This is going to be a bit therapeutic for me. As a Star Wars fan, one of the crosses to bear is the memes that spring up and seem to be reborn every so often. Like weeds, you think you got them all but then some root spits out an ugly strand and before you know it, your playful little lawn is a dry, sad place full of dirty patches and ant hills.
I’m not sure how to root the people out that cause these things to keep coming back, but I’m beginning to think that, like weeds, a targeted poison is the only cure. If there’s anyone in the audience that can help with that, that would be awesome.
1. Princess Leia in the Bikini
This one got out of hand a long time ago, thanks to Friends. Soon it became hip to be square, to borrow a term from Huey Lewis (and I often do), and afterward was the tidal wave of impolite discussion with the presumption that male Star Wars fans had naughty dreams whilst sleeping ‘neath Princess Leia dressed as a slave dancer.
So let’s retire this inanity already. Yes, Carrie Fisher was attractive back then. Yes, she looked good in the outfit. But this whole meme dragged post-pubescent vileness into a sacrosanct area of childhood and forever tarnished its memory so that you can hardly watch that part of the film anymore.
Shame on us. Shame on us all. Let’s all make a pact that if the film is targeted at kids, we stop making obscene sexual references? Let’s try to stop being hipster cynics and just let things alone.
I heard tell that there was a little pre-pubescent girl dressed in this outfit at a convention, at which point I kinda lost my mind. That’s not only tired, but tasteless.
Of course, there’s the added dimension that the costume carries a statement about how a powerful and intelligent woman is stripped of her dignity through her sexuality. If you’re cool with that, though, then there you go. Zing!
2. Jar Jar/Ewok Hate
You can’t have a discussion about Star Wars without someone within ear shot jumping into the conversation and yelling, “Ewoks suck” or “Jar Jar sucks.”
You know what? I’ll engage people in intelligent conversation about it. I’ll even let it slide when someone makes a snarky remark that the only reason I defend them is that I stick to some sort of company line that Lucasfilm sends out to agents like myself, cleverly planted throughout society to keep the conversation going.
I wish it were the case, because I imagine the pay scale is ridiculous.
Let’s all just agree to debate terms about this, extending it to a political analogy – Ewoks and Jar Jar are “the third rail.” No one wants to touch ’em, because no one’s going to concede any points. (I’d extend that argument to the prequels as well, but I’ve actually been converting reasonable people one at a time on that, so there’s hope there.)
So just let it go. I’ll elect myself to speak for those of us that like them and/or aren’t bothered by them. If you’re not going to listen and debate respectfully, take a course in being constructive with your comments instead of knee-jerk spiteful.
3. Star Wars Holiday Special Jokes
They’re never funny.
It’s not funny. It’s worse than The Room. I’ve watched it completely all of once in my life, and I don’t plan to watch it again. It’s so intolerably horrific that you can’t even find humor. It just makes you sad.
Art Carney, Harvey Korman, Bea Arthur, and the entire cast of the original film were better than this. Even Jefferson Starship was better than this, at least in theory. Yet here they are, in what is arguably one of the top five entries in the Theatre of Cruelty.
Merely watching a bit on YouTube fills me with unspeakable rage at what Twentieth Century Fox did with their rights to the original film. Odd coincidence that after airing, Lucas closed the deal with them for the sequels and this has lived on only in the black market back room of smelly conventions for decades until YouTube showed up.
Never speak of this again.
4. Merchandising Hate
You knew it as a TIE Fighter and a Y-Wing because of merchandising. Kenner did an awesome job. Lucas didn’t market the Hell out of it, people who saw a good thing paid him a large fortune so they could make an even larger fortune. That’s capitalism, it led to the sequels and Indiana Jones and theme park rides and The Clone Wars on TV.
Everyone is on the merchandising train now, so to single out Star Wars is ludicrous. There wouldn’t be a market if there people weren’t buying things. [Edit: Corrected typo.]
Besides, as Ron pointed out in the comments section of on an earlier blog, they also led to the best mass-market cookies in history.
So don’t hate the playa, hate the game.
5. Luke/Leia Jokes
Yes, Lucas made a quick adaptation and took a concept he’d had since the beginning but not developed – the twins – and made a choice that added a strange dimension to the formerly romantic triangle of Luke, Han and Leia. Personally, the whole thing is fine with me except for one of Leia’s lines: “I know. Somehow…I’ve always known.”
Really? Caught the rest of us by surprise.
I don’t know the full story (though I’d love to) but I do know that Lucas spoke of introducing a new character that was Luke’s long-lost sibling as early as the Empire story sessions with Leigh Brackett. But then it got pushed to Jedi and I suspect that, for time’s sake, instead of introducing a new character he went with using an existing one. It works overall, but yes, in the context of the idea that the first film was marketed as the story of a “boy, a girl and a universe,” it was a bit of a yuck factor.
But tying into my first two points – I think part of it ties into our cultural tendency now to sexualize everything. Let’s just say there was an ideal platonic love at first, and then Han took over in Empire. End of story.
You know what? That was therapeutic.