Clone Wars Weekly: Jar Jar's Episode - "Oh Dear..."

If C3PO is anything, the diplomatic droid is a master of understatement. Usually when he says “oh, dear,” is usually a warning of or reaction to one kind of disaster or another. The only thing that’s surprising about going on a diplomatic mission with Jar Jar Binks is poor C3PO doesn’t have a few more choice or stronger words to say when all is said and done. Especially when the Gungan is mistaken for a Jedi.

Then again, that’s just what the latest episode of Star Wars: Clone Wars, entitled “Bombad Jedi,” is all about.

In the episode, also featuring Padme Amidala (Catherine Taber), the trio go off to keep a planet that is slowly being starved to death from joining the Separatists. Little do they realize it’s another one of Viceroy Nute Gunray’s (the ever great Tom Kenny) nefarious schemes to capture the Senator. While Gunray and his battle droids give Padme an armed escort, C3PO and Binks (Anthony Daniels and Ahmed Best, respectively) figure the smart thing to do is go undercover. That’s when Binks discovers a Jedi robe interestingly hidden inside Amidala’s closet (draw your own conclusions) just before he wrecks their cruiser. Somehow, the Gungan now has to rescue his lady while C3PO tries to call in the cavalry.

Again, as C3PO would say, “Oh dear...”

“Jar Jar’s looks, expressions and his characteristic personality allow us to animate him to levels of exaggeration that really stand out from the other human characters or two-legged creatures,” episode director Jesse Yeh says. “To me, his character is almost right out of the classic Disney or Warner Bros. cartoons. He is not always completely ‘there,’ he is clumsy and he seems to have a talent for making mistakes that really matter – sometimes in a constructive way, sometimes in a destructive way. I think it’s easy to be attracted by his innocent, childlike, naive side. He’s like a loveable, well-meaning friend – one you don’t want around when it’s a matter of life and death. But once you’ve lived through the crisis, you definitely want to invite him to the celebration party.”

“I wanted to find a middle ground between the funny side of Jar Jar and heroic redemption,” added episode director Kevin Rubio. “He is a fish out of water, and, yeah, he can be goofy and stupid, but in context, it works. There’s a phrase that I think applies to almost every episode that I’ve seen, and I know it influenced me on this episode. It appears in the prologue to the original Star Wars novelization: ‘They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Naturally they became heroes.’ I think that says it all for Jar Jar.”

Someone should ask the diplomatic droid if he agrees with those opinions.

Personally, about the only time I’ve ever found Jar Jar worth more than a rare chuckle is its first appearance in the first Robot Chicken parody, the one where Darth Vader through the clumsy alien through an air lock and killed him. The sequel satire, with Jar Jar as a GEICO, er…Gecko, “celebrity” spokesperson, wasn’t bad, but my personal sentiment of the character is his next role should be as one of the victims of the series Saw. This latest episode doesn’t do anything to change my opinion.

As Matt Senreich said in an interview last week, this is not a knock on Best. He’s a magnificent voice artist who does his best to do something with the character he’s handed. The simple truth is one can only tolerate Jar Jar’s gnarly patois for only so long before it starts making your ears bleed. His actions, more often than not, are even more annoying than his banter. It makes one wonder why he hasn’t been turned into blaster burger ages ago.

The good news is this episode runs the mandatory 22 minutes and it’s out. Believe me when I say there is far better episode just around the corner. For starters, the next episode, “Cloak of Darkness,” features the first SWCW work by a guy most Newsarama readers should know, one Paul Dini.

Expect a lot of good things to be said about that episode next week. In the meantime, all one can add about “Bombad Jedi” is maybe the guys at Lucasfilm knew this episode would air just before Thanksgiving. This episode sure is a turkey.


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