Friday, December 9, 2011

Attack of the Horrible Holiday Specials

If you saw the original Star Wars in theaters, you remember the absolute furor about the film, which would grow into a furor for the franchise. (Until the prequels, but that's another post.). But who among us could have predicted that the same cast and elements that made the original film so good could collaborate on a one-off TV variety show that was so bad that it ranked as "the worst two hours of television ever." The Star Wars Holiday Special is the stuff of legend. Carrie Fisher wrangled a copy of the special that she shows at parties, "mainly at the end of the night when she wants people to leave." George Lucas (who had nothing to do with the special) has said his fondest wish is to have the time and a sledgehammer to track down and smash every copy. (Thank God we have the internet.)

John Scalzi has he's imagined a number of similarly terrifying holiday traditions. Here's a taste.
An Iron Man Christmas CarolYes, Tony Stark is a superhero -- but he's also part of the 1%. This Christmas Eve, his cynical side has gotten the better of him and his view of the world, and all the little people in it. Seeing him wallow in his own bitterness, three of his fellow Avengers take it upon themselves to help Stark reconnect with the joy of the holiday season. Captain America is the Superhero of Christmas Past, the Black Widow is the Superhero of Christmas Present, and the Hulk is the Superhero of Christmas Smash. Paul Bettany makes a cameo as Jarvis Cratchett, Stark's impoverished computer technician. Samuel L. Jackson shows up at the end, because, well, that's what he does, isn't it. 
It's a Wonderful Life, George LucasThe year is 1986, and George Lucas, despondent at the failure of Howard the Duck, considers throwing himself off the Golden Gate Bridge. But then an angel, played by Bill Moyers, shows him what life would be like if he never lived at all. Lucas, horrified at a world in which Han always shot first, throws himself back into life and plans the prequel trilogy. Meanwhile, the angel is revealed to be the devil himself. His dark, maniacal laughter goes on endlessly as the screen fades to black. 
I am almost certain I am not the first to suggest that last one.
If you aren't reading Scalzi's column at, John Scalzi on SciFi, I highly recommend it. It's a weekly column that covers some of my favorite things; SciFi, film, and geek culture. Also, this week the internet discovered the fantastic Cello Wars: The Phantom Cellist by ThePianoGuys, which is also highly recommended.

Update: It could be worse. At least George Lucas didn't have his knighthood revoked...

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  1. These are hilarious, Johne. Someone will inevitably do youtube spoof versions. Thanks for the laugh.

  2. Aside from dredging up awful memories of the Star Wars Christmas debacle, this just totally made my day, especially the Tony Stark as Ebenezer Scrooge slant. Love it!

  3. Too funny! Thanks for the post, Johne!

  4. At least the Star Wars Holiday Special featured a rare appearance of Jefferson Starship sans Grace Slick singing "Light the Sky on Fire." Not one of their best tunes, but the historical rarity redeems the special in my eyes. :D

  5. Indeed. And the special does bear the distinction of introducing the character of Boba Fett in a ten minute cartoon in the middle of the production.