’s real, to the extent that you can make “use the force” or “dark side” jokes in an office and virtually everyone will know what you’re referring to, but whatever it is, it is potent. No wonder George Lucas went broke and nearly lost his damn mind multiple times over this series. I sometimes think he feels like he accidentally unearthed an ancient evil. He had no idea what he was getting himself or any of the rest of us into. NONE.
Art Carney gives the Chewbaccas some Life Day presents. Lumpy runs upstairs to his room and I’ve gotta tell you: I’m kind of into the Chewbacca Family home. It’s cool!
Lumpy’s gift, as best I can tell, is an Apple II and a pile of Star Wars Legos. Which, in fairness, would have been a pretty badass present in 1978.
What The Everloving Hell: Part II
OK OK OK OK OK OK. All I want for Life Day is the wherewithal to recap this next part. So Grandpa Itchy’s gift is some kind of Virtual Reality tape, which Art Carney grossly talks about being “wow” in a super suggestive way, saying “Happy Life Day…and I DO MEAN Happy Life Day” as he walks away and FOR FUCK’S SAKE STAR WARS FOR THE FIVE-HUNDRETH FUCKING TIME: CHILDREN WATCH THESE SHOWS. Please take it down a notch.
Yes, a part of the show here is that an elderly Wookie gets some kind of VR porn for Christmas from Art Carney. Dave Filoni, allow me to apologize for every time I have ever called your shows “insane”.
So Itchy is watching this interactive thing of Dianne Carroll talking salaciously to him about how she can tell that he’s “excited” and that they’re going to have a “good time”. This goes ON and ON with her telling him that she’s his fantasy and “enjoy me” and WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK AM I LOOKING AT HERE YOU GUYS.
This segues into her singing a very 70s song with very 70s editing.
As I try to rebuild my shattered psyche, we cut to Threepio and Leia…doing their taxes live from what appears to be Ted Baxter’s anchor chair from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
They’re patched in to the Chewbaccas, and Leia greets Malla and tells her Happy Life Day. I love that the Skywalker Twins are so into it. You know what? Anakin would be ALL OVER Life Day, though, so I sort of buy this. Anakin Skywalker would have gone BANANAS buying his family and friends Life Day gifts, despite the fact that he is not a Wookie. Huh, What do you know: I can even make myself sad about Anakin in the Holiday Special recap. What can I say? I have a gift.
Anyways Leia finds out that Han and Chewie aren’t there yet, confirms that Art Carney will take care of the family until they get there (he’s a friend of the Rebellion!) and they hang up.
Cut to the Falcon, where Han Solo is telling Chewie that they’ll get there, and HOLY SHIT even the damn HOLIDAY SPECIAL has recycled dialogue, as Han asks Chewie “When have I ever let you down?” Well, at least in the context of the Holiday Special it’s lot more lighthearted than when, say, CODY says it to Obi-Wan a few hours before he tries to KILL HIM.
Finally, Han says yet another “Happy Life Day, pal” as they approach the planet:
As the Falcon lands Despite The Odds, Lumpy is like YESSS DAD’S HERE and everyone gets all excited and they fling open the front door, only to find it’s not Han and Chewbacca:
A bunch of Imperials come in and start throwing their weight around and asking questions. Art Carney tells the guys that Chewbacca’s not there because he and Malla had a big fight and he stormed right out:
The Imperials start asking all kinds of questions and everyone’s all nervous and there’s some attempts at humor and eventually they ask about Malla’s Life Day gift from Art Carney. He agrees to demonstrate what the device does:
…and then we’re booted into the next musical segment. Yes, evidently Malla got a Jefferson Starship Machine for Life Day? I guess?
So. Why were we shown this? Well, at least the Imperial is TOTALLY INTO IT:
The bad guys send Art Carney on his way, shuffling him out the door by pointing a blaster in his face.
The search of the residence continues, and Malla gets all pissed off at one of the stormtroopers who manhandles Lumpy. The Head Imperial Dude gets all snippy about how they don’t WANT to hurt anyone, but when his men get angry, he can’t always control them. Well. That is kind of the TL; DR of the Empire, right? I mean, they always say that leaders really set the tone for an organization.
Malla agrees to keep Lumpy quiet, setting him down to put on some headphones and watch a Boba Fett cartoon.
The Original Star Wars Animated Show
Yes, it’s true: Boba Fett, Mando-armor-wearing boyfriend of many a Star Wars fanboy, literally made his Star Wars debut in the Holiday Special as part of a cartoon segment. And what a cartoon it was!
