[[quoteright:330:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/star_wars_holiday.png]]
[[caption-width-right:330:It was a ''really'' dark time for the Rebellion.]]
->''"[[CreatorBacklash If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that special and smash it.]]"''
-->-- '''Creator/GeorgeLucas'''

If you're Creator/GeorgeLucas, stop reading this ''immediately''.

''The Star Wars Holiday Special'' was a two-hour Creator/{{CBS}} special set in the ''Franchise/StarWars'' galaxy that was broadcast on November 17, 1978. Hugely anticipated, it was so poorly received that it has never been re-aired. Lucasfilm has spent the intervening years doing their best to [[OldShame pretend it never happened.]]

The main storyline of the film, set in 0 ABY (shortly after [[ANewHope the original film]]), takes place on the Wookiee home planet of "Kazook" [[note]](his homeworld's name is Kashyyyk, which had been established before the special aired)[[/note]]. Besides cameos from Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and Luke that appear to have been wrung out of the actors at gunpoint, the special introduces three members of Chewie's family: his father [[UnfortunateNames Itchy]], his wife [[{{Housewife}} Malla]], and his son [[UnfortunateNames Lumpy]] (played by PattyMaloney).

Want to know more about the rich planetary culture of these proud creatures, starting with why they're mostly named after embarrassing incidents at the frat house? Too bad, they all speak only [[TheUnintelligible Shyriiwook]]. You know, the whining, moaning, growling, and barking that only Han Solo could understand in the movies? The first 10-15 minutes of the special is conducted entirely in those, with no subtitles whatsoever.

The basic idea linking the segments together is that Chewie is trying to get home for the big Wookiee holiday, [[YouMeanXmas Life Day]]. During the course of the film, we get updates from the [[CoolStarship Millennium Falcon]] as a [[SublimeRhyme seriously-bored]] Creator/HarrisonFord and Peter Mayhew race for "Kazook" space. The catch is that they may not make it in time as they're being pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire, who are also searching the planet for Rebel agents. [[ANaziByAnyOtherName A couple of agents]] show up to search Chewie's house, leading to about 10 whole seconds of actual suspense. And a random act of violence against a stuffed animal.

For the rest of the running time, we're given insight into the proud rich Wookiee tradition of watching 1970s-style Earth TV:
* A musical number by rock band [[Music/JeffersonAirplane Jefferson Starship]] shows up during the agents' search.
* Ackmena (played by Creator/BeaArthur) does a musical segment from her cantina on Tatooine Mos Eisley Cantina!
* Itchy gets off on what can only be described as a VR porn disc starring Diahann Carroll. Provided to him by Saun Dann, a trader played by [[TheHoneymooners Art Carney]]!
* Lumpy watches a cartoon, which is actually not too bad. (Despite George Lucas' best efforts to disregard the ''Holiday Special''[='s=] existence, this cartoon became included among the bonus features of the ''Star Wars: The Complete Saga'' Blu-Ray.)
* Lumpy watches the instruction disc for assembling a transmitter. Every step, from start to finish, is read by a robot-impersonating Harvey Korman. Not a robot impersonating Harvey Korman, mind you, although that might have turned out better.
* Malla watches a cooking show starring a multi-armed and crossdressing Harvey Korman.

The Holiday Special ''is'' [[SeriousBusiness important]], at least to serious fans, for being the first film-length ''Star Wars'' story after the release of ''Episode IV'', as well as showing an expanded look at parts of the established universe. The program is considered {{canon}} with regards to Chewie's family, including the celebration of Life Day. We also get some vague insight into the Blockade of Kashyyyk (not mentioned in the films, but important to the [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]]) plus a few other locales, such as a water planet known as [[SingleBiomePlanet Panna]]. It's also the first time that the main characters get to visit Kashyyyk, though this is later disregarded when Leia goes there during ''TheThrawnTrilogy'' and [[{{Retcon}} acts like it's her first time seeing it]] [[note]](although considering how high/drunk Carrie Fisher allegedly was during filming, she might not remember much of it anyway)[[/note]].

The animated segment, which officially introduces bounty hunter Boba Fett and thus served as a mini-preview for ''The Empire Strikes Back'' was at least decent, and is likewise considered canon (it was animated by world-respected {{Nelvana}} Studios, who went on to handle the kiddie series ''Droids'' and ''Ewoks''). This fact alone has stayed the hand of many a would-be tape burner. The music is likewise okay, thanks to Music/JohnWilliams. The special is also notable for being one of the first efforts by young makeup artist Creator/StanWinston, who later skyrocketed to fame by creating ''Film/TheTerminator'' and the dinosaurs of ''Franchise/JurassicPark''.

