May 19, 2005



So I guess I could qualify as somewhat obsessed with the hoopla surrounding the final Star Wars episode.

Not necessarily with the actual episode - I'm convinced after having read a thousand reviews that, yes, indeed, it is the best one in a while. I've read some that say it was the best in the series - I doubt it - and others that say it was merely good. After the previous two, merely good sounds outstanding to me.

No, I'm obsessed with the cultural reaction to this movie - albeit one which only a precious few have seen. There seems to be some emotional tidal wave breaking on the psychological beach more about the event than the film.

I keep reading blog postings by people who were about 12 when the first one hit theaters in 1977. People, um, like me. And they're all having this visceral reaction to what is being perceived as the end of the series.

I especially enjoyed LJ's missive over at Moo Alex. She put her mania in haiku form. (The Official Poetic Form Of The Salad Bowl.)

We got to talking yesterday in the office about the Star Wars Christmas special CBS aired in 1978. It was scary how many of us remembered that special, which focussed on Chewbacca's family in their tree forest home and featured Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher and all the major characters - even James Earl Jones. Rommie even remembered the names of Chewie's family members: Itchy and Lumpy. (A side note: Paul Gale, who played Itchy, also played Slurp on Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.) For some reason, three members of Jefferson Starship were featured singing, and co-stars included Bea Arthur, Art Carney and Diahann Carroll. Rommie even found a version of the special up for bids on eBay. It has since been taken down.

That discussion led to someone finding an online version of the Star Wars Christmas Album.


This was truly breathtaking in its total and complete badness. My favorite was the ditty What Can You Get A Wookie For Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb). (Click here to listen.) A close second is R2D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas, featuring a choir with a very young solo artist: Jon Bongiovi. Yes, Jon Bon Jovi. [Link]

Then I tripped over this Last Supper version of the Star Wars cast at Boing Boing (A larger version can be found here.):


Which, you know, looked to me a lot like this:


Then I found this little raft of Photoshop goodness over at Worth 1000, which included this poster:


Michelle over at A Small Victory became so obsessed that she created the Carnival of the Force, a daily roundup of the latest links.

I especially enjoyed this bit of self-analysis:

I'd say there's three levels of Star Wars fans. There's Level 1: the person who really enjoys the movies and can name all the main characters, but stops short of engaging in a discussion of whether or not Han shot first. A Level 2 fan (of which I would be one) has a more in-depth knowledge of the movie series; recognizes the Star Wars world as one of fantasy but often discusses aspects of it as if it were real; owns action figures, but realizes that Peter Mayhew is not really a Wookiee and wouldn't ask him to do a Wookiee yell if they ever met him. Then there's Level 3. That's the guy who will wait on line months in advance of the premeire of a new SW movie. At the wrong theater. And demand that Lucas show the film in the theater he's on line at. A Level 3 lives in a world inhabited by people who are one light saber duel away from never coming back to this side of reality. He or she is the person who dresses their dog in a Vader costume or names their son Luke Skywalker.

I admit that I have at some points I have flaunted my Level 2 credentials with reckless abandon and come very, very close to a beginner stage Level 3. Yes, I stood outside Toys R Us waiting for a new shipment of figures to come in. Yes, I had a life size cut-out of Boba Fett in my house for way too long. Yes, I've had discussions that make me seem a bit out there. And so what if tasted Yoda cereal or sent away for a glow-in-the-dark Kenobi or cried tears of joy when, in 1997, I found a Darth Vader action figure carrying case at a garage sale for two dollars? I'll tell you what I've never done. I never ate Lava Berry Explosion Pop Tarts just because they have Vader's face on the box. Ok, I bought them. And I opened them. And I was actually going to take a bite until I realized they look like they are filled with the blood of rebel peasants and coated with actual lava. So while I purchased them and looked at them and even smelled them, I never actually ate them, which I think saves me from crossing over into Level 3-dom. Because that's the difference between a 2 and 3. A Level 3 fan would eat the Pop Tarts anyhow, no matter how bad they looked or smelled or tasted, because they are compelled by the voices in their heads (most of which sound just like James Earl Jones) to do such things.

I have no such voices. I draw the line at certain places. I will not subject myself to ridicule in the name of a movie franchise. I will not (even though I said I would) make a stormtrooper costume for myself. I will not attempt to try a Darth Dew Slurpee (I leave that to the experts). And I will stop having those dreams about Boba Fett. I don't know the dimensions of Tatooine or how much fuel it takes to fly an X-Wing and sometimes the entire Star Wars family tree confuses me so, even if I aspired to be one, I could never be a Level 3. My mind automatically rejects any further knowledge of the Star Wars universe because it knows. It has a warning system that tries to keep me in check. That's the difference between a 2 and 3 - a working mind. Sanity!

Posted by Jeff at May 19, 2005 08:02 AM | TrackBack

I actually went and downloaded the holiday special and tried to watch it last night. The appalling quality of the RealPlayer video format was entirely appropriate, because this thing reeks even worse than I remember. It's about 95 minutes long, and I ended up watching the first 35 minutes. I swear to god, there are stretches of, like, 5-10 minutes at a time during which you don't hear a single line of English-language dialogue -- it's just these three Wookiees (Chewie's wife, father and son) wandering around their treehouse yowling at each other. (They're waiting for Chewie to come home for the holidays, see.) There's one interminable scene in which the wife-Wookiee prepares her holiday meal while watching a cooking show that features Harvey Korman in drag. (I kid you not.) Another scene features the father (he's like a furry Abe Simpson, crusty and doddering, just sort of hanging around for no reason in particular) having this creepy-as-hell futuristic virtual-reality tryst with Dianhann Carroll. But, most disturbing of all, at one point they cut to Han Solo and Chewbacca flying around in the Millennium Falcon, apparently doing their best to escape an Imperial fleet and get Chewie home in time for the big holiday celebration:

Chewabacca: "Mllaaaaarrrrggghh!"
Han Solo (patting his co-pilot on the arm): "Hey, thanks, buddy. That means a lot. I feel the same way about you -- and your family."
Chewabacca: "Mllaaaarrrgggh!"

Right now I can't even bear the THOUGHT of watching the remaining hour, but I'll try eventually (I still want to see the first-ever appearance of Boba Fett). I knew this thing was ass-on-a-stick when I was 8 years old, but the profound depth of its suckitude had faded in my memory. You really must see it to believe it.

Posted by: Rommie at May 19, 2005 05:16 PM
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