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ALF Reviews: “Keepin’ the Faith” (Season 1, Episode 5)

November 14th, 2013 | Posted by Philip J Reed in alf

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

I know it’s only been five weeks, but I honestly feel like I’ve been reviewing this show for years. Every episode seems to age me a little more, and by the time I’ve made it through all 99 of them, I’m pretty sure I’ll just be a pissy skeleton.

This is an episode about ALF selling makeup, which again seems to come from the pens of a writing staff that definitively refuse to write about an alien.

I’ll never get over this. At least, not until the show does. Mork and Mindy, Third Rock from the Sun and My Hero were all comedies about aliens coming to Earth, but do you know what the central comic conceit was? The aliens didn’t know what the fuck they were doing. The entire joke was that they were confounded by what we would see as simple concepts, and their attempts to understand them — or pretend to understand them — drove the humor. You can even apply this to other shows about otherworldly non-aliens, like Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie.

I’m not suggesting that all of those were fantastic shows, but I have to at least give them credit for understanding their own concepts. After all, why would you bother to write about this character from another world / time / universe if you didn’t intend for there to be any incongruity?

You can write a show about an alien from Mnrevlhi XII coming to Earth and have him spend an entire episode trying to figure out the proper way to eat a banana. It might not be funny, but it at least follows from your premise. Write a show about that alien coming to Earth, though, and getting a job at an insurance company — which he turns out to understand completely and be really good at — and there’s a problem, because then you might as well not be writing about an alien.

ALF should be pretty easy to write for. It’s a basic fish-out-of-water concept. The problem is that the writing staff resolves it a few minutes into the first episode by having that waterless fish walking around and breathing oxygen just fine, which doesn’t leave much room for comedy.

If you’re going to render your own central concept meaningless, then why did you choose that central concept?

Anyway, that’s enough stalling…I guess. The sooner I talk about this episode the sooner it’ll be over.

“Keepin’ the Faith” opens with ALF getting upset that he wasn’t invited to the family budgeting meeting. Kate explains that they didn’t want to bother him because he was watching The Three Stooges, but he still gets upset, which is pretty shitty because it was kind of nice of her to let that freeloading bastard watch television while the family discusses how quickly they’ll have to default on their mortgage.

Brian and ALF exchange some obviously false Three Stooges trivia (Curly was a senator in real life, and Moe, according to them, was Speaker of the House), but it’s just bizarre and out of place, and it doesn’t even build to a punchline. At least, not unless you consider ALF entertaining the family with his impressions of Curly a punchline. How alien of him!

Willie tries to explain to ALF that it was nothing personal, but ALF keeps interrupting him with proclamations of how sad he feels for being left out. Eventually Willie gets him to shut up and invites him over, but ALF says “No thanks!” and walks away, leaving potato chips everywhere.

Episode five, ladies and gentlemen.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

Again, same opening credits, but this time I made a point of pausing when ALF films Brian. The reason is that there was always something in the corner of the frame that I couldn’t make out, and you can see it in the upper left of the screenshot above.

…yeah, it’s the studio’s lighting rig. The camera turned too far and you can see beyond the edge of the set.

Did nobody watch ALF after it was edited? There are a few moments later on that suggest that the show was slapped together and broadcast without anyone caring much for how it actually played.

Yes, I know that slip-ups happen all the time. Boom mics drop into frame, walls wobble when the doors close…it’s okay. It’s nothing that necessarily impacts our enjoyment of whatever show it is, but I think there’s a difference between an unconvincing set and an obvious shot of the studio lighting rig that is left in the intro sequence that you will run every week. Why is this show so careless?

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

The credits end and ALF is at the meeting, so I guess all that passive-aggressive nonsense earlier was just a waste of time. Willie is ready to talk finances, and he’s got everything he needs to do so: an adding machine, an accordion folder, and a Hi-C box full of pumpkin juice.

It turns out that the family’s electricity bill has tripled, and Lynn suggests it might be due to the porch light that Willie leaves on every time she goes out. Willie replies, “The porch light stays,” and the audience laughs. Maybe I’m the alien, because I have no idea what the joke is here.

I’m not kidding. What is it? How is that funny? I have no clue what the insinuation is meant to be.

