I have seen something that no sane human being should have to ever see, The Star Wars Holiday Special. Shown on TV once in 1978, the special was supposed to reward eager Star Wars fans as they waited for Empire Strikes Back to be completed. The result was a televised atrocity of unimaginable proportions. If you never see the Holiday Special, consider yourself lucky. Long considered a rare lost gem among Star Wars fans, the special does more to harm the legacy of Star Wars than to help it.
The Holiday Special centers around Chewbacca's family as they await his return to the Wookie home world for "Life Day." Not an entirely bad premise, until you remember that Wookie's don't talk like you and I. So, what you end up with is an hour and a half of Wookies growling at each other like tortured llamas at a zoo. Worse yet is the fact that one of the Wookies, Itchy (Chewbacca's father), looks like roadkill.
You might be asking yourself, "how could it get any worse?" Two words: Jefferson Starship. That's right, Jefferson freakin' Starship. Nobody likes Jefferson Starship, not now, not ever. If you say you like Jefferson Starship, you're a filthy liar.
I guess, in an effort to pad out a story that would have been better done with mimes, the producers of the Holiday Special decided they needed some variety acts. Throughout the Special there are songs by Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll, and Bea Arthur (a freakin' Golden Girl for God's sake). There's also some juggler/tumbler types that make Cirque du Soleil look like God's gift to the masses.
Also, periodically throughout the Special, the Wookies would check in with various members of the cast of the original Star Wars movie. We get to see Harrison Ford hugging Wookies (he literally hugs every Wookie three times each). We also get a look at a coked-out Carrie Fisher, who sings a song so bad it would make a deaf person cringe. But most famously, we get to see Mark Hamill fresh from his disfiguring car accident. They put so much makeup on Mark Hamill to hide his scars, he is almost unrecognizable.
Now, it must be said that there is one (and only one) redeemable aspect of the Star Wars Holiday Special and that is the fact that it introduced Boba Fett into the Star Wars universe. At one point during the Special, there is a brief cartoon interlude where we see the first encounter between Boba Fett and our other favorite Star Wars characters. The animation is pretty weak, much like the early Droids cartoon series itself, but the fact that we got to see some kickass bounty hunter action in the middle of a major crapfest makes up for the sloppy work of those Korean animation house slave laborers.
So, if nothing else, you now know that the elusive Star Wars Holiday Special was a television event that far surpassed the suck factor of Fonzie jumping the shark and the last episode of Seinfeld combined. I can't stress this enough, the Special is so bad, it cannot even be enjoyed on an ironic level. For your own mental health and personal well being, never EVER watch the Star Wars Holiday Special.
IN OTHER STAR WARS NEWS...
They're finally going to release the original theatrical versions of the classic trilogy on DVD. This means no more CGI X-Wings, no new musical numbers, Boba Fett's original voice and Han shoots first. This is a great time to be fan of the classic trilogy who was pissed off by all the changes Lucas made in his "Special Editions." The DVDs won't be out until September and they will apparently only be available until Dec. 31st 2006.
And finally, George Lucas has been immortalized in action figure form. A younger, bearded Lucas has been made into a Stormtrooper, proving once and for all which side of the Force Lucas is really on.