THE TWELFTH DAY OF SHITMAS:
THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
(1978)



Ho ho howdy folkses! Welcome to the Twelfth and final Day of The Twelve Days of Shitmas! Our penultimate special was a tinsel-draped, bowel-churning wreath of Christmas crap, and a few of the previous entries were perhaps even worse, but today we're delivering on our bold promise to present the most awe-inspiringly awful holiday special we could find for Christmas Morning, and I'm pretty sure a lot of you out there had already guessed that this is what it was going to be. Search your feelings, give in to your anger and join us for our final Shitmas treat of 2019!


From a galaxy fart, fart away.

We've posted a new review of a different Christmas special every other day since December 3rd, and today we end our extravaganza with an infamous classic of exploitive crap that's not just one of the worst holiday specials ever made but perhaps one of the very worst things that's ever been presented on television: The Star Wars Holiday Special! It was certainly the biggest possible disappointment and was absolutely despised by just about everyone who encountered it, even at a time when Star Wars was so fresh and new and exciting that it could seemingly do no wrong.

I was not quite seven years old in May of 1977 when the original Star Wars was released. From the first few seconds of that famous opening text crawl it became the central passion of my young life. I made my parents take me to see it again and again, eventually racking up 26 viewings at a time when most contemporary films could only be seen in theaters. I had toys, books, clothing, records and lunchboxes, with every Christmas and Birthday Star Wars themed straight through the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983. No matter what the useless crap, if it had the words "Star Wars" or a picture of an X-Wing, Droid or Light-Saber drawn on I would beg my parents for it, but glassy-eyed disciple though I was, even I knew The Star Wars Holiday Special was in its own unique category of intergalactic shit. That makes it the perfect finish to Million Monkey Theater's very first Shitmas celebration.


I'm a big picture guy, always looking to see where a particular stitch fits into the fabric of the cultural zeitgeist, and although the fans largely got over their outrage about it at the time, I feel The Star Wars Holiday Special was in retrospect the canary in the coal mine for the entire franchise, foreshadowing the extent to which producers were willing to exploit it for cash, and a kind of eerily accurate preview of the wrong-headed and opportunistic betrayal of its own mythology the series would eventually become.

Let's face it, people, this is a series that reached its creative peak almost 40 years ago with the release of The Empire Strikes Back, and despite its merits the third entry had some serious flaws in tone and content that marked the beginning of a long, slow and often painful decline. The recent mixed reception to the The Rise of Skywalker, which ranged from qualified praise to apathy to downright hostility, is a stark reminder of just how far Star Wars has strayed from its crowd-pleasing roots since that first scrappy band of mythical heroes burst onto our movie screens from a galaxy far, far away.



We open with some repurposed footage of a couple of star destroyers chasing the Millennium Falcon. Han Solo and Chewbacca are in the cockpit, but the set they're on is clearly not the one used in the original film. It's a much less detailed mockup with fewer lights, switches and controls, and it shakes and shimmies a bit each time either of them moves.


They've also replaced the distinctive
pilots' seats with a couple of Naugahyde office chairs.

It seems Chewbacca needs to be with his family for his people's most important holiday Life Day, and come hell, high water or evil Empires bent on their destruction Han is determined to get his friend home on time. They exchange a bit of forced, expository dialog then leap into hyperdrive, escaping the Star Destroyers as the opening credits begin to roll.

The first act opens in a sprawling tree house on the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk (here called "Kazook" because George Lucas hadn't yet decided on its final name), where Chewbacca's family is anxiously awaiting his return. There's his lovely wife Malla, his crotchety Father Itchy and his fat, awkward brat of a son Lumpy, who looks like an outcast Care Bear no one wants to talk about.


His Care Stare power puts lumps in your Cream of Wheat.

Mom is in the kitchen in her frilly apron, busily cleaning, grandpa is sitting in his comfy chair whittling a model of an X-Wing fighter, and Lumpy is playing with another model, imitating the grinding whine of the engines and annoying the ever-loving fuck out of Mom and Grandpa as they wait for Dad Chewbacca to get home from work. Lumpy tries to steal a cookie, which my research reveals to be called a Wookiee-Ookiee. Sometimes research makes me sad. Mom finally gets the shits of Lumpy's antics, grabs the cookie back from him and makes him take out the trash.


It's comforting to see that Wookiees adhere to traditional 1950's sitcom family and gender roles, not like the social justice-loving heathens running America today.

