34 Comments

  1. I’ll second (or third) that motion. The reference to Chewbacca’s dad led me astray, trying to come up with something (anything) from the movies that might correspond to the surreal scene described in the second panel. Changing that to Bea Arthur makes it obvious that the description is just silly fiction.

  2. @Kilby: Actually, both references — along with the context of the comics preceding this one — make it clear that this is about the Star Wars Holiday Festival. Despite Bill’s statement of “yesterday” this is pretty old. I remember Ces writing about this on his website, but it must have been quite a while ago. I think Ted even skipped his annual viewing last Thanksgiving because of the death of his father.

  3. DemetriosX: Also, panel 1 where Ted says “Star Wars Holiday Special” makes that pretty clear.

    I’ve never seen it (I watched a little of it on YouTube, but found it too painful), but both of the described scenes are part of its famously bad reputation.

  4. I’m agnostic about the instant example, but Douglas Adams on occasion wrote brilliant bits because they censored him in the American version: the whole bit about Belgium, which ran a couple pages if I recall, was all to replace a quick throwaway joke about the award for the most gratuitous use of a word I got censored for the last time I tried to post it here, even though I was all high falutin’ with references to Norman Mailer and Dorothy Parker…

  5. I agree that the second version is funnier. The Star Wars Holiday Special is a long-running joke in this strip.

  6. @Kilby — I envy you for being able to imagine that those two things don’t exist. I only managed to sit through the thing once, even though we own it…
    Among the terrifying things in the special is that they actually went ahead and, in the Expanded Universe, made Chewie’s family’s names canon. I mean, they lengthened them so that they didn’t sound as clearly stupid, but his father IS Attichitcuk, his wife is Mallatobuk, and his son is Lumpawaroo — his family IS, in fact, Itchy, Malla, and Lumpy. And in the Wookipedia Star Wars Wiki, it uses pictures from the Holiday Special as their portraits.

  7. The first ones funnier if you’ve seen or heard a little about the plot of it but haven’t heard it referred to as a virtual reality sex fantasy. The second is funnier for everybody else.

  8. @ DemetriosX – I thought the “holiday special” was just some sort of event where a cable channel would broadcast the movies non-stop. I had no idea that it actually existed as a separate production. Now I’m debating whether I should look it up, or preserve my “enviable” ignorance.

  9. P.S. I couldn’t resist, I looked it up. Ignorance is (or was) bliss. A pox on CBS and their money-grubbing opportunism.

  10. I’ve seen it three times – once as a kid, when it actually aired, once a few years ago (which was agonizing), and once a couple of weeks ago (with Rifftrax). I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan all my life, but the Holiday Special is just terribly dull. So many failed attempts at humor, and every scene runs way too long. It was even hard to sit through with Rifftrax.

  11. How many of you remember the Star Wars newspaper comic strip? It ran in the Boston Globe for a while. How about the Star Wars children’s books and coloring books sold in supermarkets? In one of them, Lumpy, on his way to school, slips and falls through the forest canopy and Chewie, telepathically notified, travels in to save him.
    Remember that the original idea was to make a movie for 11-year-old kids, like the movies from many years ago, and all the ancillary merchandising was for that market.

  12. Honestly, I didn’t find either comic version particularly funny.

    Have you guys heard the “Star Wars Christmas In The Stars” record album? Tracks are on YouTube if you happen to be bored and wish to torture yourself one day.

    A friend of mine has a collection of “bad” holiday albums and this one tops is list of “favorites”. Some of his records have weird or bad cover art but passable content on the LP, while others have OK cover art but dreadful contents.

  13. If any of you have time, listen to the episode of Gilbert Gottfried’s podcast where Bruce Vilache describes what it was like working on the holiday special. It’s hilarious.

    Anyway,I find the second one funnier, if only because the torch song somehow manages to be weirder.

  14. @ caio^5 – I finally found it (it’s Bruce Vilanch, 13-Aug-2018), but I have not been able to get it to play from Gottfried’s website.

  15. The whole thing is pretty funny, but the Star Wars stuff starts at about 8:30.

  16. @Bill Yeah, but that was still months ago, IIRC. The post certainly isn’t on the first page of Medium Large, and Ces only posts there intermittently.

