May the Fourth Be With You: TV's Best Star Wars Moments (Let's Hear Yours!)

By Tim Surette

May 02, 2014

If dead presidents and flags can have their own holidays, then surely the greatest space opera of all time deserves its own celebratory 24 hours. And that's how, with the help of some lispy synergy, the unofficial Star Wars holiday May the Fourth was born. And this year, two different shows are paying tribute to the George Lucas classic with special Star Wars-themed episodes. On Thursday, The Big Bang Theory successfully used the Force in "The Proton Transmogrification," and this coming Tuesday, May the Thixth, The Goldbergs (which has already paid homage to Tron and The Goonies) will travel to a galaxy far, far away. 

But The Big Bang Theory and The Goldbergs obviously aren't the first TV series to geek out over Star Wars, so we've compiled a list of some of the best homages this side of Tatooine. Take a look, then add your own favorites in the comments!

The Star Wars Holiday Special 

No list of anything having to do with Star Wars is complete without a mention of this inexplicable1978 one-off that should've destroyed the franchise forever. 

Arrested Development 

George Michael's dirty little secret was his affinity for reenacting Star Wars lightsaber duels, and the Fox comedy took inspiration from a viral video that destroyed some kid's life for this tribute.

Family Guy

Family Guy did three Star Wars sendups, an hour-long episode that served as the Season 6 premiere and two more straight-to-DVD collections of Stormtroopers being idiots. 

Robot Chicken

Seth Green and Matthew Senreich's claymation blender of pop culture was the perfect avenue for Star Wars parodies, and the Adult Swim series churned out a trio of Star Wars-themed episodes. 

The Muppet Show

If someone floated the idea today, a collision of the Muppets and Star Wars universes wouldn't be a surprise, as Disney now owns both properties (you will be property of Disney someday, too). But in 1980, they were just two cool things that decided to partner up for some fun. Gonzo Vader is one of the greatest things to happen ever. 


Before Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright faced zombies, became cops, or battled aliens, they had a little show called Spaced that went on to become a cult hit on both sides of the Atlantic. (If you haven't seen it, stop what you're doing and watch it right now.) A geek's dream, the sitcom referenced more pop culture than a Death Star trash compactor full of Entertainment Weekly mags, and Star Wars was a frequent target. 

30 Rock

Liz Lemon loved Princess Leia's buns so much that she wore them twice during the Emmy mainstay's run: once for jury duty, and once for her own wedding. The Leia costume was the only white dress she had!


Given the show's firm entrenchment in pop culture, it's surprising that Community didn't make MORE Star Wars nods. But the NBC comedy did give us the opening to "For a Few Paintballs More" and Abed's takedown of the prequels, as well as Abed pretending to be Han Solo and melting Annie.

Parks and Recreation

Patton Oswalt's unedited Star Wars filibuster should be archived in the Smithsonian for all future generations to worship as the pinnacle of man's accomplishments.  

What are your favorite Star Wars TV moments? 

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  • mazie2 May 04, 2014

    Spaced above all else.

    I seriously cannot recommend this show enough to people. I'm excited for those who haven't yet seen it. Treat yourself and grab the dvds. There's a subtitle setting called the "homage-o-meter" to help you catch every tiny subtle reference. So many!

  • kcee May 04, 2014

    Spaced was awesome! Didn't know about the homage-o-meter tho. will have to dig out my dvds of it!

  • Muderboy May 03, 2014

    Also the truly great Empire Strikes Back scene from the WB's wonderful one season wonder, Do Over. The kids are in line to see the movie and bullies jump the line and a fight ensues, and our heroes lose. So Joel gets even by revealing the big twist that Darth Vader is Luke's father, as the kids walk away with a smile.

  • Muderboy May 03, 2014

    Sorry I couldn't put up a link for this, I have all the episodes, so I have this one too, but it's just too much trouble to edit and post.

  • Muderboy May 03, 2014

    Under the heading of "I was there in 1977." I had a friend from the bay area down for a couple days in the summer of 7'7, and he brought his new girlfriend to show off a bit. The second night they asked us to go see the new Star Wars film, but I'd seen the lines and didn't want to stand in them for what I thought was just another space opera flick. When they got back they couldn't stop raving, so my interest was piqued. My wife and I decided to go the next night and my friend and his girlfriend wanted to come along, saying they wanted to be there just to witness my reaction. When the music began I watched the rolling "long time ago," scroll down and thought maybe this movie was more than I thought it would be. But when the rebel ship came out of the upper right corner followed the that Imperial destroyer, it blew me away for all time. I went back seven times and it never got old...

