Haters gonna hate.
We use that line a lot, because while we all have things we dislike, when it comes right down to it, nobody likes a hater. One person’s douchebag is another person’s awesomesauce, and nothing quenches the thirst of our fragile egos more than pouring a little Haterade on someone’s parade. It’s a negative tactic that is generally frowned upon and discouraged… you know, outside of the internet, of course.
However, there seem to be a few target exceptions to the “don’t hate” rule. Some of them are justifiable like members of Congress, Elmo, and anyone with a last name of Kardashian. Then there is the curious case of Mr. Jar Jar Binks….
In 1999, Star Wars creator George Lucas released the first movie of the long awaited prequel trilogy to his popular sci fi series, “The Phantom Menace”. The movie took place several decades before the action in the original trilogy, and we get to see the events that took place that set the wheels in motion for the rise of Darth Vader. Sixteen years had passed since Return of the Jedi closed out the original Star Wars saga, so Lucas got a chance to freshen up his universe he had created to make an impression on a new generation of Star Wars fans. One element Lucas thought was missing from the classic movies was a comic sidekick to keep things lighthearted between the frequent fast paced and violent action scenes. This obviously called for a tall, clumsy Gungan who spoke like a preschooler and mocked every racial stereotype in the book….
What started out as a well-intended character to add some humor to an outer space fantasy world instead blew up in Lucas’ face like Luke Skywalker had just made a direct hit on the reactor core. Thanks to the immense amount of pre-release publicity “Menace” got, Jar Jar was already getting jeered and mocked before The Phantom Menace even hit the theaters! Nobody gave the poor dipshit a chance, and his presence in the subsequent two films of the new trilogy was nearly non-existent due to the fan backlash. To this day the quickest way to get a Star Wars fan to whip out their photon blaster is to even recognize that Messa Binks ever existed.
A few days ago, I made a comment on one of Twindaddy’s Stuphblog posts that wound up spawning more subsequent replies itself than any one of my posts over here has gotten total comments! I’ve watched this Jar Jar Binks hate parade march by for fourteen years now, and now that I have a forum here on the internets where people all around the world can now ignore me, it is time to give Jar Jar something he hasn’t gotten in a long time. No, not a bath… but some love.
I have to admit, even though I have only seen “Menace” once, the fact is I’m quite partial to the movie. It was released in the Spring of 1999, about one year after I started working at Mecca, and it was the first huge…. no, make that OVERLY FUCKING HUUUUUGE event that the Mecca brass got a woody over and flooded our stores with merchandise for. I remember looking on in awe as I watched an entire 20 foot counter in a main aisle of the store converted over to nothing but Phantom Menace toys and collectibles… and it stayed there all summer. People went absolutely nuts over this movie when it came out, and between Mecca and my Pepsi fetish, I pretty much knew who all the players were in it long before I finally got to actually watch the film itself after it came out on DVD the following year.
Looking at Jar Jar through the eyes of someone who is not a Star Wars geek and did not go into the movie already wanting to rip out his tongue through his space dust clogged belly button, I see a character who does exactly what Mr. Lucas created him to do… make a movie that otherwise seems to take itself too seriously and inject some fun and hijinks into it. Sure Jar Jar was put there to appeal to the kids… earth to adults out there: nobody under the age of 12 really gives a shit about Star Wars intricate storyline of good vs. evil and intergalactic incest. Why not give the kiddies something to enjoy in an otherwise grown up movie? This is the same mass appeal formula that made so many cartoon shows such a success since the days of Bugs Bunny…
And of course, another brick holding up the wall of hate Jar Jar has to endure is the fact that his outrageous and juvenile character was nothing more than a blatant attempt to sell Star Wars merchandise. I got some news for you…
It’s Jar Jar’s on-screen personality that seems to wear on fans the most, however. Apparently the fandom finds walrus-looking Buddhas lying with chained up scantily clad female slaves and damn dirty apes who can fly a ship at warp speed through the skies but can’t utter a fucking coherent word to be more pleasing and engaging than an endearingly dimwitted but good-hearted outcast from an alien race who speaks like the lovechild of Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd on helium. It’s a strange world…
And then there is this. You know what I think about possums…
These poor misunderstood animals share something in common with our Gungan of the day. Despite all the faults and underneath the blanket of hate that has been cast over him, Jar Jar is…. well…. cute.
