Spoilers a Spoilin’ to Spoil the Spoils
Welp. I finally did it. I went and saw the Star Wars.
I think I waited the right amount of time. There were only 12 people in the theater including one annoying brat. These days that qualifies as the best moviegoing experience of all time. Even so, we still defied the odds and had one of the glowing-screen folk in our midst. Who says you can’t have it all?
If you haven’t seen the movie yet you might want to leave now. And hates you, I do.
Star Wars: Seventh Heaven
Warning: I am about to bitch about Star Wars. This in no way should be construed as an inference I will not see the film. Of course I’m going to see the bloody film. They can shit on a plate and call it steak jarjare for all I care and I’m going to lap it up. I have as much chance of boycotting the film as a heroine addict has of telling his supplier to go to Hell. Even with Disney at the helm fairy tales do have their limits.
“Always two there are. A filmmaker and a sucker.” I’d be the latter.
Here’s my $42. Take it. I feel pathetic enough. You don’t have to rub it in. Just let me in and soon I’ll feel dirtier than Luke Skywalker in a trash compactor scene. I’m pathetic. I’m scum. No, scratch that. I’m rebel scum. I’m lower than a Denebian tick on a swamp rat on Degobah.
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The Episodic Table of Plot Elements
If you have ever watched commercial programming on television you may already be aware of this, but sometimes the shows repeat plot points. Surprising but true. It generally works something like the instructions on a shampoo bottle:
- Hire a core troupe of actors and put them in a setting, like a meat packing plant or a sewer treatment facility
- Go through the episodic table of plot elements
- After a certain period of time, usually 3-7 years, replace the actors and the setting, like the actuarial tables dept. at an insurance company
- Rinse and repeat
When watching a show with my wife, within the first 30 seconds I’ll shout out the plot variation as soon as it is recognized. Trust me, she really loves this. “Oh, god, no!! It’s plot #42. Wacky birthing episode ending with a touching isn’t-that-thing-cute moment. I’ll be on the computer. Let me know when it’s over.”
Here’s a few excerpts from the episodic table:
- A previously unknown family member of a main character comes to visit for a short time (father, mother, brother, sister, child, etc.)
- A main character is extremely distressed because an extended family member gets engaged, married, divorced, is involved in adultery or illicit love affair and/or dies
- Two main characters are involved in a marriage proposal, wedding, break-up, divorce, adoption, pregnancy and/or birthing
Even with those three limited examples from the table the possibilities are almost endless. I bet they could be used to generate over 500 specific plots. Mother and cousin come to visit. Father and sister die. Brother and niece get engaged. Mother pregnant, father having an affair. Father pregnant, mother having an affair. Yep, the permutations are practically unlimited.
When watching Northern Exposure the other day I noticed one of the rarer elements. “Looks like #138 coming our way,” I shouted. A mute traveling performer had been courting one of the main characters for several episodes. Sagely, I predicted, “I’ll bet the mute guy is moved to speak in a moment that will be especially poignant.” It was so touching, that I nailed it, I mean. My wife couldn’t have been more pleased.
The episodic table easily applies to movies, too. George Lucas, for example, often calls crap like this “notes” that are repeated across films, again and again and again and again and again. Did I mention again? To make this point I’ll now transport you from one galaxy far away to a make-believe land of medieval sex, violence and political intrigue. It won’t require that much suspension of disbelief.
Or, as I like to call it, “A Note Ripped From Star Wars By Game Of Thrones.” Introducing element #78: The Fake Greeting.
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J.J. Abrams is your father!!!
It always a fun time when one of the Abyss family gets a moment in the sun. And by “family” I mean people we’ve blasted in the past. Here’s to you, J.J. Abrams. -Ed
There are so many great moments in the history of Star Wars:
Darth Vadar cuts Obi-Wan Kenobi in half with his lightsaber.
Darth Vader reveals that he is Luke Skywalker’s baby daddy.
George Lucas gets an idea for a new character to provide comic relief.
Disney Corporation gobbles up Lucasfilm Corporation.
The White House rejects a petition to build the Death Star.
J.J. Abrams announced as director of Star Wars 7.
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When You Wish Upon A Star Wars
Once upon a time I decided to live tweet/microblog the storm of the century.
I’m talking about, of course, the acquisition of Lucasfilm (including the Star Wars franchise) by Disney. Weather phenomena are dwarfed in significance by the galactic magnitude of this event.
Let the news be spread far and wide, all the way to the Outer Rim systems. (Some of you will get this joke.)
Today’s regularly scheduled post has been cancelled so I can bring you continuing coverage of this breaking arm-slicing news.
