The Star Wars Holiday Special…a horror waiting to be discovered!

I’ve recently written several articles about the worst films of all time.  However, it’s not fair to only pick on movies.  I know of a television show that is so god-awful and wretched that it’s every bit as bad as the worst film you’ve ever seen.

I used to think that perhaps the worst TV shows of the 1970s were The Brady Bunch Hour or perhaps Pink Lady and Jeff (the leading ladies in this show didn’t even speak or understand English!), but The Star Wars Holiday Special is at least as bad…possibly worse. The reason I say worse is that frankly, the actors from The Brady Bunch weren’t super talented (they were mostly just kids) and sticking them in the stupid song and dance format just made this more apparent—ditto with the Pink Lady debacle. However, given the amazingly good will of practically every person in America towards the Star Wars franchise and such great characters, the fact it came off so badly is amazing and apparent proof that George Lucas was not above whoring out his reputation (his later Episodes I, II, III and Jar-Jar further proved this).  Soon after it aired, however, rumors are that Lucas had second thoughts and he apparently would NEVER allow it to be released after its initial airing.  Fortunately, due to YouTube, you now CAN see the show….if you dare!

With all of the characters from the original movie, which one would you use as the anchor for the special?! What sane person would pick Chewbacca?!? Well, the writers were obviously NOT sane for making this choice!  Sure, he was fine in small scenes in the films, but to have his “adorable” family hog up most of the special was amazing–and all the worse because all they could do was make those awful Wookie noises again and again!! The only thing more annoying would have been a family consisting of nothing but Yoko Onos!! They bark and growl and try to be cute, but how long can any sane person stand this awful banter?! Even kids would most likely change channels because it is so boring and pointless.

Amazingly, when the action leaves the Wookie household, things manage to become even worse. It’s like you have Ebola and manage to then come up with an even worse disease! Is this even possible?!? For a change of pace after what seems like 98 hours of Wookie family entertainment, we are subjected to some of the worst guest appearances in history. Art Carney’s is only pathetic and uninteresting. Worse are the sickening Harvey Korman antics–which are clearly the worst of his career. And then, ugh, a bit with Bea Arthur as an owner of an intergalactic cantina!! Make the pain stop!!! But, then it manages to become even worse!!! The appearances by the REAL Star Wars characters come off as hastily written (at best) and the acting, if you can call it that, seems very, very stiff and….well,….stupid. Han Solo’s appearance is more reminiscent of the scene at the end of The Empire Strikes Back when he’s encased in that block of carbonite!! Luke and the annoying robots are passable…but no better (possibly the result of Mark Hamill’s near-death traffic accident just before making the show). Then, hearing Carrie Fisher at the end is just plain sad, though unlike some reviewers’ comments, she did not appear stoned…just not particularly good or inspiring.  Again, like the Brady’s, she was out of her element.

There’s also a badly animated cartoon thrown in to boot. Boba Fett cult members will salivate because they get to see their god for the first time, but who else would be interested? After all, sane people are not fixated on this minor character—at least he was until these same fans forced his being made into a MAJOR character when the three Star Wars films were made recently.

So what did I like about this film. Hmmm…..nothing. If it were short, it would be a sad but curious curio, but at almost two hours it is mind-numbingly bad.  Don’t, however, show it to die-hard Star Wars fans….they might commit suicide OR declare that it is the greatest TV show ever and insist you watch it again (ahhhhh, the agony!!).  Check the reviews on IMDB—most everyone savages the show yet a small minority STILL claim that it is better than free taco day! (The attached video to the right of this article is a ‘best of’ someone has put together on Youtube.)

Martin’s Grade: F (If I could go lower I would!)

TV Review by Lead Entertainment Writer & Film Critic, Martin Hafer