Lumpy takes the trash out to the balcony of their tree house and looks down over the edge. We see that their home is very high up and that the bases of the trees are obscured by mist many hundreds of feet below. Lumpy decides to get up on the porch railing, however and use it for a fucking balance beam. It's a risky move, but no worries. There wouldn't be a special to watch if the protagonist fell to his death in the first few minutes.


Not that I'd be heartbroken if someone gave him a push.

Unfortunately little mister ADHD tires of this like he tires of everything else and he eventually schleps back inside to annoy his family some more.

So what I get from all of this is that Lumpy is bored, and Mom and Grandpa are irritable because Chewbacca is late. I can't be 100% sure because they're all talking in Wookiee grunts and growls. There's no real dialog and no subtitles for like ten fucking minutes, so they may actually be having a detailed discussion about the thermal tolerances of cold-fusion reactors, or parsing the nuances of the political unrest in Venezuela. Maybe they're debating theology. We just don't know.


Malla believes in a continuum of life, death and rebirth where the soul perpetually transmutes into new forms based on the merits and misdeeds of previous lives, whereas Itchy stubbornly adheres to a strict paternal monotheism marked by a binary system of post-mortem punishment and rewards.

Mom shuffles over to some shelves to look lovingly at a framed photo of Chewbacca, and it's worth mentioning that their home looks pretty much like an affluent suburban human dwelling of the mid-to-late 1970's, with an open floor plan, thick green shag carpet, a kitchen with a central island and vent hood, and a couple of multi-purpose shelving units filled with plants, books, pictures, knick-knacks and even a pair of shelf-size stereo loudspeakers. I had friends growing up whose houses were not much different that what these Wookiees live in at the top of a tree on Kashyyyk.


I'd live there myself, but that carpet would have to go.

So Lumpy comes back in and Itchy figures he'd better give the kid something to occupy him before he drives Mom to violence, so he grabs a cassette tape from a box on a shelf and sticks it into one of six radio shack cassette recorders nestled inside the nooks of a round table in the middle of the living room. He hits play and Lumpy is transfixed by a hologram performance of a bizarre and creepy space circus.




Da fuq is dis?

It's a baffling cavalcade of acrobats and jugglers and dancers with a terrifying green devil ring-master guy hopping around with a big fucking horn in his mouth, all interspersed with disturbing shots of a crazed Lumpy looking like he's just discovered the manic joys of compulsive masturbation.


Totally worth the chafing.

It lasts three minutes and makes you feel dirty. It makes you feel Real dirty.

Once this horrifying episode is complete Malla goes over to her retro-futuristic 1970's home computer TV console to connect with space traffic control and see if any starships have entered the area.


That's some high-tech shit.

Malla and Itchy go over to a secret compartment of one of the wall units and call Luke Skywalker and R2D2 on an illicit Rebel Alliance videophone, and we finally get to hear some dialog that doesn't sound like a sleuth of grizzly bears having an all-night, salmon-fueled orgy.


Is it me or does Luke look like Sandy Duncan?

The hair-bear family does a little pantomime now to convey that Han and Chewy haven't yet arrived on Kashyyyk. Luke is initially concerned that they may have run into trouble, but he assures the family that whatever the hold up may be good old Chewbacca has never missed a Life Day celebration yet and gosh darn it he's not gonna miss this one, either. Smells like bullshit to me.


They're far too trusting.

Now if they had made this special exclusively about Chewbacca and his lumbering, backwoods kinfolk, and his struggles to return home for a family bank holiday, that would have been bad enough to earn it a reputation as one of the worst holiday specials ever made, but the people who created this monstrosity harbored an obscene, unquenchable desire to piss on your childhood and shit on everything you love, so they also added skits and songs and humorous tableau set in the Star Wars universe, featuring special guest stars culled from American sitcoms and variety shows, shoehorned in with all the subtlety of a brick for breakfast.

Case-in-point is this little gem which Malla dials up on her computer TV console, under the pretense that she needs to talk to some guy who sells her proton packs down at the Wookiee general store.

It features Art Carney, who played Ralph Cramden's goofy neighbor Ed Norton in The Honeymooners TV show back in the 1950's. Why Ed Norton is on Kashyyyk running a shop for Wookiees is not explained, but the gist of the joke is that an off-duty imperial guard is poking around his shop and isn't impressed by the merchandise, including a portable aquarium and an all-purpose grooming device. That's the whole gag, repeated ad nauseum with different items until you want to commit ritual seppuku with a goddamn light saber.


"Work's been kind of scarce since Gleason stopped taking my calls."

