I seem to be a sucker for Star Wars parodies, although, inexcusably, I’ve failed to see Spaceballs in my years on this planet. There’s something about the styling of Family Guy and Robot Chicken that led me to investing in both franchise’s comedy interpretation of the Star Wars saga – they were both released around the same time, share cast members and even reference each other.
Which one is more worthy of your time and money, then?
The answer is Robot Chicken. Family Guy loses. Trying to recreate the Star Wars saga using the cast of the animated sitcom worked fairly well, in 2008’s Blue Harvest (Family Guy’s version of A New Hope) but became laboured with last year’s Something, Something, Something…Darkside. The jokes ran thin, it didn’t have a lot to say and felt poorly-conceived – is there any need to retell the whole Star Wars trilogy with Peter Griffin playing a fat Han Solo? Isn’t one entry enough as an interesting curio?
Robot Chicken benefits from just being a sketch show. There’s no running narrative to stick to, no existing characters to retrofit into the Star Wars universe; it’s pure jokes, and some of them are genuinely excellent, such as Lando’s objection to the name Slave I, Admiral Ackbar’s cereal (“Your tongue can’t repel flavour of that magnitude!”) and the Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader father/son dance contest. Both instalments can be picked up for under a tenner and will make worthy viewing for any Star Wars fan.
Both shows are currently piecing together third instalments in their respective parody trilogies. Robot Chicken is in danger of running thin, but at the same time, there is scarcely a better way of renewing your appreciation in Star Wars than watching the two specials. Aside from just watching the Star Wars films, of course.