Ah, the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL. The first television special in history to truly warrant the question, "Why?". It aired exactly once on CBS in 1978, and has never been aired, released on VHS or DVD, or spoken about by STAR WARS fans since. In fact, I had to go to DailyMotion.com just to watch it (I was surprised that was still a website too!) George Lucas has distanced himself from it, and he doesn't even distance himself from the prequels.
Much has been written about the HOLIDAY SPECIAL, namely universally negative things. I could go on and on about what's terrible about this special:
- The first ten minutes is only Chewbacca's family (Dumpy, Bitchy, and Norbert or something like that) doing household chores and communicating with no subtitles.
- About half of the special involves the wookies watching television, and it's all awful. Like Two And A Half Men bad.
- The main plot of the film is a lot like PLAINS, TRAINS, & AUTOMOBILES except the story is much more focused on Steve Martin's wookiee family. AKA there's a lot of waiting.
- The Empire institutes "Martial Law" at one point. Could they not find a better phrase?
- There's an extended song and dance number involving a bartender telling all of her patrons to go home, winning the Dudefest.com award for "Least Necessary Song And Dance Number".
- Jefferson Starship, not even Airplane, was the best musical guest they could get. I mean obviously they couldn't get Queen, but come on now.
- Luke apparently speaks Wookiee, which I'm not convinced he'd have been able to learn between A NEW HOPE and this.
- This. It's indescribable.
- Chewbacca's father watches a TV show with a pink-haired woman who for whatever reason tries to seduce him via song, which was nominated for the Dudefest.com award for "Least Necessary Song And Dance Number".
Like I said, I won't be talking about these things, because I came out of the experience of seeing the infamous HOLIDAY SPECIAL saying, "I don't think that was as bad as the prequels." And why did I say that? Well, for starters, the HOLIDAY SPECIAL actually exceeded my expectations. Granted, they were incredibly low (I only have lower expectations for passing the kidney stone I'm inevitably going to get due to my exorbitant milk intake, ladies), but none of the three prequels came close to meeting the expectations I had for them.
That's not to say that there aren't awesome things in the prequels, because there are (EPISODE I has podracing and the first 90% of the last lightsaber battle, EPISODE II has that line about sand, and EPISODE III has a bunch of lava in it), and that there are awesome things in the HOLIDAY SPECIAL, because there aren't. But because there are fewer low points in the HOLIDAY SPECIAL (the entire thing is a low point) then there are in the prequels (EPISODE I: Jar Jar Binks, EPISODE II: all dialogue featuring Anakin and Padme, and EPISODE III: NOOOOOOOO!!!!!), shittiness of the HOLIDAY SPECIAL is a constant shit horizontal line, while for the prequels it's closer to a sine shit curve.
So what's worse? A constant stream of shit or shitsplosions that come in waves? After viewing the HOLIDAY SPECIAL, my opinion was the constant stream. There were no racist characters or terrible child actors or uncomfortable romances or mention of "younglings" or ruining of the one of the greatest villains in movie history. It also had the benefit of little to no George Lucas involvement. But maybe you prefer the shit waves. To each his own.
With the conclusion of this article comes the conclusion of Dudefest.com's STAR WARS week. I think the biggest takeaway from STAR WARS week, and STAR WARS in general, is that despite the fact that there are more things we hate about STAR WARS than we like about STAR WARS, we'll always love it. And we're looking forward to the release of the STAR WARS EPISODE VII next year.