Now we get some outtake footage from what at the time was just called Star Wars, not "A New Hope" or even "Episode IV," because contrary to the bullshit we've been spoon fed for the last four decades, George Lucas never had anything more than a vague idea about where he was heading with this shit when he made that first film.

It's from a scene that was supposed to take place on the Death Star, now repurposed as a suspiciously spacious deck on a Star Destroyer, with Darth Vader and one of his generals conversing about imposing a curfew and identifying nameless rebels by searching "every home in the system." There's no specific reference to Han Solo or Chewbacca, but an ominous music cue indicates that we should be very afraid for them as we fade to the first commercial break.

I must say that was an astonishingly bad twenty minutes of pointless, inane dreck, but buckle up, buttercup, because this shit is just getting started. There's an hour and twenty minutes left and it only gets worse from here.

When we return we're back on Kashyyyk, with an establishing shot of the Chewbacca tree house that is definitely not a painting from one of the eleventy gajillion Star Wars tie-in children's books that were already available by the end of the first year after the initial film's release. It's an actual treehouse on an actual planet where giant walking carpets actually live and dance and play. Shut up. It is!


It's real, people. It's all real.

Lumpy has just finished up helping with the dishes and runs off to play, and Mom switches on a kitchen TV to watch a cooking show featuring Harvey Korman of The Carol Burnett Show fame, in heavy drag and offering a tutorial for a dish called Bantha Surprise. I honestly never thought I'd type those words in that order, but these are strange times, people.


Strange times, indeed.

Korman shamelessly hams it up, and Malla clumsily cooks along with him at home, dumping ingredients willy-nilly into what appears to be a zinc-plated industrial laundry tub.


That's a recipe for tetanus.

Korman cautions that to make it just the right consistency one must stir and whip alternately in a precise pattern. He makes a little patter-song of it as a mnemonic device, working himself into a wig-fraying frenzy, when suddenly a third hand emerges from his cloak and he adds a beater to the mix.

So now it's stir-stir-whip-stir-beat at an ever-more-frantic pace, and Malla is having a bit of trouble keeping the rhythm straight, having only two big gawky paws to work with.

Korman, meanwhile gets a nose full of exotic alien spices and thinks he's about to sneeze right into his cooking pot. Thankfully a fourth hand emerges from his cloak and reaches up to cover his nose just in time to prevent it.


That's one hand for each of his primetime Emmy awards.

Before I dredged this special up from the depths of entertainment oblivion to write this review I honestly didn't remember much of it from the one and only time I saw it back in 1978. I'd probably blocked out the details and entered some sort of sanity-preserving fugue state. I do recall being incredibly excited leading up to the special, however and by the time it finally aired I'd been practically bursting out of my skin for weeks in anticipation. Once I saw it I remember actually crying from the anger and disappointment. Now that I'm watching it as an adult I can totally understand why my 8-year-old self's reaction was so strong. 41 years on and this still manages to be a deeply disappointing, rage-inducing experience.

We cut to more badly edited footage from the first movie now, from the scene where four Tie Fighters attack the Millenium Falcon, interspersed with new footage of Han and Chewy trying to make the most of their shitty dialog in the fake cockpit.

I'm suddenly reminded of the liberal and awkward use of Star Wars footage in the famously terrible Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam, a.k.a. Turkish Star Wars, the gold-standard for bad foreign rip-offs of famous Hollywood blockbuster films. If anything the integration of cribbed footage here is even more clumsy and ham-handed than that other notorious abomination.

When your officially licensed and produced holiday special compares unfavorably to a Middle-Eastern knock-off that cost approximately $300 to make it may be time to retire from the entertainment industry and take a job at a shipping office or a water treatment plant.

Anyway, back at the Chewbacca household the console unit turns itself on and an Imperial officer announces that due to suspected rebel activity in the area martial law has been imposed on Kashyyyk, and a blockade has been set up to prevent any ships entering or leaving its planetary airspace.


"We now return you to 'The Incredible Hulk,' already in progress."

Just as the officer signs off, there's a loud and ominous knock at the door. The family is frightened, but Itchy answers the door to reveal Art Carney bringing that proton pack they'd ordered from his shop along with some Life Day presents for his "favorite Wookiee family." Because Art Carney is a real mensch.

As Malla and Lumpy wander off to open their gifts, Art Carney pulls Itchy aside and sits him in a chair that looks like a hair dryer from a beauty parlor far, far away. In fact I'm pretty sure it is actually a hair dryer, spray-painted black with a few plastic doo-dads glued on to make it look like it's from space. He pulls out a little plastic cartridge and pops it into a control on the arm rest, and he strongly implies to the now practically drooling furball that what he's brought him for Life Day is some super-hot, virtual-reality Wookiee porn.