ALF reveals that he’s been leaving the dryer on all night to keep him company. I don’t understand this either, but I guess it confirms that ALF is allowed to run around the house going apeshit after everyone else goes to sleep. Can you imagine if you were one of those kids? I’d be pissed that I had to do homework and go to bed at 9 o’clock while there was an alien smashing up the living room at all hours of the night with no consequence. Why do they treat ALF better than they treat their children?

Talking about finances gives Willie an erection, which bumps against the bottom of the table and causes his accordion folder to pop open.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

Either that or the editing between takes in this show is really fucking bad.

ALF suggests that Willie get a better job, but Willie says he likes his job. Not enough to ever mention what he does for a living, though, I guess. Do the writers even know what Willie’s job is? Not only do they have no interest in the fact that their main character is an alien…they aren’t even interested in their characters that are human.

It turns out that the major drain on their finances is ALF himself, surprising nobody, but then I have to wonder why their response to this is to re-budget. Why don’t they instead make some effort to curb ALF’s insane behavior? Just issue the guy an ultimatum. He needs a place to stay more than you need an alien eating your food and fingerbanging your electric dryer all night.

And whatever happened to the idea of repairing his space ship? Give him a wrench and lock the door behind him, letting him know that he’s got 24 hours to fix the thing before you call the Honor System Alien Patrol. Easy solution. There’s your final episode right there.

ALF feels sad because the family he’s ruining isn’t currently sucking his dick, and he says he’s hurt because they see him as “a parasite.” Brian suggests that he’s more of “a sponger,” and it turns out it’s a description he picked up from Kate, who said that about ALF a week ago.

Go Kate! You’re the only island of sanity in this lousy show. Then she says, “Let’s just settle on ‘parasite’ and move on,” which causes my accordion folder to pop open, too, if you know what I mean.

Seriously, Kate. That Willie dweeb? Come on. You’d be much happier with me, and I’ll even tell you where I work.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

That night ALF bangs on the piano and sings about being a parasite. Because of course he does.

Kate comes down in her robe, and unfortunately doesn’t say, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? You live in a house with four other people who are trying to sleep. Read a book, go to bed, or move the fuck out.”

No, instead she speaks to ALF apologetically for what happened earlier, when the family had the nerve to discuss a serious and pressing issue with openness and honesty. I’m pretty sure ALF is the most accurate portrayal of toxic relationships I’ve ever seen on television.

It’s depressing. Kate’s the most level-headed of the bunch — by a landslide — and here she is coddling ALF and telling him not to feel bad for sinking the Tanners into financial ruin. What…the fuck.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

ALF volunteers to get a job, which is great because the moment he steps outside the house he’ll be scooped up by the government and vivisected, but Kate tells him not to worry; he can do chores around the house instead.

Indulge me here. How does that solve anything? The issue the Tanners were ostensibly facing was that they were going bankrupt. How does asking ALF to dust the knick-knacks address that in any way?

I guess Kate just feels bad about the math she did earlier that conclusively proved ALF was worse than worthless. She then leaves and tells ALF not to worry, and you know what, Kate? Offer revoked. You and Willie were made for each other.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

Of course, ALF can never and will never leave well enough alone, so in spite of the fact that Kate’s solution to the problem was “Nothing will change and we’ll continue supporting your sorry ass,” he decides to get a job anyway.

He flips open a magazine, which could conceivably have want-ads in it, I guess, but I’m a little confused by the fact that they didn’t give him a newspaper instead. Wouldn’t that be much clearer visual shorthand? Maybe they couldn’t afford to make a newspaper prop so they just handed him a copy of Better Homes and Gardens.

Things get even stupider when ALF pulls out one of those mail-in subscription cards that clearly reads BUSINESS REPLY MAIL on the back, with a little pre-paid postage square. He reads it out loud, trying to convince us, I guess, that it’s some kind of loose want-ad that was tucked into the magazine, and then dials the number that it asks him to call.

Why did they give him a card that clearly needs to be mailed in if they just wanted him to make a phone call? Couldn’t he have just put his finger on a page and pretended to read the number from there? This show is so baffling. They go out of their way to set up one thing (whether it’s an alien in the house, the Tanner financial situation, or a mail-in reply card) and then try to make us see it as something else entirely. It’s like they wrote these things on their lunch hour from their real jobs and didn’t have time to go back and make any of the pieces fit.