In this portion of the show, Team Rebellion finds out that the Falcon has begun behaving erratically (while carrying a talisman on board that the Rebellion is after for reasons that don’t matter.) The Falcon tears off, flying into a water planet with Luke in hot pursuit in a Y-wing. Luke and the droids almost get eaten by the most 70s cartoon dinosaur I’ve ever seen, but they’re saved: by Boba Fett!
Recurring Theme: The Chancellor Doesn’t Appear to Be Corrupt
Boba, as in every single thing ever, is utterly humorless. He asks if Luke is a friend of the Empire (no), and he’s like “Cool I hate those guys too.” Sure. He tells Luke he’ll take him to the Falcon. Off they go!
As they head out, Threepio is like “Hmm I dunno about this Boba Fett guy” and Luke, demonstrating that patented Skywalker knack for spotting bad guys, says that “he seems like a friend.” Threepio then explains that Artoo just said that “friend” is a word that is often misused, and even though literally zero of the Star Wars backstory existed at this point I am going to go ahead and claim that Artoo was like “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST IT’S BOBA FUCKING FETT AGAIN DAMN IT LUKE HE’S NOT A FRIEND WHY ARE MY GUYS ALWAYS SO DENSE.”
Fett does lead them to the Falcon, and once they get there Chewie destroys the talisman. Luke is like NOOOO don’t and then Luke collapses from what Threepio speculates was some kind of contamination but might have just been a passing Skywalker Dramatics Attack.
Anyways, now Luke’s in a sleep coma, and so is Han: Chewie says it’s some kind of sleeping virus, and the only way to keep the boys alive is to hang them upside down and let the blood rush to their heads. LOL — I kind of can’t believe this plot line hasn’t shown up in the official animated canon yet. Maybe it was on deck for one of those TCW arcs that never got made.
Fett is like “hey I know this virus — the Empire’s got some antidote stashed in town.” Chewbacca insists on going with him.
Fett slips away for a moment and Skypes with Vader. Dun dun DUUUUUUN! Who’d have thought Boba Fett might be in league with the Empire?
Upon seeing this shocking plot twist, Lumpy yells out loud. So, help me out here Star Wars: Chewbacca had one of his adventures turned into a Saturday-morning cartoon for his kid to watch? And he’s watching it now? Or is Lumpy supposed to be watching like an actual mission report that is animated for some reason?
The bad guys at Chez Chewbacca are like “what’s up with the kid!?” and rush over. Lumpy quietly switches his screen over to Pong or whatever the Star Wars equivalent is and they’re like “oh it’s just some silly game”. Sigh. As they step away, he switches it back.
Back in the cartoon, the droids accidentally intercept Boba’s videoconference with Vader. Gasp! Vader is heaping praise on Fett, calling him “the best bounty hunter in the galaxy” and I won’t subject you all to one of my patented Rants About How Boba Fett Does Not Do It For Me, so I’ll simply say that I guess I’ll take your word for it, Anakin. The droids are like OH NO!
Fett and Chewie return to the Falcon with the serum. Luke and Han begin to regain consciousness and OK: I am no artist, by any stretch, so I’m not saying I’d do any better, but can I just politely ask WHAT IS UP WITH HAN’S FACE HERE?
Luke is all OH THANK YOU BOBA YOU’RE THE BEST and Artoo wigs out about this (because he’s probably like BITCH, THEY MIGHT SHARE DNA BUT HE IS NO CAPTAIN REX I’LL TELL YOU THAT,) and Threepio explains what they saw: Boba Fett works for the Empire! He’s Vader’s “right hand man”! His right hand man? I don’t know if I’d go that far. (Also Vader doesn’t really have a right hand, or at least one that’s not robotic, if we wanna get technical. BURN.)
Boba steps out and jetpacks away in that traditional Mandalorian getaway style (like, way to put up a fight, Fett), and Luke’s like GOLLY he sure fooled us! Except for the droids. And Han because he was unconscious the whole time. And also Chewie, who tells them that the just “didn’t smell right.” So, to summarize: Luke was the only one who got swindled by an evil guy, while his friends were all either increasingly aware of the guy’s true intentions and/or too incapacitated to help him see the light. PLEASE, INTERNET: tell me again about how Luke does not seem like Anakin Skywalker’s child to you. (No, don’t, really. I have no interest in your rant. Put down the keyboard.)
So the gang flies away laughing at Chewie’s “he didn’t smell right” “joke” and that’s it for the cartoon portion of our program. Boba Fett, ladies and gentlemen: he sort of hunted someone down, saved their lives, then fled immediately! Bravo.