I'll proudly admit that super-hot, virtual-reality Wookiee porn is totally something I would make up to lampoon the miserable, intolerable piece of shit I'm watching right now, but you know what, people? I didn't have to because the folks who made The Star Wars Holiday Special already did it for me!

Producer Mitzie Welch admitted in an interview that the following sequence was explicitly designed as "soft core porn that would pass the censors," because when Mitzie Welch and her co-conspirators think "Star Wars," "family entertainment" and "holiday special" they think "soft core pornography."

The sequence starts with some extremely dated, mid-70's Dr. Who-quality chroma-key effects of scantily clad women rhythmically swimming over a spinning background of out-of-focus green lights.


Dance of the space sperm.

Sultry crooner and Broadway personality Diahann Carrol slowly fades into view talking about how she's been created by Itchy's mind just for his pleasure. She coos about how good it feels, and there's a couple of icky, awkward reaction shots of Itchy twitching in his chair like he's got both a hirsute hard-on and St. Vitus' dance.

Diahann Carroll coos breathily, "My! You are excited aren't you!" and I suddenly feel the need to scrub my entire body with Clorox bleach and steel wool.


Jesus! Why not just hump the fucking camera?

Diahann Carroll sings a slow, sexy ballad about wanting this moment to last forever as she crawls around on the weird sparkly background and poses provocatively like a stripper at one of Kelby's favorite bars.

Eventually the program ends and she fades slowly away, leaving a very satisfied geriatric Wookie to clean up the sticky mess he's just made in his furry lap.


How much wood would a Wookiee wank if a Wookiee would wank wood?

What can I say? My flabbers are totally gasted. If this hadn't had the juggernaut of the Star Wars name behind it there's no way in the nine circles of Hell it would ever have been shown on prime time TV.

The only thing more shocking than the fact that this special even got made is that no one at CBS at any point said "You know what? Maybe we should cut all this creepy shit out and make this thing just an hour, then go ahead and show that episode of 'The Incredible Hulk' we were gonna pre-empt along side of it. That way we'll still have our 'Star Wars' special but we won't also scar an entire generation of children for life."

So Itchy takes a post-masturbatory nap and we cut to C-3PO and Princess Leia on a super-cheap set in an abandoned warehouse somewhere in Los Angeles, pretending they're in a super swanky space office somewhere. For some reason Leia is typing away on an adding machine like a clerk at a textile plant in the garment district of New York in 1953.


Who knew being a princess involved so much bookkeeping?

The two talk with Malla and Art Carney and basically just rehash the fact that Chewbacca and Han haven't arrived for Life Day yet like we've already been told twenty fucking times. Leia sighs a lot and seems really impatient to get back to whatever the fuck she was doing back there at the desk, and she signs off quickly with a "don't call us we'll call you" brush-off.


"Listen, doll, the spring trouser line is coming in next week and I've really got to crunch these numbers."

And that's it. The entire purpose of the scene was to parsimoniously tease out another couple of Star Wars cast members because the TV ads had been promising they'd be part of this for the past two months. At this point we're very nearly halfway through the special and we've only had about one to three minutes of footage with each of the beloved characters from the film, most of which has been wedged in with a crowbar just so the producers could say they were in it. Meanwhile the lame new characters no one gives a shit about have gotten all the rest of the screen time.

The clear disdain the producers had for their audience is astonishing. Even moreso than the wooden characters, shitty dialog and painfully unfunny comedy set pieces, I believe it's the palpable stench of being taken for granted that inspired the viscerally hostile reaction fans have had for this over the years. That dehumanizing gut feeling of being viewed as cash-carrying rubes by a bunch of smug Hollywood suits is still baked into The Star Wars Holiday Special and it's still just as strong and exasperating as the day the thing first aired.

There's more stock footage of the Millenium Falcon now and new footage of Chewbacca and Han Solo sharing uncomfortable, congratulatory man-hugs. Having escaped their previous peril they're finally approaching Kashyyyk, but because of the increased Imperial blockade activity they're going to have to land "on the North side," far away from Chewbacca's settlement.

Back at the old homestead Chewbacca's family hears a ship pass overhead and excitedly runs to the front door, only to be greeted by a couple of Imperial Stormtroopers!


"We'd like to tell you about the Church of Latter-Day Saints."

This Imperial patrol also includes a black-helmeted security guard and a dickless asshole of an Officer, doing a routine dwelling check per the orders Darth Vader gave in the repurposed deleted scene ten minutes ago.