It turns out to be a company that needs people to sell their makeup, and ALF gives the Tanner address as 167 Hemdale, which is indeed the address he gave to Pizza Barge in “Strangers in the Night,” so I guess somebody on the writing staff cared about detail.

Actually, this leads me to something that a friend and I were discussing recently: the idea that ALF might have One Good Writer.

It’s nothing I can say for certain, and I wouldn’t have any idea who it is, but every episode so far has either had at least one decently good line or clever idea. Of course you need to riffle through a lot of utter shit to get there, but it’s there.

It could be a blind squirrel finding a nut, or it could be one guy on the staff who actually has some talent as a humorist. It’s not much talent, but it’s more than any of his hypothetical coworkers.

Every so often I get the sense that a certain line or moment was scripted by the One Good Writer. The rest of the time he’s been outvoted by his less intelligent colleagues, but every so often, evidence of the One Good Writer comes through, like a hidden message meant to alert us to the whereabouts of his kidnappers.

Whoever you are, One Good Writer, I hope you eventually got a gig on Cheers or something. God knows you’ve earned it.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

ALF’s package finally arrives from Terry Faith Cosmetics, and I’m pretty sure that name was chosen expressly so they could use that pun in the title. It’s a little disappointing because “Keepin’ the Faith” made me assume ALF would become an ordained minister, or somebody would have a spiritual crisis owing to the fact that they now live in the house with evidence of extraterrestrial life, but, nah, it’s just about some hairy dude selling makeup.

Lynn has her hair back in this scene, and since it’s an episode about beauty products I don’t feel too bad saying that this isn’t a good look for her. I don’t mean that to be dickish, but I think it says a lot about what small changes like that can do for somebody’s profile. The rest of the time she’s pretty neutrally-attractive in that late-80s / early-90s kinda way, but with her hair back it’s another person entirely.

She also has that really stilted line delivery again, where she’s being too obviously careful to pronounce all of the words correctly. It doesn’t help that the editing is as bad as ever; as she graspingly sounds her way through, “But don’t you have to know something about makeup before you can sell it?” there’s an edit that cuts her final word as she’s still speaking it.

This happens with something Willie says later, as well. Everything about ALF just feels so rushed and ramshackle. How could a show this poorly assembled air on national television for four years?

Anyway, we finally get to the part of the episode that I’ve been dreading writing about, so those of you with weak stomachs: turn away now.

…really. This is an honest warning.

The rest of you? Here we go…

ALF asks Lynn if she’s ever had “a Terry Faith facial.” And, for a second or two, I actually feel a little bit guilty about laughing. After all, it’s probably like that time Oscar the Grouch sang about a rusty trombone. It doesn’t mean what it sounds like it means.

…right?

Well, ALF starts reading the book that came with his supplies for guidance, and Lynn says, “Let’s skip to the facial part.”

Tee-hee, right?

It keeps going.

And it gets worse.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

ALF tells her to get down on her knees for the facial.

She does. AND SHE TILTS HER HEAD BACK.

What the living shit am I watching.

ALF reads an instruction to “apply liberally to customer’s face and neck.”

Lynn reluctantly pleads, “Just a little bit…” to which ALF unconvincingly replies, “Yeah, yeah, okay.”

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

ALF then globs it and smears it all over her face, while Lynn keeps her eyes shut tight so that nothing gets in them. And now you know why she had her hair back.

The cherry on top? ALF even makes gross, “Mmm, mmm…yeah…” sounds as he dabs it all over her.

This is disgusting. Why is ALF so intent on normalizing behavior like this? I refuse to believe that I’m the only one who sees sexual overtones here. It couldn’t get any more sexual without ALF using his actual wang as an applicator.

I’m not making jokes. This is sickening.

Anyway, ALF has now sexually assaulted both of the Tanner children on camera. And it’s not even sweeps week!

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

Willie is reading a newspaper in his armchair, so I guess they did have a newspaper prop after all. Why, again, did ALF have to pretend to find a want-ad printed on the front of one of those 10 CDs for 10 cents offers from Columbia House?

The phone rings, and it’s for ALF. It’s also nowhere near the piano where we saw it last night, so I assume the conclusion to last week’s conflict was just Willie throwing up his hands and saying, “Fuck it, we’ll install a telephone every three feet.”

