I’m a child of the 70s, so the bulk of my life has been centered and grounded around the global phenomenon that was Star Wars. I dressed up as Princess Leia for Halloween when I was in Kindergarten, I used to play with SW action figures with my older brother (my Hoth Leia figure had light brown/reddish hair, instead of the traditional black hair which caused several fights with my sister over who got to play with which one), I had a Princess Leia Barbie doll, a Princess Leia folder that I put in my Trapper Keeper and when I figured out how to braid my hair, I imitated her hairdos…as well as a five year old could. Based on all this, you could easily say that I’ve had an something of an obsession with Carrie Fisher my whole life. You’d be right, and it continues to this day.
Last month, I caught HBO’s premiere of “Wishful Drinking,” the televised version of her one-woman show, which details Fisher’s life through archival footage and a few props. I usually watch TV to fall asleep, but sometimes I plug into a show and get so sucked into it, I end up staying up way later than I intended and I don’t particularly care that it’s way past bedtime. “Wishful Drinking” was one of those shows. In a one hour and twenty minute show that passes far too quickly, Fisher discusses her famous lineage (her parents were crooner Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds), the Star Wars effect, addiction, bipolarism, love, marriage and my personal favorite, Hollywood inbreeding.
Fisher begins the show by stating, “If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true and that would be completely unacceptable.” If you’ve read anything about Fisher, you know that she’s gone through two divorces, battled an addiction to pills, was diagnosed as a manic depressive and has had to live down wearing a metal bikini in Return of the Jedi. She relates all of these stories and more during the show, but with a witty and wildly acerbic tongue that I just can’t get enough of.
My two favorite moments of the show are when she uses a large blackboard to explain the conversation she had with her daughter about whether or not she was related to a boy that she was dating…who just happened to be connected to Hollywood royalty as well, and the twenty minutes or so she spends talking about Star Wars, which she acknowledges as the reason why everyone was there. During the Star Wars bit, she dons a wig of the famous Princess Leia buns and pokes fun at the lack of underwear in space (according to Lucas, there isn’t any), her English accent that goes in and out, the odd and merry and of fans that are a constant part of her life and how being a Pez dispenser really has enhanced her life (and if anyone ever gets the chance to be one, she encourages you to “DO IT!” because it makes your whole life better).
The show is currently on my DVR and I watch it about once a week, this is in addition to watching it every time I manage to find it on HBO. I just don’t get tired of listening to Fisher tell her stories. In addition to my obsession over her role as Princess Leia, I’ve got a lot of respect for her as a writer. Watching this show is the equivalent of a master class with her on storytelling and voice. That and it’s quite entertaining. The humor still isn’t lost on me, dozens of viewings in.
If you haven’t had a chance to catch “Wishful Drinking” yet, I strongly encourage you to “DO IT!”
Until next week (and my next obsession)!
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