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YMMV / The Star Wars Holiday Special

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  • Bile Fascination: Infamously so, thanks in no small part to its underground status and the hatred it has received from George Lucas himself and some of those involved. Those who've seen it no doubt consider it a miracle that the franchise survived this trainwreck.
  • Bizarro Episode: The special is this in the larger context of the Star Wars canon. Also to Lucas and certain other cast members, who do their best to pretend it never happened. On the bright side, it's not canon anymore since Disney's ruling on the Expanded Universe, but it's still this in the context of the Star Wars Legends continuity.
  • Ear Worm:
    • "Stir-whip, stir-whip, whip-whip-stir!"
    • "It's not the end, friend, if you're a friend, friend, then you'll come back to me soon..."
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
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  • Evil Is Sexy: Boba Fett, as he usually is.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: If there's one thing all fans and creators of Star Wars can agree on, it's that this thing never fucking happened. Of all the things that Lucas himself declared non-canon, well before Disney purchased Lucasfilm, the special was the only one that didn't contradict the Original Trilogy. note  It was also very deliberately excluded from the Disney canon.
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  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Leia singing the song for Life Day (the Wookiee equivalent of Christmas) might be Narmy, cheesy, and/or cringe-inducing, but it becomes brutally ironic after Carrie Fisher suffered a heart attack two days before Christmas 2016, spent the next four days in a coma before dying, and her mother died (apparently of despair) the day after that.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the few things that isn't hilarious anyway - Itchy's "Holographic Wow" features a "proton pack". Yep, you might say "bustin' makes him feel good."
    • Han's infamous stretched face in the animated segment became even funnier when, in the Sequel Trilogy, his son was played by the long-faced Adam Driver.
    • Ackmena's refusals toward Krelman's advances and the shot of him offering the flowers to her can be a bit funnier now that in canon, she's been stated to have a wife, precluding her from being interested in him both by relationship status and likely her orientation as well. We never see how she reacts to this last attempt at wooing her, but it can now be assumed it didn't go well for Krelman.
    • Ackmena's song is something you'd expect from a Disney film - and now Disney owns Star Wars.
    • Solo's second trailer featured a shot of Chewie giving a Headbutt of Love to a (presumably) female Wookiee just like he does with Malla at the end of the special. Cue jokesters around the internet questioning whether this means that Malla (and presumably, the rest of his family) is now canon.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: People who watch the special unironically tend to watch it for the animated sequence and/or Ackmena.
  • Memetic Molester: Itchy has been reinterpreted as a particularly disturbing Dirty Old Man thanks to that odd softcore porn video he watches.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • From a WCBS news teaser in the New York City recording: "Fighting the frizzies, at 11."
    • Boba Fett's continuous use of "friend".
    • The whole special is memetic in how awful it is. George Lucas' seething hatred of it is also rather memetic.
  • Mis-blamed: Some fans blame Lucas for the quality of this, but in reality he had very little involvement due to working on The Empire Strikes Back at the time. Lucas had one of his trusted former USC classmates installed as director to make sure that the special would be at least somewhat faithful to the original film. Unfortunately, said director quit after disagreements with the producers and CBS replaced him with the guy that would go on to produce Pee-wee's Playhouse. The results speak for themselves.
    • According to writer Bruce Vilanch, the idea of the special focusing on Chewie's family, and not including subtitles, was all on Lucas.
    • According to Pat Proft, Lucas signed off on everything, which is believable due to Lucas being a Control Freak. However, most Star Wars fans have trouble believing in this, as the utter failure of this special is one of the main factors into why Lucas became a control freak, and some have suspected that Proft is merely attempting to shift the blame.
  • Narm: The whole thing, but special mention must be given to the actor cameos and the attempt at "warmhearted" holiday cheer at the end - Han, Luke, C-3PO, and Chewie are supposed to be moved by Leia's song of hope, but look stoned/bored out of their minds. Considering that Carrie Fisher was whacked off her skull on drugs while making this special, they probably were.
