Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back

They aren't watching Empire Strikes Back, mind you. As much as the Supers are into Yoda, we are not sure they are ready for limb severing. Since Awkward Mom is using an episodic form of storytelling this time (instead of her standard long-winded run-on post that takes days to read), she is inserting subheadings to mark her place in this tale. Obviously, she is using the original trilogy, rather than the hextology we have now. We are in the major arc of the story, not the exhausting fifth act.

Only read this next paragraph if you want to go on a nerd tangent with Awkward Mom. If not, just skip to the un-italicized part.

Of course, is it truly a hextology? Since the proper order in which to watch it is 4-6 and then 1-3. (Maybe, if one is really a completest or someone stole your copies of the Indiana Jones movies or maybe you are just drunk and can't operate Netflix.) My point (and the point of most Star Wars fans with sense) is that I doesn't hate the prequels, some parts of them are quite watchable, but you lose a great deal of dramatic tension if you head into A New Hope knowing that Darth Vader is Luke's father. Knowing that Luke and Leia are twins. Knowing the true meaning behind the Clone Wars. Now, one could argue that we know this already. We have seen these movies a hundred times. They are ingrained in our psyche and infused into our mythos. Fine. That is technically true for all movies. But unless you are a droid, you still think it is kinda cool when they are trying to figure out what Rosebud is. You gasp when Dorothy opens that door onto Oz. You still think the ending of Sixth Sense is amazing. And you freak out with him when Luke screams at the end of Empire Strikes Back. No one is making me sit through 3 other movies to help me understand Dorthy's background or Bruce Willis' motivation. Heck, Orson Welles does it in one scene with Agnes Moorehead and some snowballs; he didn't need 3 other movies. Sorry, that was truly a tangent within a tangent. My point is that when I originally watched the actual arc of the Star Wars epic, I had the pleasure of watching it without having to visualize Darth Vader as a whining little child and then a crabby young man. I got the mystery, the magic, and the some other M words that mean "really really awesome stuff" without someone having to explain everything to me. And my children will too. As fabulous as Samual L. Jackson is, as cute as Ewan Mcgregor is, and as cool as it is to see a young computer-animated Yoda kick some Empire butt, I am fine with my kids thinking of that as a neat flashback within some yucky romantic stuff, some questionable alien choices, and some bad writing. (Yes, I said it, and I have heard worse, so relax. Lucas is still sleeping on his pile of money and inventing awesome stuff, my barb aside.) OK. I am done. Just think of it as my prequel to this post; unnecessary, full of nerded-out references, and completely optional.

Where did I leave you last? This is starting to feel like one of those serials where the camera cuts away just when the hero is jumping the big ravine on his horse. Which is totally appropriate because Lucas was inspired by movie serials when making Star Wars. How do I know this? Because I have listened to a lecture on the importance of serials every single time I have watched Star Wars with Awkward Dad. The lecture he is starting right now, as the word crawl starts to crawl. Super Baby must not be into it because she quickly puts her fingers in his mouth; it isn't like she won't have another chance to hear it. We settle in to watch and the children properly ooh and aah as Leia's tiny rebel ship is dwarfed by that huge testimony to the true power of the Galactic Empire. (Shivers, Readers. It gives me shivers.)The rebels run around and Super Preschooler remarks that their helmets could use a major re-design. The Supers giggle as R2-D2 and C-3PO make their bumbling appearance and that brief glimpse of Leia continues to send Super Preschooler into raptures. I swear, this princess phase is really hanging on.

OK, we have been here before, but I am starting to panic a little because you know who is coming through that door in about 10 seconds and I can't watch Awkward Dad's heart break again. I start biting my nails and nervously glancing at Super P., then Awkward Dad, then the screen, then back to Super P., then Awkward Dad, and then the screen. The tension is palpable and I swear that my heart is starting to beat out bum bum bum-bum, bum bum-bum bum....oh, you know how it goes... One quick look to Super Baby reassures me, as she is foraging for fallen popcorn and we could have Pyscho on; she wouldn't notice. Super Toddler is all but chanting "the Empire Forever," as he laughs and awaits his buddy, Darth. Super Preschooler's arm has snaked around Awkward Dad's and his eyes are darting back and forth, much like the rebels' on the screen. OK, door busts in. Here we go.

Oh, Readers. It is perfection. He gasps. He hides his face in Awkward Dad's chest. Awkward Dad pats him on the back and says "Oh, there he is!" Super Preschooler pops up and peeks at Darth through his laced fingers, just in time to see him choke someone to death. Charming. "Oh, he is so bad," he intones; amazement and horror fighting for control in his face. He clings to Awkward Dad in a way that his big 4-year-oldness hasn't allowed him to in ages, you know, like 3 months or so. Super P. turns to gaze up at Awkward Dad, and Awkward Dad smiles reassuringly and kisses him on the head. I have an uncontrollable urge to follow him into battle.

Darth stalks around the ship and we all can't look away. Super Preschooler yells at R2-D2 to hurry up and white-knuckles it, until the bad guy declares that no life forms are aboard the pod. Super Toddler seems disappointed that they didn't shoot it down. Super Baby is bobbing for popcorn between 2 cushions and my heart rate is slowly returning to normal. Awkward Dad and Super Preschooler both look about 4 years old in the flickering light of televised space. With their expressions softened in wonder, they could be clones. Good ones, that is.

The action shifts to Tatooine and Awkward Dad and Super Preschooler start an animated discussion about Jawas. Their eyes, round as saucers, troll the screen together, and I finally relax enough to rescue Super Baby from a crevice in the couch. Super Toddler has run off to get a light saber, and as I pluck a popcorn kernel out of Super Baby's hair and pop it in my mouth, I am quite content to let the empire be in charge of my evening.

Oh, don't give up yet, dear Readers! Our tale shall come to a roaring conclusion with interactive light sabers fights, first crushes, and more geeking out than you can shake a blaster at.
And no Ewoks, I promise!

Toddler Awkward Mom, about the time she first saw Star Wars.

Super Toddler, showing that he resembles Awkward Mom in many ways.


  1. Darth Vader is Luke's Father?! What?! :)

    1. Opps! Way to be totally spoilery, Awkward Mom....... :)

  2. I heart nerd tangents! :) Omg, those pics - WOW! Holy family resemblance, Batman! Love it!

    1. Nerd tangents are usually pretty exciting! And yes, we look so much alike. Actually, he looks almost exactly like my father, which can make putting him in timeouts rather hard. :)