Last night Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim premiered Star Wars: Robot Chicken. The half-hour edition of the popular stop motion cartoon show was entirely devoted to Star Wars gags. What separates this from countless issues of Mad Magazine was the involvement of George Lucas himself. Lucas provides a sense of legitimacy and an acknowledgement that he is finally ready to laugh at his own creation.
Unfortunately, much like the prequel trilogy, maybe more could have been done if Lucas was less involved. The sketch featuring Lucas being saved from a mob of fans by a guy dressed as a tauntaun was by far the weakest in the entire show. I don’t know if this was a problem with the writers or with Lucas, but the sketch felt particularly flat.
The rest of the show was more successful. The highlight was a sketch in which Darth Vader explains a number of the more contrived coincidences in the series to a Mark-Hamil-voiced-Luke Skywalker. Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) was excellent as the voice of Emperor Palpatine in a number of bits, including one featuring a mama-joke contest between the Emperor and Luke.
Overall, the show worked the best when it was contained within the universe, albeit one with a lot more jokes, the Late Night with Zuckuss sketch (featuring the voice of Conan O’Brien) scored, as did the Ponda Baba segment.
The more it felt like they were winking at the audience the less it worked for me; another lowlight was the sketch featuring a Jedi President Bush fighting Sith Abraham Lincoln.
The best possible outcome of this would be increased exposure for Robot Chicken, Adult Swim’s gem, with its third season set to begin in under two months. With the Family Guy season premiere bringing another high profile Star Wars parody our way I’m interested to see if they can match this effort by Seth Green and the staff at Robot Chicken, the way Family Guy has been going it won’t be easy.
Star Wars: Robot Chicken can be watched for free (for at least the time being) at adultswim.com