For the most part, though, it's legendary for its badness. The entire vast, complicated ''Star Wars'' mythos is reduced to a typical 1970s variety show rock-bottom production values, groan-worthy "humor", and [[SocietyMarchesOn then-hot celebrities]]. Besides everything else, it's pretty disturbing seeing Itchy going gaga over Carroll in what's clearly supposed to be a kiddie funfest.

And although not exactly related, the [[http://www.platypuscomix.net/videos/lifedayads.html commercials]] that aired during the special (and preserved on some bootlegs) are also [[{{Narm}} absolutely hilarious in an unintentional way]].

If you care to, the best way to watch ''The Star Wars Holiday Special'' is with several [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters]] or your local planetary equivalent. If you would first like to have an idea of what you're getting into in relative comfort, I-Mockery.com has a three-page synopsis with accompanying animated [=GIFs=] of scenes [[http://www.i-mockery.com/minimocks/starwars-holiday/ here.]] Watching it with the ''{{Rifftrax}}'' [[http://www.rifftrax.com/rifftrax/star-wars-holiday-special commentary]] helps ease the pain as well, although it requires a certain video version found on the Internet. (Or it did: As of Nov. 2013, it's available from Rifftrax as a full Video On Demand download.) It was also reviewed by WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic, [[http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/15087-swchr as seen here]], in a format that makes it reasonably palatable (not least because it's much shorter).

Finding copies of the special on a legal basis is downright impossible, as George Lucas will ensure it won't be released on DVD as long as he lives... however, he apparently looks the other way when it shows up on certain video sites. The special is regularly brought up during the month of December on Website/{{WrestleCrap}}, reviewed by a fellow Troper [[http://madnessmonster.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/star-wars-holiday-review/ here.]]

The book ''[[Literature/WhatWereTheyThinkingThe100DumbestEventsInTelevisionHistory What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History]]'' lists this at #1, as if you needed any more warning.