Also, why would Willie hand the phone over when somebody’s calling for ALF? Why not just say, “There is no ALF here, wrong number,” and then tell that hairy little punk to stop calling people who aren’t supposed to know he exists?

It’s Ginger, from Terry Faith, and she congratulates ALF on being newcomer of the month. Willie and Kate overhear the conversation and tell ALF he needs to quit his job, but ALF says that if he does well enough at Terry Faith, he can make more money than “the civil servant.”

He means Willie, so, hooray! We now know that Willie is a civil servant. What does he do specifically? Being as that could mean anything from governor of whatever fucking state this is all the way down to the guy who rides on the back of the garbage truck? The writers don’t know, but, hey, they still have 94 episodes left to figure it out, so what’s the rush?

ALF volunteers to give Kate a facial, but, fortunately, the doorbell rings and we’re not asked to sit through a reprise of ALF’s ongoing molestation of Willie’s family.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

It’s a delivery guy, and we learn why ALF qualifies as “newcomer of the month”: he bought $4,000 worth of cosmetics on Willie’s credit card. Hilarious. ALF knew full well that the whole premise of the episode was that he was wasting too much of his family’s money, so he knowingly sinks four thousand more of their dollars into buying makeup.

Kick.

Him.

Out.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

Brian comes in, revealing that not only did ALF give him a facial, too, but that “it turned green.” Seriously, friends, I think I’m going to barf. I’m starting to think that this whole episode was just an excuse to have ALF metaphorically jizz on the children. And I don’t know if I’m disgusted more by that, or by the fact that it’s only episode five and already this wouldn’t be a surprise to me.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

Willie does this awkward thing where he puts one hand on the boxes of makeup and points the other at nothing, and then chides ALF in a way that sounds like he’s about to break into song. “You have-abuuuused, the trust-of-this familyy…faaaar too long.”

I can’t approximate it in text. It’s like no human speech I’ve ever heard.

From what little I know about the behind-the-scenes turmoil at ALF, Max Wright was pretty angry that Paul Fusco kept giving himself all the best lines. I don’t know if that’s something that he was already upset about this early in the show’s run, but maybe these insane line readings are just Wright trying to make the most of the limited material he’s being given.

I don’t know. If that is the case, then I have to say I support the initiative…but I also have to say that speak-singing your frustrations at a puppet isn’t the right way to do it.

The doorbell rings again, because the episode is almost over and they’ve only just managed to establish its plot.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

It turns out to be a horde of women that ALF invited over for a Terry Faith party. ALF runs away to leave Willie and Kate to deal with it, because he’s a pile of dicks.

The women go wild when they see the boxes of cosmetics and immediately swarm them and start ripping things open. lol women, amirite??

They then start throwing all of their money at Willie so they can buy massive amounts of makeup. lol women, amirite??

The delivery man comes back and Willie makes a funny face and I guess that’s the end of this masterful episode.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

Before the credits, though, we see everyone back in the kitchen, calculating the money they made from the fifteen-second-long Terry Faith party. Kate takes the printout from the adding machine and reads it, saying, “We made it all back, plus a small profit!”

Why wouldn’t she say how much they made? She has the numbers right there. Is the small profit a hundred bucks? A thousand bucks? A fucking nickel? These are very different outcomes, but the writers don’t care. Who am I kidding? Even I don’t care. To hell with this show.

ALF, "Keepin' the Faith"

ALF makes amends for the trouble he’s caused by giving the family “a set of mock-Naugahyde luggage.” I’ll ignore the fact that “a set” seems to mean “two pieces of,” because it leads to the episode’s only funny line: Willie says, excitedly, “It looks just like real Naugahyde!”

There’s that One Good Writer again.

ALF also says he’s taking the family to Dayton, and I’m not sure how since he still doesn’t have any money. I’d assume the Terry Faith profits would be put right toward his debt, but I guess not, because the family is stoked to hit up sunny Dayton and nobody has to learn a lesson, least of all the writing staff who don’t seem to remember what the problem was that set this episode into motion in the first place.

God bless us, every one!

MELMAC FACTS: On Melmac, pianos had a set of red keys in addition to our white and black. Also, ALF ran a dealership for Phlegm automobiles. Oh, and his show fuckin’ sucks.