By the time you read this post, workers will have pulled down the “Skywalker Ranch” sign and replaced it with “Mickey Mouse Ranch.” It doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it? And the statue of Yoda in the courtyard will have been replaced by Jiminy Cricket. Such is the way of things. One philosopher gets traded in for another. Such is the way of The Force.
Disney imagineers are already hard at work to bring more fire scenes to the continuing saga of the Star Wars and, most likely, a few hidden references to “sex” for those freeze-frame fanatics willing to find them. You can’t imagine how good it feels to find an animator’s easter egg hidden in a Disney film. And for most of these egg hunters it’s the one and only time they’ll ever find “sex.” Ha ha ha.
Enough talk! More tweets. I’ve been looking forward to having you for dinner.
–Darth Vader to Sebastian the Crab
Without further ado, bring on the tweets!
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Relationship advice you want, hmm?
Is there anything Star Wars can’t do? Not I think because I believe in the Force, and an ally powerful it is, yes? Hmmmmm.
Also, relationships are hard.
Suddenly it occurred to me. Star Wars can help. In fact, it’s easy. All you have to do is speak nothing but Star Wars quotes incessantly. Viola! Relationship all better.
Yes, it’s just that simple.
Let’s see some examples of this powerful technique in action.
Partner: Do I look fat in this? I’m thinking about going on a diet.
Jedi Knight (You): One thing’s for sure. We’re all gonna be a lot thinner!
If that doesn’t put a fun spin on serious issues, nothing will.
Help yourself to these freebie tips. Use them as appropriate when your relationship needs saving.
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All Access Travelogue: How to get in to Skywalker Ranch
Welcome to the dinner salad, young Skywalker. And I see you brought your own Ranch. Impressive!
Ever wanted to visit Skywalker Ranch? Hell, who wouldn’t? Hearst had his castle, Michael Jackson had Neverland, and George Lucas has gots his digs, too.
And I know how to get in. Curious? Keep reading for my exclusive tip on how to be invited into the Lucasonian world known as Skywalker Ranch.
This tip is foolproof and guaranteed to get you in – but only if you can exactly follow my advice. Be warned and remember! Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.
Skywalker Ranch is the secret fort of Lucas where he stages massive toy soldier battles between Jedi action figures and Clone Trooper action figures. It is truly a sight to behold.
Situated on about 3,000 acres 20 miles north of San Francisco is the city that Lucas built.
The Ranch contains a barn with animals, vineyards, a garden with fruits and vegetables used in the on-site restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool and fitness center with racquetball courts, the man-made “Lake Ewok,” a hilltop observatory, a 300-seat theater called “The Stag” as well as multiple theater screening rooms, and parking that is mostly concealed underground to preserve the natural landscape. Skywalker Sound was moved onto the ranch in 1987, now occupying the Technical Building. The Main House has a company research library under a stained-glass dome. Skywalker Ranch has its own fire station, which is part of the Marin County Mutual Aid system, and is often called on to assist firefighters in nearby Marinwood.
Sound like fun? Hell yeah! I can’t think of any place I’d rather be. Meanwhile, in other news, I still don’t command the financial forces necessary to be able to own one square inch of Florida swampland. (My mortgage on the property was foreclosed.) It must be nice to be able to afford to prioritize the tough choices and get just a few of the bare necessities that you want. Yes, I jealous a lot. (For me, jealous is a verb!)
Okay, here’s the secret. You read this far so I won’t keep you waiting any longer.
The secret to being invited to Skywalker Ranch is obtaining a level of consciousness where you literally care nothing about Star Wars, George Lucas and Skywalker Ranch. At this level, not only could you not care less about Star Wars, you will also find the whole thing rather tedious, boring and silly. Only once you would automatically refuse any invitation to visit Skywalker Ranch will you be ready.
Once you’ve carefully followed the above tip you will be invited for a visit. Trust me. I’ve personally witnessed this.
I was with a woman who was an artist back when Lucas decided to make a Star Wars prequel-trilogy starting with The Phantom Menace. Her company was one of the millions courting Lucasfilm for Phantom Menace licensing projects. This woman had absolutely no interest in Star Wars. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch! She had never even seen any of the movies – not even once! On the other hand, of course, I was supergeek who had quite literally worn Star Wars tshirts every day for an entire year during the eighth grade.
As luck would have it, she was invited along with a few others from her company to attend a meeting at Skywalker Ranch. As you might guess, attendees went on this business trip alone – no guests were permitted. In this topsy-turvy world she was the one who was allowed to visit. I was the one who stayed home and received a Skywalker Ranch coffee mug from the on-site “company store” as a consolation prize.
And there you have it! Another secret and practical tip from this cutting-edge blog. Now go out there and put it into action!