Pop culture has a lot of reverence for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
His name is shorthand for a mentor figure, and his dignity in the face of death is inspiring.
So it’s not surprising many TV shows reference him by name or parody his iconic moments from the Star Wars films.
From Higgins fretting about explaining Luke and Leia to his boys while watching The Empire Strikes Back to Jamie comparing old people to tall Yodas, Ted Lasso Season 2 wasn’t shy about dropping Star Wars references.
Ted Lasso was certainly inviting us to make comparisons between the two. Fortunately, there’s plenty of comparative material for us to meditate on.
Obi-Wan’s line from A New Hope about “…a pupil of mine until he turned to evil…” applies equally to what happens between Ted and Nate as it does to Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship.
Also, like Obi-Wan, Ted kept a big secret from his students/players, and they cruelly found out about it from a source other than him.
It felt right for Ted to invoke the name of the Jedi Master when he came clean to them about his choices and panic attacks before Richmond’s league defining game against Brentford.
Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm and ownership of the Star Wars franchise has produced mixed results and audience response.
On the light side of the acquisition is Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars aka Episode IVa: May the Ferb Be with You. It’s a brilliant Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead retelling of A New Hope with the Phineas and Ferb characters.
Like the other Star Wars characters, Obi-Wan gets some nods, and Buford inherits his robe after the Vader confrontation.
Heartwarmingly, the Phineas and Ferb crew’s additions to the Star Wars mythos allowed Obi-Wan to be the titular duo’s teacher in the ways of the Force. It certainly lessens the sting of his Tatooine exile and his failures with Anakin.
It would take an eternity to list Whose Line Is It Anways’ funniest moments. However, one of the most gut-busting moments comes from the Drew Carey era when the Whose Line gang did “Songs of Science Fiction” for “Greatest Hits.”
This moment stands out because Colin Mochrie dances a very fast jitterbug to the improvised song of “Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Long Brown Robey.”
Credit also goes to Wayne Brady for coming up with a catchy and hilarious song in honor of a beloved Jedi Master and his iconic robe.
When Sam and Dean faced off against Andy, a psychic, on Supernatural Season 2 Episode 5, they couldn’t help but pick up on the similarities between his powers and a Jedi’s.
After Andy used his psychic powers to persuade Dean to hand over the Impala, Dean outright compared him to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The Obi-Wan references didn’t stop there.
The license plate on Andy’s van is “RU OBI 1.”
Plus, there was a reference to Obi-Wan’s line, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
Given Sheldon Cooper’s habit of seeking comfort in science fiction, it’s not surprising he would process his grief for Arthur “Professor Proton” Jeffries through a Star Wars lens.
Sheldon gave him the complete Obi-Wan treatment — envisioning him coming back to guide him as a Force ghost. Professor Proton even got to wield a lightsaber.
TV shows parodying the concept of Force ghosts is hardly uncommon, but what makes The Big Bang Theory spin on it compelling is having Bob Newhart step into Obi-Wan’s robes.
You need a TV legend like Newhart to match the charisma silver screen legend Sir Alec Guinness brought to the role.
Patton Oswalt guest-starred on Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 19. He delivered a fantastic filibuster about his ideas for the Star Wars sequel trilogy, which included a crossover with the MCU.
The broadcast version cut much of it. One of the parts to survive the cutting was the line, “Darth Vader was my father, but Ben Kenobi was my master.”
This is an excellent bit of dialogue. It makes you wish the filibuster was the canon version of the sequel trilogy.
That other major space franchise is the main inspiration for The Orville.
Regardless there’s still room in The Orville’s universe for Star Wars references.
On The Orville Season 1 Episode 2, Alara must take command when Ed and Kelly are captured and imprisoned in a zoo.
Alara quickly finds herself over her head and begs Claire to take over. Claire maintains her faith in the young commander’s abilities and offers to be her Obi-Wan instead.
It’s a sweet moment between the characters and a nice reminder of how you can love Star Trek and Star Wars.
Community paid homage to Star Wars many times. The most heartfelt of them occurred on Community Season 5 Episode 1.
Just as Jeff was ready to stray back to the Dark Side as a scuzzy lawyer and sue Greendale, a Pierce hologram looking very much like a Force ghost, reminded Jeff not to turn his back on Greendale was a special place that allowed people to sort their lives out.
It’s an emotional scene for in-universe and out-of-universe reasons. The Obi-Wan homage enhances it because it gives Pierce an air of wisdom he does not usually possess.
On Scrubs Season 1 Episode 5, JD describes an argument between Dr. Cox and Dr. Kelso as a battle for his soul and a fight between good and evil.
What sells the dramatic weight of the scene is JD fantasizing the argument playing out like the scene from A New Hope where Obi-Wan and Darth Vader face off for the last time.
The image of Cox depowering his lightsaber and letting Darth Kelso strike the mortal blow is as haunting as the scene from the source material.
Over to you, TV Fanatics!
Has TV suitably paid homage to this iconic Jedi Master?
What are your favorite TV references to Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Hit the comments below.
Becca Newton is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.