Watch at your own risk [[http://www.fuzzymemories.tv/index.php?m=xxswhsxx here.]]
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!!''The Star Wars Holiday Special'' has examples of:
* ActingForTwo: More like acting for [[JustForPun too]] ''many'' practically half the characters are played by [[Series/TheCarolBurnettShow Harvey Korman]].
* BroadStrokes: While George Lucas is doing his best to make sure nobody knows it was made, many elements are accepted in canon... with the understanding that they happened during something that wasn't a crappy variety show.
* {{Camp}}: And not the good kind, sadly, managing to scrape together the absolute worst of the variety show format and none of the good elements.
* CanonImmigrant:
** Yes, that's still really Chewbacca's family. This said, the official canon sources trying desperately to put a positive spin on things turn the names given here into nicknames along the same lines as "Chewie": "Itchy" is short for "Attichitcuk", and "Lumpy" is short for "Lumpawarrump". [[UnfortunateNames Not that it helps.]]
*** The EU also has Lumpy ''changing his nickname'' to Waroo. Lucasfilm has an employee who literally gets paid to retcon this stuff seamlessly, but he couldn't save ''that''.
** Bea Arthur's character has actually been used in some ''Star Wars'' books, helping to free slaves in ''[[Literature/FateoftheJedi Allies]]''.
** In ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', the Wookiee homes are faithful to ''Holiday Special'', albeit DarkerAndEdgier.
** None other than Boba Fett himself, appearing in animated form two years before showing up in ''Empire''.
** Life Day itself, not to mention Saun Dann, made frequent appearances in ''StarWarsGalaxies''.
*** And in ''StarWarsTheOldRepublic''.
* [[SaloonOwner Cantina Owner]]: Bea Arthur, in what is generally considered one of the few remotely redeeming live-action scenes of the entire two-hour monstrosity.
* ChristmasSpecial: Technically considered a Christmas special, though the word "Christmas" isn't used in the title and the show focuses around a fictional holiday instead. It actually aired before Thanksgiving.
* [[LaserGuidedAmnesia Coke-Guided Amnesia]]: Carrie Fisher has gone on record several times saying that she has absolutely ''no'' memory of ever taking part in this special. Harrison Ford claims the same thing, although he doesn't have a known substance-abuse problem as an excuse. [[note]]When he claimed to have no memory of it on Conan O'Brien's show, Conan mentioned he had a clip of the special present in the studio to play. Ford, in an entirely uncharacteristic burst of expression, tried to reach across the desk to get at Conan, but ultimately had to endure the clip. He could barely bring himself to utter a "thank you" at the end.[[/note]]
** In her book ''Wishful Drinking,'' Carrie Fisher admits to having had electroshock therapy in the past, which has affected her memory, so that could also be a factor... and a bit closer to LaserGuidedAmnesia than just drugs.
* {{Crossdresser}}: Harvey Korman.
* DastardlyWhiplash: Luke is the only character who trusts Boba despite this. WhatAnIdiot.
* DeadpanSnarker: Bea Arthur, alone of the cast. Which is saying something when ''Han Solo'' is also around.
* DirtyOldMan: Fans might think that Itchy was one for watching the Mind Evaporator sequence (and as some fans note, with his family), but that Mind Evaporator thing originally belonged to Saun Dann, making him definitely this. Production materials for the sequence in the special even explicitly list him as being a "DirtyOldMan".
* DudeLooksLikeALady: An extremely unfortunate side effect of the makeup job used to conceal Mark Hamill's scars from his recent car accident. Did they really need to get mascara involved? (In canon, the scars would be explained by the Wampa attack in ''TheEmpireStrikesBack'', but that doesn't happen until ''after'' this special.)
-->'''[[Podcast/RiffTrax Mike]]:''' What, is he getting ready for a Kabuki play? What's with all the makeup?
** Same could be said for the Wookiee family, as it was hard to tell that Malla was a woman.
* EarlyBirdCameo: Boba Fett.
* EverybodyLaughsEnding: The animated segment.
* EvilIsPetty: The Empire has nothing better to do than shutting a bar down. Riiiiiiight...
** It was a planet-wide curfew on Tattooine due to "Rebel activity". However, ripping the head off a toy bantha was petty.
** As was Lord Helmet (the Imperial guard dressed just like the ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'' character) strongarming a groomer away from Saun Dann.
* ExactWords: Lord Helmet to Saun Dann (about the groomer) "I'll take it." "And how will you pay?" "I said, 'I'll ''take'' it.'"
* FelonyMisdemeanor: The Stormtroopers ransacking Lumpy's room.
-->'''Mike:''' Which of these phrases doesn't belong? "LukeIAmYourFather!", "Let the hate flow through you!", "Go clean up your room!"
* FictionalHoliday: The Wookiees' Life Day. Which is now considered canon, despite the huge section of the fandom that wishes otherwise.
* FlashbackBackBack: Chewbacca at the end. Podcast/RiffTrax notes that none of his memories are relevant to his family.
* ForTheEvulz: While searching the house for Chewie, the Stormtroopers make sure to go out of their way to completely trash Lumpy's room for no reason other than to be dicks.
** Also, the only possible reason they close Bea Arthur's cantina.
** The executives when they mandated the script rewrite.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The whole Mermeia sequence is basically the space-age version of a Rated-X porn video, on a special that was supposed to be ''family friendly''. Apparently, it was intended to be more explicit to be a porn tape, but the CBS censors said no.
* InformedAbility: Darth Vader tells Boba Fett he's "the best bounty hunter in the galaxy", but he does nothing in the short to merit such praise, and if Luke hadn't been TooDumbToLive he'd have noticed Boba's DastardlyWhiplash behavior.
* ItsPronouncedTroPAY: For some reason, the Imperial Guard calls Kashyyyk "Kazook". Podcast/RiffTrax doesn't fail to notice this.
* KickTheDog: The Imperial trooper ripping Lumpy's stuffed bantha's head off.
-->'''[[Podcast/RiffTrax Bill Corbett]]:''' (''as Lumpy'') Diane! [[CargoShip We were to be married!]]
* MarsNeedsWomen: There's a ''very, very,'' '''very''' disturbing sequence where grandpa Itchy watches what is essentially a holographic soft-core porn tape featuring Diahann Carroll. And if his grotesque gyrating jaw is any indication, he's enjoying it. BrainBleach please!
