Episode: "The Gungan General"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 1, Episode 12
Original Air Date: January 9, 2009
As I said last week, this story arc has a lot going for it. I like the pirates and in Part 2, there is some intrigue within their ranks, only adding to the fun. I also enjoy the interesting dynamic of Jedi and Sith in temporary, reluctant alliance. But I still feel like we're stuck in a pattern of prison escape stories. And let's not kid ourselves. There are issues with the Gungan.
I feel the intention with Jar Jar was good. Lucas wanted a character who would appeal to kids and who would provide comic relief. C-3PO's role in Episode I is minor and Jar Jar, to a point, fills the gap. But, silly as he can be, Threepio falls short of self-parody. It's nearly impossible to take Jar Jar seriously. Plus, there are the alleged racist overtones, equating Jar Jar with blackface caricatures. Both Lucas and actor Ahmed Best deny any ill intent but perception is in the eye of the beholder.
The message of "The Gungan General" is clear: give the guy a chance. Jar Jar definitely does not start off the episode on a good foot. His bumbling gets a couple of the good guys killed. But as Clone Trooper Commander Stone says, "He's smarter than he looks." Binks manages to devise a few clever and helpful tactics, perhaps reassuring us all that there's hope for the guy in the long run.
Ahmed Best played Jar Jar in the movies and in one previous Clone Wars episode. But he decided to take a break from the character to pursue other work. BJ Hughes performed the character for the first time in "The Gungan General."
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