Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon. Mention Wookies, Jedi, or the Force to anyone and nine times out of 10, you’ll be understood. It permeates our culture so strongly that long before The Force Awakens was a twinkle in JJ Abrams’ eye and Star Wars became ubiquitous in the mainstream, it was already pretty prevalent in terms of toys, clothes, and references in popular culture. With that view in mind, we’ve compiled a few of our favourite television references to the greatest franchise ever made:
The X-Files – “Small Potatoes”
An episode of the show’s fourth season, “Small Potatoes” is a fantastic monster of the week episode with its tongue in cheek and its writer, Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan, going for laughs over scares. The opening depicts a woman giving birth to a baby with a tail after declaring to her nurse that the father comes from outer space. Mulder and Scully go to investigate, and after expecting to hear a story about a little green man getting romantic on Earth, they are shocked, or in Scully’s case amused, to hear that the father of the child is none other than Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. Of course, it’s not actually Anakin Skywalker’s kid doing the impregnating but a janitor who can look like anyone, but it is a great comedy moment in a show known for sometimes being overly serious in its early years. Unfortunately, it seems Breaking Bad never went for a Star Wars reference, but the show does share a director with the upcoming Episode VIII in Rian Johnson so there’s still chance for Aaron Paul or Bryan Cranston to find their way into an X-wing.
30 Rock – Liz Lemon Loves Princess Leia
Throughout 30 Rock‘s seven seasons there were many Star Wars references: Tracey Jordon running down the highway declaring himself a Jedi, Tracey turning into Chewbacca when he goes off his meds, Liz’s hatred of Attack of the Clones, or Don Geiss encased in carbonite. But the one that stands out as the best is Liz Lemon’s love of dressing up like Princess Leia, whether it be for Halloween, jury duty, or her own wedding. This love of Leia culminates in a fantastic cameo by Carrie Fisher as Rosemary, a comedic hero of Lemon’s whose politically incorrect humour goes against the many rules and mandates she lives under. Eventually seduced by the idea of going solo with her hero she gets in too deep and as she escapes from Rosemary’s home in Little Chechnya her hero calls out to her, “Help me, Liz Lemon, you’re my only hope!”
Spaced – Simon Pegg’s Broken Heart
Throughout the first season of Spaced there are Star Wars references a plenty considering that star and co-creator Simon Pegg is a super fan. However, between season one and two The Phantom Menace happened and the writers decided to use it to shape the character development of their man-child lead. No scene better illuminates this than the one in which Tim, played by real-life Star Wars superfan Simon Pegg, is shown berating a small child for wanting a Jar Jar Binks toy. His description of the prequels as a jumped-up, firework display of a toy advert really rang true with a lot of fans, and for many of us his pain and anger with George Lucas was something we could all share. The story has a happy ending for Pegg, as he will be starring in The Force Awakens, so he’ll get to be linked to a good Star Wars film instead of known for having his heart broken by a bad one.
Lost – Hurley’s Rewrite
Lost was full of Star Wars references, so many that you could be fooled into thinking J.J. Abrams thought that if he created a show that referenced the franchise enough they would give him the reins of a new movie. The character Sawyer, known for giving people nicknames, would constantly call people names from Star Wars, and a great deal of Star Wars dialogue was quoted throughout the series. The best reference comes in an episode called “Some Like it Hoth”, which goes to show the creators had reached a point in the show where they were just goofing around, in which Hurley had been transported back in time to 1977 and decided to write the script for The Empire Strikes Back, with some improvements, and send it to George Lucas. Lost, like The X-Files, had a penchant for straight-faced seriousness, but when they cut loose and dropped some comedy, they both went to the Star Wars well and both reaped the rewards.
Parks and Recreation – Patton Oswalt’s Filibuster
You would think the best reference on this list would come from Parks and Recreation resident geek, Ben Wyatt, but actually the greatest Star Wars reference on the show came from a guest spot by super-geek, Patton Oswalt. As Lesley Knope tries to remove some outdated Pawnee laws she ends up facing Oswalt who decides the best way to block her is with an epic filibuster. His subject of choice? How Star Wars Episode VII should be made, and how much of the MCU could be involved. In the episode, we get some clips of it, but a few days after it aired, NBC released the full, epic, beautiful filibuster online. It gives you an insight into how the stand-up comic thinks, and also how awesome Episode VII could be.