  • Narm Charm: While Ackmena's song is indeed moving, it comes across as a Disneyesque number that feels out of place in the Star Wars universe, but that can be said about the special as a whole.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • While the premise was as silly as the rest of it, Bea Arthur's performance as Ackmena is actually somewhat moving. Sadly, it doesn't save the rest of the thing's horribleness.
    • The animated segment as a whole - looking at you, Boba Fett.
    • The random Stormtrooper who fights Han and (due to the way the scene is shot) apparently trips over his own gun note , thus nailing a perfect Railing Kill. The Wilhelm Scream he makes is the cherry on the parfait.
  • Padding: One theory is that the special was originally to be one hour but CBS wanted to sell more advertising, so they insisted that it be expanded to two hours. That would explain some of the more ludicrous scenes.
  • Snark Bait: Many, many opportunities for this. Did we mention Bea Arthur is the cantina owner?
  • So Bad, It's Good: As long as you aren't George Lucas.
  • Squick: Elderly Wookiee Itchy looks like he's masturbating to holographic alien porn in the middle of his living room, in front of his daughter-in-law and grandson. Worse yet, this is apparently a common enough occurrence that they don't even bother commenting on it. Even worse still... this is exactly how the writers and producer wanted it to come across. Happy Thanksgiving, children! And they would've made it more explicit if not for one of the few necessary instances of Executive Meddling.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Ackmena, Bea Arthur's character, is considered to be the most interesting character created for the special. While she doesn't appear for very long, the Expanded Universe (both before and after Disney acquired Lucasfilm) took her along for the ride.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Bea Arthur, alone among all the big-name guest stars. To her credit, she's talented enough to elevate her sequence into something watchable and almost poignant. She was also no stranger to variety shows of the era, so she knew how to adapt her Deadpan Snarker mode to the role. Her own comment on the special years later was that she hadn't been keeping up with Star Wars and its massive cultural impact at the time, thinking of the gig as just singing a musical number to "a bunch of people with funny heads."
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Han Solo's cartoon representation. He almost looks like Mick Jagger. Melting Mick Jagger, to be exact.
      Bill Corbett: Han, all the blood drained to your chin!
      JonTron: As you can see, in this timeline, Han didn't make it out of the trash compactor in time.
    • Mark Hamill was still recovering from a car accident that required extensive facial surgery, so he ends up a rare live-action human actor example. The makeup needed to cover his scars made him look like a Ken doll.
    • Harvey Korman crossdressing as the alien chef. His layers of makeup and very fake-looking hair make him look like an Eldritch Abomination.
      The Nostalgia Critic: Who the hell designed that thing? He looks like a cross between Cinderella's stepmother and that robot maid from The Jetsons!
  • Unfortunate Character Design: The makeup on Harvey Korman as the chef makes it look like he's wearing blackface.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?:
    • At least in Carrie Fisher's case, it was. Watch for yourself.
    • Bruce Vilanch has admitted that he was heavily using cocaine while helping to write the special.
    • In a column about the special, Nathan Rabin half-jokes that it was "ultimately written and directed by a sentient bag of cocaine."
  • The Woobie: Krelman, Harvey Korman's character in the cantina scene. Yes, he's a bit weird with his head hole, but he's so sincere and so lonely, he evokes sympathy almost accidentally. Cantina barmaid Ackmena and her customers as a whole also fit the bill.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Plenty of this to go around, which is especially jarring for Star Wars.
    • The Wookiees congregating to celebrate Life Day all wear bright red nightgowns that make it look like they're all wearing Snuggies....Or like members of a cult. Didn't stop BioWare from putting them into Star Wars: The Old Republic years later.
    • Harvey Korman's outfit as the alien chef is quite the unholy aberration.
    • The costumes for Chewie's family on Kashyyyk. Any time they smile or stare directly at the camera can be very unnerving.
    • The makeup on Luke Skywalker was justifiable since it was covering up scars Mark Hamill had gotten from a then-recent car accident and subsequent surgery. Less justifiable is his hair, which makes him resemble a Ken doll.


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