The troopers begin poking around and almost find the hidden panel with the Rebel Alliance's secret two-way TV wrist watch, but Art Carney distracts them with a little fast-talking salesman patois and they pass it by unopened.


It's nice to know Dayton, Ohio got to share this misery along with the rest of us.

The security guard finds the boxy-looking present Art Carney had given Malla earlier and is suspicious that it might contain contraband Grateful Dead bootlegs, but Carney opens it up to show him it's only Jefferson Starship singing their not-remotely-a-hit song "Light the Sky on Fire."

I had an extremely hazy memory that this particular band had been in this thing somewhere, continuing their precipitous decline from revered counterculture icons to socially irrelevant punch lines, but I had no idea what ludicrous justification there might be for their inclusion. It turns out they're holograms. Also the song bites wampa dick.


This guy likes it, but they're notoriously entertainment-starved in the Imperial ranks.

All of their instruments and microphones have a spacey purple glow, but otherwise they're just the same old aging has-beens who'd been struggling for over a decade to recapture the magic of their 1967 heyday. The whole sequence has a distinct "Spinal Tap without the irony" vibe to it.


It's no fuckin' Stonehenge.

So the music ends and Officer Dickless kicks Art Carney out of the house so his men can continue their search without his constant nattering and interruptions.

Lumpy's impulsive outbursts have been a problem throughout the search and eventually Officer Dickless issues an ultimatum to Malla to keep the little fucker under control or else.

So Mom and Grandpa drag the hairy little brat over to one of his countless, electronic gadgets, slap a pair of headphones on him and make him sit still and watch a heroic cartoon about the goddamn Rebel Alliance that could easily get them all killed if Officer Dickless or one of his goons were to notice it.

Apparently the prospect of a few minutes' peace and quiet, free of Lumpy's shrill, shrieking complaints is totally worth the risk.

This cartoon sequence is the only part of the special that anyone seems to have any regard for, but that has more to do with it being the first time the popular bounty hunter character Boba Fett appeared in a Star Wars property than for the quality of the story or the animation. Oddly enough this brief sequence was the direct inspiration for Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian series, which as of this writing is currently streaming on Disney Plus and is notable as the only part of the entire Star Wars franchise anyone seems to get excited about anymore.



When we first meet Boba Fett he's riding a goddamn dinosaur!

The animation is of average quality, reminiscent stylistically of Heavy Metal (1981), but it's badly marred by its grotesquely distorted versions of the main cast of characters.




Seriously?

The story is just barely there. It concerns a talisman that can render objects invisible but which also emits a virus that puts Luke and Han Solo to sleep, and which requires them to be tied up and hung upside down to keep the blood flowing around their brains. Because science!

Chewbacca and Boba Fett join forces and head into town to track down a cure. Boba Fett eventually gets the serum, but also makes a call to Darth Vader to say he's made contact with the Rebels and will soon have them captured!

Lumpy gets so upset by seeing a shitty drawing of Darth Vader on his tiny screen he cries out in raspy terror, drawing the immediate attention of Officer Dickless. We fade to commercial as Lumpy realizes that the stupid cartoon he's watching might just give them all away as Rebel sympathizers!


Lumpy is dead weight.
They should get rid of him.

We come back from commercial to see Lumpy changing the device function to some kind of silly number game, and I'm reminded of the Merlin handheld gaming unit I actually got for Christmas just a month after this aired. Lumpy pretends he was upset by the game and Dickless falls for it because Imperial Officers are uniformly as gullible as big stupid Wookiees.


"We're not so different, you and I,
except for the smell of course."

So as soon as the Officer walks off Lumpy goes right back to the watching the cartoon, because he just can't help being a complete fucking moron and a danger and embarassment to his family.

Back in shitty animation land R2D2 manages to intercept the message between Boba Fett and Darth Vader. When Chewbacca and the Boba Fett return they revive Luke and Han with the serum. Then C-3PO exposes the bounty hunter for what he is and he backs out of an airlock and escapes.

Chewy, Han, Luke and the droids have a good chuckle over their close scrape with capture, torture and death as they fly back to their secret asteroid base.


I was on the edge of my seat there for a minute, but only because I had to fart and didn't want to soil the cushion.

The two Storm Troopers and the Imperial Guard had gone upstairs and trashed Lumpy's bedroom while he was watching the cartoon, going so far as to pull the head off his plush bantha toy just to show the audience that the Empire hires only the best and brightest assholes in the galaxy. When the trio of heartless vandals comes back downstairs to report that they've found nothing, Officer Dickless tells Lumpy to go up and clean his room, quipping to Malla "That will keep him busy for awhile."