The Empire Wrecked Up The Place
The Imperials are done ransacking the house now, having found nothing. They tell Lumpy to go clean up his room now that they’re done tearing it apart, and the head guy says “that will keep him busy for a while” with a SMILE and Malla looks entertained?
Lumpy is surveying the damage in his room, and OK, it’s actually kind of sad because they tore the head off of one of his stuffed animals in their search for…Rebel stuff? He cuddles it, puts it in his bed with a blanket, and then shifts gears to that Apple II he got from Art Carney. It came with an instructional video, starring a humanoid robot that suffers frequent breakdowns in what is supposed to be some kind of attempt at humor (yes, really. DOES ANYTHING SURPRISE YOU NOW?)
Lumpy continues to build his computer, and we cut to a shot downstairs of everyone gathering around the Chewbacca Family TV set for yet another Evil Announcement. Hey! I thought the Empire was done poking around here. GO HOME, GUYS.
Recurring Theme: It’s Rough, Coarse and Irritating and It Gets Everywhere
OK. What the fuck: the “announcement” is an Empire-mandated showing of what is basically a film strip about Life on Tatooine. I no longer know who I am or where I am or what life is anymore. They explain that they’re going to show this video to everyone involved with the Empire to show all these Imperial subjects HOW SHITTY LIFE IS ON TATOOINE.
YOU GUYS: The EMPIRE made people watch a video about how “horrible” life was on Tatooine. OF COURSE THEY DID. YOU KNOW VADER COMMISSIONED IT HIMSELF. “Please, make a video dragging that sandy shithole so everyone KNOWS HOW MUCH IT SUCKS I HATE IT!!!!”
I…I sort of think maybe everything’s all coming together now? Because this actually makes total and complete sense and I am declaring it canon.
The theme song for this Tatooine video is also the fucking Cantina Band song. So, they’re going to sell us on the horror of the desert with…a jaunty jazz number. Sweet merciful Star Wars, what the hell is happening?
It even cuts to a shot of the for-real Cantina Band after this. So, let me get this straight: Tatooine has booze and hot jazz and I’m supposed to think this looks BAD?
Bea Arthur’s Here! Bea Arthur’s Here!
…AND it has BEA ARTHUR serving up drinks? OK, look here Sidious and Vader: you guys do not know how to party. Because from where I’m sitting, a Star Wars alien bar with a John Williams jazz soundtrack and Bea Arthur handing out hooch and snark is pretty much what I hope the afterlife is like. Especially if it’s from the Kenobi Era of Tatooine and there’s an open seat next to him at the bar. *eyebrow waggle*
OK, so Harvey Korman shows up and he plays a silly character who is understandably in love with Bea Arthur’s character, Ackmena. He gives her a flower and there’s a bunch of snark (hey! This show did get the memo about making sure that everyone is always kind of being a sarcastic asshole to each other, at least) as he awkwardly professes his love. She gives him the brushoff, and a few extra drinks to the skull because this show is ridiculous.
WHY IS THIS PART OF A FILMSTRIP THE EMPIRE IS SHOWING TO STORMTROOPERS?
The broadcast gets interrupted, both at Chewbacca’s house AND at the Cantina, because did I mention this is a LIVE VIDEO FEED?
Anyways, the interruption is to inform everyone on Tatooine that they’re implementing a curfew. OK. Bea goes marching over to the band and breaks things up, telling them to take 5 — or 10, or maybe forever! (NOOO!)
She keeps trying to boot people from the bar and back to their homes, but she’s not having a lot of luck. FINE! She says: one more round. And this one’s on the house. Everyone’s elated, and the Cantina Band strikes up a lazy, lighter version of One of the Only Two Songs They Know.
I Love Star Wars
It must be time for me to light another candle on my Star Wars shrine and celebrate my love that will last until my dying day, the end of time, and so on, because I shit you all not: Bea Arthur now begins to sing a song about closing time at the bar TO THE MODIFIED TUNE OF THE CANTINA BAND SONG. If you refuse to watch anything else from this movie, please seek out this song. It will add years to your life and your crops will yield tenfold in the next harvest.
OK, so her song ends and this insane and pointless but ultimately life-affirming sequence ends and the Imperials get a notification that they are to return to base FINALLY — so they all leave save for one stormtrooper. They want him to be here when Chewbacca finally arrives. Why he might just be one of those Rebels they’re looking for!