  • pabloibarra316 May 03, 2014

  • ionee24 May 03, 2014

    That would be Losy's Hurley wants to re-write Empire Strikes back

    That's "the New Jacob" of the island for you!

  • ionee24 May 03, 2014

    Which reminds me the "Jacob is worse than Yoda" one...

  • ElRob May 03, 2014

    I watched TBBT's "fourth" episode last night and thought is was terrible, probably the weakest offering the show's ever made. Total disappointment, I don't know if I'm more embarrassed for their writers or for Bob Newhart.

  • pierresund May 03, 2014

    What the Hutt? No love for Friends' "The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy"?!?

  • No1Slayerette May 03, 2014

    I've found both Family Guy and Robot Chicken's extended parodies of the Star Wars films to be pretty hit and miss, but majority of the time during the two respective shows they do okay. I think has to be my favorite part from the Family Guy version:

  • No1Slayerette May 03, 2014

    That filibuster by Oswald was a masterpiece.

  • JT_Kirk May 03, 2014

    Oh, the Holiday Special. I've suffered through this, a bad VHS dub, the "fighting the frizzies" one. It's unbearable, and the lauded Boba Fett cartoon is really a product of its time, doesn't hold up any better than Mark Hamill's horrifying doll makeup or Carrie's life day singing.

    George Michael parodying Ghislain Raza, "the Star Wars Kid" who got caught having fun whipping around a golf ball retriever like he was a doughy Darth Maul, was so funny the first time and so played out the more they called back to it.

    I have a Pigs in Space lunchbox.

    Family Guy's first Star Wars episode in 2007 was among the best things ever. Seth MacFarlane came to the Los Angeles Star Wars Celebration IV convention to promote it and show clips, it was outstanding. And the next day was the panel for...

    Robot Chicken's first Star Wars special, which was mostly clips from previous episodes, but still fun. Their later specials have been all-new content and fantastic.

    Mythbusters had a great Star Wars episode recently.

    Futurama is stuffed with Star Wars, from the police batons to "The Star Wars Trek", C-3PO getting crushed, the Near-Death Star, and especially the battle scene build-up in Bender's Big Score, and the Sith Wars reenactment in "Lethal Inspection".

    The Venture Bros. episode "Love Bheits" has a ton of references, our heroes in Star Wars costumes (except Hank, who is of course Batman) for a party, so so much.

    Scrubs had an episode with the whole cast as Star Wars characters as JD tries to decide between his bosses as mentor.

    Every episode of the original Transformers cartoon rips off the sound effects from Star Wars, does that count? Star Trek too.

    Battlestar Galactic, the show that stole ILM's mojo and people to get that Star Wars look onto TVs - the sincerest form of flattery!

  • Muderboy May 03, 2014

    I saw this the night it aired and recorded it on my JVC two-hour only duplicator quality VCR, and didn't actually hate it, but was disappointed, My copy was commercial-free and perfect, but I eventually erased it. If I hadn't, it would be the best digitized copy available anywhere these days.

  • JT_Kirk May 05, 2014

    You are a man of infinite tolerance. The long, dull spells of Chewbacca's family making noises (ones that didn't even sound like Chewie) and wearing ugly masks and just looking horrific were punctuated by scenes of incredible '70s cheese and just a sense of malaise. Bea Arthur's bit, Harvey Korman's bits, those weren't the worst thing ever, but man was it a chore just to get to them - you can see Harrison Ford's will breaking in half, knowing he has to feed his family but hating every moment of this.

    As for a clean copy, it would have been great to have that one, I wonder if Disney will finally release it, but man, you could have made cash money with a clean copy back before internet video was a thing, people were buying those left and right at conventions.

  • Muderboy May 05, 2014

    I know, but it was pretty awful, I tried watching it a second time much later and just killed it. VHS tapes were 23 bucks back then and it didn't seem worth the 23 bucks. Of course I regretted it later, but 23 bucks is 23 bucks. I also had a very clean copy of Hardware Wars, but that one somehow got away too.

  • JT_Kirk May 05, 2014

    Yeah, it was nigh-unwatchable, I'm sure you weren't alone in letting that one go back to the spinning heads of doom to get recorded over by a superbowl or something. ;-)

    Hardware Wars, I'm not sure if I own a legit copy or a bootleg, but I own a copy somewhere and now I want to watch it again. That's not one worth letting get away, it's essentially the first Star Wars parody video, and one of the best - it's supposedly Lucas' favorite parody and the highest-earning short ever. Ernie Fosselius, its creator, even ended up working on Return of the Jedi.

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