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26 Responses

  • Jeff says:

    First of all, Phil, I might have to kill you, because your write-ups have inspired me to start watching these episodes on YouTube. I… hate… you… so… much…

    As for the “facial” thing, I don’t want to betray a deeper knowledge re: pornography than I actually have, but was the whole “facial” thing a mainstay of porn back in those days? That always impressed me as being more of a recent development (or at least from what I hear). Part of me thinks these scenes from this episode are just a big coincidence. Then again, it would be a huge coincidence, given the level of detail.

    Any proud pornography experts care to chime in?

  • E[X] says:

    I was wondering, way back in episode one did anyone ask what ALF’s real name is? I’m sure the answer would be the “you couldn’t possibly pronounce it” boilerplate, I was just curious.

    • Philip J Reed says:

      You know, it’s funny you ask that. I remembered pretty well that ALF’s real name was Gordon Shumway, which I assumed would be revealed in the pilot (you know…when they start calling him ALF and he could very easily say, “Actually, my name is…”).

      But it wasn’t. And it still hasn’t been. So I’m kind of wondering when that finally comes up.

      So yeah, nobody ever asked and he hasn’t seen it fit to let anybody know. Good shit.

      • E[X] says:

        Verifying the Gordon Shumway thing led me to ALF’s wikipedia page and, man, there are some amazing things there:

        puns dealing with ALF eating cats and other pets were problematic after NBC reported that a child placed a cat in a microwave after watching the show

        on the last night of taping, “there was one take and Max walked off the set, went to his dressing room, got his bags, went to his car and disappeared

  • Justin says:

    Years back I saw Permanent Midnight. It wasn’t particularly good, but it does lend credence to the One Good Writer theory.

  • Megan says:

    for what it’s worth, I’ll gladly go to bat for Bewitched, in particular its earlier seasons–it can be rather clever and fun, and Samantha Stevens is a surprisingly enjoyable character with her own desires and agency. Mind you, it gets broader and dumber as it goes, but on the bright side that means more Uncle Arthur. And if there’s such a thing as too much Paul Lynde (or too many terrible puns), I have yet to encounter it.

    I’m a lot less fond of I Dream of Jeannie. Where Samantha Stevens acts like a grown adult woman, Jeannie is a literal wish-fulfillment character for the men on the show. I also find it hard to get past how much like a child she acts for a woman who spends her time in a belly-baring harem getup. It creeps me right out.

    • Megan says:

      Oh, and also:

      >Talking about finances gives Willie an erection, which bumps against the bottom of the table and causes his accordion folder to pop open.

      Jeez. If his schlong is powerful enough to shake kitchen furniture, we may well have discovered why Kate still bothers with Willie in spite of, well, everything else about Willie :v .

    • Philip J Reed says:

      I haven’t seen either show since I was a kid, but since I remember a lot about specific lines, moments and gags in Bewitched, and almost nothing apart from the animated title sequence in I Dream of Jeannie, I absolutely support you going to bat for the former!

      Maybe I need to revist Jeannie, just to see if I’m as bothered by the characterization as you are. I kinda wouldn’t be surprised…

      • RaikoLives says:

        I’ll go into bat for Jeannie, then, it seems.

        While Jeannie seems childish I think it’s more that they meant to write her as “sheltered”. My biggest gripe with the show was how Major Tony Nelson’s “boss” was a military psychiatrist, who kept butting into Tony’s life as if it were his own. Him and his wife. Two of the nosiest, snobbiest, dumbest characters I’ve ever seen on TV. But they usually got foiled so it was kind’ve ok. Jeannie having been locked in a bottle for a thousand years or so made her curious, and somewhat outgoing, plus she was pretty gregarious by nature, but she was a magic creature created to serve, so she was always fighting two sides of her nature. Plus Tony and his friend had pretty good comedic timing between them, which always made their “hijinks” kinda fun.

        I always disliked Bewitched because the only REAL problem was bloody Darren. He was a complete douche who wanted Samantha to completely disown one side of her life, deny who she was, and become “just like him”. It was his own attitude and actions that almost always caused the problems – either he’d insult the mother-in-law or something else dumb. I just can’t stand him, as a person, who I know was meant to represent “normal” people, and I can’t put myself into his shoes. Not. One. Bit.

