A contribution to Edward Copeland's Star Wars blogathon.
To write a meaningful review of The Star Wars Holiday Special—that is, to go beyond detailing the misery induced by its atrocious mise-en-scene and bizarre musical set pieces—seems about as easy a task as explaining the themes of Eraserhead to a preschooler using only one-syllable words.
Merely imparting the experience of watching it is a daunting task; words tend to fail in expressing an experience that is at once so entertaining and agonizing. If ever a television program defined "so bad, it's good," this is it, as if the initial pain of having one's brain cells killed off is followed the euphoria that accompanies their absence. Were I somehow able to tap into my subconscious and conjure up my soul's undiluted feelings on this matter, the resulting verbal tangent would probably be comprised of gnarly groans and the occasional squawking noise.
Chances are, if you've heard of the special, or if you're even reading this now, you know the general plot, but here are a few points for the uninitiated. With Star Wars taking a long time ago, yada yada, there was no Christmas—instead, we have the Wookie holiday "Life Day." What exactly this celebration commemorates, I could not tell you, but it seems to involve walking in out space without any sort of breathing apparatus, in what appear to be red Ku Klux Klan uniforms. Han Solo is rushing to get Chewie back home on Kashyyyk in time, where his wife Mala (who wears lipstick—creepy), father Itchy (just plain creepy), and son Lumpy (who sounds as if he's swallowed a kazoo) await his return. Distilled to its relevant scenes, this plot would warrant about eleven, maybe twelve minutes of screen time, so it is no surprise that this much-hyped (and, at the time, widely seen) special is bloated to an absurd 90 minutes thanks to numerous guest star appearances, a padded subplot involving Stormtroopers on Kashyyyk, pointless dramatic cul-de-sacs involving famous Star Wars characters, and some of the most nonsensical scenes of intended humor ever known to man. Drug use is highly recommended.