"The little shit never cleans his room when I ask him to. Maybe the Empire's not so bad after all."

There's one brief instant of authentic emotion now as Lumpy tenderly places the head back on his bantha toy, lays it on the bed, pulls a blanket over it and gives it a kiss. It's a simple, subtle moment of childhood anguish that's surprisingly real and relatable.


Three whole seconds of emotional resonance buried in an hour and forty minutes of disingenuous codswallop.

Now Lumpy finds the present Art Carney brought him and pops in a little video that came with it to see how the thing works. It's our old pal Harvey Korman again, this time parodying corporate product demonstration videos, which was perhaps just a bit too esoteric for the 8-12 year-old target demographic this special was supposed to have been made for.


At least it's not Virtual Reality Wookiee Porn, because that would just be inappropriate.

The device is apparently some kind of transmitter thing, used for meeting something called an Amorphian, and the joke apparently is that these beings are mechanical or something and tend to malfunction a lot, and...fuck it. I can't even begin to comprehend what the hell this is or what it's supposed to be or where it's going. I don't even think the people who wrote and filmed it knew where it was going, but I do think they were probably coked-up just enough to honestly believe it was fucking hilarious.


They were wrong.

Korman-as-Amorphian gives instructions on how to assemble the device, and the video speeds up and slows down and rapidly repeats again and again to show how glitchy he is.

It's obvious no one on set gave him any clarification as to what he was supposed to be doing or why he was saying these words, so he stumbles listlessly through it all, looking like he'd rather be having a colonoscopy than participating in this thankless and impenetrably obtuse garbage. It's just painful. I'm honestly too embarrassed for him to even make a joke about it.


I know. It's unprecedented.

The video ends and we fade to a commercial break. When we return we see the quartet of Imperial lackeys is still hanging around downstairs, gathering around to watch a live broadcast on the super retro-chic console combo computer & TV. An announcer claims it's required viewing for all members of the imperial forces, but if you think this is just another segue to another guest star embarrassing themselves for a group of people who only care about merchandizing money and making children cry, well yes. That's exactly what it is.

The video opens with more cribbed outtake footage, from the Mos Eisley sequence this time, and a voiceover states that this will be an educational program about life on the planet Tattooine. We cut to the interior of the Mos Eisley cantina, or rather a cheap replica of the Mos Eisley cantina, probably built in the same wharehouse as the space textile office Leia and C-3PO were in earlier.

All of the same familiar creatures from the same familiar scene are present, including the same familiar band playing the same familiar song, and everyone is laughing the same and dancing the same and drinking the same, and having a good old fashioned hoot-n-holler the same, just like in the actual movie.




"They watched it before, they'll watch it again."

Harvey Korman is back for a third round of abuse and humiliation as a lovelorn alien who consumes alcohol by pouring it into a hole in the top of his head.


Why, Harvey? Was it blackmail? Extortion? Did they hold your dog at gunpoint?

It seems Toilet Head has the space-hots for bartender Bea Arthur, who is less-than-enamored of him herself and just wants to pour the drinks make a few sheckels and be left the fuck alone.


"I never had to put up with this shit on Maude."

Toilet Head professes his love in an "I don't really respect personal boundaries" way, and unsurprisingly Bea Arthur rebuffs him. He leaves the bar all forlorn and dejected, and there's an unspoken vibe that we're supposed to feel sorry for him. Spoiler: we don't.

As Toilet Head heads out the door the Imperial Officer who appeared on Malla's TV earlier to announce the martial law decree for Kashyyyk now appears on the wall screen in the cantina to announce that the entire Tattooine system is under curfew and everyone must immediately return to their homes.

Bea Arthur yells for everyone to get the fuck out and go home, but they all ignore her and start banging their glasses on the table. Finally she gives them all a round of drinks to appease them and get them tanglefoot drunk enough for her bouncers to shove them out into the streets without too much resistance.

As they drink she breaks into song. It's a Kurt Weill-inspired ditty incorporating the main theme from the Star Wars cantina band song, called "Mad About Me," which had been a minor novelty hit when released as a single earlier that year.


Within the Star Wars universe the Cantina Band are officially known as Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes. They are comprised of a race called the Bith and the style of music they play is called Jizz. I did not make any of that up. Not even the part about the Jizz, though I wish I had.

So Bea Arthur sings her little song and clears all the drunken aliens from the bar, then she picks up her paycheck and goes the hell home.


At least she has The Golden Girls to look forward to. All I've got is another 15 minutes of this special.