        Tony Nelson never wanted Jeannie to NOT be Jeannie, he was fine with her being that, but her curiosity and the misunderstanding/lack of awareness of modern society – the actual situation the comedy was built around – was what got them into trouble. Darren specifically wanted Samantha to NOT BE Samantha, which makes me wonder why he married her in the first place.

        My two cents, at least. I’m sure there’s a bunch of comparison articles around the place which would probably illustrate BOTH our points-of-view much more eruditely and concisely than I ever could.

  • Dan the Shpydar says:

    Damn you, Phil. These ALF write-ups are fucking awesome. I loved the show as a kid (and even had a talking ALF doll), and lately I’ve been watching them on The Hub. I am immensely fascinated not only that I actually religiously watched the show, but that it was so amazingly popular at the time.

    Watching it now, it’s almost like a post-modern exercise in fascination — poorly written, cheaply made, yet it kept on trucking for 4 seasons. As horrible as it is, I find it tremendously watchable, much in the same way that you just can’t look away from an unidentifiable pile of roadkill guts that have somehow spontaneously combusted.

    It’s also fun watching it knowing that Max Wright (and the whole cast, really) absolutely hated working on the show.

    And I think someone mentioned above, but the One Good Writer theory is correct — Jerry Stahl (though he’s only officially credited with three episodes, I believe he was involved with more than that).

  • Sarah Portland says:

    Sadly, I know why that porch light bit was supposed to be funny. You leave the porch light on for your teenage daughter while she’s out on a date, and she’s supposed to turn it off when she comes homes, as she is probably the last person out that night. If she doesn’t come home and turn off the light, it probably means she’s asleep in the back of her boyfriend’s Shaggin’ Wagon. However, knowing why it was supposed to be funny doesn’t make it so :P
    May I just sound off my relief that this is a new-ish blog, and that I don’t have to spend every waking hour of the next two weeks reading back-entries to get caught up?

    • Philip J Reed says:

      Welcome! Yours is a name I recognize from Full House Reviewed. I think I’ve left a grand total of…one comment there, but I’ve read almost everything other commenters have left. It’s nice to see a familiar face!

      Thanks for the information about the porch light. Maybe I wasn’t familiar because my parents only had boys. It actually does make a lot more sense now.

      And I’m glad you’re both enjoying it, and not stuck with a year’s worth of archives to catch up with. I hope you stick around! The next few episodes are real doozies…

  • Alana says:

    I understand where you are coming from when you say ALF was poorly put together,and you do so in such a hilarious way. I think the reason the set,and acting was seemingly rushed,and the reason why they never just did re takes until it was done correctly,stemmed more from the faact that ALF was a show that took 25 hours just to create a single 22 min episode. The logistics of it were already tedious and overly time consuming just with a limited amt of takes. Actors moved stiff and unnaturally because holes were cut everypace to allow for puppeteer work.People spoke unnaturally and were working full days and were tired.They also did not get along in real life.They hated doing it. The writerrs werent that good,and the acting suffered due to the set.a normal 22 min show takes 2-6 hours to make.ALF would tie up full days of filming. They were rushed&tired. They were constantly avoiding trap doors and holes.They were angry at playing second fiddle to a puppet.I still like the show for nostalic reasons.with its flaws.I give actors credit for putting up with a crap situation at least. I never read sexual underrtones into anything.I see your viewpoint,but I dont think that way.I enjoyy the reviews&hope you finish all episodes.

    • Philip J Reed says:

      Wow. I knew a bit about the trap doors and the fact that every actor HATED THEIR JOB, but 25 hours of filming for a 22 minute episode? That’s insane. I can’t imagine how awful it must have felt to invest yet another full workday in creating the saga of ALF’s career as a makeup salesman.

      Thanks for your comment…stick around! I will indeed be doing all of the episodes. :)

  • Wilkins says:

    I have no idea if you’ll see this comment, or if anyone’s already alerted you to this in one of the more recent reviews (haven’t read them yet), but the reason that the editing is so crappy is because (assuming you’re watching the DVD versions) they’re the syndication edits, with 2-3 minutes taken out of every episode from its original airing. So, most likely, those strange cuts weren’t there when the episode was first broadcast. Not that I’m defending the show or anything.