* NotableOriginalMusic: Diahann Carroll, [[JeffersonAirplane Jefferson Starship]], Creator/BeaArthur, and CarrieFisher singing while high!
* ObviouslyEvil: Boba Fett. He's constantly one step away from breaking out into evil laughter, and yet Luke just blindly trusts him.
* OffModel: The character designs in the animated segment are all over the place, especially for the human characters. Han in particular looks like somebody smashed him in the face with a shovel.
-->'''[[Podcast/RiffTrax Bill]]:''' Han! All the blood ran to your ''chin''!
* OffTheShelfFX: For taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a lot of the tech in the Wookiees' family home looks extremely familiar...
* OverlyLongGag:
** "Stir, whip, stir, whip, whip, whip, stir! Stir, whip, stir, whip..."
*** "BEAT!"
** Lumpy assembling a transmitter with the aid of an instructional video, which we see ''in its entirety''. The "joke" is that Korman, as a robot showing how to assemble the thing, gradually runs out of power and collapses at its conclusion. Doesn't help.
* PoliceState: Kashyyyk is ruled by the Empire as one, which is why every home has [[Literature/NineteenEightyFour a two-way view screen]]. The Wookiees have learned to subvert the tech to their own needs, and have their own hidden screens.
* PornStache: "[[Film/{{Spaceballs}} Lord Helmet]]" [[http://www.i-mockery.com/minimocks/starwars-holiday/19.jpg sports one.]]
* RailingKill: A Stormtrooper goes through the rail of the Wookiee treehouse complete with the WilhelmScream, no less! Appropriate, given that the show's choreographer was none other than David "''SpaceMutiny''" Winters.
* RansackedRoom: Lumpy's room after the Stormtroopers "search" it.
* RealityHasNoSubtitles: The first chunk of the special is a family of Wookiees speaking to each other without subtitles nor with an outside English-speaking character to react to them.
* RecycledINSPACE: The segment with Bea Arthur in the cantina is ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' [-ON TATOOINE-]!
* RubberForeheadAliens: Dear God, yes. Especially in the cantina.
* RunningGag: Every time Art Carney's character starts getting annoying, a Stormtrooper shuts him up by pointing a gun straight in his face. Possibly the only ''intentional'' laugh to be had.
* SesameStreetCred: Jefferson Starship.
* TheSeventies: A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... the denizens are dressing in pure 1970s fashion.
* ShowWithinAShow: We see the cartoon because Lumpy's watching it. Now, why or how there would be cartoons about Rebels that depict the Empire as the bad guys, and evidently also depict actual and recent events... ah, screw it that's probably the ''least'' nonsensical thing in the special. That aside, characters watching TV or what have you makes up the meat of the special. Malla watches her cooking show; Itchy watches Diahann Carroll go mad; the Imperial inspector watches the Jefferson Starship video; Lumpy watches his cartoon, a weird Cirque de Soleil-esque dance performance, and an instructional video; and everyone watches Bea Arthur try to clear out the cantina.
* SixthRangerTraitor: Boba Fett. Go figure.
* SpaceClothes: Harvey Korman's are particularly notable... and terrifying.
* StalkerWithACrush: Krelman, sort of, in the cantina scene. He backs off when he realizes Ackmena has no romantic interest in him, but reappears when he realizes that she, too, is lonely.
* StockFootage: All of the space battles are lifted straight from the first movie. Darth Vader's whole appearance in the special is a brief DeletedScene from ''ANewHope'' with his one line of dialogue redubbed. This, along with the different context, "cleverly" changes it so that he and an Imperial officer are talking about locating Han and Chewbacca rather than C-3PO and R2-D2. Also, said officer died on the Death Star, resulting in [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Unidentified_Moradmin_Bast_look-alike this.]] What's even more hilarious is how not-Bast's vocals don't match up with his lip movements.
* ThousandYardStare: MarkHamill, during the scene where Luke communicates with Malla over the TV screens. While he blinks several times, the way he gazes directly into the camera, wearing heavy makeup and mascara, gives him the illusion of being a stoned model.
* TooDumbToLive: The Stormtroopers are pretty stupid here, even by Stormtrooper standards. Particularly {{egregious}} is when Han tricks a Stormtrooper into jumping over a balcony to his death by simply pretending to reach for a gun.
* UncannyValleyMakeup: Hamill's makeup, which as noted was supposed to cover up scars, ends up making him look more like a corpse prepared for the wake.
* TheUnintelligible: The script has translations for '''everything''' the Wookiees said. Seriously, would it ''really'' have blown the budget to provide subtitles for them?
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: Let's just say this part of the ''StarWars'' saga hasn't aged nearly as well as the original trilogy. Basically, if you ever doubted that ''Star Wars'' began in TheSeventies...this should prove it. Conclusively.
* UnusualEuphemism: The VR machine described by Art Carney as "Wow!" turns out to be a ''porn video''.
* VerbalTic: In the animated segment, Boba Fett has the odd habit of ending most of his sentences with "friend".
* VideoPhone: Chewbacca's family uses one of these hidden in some kind of dresser to contact the other characters associated with the Rebel Alliance Luke and R2-D2, Leia and C-3PO, etc. to ask about Chewie and Han Solo's whereabouts. In a separate instance, Chewie's wife, Malla, contacts Saun Dann with a device that doubles as a television, which Saun Dann refers to as a "wall screen".
* WilhelmScream: The Stormtrooper who [[RailingKill falls over the railing]].
* WithLyrics: Leia's Life Day carol, sung by a visibly strung-out Carrie Fisher over the closing credits, is the main ''StarWars'' theme with a bunch of words shoehorned in.
** Similarly, the song Bea Arthur sings is a slowed-down version of the song played by Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes (the Catina band), with lyrics.
* WretchedHive: One of the weirdest cases in which the ''TropeNamer'' is ''[[AvertedTrope averted]]''! No scum. No villainy. Only Bea and Harvey.
** One could easily imagine the room where this thing was written to be one...
* YouMeanXmas: According to [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Life_Day Wookieepedia]], even Creator/GeorgeLucas has referred to ''The Star Wars Holiday Special'' as "the Christmas special", even though (as noted above) it aired in mid-November.
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