Back in Lumpy's bedroom he's rigged up the transmitter device he was playing with earlier to send a "return to base" message to the asshole Imperials who are still hanging around downstairs. Three of them leave, but Officer Dickless leaves one Storm Trooper behind to wait for the missing male of the household, just in case he's one of the Rebels they're looking for.

Once the others are gone the Trooper hears Lumpy's fake signal coming from the upstairs bedroom and goes up to investigate. His shadow falls over Lumpy as we fade to commercial.


This is how every third episode of Law & Order: SVU begins.

When we fade back in the trooper smashes the transmitter and chases Lumpy down the stairs and out onto the balcony. Just as we're finally about to be rid of the little shit, though Chewbacca and Han Solo show up to save his annoying little furry ass. They send the Trooper tumbling off the balcony and into the forest below.


If only that railing had broken earlier.

So Han comes in and tells Malla that she and Itchy and Lumpy are like a family to him, and Harrison Ford, God bless him, looks like he just swallowed a mouthful of raw sewage and has to pretend it's a glass of Chateau Lafite 1929.


"It's a rancid, runny little wine, septic on the palate, with overtones of stale nachos and week old tuna salad."

Then he heads back outside to go move the Millennium Falcon, which he left double parked or something. Before he goes he and Chewbacca share another of their adorable, patent-pending, awkward and uncomfortable, best-buddy man-hugs.


"Don't speak, pal, just...hold me."

Now Chewbacca has his big, sappy reunion with his family, and he and Lumpy gaze lovingly at each other, then he and Itchy gaze lovingly at each other, then he and Malla gaze lovingly at each other then move in like they're gonna make out. Which I'm not gonna show you because even I have standards.


Who the fuck am I kidding? I have no standards!

As they embrace there's a loud knocking at the door again, and everyone is scared again, and I wonder again how the hell everyone gets up and down that fucking tree so fast.

Chewy goes to the door with his distinctive crossbow blaster at the ready, but it turns out it's just Art Carney again, who just can't stay away from the damn place for some reason. Who knows? Maybe he and Malla are having a hot interspecies affair. Chewbacca is away from home a lot and even a Wookiee woman's got needs.


She likes 'em pale, doughy and hard of hearing.

Just as soon as he walks in the console TV alarm thing goes off again and the officer guy reappears demanding that the Storm Trooper who just went over the balcony turn on his com link and check in with base. Of course he can't check in with base because he's been mashed into imperial jelly at the base of the tree.

Art Carney says he can handle this situation. He plugs in his trader post guy ID at the console and tells the Officer that the Trooper went AWOL, grabbing a bunch of food and stealing some other shit on his way out the door. The Officer doesn't question this dubious explanation at all, but just has a sad that one of his Troopers could be so darn disloyal and mean.


Much like Star Wars fans, imperial officers will buy just about anything.

Having swooped in for no other reason than to do what the plot required of him, Art Carney heads for the exit with a "May the Force be with you" and a promise to immediately fire his agent.

Now Chewy, Malla, Itchy and Lumpy put on their red Life Day robes and grab their little Life Day balls and get ready to join all the other Wookiees at the Life Day ceremony.


Why are they suddenly standing in space?

A column of other red-robed Wookiees heads into a blinding mass of light as we fade to another commercial break.


Are they all dead and going to Wookiee heaven? I thought it was called Life Day...

When we return a the nattering gaggle of Wookiees are milling around the base of the mystical Tree of Life, and R2D2 and C-3PO are there, too, ostensibly to emcee the ceremony and maybe drop some heavy beats at the after party.


"Excuse me, sir, but do Wookiees prefer Trance, Funk or Trip-Hop?"

Now, through the compelling magic of contractual obligation, Leia, Luke and Han appear again to join in the Life Day fun and try to salvage what's left of their dignity.


It's too late for that now.

Leia gives a hollow speech about peace and harmony and freedom and shit, and sweet chocolate Jesus! Is she really gonna sing? Please tell me she's not gonna sing!


Yep. She's gonna sing.


The exact moment Harrison Ford decided they should kill off Han Solo.

Now we pan in on Chewbacca's face as he wistfully recalls the wild adventures he's had with his Rebel Alliance pals, and we get a gauzy montage to remind us how we love Star Wars so fucking much we could shit money all day long directly into George Lucas' wallet.


Remember this guy? Of course you do! Now you can get him on a lunch pail & thermos kit!


Look! It's a Tie Fighter! Get one of your own at your local Toys R Us!


