I don’t know what to say. I saw it quite by accident. The Holiday Special.
See, as a kid I felt horribly deprived that I had missed this event. And years went by, and there was just no way to see it. And to be fair, many of my friends thought it was the coolest thing they had ever seen.
Hunger for more Star Wars was at pandemic proportions back then. We’d eat whatever fetid bits of carcass fell off the table. Even more years went by, and then I learned, with the rest of the world, it might be a better idea to abstain. But now…
Like many of you, I’m sure I had the same knee-jerk, finger to the back of the throat, fingernails on chalkboard, eyelids turned inside out, pollen in your eye, gnat in your ear, full-body spasmic reaction, complete with this message from the lower regions of my most primordial, reptillian brainstem:
ok look a little.
Is that what I think it is?
I’m gonna hurf.
Flipping around the web, it was just…there. For nearly 3 decades I had avoided viewing the contents of the Dark Holidaycron. I did not give myself over to the evil missives of Darth Bea Arthur, Darth Art Carney and …Harvey Korman with a hole. In his head. That I’m hoping was a single-purpose, one-directional hole in Harvey Korman’s head.
I want to warn you before you proceed. Heretofore, you have experienced some minor amounts of Dark Moose Snark. Whereas this is still not Moose Snark at the maximum recommended setting, this will not be snark for intermediate readers. If you have been able to deal with Moose at about 4.25 on the snark-o-meter, this is going to be about a 6.5. If you’re eyes start to water while reading this, well…tough pineconez.
Anyway, having seen this, like every hapless fan before me, now I must regurgitate my impressions back to you, my helpless hatchlings. Eat up.
The utter polar opposite of funny on the humor scale, actually. Creepy. Mind you, Creepy can be inverted into funny. See Will Ferrell. Harvey Korman kept Creepy firmly in Creepytown. He stapled Creepy to the Creepy Post and left it there to rot like a severed head.
The bar patron/ hole-in-the-head guy was just straight up stalkerific. The android video instruction guy was just…not…entertaining. Even to an 11 year old. I know, I have an 11 year old mind still. I like bathroom jokes, I laugh when someone loosens salt shaker caps. I even harbor the odd snicker for someone named Richard who would rather be called by his nickname. I can’t help it. But Harvey Korman? No sir. Even if he had made a long and tortured raspberry noise, it would have been creepy. Especially with that whole…hole thing.
Wookiees in Aprons
I shall now scratch off Michael Jackson as the goofiest item/person I have ever seen. I’ll move the Unibomber Manifesto, MJ, and that weather guy that freaked out on CNN during Katrina all down a notch on my list. Wookiees in aprons take up a place of dubious honor. The goofiest thing I have ever seen.
The Cantina Closing Scene
At one point I’m pretty sure I saw Bea Arthur doing “jazz hands” while dancing with an alien. Sure you might ask “why doesn’t that make your goofy list?” Because it wasn’t goofy. It was absurdly surreal. Subtle but important difference.
I’m still confused as to why a scene with drunken aliens leaving a bar getting into Force knows what kind of vehicles to drive wasted until they T-Bone a bantha would be in a children’s holiday special.
But perhaps the answer can be found in this: this was not a children’s holiday special. It was Satan’s Holiday special. It was Satan’s Special, made by the Anti-Pope, served up hanging upside down on TV aerials. Bea Arthur sings. She sings, people. Singing. Bea Arthur. Sweet mother of hairspray she sings.
Not to mention, there is this whole “sad” thing going on. I mean, hey, you’re just closing the bar for one night. Are you and your drunken pals going to get busted up every time its 2am in Mos Eisely?
And as a side note, it started out as a happy Cantina scene with Bith playing familiar tunes, and then it segues from bar music to bar mitzvah music.
“It’s time to go friends
Hava Nagila Friends
it’s time to drink up
So don’t be a schmuck
And get verklempt friends.”
I mean where did this come from? How do you go from zany alien music to the Ira Klezmer Quintet? Oy vey.
Wookiee Kid, or Fuzzy Chucky?