As it happens, though, that “return to base” message they got was a spoof — a phony message created by Lumpy and his Apple II! The remaining trooper heads upstairs and discovers this…
…and starts advancing on Lumpy! Dun dun DUUUUUUN!
Han Solo, Honorary Wookie
His computer gets smashed and the trooper starts chasing Lumpy out of the house. Just then, Chewbacca and Han arrive! They kick the guy’s ass (Han hurls the dude off the balcony, so, way to be extra about it, Solo,) and he picks up Lumpy and calls him sweetheart and you know what? Fuck it: Han loving Chewbacca’s son and caring about his Wookie family is 10,000% canon. Don’t fight me on this. LOOK AT THIS HEARTWARMING SHIT:
Han then says he THINKS LUMPY’S VOICE IS CHANGING. LOL. Star Wars why are you being this way.
Then Han tells everyone he’s gotta run and Malla thanks Han and OK, Han for-real GETS CHOKED UP AND TELLS THEM THEY’RE LIKE FAMILY TO HIM. You know something? I honestly hate Star Wars for making me care so much about all of these people to the point that EVEN THIS INSANE SHOW CAN GET ME. This is legitimately adorable, OK? I HAVE SOMETHING IN MY EYE.
Then Han and Chewie say goodbye and I’m still totally fine everyone OK situation normal:
Han leaves (sort of awkwardly pointing out, as he looks down, that there’s maybe a dead body of a stormtrooper on the ground level,) and the Chewbacca Family has a group hug:
There’s a knock at the door again and everyone AGAIN presumes it’s the Empire but instead it’s just Art Carney AGAIN:
The Empire puts out an alert to that trooper Han kinda sorta threw to his death (Merry Christmas from Star Wars, Kids!) and Art Carney calls in with his ID to tell the Empire that oh yeah: that dude was here (in the store). Then he robbed me and blew outta town. What a traitor! The Imperial on the call is like OK FINE we’ll go over there to look for him. Thanks. So…that’s just going to throw them off the trail forever? All right.
Finally Art Carney tells them to have a Happy Life Day, and then wraps this up with a nice Force-Be-With-You as he leaves. So, is Art Carney this movie’s Lor San Tekka? A helpful old man who believes in the Force but isn’t a Jedi or anything?
The family, now alone, holds up some glowing orbs:
OK, so, I am not super-duper clear on what happens after this. We see the Wookies in robes walking into a sun:
…and then a whole bunch of them assembled in robes like some kind of Wookie Tabernacle Choir:
…and then Threepio and Artoo are there somehow, and Threepio says that, at times like this, he and Artoo wish they were more than just mechanical beings and were “really alive” and WHAT SHUT UP THEY ARE SO ALIVE WHAT A THING TO SAY TO SMALL KIDS AND ON LIFE DAY OF ALL DAYS.
Then the Skywalker Twins arrive to hug Chewbacca:
Pardon my language, but WHERE IN THE KRIFFING HELL ARE THEY RIGHT NOW? Did they ascend to Star Wars heaven? Was this like, the saga ending for in case they ran out of money before Empire was done and had to scramble to find a way to finish it off?
Leia Organa, in the proud tradition of her birth and adoptive parents, goes off on a sanctimonious rant about how they all share the common goal of defeating evil:
She caps this off by saying “this is the promise of the Tree of Life” and I’m like “but Star Wars I don’t entirely know what that is? WHERE ARE WE? WHAT PART OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY IS THIS?”
Anyways, we round things out here with Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, daughter of Anakin Skywalker The Chosen One, singing a made-up Wookie holiday carol, which contains a light orchestration of the Star Wars theme in the background. GOD BLESS US EVERYONE.
Then all of a sudden the fanfare from the medal ceremony at the end of Episode 4 kicks in and we’re treated to just a random montage of clips from the original film. You see, children, this is because back when this movie was made and dinosaurs roamed the Earth, not everyone could watch and rewatch every movie ever made with the click of a button in their own home, so seeing clips of a movie you saw in a theater last year on TV was still kind of cool. Yeah, I know. At any rate, it’s all good because then at least we get a couple shots of my Space Husband as a Wise Old Man, including that smug bastard’s SMILE AT ANAKIN FUCKING SKYWALKER BEFORE TOTALLY OWNING HIM BY BECOMING THE FORCE:
We’re treated to one last final shot of the Chewbacca Family sitting around their table, and we pan out to the credits!
Thanks for reading, and happy Early Holidays from Snark Wars!
Categories: The Star Wars Holiday Special