Why not get someone special a Millennium Falcon play-set for Christmas this year?


Look at this cutie! He's available as a limited edition 4" action figure for five proofs of purchase and a check or money order for $5.99!


You can never have too many Storm Troopers in your collection! They're available as 4" or 12" action figures!


Don't forget the X-Wing Pilot Luke Skywalker action figure and the Deluxe X-Wing Fighter with flashing lights and sound!


Enjoy the novelization from Ballantine Books, available at supermarkets and drug stores everywhere!

One more commercial break, then we're back at the Wookiee house for a delicious Chewbacca family Christmas dinner. I mean Life Day dinner. You know what? Fuck it all. I don't even care about Life Day or Christmas or Easter or New Years or Arbor Day or anything anymore. If they'd chosen just one holiday to ruin it would have been bad enough, but by leaving it open-ended all holidays are forever tainted by association, and I can never enjoy any of them ever again. Look what you've done to me Star Wars Holiday Special!


"Say Grace." "Gaaaaahhhhhh!"

In conclusion this special is a toxic soul-sucking space-leach that will drain all the joy and contentment from your life. That's why it was only broadcast once then immediately buried in a secret government warehouse with the Ark of the Covenant and Walt Disney's frozen head.


Wonder Woman starring Linda Carter and The Incredible Hulk starring Bill Bixby will return at their regular times next Friday evening on most of these stations.



I can't pinpoint an exact moment I stopped caring about Star Wars. I suppose it would be a satisfying bookend to this review to blame it on this special, but the fact is I quickly got over my shock and forgot all about it, and my faithful obsession with the franchise continued for another half a decade. As with any failed relationship, falling out of love was a gradual, complicated process; a combination of personal growth, changing values and drifting apart slowly through a series of disappointments and perceived slights.

My study of myth stories and ancient epics gave me some appreciation and context for George Lucas' creative use of myth journey archetypes, but it also highlighted ways in which his work was derivative, shallow or naive. His 20th anniversary "Special Editions" of the original trilogy certainly didn't help, either as his incessant re-tweaking often felt like an assault on my memories. His stated intention to erase the original versions from history added to the insult, and felt like a slap in the face to those of us whose dedication had helped make his films a social phenomenon.

A few years later, when The Phantom Menace turned out to be a bland political procedural with a few empty action set pieces thrown in to appease the kids, I lost what little interest I had left in the Star Wars universe, and never bothered to finish out the prequel trilogy.

When The Force Awakens was released in 2015 the initial, positive buzz briefly revived my interest and I tried but ultimately failed to get through it, giving up halfway in, bored to distraction by the spreadsheet plot and uninspired characters we were being asked to care about for the sake of nostalgia rather than for any value or interest of their own.


Glaring past the camera from beneath a furrowed brow is not character development. Just sayin'.

It took me several decades but I finally came to accept that this defining passion of my childhood for which I used to have such an intense and consuming love means absolutely nothing to me anymore. Sometimes I can remember the magic, but I can no longer feel it.

I believe we are who we are supposed to be when we enter this world, that when we're innocent and inexperienced we are as effortlessly ourselves as we will ever be in our lives. The challenges and disappointments of our teen and adult years serve to slowly siphon off our sense of identity, and our wearying struggles can relentlessly beat down our perceptions of our own value. If we are very lucky, however we can slowly find our way back, and if we are determined and willing to examine our lives with some degree of objectivity we can perhaps even improve on that early actualization by tempering it with the wisdom we've gained through absorbing our adult struggles and heartbreaks.

I don't know exactly what it is that makes some childhood passions return and take root again, while others fail utterly to find purchase in the soil of our adult selves, but I do know that every one of them helped us at some point in our personal journeys to build ourselves up and make ourselves whole. Although Star Wars may no longer hold sway over me as it once did, it gave me something to pour my affections into at a lonely time in my life when I desperately needed to feel I was part of something bigger than myself. My life is richer for having experienced the love I once had for it, and in the hard-won peace of a well-examined life that's what truly matters.


The End.

Thank you all for being a part of my personal journey this holiday season. I hope you've enjoyed this eclectic bunch of Christmas treats, and I hope to see you all in the coming year.

From all of us here at Million Monkey Theater, human, feline and otherwise, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!


That's all folkses! See you in 2020!



As always, Cheers and thanks for reading!

Written by Bradley Lyndon in December 2019.

Questions? Comments? Expressions of disgust? Why not skip the middleman and complain to me directly?



comments powered by Disqus

Go ahead, steal anything you want from this page,
that's between you and the vengeful wrath of your personal god...