    • Philip J Reed says:

      No worries, Wilkins! I try to read every comment.

      Sure enough, you’re right, and it definitely took me a while before I realized these were syndicated edits. (I figured it out around the Christmas episode I think, so you’ll have a little while to go before my reviews take that into account…my bad.)

      I’m actually watching on Hulu, but I thiiiiink those are the same as the DVDs. Feel free to correct me, anyone, if I’m wrong!

      Thanks for reading! Hope you stick around. There’s a long road ahead. :)

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  • kim says:

    whoa, I never noticed the light rigging showing up in the corner of the screen where brian appears, but yeah, like the other person said above, because of the tight and stressful schedule all the actors and film crew were under, so there is bond to some flaws and mistakes and they did probably notice it later on, but since it took such a pain in the ass to film they probably like fuck it and move on.
    you could be right about the one writer thing because each episode dose have one or two lines that are really good, but it gets muddled over by other not so great dialog or plot. my guess it is either tom patchett or paul fasco himself while the rest of the seem only loosely know to write a script.
    and your right, it does seem odd that they were very picky and choosey about what ALF does or does not know about earth culture, I remember him being puzzled by the concept of a toilet in the first episode, but yet he knows how to call to order and sell cosmetics? also how he thinks he how to apply make up to the face? it is very straight how it flip flops from things ALF does not understand to things he does.

  • Stephen says:

    There are a few really stupid syndication cuts in this episode. (The slide transition to when they’re looking at the makeup package, the immediate fade to black when ALF makes Lynn purse her cheeks and dabs on the makeup, and a couple others) They don’t necessarily affect the continuity, except one. When ALF is in the kitchen talking to Kate when the party starts, she says no more parties, then ALF says something about Willie doing his magic act again. We immediately fade to the curly haired woman who is the same voice as Mrs. Puff from Spongebob. She says “Willie, never mind the change, get us the guacamole skin toner and we’ll call it even.” They cut out the part where a bunch of women wanted to buy stuff, one of whom only had a 100 dollar bill and Willie offered change. And the doorbell actually rang during ALF’s magic trick line in the kitchen, followed by more customers barging into the house. So it makes zero sense why that woman wanted change when you watch the syndicated version. I love the ALF puppet they used in the first half of this season. He has bigger dimples and a little more chin, lol.

  • Carter says:

    Late to the party, but just glad to be here for the ride. These recaps have been fantastic.

    I’m sure you’ve probably gotten responses or figured out on your own, but over the course of my 31 years of tv watching, these are the reasons I have found, alone or in tandem, for not disclosing dollar amounts on tv shows:

    1) Timelessness. Inflation will date a show, so if they were worried about a $200 bill in 1985, it doesn’t totally translate to $200 of (electrical/gas/phone) service in the 1995/2005/2015 economy.

    2) Suspension of disbelief. First, dollar amounts could fracture an audience. Poor people think $1000 is a lot, but rich people wouldn’t (necessarily). By not revealing the amount, we know it is substantial to the character and that is all that matters to advance the plot.

    Following that: Second, by knowing the amount, a viewer can more easily quantify that the character “should do x or y to obtain that specific dollar figure.” This threatens suspending disbelief, if the viewer cannot invest in the character’s journey because they have already mapped out a plausible alternate path in their own mind instead of following the tale.

    Anyway, quibbling over an excellent project. Keep up the awesome work. I will be catching up slowly.

  • Brandon says:

    Hey, great reviews! I just got to this one, and I laughed about how you noticed

    the studio light and the edge of the set during the opening credits. I noticed

    it too, when I started watching ALF again on DVD. My initial reaction was the

    same, only, I was a bit more vulgar: “look at these lazy bastards!”. However, I

    had to cut them some slack after I thought about it, because this show was shot

    back in the days of CRT TV’s. Those screens were curved, not flat, like our

    modern displays. When video is/was edited, you have something called “title

    safe” and “action safe” areas. Action-Safe area doesn’t go all the way to the

    edge of the picture, it shows you how much of the edges of the picture get

    wrapped around to the un-viewable part of the old curved CRT screen. SO, back

    then, with the wrapping effect, the light would not have shown up (since it is

    outside the action-safe area), unless your TV was not adjusted correctly or you

    had an overscan monitor. Professionals would have paid attention to that, most

    likely.



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