  17. The second one is funnier, but only because of the “Five? Six?” line that had no room in the first version. That said, I think woozy has a good take on it. Note that Kilby, who didn’t know this even existed, thought the second one was funnier.

  18. I would argue that Ces should have gone with “But how many times can you watch Harvey Korman host a cooking TV show as a 4-armed alien Julia Child?”, though I think the Gormaanda segment is actually one of the better-regarded bits from the Holiday Special (relatively speaking).

    The most execrable parts of the Holiday Special are the brief guest appearances from the thoroughly disengaged Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill. The bits featuring Korman, Arthur, and Art Carney, as well as the musical bits with Jefferson Starship and Diahann Carroll (whose scene is the subject of Ces’ original joke) have a handful enjoyably weird moments, and ted rightly points out that the Boba Fett cartoon remains relatively well-received, but the rest of the special is boring at its best and unpleasant at its worst. The entire thing makes you wonder how anyone at CBS could have watched this prior to its debut and still allowed it to air.

    On the “Christmas In The Stars” record that Grawlix mentioned, I found it to be enjoyably silly for the most part, particularly its take on “Sleigh Ride”. It is, though, an exercise in how much C-3PO you can take. If you find 3PO annoying, it will get old really quick, as he narrates/sings 80% of the record.

  19. “It is, though, an exercise in how much C-3PO you can take.”

    Always willing to try new experiences, I listened to about 1/2 of a song and thought, ‘That’s enough. Life’s too short, yada yada.’ But I’m glad to have tried it; good for a laff. Well, a chuckle at most.

  20. Not to defend the Holiday special but… 1) All broadcast TV was terrible back then and 2) A christmas special with the flimsiest of plots and a string of celebrity guest appearance phoning it in was pretty standard and 3) Star Wars at the time was seen as not much more than a popular this years flash in the pan movie with high kid appeal its not surprising it was made and it was what it was.

  21. Watching the Star Wars Holiday Special is sheer, unadulterated torture. It’s not “so bad it’s good,” it’s “so bad it’s excruciating.” Wanting to inflict this on anyone, year after year, makes me think Ted’s last name is Bundy.

  22. Very few things are “so bad it’s good”. Usually they are very bad and the creator knows it and throws in ironic and intentional jokes in which case that aren’t “so bad they are good” they are “saved by the directors intentional and… *sigh* “good” self aware irony.

    I was a bit disappointed and surprised the XKCD cartoon classified Rocky Horror as “So bad it’s good”. It’s nothing of the sort.

  23. @woozy: “I was a bit disappointed and surprised the XKCD cartoon classified Rocky Horror as “So bad it’s good”. It’s nothing of the sort.”

    Strong agreement. I was a Rocky Horror faneven before the cultists discovered it.

    I think MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE qualifies as “so bad it’s good,” but a few other movies also whomped on by MST3K are, to me, so bad as to be painful to watch, even with the help of robotic snark. Top of the list is THE STARFIGHTERS, but INVASION OF THE NEPTUNE MEN probably is up there somewhere as well. (I’ve never seen the STAR WARS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, and as a big Bea Arthur fan I’m not sure that I’d want to risk doing so.)

  24. “I was a bit disappointed and surprised the XKCD cartoon classified Rocky Horror as “So bad it’s good”. It’s nothing of the sort.”

    I thought the same, but didn’t express it . . . thanks for doing so, woozy (and Shrug)

  25. The Star Wars Holiday Special was so bad that a 12 year-old boy who loved Star Wars and was a huge TV junkie thought it was terrible. I’ve tried a couple of times since then to watch it and it is too awful to stomach as an adult. It’s not “so bad it’s good.” It’s so bad it’s 5[-]17.

  26. @ SingaporeBill – It took me a while before I was able to translate that “negative twelve”, but I finally figured out that you meant it was “$#!+“.

  27. Mark Hamill (and a whole bunch of Star Wars props, including R2 and 3PO) also guested on the Muppet Show. (Before Frank Oz even joined the cast of SW).
    Watch that instead of the Holiday Special.

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