I can’t remember his name. Itchy, Lumpy, Scratchy, Scooby…anyway, this is just further proof this was not so much a Holiday Special as it was a twisted dark message full of subliminal terror. You know Chucky. The little murderous doll that went on a hackfest through something like 7 movies ranging from Chucky, Bride of Chucky, Revenge of Chucky, Chucky goes to Washington, etc etc. Well whenever little Skippy tried to smile, it was Chucky. Whenever Scooter was upset – Chucky. Whenever Scrappy was sad – Chucky. The little servos that ran his facial expressions had one setting in 1978 – Chucky.
Cover Chucky in deep pile shag, you had a perfect copy for little Shaggy-Doo there.
This is on your resume, buddy. It’s all up in there. Oh sure, its far enough back that you could let it fall off, but you can’t do that, canya? Neeeeuuu, cuz it’s wedged right in there in between Star Wars and Frisco Kid. Yep…
123 Easy Street, Bigtime, USA
STAR WARS: Return of the Jedi
1981-1983. Ran around, looked way cool. Got unfrozen. Had action figures made of me.
INDIANA JONES: Raiders of the Lost Ark
1980-1981. Ran around, looked way cool. Wore a hat. Had action figures made of me.
STAR WARS: Empire Strikes Back
1978-1980. an around, looked way cool. Got frozen. Had action figures made of me.
1978-1979. Ran around, looked way cool with Gene Wilder. No action figures. But I was a cowboy.
(some holiday special 1978-1978. just…stuff. i was young. i needed the money.)
STAR WARS: A New Hope
1975-1977. Ran around, looked way cool. Flew a spaceship and screamed a lot. Had action figures made of me.
And I don’t want to hear this “I was only following orders” poodoo. No sir, this goes on your permanent record. With a little hard work you should be able to overcome what would be a major setback to someone else’s career.
I’m not going to have to go into detail here. It’s been covered before.
All I can figure is that this scene, you know, when Granma (granpa?) Smackmouth Wookiee puts on the VR helmet and logs on to HotSpaceBabes.com, was written by a warm and fuzzy 70’s Gestault Psychologist who wanted to impart that its ok for kids to be secure with their sexuality.
I dunno. I just dunno. I don’t know what that song was about. I don’t know what kind of kitchen-releated mishap would lead an otherwise attractive lady with reasonable cleaveage to end up wearing cole-slaw on her head and Saran-Wrap for a dress. All I know is she was experiencing me, I was experiencing her, one thing to another and all of a sudden I was worried if George Lucas was going to respect me in the morning. Very odd.
I have to say the addition of Art Carney to the proceedings almost gave the affair some sense of credibility. Mind you, I would imagine at the same time he was doing stints on Fantasy Island and Love Boat, but it was the 70’s. You just went there.
But 2 things:
- When he laid out the gargantuan 40-pound video music 8-track tape player machine to distract the Imperial buckethead, the reaction shots were..distressing. I believe at one point, he was attempting to shake his booty. Art Carney, getting funky to the hot hot sounds of the Jefferson Mulletheads.
- And please…just give me two more buttons. Too much Man, Art. Your pirate shirt is split from neck to navel. Too much man. Far too much.
Plot? Anywhere? Plot much?
Board meeting at LFL must’ve gone a little like this.
“We’ve got scads of left over footage, and we don’t have nearly enough of the merchandising market.”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“No, moron – Holiday Special.”
I’ve never seen so many disassociated, amalgamated, animated, unrelated, over-rated, forever-hated footage in my previously untainted life. Somehow they managed to weld together a bar scene with Maude, cut scenes from Kashyyyk, a cartoon, a …thing with Diahann Carroll, recycled footage from Star Wars, way too much Harvey Korman, Jefferson Starship (??), and partridge in a Wookiee tree, stuck it all together with gum, paperclips and Post-it notes that say “this end up”, and called it a show.
- A funky foray into Wookiee mysticisms that had something to do with carrying around little clear Jell-o molds;
- Carrie Fisher carries a tune exactly 2 feet before dropping it out of the tree;
- Somehow unnoticed to this day, the body of a Stormtrooper decomposes at the base of the Chewbacca family treehouse;
- Han and Luke get high on sleeping talisman while Boba Fett whacks giant reptiles with a tuning fork on Planet Puddingville;
- Harvey Korman. Still not funny.
How did Lucasfilm survive this? How did they come back to make a sequel? If there is anything that the Dark Holidaycron teaches us, it’s this:
- 1: Star Wars was that good.
- 2: Harvey Korman #Not funny.
And I am now just a shade darker moose for having seen it.