So here’s a much needed salute to one of the most unmercilessly picked on characters to walk down the junior high school halls of life since Urkel got his last wedgie. Here at The Nest, we love you Jar Jar, and no matter what anyone out there chooses to think about your personality, your speech impediment, your social commentary, or your ulterior motives to merely make Lucasfilms rich… we will always have your back! Well, we probably wouldn’t want to actually touch it, but we’ll have your back nonetheless!
I…I just don’t have words for this…and not in a “wow, cool” way either.
*goes to cry in a corner*
Sorry, but I just had to do it. Someone has to stick up for the Jar Jars in life….
That only works as a metaphor, not for the actual character.
Just the mere mention of…him…and I start to feel all evil…
OMG! That’s great! Not for dinner, of course…. ick!
I prefer darkside cookies myself!!
Good post. It says a lot about a lot of things. Somebody always has to be the weird kid. But in the end, you just deal with him and wish him the best.
That said… If you don’t have a soft spot for Steve Urkel and Possums then you need to seriously spend more time smelling the roses and watching those little furry animals we aren’t allowed to mention (when are they coming back?)
So twue. so twue!
As for those certain mammals… best case scenario, they could return Tuesday. Worst case scenario…. well, I don’t know!
*raising hand* I complained about what a dick Roadrunner was!! I always thought Wile E. should have gotten to have him for dinner, he was mean!
Weal…. er, really! All he ever did was taunt that poor coyote and his shitty luck! I wished just once…. once Wile E. would have actually got to cook his feathered ass!
Best I could come up with — http://pixhost.me/avaxhome/54/ca/0011ca54_medium.jpeg
I actually quite liked Jar Jar for more than I like Chewie. And, from what I remember, the way he talked was the speech pattern of all the Gungans. Why was it always him who got picked on for it?
Yeah! Jar Jar is just an innocent victim of soicumstance! As I’ve seen from a couple of my blog’s followers, there is genuine, from the heart, bleeding hatred for this character, and I can’t for the life of me understand why…
I fucking hate Star Wars, where is my Ewok? 😉
Try looking in the lint trap..
I guess we’ll have to beam down another one for you…. oh wait, that was Star Trek! Or maybe Howard the Duck…
OMG! I loved that movie…
He musta ate the chileh!!!
LOL…Oh man, it’s an epidemic!! So funneh… 😉
love your blasphemy
Thanks! Stolen from Google, but it was too good to not include!
Ha, funnily enough I’m also planning a Jar Jar post – “Jar Jar Binks – comic relief or tragic mistake” (after having watched all six Star Wars films yet again just recently) – if I ever get round to writing it I’ll try to remember to link back here!
Now I’m in the mood for Spaceballs again – time to get it off the shelf. “Spaceballs the toilet paper” anyone?
YAY! Can’t wait to see your take on Jar Jar! Spaceballs is one of the best movies ever, and will definitely get its own post at The Nest sometime….
“Light speed, too slow?”
“Yes, we’re gonna have to go right to ludicrous speed!”
Ah! Howard! 🙂
Howard and Jar Jar have so much in common! People hate them both, and I don’t know why…
That’s Evil Bastard. Come over to the dark side….
I AM the dark side. Jar Jar is not a part of it.
OK, come over to the Light Side, then! We have unicorns….
I shoot unicorns for fun.
Great post but try watching phantom menace a second time. When it first came out I thought it was kinda okay (including jar jar) and didn’t really understand the depth of hate it produced. But I revisited it years later and now I understand. Now I have a horrible, full perspective on jar jar and the whole movie. He really is just really fucking annoying.
If I ever get the opportunity, I’ll definitely try to watch it again. I still haven’t even seen Episode III….
Episode III is actually pretty decent. Definitely the best of the 3. Though it does have the infamously awful “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!” scene
Is it ok to watch all the Star Wars movies without having to decide whether to hate Jar-Jar? I was also surprised by the amount of hate this character received, because if people hated every annoying but good-natured character as much, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Adam Sandler, and a lot of other actors wouldn’t be making any movies.
I’m sure Jar Jar would appreciate even ambivalence to what he normally gets. Maybe Jar Jar should hook up with one of those guys and make a comedy movie….
Maybe something like “40 Year Old Gungan”…
Oh my…. the comedic possibilities that could raise!
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When i first watched it, I liked Jar Jar, liked so much as in bought a bag that was his face and took it out in public (Because I was super brave).
But after repeating the movie a fair few times, hate started to creep in. I don’t loathe him to the extent of others though, he’s more like an annoying friend, like that guy who comes to pizza night and never chips in.
Awwwww, but it’s his annoyingness that makes him so lovable! I’d even blast off his tongue though if he didn’t chip in for the eats….