The holidays are over and the New Year has begun. Many resolutions have been made, many have already been broken. The point is that it’s a time to improve and move forward. This time of year has also comes in tandem with the release of a new Star Wars movie, and unless you live under a rock or have terrible priorities, you have already seen it. You have also probably enjoyed it immensely. . . and if you didn’t, you probably lost most of your friends and are now living the life of a leper on the outskirts of town. Unclean!
However, what with this being a time to move forward (and a time to focus on the wonder that is The Force Awakens), it is also a prime time to look back at how far we have come; how far Star Wars has come. What better way to do this than by looking at the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it; in fact if you haven’t, you are probably on the right track in life. All you need to know is that it is a holiday special surrounding the fictional wookie holiday “Life Day”, and it is a movie that many Star Wars fans have spent years trying to come to terms with. With that in mind, let’s look at some valuable life lessons we can all learn from one of the larger cinematic mistakes to come out of the seventies.
10. Life Isn’t Fair
The first thing to take away from the Holiday Special is that life just isn’t fair. The sooner you come to terms with this, the sooner you can heal from the experience. It’s not fair to be stripped of your innocence and optimism; it’s not fair to lose two hours of your life; and it’s certainly not fair that you will never be able to explain any of this to a therapist. Words will fail you, just as George Lucas has (although even he has publicly denounced the Holiday Special as an abomination). Friends will argue that “it can’t possibly be that bad,” and you will be faced with the moral dilemma of suffering alone, or showing them the tape. You’ve seen The Ring and now you will live it. Of course, the downside to letting your friends see the Holiday Special for themselves is that you will likely be forced to watch it again, so the ultimate decision is down to your own personal level of masochism.
9. Fame Isn’t Everything
As mentioned previously, most of your friends will never take you at your word for how bad this thing really is. So with that in mind, don’t take our word for it. Take it from the people we all know line your bedroom walls. There’s probably something to be said when someone paid to act can’t muster the energy to hide their own distaste for the project they’re working on. Peter Mayhew somehow manages to emote his despair through the Wookie suit, making every Chewie growl a cry for help, and most of Harrison Ford’s role seems to be questioning every life decision that’s brought him there.
8. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
And in the Star Wars Holiday Special, they have to. The majority of the plot revolves around Chewbacca’s wife, son, and father waiting for him to return from a dangerous mission. Mostly, this just means we are forced to watch them kill time in their tree house. It can be pretty easy to forget that we cannot understand Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, but that is for a very good reason, which the directors seem to have forgotten. It’s easy for the audience to understand a giant ball of fur when Han Solo and the rest of the cast are continually translating for them. Does the Holiday Special echo this? You would think so. Instead, viewers are treated to a good hour and a half of three Wookies growling at each other with no subtitles, no real facial expressions, and no real bearing on the rest of the film. Experiencing a certain degree of indignation during these scenes can be expected.
7. Old Habits Die Hard
This one is weird. But on the plus side, if you ever want to turn your children off of porn, visions of geriatric Wookies in ecstasy is probably your best bet. Yes, at about the midpoint of this trip through space and shame, Art Carney from The Honeymooners ruins your childhood and hands the grandfather Wookie some sort of VR sextape. This elderly Wookie named “Itchy”, happily enough, chooses to deal with his worry over his son by… well… scratching an itch. The grandfather then watches a woman tell him that she sees he’s excited, which he chooses to rewind a few times – as one does. The excitement is palpable and the nausea will be too.
6. Everyone Makes Mistakes
So a lot of people like Star Wars, and by extension, George Lucas. You would think the man behind three, (or six if you’re pubescent and have poor taste), of your favorite movies would be able to do no wrong. Well, while some of us burn toast from time to time, George Lucas will put metal in the microwave and then blame your little brother. Then he’ll use the flames to burn every copy of the Holiday Special. You can rest assured, no matter what mistakes you make in life, it is highly unlikely they will ever be as embarrassing (or as public) as the Holiday Special was for George, even if he didn’t actually have significant involvement in making it. At least you can reasonably sure nobody will ever write a top 10 list about how badly you messed up.
5. You Can’t Please Everyone
While it’s true that you can’t please everyone, there’s comfort in the fact that at least if you screw up, you usually won’t infuriate everyone. The same can’t really be said for George Lucas. Even the most loyal Star Wars fans may have trouble finding genuine merit in this movie. The problem is that you may love Star Wars more than your first born child — you may even love the variety show formula of the Holiday Special — but these two things have about as much to do with one another as Twilight does with literature. Do you care about the new Wookie characters? No, why would you? Do you enjoy the ten minute long sequences about eroticism and cookery? Depends who you are… However, no matter what you find in the special, it’s almost a guarantee that it won’t be enough to help you justify the two hours you just spent slack-jawed and confused.
4. TV Can Be Bad for You
Your mom was right about the dangers of the idiot box after all. And if she was alive in the seventies, the Holiday Special could have something to do with it. You can actually feel all common sense and logic draining away from you as the minutes stretch unnecessarily into hours. Not only does it rob you of several IQ points, but it also quickly takes away any willpower or ambition to do anything about it. You will become a couch potato, and you will watch the entire special simply due to a sudden inability to move.
3. Say No To Drugs
Simply put: it’s obvious approximately ninety percent of the cast and crew were on something while filming and — let’s be real — you were probably high when you made the decision to watch the Star Wars Holiday Special in the first place. Either way, drugs have made your life significantly worse and you should probably think some things through next time.
2. Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk
At one point in the special, we are treated to a lengthy sequence in which Chewbacca’s wife watches a cooking show with what appears to be a cross-dressing, four armed Julia Child. If you thought cooking with Julia was hard, try keeping up with four arms stirring at different speeds and directions while the hostess’s wig flies around threatening to attack. Chewbacca’s wife also teaches us that even when one does not wear clothes at any other point in their life, an apron is always necessary when cooking no matter what species you are. Actually, she’s surprisingly hygienic considering the amount of hair that must end up in the food she makes.
1. What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
Taking all of this into account, the Star Wars Holiday Special encouraging reminder that no matter how far gone you are, how horribly you mess up, or how many people you disappoint—you can always make a comeback. If Harrison Ford can recover from The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Carrie Fisher from whatever she had going on for most of the last three decades, or Star Wars from everything that isn’t the original three films, you can recover from whatever may be currently plaguing you. Move out of your parents’ basement, get over that significant other, cut McDonald’s down to once a week; life will get better. Star Wars will get better (and has). The only thing you will never recover from is watching The Holiday Special.